February 1, 1776


In Salem, North Carolina, the Moravians, a pacifist religious group, decline to obey Governor Josiah Martin’s proclamation to join the King’s standard.

Meanwhile, George Washington writes to Joseph Reed about a the problem he faces with the short enlistments that Congress allows.  Congress, concerned that any standing army including members of several colonies will threaten the liberty of these independent colonies, permits only one year enlistments, which do Washington little good.  “The Evils arising from short, or even any limited Inlistment of the Troops are greater, and more extensively hurtful than any person (not an eyewitness to them) can form any Idea of—It takes you two or three Months to bring New men in any tolerable degree acquainted with their duty—it takes a longer time to bring a People of the temper, and genius of these into such a subordinate way of thinking as is necessary for a Soldier—Before this is accomplished, the time approaches for their dismission, and your beginning to make Interest with them for their continuance for another limited period; in the doing of which you are oblig’d to relax in your discipline, in order as it were to curry favour with them, by which means the latter part of your time is employd in undoing what the first was accomplishing and instead of having Men always ready to take advantage of Circumstances you must govern your Movements by the Circumstances of your Inlistment—this is not all—by the time you have got Men arm’d & equip’d—the difficulty of doing which is beyond description—and with every new sett you have the same trouble to encounter without the means of doing it. In short the disadvantages are so great, & apparent to me, that I am convinc’d, uncertain as the continuance of the War is, that the Congress had better determine to give a Bounty of 20, 30, or even 40 Dollars to every Man who will Inlist for the whole time, be it long or short—I intend to write my Sentiments fully on this Subject to Congress the first leizure time I have.”

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