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"We... got ourselves cleverly settled for the night...

"
Soldiers' Shelter on Campaign During the War for Independence:
Part 2.
“The great [wastage] last Campaign was owing to their being wet in the Waggons."
Tents in the Armies of the Revolution
John U. Rees

Contents
1. "The Allowance of Tents is not sufficient ...”: An Overview of Tents as Shelter
a. Tent Allotment, 1776 to 1779
b. Female Followers and Tents
c. Tent Allotment, 1779 to 1782
d. Tent Supply and Shortfalls
2. "The fewer the Waggons to the Army, the better...": Transporting Tents
a. Wagons
b. Pack Horses
c. Soldiers as Beasts of Burden
d. Watercraft
Appendix: ”British Army Wheeled Transport in the American War: A Primer”
Addendum
1.

2.

3.
4.
5.
6.

“No. 9 – Return of Drivers, Horses and Waggons furnished by Brigadr-General William Dalrymple,
Quarter Master General of the Army in North America in the District of New York by order of His
Excellency the Commander in Chief for the General and Staff Officers and several Corps of the
Army between 1st January & 31st March 1781 inclusive being 90 days”
“Return of Drivers, Horses and Waggons belonging to the Quart. Master General’s Department
attached to the General and Staff Officers and Several Corps of Hessians in the District of New
York. – 26th August 1781.”
“Return of Drivers, Horses and Waggons attached to the several British Regiments in the District of
New York 26th August 1781.”
“Enclosure 2d Return of Drivers, Horses and Waggons that are with the Corps to the Southward
[Virginia] New York 23d August 1781.”
“Enclosure 4 Return of Conductors, Drivers, Horses and Waggons in the Quarter Master General’s
Department, attached to the Several Corps at and near the Six Mile Stone. 26 th August 1781.”
Enclosure No. 6, Johann Friedrich Cochenhausen (also Cockenhausen or Kochenhausen), colonel
and quartermaster general, Hessian forces, to Board of General Officers, 14 May 1781 (regarding
wagons for the German troops).

Tents were sometimes transported by water; bateaux, like the one pictured, were a
mainstay for each side during the American War. ((Photograph courtesy of Fort
Ticonderoga.)

_____________________________
"… we came to Roxbury, the place of our destination. Here the place of our encampment was
already marked out, and a part of our regiment on the spot. For every six soldiers there was a
tent provided. The ground it covered was about six or seven feet square. This served for
kitchen, parlour, and hall. The green turf, covered by a blanket, was our bed and bedstead.
When we turned in for the night, we had to lie perfectly straight, like candles in a box: this was
not pleasant to our hip bones and knee joints, which often, in the night, would wake us, and
beg us to turn over. Our household utensils, all together, were an iron pot, a canteen or
wooden bottle holding two quarts, a pail, and wooden bowl. Each man had to do his own
washing, and take his turn at the cookery." Daniel Barber, Col. Jedediah Huntington's
Connecticut Regiment, summer 1775.1
“Proceeded to the Falls of Schuylkill and at 11 A.M. reached the site of our former
encampment, near Germantown, where we encamped and put up our tents, which we have
been without for a week.” Lt. James McMichael, Pennsylvania State Regiment, Philadelphia
Campaign, 13 September 1777.2
_______________________________________

"The Allowance of Tents

is not sufficient..."
An Overview of Tents as Shelter

Tent Allotment, 1776 to 1779. Revolutionary soldiers' lives revolved around the mess squad,
comrades who cooked, ate, and slept together, the contingent assigned to one common tent
forming a mess. The number of men allotted to each tent remained relatively static for British
troops during the war. Lochee noted that one tent was to serve as shelter for five men and, with
occasional exceptions, this was generally observed. From the 40th Regiment order book:3
R[egimental]:O[rders, 19 June 1777] ... No more than 9 Mens Tents and 2 for the Offrs: Are to be
Allowd: each Compy: Whatever more they have Must be Deliverd to the Qr:Mastr: with All spare
Arms Accoutterments & Baggage in Order to be sent to N: York by the first Opportunity

The maximum strength of the companies in the regiment at the time was fifty men, so thie above
stipulation allowed either five or six rank and file per tent.4
In the Continental Army one common tent usually accommodated six men. A June 1776
company return for Captain Joseph Bloomfield's Company, 3rd New Jersey Regiment, noted the
number of "Tents to be Drawn for... 72 Soldiers, which is 12 Tents allowing Six men to a Tent."
Two tents were allotted to the six officers present.5 The following spring regiments of the newlyraised Continental Army under George Washington were united in northern New Jersey. In May
1777 General William Woodford issued this directive to his Virginia Brigade:
The Quarter Master Genl. is to proportion the Tents to the Strength of Regts. One Tent to each
five Privates 2 Tents to the Officers of each Company - one to each Field Officer—one to the
Serjt. Major & Quarter Master Serjt. & one to each of the Staff any Regt. having drawn more than
this proportion to deliver them to Col. Biddle Qr. Master General upon his application for the
same No more than one Tent (Horsemans) to be allowed to each Regt.6

In this instance, with the exception of a single horseman's tent, common tents were used by
both officers and privates. Until 1777 this was probably standard procedure in the American
army. In summer of 1775, two years before Woodford's directive, the Virginia Convention had
authorized the raising of "two regiments complete," allowing as part of their equipment a tent for
every commissioned and staff officer, one tent for two sergeants or corporals, and "a proper and
sufficient tent" for every six privates. Understandably, these early allotments were based on the
British model, and, with occasional variations, remained the standard throughout the war. In
August 1777 General John Sullivan required his Maryland division "to State the number of tents
in their Respective Brigades, & Set forth the number wanting upon the following Calculations,
Viz A tent to each Field officer, one to two Commissioned & Staff officers, one to 4 Serjts & one
to 6 Privates including Corporals, as Well as Waggoners weomen &c"7 Two years later the
allotment was even more detailed, with several kinds of tents mentioned for use. 27 May 1779,
"The troops are to apply to the Quarter Master General without delay for tents in the following
proportion for each regiment."8
One Markee and one Horseman's tent for the Field Officers.
One horseman's tent for the officers of each company.
One Wall'd tent for the Adjutant.
One ditto
for the Quarter Master.
One ditto
for the Surgeon and Mate.
One ditto
for the Pay-Master.
One common tent for Serjeant Majr. and Qr. Mastr. Serjeant.
One ditto
for the Fife and Drum Major.
One ditto
for the non commissioned officers of each
company and one for every six privates including Drums and Fifes.

Reproduction of common soldiers’ tent, one of three made by the Oval Office project staff
in summer 2013. Reproducing Gen. George Washington’s sleeping marquee was the focus
of the enterprise, a joint project of Colonial Williamsburg and the Museum of the American
Revolution. The First Oval Office, https://www.facebook.com/FirstOvalOffice?fref=ts

Illustration of a wall tent. Four tents used during the war were similar: Horseman's tents
had "walls ... from three to three & a half [to]... four feet high."; The wall tent was "a
soldiers tent with walls from 2 1/2 to 3 feet high..."; A "half wall tent" was "a soldiers tent
with low walls, say 18 or 20 Inches high."; and the "Noncommissioned Officers tent" was
"the same as a soldiers, only with a 14 inch wall." Francis Grose, Military Antiquities,
Respecting a History of the British Army (London, 1801), 2: 11, 28-40.

Female Followers and Tents. In many respects regimental women were accorded the same
treatment as common soldiers, including being given the same food ration as enlisted men
(excepting alcohol). It seems this parity was also extended when it came to shelter. General John
Sullivan's 17 August 1777 division orders stipulated that six enlisted men occupy a tent, and also
allotted one tent for every six "Waggoners [or] weomen." Regimental orders for the
Pennsylvania State Regiment, while stationed at Fort Mercer, stated, “May 24th 1777 ... Regular
Division of Tents to be made according to ye number of men in each Company - one tent for six
men or 5 men and one woman ...” And a roster of Capt. John Ross's Company, 3rd New Jersey
Regiment, in June 1777 emphasizes the inclusion of women in mess groups (see below). In this
listing of eight messes, seven had five or six people, the same number assigned to a tent. Two of
the mess squads included women, one of whom was Margaret Johnson, wife of Sergeant Samuel
Johnson, the other being Elizabeth Evans, Private Emanuel Evans’ wife. It is probable that, due
to the exigencies of army life, the women in these two mess squads shared tents with the men.9
(For more on the women of Ross’s company see, “’Remember[ing] the Ladies’: Margaret
Johnson and Elizabeth Evans, Women of the New Jersey Brigade”
http://www.scribd.com/doc/235418684/Remember-ing-the-Ladies-Margaret-Johnson-andElizabeth-Evans-Women-of-the-New-Jersey-Brigade )
Mess Roll of Capt. John Ross’s Company, 3d New Jersey Regiment
This document, dated June 1777, is significant in that it reveals the inclusion of females along with enlisted men in the
mess squads of an individual company.
"A Mess Roll of Captn. Ross's Compy," 3rd New Jersey Regiment
(A listing of mess squads for June 1777)
1st
2nd
George Grant, sgt.
Samuel Johnson, cpl.
William Andrews, cpl.
Margaret Johnson
George Leadbetter [captured 9/11/77]
Jonathan Emmons
Jacob [Likens?]
Edward Howell
Daniel Danaly
3rd
Jonathan McCully
Vincent Bishop
Francis Carbury
Jonathan Williamson
Simon Boney

4th
Abraham Peterson
Aaron Deacon
Daniel Ellis
Thomas Holland
Thomas Morris
Benjamin Norcross, drummer

5th
Emmanuel Evans
Elizabeth Evans
Edward Brady
Joseph Johnson
Patrick Ryan

6th
Thomas Dixon [deserted August 1777]
Jonathan Howard
Martin Wholahan [deserted 7/1/77]
Abel Addams
James Milsop
Paul Brewer

7th
Henry Burgher
James Deharmond
William Smith [captured 9/11/77]
Levi Johnson
Henry Flitcraft [deserted 9/1/77]
William [?]

8th
William Gibson, sgt.
James Shea, cpl.
Thomas Gibson
Henry Quigg [killed 10/4/77]
James Morris

9th
John Roy [died 8/31/77]
John Walter
Jonathan Freeman
Frederick Campbell
John Higgins
Peter [Bruchaw?]

10
Capt. Ross
Ensign Kersey
John Guy
Joseph Hunter
William Lyons
John Higgins

49 enlisted men and 2 women (1 woman for 24 men)

Women with British regiments were also allotted tents, at least occasionally. A roster of Lt. Col.
John Wrottesley’s company, Brigade of (British) Guards lists the personnel assigned to each tent
(see below). Four tents each housed five privates and one woman, while a fifth was assigned to
three batmen, one private, and a woman. The document this was taken from also included
assignments to mess groups; while the women were included in the tents with the men, none of the
women were given a mess assignment. Possibly they messed together in their own ad hoc squad.10
Tent Assignments in Lt. Col. John Wrottesley’s (3d) Company, 1st Battalion,
Brigade of (British) Guards
Company
(1776-1777)
Lt. Col. Sir John Wrottesley’s (3rd) Company, 1st Battalion, Brigade of Guards
Capt. John Thomas DeBurgh
Ensign Thomas Glyn
4 officers’ servants
Common Tents
No.
1 – 4 sergeants, 1 private
2– 4 corporals, 2 drummers
3 – 6 privates
4 – 6 privates
5 – 6 privates
6– 1 bat man, 5 privates
7 – 6 privates
8 - 6 privates
9 – 6 privates
11 – 5 privates
12 – 5 privates, Mrs. Briar (Pvt. David Briar)
13 – 6 privates
14 – 5 privates, Mrs. Williams (Pvt. Jno. Williams)
15 – 6 privates
16 – 5 privates, Mrs. Foster (Pvt. William Foster)
17 – 6 privates
18 – 5 privates, Mrs. Prigg ((Pvt. Stephen Prigg)
19 – 3 bat men, 1 private, Mrs. Dowdsworth (Pvt. Thomas Dowdsworth)
4 sergeants, 4 corporals, 2 drummers, 4 bat men (to care for pack horses and lading), 86 privates, 4 women (100
enlisted men, 4 women)
__________________

See also:
"’The proportion of Women which ought to be allowed...’: An Overview of Continental Army Female
Camp Followers”
1. “A clog upon every movement. “: Numbers
2. "Rations... Without Whiskey": Women’s Food Allowance
3. "Some men washed their own clothing.": Women's Duties and Shelter
4. Orders Concerning Women in the Summer of 1777 (Delaware Regiment of Maj. Gen. John Sullivan’s
Division
5. "Coming into the line of fire.": Women on the March or on Campaign
Appendices
A. An Estimate of Females with Continental Army Units
on the March to Yorktown, 1781
B. Mess Roll of Capt. John Ross’s Company, 3d New Jersey Regiment
C. Tent Assignments in Lt. Col. John Wrottesley’s (3d) Company, 1st Battalion,
Brigade of (British) Guards (Including “British Army orders regarding female
followers, summer 1777”)
D. Period Images of Army Followers or Poor to Middling Female Civilians
E. Photographs of Army Women at Living History Events
F. Online Articles Pertaining to Female Camp Followers and Related Subjects
During the War for American Independence
G. Other Authors’ Monographs (Women Following the Army)

https://www.scribd.com/doc/255868431/The-proportion-of-Women-which-ought-to-be-allowed-AnOverview-of-Continental-Army-Female-Camp-Followers
__________________

As the war progressed the official apportionment of common tents fluctuated. An "Estimate of
Articles Necessary ... for 12 Months March 2d. 1779" was based upon "6000 Men to compleat
12 Regiments & 5 Men to a Tent." This document also stipulated that "the Officers of Eac. Co.
will require one Horsemans Tent & one Com[mon]. d[itt]o." (Three officers per company
according to the May 1778 regimental organization.) Each regiment's field officers (two or three
in number) would need one marquee and horseman's tent, while the officers' waiters in a
regiment would require a single common tent. Listed for the use of the "Hospital" were "6
Hospital Tents."11

An officer's marquee. Francis Grose, Military Antiquities, Respecting a History of the British
Army (London, 1801), 11, 28-40.

Tent Allotment, 1779 to 1782. A 1782 "Estimate of Camp Equipage intended for a Regiment of
Infantry" (31 January) included this allotment:12
Marquees
3 Field Officers
or
2 Field Officers
to a Regt.
Commissioned
Officers of
each company
Surgeon & Mate
Paymaster &
Adjutant
Quarter Master
& Q.M. Sergeant
Sergeant Major
Sergeants of
each company
Drum & fife majors
Drums & fifes, and
rank & file

1

Horseman's
Tents
1

1

or

Wall
Tents

2

Common
Tents
1
1

1
1
1
1
1
1
1 small
1 to every
six men

Later in 1782 Colonel Walter Stewart noted an alteration to this scheme: "The Allowance of
Tents is not sufficient for the Troops since that valuable system took Place of doing Duty by
Corps. This brings all of the Men of the Regt together at once, and a Tent will not contain 7 Men
with their Arms Accoutts. Knapsacks &c. The Surgeons complain likewise of the want of
hospital Tents, this want occations the Sick and healthy Soldiers to be continuously together."
Prior to this time the accepted method of taking soldiers for special duty (usually guard details)
was to draft a certain number out of each regiment; the alternative was "doing Duty by Corps,"
meaning that the entire regiment was taken for such duty. The former method often meant that
those on special duty did not have tents, while at least some soldiers remaining with the regiment
enjoyed more tent room because of a comrade's absence.13
Tent Supply and Shortfalls. Apportioning the army's tentage in this manner was useful only as
long as the military situation remained stable or the troops were relatively inactive. When the
need for more mobility became necessary, or equipment was damaged or lost, the number of
tents was reduced. Early in the war a lack of supplies limited options available to the commander
in chief and engendered hardships for the soldiers. Washington wrote in July 1775, "We labour
under great Disadvantages for want of Tents, for tho' they have been help'd by a collection of
Sails from the Seaport Towns, the Number is yet far short of our Necessities. The Colleges and
Houses of this Town [Cambridge, Massachusetts] are necessarily occupied by the Troops, which
affords another reason for keeping our present Station... I most sincerely wish the whole Army
was properly provided to take the Field, as I am well assured, that besides greater Expedition and
activity in case of alarm, it would highly conduce to health and discipline." During the
evacuation of Long Island and the occupation of New York City in 1776, British troops captured
large quantities of equipment. In September of that year Washington directed that, "As many of
the Regiments that came last from New York have lost their Tents and cooking Utensils... by
which means one part of the Army are greatly distressed, whilst the other part are comfortably
supplied; the General earnestly advises and directs the... commanding Officers of such Corps as
have not suffered, to store their men thicker in their tents, and lend all they can spare, to their
suffering fellow-soldiers, 'till such time as others can be provided."14

Supply problems continued to haunt the Continental Army throughout the war. In spring 1778
General Robert Howe led an expedition against British-held East Florida. From "Camp at Fort
Howe on Alatamaha" River, Georgia, an American officer complained to William Moultrie, "I
cannot help lamenting to you... that you have been much too parsimonious in your fitting us out
for this expedition. What can be more cruel than crowding eight, ten, and twelve into one tent, or
oblige those who cannot get in, to sleep in the heavy dews? what is more inconvenient than to
have only one camp-kettle to ten, twelve or fifteen men? and in this hot climate to have one
small canteen to six or eight men? we think no expense too great to procure men, but we do not
think after we have got them, that we ought to go to the expense of preserving their health... the
Gen. requested me to desire you to send round in a boat... 500 canteens, 100 camp-kettles, and
35 or 40 tents, I am sure they cannot be better employed, even if the state should lose them all."15
An accounting made at Valley Forge in June 1778 showed that numbers of tents held by
individual regiments varied greatly in Washington's army. Total rank and file returned was
16,561 with 2,366 common tents, giving a ratio of seven rank and file per tent, the norm for the
final years of the war. Unfortunately this reckoning does not take into account numbers of
common tents needed to accommodate commissioned officers and staff (370 officers needing
185 tents at two men per tent) and noncommissioned officers (602 NCOs needing 150 tents at
four men per tent). Allowing for those personnel leaves 2,031 tents to house 16,561 corporals,
musicians and privates, at slightly over eight soldiers per tent, a not unheard of allotment. While
this ratio may be barely workable, it still must be taken into account that the tents were not
evenly distributed; some units had a sufficiency or oversupply, while others were chronically
deficient as regards shelter. Finally, there remained 123 field officers in the various regiments
who needed tents. The Valley Forge return included thirty-two marquees and thirty-nine
horseman's tents, each of which probably housed two or three field officers (the majority of the
regiments had only one or two field officers present). Allowing two per tent would account for
142 of these officers. Unfortunately many regiments had neither marquees nor horseman's tents,
indicating that all of their officers would have had to use common tents, leaving fewer such tents
to house the rank and file. All in all a confusing situation made worse by the impending start of
the year's campaign.16
Any shortages were aggravated by problems with maintenance of tentage. In November 1778,
James Abeel noted the possibility of the army moving into New Jersey, and suggested that
Quartermaster General Nathanael Greene "give orders to have the Tents well dryed [and sent] to
this Place [Morristown] to be repaired;" Abeel went on to state that "the great [wastage] last
Campaign [i.e., 1777] was owing to their being wet in the Waggons." A critique of Friedrich
Wilhelm de Steuben's new manual of discipline (later known as the "Blue Book") noted, "The
Plan of Encampment is a very convenient One but it is necessary that the Tents should be all of
one size — If some of them are larger than usual as has been the case with us the Intervals
between the Tents are filled up and the Men in attempting to pass through tear and distroy them
exceedingly — a great Number of Tents were, last Campaign [1778], from this very
Circumstance rendered entirely Useless." Deputy Quartermaster General Jacob Weiss in
February 1779 found, "the Tents in general delivered into Store to be much worse for Wear, and
that there will be a Considerable Number wanted (including Horsemans Tents), when the
Campaign comes to open." Three months later Weiss made reference to the condition of those
tents in store. "...I find there seems to be much complaint about the second handed Tents (and
washing) and am fearful they wont in genral be of above five or six Weeks duration, which if to
be the case [we] shall be in a bad situation this Summer. — I would advise your exertion in that
way to the utmost of your power that I may be able to supply the Troops." Unfortunately it seems
that the care, condition and stock of tents did not improve during the year, leading to
Washington's complaint to Congress in July 1780 that "We are so scantily supplied with
Marquees and Tents, and have so little prospect of procuring a sufficient number by the common

means."17
By summer 1781 the situation had been remedied to a degree, and Quartermaster General
Timothy Pickering was able to write that August,
The troops are now amply supplied with tents," only the previous month he had men-tioned
problems with newly allocated tents. Since the army took the field I have heard great complaints
of the smallness of the tents. The new common tents are not too big for four Men: upwards of 400
were made before my Appointment ... The same sail maker I suppose have made those sent only
you, which tho of very good stuff yet are ruined by the smallness of their size. The new Marquees
wall tents & common tents left on hand ... are generally made too of very ordinary linen & most
of them ill contrived. I request you will immediately ... give directions to have no more tents
made of such improper sizes: they occasion much injury to the service, as the poles of these small
tents weigh as much as those of full size that will hold six men comfortably, even the common
tents already made, which shall yet remain at Boston, I think had better be enlarged if of the small
size complained of. In some Cases where these tents were of sufficient length they wanted
brea[d]th. this defect might be remedied by adding a piece to each end to admit of the roofs
spreading to a proper extent — Your tent makers must surely know the proper Dimensions of
common tents at least & they are unpardonable to have made them as they have. if this saving has
been advantage to them, they are criminal; if not, yet they have particularly injured the public.
Some old common tents were from 7 to 7 1/2 feet square on the ground. The ends of the new
tents Complained of are little more than five feet broad. It seems that the various descriptions of
tents have been misunderstood.18

There were other considerations affecting the quantity of tents available, one being the
previously noted occasional need of the army to divest itself of excess baggage to enhance
mobility. For this reason, on at least three occasions the men assigned to a common tent was
raised from the usual number of six. Four days before the Battle of Brandywine General George
Washington commented on the army's situation. "Head Quarters Newport 7th Sepr 1777... The
Genl has Received A Confirmation ... that the Enemy has Disencumber'd themselves of all their
Baggage even tents Reserving only their Blankets, & Such part of their Clothing as is Absolutely
Necessary, this Indicates A Speedy and Rapid movement, & points out the necessaty of
following the example & Ridding ourselves for A few days of all things we possible can
dispence with." Immediately after the battle the following order was issued, "Sepr 13th 1777 The
following proportion of tents is Allowed the Army upon its next march Viz. 1 Soldiers tent for
the Field officers 1 D[itt]o. for 4 other Commissioned officers 1 Do. for 8 Serjeants, Drummers
or fifers 1 Do. for every 8 Privates. The Brigadiers to have Returns made out And the above
proportion of tents taken for their Brigades." Since it would have been impossible for eight men
to fit into a common tent many soldiers must have lacked shelter, including those on detached
duty.19

Drawing and dimensions of a marquee and "Square Tent." On the left is shown the
extension for the marquee; to the right is a representation and dimensions for the end of a
square tent. Also included in this document are material lists and dimensions for
horseman's, soldier's, and noncommissioned officer's tents. "Construction of Tents
Dimensions & [height?] Jany. 1. 1781," Miscellaneous Numbered Records (The Manuscript
File) in the War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records 1775-1790s, no.
31492 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M859, reel 111), U.S. War Department
Collection of Revolutionary War Records, Record Group 93, NA.

A similar reapportionment was enacted two years later during General John Sullivan's
campaign against the Iroquois. Just prior to leaving Tioga, Pennsylvania, his troops were directed
to disencumber themselves of all excess baggage. A follow-up order was issued on 23 August
1779: "The proportion of tents for this expedition is to be one tent for every eight men. The
Brigadiers will see that no more tents be carried on for officers than are absolutely necessary."
Again, it can be seen that not all the men assigned to a tent would have fit. Some discomfort
must have resulted, as evidenced by one officer's 25 August journal entry: "The season of the
year is advancing when we should begin to think of winter quarters as the men are poorly clothed
and not above one in 12 have a blanket... nights here are already very cool." Earlier the same
year, looking ahead to the campaigning season, the following admonition was appended to
Washington's orders setting the tent allotment for his army: "No regiment is to have a greater
proportion of tents either for officers or privates than the above; not even if the officers would
furnish themselves at their own expence, as it will increase the baggage of the Army and render
its operations more slow and tardy."20

Fly tents. This illustrates the form of the flys mentioned for hospital tents in 1782. Harold L.
Peterson, The Book of the Continental Soldier (Harrisburg: Stackpole, 1968), 154.
Originally found in Francis Grose, Military Antiquities, Respecting a History of the British
Army (London, 1801), 2: 11, 28-40.

In February 1781 a detachment of light troops was formed under the Marquis de Lafayette to
operate in Virginia. Ensign Benjamin Gilbert of Massachusetts wrote that he "was ordered to
march ... as on a Temporary Expedition, we weir ordered to take only our light Baggage." Camp
equipage was also pared down and Lafayette was allotted "150 common & ten or twelve
horseman's tents ... These, with those proposed to be sent from hence will be sufficient for the
detachment, allowing seven men one common tent, and four captains &subalterns one
horseman's tent. If there be three officers to a company six will have but one horseman's tent."21
As General Washington's army prepared for the 1781 campaign the condition of its tentage
was brought to his attention. On 2 May Timothy Pickering sent a note to Washington's aide-decamp, Tench Tilghman, "I inclose you a rough state of the tents on hand at the posts mentioned
in the return... Mr. [Meig?] informed me some time since, that most of the tents issued last
campaign were very old, & had they been preserved & carefully turned in, that not more than
half of them would have been [fit for] use this campaign."22
Return of Tents for Washington's Army, May 1781
Horseman's Wall Common
Marquees Tents
Tents Tents
At Fishkill Landing
fit for use
6
3
31
406
wanting repair
2
13
4
135
Fishkill
4
89
815
Newburgh
12
Morristown
100
Rhode Island
147
Boston (all new)
3
240
Springfield (new)
20
17
33
8
Total
35
124
68
1363

Bell
Tents

82

82

Pickering continued, "The 406 common tents at Fishkill Landing are all new. Those at Boston
are what Colo. Hatch supposes the tent cloth he purchased will make, & which before this time
might be finished. Of the tents turned in at Morristown by the Pennsylvania line only about 100
remain (as mentioned above) the rest (viz. about 140 common tents & perhaps 18 marquises)
were delivered to the Marquis's detachment [Lafayette's troops were then in Virginia], besides 11

horseman's tents & 60 common tents sent from Newburgh ... Nearly all the tents mentioned in
this return I expect will be fit for use this campaign, after the repairs are completed."23
Tents were sometimes subject to the demands of the moment. In May 1781 the Quartermaster
General mentioned that, "Mr. Meig delivered the artillery to line their cloaths, 2 horseman's tents
& 26 common tents. The artillery (as well as the other troops) retained many of their tents, some
of which they applied to line their cloaths, besides those recd. from the store." The use of tentage
for purposes other than shelter was not new. In 1779 Major General John Sullivan reduced the
number of tents his force would carry as they advanced into New York. General orders for 22
August related that, "As a very great number of baggs will be wanted in order to carry flour for
the army ... there is no other expedient way of procuring them than by cutting up tents and
making them into baggs." In January 1781 Washington had ordered "All the Tents of the Army
... to be delivered to the Quarter Master General who will have them washed cleaned and
repair'd. Such as are irreparable or as many of them as will answer the purpose he is to reserve to
make cases for the Camp Kettles that they may not grease and injure the soldiers cloaths as they
will next Campaign be obliged to carry their own Kettles." He reiterated this directive the next
month, informing the quartermaster general "to have recourse to the expedient of converting the
old tents unfit for use, into bags large enough to contain the kettles, that with proper belts or
slings of the tent cloth itself or of leather as you should judge best, they might be carried at the
mens backs."24

Two mid-18th century Conestoga wagons of differing design, reconstructed for Fort Ligonier,
Ligonier, Pennsylvania. (http://fortligonier.org/ )

"The fewer the Waggons to the Army, the better..."
Transporting Tents
Wagons. It was one thing to obtain a sufficiency of tents, quite another to provide for their
carriage and ensure their presence when needed. Wagons were the usual mode of transport and
when the tent proportions were readjusted in September 1777, Washington stipulated "one
Waggon for every 50 tents & no more." Periodic reassessments were made of the load each
wagon could carry. In January 1778 Jedediah Huntingdon calculated, "a Waggon of four Horses
generally carries about forty Tents — each weighing about twelve pounds." A "Detail of Public
Waggons, and those employd on hire for the Service of the Army" (29 March 1780) stipulated
for "A Regiment of Infantry ... For Tents and Baggage allow a Waggon to 75 Men"; "A Brigade
of 4 Regiments" would require twenty open wagons for that purpose. Each wagon would hold
twelve common tents, which would suffice as shelter for seventy-five rank and file. This was
later amended in July 1780 to one four-horse wagon "For the tents of a regiment, for every 75
men but this to be varied according to the weight of the tents and state of the roads."25
In 1781 Washington posed a question concerning "the allowance of waggons for carrying the
tents of a regiment," and advised Timothy Pickering "to ascertain it by an experimental
calculation; by computing the number of tents sufficient for a regiment; and by weighing one
tent dry, another wet to estimate the average." The "Proposed distribution of waggons for the
campaign 1781" suggested that "From twenty to thirty tents (according to their weight & the
state of the roads) with their poles to be considered a load for a four ox team ... In the waggons
allotted for the tents nothing is to be carried but tents and their poles."26
Some baggage problems were made clear by the 22 August 1781 orders to Major General
Benjamin Lincoln's troops prior to their southward march toYorktown, Virginia. Washington
stated that "the Detachment ... are to consider themselves as Light-troops who are always
supposed to be fit for action and free from every incumbrance" and advised them to divest
themselves of "every article of Baggage which they can in any wise dispence with." He went on
to note the "great inconveniences [which] have arisen in the transportation of Baggage from
officers commanding regiments procuring a greater number of waggons than is their proportion
and from not having the Tents and Baggage of the officers conveyed in different Waggons from
those that carry the Soldiers tents." To rectify these problems it was directed that each regimental
field officer would be alloted "one covered waggon," "the regimental Staff Captains and
Sub[altern]s: two covered and one open waggons," and "To every hundred men one open
Waggon." Furthermore, "the commanding officers of regiments and corps to see that the tents
and Baggage of the officers are convey'd in their proper Waggons and the Waggon Master
General is directed to throw away any officers baggage that he finds loaded in those Waggons
that are appropriated for the Soldiers Tents."27
Part of the question depended upon the wagon type used. Four-horse open wagons and twohorse open tumbrils (two-wheeled carts) were available, but the preferred vehicle was a “close”
(covered) wagon pulled by four horses, or a covered two-horse tumbril. Covered wagons kept
tentage dry and helped preserve it. At the beginning of their march south in February 1781,
"three close waggons" were allotted Lafayette's light troops. These wagons were to hold "eleven
horseman's & 60 common tents." Quartermaster General Pickering informed General
Washington that an officer would also "impress ten two horse waggons & have them at King's
ferry on the 20th to take up the baggage of the officers & the kettles of the men, as soon as they
crossed [the Hudson River]. That number I judged sufficient, supposing the officers would take
with them only their blankets, portmanteaus & cooking utensils." These wagons would also carry
an additional 160 tents to be picked up at Morristown, New Jersey.28
In 1781 it was suggested that a single infantry regiment have three "4 horse close covered
waggons," one "2 horse canvas covered [wagon] for Camp Kettles," and five "4 ox carts."

Timothy Pickering in February 1782 described the carts he would like used. "It will doubtless be
necessary to purchase many carts (with yokes & chains) ready made; others probably you will
have to get made new, the latter I should wish to have larger then that were brought to the army
last campaign, It would also be advantageous to make the sides as high as those of the
Pennsylvania waggons, which will render them much more useful & convenient for the carrying
of baggage, for which most of them are designed. The precise dimensions I cannot give, having
no cart with which to make a comparison, But let them be as light as shall be consistent with a
due degree of strength & the rough service in which they are sometimes employed."29
The "Pennsylvania waggons" mentioned by Pickering were probably the well-known
Conestoga wagon. This type of wagon was used as long-distance carriers of supplies rather than
for regimental baggage. Still, the quartermaster general recognized that they had certain features
that would be useful on the army's baggage wagons. Though Pickering did not know offhand the
dimensions of such vehicles, one example, said to have been built in 1762, had a bed four feet
deep by fourteen feet long. The Conestoga wagon and its antecedents saw widespread use in
Pennsylvania as early as 1730, and many of the wagons supplied to General Braddock's ill-fated
1755 expedition were of that type. In 1789 Dr. Benjamin Rush described the Conestoga as a
"large strong wagon, covered with linen cloth ... In this waggon, drawn by four or five horses ...
[farmers] convey to market over the roughest roads, two or three thousand pounds weight of...
produce. In the months of September and October it is not uncommon to meet in one day from
fifty to an hundred of these waggons on their way to Philadelphia, most of which belong to
German farmers."30
Francis Rush Clark, "Inspector and Superintendent of His Majesty's Provision Train of
Wagons and Horses," wrote extensively about British transport problems in 1776 and 1777.
"Nothing, but absolute necessity, can justify the hiring [of] Carriage for the Army, which must
always be incompleat, & attended with considerably more expence, than having it the property of
the Crown... The English Waggons, sent over for the use of the Army, were undoubtedly much
heavyer, than was either necessary or proper. It furnish'd a plausible excuse for not useing them
... [and] Orders were given, to hire Country Waggons in preference. Those, generally used in this
province [New York], are the sort introduced by the first Dutch Settlers, & the same now made
use of in Holland. Nothing of this sort could be constructed more unfit for an Army. They are so
slight, as to be perpetually in want of repair. The Harness is made of slight leather & ropes,
instead of Chains. These were taken promiscuously from the Farmers on Long & Island Staten
Island, & some from the Jerseys. Many of them in a wretch'd Condition, & none having any
Cover, to protect their Loading."31

"A Philadelphia Waggon" used by the British Army in Pennsylvania. British Commissary
General Francis Clark wrote in November 1777, "I apprehend the English Waggons are
preferable to those of Pennsylvania, which are large, unwieldy and without Covers to
protect provision" and other stores. Wagons of this type also undoubtedly saw service with
the Continental Army. "Narrative of Occurences, relative to His Majesty's Provision Train
in North America" (circa 1778), and Francis Clark to Daniel Wier, Commissary General at
Philadelphia, 10 November 1777, copies of letters relative to "Narrative," Francis Flush
Clark Papers, Sol Feinstone Collection, The David Library of the American Revolution,
Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. Drawing courtesy of The David Library of the
American Revolution.

Clark executed drawings of several locally built wagons used by both sides during the war. In
addition to a simple two-wheeled "Philadelphia Cart," he drew and described a "Philadelphia
Waggon" (length 12 feet 3 inches; width, wheel to wheel — inside measurements — 6 feet 3
inches; height of sides, 10 inches), and the "Country Waggon from Long Island & New York"
(length, 9 feet 10 inches; wagon body, front, 30 inches wide by 20 1/2 high; body rear, 41 inches
wide by 34 inches high). Clark noted, "A great number of the Country Waggons, have straight
Sides, but are put together in a most clumsy manner."32
The "large English" wagon supplied to the British army was about the same size as the
Philadelphia wagon though probably better suited to carry large loads. These wagons may have
been similar to the "Carrier's wagon" commonly used in Great Britain during the period of the
American Revolution. Like Clark's "large English," carrier's wagons were noted to be of "great
weight;" both were likely of the type known as a box wagon, with large wheels and able to carry
heavy loads over rough road surfaces, though Superintendent Clark still deemed them unsuited
for use in America.33

The Weight of the Waggons of the Army.
[hundred]
The large English
13: 3:
The Philadelphia
13: 3: 11.
&
13: 2: _.

The Dutch or American

7._._.
7. 2._.
8._._.
8.__.

The English reduced
8. 2._.
A new Waggon with Rope Sides & 7._._
Bottom, runs light & handy
NB This Waggon has been greatly approved by all that have seen it,
as the best & most fit for American Service.34
Francis Clark was intent on lessening the weight of wagons and enhancing their durability.
One of his solutions was "The English reduced" wagon, a modification of the "large English." He
was "Greatly distress'd at seeing the English Waggons & Stores, sent over at a considerable
expence, remain unemployed ... With this view, I had several of the Waggons reconstructed, by
which means I reduced the Weight from thirteen hundred & a half, to Eight hundred & a half,
This made them very little heavyer than the Country Waggons, & in every respect better & more
compleat, besides the advantage of Covers, to protect the bread & baggage & screen the sick &
Wounded." A "new Waggon," designed by Clark, was proposed for adoption by the British
army. "The Body of this Waggon is 10 Feet long, & 3 Feet 6 Inches wide, The Sides are 18
Inches high, & turn down with hinges; a Box before, a hind Board framed light, to take off at
pleasure, The Hind Wheels 4 Feet 8 Inches high, & the Fore Wheels 3 Feet 8 Inches high.... This
Waggon is made 4 Inches lower before than behind, which greatly facilitates the draught & light
going, & the floor & Sides are made of Rope, spun of old Cordage, as few or no boards are to be
purchased in these times; But if thought better, the floor & sides might be made with thin, light
battins, flat hoops or twisted hay." Not one to wait complacently while the new wagon was being
considered, the Superintendent had "One of the English Waggons ... alter'd & set up upon the
same principle, & reduced in Weight from 1350 lb to 900 lb, & made up very serviceable, &
with some still lighter."35
All in all, the wagons used to carry regimental and army baggage began as a hodgepodge and
probably remained so, ranging from sturdy, well-made vehicles, to "country waggons" and carts
of varying quality. Given the needs of the armies, difficulties in procuring equipment, and
diversity of campaign conditions, standardization of transport most likely was never achieved.
Pack Horses. An alternative to wagons were pack or bat horses. One work defines a bat horse as
one that "carried the baggage of an army officer. From French 'bat' [for] 'packsaddle.' In 1757
Washington wrote, 'the officers provided bat horses at their own expense.'" In the Continental
Army that appellation was often used for officer's packhorses, but also described horses carrying
other baggage. In a reconsideration of practices then current in the army, Brigadier General
Jedediah Huntingdon in 1778 suggested, "The fewer the Waggons to the Army, the better, as the
March of Troops is always greatly impeded, and Enterprizes often frustrated by their Delays —
if Batt Horses could be substituted, they would be preferable — a Waggon of four Horses
generally carries about forty Tents — each weighing about twelve pounds — the four Horses,
therefore, carrying 10 or 12 Tents each, would transport as much as the Waggon."36

Pack horse images, likely Prussian (undated, circa mid-eighteenth century). Plates
(unbound) from the Society of the Cincinnati collections (courtesy of Marko Zlatich). The
Society of the Cincinnati, 2118 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008.

The first large-scale use of packhorses was by Major General John Sullivan's army in
Pennsylvania and New York. Due to the rough country the army had to traverse, this mode of
carriage was used from the first, and Sullivan mentioned the horses in several directives.
Wyoming, Pennsylvania, 15 July 1779, "As waggons will not be wanted in this army, the
Commander in chief directs that those which properly belong to the army be sent to the fort at
Wyoming ... The horses now annexed to those waggons will be used either as riding or pack
horses & the enlisted waggoners employed as pack horsemen." Wyoming, 27 July 1779, "Every
article in every department that can possibly be loaded on Pack horses is to be fixed for that
purpose and carried in that manner." "Hd.Qrs. Quilutimak 2d August" 1779 (en route to Tioga),
"The baggage to be loaded on horseback to be fitted this evening in the best manner for loading.
All the articles of baggage on board the boats which can be conveniently be carried on horseback
will be taken out this day & fixed for that purpose."37
During the reorganization of Armand's Legion in February 1782, the unit's commander
enumerated camp equipment and transport needed for thirty-three commissioned and staff
officers, and 362 noncommissioned officers and privates. One marquee, ten horseman's tents,
thirty common tents, eight bat horses, and three four-horse wagons were included. Colonel
Armand noted, "The 30 common tents will be insufficient unless they are made very large....
Their weight, of consequence, will be less, [and] require, in the whole, fewer waggons, or bathorses. Two thirds of the tent poles will also be sufficient. The bat-horses are destined for the
carriage of the tents. For this purpose eight pack saddles will be requisite. There should also be
eight oil cloths to cover the tents, to preserve them from rain, which, as they may be kept packed
up for two or three days together in warm weather, would soon rot them, — and to prevent an
increase in weight, which in long rains would be very injurious to the horses: for a tent
thoroughly wet weighs just double as much as when dry."38
Soldiers as Beasts of Burden. On rare occasions soldiers carried tent equipage. General orders,
Washington's army, 2 September 1776, "When regiments march away in future, the officers are
to see that the men take their tent-poles in their hands — All their Tin-Camp-Kettles, and see the
Tents tied up very carefully, and a sufficient guard left to take care of them." On 17 October
General Washington stated, “As the Movements of the Enemy make an Alteration of our
position necessary, and some Regiments are to move towards them, the commanding and the
other Officers of Regiments, are to see the following Orders punctually executed.--The Tents are
to be struck, and carefully rolled, the men to take the Tent poles in their hands.” This was likely
done because of transportation shortages, as evidenced by the remainder of the order: “two Men
out of a Company with a careful Subaltern, to go with the Baggage, and not leave it on any
pretence--No Packs (unless of Sick Men) Chairs, Tables, Benches or heavy lumber, to be put on
the Waggons--No person, unless unable to walk, is to presume to get upon them--The Waggons
to move forward before the Regiments, the QuarterMaster having first informed himself from the
Brigadier, or Brigade Major, where they are to pitch …”39
British soldiers' tents were also carried in regimental wagons, again with infrequent
exceptions. 40th Regiment orders, 20 May 1777, near Amboy, New Jersey: "The Regt: to Parade
to morrow Morning at Half past Eigt: with Armes Accoutiments and Necessarys the last to be
Properley Packd: & Slung in their Blanketts / the men to Carrey their tents and Other camp
Equipage as the Waggons will be Employd: in Carriing straw." Evidently the troops were taking
to their tents for the first time that year. A 12 May directive suggests this: “Head Qurters Amboy
… 12th May 1777 ... All the British Regiments in Garrison to send Imeadatley for thier Camp
Equipag to be in Red[y]ness to Take the Field on a Minutes Warning.” On May 20th the regiment
removed from their winter lodgings, carrying the tents only a short. Another 20 May order related,
“The Regiments to Encamp to morrow morning at 9 Oclock … the straw on Board the sloop to be
taken up to the Ground to Morrow morning at 8 Oclock by the Wagns of the Regts: who are to
Encamp ...”40

Wooden tent poles were also commonly carried in wagons, but a November 1776 order, and a
series of summer 1777 orders, indicate that the men occasionally bore them. Forty-second
Regiment, 13 November 1776, “The men [are] to Carry their Tent Poles and [are] not to put
them on the waggons"; Fortieth Regiment, "Evening Regl: Orders 8 oClock 21st: June 77 The
Tent poles & Camp Kettles to be carried by the men on the march" (that day the army marched
from New Brunswick to “witht[in]. the lines at Amboy”). Prior to crossing to Staten Island from
“the heights near Coals ferry” "A[fter] :R[egimental]:O[rders] 10 at nigt: [1 July 1777]” stipulated
“The Tents to be struck & the Waggons loaded by 4 to morrow morning if the Wether is fare—
The men to carry their tent poles & Camp Kettles." Once again, the march distance was short.41
Watercraft. Land transport was not the only option. Waterways could present an obstacle to a
marching army or serve as a highway for moving troops and supplies. Throughout the war the
Delaware River crossings at Coryell's Ferry and Trenton were important arteries for movement,
but 1777 saw the height of their use by the army. Even before; the year's campaign opened,
provisions were made to facilitate ferrying over large numbers of soldiers. On 30 May W.
Masters informed the commander in chief that he had reached "Corrells wth: a Continental Fleet
consisting of eight-flat bottom boats, fixed on Carrages; we expect a reinforsement of twelve by
friday next all [of] w[hi]ch:... shall... be kept on the Carrages untill further Orders." Evidently the
intention was to move as many vessels to Coryell's as possible, Masters asking whether carriages
should be sent "to Philadelphia as the most expeditious method to get the whole Fleet to their
destined Post; knowing the allmost imposability of procuring such Carrages in Philadelphia]."
He went on to note that the flat-bottomed boats already at Coryell's "will carry thirty men each,"
and also that "We have at Trenton lower Ferry twenty boats built to transport 100 men each, &
five artillary scows / five other scows will be ready at ower return built to carry two field peeses
the Company [gunners and matrosses] & apparatus; the last mentioned boats & scows are large
& [it] will be expensive pooling [i.e., pulling] them to Correls therefore request your ... orders ...
should your Excellency think it necessary to have them up. Major Corell informs us the boats he
has & what he can collect at a short notice will carry over 40 wagons p[er] Day." The size and
construction of these vessels is not known, but dimensions for two large scows were given in an
April 1781 return: one at West Point measured 50 feet long, 16 feet wide, with a "Depth" of 3
feet;" another scow at Fishkill Landing was 60 feet long by 13 feet wide. In February 1782
General Washington requested Timothy Pickering to "keep all the great Scows in constant repair,
and as they are so convenient for transporting the Army on a sudden emergency, I should be glad
to have the number augmented."42
River crossings had their hazards. On 30 July 1777, Captain John Chilton noted that his
Virginia regiment "marched to Howels Ferry on Delaware [River] opposite Browns on the
Pennsylvania side.... [July] 31st. about 11 [o'clock] ordered to cross the River, had the
misfortune of having our Waggon overset in fording the River.... the Waggon and chief of the
Tents were lost.... encamped about 2 Miles from R[ive]r. our Regt. were obliged to take [to] the
woods for want [of] Tents." In 1781 the Pennsylvania regiments under General Anthony Wayne
marched south to join the Marquis de Lafayette. Several officers described an incident during
their 31 May crossing of the Potomac. Ensign Ebenezer Denny: "here we were detained for want
of craft — boats few and in bad condition. The artillery passed over first.... The second flat-boat
had left the shore about forty yards, when the whole sunk. Several women were on board; but as
hundreds of men were on the bank, relief soon reached them; none were lost — got all over."
Captain John Davis' account gives a few more details: "reach'd Powtomack [at Nowland's Ferry]
... which in crossing in Squows [another officer called them 'bad scows'], one unfortunately sunk
loaded with (artilry, & Q[uarter] M[aster] Stores &) men, in which one Sergeant and three men
were drowned."43

Bateaux of this size were called for by the Continental Army in 1781. Floor dimensions: 25 feet long
by 5 1/2 feet wide; height of sides, 1 foot 10 inches. Described as having a "Sharp head & stem" and
a carrying capacity of 40 men. "Dimensions of a [flat Bottomed Boat or] Batteaux" (December
1780), Numbered Record Books Concerning Military Operations and Service, Pay and Settlement
of Accounts, and Supplies in the War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records,
Record Group 93, National Archives Microfilm Publications M853, vol. 103, reel 29, 29.

Bateau and crew, pictured during a special event, portraying Connecticut soldiers rowing up
the LeChute River in 1775. After wagons, bateaux were the workhorse of the Continental
Army, and by far the most numerous vessel used during the war. They were an important
component of Benedict Arnold’s 1775 march to Quebec, any and all movements by water in
the northern theater, and were heavily relied upon during Maj. Gen. John Sullivan’s 1779
campaign against the Iroquois. In August 1782 a large fleet of bateaux transported Gen.
George Washington’s forces from West Point downriver to Verplank’s Point, the last large
Continental Army field encampment in the north. (Photograph courtesy of Fort
Ticonderoga.)

The "flat bottom boats" and "scows" on the Delaware and Hudson Rivers were intended
primarily for crossing from one bank to the other; for long-distance travel up or down rivers,
vessels called bateaux were commonly used. Bateaux, called by historian Russell Bellico "the
workhorse of the military," are commonly associated with Benedict Arnold's march to Quebec in
1775, but they also saw extensive service with British and American forces in northern New
York and Canada, as well as on the lower Hudson River. Probably of Dutch origin, these vessels
had been used by the French in America since the 17th century, and were a primary mode of
transport for both sides in the northern campaigns of the French and Indian War (1754-1763).44
Bateaux, usually propelled by oars, could be poled in shallow water, and were sometimes
fitted with sails. Bellico notes that the "typical bateau on Lake George during [the mideighteenth century] ... was 25-35 feet long and held approximately 22 soldiers with provisions.
The vessel was a flat-bottomed, double-ended boat with oak frames (ribs) and bottoms of pine
planks ... One or two 'steersman' would control the direction of the bateau from the stern by use
of a long sweep (oar)." Several bateaux sunk during 1758 in Lake George by the British army,
and recovered in 1960, had "a 32 foot bottom length (34 feet overall)." In spring of 1776 Charles
Carroll, part of a three-man Congressional Committee, described a bateau on which he passed
Lake George as "36 feet long and 8 feet wide... and [able to] carry 30 or 40 men.... They are
rowed ... [and] have a mast fixed in them to which square sail or a blanket is fastened." Large
bateaux such as these could not be portaged over land, as was done by Arnold's soldiers in 1775,
as easily as smaller versions.45 Continental Army specifications for "a [flat Bottomed Boat or]
Batteaux" (December 1780) called for these dimensions:
feet
Length upon the floor
25
Width upon the floor Midships
5
6
Width midships from Gunwhale to height Gunwhale 6
4
perpendicular height of the sides in board
1 10
Sharp head & stern
This document also noted that "Such a boat will carry 40 men & has been found by Major Darby
the best size to transport on carriages;" the bateaux used by Washington's troops in the move to
Verplanks Point in 1782 were likely of this size (see below).46
After 1777, large-scale military activity ceased on the Canadian frontier, most troops moving
southward. In autumn 1779 the Pennsylvania Division, then at West Point, was ordered to winter
quarters near Morristown, New Jersey. The divisional baggage (including tents) was absent for
part of the journey as noted by Lieutenant Colonel Josiah Harmar: "November 20th: [1779] ...
Struck our Tents at Gun firing — Baggage put on board Batteaus for New Windsor — The
Division march'd about Ten O'Clock A.M. by the Forest of Dean, a very rough stony Road, and
halted about half a Mile from Junes's Tavern; very disagreeable rainy Night and having no Tents,
the Men suffered greatly."47
Three years later, in February 1782, Washington received a "Return of public Boats and Water
Craft" listing "upwards of 200 Batteaux either fit for use or capable of being repaired." The
commander in chief described these craft as the "species of Boats [which] will probably be the
most essentially necessary." Their usefulness became apparent on 31 August 1782, when "the
first considerable move... attempted by water was made" by a large portion of Washington's
army down the Hudson, from West Point to Verplanks Point. The voyage was made in a fleet of
bateaux, "with the utmost regularity and good order." Detailed instructions covering every aspect
of the movement were issued, including disposition of baggage: General orders, 30 August,
"Precisely at five o'clock tomorrow morning ... the tents and baggage of the two Connecticut and
three Massachusetts Brigades are to be put into the batteaux... The boats of each regiment are to

keep a breast and far enough a part to prevent interference; the Companies will embark as they
are formed on the parade, and observe that order... No batteau is to be without a commissioned
officer in it." The bateaux carried only soldiers and baggage, with artillery and excess baggage
travelling by land to "join their respective corps at Verplanks point."48
We have looked at soldiers' living conditions, types of tentage used by the armies, shortages
due to supply or the circumstances of active campaigning, and different modes of transport. As
noted, tents were largely preferred for shelter, but from the ancient wars of Asia and Europe,
through the American wars of the 18th and 19th centuries, down to the present day, soldiers
could not always rely on the availability of tentage, and used houses, barns, churches, shelters
built on the spot, or "Lay in the open world," as necessity dictated. The conditions under which
makeshift shelters were built, their frequency of use, and construction, are examined in the next
section of this study.

Reproduction of Gen. George Washington’s sleeping marquee, joint project of Colonial
Williamsburg and the Museum of the American Revolution.
The First Oval Office, https://www.facebook.com/FirstOvalOffice?fref=ts

Above: The Oval Office staff in summer 2013 produced, in addition to the marquee and
inner sleeping chamber, one British cavalry tent, one British and two American common
tents, fourteen hunting shirts, forty-odd knapsacks (David Uhl style), a small number of
haversacks, and about two hundred and twenty wooden tent pins.

Acknowledgements
A number of people deserve recognition for their contributions to this study. Linnea Bass, Chuck
Beale, Ted Filer, Stephen Gilbert, Justin Grabowski, Don N. Hagist, Charles LeCount, Donald
Londahl-Smidt, Roy Najecki, Steve Rayner, John K. Robertson, and Will Tatum all supplied
important information, images, or much-needed advice. André Gousse, Military Curator, Parks
Canada, kindly gave me information on, and period illustrations of, 18th century French tents.
James Kochan first made me aware of Timothy Pickering's 1781 letter concerning problems with
tents and size specifications, and contributed other pertinent documents. Illustrations are always
important but sometimes difficult to obtain. Ross Hamel has been a good and patient friend as
well as a superb artist, and Marko Zlatich provided the 1781 sketches and specifications for
several types of tents used by the Continental Army as well as additional primary material on the
subject. Finally, Dr. David Fowler and the David Library of the American Revolution have
again proven to be an invaluable resource, providing crucial support and encouragement for my
research and writing. My thanks to all.

Related Articles
Part one of this series:
"`We ... got ourselves cleverly settled for the night': Soldiers' Shelter on Campaign
During the War for Independence,"
part I, "`Oznabrig tabernacles’: Tents in the Armies of the Revolution":
1. “Put our Men into barns …”: The Vagaries of Shelter
2. "We Lay in the open world": Troops Without Shelter on Campaign
3. "State of Marquees and Tents delivered to the Army...": Varieties of Tentage
a. British Common Tents
b. American Common Tents
c. Horseman’s and Cavalry Tents
d. Wall Tents
e. Marquees
f. Bell Tents for Sheltering Arms
g. Dome, Square, and Hospital Tents
h. French Tents
4. "Return of Camp Equipage": More on Tents.

Appendices
A.
B.
C.
D.

Illustrations of French Tents
The Common Tent as Illustrated in a German Treatise
How to Fold a Common Tent for Transport (from a German Treatise)
Interior Views of Common Tents: Sleeping Arrangements in Three
Armies
E. A Melange of Marquees: Additional Images of Officers’ Tents
F. Encampment Plans: Continental Army, Hessian, and British
1. Friedrich Wilhelm de Steuben, Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the
Troops of the United States Part I. (Philadelphia, Pa.: Styner and Cist, 1779)
2. “A Correct View of the Hessian Camp on Barton Farm near Winchester … by
Willm. Godson, Land Surveyor to the Right Worshipful the Corporation of
Winchester occupé le 16 Juillet 1756”
3. Lewis Lochee, An Essay on Castrametation (London, 1778)
(British treatise on tents and encampments.)
4. Humphrey Bland, A treatise of military discipline: in which is laid down and
explained the duty of the officer and soldier, through the several branches of the
service. The 8th edition revised, corrected, and altered to the present practice of
the army (London: B. Law and T. Caslon, 1762).

Military Collector & Historian, vol. 49, no. 3 (Fall 1997), 98-107.
https://www.scribd.com/doc/262657282/Oznabrig-tabernacles-Tents-in-the-Armies-of-theRevolution-part-1-of-We-got-ourselves-cleverly-settled-for-the-night-Soldiers-Shelter

For more on army wagons, watercraft, and pack animals see:
“’Reach Coryels ferry. Encamp on the Pennsylvania side.’: The March from Valley Forge to
Monmouth Courthouse, 18 to 28 June 1778”
http://www.scribd.com/doc/133301501/“Reach-Coryels-ferry-Encamp-on-the-Pennsylvania-side-”-TheMarch-from-Valley-Forge-to-Monmouth-Courthouse-18-to-28-June-1778

Endnotes:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/133293312/Endnotes-“Reach-Coryels-ferry-Encamp-on-the-Pennsylvania-side-”The-March-from-Valley-Forge-to-Monmouth-Courthouse-18-to-28-June-1778

Contents
1. “We struck our tents and loaded our baggage.”: Leaving Valley Forge
2. Progress, June 18, 1778.
3. Progress, June 19, 1778.
4. “Crost the dilliware pushed on about 5 milds …”: June 20, 1778: Progress and a River Crossing
5. “4 Wagons & Horses, and 1000 Men at a Try.”: The Mechanics of Ferrying an Army
6. “Halt on the first strong ground after passing the Delaware ...”: June 20th River Crossing
7. “The number of boats … will render the passage of the troops very expeditious.”:
June 21st Ferry Operation
8. “The Troops are passing the River … and are mostly over.”: June 22d Crossing
9. “The Army will march off …”: June 22d and 23d, Camp at Amwell Meeting
10. “Just after we halted we sent out a large detachment …”: Camp and Council: Hopewell
Township, 23 to 24 June
11. “Giving the Enemy a stroke is a very desireable event …”: Advancing to Englishtown,
24 to 28 June
a. Progress, June 25, 1778.
b. Progress, June 26, 1778.
c. Progress, June 27, 1778.
d. Forward to Battle, June 28, 1778.
12. “Our advanced Corps … took post in the evening on the Monmouth Road …”:
Movements of Continental Detachments Followng the British, 24 to 28 June 1778
a. The Advance Force: Scott’s, Wayne’s, Lafayette’s, and Lee’s Detachments.
b. Daily Movements of Detachments Later Incorporated into Lee’s Advanced Corps.
13. Echoes of 1778, Three Years After.
Addendum
1. Driving Directions, Continental Army Route from Valley Forge to Englishtown
2. Day by Day Recap of Route
3. The Road to Hopewell.
4. The Bungtown Road Controversy.
5. Weather During the Monmouth Campaign
6. Selected Accounts of the March from Valley Forge to Englishtown
a. Fifteen-year-old Sally Wister
b. Surgeon Samuel Adams, 3rd Continental Artillery
c. Henry Dearborn, lt. colonel, 3rd New Hampshire Regiment
d. Captain Paul Brigham, 8th Connecticut Regiment
e. Sergeant Ebenezer Wild, 1st Massachusetts Regiment
f. Sgt. Jeremiah Greenman, 2d Rhode Island Regiment
g. Dr. James McHenry, assistant secretary to General Washington
7. List of Related works by the author on military material culture and the Continental Army
Endnotes contain:
1. Army General and Brigade Orders, June 1778.
a. Orders Regulating the Army on the March from Valley Forge.
b. Orders Issued During the Movement from Valley Forge to Englishtown.
2. Division and Brigade Composition for Washington’s Main Army to 22 June 1778
3. Washington’s army vehicle allotment for the march to Coryell’s Ferry,
4. Wheeled Transportation (a primer on the vehicles and artillery on the road to
Monmouth, including twenty-one illustrations)
5. Division and Brigade Composition for Washington’s Main Army after 22 June 1778

"`Employed in carrying cloathing & provisions': Wagons and Watercraft During the War for
Independence" (abbreviated article):
Part I. "`Country Waggons,' `Tumbrils,' and `Philadelphia Carts': Wheeled Transport in
The Armies of the Revolution," ALHFAM Bulletin, vol. XXIX, no. 3 (Fall
1999), 4-9, and The Continental Soldier, vol. XII, no. 2 (Winter 1999), 18-25.
http://www.continentalline.org/articles/article.php?date=9902&article=990202

"`The uses and conveniences of different kinds of Water Craft’: Continental Army Vessels
on Inland Waterways, 1775-1782”
http://www.scribd.com/doc/208475142/The-uses-and-conveniences-of-different-kinds-ofWater-Craft-Continental-Army-Vessels-on-Inland-Waterways-1775-1782
Table of Contents:
(page)
1
2-8
3
4
4
8
8-11
8
9
11
12-34
12-16
16-19
19-20
20-22
22-28
28-34
34-52
52-54
52-53
53
53
53
54
54-57
57-58
59-64
59-60
60-64
64-77

Introduction
“In transporting of stores.”: Sailing Vessels
Sloop
Schooner
Pettiauger
Shallop
“A Thirty two Pounder in the Bow ”: Rowed Vessels for River Defense
Gunboat
Galley
Xebec
“4 Wagons & Horses, and 1000 Men at a Try.”
Flat-Bottomed Transport for Soldiers, Supplies, and Vehicles
Ferry Boats and River Crossings
Scows and Flatbottom Boats
Barge
Durham Boat
Bateaux
Wagon Boat
1781 Campaign: Bateaux, Flat Boats, Wagon Boats and Other Craft
“For the purpose of sounding Haverstraw Bar.”: Miscellaneous Small Craft
Whale Boat
Skiff
Rowboat
Wherry
Round-futtock Boat
“The best Oars men in the Army”: Soldiers Serving in Boat Crews and at Ferries
Conclusion
Addendum
I. British Military Flatboats and Landing Craft
II. More on Bateaux in the 1776 New York and Canadian Campaign
Endnotes

“’Make use of Pack-Horses as far as may be practicable ...’: Baggage Carried on Horseback during the
American War, 1776 to 1781”
Contents
American Campaigns, 1755-1764.
The British Army in 1776.
The 1777 Campaign.
Marching Through New Jersey, 1778.
Going Against the Iroquois, 1779.
Continental Army, 1780-1782.
Cornwallis’s Campaigns, 1781.
Addenda: Miscellaneous Pack Saddle Images and Narratives

http://www.scribd.com/doc/132177295/%E2%80%9C-Make-use-of-Pack-Horses-as-far-as-may-bepracticable-Baggage-Carried-on-Horseback-during-the-American-War-1776-to-1781

_____________________

English ammunition wagon, circa 1757. Overall length is 26 feet; the cargo-carrying body is 14 feet
long by 4 feet wide. Most Continental army ammunition wagons were likely made with four wheels.
John Muller, A Treatise of Artillery, 3rd edition (London, John Millan, 1780; 1st edition, 1757;
reprinted by Museum Restoration Service, Bloomfield, Ontario, 1977), plate XX.

Appendix
British Army Wheeled Transport in the American War: A Primer
According to Edward Curtis’s The British Army in the American Revolution, in spring 1776 “three
hundred four–horse wagons were sent to the forces under Howe and Carleton. These were built under the
directions of the Ordnance board by a Mr. Fitzherbert at a contract price of £31: 11: 6 apiece [most likely
the large English wagons].” In all, 523 wagons were used by the British army between 25 December 1776
and 31 March 1777, that number increasing to 763 from April to June 1777, and to 1,376 in the three
months after that. The loss of between 40 and 50 wagons in the 20 January 1777 Millstone action, was
hardly insignificant, especially considering the crucial need for food and forage, but quickly made up by
Crown forces.1
Interestingly, the large English wagons were a matter of some contention within the British army.
Francis Rush Clark, "Inspector and Superintendent of His Majesty's Provision Train of Wagons and
Horses," wrote extensively on transport problems in 1776 and 1777. "Nothing, but absolute necessity,

can justify the hiring [of] Carriage for the Army, which must always be incompleat, & attended with
considerably more expence, than having it the property of the Crown ... The English Waggons, sent
over for the use of the Army, were undoubtedly much heavyer, than was either necessary or proper. It
furnish'd a plausible excuse for not useing them ...” Clark’s recital of deficiencies in the hired wagons
used as replacements seems to highlight the positive attributes of the English wagons: “Orders were
given, to hire Country Waggons in preference ... Nothing of this sort could be constructed more unfit for
an Army. They are so slight, as to be perpetually in want of repair. The Harness is made of slight leather
& ropes, instead of Chains. These were taken promiscuously from the Farmers on Long Island & Staten
Island, & some from the Jerseys. Many of them in a wretch'd Condition, & none having any Cover, to
protect their Loading."2
_____________________

The "large English" wagons used by the British army in 1776 and 1777 were likely similar
in size and style to English carrier’s wagons of the period. This example, built at Colonial
Williamsburg and completed in late 2007, weighs approximately 2,700 pounds. (Wagon
constructed by the Colonial Williamsburg wheelwright shop; photo courtesy of same.)

"A Country Waggon from Long Island & New York" (drawn circa 1778), also known as a "Dutch"
wagon. Francis Rush Clark, "Inspector and Superintendent of His Majesty's Provision Train of
Wagons and Horses," wrote: "These were taken promiscuously from the Farmers on Long Island &
Staten Island, & some from the Jerseys. Many of them in a wretch'd Condition, & none having any
Cover, to protect their Loading." "Narrative of Occurences, relative to His Majesty's Provision Train
in North America," (circa 1778), Francis Rush Clark Papers (no. 2338), Sol Feinstone Collection,
David Library of the American Revolution. Drawing courtesy of the David Library, Washington
Crossing, Pa.)
The "large English" wagon was likely similar in size to the "Carrier's wagon" commonly used in Great
Britain during the period of the American Revolution. Like Clark's "large English," carrier's wagons were
noted to be of "great weight." Both were probably the type known as a box wagon, with large wheels, and
able to carry heavy loads over rough road surfaces, though Superintendent Clark still deemed them
unsuited for use in America.3 Francis Clark compiled a comparative listing of the different vehicles, used
by the British army in America:

"The Weight of the Waggons of the Army."
The large English

[hundredweight]
13: 3:

The Philadelphia [two examples]
&

13: 3: 11
13: 2: _

The Dutch or American [four examples]

7. _. _.
7. 2. _.
8. _. _.
8. _. _.

The English reduced

8. 2. _.

A new Waggon with Rope Sides &
7. _. _.
Bottom, runs light & handy
NB This Waggon has been greatly approved by all that
have seen it, as the best & most fit for American Service.4
Wheelwright John Boag and Apprentice Andrew De Lisle provide details of an English carrier’s wagon
completed in late 2007 by the Colonial Williamsburg Wheelwright Shop, which, despite the weight
difference, gives some idea of British Army large English wagons’ dimensions:
Bed length
Bed Length at top rail height
Width
Height of sides

- 11 feet 4 inches
- 11 feet 11 1/4 inches
- 3' feet 9 1/4 inches
- 2 feet 3/4 inches 5

____________________ _________

Drawing of a English reduced wagon recommended by British Superintendent of Wagons
and Horses Francis Rush Clark to replace the cumbersome large English wagons.
"Narrative of Occurences, relative to His Majesty's Provision Train in North America,"
(circa 1778), Francis Rush Clark Papers (no. 2338), Sol Feinstone Collection, Courtesy of
the David Library of the American Revolution, Washington Crossing, Pa.

The weight of the large English wagons limited or precluded off–road travel, likely explaining the ease
of their capture at Millstone, and that operation may have contributed to their being sidelined in favor of
lighter vehicles. In any case Superintendent Clark was intent on lessening the weight of wagons and
enhancing their durability. One of his solutions was "The English reduced" wagon, a modification of the
"large English." He was "Greatly distress'd at seeing the English Waggons & Stores, sent over at a
considerable expence, remain unemployed ... With this view, I had several of the Waggons reconstructed, by
which means I reduced the Weight from thirteen hundred & a half, to Eight hundred & a half, This made
them very little heavyer than the Country Waggons, & in every respect better & more compleat, besides the
advantage of Covers, to protect the bread & baggage & screen the sick & Wounded." A "new Waggon,"
designed by Clark, was proposed for adoption by the British army. "The Body of this Waggon is 10 Feet
long, & 3 Feet 6 Inches wide, The Sides are 18 Inches high, & turn down with hinges; a Box before, a hind
Board framed light, to take off at pleasure, The Hind Wheels 4 Feet 8 Inches high, & the Fore Wheels 3 Feet
8 Inches high ... This Waggon is made 4 Inches lower before than behind, which greatly facilitates the
draught & light going, & the floor & Sides are made of Rope, spun of old Cordage, as few or no boards are to
be purchased in these times; But if thought better, the floor & sides might be made with thin, light battins, flat
hoops or twisted hay." (This sounds very like John Muller's description of the earlier ammunition wagon
which could also transport "bread, it being lined around in the inside with basket work.") Not one to wait
complacently while the new wagon was being considered, the Superintendent had "One of the English
Waggons ... alter'd & set up upon the same principle, & reduced in Weight from 1350 lb to 900 lb, & made
up very serviceable, & with some still lighter." In this manner the large English wagons, minus those
captured at Millstone, were relegated to special uses or converted to “English reduced” wagons.6

(For details on the fate of the large English wagons in early 1777 see, Rees, “`The road appeared to be full
of red Coats …’: The Battle of Millstone, 20 January 1777: An Episode in the Forage War,” Military
Collector & Historian, vol. 62, no. 1
(Spring 2010), 24-35. http://www.scribd.com/doc/123985060/%E2%80%9C-The-road-appeared-tobe-full-of-red-Coats-%E2%80%A6-An-Episode-in-the-Forage-War-The-Battle-of-Millstone-20January-1777 )
Afterward: Francis Clark executed drawings of several locally-built wagons used during the war. In
addition to a simple two-wheeled "Philadelphia Cart," he drew and described a "Philadelphia Waggon"
(length, 12 feet 3 inches; width, wheel to wheel, inside measurements, 6 feet 3 inches; height of sides, 10
inches), and the "Country Waggon from Long Island & New York" (length, 9 feet 10 inches; wagon body,
front, 30 inches wide by 20 1/2 high; body rear, 41 inches wide by 34 inches high). Clark noted, "A great
number of the Country Waggons ... are put together in a most clumsy manner."18
The last-named wagon is of particular interest. Francis Clark noted that the "Country Waggons" "generally
used in this province [New York], are the sort introduced by the first Dutch Settlers, & the same now made
use of in Holland." He also wrote that "Many of these Waggons have straight Sides." Clark's drawing shows
a vehicle with sloping concave side boards (called a "curved profile" by J. Geraint Jenkins, in his work The
English Farm Wagon), similar to a Dutch wagon pictured in the late-16th century painting Siege of
s'Hertogenbosch by Van Hillegaert. While the profile of the late-18th century wagon is the same, the body of
the earlier version "consists of a large number of wooden spindles running from a straight frame to a top-rail
..." Mr. Jenkins also notes that a "large number of sixteenth and seventeenth-century prints and drawings
show exactly the same type of vehicle in Britain."19
Sources: Colored drawings and descriptions of wagons in "Narrative of Occurences, relative to His Majesty's
Provision Train in North America," (circa 1778), Francis Rush Clark Papers, no. 2338, Sol Feinstone
Collection, David Library of the American Revolution, Washington Crossing, Pa. (hereafter cited as
"Narrative of Occurences," Clark Papers, Feinstone Collection, PWacD); J. Geraint Jenkins, The English
Farm Wagon (Wiltshire, U.K., 1972), 9-13.
(Appendix continued below)

"A Philadelphia Waggon" used by the British army in Pennsylvania. "Narrative of Occurences,
relative to His Majesty's Provision Train in North America," (circa 1778), Francis Rush Clark Papers
(no. 2338), Sol Feinstone Collection, David Library of the American Revolution. Drawing courtesy of
the David Library, Washington Crossing, Pa.)

____________________
Francis Clark’s commentary gains perspective when laid alongside the “Proceedings of a Board of
General Officers of the British Army at New York, 1781.” Among a myriad of other subjects, that
collection of documents lays out the structure and workings of the wagon department up to 1781.
Appended are several letters on Crown forces wheeled transportation, with a preface outlining the
contents of each.
“Proceedings of a Board of General Officers of the British Army at New York, 1781,” Collections of
the New-York Historical Society for the Year 1916, vol. XLIX (New York: Printed for the Society,
1916)
“PREFACE THIS volume contains the proceedings of a Board of General Officers of the British
Army at New York, appointed by Sir Henry Clinton, August 7, 1781 to consider the expenditure of
public money in the different departments established by him when he succeeded to the command
of the British Army at New York.
The volume is of great local interest, and has among other items a return of men, women and
children in the British Regiments victualled in New York, in the Civil Department and in Foreign
Regiments, with Muster Roll of Assistants, Overseers, Coopers, Laborers, Artificers in various
departments and where employed, and covers Brooklyn and this city; also list of vessels, giving
names of masters, and a comparative view of the expenses in different departments of the Army
from December 17, 1775, to December 5, 1781, under Sir William Howe and Sir Henry Clinton.
The original manuscript volume is in the Archives of the Society.”

_______________

(This missive focuses on wagons used for hauling provisions for the army, and the circumstances of
their employment from 1775 to 1777. Horses for light infantry and German Jaegers are mentioned
in passing.)
[pages 71-73]
New York 17th August 1781
H. Chads Agent.
We are at a loss to conjecture the cause of the great Excess in the last periods and will be obliged to
you to give us your ideas on the cause of encrease of expence as far as relates to your Department."
In answer to what relates to the Quarter Master General's Department, we as acting for him in his
absence shall endeavour to give our ideas as Circumstantially as the distance of the time will admit of,
and as far as come within our knowledge, both before and since our appointments to the Department.
From 13th Decembr 1775 to the 17 March [1776] the Troops under Sir William Howe remained
in Boston and Charles Town Heights without any movement to occasion any great expence.
From 17th March to the Month of June [1776] following this small Army went to Halifax where
they remained for some time, and from thence went to Staten Island, where they remained for the
reinforcement from Europe.
After the landing upon Long Island the Troops were never at such a distance from the water as
to admit of the necessity of many Waggons being employed to supply them with Provisions &c,
during the remaining part of the campaign towards the White Plains Provisions were always
conveyed by water to a few miles distance from the Army. The great exertions and readiness of the
Navy to supply whatever was demanded by the General made Land Carriage very easy.
In November [1776] a Detachment of the Army under the command of Sir Henry Clinton
embarked at New York to go to Rhode Island. A part of the Army returned to New York and
another [page 72] went to the Jersies under Lord Cornwallis; who was enabled to live mostly upon
the Country, which at that time was plentifully stocked & the Inhabitants so much panic struck
that Cattle &c could be collected without risk & continued so all the March to Trenton where the
inhabitants seemed very willing (in order to show their seal) to draw in whatever was wanted; by
this means the Land Carriage was had upon reasonable terms.
As this zeal was but of very short duration it became absolutely necessary to draw a supply of
Salt Provisions &c to the different Cantonments allotted to the Troops in the Jerseys from New
York, and for this purpose a number of small Craft fit for the Navigation of the Rivers &c were
ordered to be taken into the Service, and an Agent appointed who had the sole management and
direction of them, and by his Certificates only they were paid by the Quarter Master General.
Before this period the Quarter Master General had the sole direction of the water as well as Land
Carriage.
Thus we have endeavoured to account for the smallness of the Expenditures in the Department
for upwards of twelve Months of the Periods mentioned, commencing the 13th of December 1775
occasioned by the particular Situation of the Army.
During the winter 1776 and 1777 no further supply's of provisions were received from the
Country in the Jersies on the contrary every kind of inveteracy was shown by the very Inhabitants
that had so short a time before taken the Oaths of Allegiance, so that no dependence was to be
placed upon them, this naturally caused an encrease of both Land and Water Carriage.
His Excellency Sir William Howe during this Winter ordered Sir William Erskine to provide
Waggons and Horses to form a Provision Train sufficient to supply the Army on an intended
forward move, which Sir William Erskine saved no pains to execute.
In the Month of June following a great number of small Craft and Horse Vessels were employed
to carry the Horses and Waggons, belonging to the Provision Train, Staff Officers and different
Corps, upon the Expedition from New York up the Chesapeak to the head of Elk.
[page 73]
After the arrival of the Troops at Philadelphia, the Provision Train was further compleated to
answer the exigencies of the Army for the opening of the next Campaign, which was in every
respect in good order at the time His Excellency Sir Henry Clinton took the Command.
It therefore appears that the heavy expences attending a large Provision Train &c &c and the encrease

of small Craft were only incurred for about twelve Months during the period mentioned while His
Excellency Sir William Howe commanded the Army. Likewise that the expenditure of the Departments
were higher at the period when His Excellency Sir Henry Clinton took the Command than they had been
from the Commencement of the War. The expences from the 1st April 1778 were likewise defrayed by
Warrants granted by His Excellency Sir Henry Clinton besides Bat and Forage Money granted to the
Troops at New York for 1777 which could not be brought into account before Sir William Howe left the
Command.
We are therefore convinced that a very large sum of money was paid by Warrants granted by His
Excellency Sir Henry Clinton for expences incurred, not only in this Department but in several
Departments of the Army during Sir William Howe's Command.
Several extraordinary expences were since that time incurred which has caused a considerable encrease
such as building Gun Boats and Batteaux to replace the English Flat bottomed Boats worn out in the
service the Navy not being able to furnish a sufficiency of Armed Vessels & Express Vessels, a number
have been fitted out and taken into the service which caused a very heavy expence; Guns and other
Articles furnished for Armed Boats.
The extraordinary expence incurred in fitting out the several Expeditions, occasions an encrease of
Craft and Armed Vessels. The purchasing Stores to be sent with them, also the pay of
Clerks, Storekeepers and Artificers retained for these extraordinary Services, and the great additional
expence always attending the taking possession of every Post.
The purchasing Horses for the mounted Light Infantry, Hessian Yagers & Provincial Cavalry
also sadlery and Accoutrements for the mounted Light Infantry and Jagers, the building [page 74]
and repairing of Hutts for the Troops Cantooned, the supply of Waggons & Horses &c for the
British Regiments that arrived in 1779 from Europe, as well as the Garrison from Rhode Island.
The Flank Companies from Halifax; and the supply of those Articles for Provincial Corps raised
within the last three Years.
The Quarter Master General having been always upon the spot until the 26th August 1780 he of course
communicated with his Excellency the Commander in Chief relating to the affairs of the Department. …
We have the honor to be &c &c &c
Henry Bruen
Archd Robertson

_______________
(This document focuses on the hire of horses and vehicles for the army, the unsuitability of the
large English wagons sent over (“too heavy and made of bad materials”), and the use of horses for
extra duties. Also mentions, “the situation of this Garrison in point of Fuel in the Winter 1779 and
80, when not only the lives of the soldiery but also a number of the Inhabitants were saved, by the
exertions of this Train in the Collecting and transporting of Fuel under Major Savage D.Q.M.
General who conducted it. “)
[pages 74-79]
His Excellency
Lieut Genl Robertson
&c &c &c
Also read Major Bruen and Major Robertson's letter of 17th instant as follows: —
New York 17th August 1781.
Sir:In consequence of the conversation Major Bruen had the honor to be a witness to on the 14th instant
before the Board of General Officers of which your Excellency is president which he communicated to
Major Robertson, they have the honor to lay before you and the other Gentlemen of that Board the
following account of the Quarter Master General's Department as far as is consistent with their knowledge

both before and since they have had the honor of serving in it.
With respect to the mode pursued for the supply of the Waggons & Horses contracted for the use
of the Army we understand that Lieut Colonel Sherriff who was the principal in [page 75] the
Department in 1775 and the greatest part of 1776 was ordered by the then Commanders in Chief to
supply those Articles for the Army as circumstances required by hiring them at a daily hire
according to the usual prices of the Country they were had in.
Sir William Erskine was appointed Qur. Mr. General in September 1776 but did not enter into
this part of the business of his Department 'till 1st Januy 1777 when having received the
Commander in Chiefs Instructions to pursue the same mode as was customary by hiring what
Horses and Waggons &c he should find necessary for the transportation of the Army's Provisions,
Stores, Baggage, Artillery, Ammunition, &c which he was to procure from the Country at a daily
hire as Lieut Colonel Sheriff his Predecessor had done.
Sir William Erskine did employ a number accordingly, which with, a few Horses and Waggons of
a Provision train sent from England under the Inspection of Mr Francis R. Clarke, he endeavored
to carry on the business of the Army. But when it was in contemplation to make a forward move in
March following the Train as it then stood was found insufficient by reason of the Country people
not chusing to follow the Army, and their unwillingness to serve Government.
The Waggons sent from England were found to be totally unfit for the Country being too heavy
and made of bad materials, the Horses were reduced (what with those taken by the Enemy and
those lost by Disorders contracted during their passage from England which they never recovered
of) to a small number, these circumstances obliged Sir William Erskine to lay their state before the
Commander in Chief, proposing a plan same time for the better establishing a Train that would be
equal to the exigencies of the service by purchasing Waggons and Horses on Government Account,
which His Excellency did not think proper to agree to, by reason of the recent example given of
those under Mr Clarke which cost Government upwards of £100000 Sterling without performing
hardly a days duty. He said that that mode would lead to such expences as never could be
ascertained.
His Excellency was therefore pleased to order Sir Willm Erskine to take that Branch under the
immediate care and [page 76] management of his own Department, and directed him to pursue the
same plan as was customary for all Qr Master Generals in this Country to do, by taking, Drivers,
Horses and Waggons into the Service at a daily hire according to the rates that were then
established, indemnifying the Proprietors for their Horses and Waggons in case of their being lost
at Sea or taken or destroyed by the Enemy according to their Value, should he find the same
inconvenience continue by the backwardness of the Country People to serve, he should fall upon
every method possible, by contracting with one or more men to furnish the number required.
Sir William Erskine accordingly set about establishing a Train which was done so effectually as
not to cause any disapointment to the movement of the Troops, as we humbly conceive will be
acknowleged by the Army at large.
And this we chiefly ascribe to those who were employed to purchase the best Horses and the best
kind of Carriages that could be had in the Country. There was no expence spared to effect this. And
by the uncommon pains labour and attention paid to those particulars, and by their having an
interest in the property of those Horses & Waggons they naturally took every care of them, they
have been in constant readiness to attend the movements and duty of the Army, besides giving
assistance to the several Departments Vizt.to the Engineer's in hawling materials for the
construction of Fortifications and Works in those Islands, the transportation and collecting of
Provisions, Forage and Fuel for the Commissary and Barrack Master General's Magazines and the
Carriage of those Provisions, Forage and Fuel to the different Quarters, Cantonments &
Encampments of the Army, likewise the bawling of Materials for the Building of Barracks and
Hutts. The Various duties attending on the Hospitals of the Army and Navy. The Pontoon Train for
the Carriage of Boats and Materials for constructing of Bridges. The supply of the Ship Yard in
hawling of Lumber from distant places for the building and repairing of armed Brigs, Sloops, Row
Gallies, Flat Boats, Batteaux, Whaleboats, Barges, Scows and Flats the fitting of Births in
Transports and Horse Vessels. [page 77]
Add to these that there are a Number of Horses constantly attached to the German Artillery as

also a number employed carrying Expresses the mounting of Guides and Conductors and the
transportation of Field Forges.
We presume to say there never was a supply of such magnitude better or more effectually complyed
with or better arranged than the Train of this Army, nor can we conceive a more Oeconomical plan could
have been adopted on the part of Government.
And tho' the exigencies of the service in this District did not require so large a Train constantly in
the Field, they have been at all times usefully employed.
To refer to one instance, we beg to call to mind the situation of this Garrison in point of Fuel in
the Winter 1779 and 80, when not only the lives of the soldiery but also a number of the Inhabitants
were saved, by the exertions of this Train in the Collecting and transporting of Fuel under Major
Savage D.Q.M. General who conducted it.
We now beg leave to say a few words respecting a paper laid before the Board of General Officers,
which they were pleased to show Major Bruen; stating the Hire of Vessels, Horses and Waggons in our
Department, drawing a comparison between the first cost of those articles and the Hire, in which it is
asserted that a saving to an amazing amount might be made for Government. We cannot help saying that,
on a full consideration of the contents of that paper, we believe the Author to be greatly misinformed, and
that we shall be able to show that his calculations are not grounded upon deliberate or solid principles.
We find ourselves exceedingly hurt by the insinuations and inuendoes so thrown out, as well on
account of our own Characters as of the Gentlemen from whom we received the charge of the Qur. Mr.
General's Department, whom we conceive had digested every matter with propriety & consistent with that
duty they owe their Country and their own honor. We have not deviated in the smallest degree from the
Instructions given in writing from time to time for the rule of our conduct, in the great & important trust
reposed in us. On the contrary have invariably pursued every measure as originally laid down & [page 78]
always practised in the Department which we conceive to be upon the most oeconomical plan for
Government & the good of the service.
From the experience we have had we are certain that upon a candid, clear and circumspect enquiry into
the Business at large, it will be found it is carried on with uprightness and Zeal, and that there is not any
measure pursued that can lead to such superfluous expences as is insinuated.
We understand that it is supposed a number of Horses, Waggons and Materials for Repairs are charged
to Government exclusive of their hire, which is not the case as the publick accounts of the Department
can ascertain; the only charges found for Horses and Waggons were to replace those lost on the
Expedition in 1777 to the Southward, amounting to about £6000 Sterling. There has not been a shilling
charged otherwise for the Train but the daily hire.
We are conversant in the Accounts of the Contractors for Vessels, Seamen, Drivers, Horses and
Waggons, which are the great Articles of expence. We can prove to demonstration that in many instances
there is a loss on the difference of the hire and outfits. And that if the Contractors had not an indulgence
in some particulars it would not be worth their while to undertake so arduous and laborious a business or
run the risk of so great a sum of money as they have engaged.
The expences incurred by the loss of Horses & purchasing materials for the repairs of the Train Yearly
are immense, and can be ascertained by Certificates of the death of Horses, the Vouchers of those bought
to replace them, and for the lumber, Plank, Iron, Cordage, Harness and Collar maker's Bills, and other
materials which have been purchased by the Contractors from time to time from different Merchants in
England, this Town and Neighbourhood.
However as we do not pretend to infalibility and as we may be mistaken, we are ready to submit to
better judgment and adopt any mode pointed out for the Interest of Government. And we beg leave to
assure your Excellency and the Gentlemen composing the Board, that there are no Men will more
chearfully submit in taking up and pursuing such ideas as may be [page 79] pointed out for the
entrenching of publick expences & whatever else may tend to the good of the service.
Should it be thought best that those Articles of supply be purchased for Government in preference to
the present mode of hiring them. We are authorized to say that the greater part of the Contractors will be
glad to dispose of their property upon a fair and reasonable valuation.
Whatever plan may be found most consistent and eligible for the good of the Service shall be attended
to with diligence & fidelity. And whenever we are commanded there shall be no time lost in carrying it
into execution.

We have the honor to be &c &c
Henry Bruen
Arch.d Robertson
_______________________________
(The two ensuing letters give numbers of wagons used for each year from 1777 to 1781, the varied
aspects of hiring vehicles and teams and the conditions that led to that practice, and prices paid to
hire horses and different sized wagons in 1781.)
[page 226]
No 2 of the
Aggregate
A State of the Number of Drivers, Horses and Waggons employed in the Quarter Master General's
Department in the following Years.
Distribution Drivers Horses
In 1777
823
2092
1778
874
2086
1779
740
2164
1780
731
2146
1781
623
1979

Waggons
763
874
699
690
620

N. B. — A Number of Horses and Waggons were taken from the Rebel Country in the Years of
1777 and 1778 which if brought into Acct would make one fourth more than what is charged for in
the subsequent Years.
In 1779 the Pontoon Train was ordered to be completed which with the arrival of the 76th, 80th,
82d and 84th Regiments from Europe, the Troops from Rhode Island, and the Flank Companies
from Halifax as also the encrease of the Provincial Corps, caused an additional number of Horses to
be employed that year.
No 3 of the
Aggregate
New York 17th December 1779
Sir:—
Having received your Excellency's Command to inform you in writing. [page 227]
lst Upon what footing the Waggons employed in the Quarter Master General's Department stood
at the first landing on Long A Staten Islands in 1776.
2dly What alterations have since been made upon that arrangement and by whom, and
3dly Upon what footing and by whom Waggons are now furnished for the use of the Quarter
Master General's Department?
I am to have the Honor of stating to your Excellency with regard to the first question.
That during the whole of 1776 Lieut Colonel Shirreff acted in most respects as if head of the Quarter
Master General's Department, Sir William Erskine who was appointed Qur M- General in the latter end of
September 1776 not interfering in any other branch of office than what occurred in the Field during that
period.
That all the Warrants granted for the Expenditures in the Department in 1776 were granted to Lieut Col
Shirreff.

That the Waggons and Horses were furnished by Lieut Colonel Shirreff, And
That the mode he used in this Business was that of hiring the Wagons required from different contractors,
and paying them by the day, for which he has I presume, the proper Vouchers & Authentic Receipts with
him in England.
The Answer therefore to your Excellency's first Question is that in the year 76 the Wagons used in the
Quarter Master General's Department with the grand Army were hired by Lieut Colonel Shireff.
2dly What alterations have since been made upon that arrangement and by whom?
The Land Carriage of the Army was performed in the beginning of 77 partly by a Train of
Waggons and Horses brought over from England and under the inspection of Mr Francis Rush
Clarke and (that Train never having been adequate to the exigencies of the Army, or calculated for
the Service of this Country) partly by Waggons and Horses hired by Sir Wm Erskine who had
entered into all the functions of his office at the Commencement of that Year.
[page 228]
In March 77 when it was in Contemplation to make a forward move Sir Wm Erskine represented
the State of the Train as inadequate.
Sir William Howe the Commander In Chief having considered this point, ordered Sir Wm Erskine
upon no account to purchase Horses or Waggons, as that would draw on expences that never could
be defined, but told him that he depended upon the Quart Master General to hire a sufficient
Number of Waggons and Horses to form a Train equal to the probable exigencies of the Army, that
having constantly been the practice in this Country.
The remains of the English Train which by Losses & foraging parties, accident and bad
management, was reduced to a very small number of worn down Horses, were upon that account
put totally imder the care of Sir Wm Erskine, and the Waggons set aside as unserviceable.
These Horses were put out to nurse on Long and Staten Islands and there are not above fifteen of
them now remaining.
From that day the Quarter Master General and the Quarter Master General only, has been
considered as responsible to the Commander in Chief for the Land Carriage required for the
Army.
In May 77 it was judged expedient that a Number of Waggons and Horses should go with the then
ensuing Expedition in order that the Army might be able to move off its ground immediately upon
its Debarkation.
The election was proposed to those Farmers of Long and Staten Islands from whom Waggons and
Horses had been hired, either to embark them as their own property, or to sell them at a fair
Valuation, done in presence of two Justices of the Peace, to such Persons as would run the risk.
Some few chose the former offer and Embarked their Horses; the greater part declined it, and sold
their Horses which were paid for, and the officer who paid them can produce authentic & legal
Certificates signed and sealed of the regularity of this transaction, and can produce a Receipt for
every Horse and Waggon purchased at that time specifying the Value paid for each and signed by
the Vender or his Attorney.

[page 229]
Thus in answer to your Excellency's second question, I have shown that the only change that
happened in the arrangement of the Train while Sir William Erskine was Quartr Master General
was that a Train sent from England were worn out and that Sir Wm Erskine was ordered to hire
Waggons & Horses to form a Train for the Service of the Army as was always the Custom in this
Country.
3dly Upon what footing are the Waggons now furnished for the use of the Quarter Master
General's Department.
I, as doing the duty of Quarter Master General to the Army under your Excellency's Orders, am at
present answerable, and alone accountable to the Commander in Chief of the Army, for having an
effective Train ready and fit for service, equal to the Transportation of Provisions for any number
of Men and days the Commander in Chief chuses to fix, or for the performing any other Military
service, as forming Magazines, Constructing Fortifications &c &c for supplying the General
Officers, the Staff Regiments, Pontoon Train, Hessian Artillery and Hospitals with their proper
Number of Waggons, and for having a number of Horses ready to mount Guides and Expresses.
And as a Train of this Nature & Extent cannot be kept up at the cheap rate at which they are hired
without very great exertion, I am to look up to the Commander in Chief for his Countenance and
support when I am ordered to add to the Train, and am taught to expect previous Notice before I
am to reduce it.
The regulated hire which I pay is as follows: —

For one small waggon with one Driver and two Horses per day

Sterling
£069

For one Large Waggon with one Driver and four Horses per day

11 9

For a single Horse per day

18

When I joined the Department, I found the Regiments, Staff, Hessian Artillery, Pontoon Train, &c
compleat, I likewise found a Train equal to the Transporting twenty one days provisions for ten
thousand Men. So great a Number of Regimental Waggons & Horses have been worn down by
most of the [page 230] British Regiments this Autumn, that I have been forced to draft the lightest
Horses from the Train to supply some of the Corps arrived from Rhode Island and have ordered
strong Horses to be procured in their room; and to my certain knowledge the Persons from whom
the Horses are had sent no less a sum than two thousand Guineas to Huntington in November last,
to pay ready money for the best Horses on Long Island, to compleat the train to what I found it.
A. — The good order in which the Foreign Corps keep their Waggons & Horses is a proof that the
frequent deficiencies that happen in the British Corps are owing to want of care.
I mention this Fact to show that Expence is not spared by the Contractors employed.
Thus, Sir, I have had the honor of answering your Excellency's three Questions.
I must now add that with regard to what passed before I joined the Army, I have collected the best
information I could with regard to what passed from March 77 I speak with certainty and since I have had
the honor of serving in this Department I speak from my own knowledge.
I have the Honor to be

Sir &c &c
Cathcart
His Excellency Sir Henry Clinton, K. B.
General & Commander in Chief, &c &c &c
___________________
(This last letter the accomplishments of wagons provisioning Crown forces occupying Philadelphia,
carrying the army’s rations during the June 1778 Monmouth campaign, and hauling forage
through the lines on Manhattan Island.)
[page 250]
No 29 of the
Aggregate
New York 6th October 1781.
Gentlemen: —
My ill state of health has 'till now prevented my replying to your Letter of 23d August, respecting
the Horses and Waggons belonging to the Qur Mr General's Department. And to which I can
readily answer that I have on many occasions received the most essential assistance from them, and
that at times when no others could be procured, that a Number have been constantly employed in
transporting Provisions and Forage to and from the different Posts and Magazines, and without
which it would have been impossible to have carried on the business of my Department and
afforded the proper supplies to the Troops at the places to which we could not carry them by
Water. And now beg leave to particularize some instances which will confirm what is before
asserted.
On the arrival of the Army at Philadelphia we found the Navigation of the Delaware impeded by
the Forts, Armed Ships & Galley's of the Enemy, in such a manner that the Victuallers could not
get up to us, and the supplies for the Army for near two Months were brought up in the Night in
Boats & thrown on the beach five Miles from the Town, and the next day transported to the City in
the Qur Master General's Waggons the most of which were for the time kept constantly employed
in that Business, and on which the Troops depended for their daily subsistance.
Several Brigades of Waggons were also employed during that Fall and Winter in collecting Forage,
and near two thousand tons were brought by them to the Magazines.
Foraging parties under strong Escorts were frequently ordered at the distance of fifteen and twenty
Miles from the City, and on these Occasions from one hundred and fifty to Two hundred Waggons
were sent out at a time and notwithstanding every exertion, it was with difficulty a sufficiency was
obtained, and had we depended on the Country for Waggons the Horses must have starved. On the
March of the Army from Philadelphia thro' the Jersey's, I need not mention that the Pro- [page
251] visions were transported by them alone, and without that assistance the Troops could not have
fed.
Since that time I have been much Indebted for the very great assistance I have received from them
in collecting Forage, particularly on Long Island, where a number were constantly employed in
that Business, and transporting Provisions at times when Vessels could not be sent up the sound,
those Waggons were employed to transport Provisions for the subsistance of the Troops to very
distant Posts of Long Island.

The greatest part of the Hay used at King'sbridge for three years past; which has been by no means
inconsiderable, has likewise been brought into the Lines by those Waggons and it is well known that
from that part of the Country we could expect no assistance from the Inhabitants.
In the transporting of Provisions to the Stores they have been very often of great use.
On the whole do not hesitate to say that without the aid received from that Establishment and which has
been very readily granted on every occasion, the service must have frequently suffered.
I have the honor to be
Gentlemen, &c &c
Daniel Wier.
Majors Bruen & Robertson.
Notes (for appendix)
1. Edward E. Curtis, The British Army in the American Revolution (Originally published 1926. Reprinted,
Gansevoort, N.Y.: Corner House Historical Publications, 1998), 136, 184, 188–189.
2. "Narrative of Occurences, relative to His Majesty's Provision Train in North America," (circa 1778), Francis Rush
Clark Papers (no. 2338), Sol Feinstone Collection, David Library of the American Revolution, Washington
Crossing, Pa.
3. J. Geraint Jenkins, The English Farm Wagon (Wiltshire, U.K., 1972), 9–13.
4. "Narrative of Occurences, relative to His Majesty's Provision Train in North America," (circa 1778), Francis Rush
Clark Papers (no. 2338), Sol Feinstone Collection, David Library of the American Revolution, Washington
Crossing, Pa.
5. Andrew De Lisle: ”The length of the bed was measured from the inside edge of the tailgate to the inside edge of
the headgate. The length at the top rail was measured in the same manner. The difference between those two
measurements is caused by the outward rake of both the tail and headgates. The weight is approximate, as we are
unable to weight the completed wagon and weighing individual pieces at this point is not practical. The rear pair of
wheels alone total 500 lbs. … the wagon was constructed by the Wheelwright's Shop, and was finished up in late
2007.”
6. Colored drawings and descriptions of wagons, "Narrative of Occurences," Clark Papers, Feinstone Collection,
PWacD. John Muller, A Treatise of Artillery, 3rd edition (London, John Millan, 1780; 1st edition, 1757; reprinted by
Museum Restoration Service, Bloomfield, Ontario, 1977), plate XX, and page 131.

___________________

Notes (for main narrative)
1. “Rev. D. Barber’s Account of His Service in the Army of 1775-76,” The Historical Magazine,
and Notes and Queries. Concerning the Antiquities, History and Biography of America, vol. VII
(Charles B. Richardson, New York; Trubner and Co., London. 1863), 85.
2. "Diary of Lieutenant James McMichael, of the Pennsylvania Line, 1776-1778," Pennsylvania
Magazine of History and Biography, 16, no. 2 (1892): 150.
3. Regimental orders, 19 May 1777, British Orderly Book (40th Regiment of Foot) 20 April
1777 to 28 August 1777, GW Papers, series 6B, vol. 1, reel 117.
4. "R:O 8th: June 1777 The Commanding Offrs: of Companays Are Desired: to turn out this
Evening at Roll Call two of the properest men they have of A twelvemonths standing as Soldiers
in the Regt for the Lt: Infantry That Capt: Wolfe may Chuse out the Numbr: he wants to
Compleat his Compy: to 50 Rank And File," ibid.
5. Lender and Martin, Citizen Soldier, 87. Charles H. Lesser, The Sinews of Independence:
Monthly Strength Reports of the Continental Army (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976),
54 (hereafter cited as Lesser, Sinews of Independence).

6. General orders, 24 May 1777, Order Book of Col. Daniel Morgan's llth Virginia Regiment,
New Jersey, 15 May-9 June 1777, Early American Orderly Books, 1748-1817, Collections of
The New-York Historical Society, microfilm edition (Woodbridge, NJ, 1977), reel 4, item 45.
7. Goodwin, Clothing and Accoutrements of the Virginia Forces, 1775-1780, 4-5; Joseph Brown
Turner, ed., The Journal and Order Book of Captain Robert Kirkwood of the Delaware Regiment
of the Continental Line (Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1970), 146-147 (hereafter cited
as Turner, Journal and Order Book of Captain Robert Kirkwood).
8. General orders, 27 May 1779, Fitzpatrick, WGW, vol. 15 (1936), 162-163.
9. For details on Continental Army mess groups see, "`To the hungry soul every bitter thing is
sweet.’: Soldiers' Food and Cooking in the War for Independence”
http://www.scribd.com/doc/129368664/To-the-hungry-soul-every-bitter-thing-is-sweetSoldiers-Food-and-Cooking-in-the-War-for-Independence
Division orders, 17 August 1777, Joseph Brown Turner, ed., The Journal and Order Book of
Captain Robert Kirkwood of the Delaware Regiment of the Continental Line (New York, 1970),
147. John W. Jordan, “Orderly-Book of the Pennsylvania State Regiment of Foot, May 10 to
August 16, 1777,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. XXII (1898), 5.
The number of men assigned to a tent was usually set at six though at times there were exceptions to
this rule. "The Brigadier Genls. are requested to get a Return of the actual Strength of each Regt. in
their Respective Brigades & also the Number of Tents drawn for the use of the Regts. ... The
Quarter Master Genl. is to proportion the Tents to the Strength of Regts. One Tent to each five
Privates ...," General orders, 24 May 1777, Order book of Col. Daniel Morgan's 11th Virginia
Regiment, New Jersey, May 15 - June 9, 1777, Early American Orderly Books, 1748-1817,
Collections of the New-York Historical Society, microfilm edition, (Woodbridge, N.J., 1977),
reel 4, item 45. In order to lessen the baggage of the army in the autumn of 1777 one tent was
alloted to every eight non-commissioned officers, musicians or privates, General orders, 13
September 1777, Fitzpatrick, WGW, vol. 9 (1933), 213. The proportion of tents was standardized
for the army in 1779 allowing one tent for every six non-commissioned officers, musicians or
privates, General orders, 27 May 1779, ibid., vol. 15 (1936), 162-163. "A Mess Roll of Captn.
Ross's Compy," 1777, Revolutionary War Rolls, Natl. Archives, reel 62, section 44-2. Muster rolls
for Captain John Ross's company, 3rd New Jersey Regiment, May and October 1777, ibid., section
44-1. A comparison of these two rolls indicates that the date of the mess squad listing is June of
1777. During this month the 3rd New Jersey was attached to the main army and posted near the
Short Hills in northern New Jersey. Muster rolls of the 3rd New Jersey Regiment, ibid., reels 62, 63
and 63. One instance of the varying numbers of men per company within an individual regiment
comes from the 3rd New Jersey for June of 1777. The numbers are as follows: Ross's Company, 49
enlisted men; Dickerson's Co., 65; Flanigan's Co., 42; Gifford's Co., 32; Hagan's Co., 20; and
Patterson's Co., 33. The full strength of a company of foot in 1777 was eighty-six enlisted men.
Robert K. Wright, Jr., The Continental Army (Washington, D.C., 1984), 47.
10. Compiled by Linnea M. Bass, with assistance from William P. Tatum, Feb. 2002, from
information in "Receipt Books and Guards Orderly Book," Newbold Irvine Papers - 4th Floor Box; Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
11. "Estimate of Articles Necessary for 6000 Men for 12 Months March 2d. 1779", PCC, reel
192, 61, NA; Organization of an Infantry Regiment as of 27 May 1778 (1 light infantry
company, 8 battalion companies.): Field Officers, 1 Colonel, 1 Lt. Colonel (or lacking a Colonel,
a Lt. Colonel Commandant), 1 Major; Staff, 1 surgeon, 1 surgeon's mate, 1 adjutant, 1
quartermaster, 1 paymaster, 1 sergeant major, 1 quartermaster sergeant, 1 drum major, 1 fife
major; Each Company, 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, 1 ensign, 3 sergeants, 3 corporals, 1 drummer, 1
fifer, 53 privates. Robert K. Wright, Jr., The Continental Army (Washington: Center of Military
History, U.S. Army, 1983), 127.
12. Timothy Pickering, "Estimate of Camp Equipage intended for a Regiment of Infantry", 31

January 1782, Numbered Record Books, NA, reel 29, vol. 103, 30.
13. Stewart Inspection Report, June 1782, Smith Collection, LWS 155, Morristown NHP.
14. George Washington to the President of Congress, l0 July 1775, Fitzpatrick, WGW, vol. 3
(1931), 323. General Orders, 20 September 1776, ibid., vol. 6 (1932), 78-79.
15. Kenneth Coleman, The American Revolution in Georgia 1763-1789 (Athens: University of
Georgia Press, 1958), 106-108; Charles Pinckney to William Moultrie, 24 May 1778, William
Moultrie, Memoirs of the American Revolution, (repr. New York: The New York Times & Arno
Press, 1968), 1:212-214.
16. "Return of Men, Tents &c In the diferent Regt. in the Army June 1778," PCC, NA, reel 192,
267. In all, sixteen brigades were included, viz., Knox's Artillery, Woodford's, Scott's,
Muhlenberg's and Weedon's Virginia Brigades, 1st, 2nd and "Late Conways" Pennsylvania
Brigades, Poor's (New Hampshire and New York), Glover's, Learned's and Patterson's
Massachusetts Brigades, Varnum's and Huntingdon's Connecticut Brigades, "Late Mclntosh"
North Carolina Brigade, and 1st Maryland Brigade. Below are several sample brigades and
regiments: (Unless other wise noted: all field officers have been allowed one common tent
apiece; all commissioned and staff officers have been allowed one common tent for two men;
and all noncommissioned officers have been allowed one common tent for four men.)
2nd Massachusetts Regiment (Learned's Brigade) had a ratio of ten men per tent.
14th Massachusetts Regiment (Patterson's Brigade) had a ratio of twenty men per tent.
German Regiment (1st Maryland Brigade) had a ratio of twenty-five men per tent.
Knox's Artillery Brigade (four regiments)
(1 marquee, 5 horseman's tents and 218 common tents total)
1 field officer
1 marquee
6 field officers
5 horseman's tents
139 commissioned and staff
35 common tents (four or five men
officers
per tent)
1,034 NCOs and rank and file 183 common tents (five or six men
per tent)
1st Maryland Brigade (five regiments)
(5 marquees, 247 common tents total)
3 field officers
8 commissioned officers
90 commissioned and staff
officers
1,345 NCOs and rank and file

3 marquees
2 marquees
23 common tents (four men per tent)
224 common tents (six or seven men
per tent)

Woodford's Virginia Brigade (four regiments)
(2 marquees, 1 horseman's tent and 137 common tents total)
3 field officers
1 marquee and 1 horseman's tent
83 commissioned and staff
21 common tents (three or four men
officers
per tent)
1,019 NCOs and rank and file 116 common tents (eight or nine men
per tent)

1st Pennsylvania Brigade (four regiments)
(2 marquees, 4 horseman's tents and 74 common tents total)
10 field officers
2 marquees and 4 horseman's tents
93 commissioned and staff
24 common tents (three or four men
officers
per tent)
840 NCOs and rank and file
50 common tents (eight men per tent )
(leaving 440 men without tentage)
2nd Pennsylvania Brigade (four regiments)
(2 marquees, 2 horseman's tents and 79 common tents total)
7 field officers
2 marquees and 2 horseman's tents
3 field officers
2 common tents
70 commissioned and staff
18 common tents (three or four men
officers
per tent)
938 NCOs and rank and file
61 common tents (eight men per tent)
(leaving 450 men without tentage)
17. James Abeel to Nathanael Greene, 9 November 1778, Robert E. McCarthy, ed., The Papers
of General Nathanael Greene, part 1: 1766-My 1780 (microfilm edition), from typescripts
furnished by the Rhode Island Historical Society, reel 2, 455-456; Memorandum on additions to
the new manual of instruction (de Steuben's Regulations), 10 March 1779, GW Papers, series 4,
reel 56; Jacob Weiss to "Colo. Cox" (Assistant Quarter Master General), 23 February 1779,
Weiss to James Abeel, 31 May 1779, Melville J. Boyer, ed., "The Letter Book of Jacob Weiss,
Deputy Quartermaster General of the Revolution," Proceedings of the Lehigh County Historical
Society, 21 (September 1956): 71, 79; George Washington to the President of Congress, 10 July
1780, Fitzpatrick, WGW, vol. 19 (1937), 150.
18. Timothy Pickering, memorandum to Col. Humphreys, August 1781, GW Papers, series 4,
reel 80; Timothy Pickering to Jabez Hatch, 12 July 1781, Numbered Record Books, NA, vol.
127, reel 26, 252-253.
19. Turner, Journal and Order Book of Captain Robert Kirkwood, 165-166, 171.
20. Order Book of Lt. Col. Francis Barber, 26 May 1779 to 6 September 1779, Louise Welles
Murray, ed., Notes from Craft Collection in Tioga Point Museum on the Sullivan Expedition of
1779 (Athens, PA, 1929), 77 (hereafter cited as Murray, Notes from Craft Collection in Tioga
Point Museum); Journal of Major John Burrowes, Spencer's Additional Regiment, from Tioga,
Journals of the Military Expedition of Major General John Sullivan, 42; General orders, 27 May
1779, Fitzpatrick, WGW, 15 (1936), 162-163.
21. Benjamin Gilbert to his father, 15 March 1781, from Annapolis, Maryland, John Shy, ed.,
Winding Down—The Revolutionary War Letters of Lieutenant Benjamin Gilbert of
Massachusetts, 1780-1783 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1989), 39-40; Timothy
Pickering to George Washington, 18 February 1781, GW Papers, series 4, reel 75.
22. Timothy Pickering to Tench Tilghman, 2 May 1781, ibid., series 4, reel 77.
23. Timothy Pickering, "Rough state of the tents on hand ...," 2 May 1781, ibid., series 4, reel 77.
24. Timothy Pickering, "Rough state of the tents on hand ...," 2 May 1781, ibid., series 4, reel 77;
After orders, 21 August 1779, Order Book of Lt. Col. Francis Barber, 26 May 1779 to 6
September 1779, Murray, Notes from Craft Collection in Tioga Point Museum, 72; General
orders, 9 January 1781, Washington to Timothy Pickering, 10 February 1781, Fitzpatrick, WGW,
21 (1937), 73-74, 206.
25. Turner, Journal and Order Book of Captain Robert Kirkwood, 171; Observations on the
Army, Jedediah Huntingdon to George Washington, 1 January 1778, GW Papers, series 4, reel
46; "Detail of Public Waggons, and those employd on hire for the Service of the Army ...

reckoned for an Army of 30,000 Infantry — 5 regimts. Cavalry & 5 of Artillery," 29 March
1780, reel 41, target 161; "Plan For Conducting The Quartermaster General's Department,
Agreed to in Congress, July 15th, 1780," (Philadelphia, 1780), 10, PCC, NA. Copy autographed
by Moore Furman, Deputy Quartermaster General.
26. George Washington to Timothy Pickering, l0 February 1781, Fitzpatrick, WGW, vol. 21
(1937), 205-206; "Proposed distribution of waggons for the campaign 1781," Numbered Record
Books, NA, vol. 103, reel 29, 1-3.
27. General orders, 22 August 1781, Fitzpatrick, WGW, 23 (1937), 37-38.
28. "Estimate of Waggons for a regiment of infantry under the new establishment of Octr. 1780,"
Timothy Pickering to George Washington, 14 January 1781, GW Papers, series 4, reel 74;
Timothy Pickering to George Washington, 18 February 1781, ibid., series 4, reel 75.
29. "Proposed distribution of waggons for the campaign 1781," Numbered Record Books, NA,
vol. 103, reel 29, 1-3; Timothy Pickering to Lt. Col. Dearborn, Col. Hatch and Ralph Pomeroy,
Deputy Quarter Masters, 13 February 1782, ibid., reel 26, vol. 83, 85-86.
30. Pickering to Dearborn, Hatch and Pomeroy, 13February 1782, ibid., reel 26, vol. 83, 85-86;
George Shumway, Edward Durell, and Howard C. Frey, Conestoga Wagon 1750—1850 (York,
PA: George Shumway, 1964), 14-21, 35-37; John Omwake, The Conestoga Six-Horse Bell
Teams of Eastern Pennsylvania (Cincinnati: Ebbert & Richardson, 1930), 32-33.
31. "Narrative of Occurences, relative to His Majesty's Provision Train in North America" (circa
1778), Francis Rush Clark Papers, Sol Feinstone Collection, The David Library Library of the
American Revolution, Washington Crossing, Pa. (hereafter cited as "Narrative of Occurences,"
Clark Papers, Feinstone Collection).
32. Colored drawings and descriptions of wagons in "Narrative of Occurences," Clark Papers,
Feinstone Collection.
33. J. Geraint Jenkins, The English Farm Wagon (Wiltshire, U.K.: David & Charles, 1972), 9-13.
34. Colored drawings and descriptions of wagons in "Narrative of Occurences, Clark Papers,
Feinstone Collection.
35. Ibid.
36. Richard M. Lederer, Jr., Colonial American English: A Glossary, (Essex, CT: Verbatim,
1985); "Detail of Public Waggons, and those employd on hire for the Service of the Army ...
reckoned for an Army of 30,000 Infantry — 5 regimts. Cavalry & 5 of Artillery," 29 March
1780, reel 41, target 161. In total 14 covered wagons, 26 open wagons and 218 horses (including
7 bat horses for field officers and regimental staff) were deemed necessary for a brigade of
infantry in 1780. Observations on the Army, Jedediah Huntingdon to George Washington, 1
January 1778, GW Papers, series 4, reel 46.
37. Order Book of Lt. Col. Francis Barber, 26 May 1779 to 6 September 1779, Murray, Notes
from Craft Collection in Tioga Point Museum, 34-35, 47, 56-58.
38. "Establishment of the legion commanded by Coll. Armand Marquis de la Rouerie," 13
February 1782,Numbered Record Books, NA, reel29, 35-37.
39. General orders, 2 September 1776, Fitzpatrick, WGW, vol. 6, (1932), 7-8; General orders, 17
October 1776, ibid., vol. 6 (1932), .
40. Regimental orders, 20 May, General orders, 12 May 1777, After general orders, 20 May 1777,
British Orderly Book (40th Regiment of Foot) 20 April 1777 to 28 August 1777, GW Papers,
series 6B, vol. 1, reel 117. For the unit allotment of baggage wagons: "Head Qrs: N: York 2nd:
June 77 Orders- 5 Waggons will be Allowed to each Battn: And 10 Waggons for each Corps of
Gredrs: & Lt: Infantry British, no more can possabley be Allowd: for the Baggage"; "At Nigt
25th: June 77 Two Waggons to be Allowed on the march to each Regt: of Dragoons & Two to
each Battn: of Infantry wh: four horses to Each — One Waggon to Carry the Offrs: Provision &
two days Rum for the Men the Other to be A spare Waggon & Kept Empty," General orders, 2
and 25 June 1777, ibid.

41. 17th Regiment of Foot Orderly Book, 11 October to 28 December 1776, New-York
Historical Society Collections (microfilm edition, reel 4, no. 41). Regimental orders, 21 June, 1
July 1777, British Orderly Book (40th Regiment of Foot) 20 April 1777 to 28 August 1777, GW
Papers, series 6B, vol. 1, reel 117.
42. W. Masters to George Washington, 30 May 1777, ibid., series 4, reel 42; "Return of all
Public Craft and Boats on Hudson's and the Mohawk River," 2 April 1781, ibid., series 4, reel
76; Washington to Timothy Pickering, 21 February 1782, Fitzpatrick, WGW, 24 (1938), 15-16.
43. 30 and 31 July 1777 entries, John Chilton's Diary, VHS. "Military Journal of Major Ebenezer
Denny," Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 3, (1860): 238. "Journal of Captain
John Davis of the Pennsylvania Line," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 5
(1881): 291. "Journal of Lieut. William McDowell of the First Penn'a Regiment, in the Southern
Campaign, 1781-1782," John Blair Linn and William H. Egle, Pennsylvania in the War of the
Revolution, Battalion and Line 1775-1783, (Harrisburg, 1880), 2:297. "Diary of the
Pennsylvania Line, May 26 1781-April 25, 1782, ibid., 677. The foregoing "Diary" includes the
journals of both Captain Joseph Mcclellan and Lieutenant William Feltman.
44. Russell P. Bellico, Sails and Steam in the Mountains: A Maritime and Military History of
Lake George and Lake Champlain (Fleischmanns, NY: Purple Mountain Press, 1995), 14, 25-26,
62, 64, 73, 91-92, 101, 121 (hereafter cited as Bellico, Sails and Steam in the Mountains);
"Arnold Leads an Expedition to Quebec," Henry Steele Commager and Richard B. Morris, eds.,
The Spirit of 'Seventy-Six: The Story of the American Revolution as Told by Participants (New
York, 1975), 192— 201; William L. Stone, ed. and trans., Journal of Captain Pausch, Chief of
the Hanau Artillery During the Burgoyne Campaign (Albany, 1886), 76-88, 91-92.
45. Bellico, Sails and Steam in the Mountains, 79-84, 131-132.
46. "Dimensions of a [flat Bottomed Boat or] Batteaux," circa 1782, Numbered Record Books,
NA, vol. 103, reel 29, 29.
47. "Lieut. Colonel Josiah Harmar's Journal. No: 1. Commencing November llth: 1778.", 11
November 1778 to 2 September 1780, 74, Josiah Harmar Papers, William C. Clements Library,
Ann Arbor, Michigan.
48. Washington to Timothy Pickering, 21 February 1782, Fitzpatrick, WGW, 24 (1938), 12-13;
General orders, 30 and 31 August 1782, ibid., 25 (1938), 93-97.

Addenda
“Proceedings of a Board of General Officers of the British Army at New York, 1781,” Collections of
the New-York Historical Society for the Year 1916, vol. XLIX (New York: Printed for the Society,
1916)
“PREFACE THIS volume contains the proceedings of a Board of General Officers of the British
Army at New York, appointed by Sir Henry Clinton, August 7, 1781 to consider the expenditure of
public money in the different departments established by him when he succeeded to the command
of the British Army at New York.
The volume is of great local interest, and has among other items a return of men, women and
children in the British Regiments victualled in New York, in the Civil Department and in Foreign
Regiments, with Muster Roll of Assistants, Overseers, Coopers, Laborers, Artificers in various
departments and where employed, and covers Brooklyn and this city; also list of vessels, giving
names of masters, and a comparative view of the expenses in different departments of the Army
from December 17, 1775, to December 5, 1781, under Sir William Howe and Sir Henry Clinton.
The original manuscript volume is in the Archives of the Society.”

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