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or ill founded, is the governing principle of human affairs. A corps much below its establishment, comparing what it is, with what it ought to be, loses all confidence in itself, and the whole army loses that confidence and emulation which are essential to success. These, and a thousand other things that will occur to you, make it evident, that the most important advantages attend the having complete corps, and proportional disadvantages, the reverse. Ten thousand men, distributed into twenty imperfect regiments, will not have the efficiency of the sam number, in half the number of regiments. The fact is, with respect to the American army, that the want of discipline, and other defects we labor under, are as much owing to the skeleton state of our regiments, as to any other cause. - What then?
“ Have we any prospect of filling our regiments ? My opinion is, that we have nearly arrived to our ne plus ultra. If so, we ought to reduce the number of corps, and give them that substance and consistency which they want, by incorporating them together, so as to bring them near their establishment. By this measure, the army would be infinitely improved, and the state would be saved the expense of maintaining a number of superfluous officers.
“ In the present condition of our regiments, they are incapable even of performing their common exercises without joining two or more together,—an expedient reluctantly submitted to by those officers who see themselves made second in command of a battalion, instead of first, as their commission imports, which happens to every younger colonel whose regiment is united with that of an elder.
u What would be the inconveniences, while the officers who remain in command, and who might be selected
from the others on account of superior merit, would applaud themselves in the preference given them, and rejoice at a change which confers such additional consequence on themselves ?
“ Those who should be excluded by the measure, would return home discontented, and make a noise, which would soon subside and be forgotten among matters of greater moment. To quiet them still more effectually, if it should be thought necessary, they might be put upon half-pay for a certain time.
“ If on considering this matter, you should agree with me in sentiment, it were to be wished the scheme could be immediately adopted, while the arrangement now in hand is still unexecuted. If it is made, it will be rather inconvenient immediately after to unhinge and throw the whole system again afloat.
“When you determined on your last arrangement, you did not know what success the different States might have had in drafting and recruiting. It would then have been improper to reduce the number of corps, as proposed. We have now seen their success; we have no prospect of seeing the regiments filled ;-we should reduce them.
“ Believe me to be, with great esteem and regard,” &c.
The measures here suggested were frequently brought under the consideration of Congress, and various steps were taken to remedy the evil; but the reduction of the army required great deliberation, in a war where too often the caprices of individuals were unavoidably more consulted, than the public interest.
The proposed limitation of the office of inspectorgeneral was made, and among his papers a draft of a plan for that department of the army, exists in Hamilton's handwriting. It was proposed to Congress by
General Washington, in lieu of the system which had been framed in seventy-seven, and was adopted in part on the fifth of May, seventy-eight.
This plan proposed the establishment of one inspector-general, six deputy inspectors-general, and one inspector to each brigade ; defined the duties of the office, rendering it subordinate to Congress, to the board of war, and to the commander-in-chief, at the head of which it was proposed to place Baron Steuben, and also to introduce into it General Cadwallader and Colonel Fleming. Of the former of whom, it is remarked in a letter from Washington, “that he is a military genius, of a decisive and independent spirit, properly impressed with the necessity of order and discipline, and of sufficient vigor to enforce it. He would soon perfect himself in the practical part, and be fit to succeed to the first place in the department.” Of Colonel Fleming, who has been previously mentioned as the early instructor of Hamilton, it is observed," he is an excellent disciplinarian, and from long practice in the British army has acquired the necessary knowledge.” The military arrangements were soon after improved by the better organization of the armory department, which was brought before the committee in a letter from Hamilton, written for Washington.
Another subject was at this time taken into serious consideration,—the policy to be adopted towards the numerous Indians who threatened the frontier of the republic.
The reluctance of the United States to employ them as auxiliaries, is among the most gratifying facts in the early history of the Revolution. But this disposition was at last changed by the different policy of the enemy; and in a report framed by Gouverneur Morris, stating that unless they were employed with them, they would be em
ployed against them,” suggesting “ that there is great reason to believe that the novelty of their appearance in the field, the circumstances of horror and affright which attend their attack, will have a great effect upon the minds of men wholly unacquainted with such an enemy," it is proposed, that the Southern Indians should be embodied under General Gist, and the Oneidas employed as light troops—among whom Louis, a chief of considerable talent, was soon after commissioned as colonel, and served with singular fidelity throughout the war.
The pacific conduct of a large portion of the Mohawks, had been chiefly attributable to General Schuyler. In the reign of Queen Anne, his ancestor had been employed as superintendent over this savage people, and he became so popular, that his portrait was preserved among them with the greatest care, and brought out at every important council they held. This influence descended in the family ; and during the fiercest moments of the contest, instances and messages of mutual kindness occurred. The wild, imaginative sensibility of this race clothed the person of Schuyler with an almost supernatural sacredness; and it is stated, that on the very day on which Miss McCrea was murdered, his wife and second daughter passed these hordes unmolested. Even until the close of Schuyler's life, parties are remembered to have been seen encamping near his residence at Albany, preferring confident claims upon his bounty, indulging in mimic representations of their savage sports, and reminding him that he was descended from their “Great father Queedir."
A letter to Schuyler from Washington, written by Hamilton, regretted that “the disposition of the Indians was not generally so favorable as could be wished; but it is not to be wondered at, when we consider the advantages the enemy possess over us, in the means of supply
ing their wants and rewarding their friendships. The Oneidas and Tuscaroras have a particular claim to attention and kindness for their perseverance and fidelity. M. Toussard, with a party of Indians, arrived in camp yester. day.” Another party being expected, he dissuaded their coming for the reason, that probably “there will be very little of that kind of service in which the Indians are capable of being useful.” Hints were given as to the mode to be adopted to satisfy them in not being employed.
While these several measures were under consideration, the difficult subject of a negotiation for the exchange of prisoners had been resumed.
Late in July, seventy-six, a proposition made by Washington for an exchange upon equal terms was acceded to by Sir William Howe. The frequent differences which had arisen as to the construction and execution of this agreement, had, as stated, been a subject of correspondence. Mutual crimination and recrimination had passed, each side doubtless having just cause of complaint. This subject was again brought before Washington, soon after the late campaign, in a very earnest letter from the British commander. In reply, Hamilton wrote him, over the signature of Washington, commenting upon the treatment of officers in his hands. “Americans," it was observed, “ have their feelings of sympathy as well as other men. A series of injuries may exhaust their patience, and it is natural that the sufferings of their friends in captivity should at length irritate them into resentment and acts of retaliation.”
The day after the date of this letter, this matter was brought before Congress in a report of the Board of War, and in terms of severe censure, resolutions were passed of a retaliatory character. In the communication of