Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE GENERAL OFFICERS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776)
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TO THE GENERAL OFFICERS. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. III (1775-1776).
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TO THE GENERAL OFFICERS.
Head-Quarters,Cambridge, 5 October, 1775.
In a letter from the Congress, dated September 26th, information on the following points is required:
What number of men are sufficient for a winter campaign?
Can the pay of the privates be reduced? How much?
What regulations are further necessary for the government of the forces?
To the above queries of the Congress I have to add several of my own, which I also request your opinion upon, viz.:—
For how long a time ought the men in the present army (should we set about enlisting them) be engaged?
What method would you recommend as most eligible to cloathe a new raised army with a degree of decency and regularity? Would you advise it to be done by the Continent? In that case would you lower the men’s wages, and make no deduction for cloathing, or let it stand and make stoppages? and how much a month?
As there appears to be great irregularity in the manner of paying the men, and much discontent has prevailed on this account, in what manner and at what fixed periods would you advise it to be done under a new establishment?
What sized regiments would you recommend under this establishment; that is how many men to a company? how many companies to a regiment, and how officered?
Is there any method by which the best of the present officers in this army can be chosen without impeding the inlistment of the men, by such choice and preference? Under any complete establishment, even if the privates in the army were engaged again, many of the present officers must be discharged as there is an over-proportion, of course we ought to retain the best.
Your close attention to the foregoing points against Monday, ten o’clock, at which time I shall expect to see you at this place, will much oblige, Sir, &c.1
[1 ]The conclusions of the council were: 1. Unanimously agreed that the army ought not to consist of less than 20,372 men; to be formed into twenty-six regiments (exclusive of riflemen and artillery); each regiment to consist of 728 men, officers included; each company to be officered with one captain, two lieutenants, one ensign, and to contain four sergeants, four corporals, two drums, or fifes, and seventy-six privates. This army was deemed sufficient for offensive and defensive measures. 2. That the pay cannot be reduced at present, the present allowance of provisions should stand, and compensation in money should be allowed for such articles as the Commissary could not furnish. 3. The men should be engaged to December 1, 1776, but to be sooner discharged if necessary. 4. That each general officer should clothe a man according to his own fancy and judgment, and a selection to be made from these models; the clothing to be supplied by the Continent, and paid for by stoppages of 10% per month. 5. As to manner of paying the troops the council was equally divided; Washington, Greene, Sullivan, Heath, and Lee were in favor of monthly payments; and Gates, Spencer, Thomas, Putnam, and Ward, of payments every three months. On the questions of regulating the forces and the selection of officers more time was requested. An additional query was laid before the meeting that has some interest: “Whether it will be advisable to enlist any negroes in the new army? or whether there be a distinction between such as are slaves and those that are free? Agreed unanimously, to reject all slaves, and, by a great majority, to reject negroes altogether.” See note to the letter to Congress, 31 December, 1775, post. The full proceedings of the council are printed in Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, iii., 1039.