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Title: A Study of Army Camp Life during American Revolution
Author: Snuff, Mary Hazel
Language: English
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Transcriber's Note

  Footnote 194: Missing reference page number.

  Footnotes have been placed at end of their respective chapter.

  Obvious punctuation and spelling errors have been repaired.


                           MARY HAZEL SNUFF
                  B. S. North-Western College, 1917.

     Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
                               Degree of
                            MASTER OF ARTS
                              IN HISTORY
                          THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
                                OF THE
                        UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS




  INTRODUCTION                            1

  Chapter I
      HOUSING CONDITIONS                  4

  Chapter II
      FOOD AND CLOTHING                  15

  Chapter III
      HEALTH AND SANITATION              27

  Chapter IV
      RECREATION IN CAMP                 37

  Chapter V
      RELIGION IN THE CAMP               46

  Chapter VI

      BIBLIOGRAPHY                       64


The object of this study is to produce a picture of the private soldier
of the American Revolution as he lived, ate, was punished, played,
and worshiped in the army camp. Drawing that picture not only from
the standpoint of the continental congress, the body which made the
rules and regulations for governing the army, or from the officer's
view point as they issued orders from headquarters rather just a
study of the soldier himself in the camp conditions and his reaction
to them. It was easy for congress to determine the rations or for
the commander-in-chief to issue orders about housing conditions and
sanitation, but the opportunities for obeying those orders were not
always the best. It is just that fact, not what was intended, but what
happened, that is to be discussed.

The soldier in camp is an aspect of the Revolutionary War which has
been taken up only in a very general way by writers of that period of
history, except perhaps the conditions at Valley Forge, for at least
their terrible side is quite generally known. Charles Knowles Bolton
has studied the private soldier under Washington[1], but has emphasized
other phases of the soldier's life than those taken up in this study.

The material has been gathered mostly from letters, journals, orderly
books, and diaries of the officers and privates, written while in camp.
The difficulty confronted has been to get the diaries of the private
soldier. They have either not been published or if they have been
published they have been edited in such a way as to make them useless
for a study of social conditions in camp, the emphasis having been
placed on the military operations and tactics rather than the every day
incidents in the soldier's life.

The soldier has been studied after he went into camp. Little has been
said about the conditions which led to the war or the conditions as
they were before the struggle began except as they are used to explain
existing facts. It has been the plan in most of the chapters to give a
brief resume of the plans made by congress or the commander-in-chief
for the working out of that particular part of the organization, then
to describe the conditions as they really were.

There has been no attempt made, for it would be an almost impossible
task, to give a picture of the life in all the camps but rather the
more representative phases have been described or conditions in general
have been discussed.

The first phase of camp life considered is that of the housing
conditions, the difficulties encountered, the description of the huts,
the method of construction, and the furnishing. This is followed in the
second chapter with a study of the food and clothing, the supply and
scarcity of those necessities. The third chapter will have to do with
the health and sanitation of the soldier while encamped, the hospital
system, the number sick, the diseases most prevalent and the means
of prevention. The soldier's leisure time will be the subject of the
fourth chapter, the sort of recreation he had been in the habit of at
home and the ways he found of amusing himself in camp conditions. The
soldier's religion forms the subject matter of the fifth chapter, the
influence of the minister before the war, his place in the army, the
religious exercises in camp and their effect upon the individual and
the war in general. The last chapter will in a way be a recapitulation
of all that has gone before by drawing a picture of a day with a
soldier in camp emphasizing the discipline and duties of camp life.

[Footnote 1: Bolton, _The Private Soldier Under Washington_.]

Chapter I


The war was on, the Lexington and Concord fray was over, Paul Revere
had made his memorable ride, and the young patriots with enthusiasm
at white heat were swarming from village and countryside leaving
their work and homes. Where they were going they did not know, they
were going to fight with little thought of where they were to live
or what they were to eat and wear. There was a continental congress
but it had little authority and the fact was that very few members
of that mushroom growth army even felt that they were fighting for a
confederation for in their minds they were for the various states,
and it was to the various states they looked for support and it was
to those states that the honors were to go. It was not until the
day before the battle of Bunker Hill that congress had appointed a
commander-in-chief and it was almost a month later when Washington took
command in Boston. There was an army of sixteen thousand men mostly
from the New England States strengthened by about three thousand from
the more southern states during the next month[2]. It was more nearly a
mob than an army. There was no directing force, no one to superintend
the building of barracks, no one to distribute food or to take charge
of the supplies.

The Provincial Congress of Massachusetts on hearing of Washington's
appointment ordered on June 26, 1775 "the President's (of the college)
house in Cambridge, excepting one room, reserved for the President
for his own use, be taken, cleared, prepared, and furnished for the
reception of General Washington and General Lee"[3]. It seems as though
the General only occupied that house for a short time and then moved to
what was called the "Craige House" for on July 8, 1775, the committee
of safety directed that the house of John Vassel, a refugee loyalist,
should be put in condition for the reception of the commander-in-chief
and later that his welfare should be looked after, by providing him
with a steward, a housekeeper, and such articles of furniture as he
might ask for.[4]

Such were the headquarters of the first camp of the Revolution but
the story of the privates' quarters is quite a different thing. The
troops were not quartered at one place, they were scattered about the
surrounding territory some at Roxbury, some at Winter Hill, others at
Prospect Hill and Sewall's Farm and at various small towns along the
coast.[5] Some of them were living in houses and churches, others were
occupying barns[6] and still others were constructing their own places
of shelter using sail cloth, logs, stones, mud, sod, rails or anything
else which would lend itself to the purpose.[7] A good description of
this motley host is given us by Rev. Wm. Emerson of Concord, "the sight
is very diverting to walk among the camps. They are as different
in their form as the owners are in their dress and every tent is a
portraiture of the temper and taste of the persons who encamp in it.
Some are made of boards, some of sail cloth, again others are made of
stone and turf brick or brush. Some are thrown up in a hurry, others
curiously wrought with doors and windows done with wreaths and withes
in the manner of a basket".[8] Washington wrote from Cambridge to
congress on July 10, 1775 about a month after taking command and said,
"we labor under great Disadvantages for want of tents for tho' they
have been help'd out by a collection of now useless sails from the Sea
Port Towns, the number is yet far short of our Necessities"[9].

When tents were used for shelter at Cambridge or at other places it was
very seldom that any thing more than "Mother Earth" served as floors
and sometimes that was so wet and miry that the soldiers during the
rainy seasons were forced to raise the ground with "Rushes, Barks, and
Flags in the dry"[10] and at other times the tents were taken down
during the day for the ground to dry and then put up again at night.

It would be difficult to get any where more frank reactions to housing
conditions than those which were given by Dr. Waldo[11] in a poem
written while in camp describing the general conditions but particularly
the tents and huts. The part quoted below describes a stormy day and the
hardships endured when the army was encamped in tents.

      "Though huts in Winter shelter give,
      Yet the thin tents in which we live,
      Through a long summer's hard campaign,
      Are slender coverts from the rain,
      And oft no friendly barn is nigh
      Or friendlier house to keep us dry.

             *       *       *       *       *

      Move tents and baggage to some height,
      And on wet cloths, wet blankets lie
      Till welcome sunshine makes them dry.
      Others despising storm and rain
      Still in the flat and vale remain,
      There sleep in water muck and mire,
      Or drizzling stand before a fire
      Composed of stately piles of wood,
      Yet oft extinguished with the flood."[12]

As the weather grew colder and the men were still in tents it was the
practice to build chimneys[13] on the tents or rather in front of the
tents. They were built on the outside and concealed the entrance which
served the double purpose of keeping out the wind and also keeping in
as much heat as possible.[14]

The tents were supposed to house about six men and no more than
fourteen tents were allowed to a company of about seventy two.[15] The
tent was the most common mode of housing. It was used whenever it was
possible to get material except when the army went into winter quarters
then the log huts were built. The tents were usually formed in two
ranks in regular lines[16] and often the seasons advanced so rapidly
that the snow would be four feet deep around each tent[17], it even
being February before the huts were finished in some instances[18].

The furnishings of the tents were very meagre, one person even
remarking that they were greatly favored in having a supply of straw
for beds. The straw was placed on the ground and five or six soldiers
would crowd together on it hoping to keep warm[19], sometimes each
had a blanket and sometimes there was one blanket for three or four.
The sentry was instructed to keep the fire burning in the chimney
outside[20] which added a little to the comfort.

When the army went into winter quarters the soldiers were a little more
comfortable. Morristown and Valley Forge were the two representative
winter quarters. The location of these permanent camps was usually
chosen because of the ease with which building materials could be
obtained or because there was easy access to food supplies.

As orders came to go into winter camp the men were divided into
companies of twelve. Each group was to build its own hut and lucky
was the group which happened to get the most carpenters, for General
Washington offered a prize of twelve dollars to the group in each
regiment which finished its hut first and did the best work.[21]

While the men were busy cutting the logs and bringing them in, the
superintendent appointed from the field officers marked out the
location of the huts. They were usually in two or three lines with
regular streets and avenues between them, altogether forming a compact
little village.[22] The space in front of the huts was cleared and
used for a parade ground by the various regiments.[23] Whenever it was
possible the huts were built on an elevation, the health of the army
being the object considered.[24]

The only tools the soldier had to work with were his axe and saw. He
had no nails and no iron of any sort, just the trunks of trees to cut
into the desired lengths and a little mud and straw.[25] Each hut was
fourteen by sixteen feet, with log sides six and one-half feet high.
The logs were notched on the ends and fitted together in a dovetailing
fashion. The spaces between the logs being made airtight with clay and
straw. The roof was a single sharp slope that would shed the snow and
rain easily, made of timbers and covered with hewn slabs and straw.
There might be boards for the floor, but often there was not even
a board to use for that purpose and just dirt served instead. Each
hut inhabited by privates had one window and one door, the officers
quarters usually had two windows. The windows and doors were formed by
sawing out a portion of the logs the proper size and putting the part
sawed out on wooden hinges or sometimes in the case of windows the hole
was covered with oiled paper to let in light. The door was in one end
and at the opposite end a chimney was built, built in a manner similar
to the hut itself except that it was made of the smaller timbers and
that both the inner and outer sides were covered with a clay plaster to
protect the wood from the fire.[26] The huts were in one room usually,
except the officers and theirs were divided into two apartments with a
kitchen in the rear. Each such hut was occupied by three or four under
officers, the generals had either their own private hut or else lived
in a private house near the camp.[27]

In the same poem as mentioned above written by Dr. Waldo is a
description of the building and furnishing of a hut which warrants

      My humble hut demands a right
      To have its matter, birth and site
      Described first! of ponderous logs
      Whose bulk disdains the winds or fogs
      The sides and ends are fitly raised
      And by dove-tail each corner's brac'd;

      Athwart the roof, young saplings lie
      Which fire and smoke has now made dry—
      Next straw wraps o'er the tender pale,
      Next earth, then splints o'erlay the whole;
      Although it leaks when showers are o'er
      It did not leak two hours before,
      Two chimneys placed at opposite angles
      Keep smoke from causing oaths and wrangles,

             *       *       *       *       *

      Our floors of sturdy timbers made,
      Clean'd from the oak and level laid;
      Those cracks where zephyrs oft would play
      Are tightly closed with plastic clay;
      Three windows, placed all in sight,
      Through oiled paper give us light;
      One door on wooden hinges hung,
      Lets in the friend, or sickly throng;
      By wedge and beetles splitting force
      The oaken planks are made though coarse.
      By which is formed a strong partition
      That keep us in a snug condition;
      Divides the kitchen from the hall,
      Though both are equal and both are small,
      Yet there the cook prepares the board,
      Here serves it up as to a lord,

The above description no doubt applies in general to any of the
winter quarters. Often the camp was better situated for obtaining the
necessary supplies and, too, after the soldiers had built one such town
of huts the next would be better because of their experience. The camp
at Morristown was better than the one at Valley Forge.[28] The quarters
were large and huts were built to be used for social affairs such as
dances and lodge meetings.

When the army was only stationed at a place for a short time as for
instance when they were encamped near the enemy planning an attack and
did not care to build the more permanent quarters, which took more time
to complete, and when living in tents was not practicable, they built
what the French called baroques, which could be thrown up in a day or
two.[29] These temporary quarters consisted of a wall of stone heaped
up, the spaces between filled with mud, and a few planks formed the
roof. A chimney was built at one end and the only opening was a small
door at the side of the chimney.[30]

When the army was on the march the soldiers carried their tents with
them if it was possible but a great many circumstances arose which made
that impossible. Then they had a hut of brush or sod or even just sky
to cover and protect them[31]. At other times they slept in barns or
churches,[32] or where ever they could find a place.

As might be expected the furnishings of the huts were of a very meagre
sort. There were beds of straw usually on the floor or else raised from
the floor to get away from the dampness.[33] Each man was supposed
to have with him his own blanket and cooking utensils, but it often
happened that there was but a kettle or two for the whole company.[34]
Since the actual necessities were so meagre, there surely were no
unnecessary articles. There were none of those things which would tend
to make the camp quarters the least bit like home. One man describes
the difficulty of finding a place to write and ends by saying that the
railing in a near by church was the best place.[35] The only light they
had was furnished by candles which were a part of every man's rations
and the tallow from the cattle killed for camp use was made into candles.

The men crouched together in those huts and the poor ventilation
coupled with the fact that the only means of heating was an open
fire place which sent about as much smoke into the room as it did
out through the chimney produced a condition which was almost

From this study it would seem as if there were at least three classes
of barracks, the tents used when practicable, the huts for winter
quarters, the barroques for temporary housing, and if one wanted to
mention a fourth, it would be just any place where ever a soldier might
lie down.

When the housing situation is looked at from one angle the view is of
the worst possible, but when on the other hand one realizes that each
time the troops went into camp the whole process had to be gone through
with from the cutting of the logs to the moving into the huts and
beside that they had no tools, the whole thing seems wonderful.

[Footnote 2: Van Tyne, _The American Revolution_, p. 44.]

[Footnote 3: _Mass. Hist. Soc. Pro._ Vol. XII, p. 257, footnote, and
Ford, _Writings of Washington_, Vol. III, p. 3.]

[Footnote 4: _Mass. Hist. Soc. Pro._ Vol. XII, p. 257, footnote, and
Ford, _Writings of Washington_, Vol. III, p. 3.]

[Footnote 5: Ford, _Writings of Washington_. Vol. III, p.11.]

[Footnote 6: Lyman, _Journal_, (Nov. 17, 1775.) p. 126]

[Footnote 7: Force, _American Archives_, Ser. 5, Vol. III, Col. 593.]

[Footnote 8: Quoted in Trevelyon, _American Revolution_, Vol. I, p.

[Footnote 9: Ford, _Writings of Washington_. Vol. III, p. 11.]

[Footnote 10: Trumbell, _Journal_. (Sept. 19, 1775), p. 146]

[Footnote 11: Dr. Waldo was a surgeon in the continental Army,

[Footnote 12: Poem by Dr. Waldo in _Historical Magazine_, Sept. 1863,
p. 270.]

[Footnote 13: Lyman, _Journal_, (Oct. 16, 1775). P. 121.]

[Footnote 14: Chastellux, _Travels in America_, p. 104.]

[Footnote 15: Lewis, _Orderly Book_, (Aug. 18, 1776), p. 78]

[Footnote 16: Chastellux, _Travels in America_, p. 104.]

[Footnote 17: Thacher, _Military Journal_, p. 181.]

[Footnote 18: Greene, _Life of Greene_, Vol. 2, p. 185.]

[Footnote 19: Thacher, _Military Journal_, p. 181.]

[Footnote 20: Ibid., p. 176.]

[Footnote 21: Greene, _Life of Greene_, Vol. 1, p. 538.]

[Footnote 22: Greene, _Life of Greene_, Vol. I, p. 528.]

[Footnote 23: Thacher, _Military Journal_, p. 155.]

[Footnote 24: Chastellux, _Travels in America_, p. 202.]

[Footnote 25: Thacher, _Military Journal_, p. 155.]

[Footnote 26: See Chastellux, _Travels in America_, p. 302. Greene,
_Life of Greene_, Vol. I, p. 538 and Thacher, _Military Journal_, p.

[Footnote 27: Thacher, _Military Journal_, p. 155, and _American Hist.
Mag._ Vol. 3, p. 157.]

[Footnote 28: Greene, _Life of Greene_, Vol. II, p. 160.]

[Footnote 29: Chastellux, _Travels in America_, p. 66.]

[Footnote 30: Chastellux, _Travels in America_, Vol. II, p. 160.]

[Footnote 31: See, Thacher, _Military Journal_, p. 176, Trumbell
_Journal_, Aug. 7, 1775; Waldo, _Journal_ (Nov. 29, 1777.), p. 130.]

[Footnote 32: Squir, _Journal_, (Sept. 13, 1775), p. 13.]

[Footnote 33: Lossing, _Life of Washington_. Vol. VI, p. 572.]

[Footnote 34: Waldo, _Journal_, (Dec. 1777.), p. 131.]

[Footnote 35: Fitch, _Journal_, (Aug. 20.) p. 46.]

[Footnote 36: Greene, _Life of Greene_, Vol. I, p. 570.]

Chapter II


If the problem of housing was a serious one and one which caused a
great amount of suffering the question of food was even more serious.
The theory of getting the food for the soldiers was all very simple,
but not so simple in practice. According to theory the various
colonies were apportioned the amount they were to supply and were to
deliver their portion to the camp which might be designated by the
commander-in-chief. The lack of authority of congress which played
havoc so many times with the smooth running of affairs also played
havoc in the commissary department.

The apportionment plan was carried out to some extent, but of course
was not to be depended upon for often the colonies got the supplies
to camp, but more often they did not. The amount to be supplied was
divided up among the inhabitants of the states, in the case of meat
some giving one hundred and fifty pounds and others one hundred and
eighty pounds according to their ability. The other supplies were
divided up in the same way. When a given community was ready to send
their supply some of the farmers would take the job of driving the
cattle to the camp, receiving about a dollar a day and expenses while
they were traveling.[37]

A Frenchman who traveled in America during the revolutionary period
told of his experience when he tried to get a room in an inn, which was
filled with farmers on their way to camp with a herd of cattle. In that
particular group there were thirteen men and two hundred and fifty

July 19, 1775, Joseph Trumbell was made commissary general of stores
and provisions[38] by the continental congress. November 4, of the same
year the following resolution was made in congress in regard to the
rations of the private soldier. "Resolved, that: A ration consist of
the following kind and quantity of provisions viz.:

    1 lb. of beef, or ¾ lb. pork or 1 lb. salt fish, per day.

    1 lb. bread or flour per day.

    3 pints of pease or beans per week, or vegetables equivalent, at
    one dollar per bushel for pease or beans.

    1 pint of milk per man per day or at the rate of 1/72 of a dollar.

    1 half pint of rice, or 1 pint of indian meal per man per week.

    1 quart of spruce beer or cider per man per day, or nine gallons of
    molasses per company of 100 men per week.

    3 lb. candles to 100 men per week for guards.

    24 lb. of soft or 8 lb. of hard soap for 100 men per week."[39]

The rations mentioned in orderly books or journals were the same as
the above except that butter was added in some cases and a pint of
rum was allowed on the day a man was on fatigue duty or on special
occasions,[40] but in the large the rations given at the beginning of
the war by congress were followed whenever there were supplies enough
to admit of any definite plan being followed. The officers received
rations according to their rank.[41]

Thus would have ended the story of the revolutionary soldiers food
if the theory had been practicable, but as it was not, there is a
different story to tell. The conditions on the march to Quebec with
Arnold were almost unendurable. The march was only started when the
soldiers were put on short rations receiving three-fourths of a pound
of meat and bread instead of a whole pound,[42] and as they proceeded
the conditions only grew worse until when they were not yet nearing
their destination the last of the flour was divided. There were just
seven pints for each man. That amount was to last seven days, thus
each man had a pint a day to live on and that had to be divided into
a gill for breakfast, half a pint for dinner and the remaining gill
for supper. It was mixed with clear water with no salt and laid on the
coals to heat a little and then was nibbled as the soldiers marched on
or else it was boiled like starch and eaten in that fashion.[43] It
happened sometimes that some soldier had the good fortune to kill a
partridge, much to his joy, for that meant soup could be made.[44] The
condition only grew worse instead of better and all the food was gone,
the next move was to kill the dogs which were in camp[45] even the legs
and claws were boiled for soup. When the situation had become so acute
that the soldiers had given up their moose skin moccasins to boil in an
attempt to get a little nourishment,[46] a moose was killed, a halt was
called and soup was made for the hungry soldiers of the entire animal,
hoofs, horns and all.[47]

If we follow the division of the army which was sent against the
Indians in Sullivan's expedition in 1779, the conditions will be found
to be somewhat different for that march was made during the summer
and fall rather than fall and winter as the march to Quebec had been,
and besides the western campaign was into a country which abounded in
beans, peas, corn, cucumbers, pumpkins, squashes, and watermelons.[48]

The soldiers were short on rations[49] and out of bread, but it was
not felt so keenly because of the substitutes they could get.[50] The
main object of the expedition was to devastate the Indian's land and
one duty was to destroy or take all the food which came in their way.
When the soldiers came to a field of corn, their first duty was to
feast on it and then destroy all they could not use or carry away with
them.[51] If the corn was in a condition for roasting, they did that or
made succatash; if it was too hard for roasting they converted some old
tin kettles found in the Indian villages into large graters by punching
holes in the bottom. Then one of the military duties of the soldiers
was to grate the corn into a coarse meal which was mixed with boiled
pumpkins or squash and kneaded into cakes and baked on the coals[52]
and even that coarse food was relished by the men when fatigued after a
long march.

This rather amusing entry, yet terrible if true, is found in one diary
of the expedition "July 7—I eat part of a fryed Rattle Snake to day
which would have tasted very well had it not been snake".[53]

The conditions in the camp were somewhat different than those on the
march for in camp what the rations were depended on the amount of
supplies. If they were plentiful, full rations could be drawn by each
soldier, but when they were scarce each soldier had to take less. The
time and place of drawing supplies seemed to vary with circumstances,
and no definite plan was followed.

It is a mistake to think that the soldier of the American Revolution
was always suffering for the want of food. The picture drawn for us
most often is that of the distressing conditions. There was a brighter
side, although it is true that the soldier suffered many times. When
the camps were situated in or near an agricultural community the
farmers swarmed to camp with their produce charging exorbitant prices,
but if the soldier had any money he was usually willing to buy. In
the course of eight days the caterer of a single mess purchased three
barrels of cider, seven bushels of chestnuts, four of apples, at twelve
shillings a bushel, and a wild turkey[54] which weighed over seventeen

In winter when there was no produce to be brought in and no way of
securing provisions the story was not so bright. The conditions at
Valley Forge are quite well known. How the rations were cut down until
it was "Fire cakes and Water" for breakfast, and water and fire cakes
for dinner[55] or how the soldiers ate every kind of horse feed but
hay[56], and often they were without meat for eight or ten days[57] and
longer without vegetables.

Supplies were gathered from every conceivable source, sometimes cows
were part of the supply company, taken along for the purpose of
supplying milk. One man writes in his diary his appreciation of a cow
which supplied them milk on the march with Sullivan's expedition.[58]

The methods used at that time for cooking seem very simple and
inefficient now. Huge bake ovens were built in the camp and whenever
there was flour to use, bakers baked the bread for the camp.[59] The
quality of the bread furnished in that way was certainly not beyond
reproach for often it was sour and unwholesome.[60]

There were huts built for kitchens, one for each company and there the
soldiers took turns cooking for their company[61] or else each soldier
cooked his own food over an open fire. At times the fuel became so
scarce that the fences[62] around the camp were torn down and burned,
and after that the food had to be eaten raw because of the lack of
fuel.[63] If there was material to be used for fuel and other supplies
some distance from the camp, it was no uncommon sight to see soldiers
yoked together acting the part of horses[64] in order to get the
supplies to camp.

Today, this question of food for the revolutionary soldier, in
the light of present day events, looks rather inefficient and

When there was plenty the soldiers feasted, when food was scarce they
fasted, but it must be remembered that there was no dependable supply,
no directing force, and no distributing agency, and beside those
hindrances there were no ways of preserving food as there are today.

A naked or half clothed army did not make a very imposing looking
force, even if they did have a place to live and something to eat.
They had to have something to wear if they were to meet the enemy
on the field. Steuben wrote "The description of the dress is most
easily given. The men were literally naked some of them in the fullest
extent of the word. The officers who had coats had them of every color
and make. I saw officers at a grand parade at Valley Forge mounting
Guard in a sort of dressing gown made of an old blanket or woolen bed
cover".[65] This description, no doubt was appropriate for part of the
army, part of the time, but not for all the army all the time.

The troops as they were assembled at Boston did present a peculiar
picture, each person wearing the costume best suited to his individual
notion of a suitable uniform, with a tendency toward frill, ruffles,
and feathers, each thinking that the gorgeousness added to the dignity
and effectiveness of the whole. Some were in citizens clothes, some in
the hunting shirt of the back-woodsman, and some even in the blanket of
the Indian, for, it was the notion of some, that riflemen should ape
the manners of the savage.[66]

Washington took the matter into consideration and wrote congress "I
find the Army in general and the Troops raised in Massachusetts in
particular very deficient in necessary clothing upon Inquiry there
appears no probability of obtaining any supplies in this quarter and
the best consideration of this matter I am able to form I am of the
opinion that a number of hunting shirts not less than ten thousand
would in a great Degree remove this difficulty in the cheapest and
quickest manner I know nothing in a Speculative view more trivial yet
if put in practice would have a happier Tendency to unite the men
and abolish those provincial Distractions which lead to jealousy and

He suggested the hunting shirt because it was cheap and "besides it is
a dress justly supposed to carry no small terror to the enemy who think
every such person a complete marksman".[68]

It was decided that the hunting shirt should be used and also that
the continental government should supply the clothing and then ten
per cent of each man's wages should be withheld each month.[69] The
quartermaster general had charge of the clothing supply and at regular
intervals he was supposed to distribute clothing to the soldier, but
the supply varied to such an extent that no regular plan could be

The following was considered an ordinary man's outfit for a year:

  Two linen hunting shirts,
  Two pairs of overalls,
  A leathern or woolen waist coat with sleeves,
  A pair of breeches,
  A hat or leathern cap,
  Two shirts,
  Two pair of hose,
  Two pair of shoes.[70]

The whole was to amount to about twenty dollars.

The soldier was considered in full uniform when he appeared on parade
with "a clean shirt, leggings or stockings, hair combed, shirt collar
buttoned with stock. Hunting shirt, well put on hat".[71]

Since the material for the hunting shirts was difficult to get, the
officers as well as the men were to dye their shirts in a uniform

The different ranks of a soldier were shown by the hunting shirt.
A captain's was short and fringed, the private's short and plain,
the sergeant's was to have a small white cuff and be plain, and the
drummer's was to have a dark cuff. Both officers and soldiers were to
have hats cut round and bound with black, the brims of the hats were
to be two inches deep and cocked on one side with a button and a loop,
and a cockade which was to be worn on the left side. There was also a
distinction made by the wearing of a certain colored cockade in the
hat. The field officers were red or pink, the captain yellow or buff,
and the subaltern green.[73]

The material for the soldier's clothing was supplied by the various
colonies. The following resolution is typical of numerous ones passed
by the different colonies. "That a quanity of home made cloth or other
if that can't be obtained as far as may be of a brown or cloth colour,
sufficient for three thousand coats and the same number of waist
coats and as many blankets as can be obtained in the colony 3000 felt
hats, cloth of check Flannel or some linen if that can't be obtained
sufficient for six thousand shirts and also six thousand pairs of
shoes"[74] or as in Massachusetts a committee was appointed to collect
four thousand pairs of stockings.

The material after being collected was made up by regimental tailors,
the commanding officer was to make a report as to the number of tailors
employed in the regiment and also whether there were not more tailors
in the regiment than were employed in making clothing.[75]

The women at home aided very materially in the clothing problem by
their spinning, knitting and collecting of linen.[76] When persons
called on Mrs. Washington, whether she was at home or in camp, they
usually found her knitting and she had sixteen spinning wheels running
at one time.[77] Other women all over the country followed her example.

Instances, almost without number, are mentioned in diaries and journals
of the nakedness of the army, some without shoes, with only pieces of
blankets wrapped around their feet,[78] thousands without blankets,[79]
others with their shirts in strings,[80] and added to all that the
paymaster without a dollar and the quartermaster in almost the same

Even the soldiers had to suffer from the want of clothing yet they were
able to see the funny side of the situation. The story is told in one
diary of a party that was given by an officer for which invitations
were extended to all, the only restriction being that no one with a
whole pair of breeches could be admitted.[82]

[Footnote 37: Chastellux, _Travels in America_, p. 58.]

[Footnote 38: _Journals of Congress_, Vol. II, p. 190.]

[Footnote 39: _Journals of Congress_, Vol. III, p. 322.]

[Footnote 40: See, Lyman, _Journal_, App. and Thacher, _Military
Journal_, p. 62.]

[Footnote 41: See, Thacher, _Military Journal_, p. 62.]

[Footnote 42: Meigs, _Journal_, (Oct. 15, 1775) p. 233.]

[Footnote 43: Thayer, _Journal_, (Oct. 28, 1775) p. 12.]

[Footnote 44: Ibid.]

[Footnote 45: Headley, _Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution_, p.
100, and Thayer, _Journal_, Nov. 1, 1775.]

[Footnote 46: Thayer, _Journal_, (Nov. 1, 1775) p. 14.]

[Footnote 47: Headley, _Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution_, p.

[Footnote 48: Barton, _Journal_, (Aug. 27, 1779) p. 7; Burrows,
_Journal_, (Aug. 27, 1779) p. 43.]

[Footnote 49: Burrows, _Journal_, (Aug. 30, 1779) p. 44; Hubley,
_Journal_, (Oct. 1, 1779), p. 166.]

[Footnote 50: Barton, _Journal_, (Aug. 27, 1779), p. 7.]

[Footnote 51: Burrows, _Journal_, (Aug. 27, 1779) p. 43; Fogg,
_Journal_ (Aug. 29, 1779) p. 94.]

[Footnote 52: Davis, _Journal_, Hist. Mag. Ser. 2, Vol. III, p. 203.]

[Footnote 53: Dearborn, _Journal_, (July 7, 1779) p. 74.]

[Footnote 54: Trevelyan, _American Revolution_, Vol. I, p. 327.]

[Footnote 55: Waldo, _Journal_ (Dec. 21, 1777) p. 132.]

[Footnote 56: Thacher, _Military Journal_, p. 180.]

[Footnote 57: Ibid., p. 80.]

[Footnote 58: Hubley, _Journal_, (Oct. 1, 1779) p. 166.]

[Footnote 59: Roger, _Journal_, (June 24, 1779) p. 248.]

[Footnote 60: Coits, _Orderly Book_, (July 7, 1770) p. 36.]

[Footnote 61: Lyman, _Journal_, (Nov. 21) p. 127, and (Dec. 3, 1775) p.

[Footnote 62: Greene, _Life of Greene_, Vol. I, p. 141.]

[Footnote 63: Greene, _Life of Greene_, Vol. I, p. 141.]

[Footnote 64: Lossing, _Life of Washington_, Vol. VI, p. 572.]

[Footnote 65: Kapp, _Life of Steuben_, pp. 116-117.]

[Footnote 66: Henry, _Journal_, in Penn. Ar. Ser. 2, Vol. XV, p. 59.]

[Footnote 67: Ford, _Washington Writings_, Vol. III, p. 13.]

[Footnote 68: Ibid.]

[Footnote 69: Ibid. and "Uniforms of the American Army" in _Mag. of Am.
Hist._, Vol. I, p. 476.]

[Footnote 70: Elbert, _Orderly Book_, p. 7.]

[Footnote 71: Lewis, _Orderly Book_, (Aug. 18, 1776), p. 77.]

[Footnote 72: Lewis, _Orderly Book_, (April 3, 1776), p. 13.]

[Footnote 73: Lewis, _Orderly Book_, (April 3, 1776), p. 13.]

[Footnote 74: Elbert, _Orderly Book_, (Mar. 16, 1708) p. 8.]

[Footnote 75: _American Archives_, Ser. 5, Vol. I., pp. 302, 456.]

[Footnote 76: Thacher, _Military Journal_, p. 234.]

[Footnote 77: Humphreys, _Catherine Schuyler_, p. 171.]

[Footnote 78: Shreve, _Journal_, Am. Hist., Mag. Vol. III, p. 568.]

[Footnote 79: Thacher, _Journal_, May 26, 1775.]

[Footnote 80: Waldo, _Diary_, (Dec. 14, 1777) p. 130.]

[Footnote 81: Ford, _Washington Writings_, Vol. III, p. 146.]

[Footnote 82: Kapp, _Life of Steuben_, p. 119.]

Chapter III


The health of the soldier was not entirely forgotten. Those in
authority made an attempt to prevent or at least to lessen the pain
and suffering of those who were taken sick or were wounded in army
service, but often the measures of prevention instituted, the methods
of checking contagion and the means of allienating pain were of the
crudest sort and to us of the twentieth century they seem almost
inhuman. It must be remembered that not even our simple remedies of
today were known then, not to mention our modern methods of combating

The continental congress thought of that phase of army conditions and
on July 25, 1775, the following provisions were made. For an army
of twenty thousand men a hospital was to be established under the
direction of a Director General, his salary was to be four dollars per
day. He was to superintend the whole, furnish the medicines and bedding
and make a report to and receive orders from the commander-in-chief.
Under the director there were to be four surgeons, one apothecary and
twenty surgeons' mates, each receiving two-thirds of a dollar per day,
whose duty it was to visit and attend the sick. There was also to be a
matron who had under her direction the nurses, one for every ten sick
soldiers.[83] Then in July 1776, the resolution was passed that the
number of hospital surgeons and mates was to be increased in proportion
to the increase in size of the army not to exceed one surgeon and five
mates to every five thousand men and to be reduced as the army was

Dr. Church was appointed by congress as director, but before October
14, 1775, he had been taken into custody for holding correspondence
with the enemy[84], and on October 17, 1775, Dr. Morgan was elected in
his stead.[85] But even after the new director was appointed there was
still room for complaint for Washington wrote to Congress "I am amazed
to hear the complaints of the hospital on the east side of Hudson's
river. * * * I will not pretend to point out the causes; but I know
matters have been strangely conducted in the medical line. I hope your
new appointment when it is made, will make the necessary reform in the
hospital, and that I shall not, be shocked with the complaints and
looks of poor creatures perishing for want of proper care, either in
the regimental or hospital surgeons".[86]

Congress had made several attempts to organize the hospitals and in
July 1776, resolutions had been passed which defined more fully the
duties of the various officials both of the departmental and the
regimental hospitals.[87] There was to be a director and under him
the directors of the various departmental hospitals.[88] But since
there were only a few departmental hospitals and those few often a long
distance from the scene of battle it became necessary to have branch
hospitals or regimental hospitals. At the head of those were persons
known as regimental surgeons, who were to make reports of expenses,
and lists of the sick to the director of the departmental hospital and
receive supplies from him.

The plan was then that the soldiers were to be cared for by the
regimental surgeon as long as it was possible and then they were to
be sent to the departmental hospital for further care.[89] These two
systems seemed to interfere with each others work and there was always
jealousy existing between the director of the general hospital and
the surgeons of the regiment. "There will be nothing but continued
complaints of each other; the director of the hospital charging them
with enormity in their drafts for the sick and they him with the same
for denying such things as are necessary. In short there is a constant
bickering among them which tends greatly to the injury of the sick * *
* The regimental surgeons are aiming, I am persuaded, to break up the
general hospital."

The two most representative departmental hospitals were, it might be
said at Bethlehem and Sunbury, but there were others at Reading, Lititz
and Ephrata. Bethlehem was a Moravian village and was in the midst of
military affairs almost continually from 1775 to 1781; in fact it was
twice the seat of a hospital. On December 3, 1776, an order was sent to
the committee of the town of Bethlehem as follows:

"Gentlemen,—According to his excellency General Washington's Orders,
the General Hospital of the Army is removed to Bethlehem and you
will do the greatest Act of humanity by immediately providing proper
buildings for their reception the largest and most capacious will be
the most convenient. I doubt not, Gentlemen but you will act upon this
occasion as becomes men and christians * * * "[90]

It was by the above process that the little peace loving village of
Bethlehem and many others like it were thrown into confusion and
dwelling houses or other buildings were turned into hospitals, the men
began to play the part of nurses, to help care for the sick and dying
sent from camp, and the women prepared lint and bandages. The buildings
which under ordinary circumstances could accommodate about two hundred
were made to accommodate five or six hundred.[91]

The housing accommodations of the regimental hospitals were even more
varied, for they were housed in any thing from a capital building[92]
to a log hut,[93] including private homes,[94] church,[95] barns, and
court house,[96] depending upon what happened to be near the camp. A
hut or group of huts were sometimes built for the purpose in or near
the camp. They were built in a manner similar to the dwelling huts[97]
only larger with furnishings as meagre, straw for the bed[98] tells the
tale of equipment.

But the hospitals were of little value if there were not able
physicians[99] and antiseptics and anaesthetics were almost unknown.
Besides the lack of skill and proper medicine and instruments, for some
of the instruments described are almost unconceivable, there was a lack
of cleanliness in conducting the operations for that was not insisted
upon then as it is today.[100] Of hospital methods Dr. Waldo wrote
December 25, 1777, "But we treat them differently from what they used
to be at home under the inspection of old women and Doct ----, We give
them mutton and Grogg and avoid pudding, pills, and powders."[101] This
perhaps was a little extreme, but it at least reflects the conditions.
Thacher described the awful condition in which soldiers came to the
hospital with wounds covered with putrified blood and full of magots
which were destroyed by the application of tincture of myrrh.[102]

Director-General Shippen, in explaining the causes of the mortality
among the soldiers attributed it to; "The want of clothing and covering
necessary to keep the soldiers clean and warm, articles at that time
not procurable in the country;—partly from an army being composed
of raw men, unused to camp life and undisciplined; exposed to great
hardships and from the sick and wounded being removed great distances
in open wagons."[103]

As to the kind of disease most prevalent and the number in the
hospitals because of sickness in proportion to those there because of
injuries, some idea can be formed from the hospital reports sent in
weekly from the departmental hospitals.

Although some of the diseases listed in the reports are unknown to us
now and there is no way of knowing what the proportion the sick was
of the entire army in that section. However, the returns do state the
number sick during the various seasons, and show in which season of the
year there was the most sickness.

The following are the returns from the Sunbury hospital for the four
seasons of the year, spring, summer, fall and winter.

_March 6 to 13, 1780_

  "Wounded                  4
  Dysenteria                1
  Diorrhoea                 0
  Rheumatism                2
  Ophthalmia                1
  Asthma                    1
  Ulcers                    1
        Total              10"[104]

_July 13 to September 22 1779_

  "Pleurisy                 0
  Peripneumony              2
  Angina                    1
  Rheumatism               14
  Bilious fever             8
  Intermitting fever        0
  Putrid fever              0
  Dysentery                19
  Dyarrhea                 11
  Gravel                   12
  Cough and Consumpt.       4
  Hernia                    5
  Lues                     14
  Epilepsy                  2
  Itch                      2
  Ulcers                    9
  Wounded                  33
        Total             126"[105]

_November 1 to 7 1779_

  "Dysentery                5
  Diorrhoea                 2
  Rheumatis                 2
  Intermit.                 2
  B. Remit.                 5
  Asthma                    1
  Ophthalnia                2
  Ulcers                    2
  Wounded                  11
        Total              30"[106]

_January 24 to 31 1980_

  "Wounded                  6
  Intermitting fever        0
  Dysenteria                1
  Diarrhoea                 1
  Asthma                    1
  Ophthalnia                1
  Rheumatism                3
  Ulcers                    2
        Total              15"[107]

If the above tables are any index at all the most dangerous season was
summer in spite of the crowded unsanitary conditions of the winter
quarters. They also show that the number in hospitals due to sickness
was larger that the number due to injuries received in battle.

Smallpox was one of the most dreaded of all the diseases, mostly
because there were few ways of combating the disease. Inoculation was
only slightly known and there was much opposition to it, even sermons
were preached on the question it was so much discussed.[108] The
British knew the New England people were especially opposed to it and
were known to send out spies to spread the disease in the American camp
which Shreve wrote "killed more Yankees than they did".[109]

The disease was especially serious in the Northern army causing greater
dread than the enemy.[110]

Thacher in his _Military Journal_ emphasizes another disease which
caused a great deal of suffering but strange to say there was only
one remedy for it and that was a furlough for the disease was
home-sickness. In reality that was a fact which caused anxious moments
for General Washington for the men were continually trying to bribe the
physicians to declare that they were unfit for duty.[111]

Other provisions were made for the health of the soldiers besides
the establishment of hospitals. The others were along the line of
prevention, such as keeping the tents and huts clean and dry, the
careful preparation of food, the washing of clothes, caring for
refuse,[112] and the soldiers own personal cleanliness.[113]

[Footnote 83: _Journals of Congress_, Vol. II, pp. 209, 210, 211.]

[Footnote 84: _Journals of Congress_, Vol. III, p. 294.]

[Footnote 85: Ibid., p. 296.]

[Footnote 86: Ford, _Writings of Washington_, Vol. V, p. 204.]

[Footnote 87: _Journals of Congress_, Vol. II, p. 568.]

[Footnote 88: The country was divided into departments or divisions and
in each department there was what was called a general departmental
hospital, in distinction to the regimental hospitals where the soldier
received immediate care, before being sent to the general hospital.]

[Footnote 89: Coit, _Orderly Book_, (June 7, 1775) p. 36.]

[Footnote 90: Jordon, "Military Hospitals at Bethlehem and Lititz
during the Revolution" in _Penn. Mag._ Vol. XV, p. 137.]

[Footnote 91: Jordon, "Military Hospitals at Bethlehem and Lititz
during the Revolution" in _Penn. Mag._ Vol. XX, p. 137.]

[Footnote 92: Lewis, _Orderly Book_, (June 11, 1776) p. 49.]

[Footnote 93: Chastellux, _Travels in America_, p. 70.]

[Footnote 94: Thacher, _Military Journal_, p. 31.]

[Footnote 95: Ibid., p. 112.]

[Footnote 96: Jordon, "Continental Hospital Returns, 1777-1780," _Penn.
Mag._ Vol. XXIII, p. 38.]

[Footnote 97: Chastellux, _Travels in America_, p. 70.]

[Footnote 98: Elbert, _Orderly Book_, (Feb., 11, 1778) p. 101.]

[Footnote 99: _American Archives_, Ser. V, Vol. III, Col. 1584.]

[Footnote 100: Goodale, _British and Colonial Army Surgeon_, p. 10.]

[Footnote 101: Dr. Waldo, _Diary_ (Dec. 25, 1777) p. 31.]

[Footnote 102: Thacher, _Military Journal_, p. 112.]

[Footnote 103: Jordon, "Military Hospitals at Bethlehem and Lititz
during the Revolution" _Penn. Mag._ Vol. XV, p. 137.]

[Footnote 104: Jordon, "Continental Hospital Returns 1777-1780", _Penn.
Mag._ Vol. XXIII, p. 219.]

[Footnote 105: Jordon, "Continental Hospital Returns 1777-1780". _Penn.
Mag._, Vol. XXIII, p. 211.]

[Footnote 106: Jordon, "Continental Hospitals Returns, 1777-1780",
_Penn. Mag._ Vol. XXIII, p. 216.]

[Footnote 107: Ibid., p. 217.]

[Footnote 108: Sermon quoted in _Mass. Hist. Soc. Pro. Ser. 1_, Vol.
IX, p. 275.]

[Footnote 109: Shreve, _Journal_ In _Am. Hist. Mag._, Vol. III, p. 565.]

[Footnote 110: _American Archives_, Ser. 5, Vol. I, p. 145.]

[Footnote 111: Ford, _Writings of Washington_, Vol. III, p. 447.]

[Footnote 112: Ford, _Writings of Washington_, Vol. III, p. 5.]

[Footnote 113: Coit, _Orderly Book_, (June 1, 1775.), p. 15.]

Chapter IV


If there must be a certain proportion of work and play in every one's
life to make for efficiency, then the soldier of the Revolutionary War
was far below normal in the scale of efficiency for recreation in any
organized form is found to have been entirely lacking.

But before too severe a judgment is placed upon this lack of recreation
the conditions the soldier left at home must be studied. Recreation as
such had not been a part of his daily routine. It has been estimated
that nine-tenths of the people lived in rural districts leaving only
one-tenth for the cities,[114] an estimate which no doubt is true. The
people had never thought of the problems of bad housing, congestion,
or recreation. They had had the whole of nature for their home and the
whole of the frontier to wrestle with.

Speaking of the people a generation or two later, Dr. F. L. Paxson
says in _The Rise of Sport_, "The fathers of this generation had been
sober lot unable to bend without breaking, living a life of rigid and
puritanical decorum interspersed perhaps with disease and drunkedness,
but unenlivened for most of them by spontaneous play."[115]

Thus in studying the life of the soldier at home before he went
into the army camp, even the slightest traces of twentieth century
recreation are found to have been lacking, but that does not mean that
those people never forgot their work. It would be hard to find a more
hospitable group. They were never too busy to entertain. There was the
occasional jollification with rum or beer, the card party, the ball,
the concert, the theater, and of a more rural type the picnic and the
"corn husking".[116]

The conditions in camp were different than those at home. The problems
of bad housing, congestion and recreation were then factors to be
considered. There was the small unsanitary and poorly ventilated hut
with twelve to sixteen men and sometimes even more crowded into it.
When the troops first went into winter quarters there was plenty to do
in the way of exercise for there were logs to cut and huts to build,
but those were soon completed and the men were crowded together with
nothing to do.

Something had to happen, the monotony of the dreary days had to be
broken. This was brought about in several ways.

Often the punishments ordered by the court martial were administered
publicly in camp just to enliven the common routine. When a man was
sentenced to death, but had been pardoned by those in charge, the
force of going through the punishment was carried out. The condemned
man was brought to the side of his newly dug grave, he was bound and
blind-folded, the firing party got in position, the fire lock even
snapped, and as might have been expected, the culprit sometimes died of
the shock.[117]

The hanging of a man was a gala day in camp and the place of hanging
was almost as popular as an amusement park of today; "Five soldiers
were conducted to the gallows according to their sentences. For the
crimes of desertion and robbing the inhabitants, a detachment of troops
and a concourse of people formed a circle around the gallows and the
criminal were brought in on a cart sitting on their coffins and halters
about their necks"[118]

It was frequently stated in the sentence given by court martial that
the punishment whatever it was, riding the wooden horse, riding the
rail, receiving the biblical "Thirty-nine" lashes, or running the
gauntlet,[119] was to take place at some time when all the soldiers
were together as at the beating[120] of the retreat or at the head of
the regiment.[121] Punishments ordered by court martial in that way
served two purposes. They furnished amusement for the soldiers at the
same time the purpose for which they were intended, that of making an
example of the misbehavior of one of the soldiers.

While the Virginia riflemen were in camp at the siege of Boston there
was a practice which served both as a source of amusement and as a
display of marksmanship. There were two brothers, one of whom would
place a board five inches wide and seven inches long with a bit of
white paper in the middle of it about the size of a dollar, between his
knees while the other at about sixty yards distance would shoot eight
bullets through it without injuring the brother.[122]

The duel was another common practice which seemed to furnish amusement
besides deciding the honor of some individual.[123]

Hunting, too, was a means of cheering the dreary days, but this too
was often "Killing two birds with one stone", for often the soldiers
went hunting to provide the regular rations, but at other times it was
done just for the sake of the sport to be found in it. The following
is taken from a New York paper of December 12, 1785. "A Fox hunt. The
Gentlemen of the army with a number of the most respectable inhabitants
of Ulsler and Orange purpose a Fox Hunt on the twenty third day of this
instant to which all Gentlemen are invited with their hounds and their
horses. The game is plenty and it is hoped the sport will be pleasant *
* * "[124].

Along with the hunting frays went fishing[125] and nutting[126] trips
which added a little variety to the ordinary camp scenes. There were
several days celebrated by the Americans at that time which meant a
holiday for the soldier with perhaps an extra allowance of rum[127]
or meat. Some of those days were Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of
July, May day, Commemoration of the French Alliance, or a celebration
following a victory. The celebration usually consisted of a parade, a
sermon by the chaplain followed by a banquet and perhaps a dance for
the officers, and extra rations for the privates.[128]

Another celebration mentioned by several diaries and one which seemed
to be a joyful occasion was as one writer said "and (we) convert(ed)
the evening to celebrate as usual wives and sweethearts which we do in
plenty of grog".[129]

There were a few games which served to shorten some of the long dreary
days for the soldier, some of them were; fives,[130] shinny,[131]
goal,[132] ball[133] and a kind of football.[134] No description of
the above games has been found, but to judge by the context they were
all outdoor games.

The diversions discussed so far in this chapter have all been outdoor
games, but the real test came when the soldiers were crowded into
the huts during the winter months with nothing to think of but their
own miserable conditions. Since no one had thought of organizing the
soldier's leisure time he had to invent something for himself. The
first things thought of, naturally, were the amusements which had
existed at home. Card playing came to his mind, but in the army the
game of cards or any other game of chance was absolutely forbidden
by order of congress and the commander-in-chief. "Any officer,
non-commissioned officers, or soldier who shall hereafter be detected
playing at toss up, pitch and hustle or any other games of chance in
or near the camp or villages bording on the encampments shall with
out delay be confined and punished for disobedience of orders * * *
The general does not mean by the above order to discourage sports of
exercise and recreation, he only means to discontinuance and punish
gaming".[135] In another order Washington said, "Men may find enough
to do in the service of their God and their country without abandoning
themselves to vice and immorality".[136]

Dancing had been another form of entertainment at home but that
too was usually impossible because of the lack of room. That was
especially true at Valley Forge and other camps, but at Morristown,
however, a large room in the commissariat store house was reserved for
dancing,[137] lodge meetings, and the like for the masons had chapters
in the army camps.[138]

At home the soldier had also had his friends and dinner parties, now
he had soldier friends, but the only way for him to keep in touch
with former friends was by letters and that was a very irregular and
uncertain way for mail could only be sent from camp or brought to camp
when some one was going home on a furlough or new recruits were coming
into camp.[139] The nearest the soldier came to his social dinner and
evening at home was the rallies from barracks to barracks when every
body who could sing sang.[140]

As for the officers in camp, their leisure time was better provided
for. They lived in better quarters, generally, at least larger ones.
They, too, had the advantage of being entertained at the homes of the
people living in the vicinity of the camp. Even if one's imagination
must be drawn upon in order to make the recreation of the private seem
recreational, at least, there was a side of camp life which presented
a more pleasant picture "If our forefathers bled and suffered they
also danced and feasted."[141] The letters and diaries of the young
officers tell of the gaiety of the war. Even in midst of the gloom at
Valley Forge there was drinking from cabin to cabin and dinners in
honor of visiting foreigners. No sooner was the army in winter quarters
than the ladies began to appear, for Mrs. Washington, Mrs. Greene, and
Mrs. Knox made it a practice to spend the winters with their husbands.
Mrs. Washington was in the habit of saying that she always heard the
last cannon fired in the fall and the first one in the spring.[142]

As soon as the wives appeared, the gaiety began among the families
of the officers, the dinner was the favorite method of bringing
the families together. "General Greene and his lady present their
compliments to Colonel Knox and his lady and should be glad for their
company tomorrow at dinner at two o'clock".[143] Often the dinners were
in name rather than in reality, for officers and privates suffered
alike when food was scarce, but the social time did not depend entirely
upon the supply of food. One such dinner is described as having been
potatoes with beech-nuts for dessert.

The usual round of pleasure for the officers was dancing, dinners,
teas, sleighing parties, horse-back parties, or the celebration of some
day or event. Of the dance General Greene wrote on March 19, 1779, "We
had a little dance at my quarters a few evenings past. His excellency
and Mrs. Greene danced three hours without one sitting down upon
the whole we had a pretty little frisk".[144] Another such affair is
described as follows: "There were subscription balls in the commissary
store house at which Washington in black velvet, the foreign commanders
in all their gold lace, General Steuben being particularly replendent
and the ladies in powdered hair, stiff brocades and high heels made a
brilliant company."[145]

In the large it can be said that, the recreation of the American soldier
during the Revolutionary War, was invented to supply the need felt
rather than an institution thought out before. Some of the practices
would hardly be classed as recreation, but they helped to break the
monotony and that was the object desired whether it was by enjoying a
fellow soldier's punishment or playing an innocent game of ball.

[Footnote 114: Sherrill, _French Memories of 18th Century America_, p.

[Footnote 115: Paxson, F. L., "_The Rise of Sports._" _Miss. Valley
Hist. Review_ Vol. IV. p. 143.]

[Footnote 116: The facts pertaining to society at home has been
collected from books of travel of the period just previous to the war;
Chastellux, _Travels In America_; Sherrill, _French Memories of 18th
Century America_ and others.]

[Footnote 117: Belcher, _The First American Civil War_, Vol. II, p. 83.]

[Footnote 118: Thacher, _Military Journal_, (April 20, 1779) p. 158.]

[Footnote 119: Barton, _Journal_ (Aug. 22, 1779) p. 7., Hearts,
_Journal_ Sept. 9, 1785.]

[Footnote 120: Hearts, _Journal_ (Sept. 9, 1785) p. 68.]

[Footnote 121: Coits, _Orderly Book_, (July 10, 1775), p. 43.]

[Footnote 122: _Virginia Gazetta_, 1775 quoted Hart & Hill, p. 229.]

[Footnote 123: Thacher, _Military Journal_ (Feb. 1779) 155.]

[Footnote 124: _New York Packet_, Dec. 12, 1782, quoted in _Am. Hist.
Mag._ Vol. III p. 389.]

[Footnote 125: Elmer, _Journal_ (June 24, 1779) p. 81, Livermore,
_Journal_ (May 27, 1779) p. 180.]

[Footnote 126: _Military Journal of Two Private Soldiers_, p. 77.]

[Footnote 127: Clinton, _Order Book_ quoted by Headley, p. 265.]

[Footnote 128: McHendry, _Journal_, (Dec. 9) p. 211, and (Sept. 25,
1779) p. 207. Blake, _Journal_, (July 5, 1779) p. 39; Linermore,
_Journal_, (July 5), p. 182; and (Sept. 25, 1779), p. 188; Norris,
_Journal_, (July 5, 1779), p. 225., Hardenberger, _Journal_ (Sept. 25,
1779) p. 184.]

[Footnote 129: Burrows, _Journal_, (Oct., 2, 1779) p. 50, Elmer,
_Journal_, (July 3, 1779) p. 84.]

[Footnote 130: Shute, _Journal_, (June 13 and 14, 1779) p. 268.]

[Footnote 131: Ibid., (July 23, 1779) p. 264.]

[Footnote 132: Lyman, _Journal_, p. 118.]

[Footnote 133: Ibid. and _Military Journal of Two Private Soldiers_, p.

[Footnote 134: Fitch, _Journal_, (Sept. 14, 1775) p. 57.]

[Footnote 135: Washington, _Orderly Book_, quoted by Ford, _Writings of
Washington_, Vol. III, p. 155.]

[Footnote 136: Washington, _Orderly Book_, quoted by Ford, _Writings of
Washington_, Vol. III, p. 429.]

[Footnote 137: Trevelyan, _American Revolution_, Vol. IV, p. 54.]

[Footnote 138: _Penn. Archives_, Vol. II, p. 18.]

[Footnote 139: Fitch, _Journal_, (Dec, 5, 1775), p. 88.]

[Footnote 140: Humphreys, _Catherine Schuyler_, p. 177.]

[Footnote 141: Humphreys, _Catherine Schuyler_, p. 167.]

[Footnote 142: Ellet, _Domestic History of the Am. Rev._, p. 40.]

[Footnote 143: Greene, _Life of Greene_, Vol. I, p. 193.]

[Footnote 144: Greene, _Life of Greene_, Vol. II, p. 161.]

[Footnote 145: Humphrey, _Catherine Schuyler_, p. 176.]

Chapter V


"It is earnestly recommended that all officers and soldiers diligently
to attend Divine Service and all officers and soldiers who shall behave
indecently or irreverently at any place of Divine worship shall if
commissioned officers be brought before a court martial there to be
publicly and severely reprimanded by the President, if non-commissioned
officers or soldiers, every person so offending shall for his first
offence forfeit one sixth of a Dollar to be deducted out of his next
pay, for the second offence he shall not only forfeit a like sum but be
confined for twenty-four hours and for every like offence shall suffer
and pay in like manner, which money so forfeited shall be applied to
the use of the sick soldiers of the troops or company to which the
offender belongs."[146]

The continental congress in its acts for the regulation of the Army
issued the above orders. Orders also came from headquarters directing
the soldiers actions along religious lines. "All officers see that
their men attend upon prayers morning and evening also the service on
the Lord's Day with their arms and accouterments ready to march in case
of any alarm, that no Drums to be beaten after the parson is on the

But the religion of the American soldier was more than an order
from the provincial congress or from headquarters. It was an
influence which was an important factor in the soldiers life and in
the war. In the American Revolution perhaps the religious element
was not the paramount factor as it had been in the crusades or the
Puritan Revolution giving character to the whole movement, it rather
stayed in the back ground and supported the political and military

The pulpit had been a factor in shaping the soldier's life before
he left home, it was a day when newspapers and other means of
disseminating ideas were not very plentiful and the pulpit was about
the only way of reaching the majority of the people. It is said of one
minister who was famous for his bold sermons and his purely political
discourses although they were delivered from the pulpit he "knows all
our best authors and has sometimes cited even in the pulpit passages
from Voltaire and Jean Jaques Rousseau".[149]

The house of representatives of Massachusetts saw the value of the
clergy in shaping public opinion and passed a resolution asking them
to make the question of the rights of the colonies a topic of their
discussions on week days. The pulpit, too, had its place in the
election campaign. There was preached before the governor and house
of representatives of Massachusetts what was called the "election
sermon". It was a sermon preached by the best ministers of the colony,
not exactly as a mere compliment to religion, but with the object in
view of instruction. The ministers did not only deliver dissertations
on the doctrinal truths, but they discussed the rights of men, the
nature of government and theories of liberty and equality. The sermons
delivered on such occasions do not seem to be impracticable theological
discourses, but rather on the other hand very practicable. The
questions of the day being subjects discussed; for it was through the
medium of the church that the people received the foundation for their
beliefs in political affairs.

On Monday the 29th of May, 1771, John Tucker of Newbury preached the
election sermon on the text "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of
men for the Lord's sake whether it be the king as Supreme". From that
as a text he went into a discussion of the sort of submission which
was due to the rulers. In 1773 Charles Turner preached from Romans and
tried to show why it was the right and duty of the clergy to enter
into politics. The next year when excitement was reaching its height
it is interesting to note the sort of text Rev. Hitchcock of Pembroke
took for the basis of his sermon. It was from Proverbs XXII, 2, "When
the righteous are in authority the people rejoice but when the wicked
bear rule the people mourn".[150] It is not hard to believe that just
such sermons and many others like them had some thing to do with the
Revolution as well as Navigation Acts and Correspondence Committees. Of
course it must be said that since the people did not rise as one man
there was another view to take on the question, but the people were
guided in the opposite view also by the clergy.[151]

The clergy did more than discuss politics from the pulpit before the
conflict broke for when the war was on in earnest and troops were being
raised the ministers left their pulpits to take their place in the
army not always as chaplains, but sometimes in the ranks and sometimes
as head of the company. In one company of minute men from Domeers the
deacon went as captain and the minister as lieutenant.[152] Besides the
part played by the clergy, the church as a whole was one of the forces
working for the care and comfort of the American Soldier. The churches
were turned into barracks and hospitals.[153] Messages of the officers
of the army describing the soldiers' conditions in camp were read from
the pulpit on Sunday Morning; the afternoon congregation would be made
up almost entirely of men, and the women were to be found at home
knitting or spinning.[154]

When Washington assumed command of the army at Cambridge he found
chaplains attached to different regiments sent from various colonies,
especially from the New England colonies. Some of these were volunteers
without pay and others were appointed by the provincial congress.[155]

The chaplain of that war was not like the chaplain of the present time.
A sort of half-soldier, half-minister, never expected to fight or
endure the hardships of the private; on the other hand he was one of
the men on the field, but also reverenced by the soldiers because of
the place he had filled in their activities at home.[156]

At first, as has been noticed, there was no regulation concerning
the appointment and pay of the chaplain by the continental congress.
Washington wrote to congress in December 1775 and said, "I need not
point out the great utility of gentlemen whose lives and conversation
are unexceptionable being employed for that service in the army".[157]
He went on to suggest plans whereby all regiments might be served by
a chaplain. The plan which congress adopted was of having a chaplain
for every two regiments and they fixed the salary at thirty-three and
one-third dollars a month.[158] The plan worked when the soldiers were
in camp, but not when they were on the march.[159] In 1776 a chaplain
was allowed for each regiment.[160]

According to the regulations of the army, there were to be prayers
morning and evening,[161] and on Sunday services were almost
continuous. There were always two services and often more, the
chaplains from the various regiments preaching in rotation.[162]

The places of holding religious meetings varied with circumstances,
services were held in a church[163] in or near camp, on a college
campus,[164] in an opening in the woods,[165] and in a log hut built
for the purpose.[166] When the army entered Cambridge, the next day
was Sunday and a stage was erected on the campus by turning up a rum
hogshead.[167] On another occasion a pulpit was formed out of knapsacks
piled together.[168]

The kind of sermons provided by the chaplains to the soldiers makes
an interesting study, they were always of a practicable nature. The
sermons seemed to fall into two general classes, one class setting
forth the characteristics of a good soldier,[169] and the other those
which had to do with the political and social troubles of the time.[170]

There are records of the attitude of the soldier being changed
very materially by some of the sermons heard both concerning his own
personal attitude[171] and his attitude in general toward the war.
The story is related that one time Rev. Gano knew that a number of
the soldiers in his audience were men who had only enlisted for a
few months, hence during the service he made the remark "he could
aver of the truth that our Lord and Saviour approved of all those who
had engaged in His Service for the whole warfare". The rank and file
were much amused and those who enlisted for the whole war forced many
short-term men by their jesting to re-enlist.[172]

Another observance which might be considered part of the soldier's
religion, was the day of fasting and prayer ordered by congress and the
officials of the various colonies.[173]

There is yet one more effect which grew out of the religious activities
of the soldier while in the army camp. That is the weakening of the
rigid lines which had been drawn between sects. When the soldier was at
home he was, Presbyterian, Anglican, Catholic or what not, but in the
army there was a tendency to forget the barriers; both Protestant and
Catholic services were held, but it was one of the orders of Washington
that no person should make light of another's religion.[174] It had
been the custom of the people near Boston to celebrate what was called
"Pope Day" when they burned an effigy of the Pope; the soldiers were
contemplating a celebration of this custom when Washington issued
orders against it calling it a "ridiculous and childish custom."[175]

The fact that the chaplain of a regiment might have members of a number
of sects in his audience would tend to create a common interest, and
also the fact that whenever the troops were near a church they were
ordered to attend regardless of denomination. The incident is related
of Washington who was Anglican that he and a number of his men, asked a
Presbyterian minister to give them communion in his church, and it was
gladly done.[176] All of which were factors in bringing about democracy
in the church.

[Footnote 146: _Journals of Continental Congress_, Vol. II, p. 112.]

[Footnote 147: Coit, _Orderly Book_, (June 14, 1775), p. 19.]

[Footnote 148: Headley, _Chaplain and Clergy of the Revolution_, p. 14.]

[Footnote 149: "Narrative of Prince De Broyle" in _American Historical
Magazine_ Vol. I, p. 378.]

[Footnote 150: For election sermons see Headley, _Chaplains and Clergy
of the Revolution_.]

[Footnote 151: See on that phase "Free Thoughts" by Samuel Sebury.]

[Footnote 152: Greene, _Historical Men of American Revolution_, p. 215.]

[Footnote 153: See, _Wilds Journal_, p. 80; Boudinot, Elias, p. 189;
Niles, _Principles and Acts of the Revolution_, p. 361.]

[Footnote 154: Headley, _Chaplain and Clergy of Revolution_, p. 323.]

[Footnote 155: Headley, _Chaplain and Clergy of Revolution_, p. 89.]

[Footnote 156: Headley, _Chaplain and Clergy of Revolution_, p. 89.]

[Footnote 157: Ford's, _Writings of Washington_, Vol. III, p. 310.]

[Footnote 158: Ibid., Vol. III, p. 310.]

[Footnote 159: Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 187.]

[Footnote 160: Ibid., Vol. III, p. 310.]

[Footnote 161: Farnsworth, _Journal_, (April 20 and May 1, 1775), p.

[Footnote 162: Gardner, "Last Cantonment of Continental Army of Rev."
in _Am. Hist. Mag._ Vol. X, p. 369.]

[Footnote 163: Hosock, "Life of Clinton" in _Harper's_, February 1859.]

[Footnote 164: Headley, _Chaplain and Clergy of Revolution_, p. 291.]

[Footnote 165: Ibid., p. 95.]

[Footnote 166: Gardner, "Last Cantonment of Army of Revolution" in
_Mag. Am. Hist._ Vol., X, p. 369.]

[Footnote 167: Headley, _Chaplain and Clergy of Revolution_, p. 291.]

[Footnote 168: Ibid., p. 95.]

[Footnote 169: Hitchcock, Diary p. 87; Roger, _Journal_ (July 11, 1779)
p. 250; Lyman, _Journal_ (Oct. 15, 1775) p. 121.]

[Footnote 170: Boardman, _Journal_ (Sept. 25, 1775), p. 227;
Farnsworth, _Journal_, (Oct., 1, 1775), p. 86, Thorton, _Pulpit in the
Revolution_, p. 187.]

[Footnote 171: Farnsworth, _Journal_, (May 14, 1775), p. 79.]

[Footnote 172: Quoted by Bolton in _Private Soldier Under Washington_,
p. 161.]

[Footnote 173: Hitchcock, _Journal_, p. 107; Coits _Orderly Book_ (July
15, 1775) Moore "Diary" p. 18.]

[Footnote 174: Griffin, _Catholics and the American Revolution_, Vol.
I, p. 127.]

[Footnote 175: Griffin, _Catholics and the American Revolution_, Vol.
I, p. 127.]

[Footnote 176: Hosach, "Life of Clinton," _Harper's_, Feb., 1859.]

Chapter VI


The soldier's day began with reveille at sunrise or "when a Sentra Can
See Clearly one thousand yards around him and not Before"[177] and
ended with tat-too heating at eight o'clock;[178] for after tat-too
there was to be no straying about camp without a written pass.[179]

Between reveille and tat-too there were numerous duties to be
performed and orders to be obeyed. Some of them seemed foolish and
most unnecessary to the average soldier. The first thing was roll call
before the doors of the barracks[180] which every one was to appear in
full dress, well shaved and with hat cocked.[181] Then came breakfast
prepared either by one of the company in the camp kitchen or by each
one for himself over the open fire. The breakfast was anything from
the "usual dish, a large plate of rice with a little salt"[182] to a
heavier meal of meat and potatoes.

Morning prayers[7] followed breakfast and of the routine of the rest of
the day Simon Lyman of Sharon wrote "we marched out in the morning
and exercised and in the afternoon we marched out again and exercised
again".[183] Captain Lewis in his _Orderly Book_ recorded the following
order "For the future the fatigue parties to parade at 7 o'clock in
the morning and return at eleven to their dinners and parade again at
two".[184] Then came supper, evening prayers[185] and tat-too.

Camp life was, however, not all a routine of reveille, prayers, drills,
meals, and tat-too for there were hundreds of other things which
had to be done. There were huts to build[186], roads to make,[187]
entrenchments to construct,[188] fuel to collect,[189] supplies to
provide,[190] armaments to make or clean, and drills for the "awkward
squad",[191] besides guard and fatigue duty;[192] not to mention
the more domestic duties of cooking,[193] of washing and mending
clothes,[194] and cleaning huts, or acting as 'grass guard.'[195]

It can hardly be said that any hard and fast rule was followed in the
matter of camp activities for there were circumstances continually
arising which altered affairs; there were parades before a visiting
officer,[196] and days taken off for washing. Then, too, there was
the lack of a permanent organization of the army, which was a serious
hindrance in following any different course, for the short time
enlistment men were constantly leaving and the new recruits were coming
into camp, all of which broke into the routine of camp[197] and often
nothing of importance was accomplished for weeks at a time. Simon Lyman
of Sharon wrote of the week following August 29, 1775. "Friday, 29th,
In the forenoon we went round the town, and in the afternoon we putted
up our tents and marched through Cambridge to Charlestound, there we
was stationed, we put up our tents.

Tuesday, 3th I rubbed up my gun and looked round the forts.

Wednesday 4th w(eg)ot some boards to fix out tents and it rained and we
did not do it.

Thursday 5th It rained, and I wrote a letter home and staid around the

When the new recruit was given the duty of being on guard with the
orders that he was not to sleep or leave his post he felt for the first
time the hand of authority, he felt that the orders were ridiculous
when he must shave every day and appear at roll call every morning
with his hair powdered, but when he could not go more than a mile from
camp without a pass and that only two furloughs were allowed at one
time,[199] then he was sure that his personal liberty was imposed upon.

It was just that attitude taken by the soldiers toward their officers
and the orders given by them or toward the duties they were ordered
to perform that made the question of discipline a serious one. Army
life was a novelty at first, but before many weeks had passed the
aspect changed. The soldiers were in new conditions and new modes of
doing things had to be learned. What to do and what not to do were
questions with the new recruits. There had been little of the "being
ordered" by anybody at home especially among the New Englanders.[200]
Now the private had to salute, take orders from and ask permission of
an individual, who in all probability had been his next door neighbor
at home with no more training than himself and perhaps one who had
just "taken" command without having been appointed by the proper

The trouble came from both sides; the officer felt the importance of
his position to such an extent that he could not see the private's
view point, but on the other hand the private was not willing to
endure an ordinary amount of subordination. The orders sent out from
headquarters concerning the matter were numerous depicting to the
soldiers and to the officers as well, their duties and privileges.[202]
The question of discipline was one which caused Washington a great
deal of concern on first entering camp,[203] and a matter which always
brought comment from the foreigners who visited our camps or worked
with our army.[204] As the war progressed the conditions grew better,
but the personnel changed so often that one group just reached the
stage where some sort of law and order was made possible when they
left and the whole process was to be gone through again with the newly
enlisted group.

The general rules of discipline were laid down by the Continental
Congress in what were called "The Rules and Regulations for the
Government of the Army". Congress there described the general conduct
of the soldiers, as to their duties and privileges and also recommended
the punishments which should be inflicted by the court martial in
case of violation of the rules by any one.[205] There were also
orders issued from headquarters, which gave more detailed directions
in respect to the personal appearance of the soldier, how his hat
should be cocked, how his hair should be cut, and the like,[31] others
in respect to the duties of the soldier on fatigue,[206] on guard
or about the camp, his conduct toward citizens, the punishment for
stealing, and numerous other things which were incident to camp life,
as the regulation of 'Grog shops'[207] orders, concerning the morale of
the soldiers,[208] and health precautions.

The means of enforcing the disciplinary rules was the court martial,
an instrument which is of common use in time of war, but some of the
trials and decisions of the revolutionary court martial are interesting
if not amusing and yet significant because of the state of affairs
which they reflect.

First as to the organization of the court martial, there was to be
a general and a regimental court, the general, the higher and the
regimental the lower court. The general court was to consist of not
less than thirteen members none of whom were to be under the rank of
a commissioned officer and the president was to be a field officer.
The regimental court was to consist of not more than five members and
in case five could not be assembled three were sufficient, and any
commissioned officer of a regiment by the appointment of his colonel
could hold the court in the regiment for minor cases.[209]

All crimes not capital and all disorders and neglect that officers and
soldiers might be guilty of, though not mentioned in the Articles of
war, were to be taken into a general or regimental court according to
the nature of the crime. The offense could be punished at the court's
discretion, but no one was to be sentenced to death except in the cases
mentioned in the rules layed down by congress and no sentence was to be
executed until the commanding officer had approved it. The commanding
officer also had the power to pardon or suspend sentence if he saw fit.
According to the organization of the court martial, it was to inflict
at its own discretion only degrading, cashiering, drumming out of camp
and whipping not exceeding thirty-nine lashes.[210]

According to entries made in orderly books and diaries, those orders
were often overlooked and the originality of the members of the court
was worked into service.

Thacher said of the punishments ordered by the court martial "Death
has been inflicted in a few instances of an atrocious nature, but in
general, the punishment consists in a public whipping, and the number
of stripes is proportioned to the degree of offense. The law of Moses
prescribing forty stripes save one but that number has often been
exceeded in our camp. In aggravated cases, and with old offenders
in our camp the culprit is sentenced to receive one hundred lashes
or more. It is the duty of the drummers and fifers to inflict the
chastisement, and the drum major must attend and see that the duty is
faithfully performed. The culprit being securely tied to a tree or post
receives on his naked back the number of lashes assigned him by a whip
formed of several small knotted cords which sometimes cut through the
skin at every stroke. However, strange it may appear, a soldier will
often receive the severest stripes without uttering a groan or once
shrinking from the lash even while the blood flows freely from the
lacerated wounds.

"They have now, however, adopted a method which they say mitigates
the anguish in some measure. It is by putting between the teeth a
leaden bullet, on which they chew while under the lash till it is made
quite flat and jagged. In some instances of incorrigibles villians
it is adjudged by the court that the culprit receive his punishment
at several different times, a certain number of stripes repeated at
intervals of two or three days in which case the wounds are in a state
of inflammation, and the skin rendered tender and the terror of the
punishment is greatly aggravated.

"Another mode of punishment is that of running the gauntlet, this is
done by a company of soldiers standing in two lines, each one furnished
with a switch and the criminal is made to run between them and receive
the scourge from their hands on his naked back; but the delinquent runs
so rapidly and the soldiers are so apt to favor a comrade that it often
happens in this way punishment is very slight".[211]

Boardman thus recorded a punishment, "This morning another rifleman was
drummed out of camp not whipped, but if he ever returns again he is to
receive thirty lashes."[212] Other punishments were riding the wooden
horse for fifteen minutes with two guns tied to the victim's feet and
then ten minutes without guns, or riding a rail. There were, too, the
fines and imprisonments, but often the the penalties bordered on the
humorous line and furnished real amusement to the rest of the soldiers,
one man was sentenced to wear "A clogg chained at his legg for three
days, another was to wear a clog four days with his coat turned wrong
side outwards".[213] The last penalty was for Major Carnes's cordage.
Trials were held for anything from disorderly conduct or stealing a
shirt to treason.

In the court martial and its actions it is possible to see a reflection
of England and the methods of torture used there. The colonists had not
been away from the mother country long enough to get away from those
devices for the punishment of offenders.

The number and kind of trials also show that the soldiers as a rule
were inclined to have their own way and disregard orders for the
majority of the trials were for the disobedience of minor orders.

A study of conditions during the Revolutionary War in the light of the
present day and especially in the light of the Great War with the care
given the soldiers in the way of housing, medical aid, sanitation and
recreation makes the soldier of 1776 more of a hero than he had been
before. That he under the most adverse circumstances withstood the war
conditions and came out victorious for liberty seems almost a miracle.

John Adams described the continental army as follows: "Our Army at
Crown point is an object of wretchness enough to fill a human mind
with horror, disgraced, defeated, discontented, dispirited diseased,
naked, undisciplined, eaten up with vermin, no clothes, bed, blankets,
no medicines, no vituals but salt pork and flour". One almost wonders
that it is not a true characterization but it is interesting to
note that of the fifty diaries and journals studied only one or two
reflected a pronounced discontented or dissatisified spirit, the others
mentioned the sufferings and hardships but did not complain.

The leaders of the War for Independnece have long been appreciated for
the part they played, perhaps over appreciated. But the leaders could
not have accomplished their goal had it not been for the private. The
private was undisciplined it is true and willful at times, but to him
with his sufferings, hardships and even willfullness must be given a
great amount of the honor.

[Footnote 177: Coits, _Orderly Book_, (July 20, 1775), p. 54.]

[Footnote 178: Lewis, _Orderly Book_, (June 6, 1776), p. 47.]

[Footnote 179: _Journals of Continental Congress_, Vol. II, p. 115.]

[Footnote 180: Lewis, _Orderly Book_, (March 28, 1776), p. 8.]

[Footnote 181: Lewis, _Orderly Book_, (March 28, 1776), p. 8.]

[Footnote 182: McDowell, _Journal_, (Jan. 11, 1782).]

[Footnote 183: Lyman, _Journal_, (Aug. 28, 1775), p. 115.]

[Footnote 184: Lewis, _Orderly Book_, April 6, 1776.]

[Footnote 185: Farnsworth, _Journal_, (May 1, 1775) p. 179.]

[Footnote 186: Greene, _Life of Greene_, Vol. I, p. 538.]

[Footnote 187: Wild, _Journal_, (Dec. 27, 1778) p. 120.]

[Footnote 188: Hutchinson, _Orderly Book_, p. 23, quoted by Bolton.]

[Footnote 189: Wild, _Journal_, (Dec. 27, 1778) p. 120.]

[Footnote 190: Lyman, _Journal_, (Nov. 2, 1775) p. 124.]

[Footnote 191: Lewis, _Orderly Book_, (March 28, 1776), p. 8.]

[Footnote 192: Lewis, _Orderly Book_, (April 6, 1776), p. 16.]

[Footnote 193: Lyman, _Journal_, (Nov. 21, 1775), p. 127.]

[Footnote 194: Waldo, _Journal_, (Dec. 31, 1778), p.]

[Footnote 195: Lewis, _Orderly Book_, p. 10.]

[Footnote 196: Lewis, _Orderly Book_, (March 31, 1779) p. 10; Lyman,
_Journal_, (Nov. 29, 1775) p. 125.]

[Footnote 197: Thacher, _Journal_, (Sept. 1776) p. 60.]

[Footnote 198: Lyman, _Journal_ (Aug. 29, Oct. 3, 4 and 5, 1775), p.

[Footnote 199: Lewis, _Orderly Book_, (June 21, 1776), p. 54.]

[Footnote 200: Thacher, _Military Journal_, p. 60.]

[Footnote 201: Ibid.]

[Footnote 202: Lewis, _Orderly Book_, (Aug. 12, & 19, 1775); Ford,
_Writings of Washington_, Vol. VII, p. 5.]

[Footnote 203: Ford, _Writings of Washington_, Vol. III, p. 267.]

[Footnote 204: Ford, _Writings of Washington_, Vol. III, p. 141 and
Kapp, _Life of Steuben_.]

[Footnote 205: _Journals of Continental Congress._ Vol. III, p. 114.]

[Footnote 206: Ibid., (April 6, 1776) p. 16.]

[Footnote 207: Henshaw, _Journal_.]

[Footnote 208: Coit, _Orderly Book_, (June 30, 1775), p. 28.]

[Footnote 209: _Journals of Continental Congress_, Vol. III, p. 114.]

[Footnote 210: _Journals of Continental Congress_, Vol. III, p. 115.]

[Footnote 211: Thacher, _Military Journal_, (Jan. 1780), p. 182.]

[Footnote 212: Boardman, B., _Journal_, (Oct. 11, 1775).]

[Footnote 213: Quoted by Bolton, _Private Under Washington_, p. 176.]


In the citation of footnotes, the following form has been followed,
Farnsworth, Diary, (May 12, 1775) p. 83 when referring to _Amos
Farnsworth's Diary in Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings_,
series 2, Volume VII, p. 83.

Source Material

    I Diaries and Journals of Contemporaries

        Barton, William,

        _Journal of Lieut. William Barton; in General John Sullivan's
        Indian Expedition 1779_, pp. 3-14 edited by F. Cook, Auburn,
        N. Y. 1887.

            The journal embraces from June 8 to October 9, 1779.

        Beatty, Lieutenant Erkuries,

        _Journal of Lieut. Erkuries Beatty in General John Sullivan's
        Indian Expedition 1779_, pp. 16-37, edited, by F. Cook. Auburn,
        N. Y. 1887.

            Part first covers expedition to Onondaga from April 14 to
            29, 1779.

            Part second covers Sullivan's expedition June 11, to October
            22, 1779.

        Blake Lieutenant Thomas,

        _Journal of Lieutenant Thomas Blake_, An extract in _General
        John Sullivan's Indian Expedition_, edited, pp. 38-41, by F.
        Cook, Auburn, N. Y. 1887. The whole in _History of the First
        New Hampshire Regiment in the War of the Revolution_ by
        Frederick Kidder. Albany, 1868.

        Boardman, Reverend Benjamin,

        _Diary of Rev. Benjamin Boardman in Massachusetts Historical
        Society Proceedings_ series 2 volume VII, pp. 221-231. Boston,

            The diary covers the period from July 31 to November 12

        Boardman, Oliver,

        _Journal of Oliver Boardman_ of Middletown Burgoyne Campaign
        1777 in _Connecticut Historical Society Collections_, Vol.
        VII, pp. 219-221.

        Burrowes, Major John,

        _Journal of Major John Burrowes_ in _General John Sullivan's
        Indian Expedition_ 1779, pp. 43-51 edited by F. Cook, Auburn,
        N. Y. 1887.

            Covers the period from August 23, 1779, to October 13, 1779.

        Hitchcock, Enos,

        _Diary of Enos Hitchcock in Rhode Island Historical Society
        Publications_ new series Volume VII, Providence, 1899.

        Campfield, Dr. Jabez,

        _Journal of Dr. Jabez Campfield_ in _General John Sullivan's
        Expedition_, pp. 52-61, edited by F. Cook, Auburn N. Y. 1887.

            Covers period from May 23 to October 2, 1779.

        Coit, Captain William,

        _Orderly Book of Capt. William Coit's Camping_ at siege of
        Boston, 1775 in _Connecticut Historical Society Collections_,
        Vol. VII, pp. 1-99.

            Hartford Conn. 1899.

        Dearborn, Lieutenant Henry,

        _Journal of Lieut. Col. Henry Dearborn_ in _General John
        Sullivan's Indian Expedition, 1779_, pp. 62-79, edited by F.
        Cook, Auburn, N. Y. 1887.

            Covers period from June 17, 1779 to October 25, 1779.

        Duncan, Captain James,

        _Diary of Captain James Duncan in Pennsylvania Archives_,
        series II, Vol. XV, pp. 748-752, edited by William Egle,
        Harrisburg, 1893.

        Elbert, Samuel,

        _Order Book of Samuel Elbert in Georgia Historical Society
        Collections_, Vol. V, Savannah, Ga. 1901.

        Elmer, Ebenezer,

        _Journal of Dr. Ebenezer Elmer in General John Sullivan's
        Indian Expedition, 1779_, pp. 80-85, edited by F. Cook,
        Auburn, N. Y. 1887.

            Covers period from June 18, 1779 to August 12, 1779.

        Farnsworth, Amos,

        _Amos Farnsworth's Diary in Massachusetts Historical
        Proceedings_ series 2, Vol. XII, pp. 78-100, Boston 1899.

            This diary covers the period from April 19, 1775 to November
            17, 1777.

        Fellows, Moses,

        _Journal of Sergeant Moses Fellows in General John Sullivan's
        Indian Expedition, 1779_, pp. 86-91, edited by F. Cook,
        Auburn, N. Y. 1887.

            Covers period from June 21, 1779 to September 19, 1779.

        Fitch, Jabez,

        _Diary of Jabez Fitch, Jr. in Massachusetts Historical Society
        Proceedings_ series 2, Vol. IX, pp. 41-99, Boston, 1895.

        Fogg, Major Jeremiah,

        _Journal of Major Jeremiah Fogg in General John Sullivan's
        Indian Expedition, 1779_, pp. 92-101, edited by F. Cook, Auburn,
        N. Y. 1887.

            The journal covers the period from August 13, 1779 to
            September 30, 1779.

        Gamble, Captain Robert,

        _Orderly Book of Capt. Robert Gamble_ of 2nd Va. Regiment in
        _Virginia Historical Society Collection_, new series Vol. XI,
        pp. Richmond 1892.

            Orderly Book covers period from August 21 to November 16,

        Gano, John,

        _Memoirs of the Rev. John Gano in Historical Magazine_, Vol.
        V, p. 330, New York, 1861.

        Gookin, Daniel,

        _Journal of Ensign Daniel Gookin in General John Sullivan's
        Expedition, 1779_, pp. 102-106, edited by F. Cook, Auburn, N.
        Y. 1887.

            The part there printed covers from May 4 to September 5,

        Grant, Major George,

        _Journal of Serg't Major Grant, in General John Sullivan's
        Indian Expedition, 1779_, pp. 107-114 by F. Cook, Auburn, N.
        Y. 1887.

            The journal covers period from May 17, 1779 to December 25,

        Hardenbergh, Lieutenant John L.,

        _Journal of Lieut. John L. Hardenbergh in General John Sullivan's
        Indian Expedition 1779_, pp. 116-136, edited by F. Cook, Auburn,
        N. Y. 1887.

            The journal covers period from May 1, 1779 to October 23,

        Heth, William,

        _Orderly Book of Major William Heth_ of the 3rd Va. Regiment
        in _Virginia Historical Society Collections_. New series Vol.
        XI, Richmond, 1892.

        Hubley, Adam,

        _Journal of Lieut.-Col. Adam Hubley in General John Sullivan's
        Indian Expedition, 1779_, pp. 147-167, edited by F. Cook,
        Auburn, N. Y. 1887.

            The journal covers period from May 24, 1779 to October 7,

        How, David,

        _Diary of David How_, Morrisonia, N. Y. 1865.

            The diary of a private.

        Joslin, Joseph, Jr.,

        _Journal of Joseph Joslin, Jr._, of South Killingly, a teamster
        in Western Connecticut, 1777-78, in _Connecticut Historical
        Society_, Vol. VII, pp. 297-369, Hartford, 1899.

        Jenkins, John,

        _Journal of Lieut. John Jenkins in General John Sullivan's
        Indian Expedition 1779_, pp. 169-177, edited by F. Cook, Auburn,
        N. Y. 1887.

            The diary covers period from April 1779 to December 19,

        Lewis, Andrew,

        _The Orderly Book_ of that portion of the American Army
        Stationer at or near Williamsburg, Va., under the command of
        General Andrew Lewis. Richmond, Va., 1860.

            The orders cover the period from March 18, 1776 to August 28,

        Livermore, Daniel,

        _Journal of Captain Daniel Livermore in General John
        Sullivan's Indian Expedition_, 1779, pp. 179-191, edited by F.
        Cook, Auburn, N. Y. 1887.

            The whole journal was published in the _New Hampshire
            Historical Collections_, Vol. VI, p. 308, the part used was
            just an extract.

        Lyman, Simeon,

        _Journal of Simeon Lyman of Sharon_ 1775 in _Connecticut
        Historical Collections_ Vol. VII, pp. 111-137. Hartford 1899.

        Machin, Thomas,

        _Journal of Captain Thomas Machin in General John Sullivan's
        Indian Expedition, 1779_, pp. 193-197, edited by F. Cook,
        Auburn, N. Y. 1887.

            It covers period from April 19 to 23, 1779.

        McDowell, William,

        _Journal of Lieutenant William McDowell_, in _Pennsylvania
        Archives_, series 2, Vol. XV, pp. 295-340. Harrisburg, 1893.

        McHendry, William,

        _Journal of William McHendry_, A Lieutenant in the Army of the
        Revolution; in _Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings_
        series 2, Vol. II, pp. 437-478. Boston 1886.

        McMichael, James,

        _Diary of Lieutenant James McMichael_ in _Pennsylvania Archives_
        series 2, Vol. XV, pp. 193-218, edited by William Egle,
        Harrisburg, 1893.

        McNeill, Samuel,

        _Journal of Samuel McNeill, 1779_ in _Pennsylvania Archives_
        series 2, Vol. XV, pp. 753-759, edited by William Egle,
        Harrisburg, 1893.

        Meigs, Major J.

        _Major Meig's Journal_ in Massachusetts Historical Society
        Collections series 2, Vol. II, pp. 227-245. Boston, 1846.

        Morgan, Nathaniel,

        _Journal of Ensign Nathaniel Morgan_ at siege of Boston 1775
        in _Connecticut Historical Society Collections_, Vol. VII,
        pp. 99-111, Hartford, 1899.

        Norris, James,

        _Journal of Major James Morris in General John Sullivan's
        Expedition, 1779_, pp. 224-239, edited by F. Cook, Auburn, N.
        Y. 1887.

            The part here quoted covers June 18, 1779 to October 25,

        Nukerck, Charles,

        _Journal of Lieut, Charles Nukerck in General John Sullivan's
        Indian Expedition_, 1779, pp. 214-221, edited, by F. Cook,
        Auburn, N. Y. 1887.

            The journal covers the period from May 1, 1779 to December
            11, 1780.

        Melvin, James,

        _The Journal of James Melvin_, a private soldier in Arnold's
        Expedition against Quebec in the year 1775. Portland, Maine,

        Robbin, Ammi, R.,

        _Journal of the Rev. Ammi R. Robbins._ A chaplain in American
        Army in Northern Campaign of 1776, New Haven 1850.

        Roberts, Thomas,

        _Journal of Sergeant Thomas Roberts_ in _General John Sullivan's
        Indian Expedition 1779_, pp. 240-246, edited, F. Cook, Auburn,
        N. Y. 1887.

            The journal covers the period May 29 1779 to September 9,

        Rogers, Rev. William,

        _Journal of Rev. William Rogers in General John Sullivan's
        Indian Expedition 1779_, pp. 247-265, edited by F. Cook, Auburn,
        N. Y. 1887.

            Rev. Rogers was a chaplain in the army.

        Shreve, John,

        _Personal Narrative_ of the services of Lieut. John Shreve in
        Magazine of American History, Vol. III, New York and Chicago,

        Shute, Samuel M.,

        _Journal of Lieut. Samuel M. Shute_ in General John Sullivan's
        Indian Expedition 1779, pp. 268-274, edited by F. Cook, Auburn,
        N. Y. 1887.

            The journal covers the period from May 29 to November 9,

        Squir, Ephraim,

        _Diary of Ephraim Squir_ in Magazine of American History, Vol.
        II, pp. 685. New York and Chicago, 1878.

        Thacher, James,

        _Military Journal during the American Revolutionary War_,
        1775-83. Boston, 1823.

        Thayer, Captain Simeon,

        _Journal of Captain Simeon Thayer_, in Rhode Island Historical
        Society, Vol. VI, pp. 1-45, Providence 1867.

        Trumbull, Benjamin,

        _Benjamin Trumbull's Journal_ of the expedition against Canada
        1775 and _Benjamin Trumbull's Journal of the Campaign_ around
        New York, 1776-77 in _Connecticut Historical Society
        Collections_, Vol. VII, pp. 137-219, Hartford, 1899.

        Waldo, Albigence,

        _Diary kept at Valley Forge by Albigence Waldo_, surgeon in the
        Continental Army, 1777-1778. In _Historical Magazine_, Vol. V,
        p. 133, New York, 1861.

        Wells, Boyze,

        _Journal of Boyze Wells_ of Farmington in the Canada Expedition
        1775-1777 in _Continental Historical Society Collections_ Vol.
        VII, pp. 259-297, Hartford, 1819.

        Williams, Ennion,

        _Journal of Major Ennion Williams_ in _Pennsylvania Archives_
        series 2, Vol. XV, pp. 1-20, edited by William Egle, Harrisburg,

        Wild, Ebenzer,

        _The Journal of Ebenzer Wild_, (1776-1781) in Massachusetts
        Historical Society Proceedings, series 2, Vol. VI, pp. 78-160.

    II Collected Writings of Contemporaries

        Boudinot, Elias,

        _The Life, Public Services, Addresses and Letters of Elias
        Boudinot._ Edited by J. J. Boudinot in two volumes, Boston and
        New York, 1896.

        Washington, George,

        _The Writings of George Washington_, edited by Worthington
        Chauncey Ford in 14 volumes. New York 1889-1893.

    III Books of Travel

        Burnaby, Andrew,

        _Travels_ through the middle Settlements of North America,
        1759-60. London, 1775.

        Chastellus, Francois Jean,

        _Travels in North America_ 1780-82, translated by J. Kent, New
        York, 1827.

    IV Public Documents

        _American Archives_, series 5, compiled by Peter Force,
        Washington, 1818-53.

        _Journals of the Continental Congress_, Vol. I to V, edited by
        W. C. Ford, Washington 1904-1906.

        _New Jersey Archives_, second series, Vol. I, new paper
        extracts, edited by Williams Styker, Trenton, 1901.

    V Other Material

        Moore, Frank,

        _Diary of the American Revolution_ from Newspaper and original
        documents. New York, 1850.

        Niles, Hezekiah,

        _Principles and Acts of the Revolution in America._ New York,

            A collection of patriotic orations, letters, public, private
            documents relating to the Revolutionary.

Secondary Material

    I Biographical Sketches

        Greene, George Washington,

        _Life of Nathanael Greene_, 3 volumes, New York, 1867-71.

            The work is valuable because of documents quoted direct but
            the book shows the fact that it is written by a grandson of
            Nathanael Greene.

        Kapp, Fredrick,

        _Life of Frederick William Stueben_, New York 1859.

            The impression of a foreigner as to American institutions.

        Kapp, Friedrick,

        _Life of John Kalb_, Major-General in Revolutionary Army New
        York, 1884.

            The book gives the reactions a foreigner had to American

        Lossing, Benson John,

        _Life and Times of Philip Schuyler_, New York, 1860-72 in two

            Details of life and times of the period.

        Lossing, Benson John,

        _Illustrated Life of Washington_, New York, 1856 in ten volumes.

            Since it is a detailed life of Washington, it gives glimpses
            of camp life.

        Pickering, Octavius,

        _Life of Timothy Pickering_, Boston, 1867-73.

            A life written by a son but has some valuable material.

        Reed, Henry,

        _Life of Jasper Reed_ in _Library of American Biography_ edited
        by Jared Sparks, second series, Boston 1854.

        Sparks, Jared,

        _Life of Charles Lee_ in _Library of American Biography_ edited
        by Jared Sparks, Second series Vol. VIII, Boston 1864.

    II Magazine Articles

        Jordon, John W.,

        "Continental Hospital Returns" in _Pennsylvania Magazine_ Volume
        XXIII, pp. 33-50, 210-223. Philadelphia, 1899.

        Jordon, John W.,

        "The Military Hospitals at Bethlehem and Lititz during the
        Revolution" in _Pennsylvania Magazine_, Vol. XX, pp. 137-157.
        Philadelphia, 1896.

    III General Works

        Botta, Charles,

        _History of the War of the Independence of the United States._
        Translated from Italian by George A. Otis, New Haven, 1884.

            A foreigner's view of conditions here.

        Bolton, Charles Knowles,

        _The Private Soldier Under Washington_, New York 1902.

        Channing, Edward,

        _A History of the United States_, Vol. III, New York, 1912.

            A good bibliography.

        Ellet, Mrs. Elizabeth Fries,

        _Domestic History of the American Revolution._ New York, 1850.

            Valuable only for the light it throws on every day life.

        Fiske, John,

        _The American Revolution_, Boston, 1891.

        Greene, Francis Vinton,

        _The Revolutionary War_ and the Military policy of United
        States, New York, 1911.

            Military affairs emphasized.

        Hatch, Louis Clinton,

        _The Administration of the American Revolutionary Army_, New
        York, 1904.

        Hart, Albert Bushnell, and Mabel Hill,

        _Camps and Firesides of the Revolution_, New York, 1903.

            The direct quotation of sources valuable.

        Headley, J. T.,

        _The Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution_, New York, 1864.

            A portraiture of the place of religion in the war especially
            the clergy.

        Humphreys, Mary Gay,

        _Catherine Schuyler_ in women of Colonial and revolutionary
        times. Series New York, 1897.

            Not good history, but gives insight into colonial
            Revolutionary life.

        Lecky, William Edward Hartpole,

        _The American Revolution_, edited by James Albert Woodburn
        from Mr. Lecky's _History of England in the Eighteenth

            A good bibliography found in it.

        Lossing, Benson John,

        _Pictorial Fieldbook of the Revolution_, New York 1860, two

            Some interesting details of life and times.

        Lower, Charlemagne,

        _The Marquis de La Fayette in the American Revolution_,
        Philadelphia, 1901

            The impressions of a foreigner of American institutions.

        Thornton, John Wingate,

        _The Pulpit of the American Revolution_, Boston, 1876.

            A book showing the place of religion in the war especially
            the Puritan pulpit.

        Trevelyan, Sir George Otto,

        _The American Revolution_, four volumes, New York, 1908-15.

            This book puts emphasis on the war characters and their
            careers which was useful in this study.

        Whorton, Anne Hollingsworth,

        _Martha Washington_, in women of colonial and revolutionary
        times. Series, New York, 1897.

            Not good history, but gives insight into colonial life and
            camp life.

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