The Continental Army was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the ex-British colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in their revolt against the rule of Great Britain. The Continental Army was supplemented by local militias and volunteer troops that remained under control of the individual states or were otherwise independent. General George Washington was the commander-in-chief of the army throughout the war.
Most of the Continental Army was disbanded in 1783 after the Treaty of Paris ended the war. The 1st and 2nd Regiments went on to form the nucleus of the Legion of the United States in 1792 under General Anthony Wayne. This became the foundation of the United States Army in 1796.
|Participant in the American Revolutionary War|
Seal of the United States Board of War and Ordnance
|Active||June 14, 1775 – 1783|
|Founder||Second Continental Congress|
|Commander-in-Chief||Gen George Washington|
|Size||80,000 at peak|
|Became||United States Army|
|Succeeded by||Legion of the United States|
|Opponent(s)||Kingdom of Great Britain|
|Battles and war(s)||American Revolutionary War|
The Continental Army consisted of soldiers from all 13 colonies and, after 1776, from all 13 states. When the American Revolutionary War began at the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, the colonial revolutionaries did not have an army. Previously, each colony had relied upon the militia, made up of part-time citizen-soldiers, for local defense, or the raising of temporary "provincial regiments" during specific crises such as the French and Indian War of 1754–63. As tensions with Great Britain increased in the years leading to the war, colonists began to reform their militias in preparation for the perceived potential conflict. Training of militiamen increased after the passage of the Intolerable Acts in 1774. Colonists such as Richard Henry Lee proposed forming a national militia force, but the First Continental Congress rejected the idea.
On April 23, 1775, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress authorized the raising of a colonial army consisting of 26 company regiments. New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut soon raised similar but smaller forces. On June 14, 1775, the Second Continental Congress decided to proceed with the establishment of a Continental Army for purposes of common defense, adopting the forces already in place outside Boston (22,000 troops) and New York (5,000). It also raised the first ten companies of Continental troops on a one-year enlistment, riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia to be used as light infantry, who became the 1st Continental Regiment in 1776.
On June 15, 1775, the Congress elected by unanimous vote George Washington as Commander-in-Chief, who accepted and served throughout the war without any compensation except for reimbursement of expenses.
On July 18, 1775, the Congress requested all colonies form militia companies from "all able bodied effective men, between sixteen and fifty years of age." It was not uncommon for men younger than sixteen to enlist as most colonies had no requirement of parental consent for those under twenty-one (adulthood).
Four major-generals (Artemas Ward, Charles Lee, Philip Schuyler, and Israel Putnam) and eight brigadier-generals (Seth Pomeroy, Richard Montgomery, David Wooster, William Heath, Joseph Spencer, John Thomas, John Sullivan, and Nathanael Greene) were appointed by the Second Continental Congress in the course of a few days. After Pomeroy did not accept, John Thomas was appointed in his place.
As the Continental Congress increasingly adopted the responsibilities and posture of a legislature for a sovereign state, the role of the Continental Army became the subject of considerable debate. Some Americans had a general aversion to maintaining a standing army; but on the other hand the requirements of the war against the British required the discipline and organization of a modern military. As a result, the army went through several distinct phases, characterized by official dissolution and reorganization of units.
Soldiers in the Continental Army were citizens who had volunteered to serve in the army (but were paid), and at various times during the war, standard enlistment periods lasted from one to three years. Early in the war the enlistment periods were short, as the Continental Congress feared the possibility of the Continental Army evolving into a permanent army. The army never numbered more than 17,000 men. Turnover proved a constant problem, particularly in the winter of 1776–77, and longer enlistments were approved. Broadly speaking, Continental forces consisted of several successive armies, or establishments:
In addition to the Continental Army regulars, local militia units, raised and funded by individual colonies/states, participated in battles throughout the war. Sometimes the militia units operated independently of the Continental Army, but often local militias were called out to support and augment the Continental Army regulars during campaigns. (The militia troops developed a reputation for being prone to premature retreats, a fact that Brigadier-General Daniel Morgan integrated into his strategy at the Battle of Cowpens in 1781.)
The financial responsibility for providing pay, food, shelter, clothing, arms, and other equipment to specific units was assigned to states as part of the establishment of these units. States differed in how well they lived up to these obligations. There were constant funding issues and morale problems as the war continued. This led to the army offering low pay, often rotten food, hard work, cold, heat, poor clothing and shelter, harsh discipline, and a high chance of becoming a casualty.
At the time of the Siege of Boston, the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in June 1775, is estimated to have numbered from 14–16,000 men from New England (though the actual number may have been as low as 11,000 because of desertions). Until Washington's arrival, it remained under the command of Artemas Ward, while John Thomas acted as executive officer and Richard Gridley commanded the artillery corps and was chief engineer. It was during this siege that Washington allegedly uttered his famous words, "It is cold out here." This was a poetic representation of the harsh conditions the men endured during the summer of the siege, and a reference to a political cartoon by Benjamin Franklin. It served as a piece of satire as it was a remark about cold conditions, while the men experienced some of the hottest temperatures of that year.
The British force in Boston was increasing by fresh arrivals. It numbered then about 10,000 men. Major Generals Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne, had arrived late in May and joined General Gage in forming and executing plans for dispersing the rebels. Feeling strong with these veteran officers and soldiers around him—and the presence of several Men-of-War under Admiral Graves—the governor issued a proclamation, declaring martial law, branding the entire Continental Army and supporters as "rebels" and "parricides of the Constitution." Amnesty was offered to those who gave up their allegiance to the Continental Army and Congress in favor of the British authorities, though Samuel Adams and John Hancock were still wanted for high treason. This proclamation only served to strengthen the resolve of the Congress and Army.
After the British evacuation of Boston (prompted by the placement of Continental artillery overlooking the city in March 1776), the Continental Army relocated to New York. For the next five years, the main bodies of the Continental and British armies campaigned against one another in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. These campaigns included the notable battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, and Morristown, among many others.
The Continental Army was racially integrated, a condition the United States Army would not see again until Truman ordered the desegregation of the military in 1948. African American slaves were promised freedom in exchange for military service in New England, and made up one fifth of the Northern Continental Army.
Throughout its existence, the Army was troubled by poor logistics, inadequate training, short-term enlistments, interstate rivalries, and Congress's inability to compel the states to provide food, money or supplies. In the beginning, soldiers enlisted for a year, largely motivated by patriotism; but as the war dragged on, bounties and other incentives became more commonplace. Two major mutinies late in the war drastically diminished the reliability of two of the main units, and there were constant discipline problems.
The army increased its effectiveness and success rate through a series of trials and errors, often at great human cost. General Washington and other distinguished officers were instrumental leaders in preserving unity, learning and adapting, and ensuring discipline throughout the eight years of war. In the winter of 1777–1778, with the addition of Baron von Steuben, of Prussian origin, the training and discipline of the Continental Army began to vastly improve. (This was the infamous winter at Valley Forge.) Washington always viewed the Army as a temporary measure and strove to maintain civilian control of the military, as did the Continental Congress, though there were minor disagreements about how this was carried out.
Near the end of the war, the Continental Army was augmented by a French expeditionary force (under General Rochambeau) and a squadron of the French navy (under the Comte de Barras), and in the late summer of 1781 the main body of the army travelled south to Virginia to rendezvous with the French West Indies fleet under Admiral Comte de Grasse. This resulted in the Siege of Yorktown, the decisive Battle of the Chesapeake, and the surrender of the British southern army. This essentially marked the end of the land war in North America, although the Continental Army returned to blockade the British northern army in New York until the peace treaty went into effect two years later, and battles took place elsewhere between British forces and those of France and its allies.
Planning for the transition to a peacetime force had begun in April 1783 at the request of a congressional committee chaired by Alexander Hamilton. The commander-in-chief discussed the problem with key officers before submitting the army's official views on 2 May. Significantly, there was a broad consensus of the basic framework among the officers. Washington's proposal called for four components: a small regular army, a uniformly trained and organized militia, a system of arsenals, and a military academy to train the army's artillery and engineer officers. He wanted four infantry regiments, each assigned to a specific sector of the frontier, plus an artillery regiment. His proposed regimental organizations followed Continental Army patterns but had a provision for increased strength in the event of war. Washington expected the militia primarily to provide security for the country at the start of a war until the regular army could expand—the same role it had carried out in 1775 and 1776. Steuben and Duportail submitted their own proposals to Congress for consideration.
Although Congress declined on May 12 to make a decision on the peace establishment, it did address the need for some troops to remain on duty until the British evacuated New York City and several frontier posts. The delegates told Washington to use men enlisted for fixed terms as temporary garrisons. A detachment of those men from West Point reoccupied New York without incident on November 25. When Steuben's effort in July to negotiate a transfer of frontier forts with Major General Frederick Haldimand collapsed, however, the British maintained control over them, as they would into the 1790s. That failure and the realization that most of the remaining infantrymen's enlistments were due to expire by June 1784 led Washington to order Knox, his choice as the commander of the peacetime army, to discharge all but 500 infantry and 100 artillerymen before winter set in. The former regrouped as Jackson's Continental Regiment under Colonel Henry Jackson of Massachusetts. The single artillery company, New Yorkers under John Doughty, came from remnants of the 2nd Continental Artillery Regiment.
Congress issued a proclamation on October 18, 1783, which approved Washington's reductions. On November 2, Washington, then at Rockingham near Rocky Hill, New Jersey, released his Farewell Orders issued to the Armies of the United States of America to the Philadelphia newspapers for nationwide distribution to the furloughed men. In the message he thanked the officers and men for their assistance and reminded them that "the singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition were such, as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving; while the unparalleled perseverance of the Armies of the United States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing Miracle."
Washington believed that the blending of persons from every colony into "one patriotic band of Brothers" had been a major accomplishment, and he urged the veterans to continue this devotion in civilian life.
Washington said farewell to his remaining officers on December 4 at Fraunces Tavern in New York City. On December 23 he appeared in Congress, then sitting at Annapolis, and returned his commission as commander-in-chief: "Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of Action; and bidding an Affectionate farewell to this August body under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my Commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life." Congress ended the War of American Independence on January 14, 1784, by ratifying the definitive peace treaty that had been signed in Paris on September 3.
Congress had again rejected Washington's concept for a peacetime force in October 1783. When moderate delegates then offered an alternative in April 1784 which scaled the projected army down to 900 men in one artillery and three infantry battalions, Congress rejected it as well, in part because New York feared that men retained from Massachusetts might take sides in a land dispute between the two states. Another proposal to retain 350 men and raise 700 new recruits also failed. On June 2 Congress ordered the discharge of all remaining men except twenty-five caretakers at Fort Pitt and fifty-five at West Point. The next day it created a peace establishment acceptable to all interests.
The plan required four states to raise 700 men for one year's service. Congress instructed the Secretary at War to form the troops into eight infantry and two artillery companies. Pennsylvania, with a quota of 260 men, had the power to nominate a lieutenant colonel, who would be the senior officer. New York and Connecticut each were to raise 165 men and nominate a major; the remaining 110 men came from New Jersey. Economy was the watchword of this proposal, for each major served as a company commander, and line officers performed all staff duties except those of chaplain, surgeon, and surgeon's mate. Under Josiah Harmar, the First American Regiment slowly organized and achieved permanent status as an infantry regiment of the new Regular Army. The lineage of the First American Regiment is carried on by the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).
However the United States military realized it needed a well-trained standing army following St. Clair's Defeat on November 4, 1791, when a force led by General Arthur St. Clair was almost entirely wiped out by the Western Confederacy near Fort Recovery, Ohio. The plans, which were supported by U.S. President George Washington and Henry Knox, Secretary of War, led to the disbandment of the Continental Army and the creation of the Legion of the United States. The command would be based on the 18th-century military works of Henry Bouquet, a professional Swiss soldier who served as a colonel in the British army, and French Marshal Maurice de Saxe. In 1792 Anthony Wayne, a renowned hero of the American Revolutionary War, was encouraged to leave retirement and return to active service as Commander-in-Chief of the Legion with the rank of Major General.
The legion was recruited and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was formed into four sub-legions. These were created from elements of the 1st and 2nd Regiments from the Continental Army. These units then became the First and Second Sub-Legions. The Third and Fourth Sub-Legions were raised from further recruits. From June 1792 to November 1792, the Legion remained cantoned at Fort LaFayette in Pittsburgh. Throughout the winter of 1792–93, existing troops along with new recruits were drilled in military skills, tactics and discipline at Legionville on the banks of the Ohio River near present-day Baden, Pennsylvania. The following Spring the newly named Legion of the United States left Legionville for the Northwest Indian War, a struggle between American Indian tribes affiliated with the Western Confederacy in the area south of the Ohio River. The overwhelmingly successful campaign was concluded with the decisive victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers on August 20, 1794, Maj. Gen. Anthony Wayne applied the techniques of wilderness operations perfected by Sullivan's 1779 expedition against the Iroquois. The training the troops received at Legionville was also seen as an instrumental to this overwhelming victory.
Nevertheless, Steuben's Blue Book remained the official manual for the legion, as well as for the militia of most states, until Winfield Scott in 1835. In 1796, the United States Army was raised following the discontinuation with the legion of the United States. This preceded the graduation of the first cadets from United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, which was established in 1802.
During the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Army initially wore ribbons, cockades and epaulettes of various colors as an ad hoc form of rank insignia, as General George Washington wrote in 1775:
"As the Continental Army has unfortunately no uniforms, and consequently many inconveniences must arise from not being able to distinguish the commissioned officers from the privates, it is desired that some badge of distinction be immediately provided; for instance that the field officers may have red or pink colored cockades in their hats, the captains yellow or buff, and the subalterns green."
In 1776 captains were to have buff or white cockades.
|Rank insignia of the Continental Army 1775|
|Ribands across the breast||Cockades in the hats||Epaulettes or stripes on the right shoulder|
|Major general||Brigadier general||Aide-de-camp||Colonel,
Later on in the war, the Continental Army established its own uniform with a black and white cockade among all ranks. Infantry officers had silver and other branches gold insignia:
|Ranks and insignia of the Continental Army 1780|
|Major general||Brigadier general||Colonel||Lieutenant colonel||Aide-de-camp||Major||Captain||Lieutenant, Cornet, Ensign||Sergeant major||Sergeant||Corporal||Private|
Jacket with silver or gold trim
|Two epaulets||Gold epaulets
Hat with green cockade
|Two epaulets||One epaulet
|Two epaulets||One red epaulet
|One green epaulet
80,000 militia and Continental Army soldiers served at the height of the war
Arthur St. Clair (March 23, 1737 [O.S. 1736] – August 31, 1818) was a Scottish-American soldier and politician. Born in Thurso, Scotland, he served in the British Army during the French and Indian War before settling in Pennsylvania, where he held local office. During the American Revolutionary War, he rose to the rank of major general in the Continental Army, but lost his command after a controversial retreat from Fort Ticonderoga.
After the war, he served as President of the Continental Congress, which during his term passed the Northwest Ordinance. He was then made governor of the Northwest Territory in 1788, and then the portion that would become Ohio in 1800. In 1791, St. Clair commanded the American forces in what was the United States's worst ever defeat by the American Indians. Politically out-of-step with the Jefferson administration, he was replaced as governor in 1802.Benedict Arnold
Benedict Arnold (January 14, 1741 [O.S. January 3, 1740] – June 14, 1801) was an American military officer who served as a general during the American Revolutionary War, fighting for the American Continental Army before defecting to the British in 1780. George Washington had given him his fullest trust and placed him in command of the fortifications at West Point, New York. Arnold planned to surrender the fort to British forces, but the plot was discovered in September 1780 and he fled to the British. His name quickly became a byword in the United States for treason and betrayal because he led the British army in battle against the very men whom he had once commanded.Arnold was born in the Connecticut Colony and was a merchant operating ships on the Atlantic Ocean when the war began in 1775. He joined the growing army outside Boston and distinguished himself through acts of intelligence and bravery. His actions included the Capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775, defensive and delaying tactics at the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain in 1776 which allowed American forces time to prepare New York's defenses, the Battle of Ridgefield, Connecticut (after which he was promoted to major general), operations in relief of the Siege of Fort Stanwix, and key actions during the pivotal Battles of Saratoga in 1777, in which he suffered leg injuries that halted his combat career for several years.
Arnold repeatedly claimed that he was passed over for promotion by the Continental Congress, while other officers obtained credit for some of his accomplishments. Others in his military and political circles brought charges against him of corruption or other malfeasance, but most often he was acquitted in formal inquiries. Congress investigated his accounts, however, and concluded that he was indebted to Congress, and he borrowed heavily to maintain a lavish lifestyle.
Arnold mingled with Loyalist sympathizers in Philadelphia and married into one such family by marrying Peggy Shippen. She was a close friend of British Major John André and kept in contact with him when he became head of the British espionage system in New York. Many historians point to her as facilitating Arnold's plans to switch sides; he opened secret negotiations with André, and Peggy relayed the messages. The British promised £20,000 for the capture of West Point, a major American stronghold; Washington greatly admired Arnold and gave him command of that fort in July 1780. His scheme was to surrender the fort to the British, but it was exposed in September 1780 when Patriot militia captured André carrying papers which revealed the plot. Arnold escaped and André was hanged.
Arnold received a commission as a brigadier general in the British Army, an annual pension of £360, and a lump sum of over £6,000. He led British forces on raids in Virginia, and they burned much of New London, Connecticut to the ground and slaughtered surrendering forces after the Battle of Groton Heights—just a few miles downriver from the town where he had grown up. In the winter of 1782, he and Peggy moved to London, England. He was well received by King George III and the Tories but frowned upon by the Whigs and most Army officers. In 1787, he moved to Canada to a merchant business with his sons Richard and Henry. He was extremely unpopular there and returned to London permanently in 1791.Benjamin Lincoln
Benjamin Lincoln (January 24, 1733 (O.S. January 13, 1732) – May 9, 1810) was an American army officer. He served as a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Lincoln is notable for being involved in three major surrenders during the war: his participation in the Battles of Saratoga (sustaining a wound shortly afterward) contributed to John Burgoyne's surrender of a British army, he oversaw the largest American surrender of the war at the 1780 Siege of Charleston, and, as George Washington's second in command, he formally accepted the British surrender at Yorktown.
After the war Lincoln was active in politics in his native Massachusetts, running several times for lieutenant governor but only winning one term in that office. He served from 1781 to 1783 as the United States Secretary of War. In 1787, Lincoln led a militia army (privately funded by Massachusetts merchants) in the suppression of Shays' Rebellion, and was a strong supporter of the new United States Constitution. He was for many of his later years the politically influential customs collector of the Port of Boston.Captain (United States)
In the United States uniformed services, captain is a commissioned-officer rank. In keeping with the traditions of the militaries of most nations, the rank varies between the services, being a senior rank in the naval services and a junior rank in the ground and air forces.Charles Lee (general)
Charles Lee (6 February 1732 [O.S. 26 January 1731] – 2 October 1782) served as a general of the Continental Army during the American War of Independence. He also served earlier in the British Army during the Seven Years War. He sold his commission after the Seven Years War and served for a time in the Polish army of King Stanislaus II.
Lee moved to North America in 1773 and bought an estate in Virginia. When the fighting broke out in the American War of Independence in 1775, he volunteered to serve with rebel forces. Lee's ambitions to become Commander in Chief of the Continental Army were thwarted by the appointment of George Washington to that post.
During 1776, forces under his command repulsed a British attempt to capture Charleston, which boosted his standing with the army and Congress. Later that year, he was captured by British cavalry under Banastre Tarleton; he was held by the British as a prisoner until exchanged in 1778. During the Battle of Monmouth later that year, Lee led an assault on the British that miscarried. He was subsequently court-martialed and his military service brought to an end. He died in Philadelphia in 1782.Delaware Line
The Delaware Line was a formation within the Continental Army. The term "Delaware Line" referred to the quota of one infantry regiment which was assigned to Delaware at various times by the Continental Congress. This, together with similar contingents from the other twelve states, formed the Continental Line. The concept was particularly important in relation to the promotion of commissioned officers. Officers of the Continental Army below the rank of brigadier general were ordinarily ineligible for promotion except in the line of their own state.
Not all Continental infantry regiments raised in a state were part of a state quota, however. On December 27, 1776, the Continental Congress gave Washington temporary control over certain military decisions that the Congress ordinarily regarded as its own prerogative. These “dictatorial powers” included the authority to raise sixteen additional Continental infantry regiments at large.
Early in 1777, Washington offered command of one of these additional regiments to John Patton of Pennsylvania, who accepted. McLane’s Company, originally in Patton’s Regiment, was drawn from Delaware.Grayson’s, Hartley’s, and Patton’s Regiments were also partially drawn from Delaware.Still other Continental infantry regiments and smaller units, also unrelated to a state quota, were raised as needed for special or temporary service.
The Delaware Regiment was a part of the Continental Army.Georgia Line
The Georgia Line was a formation within the Continental Army. The term "Georgia Line" referred to the quota of one infantry regiment which was assigned to Georgia at various times by the Continental Congress. The term also included the three infantry regiments in excess of Georgia's quota that were raised outside the state. These, together with similar contingents from the other twelve states, formed the Continental Line. The concept was particularly important in relation to the promotion of commissioned officers. Officers of the Continental Army below the rank of brigadier general were ordinarily ineligible for promotion except in the line of their own state.
On November 4, 1775, the Continental Congress created the "second establishment" of the Continental Army, which served in the campaign of 1776. On the same day, Congress also voted to maintain two infantry battalions in South Carolina and one infantry battalion in Georgia.Horatio Gates
Horatio Lloyd Gates (July 26, 1727 – April 10, 1806) was a retired British soldier who served as an American general during the Revolutionary War. He took credit for the American victory in the Battles of Saratoga (1777) – a matter of contemporary and historical controversy – and was blamed for the defeat at the Battle of Camden in 1780. Gates has been described as "one of the Revolution's most controversial military figures" because of his role in the Conway Cabal, which attempted to discredit and replace General George Washington; the battle at Saratoga; and his actions during and after his defeat at Camden.Born in the town of Maldon in Essex, Gates served in the British Army during the War of the Austrian Succession and the French and Indian War. Frustrated by his inability to advance in the army, Gates sold his commission and established a small plantation in Virginia. On Washington's recommendation, the Continental Congress made Gates the Adjutant General of the Continental Army in 1775. He was assigned command of Fort Ticonderoga in 1776 and command of the Northern Department in 1777. Shortly after Gates took charge of the Northern Department, the Continental Army defeated the British at the crucial Battles of Saratoga. After the battle, some members of Congress considered replacing Washington with Gates, but Washington ultimately retained his position as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
Gates took command of the Southern Department in 1780, but was removed from command later that year after the disastrous Battle of Camden. Gates's military reputation was destroyed by the battle and he did not hold another command for the remainder of the war. Gates retired to his Virginia estate after the war, but eventually decided to free his slaves and move to New York. He was elected to a single term in the New York State Legislature and died in 1806.List of Continental Army units
The Continental Army was the national army of first the Thirteen Colonies, and then the independent United States, during the American Revolutionary War, established by a resolution of the Congress on June 14, 1775, three days before the Battle of Bunker Hill, where it saw its first action under that title.. The Continental Congress took a number of steps in the spring of 1775 to create the army in response to the Battles of Lexington and Concord in April and the seizure of Fort Ticonderoga in May. The units composing the Continental Army changed frequently, especially in the first two years of the war. From 1777 to the close of the war, the organization of the Continental Army became progressively more systematic and sophisticated. The Continental Army that served at Yorktown in 1781 bore very little resemblance to the Continental Army that blockaded Boston in 1775.
The Continental Congress was hostile to maintaining standing armies. Under the Articles of Confederation the Congress did not have the power to raise national troops by means of a draft. Enlistment in the Continental Army was voluntary; and throughout the war there were Americans who elected to fight for King George III rather than for Congress. Further, under the Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress could not raise its own revenue directly. Because of the resulting shortages in money and manpower, the Continental Army was often expected to work in conjunction with state-controlled militia units. These units were called out as needed for short periods. On several occasions the militia performed well, but Washington frequently noted the inefficiency of the militia in his correspondence.Maryland Line
The "Maryland Line" was a formation within the Continental Army, formed and authorized by the Second Continental Congress, meeting in the "Old Pennsylvania State House" (later known as "Independence Hall") in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in June 1775.Massachusetts Line
The Massachusetts Line was the name given to those units within the Continental Army that were assigned to Massachusetts at various times by the Continental Congress during the American Revolutionary War. These, together with similar contingents from the other twelve states, formed the Continental Line. Line regiments were assigned to a particular state, which was then financially responsible for the maintenance (staffing and supplying) of the regiment. The concept of the line was also particularly important in relation to the promotion of commissioned officers. Officers of the Continental Army below the rank of brigadier general were ordinarily ineligible for promotion except in the line of their own state.The size of the Massachusetts Line varied from as many as 27 active regiments (at the outset of the war) to four (at its end). For most of the war after the Siege of Boston (April 1775 to March 1776) almost all of these units were deployed outside Massachusetts, serving as far north as Quebec City, as far west as present-day central Upstate New York, and as far south as Yorktown, Virginia. Massachusetts line troops were involved in most of the war's major battles north of Chesapeake Bay, and were present at the decisive Siege of Yorktown in 1781. General officers of the line included Major Generals Artemas Ward, William Heath, and Benjamin Lincoln, and Brigadier Generals John Glover and John Nixon.Nathanael Greene
Nathanael Greene (August 7 [O.S. July 27] 1742 – June 19, 1786, sometimes misspelled Nathaniel) was a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. He emerged from the war with a reputation as General George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer, and is known for his successful command in the southern theater of the war.
Born into a prosperous Quaker family in Warwick, Rhode Island, Greene became active in the resistance to British revenue policies in the early 1770s and helped establish the Kentish Guards, a state militia. After the April 1775 Battles of Lexington and Concord, the legislature of Rhode Island established an army and appointed Greene to command it. Later in the year, Greene became a general in the newly-established Continental Army. Greene served under Washington in the Boston campaign, the New York and New Jersey campaign, and the Philadelphia campaign before being appointed quartermaster general of the Continental Army in 1778.
In October 1780, General Washington appointed Greene as the commander of the Continental Army in the southern theater. After taking command, Greene engaged in a successful campaign of guerrilla warfare against the numerically superior force of General Charles Cornwallis. He inflicted heavy losses on British forces at Battle of Guilford Court House, the Battle of Hobkirk's Hill, and the Battle of Eutaw Springs, eroding British control of the Southern United States. Major fighting on land came to an end following the surrender of Cornwallis at the Battle of Yorktown in October 1781, but Greene continued to serve in the Continental Army until late 1783. After the war, he sought to become a successful planter in the South, but died in 1786 at his Mulberry Grove Plantation in Chatham County, Georgia. Many places in the United States are named after Greene.New Jersey Line
The New Jersey Line was a formation within the Continental Army. The term "New Jersey Line" referred to the quota of numbered infantry regiments assigned to New Jersey at various times by the Continental Congress. These, together with similar contingents from the other twelve states, formed the Continental Line. The concept was particularly important in relation to the promotion of commissioned officers. Officers of the Continental Army below the rank of brigadier general were ordinarily ineligible for promotion except in the line of their own state.
Not all Continental infantry regiments raised in a state were part of a state quota, however. On December 27, 1776, the Continental Congress gave Washington temporary control over certain military decisions that the Congress ordinarily regarded as its own prerogative. These "dictatorial powers" included the authority to raise sixteen additional Continental infantry regiments at large.
Early in 1777, Washington offered command of one of these additional regiments to David Forman of New Jersey, who accepted. Forman had formerly been a New Jersey militia leader.
Washington also offered command of an additional regiment to Oliver Spencer of New Jersey, who accepted. In 1776, Spencer had also served in the New Jersey militia. Spencer's Regiment was unofficially designated the "5th New Jersey Regiment." One company was recruited in Pennsylvania, however.
Patton's Additional Continental Regiment was also partially drawn from New Jersey.Still other Continental infantry regiments and smaller units, also unrelated to a state quota, were raised as needed for special or temporary service.
Under the command of Brigadier General William Maxwell, it was also known as "Maxwell's brigade" or simply, the "Jersey Line." As with preceding military units from New Jersey, the regiments that comprised the New Jersey Line were often referred to as the "Jersey Blues."Philip Schuyler
Philip John Schuyler (; November 20 [O.S. November 9] 1733 – November 18, 1804) was a general in the American Revolution and a United States Senator from New York. He is usually known as Philip Schuyler, while his son is usually known as Philip J. Schuyler.
Born in Albany, Province of New York, into the prosperous Schuyler family, Schuyler fought in the French and Indian War. He won election to the New York General Assembly in 1768 and to the Continental Congress in 1775. He planned the Continental Army's 1775 Invasion of Quebec, but poor health forced him to delegate command of the disastrous invasion to Richard Montgomery. He prepared the Continental Army's defense of the 1777 Saratoga campaign, but was replaced by General Horatio Gates as the commander of Continental forces in the theater. Schuyler resigned from the Continental Army in 1779.
Schuyler served in the New York State Senate for most of the 1780s and supported the ratification of the United States Constitution. He represented New York in the 1st United States Congress but lost his state's 1791 Senate election to Aaron Burr. After a period in the state senate, he won election to the United States Senate again in 1797, affiliating with the Federalist Party. He resigned due to poor health the following year. He was the father of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton and the father-in-law of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton.Pulaski's Legion
Pulaski's Legion was raised on March 28, 1778 at Baltimore, Maryland under the command of Kazimierz Pułaski for service with the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. The Legion consisted of one troop of lancers, two troops of dragoons and 200 light infantry soldiers. It was one of the few cavalry regiments in the American Continental Army.
The Legion would see action at the Little Egg Harbor massacre, Siege of Savannah, and the Siege of Charleston. The legion was disbanded in November 1780 and the men were merged into Armand's Legion.
The legion's 1st Cavalry was commanded by Maj. Pierre-Francois Vernier during the Siege of Charleston's first bloody skirmishes.South Carolina Line
The South Carolina Line was a formation within the Continental Army. The term "South Carolina Line" referred to the quota of numbered infantry regiments assigned to South Carolina at various times by the Continental Congress. These, together with similar contingents from the other twelve states, formed the Continental Line. The concept was particularly important in relation to the promotion of commissioned officers. Officers of the Continental Army below the rank of brigadier general were ordinarily ineligible for promotion except in the line of their own state.United States Army Forces Command
United States Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) is the largest United States Army command and provider of expeditionary, regionally engaged, campaign-capable land forces to combatant commanders. Headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, FORSCOM consists of more than 750,000 active Army, U.S. Army Reserve, and Army National Guard soldiers. FORSCOM provides enhanced land power gaining operational depth and versatility through a mix of fully integrated Active and Reserve Component forces operating in a joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational (JIIM) environment. Its organizations are expeditionary, campaign focused, and tailorable to provide combatant commanders the required capabilities to be decisive across the range of military operations. FORSCOM was created on July 1, 1973, from the former Continental Army Command (CONARC).Valley Forge
Valley Forge functioned as the third of eight military encampments for the Continental Army's main body, commanded by General George Washington. In September 1777, British forces had captured the American capital of Philadelphia. After failing to retake the city, Washington led his 12,000-man army into winter quarters at Valley Forge, located approximately 18 miles (29 km) northwest of Philadelphia. They remained there for six months, from December 19, 1777 to June 19, 1778. At Valley Forge, the Continentals struggled to manage a disastrous supply crisis while retraining and reorganizing their units. About 1,700 to 2,000 soldiers died due to disease, possibly exacerbated by malnutrition.
Today, Valley Forge National Historical Park preserves and protects over 3,500 acres of the original encampment site.Virginia Line
The Virginia Line was a formation within the Continental Army. The term "Virginia Line" referred to the quota of numbered infantry regiments assigned to Virginia at various times by the Continental Congress. These, together with similar contingents from the other twelve states, formed the Continental Line. The concept was particularly important in relation to the promotion of commissioned officers. Officers of the Continental Army below the rank of brigadier general were ordinarily ineligible for promotion except in the line of their own state.
Not all Continental infantry regiments raised in a state were part of a state quota, however. On December 27, 1776, the Continental Congress gave Washington temporary control over certain military decisions that the Congress ordinarily regarded as its own prerogative. These “dictatorial powers” included the authority to raise sixteen additional Continental infantry regiments at large. Early in 1777, Washington offered command of one of these additional regiments to Nathaniel Gist of Virginia, who accepted. He also offered command of an additional regiment to William Grayson of Virginia, who accepted. In 1776, Grayson had served as one of Washington’s personal aides. Finally, Washington offered command of an additional regiment to Charles Mynn Thruston of Virginia, who accepted.
Still other Continental infantry regiments and smaller units, also unrelated to a state quota, were raised as needed for special or temporary service. The independent companies raised by Virginia in 1777 to garrison Fort Pitt and Fort Randolph were examples of such “extra” units.
The Continental Army of the American Revolutionary War
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