Second Continental Congress
The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that started meeting in the spring of 1775 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It succeeded the First Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia between September 5, 1774, October 26, 1774; the Second Congress moved incrementally towards independence. It adopted the Lee Resolution which established the new country on July 2, 1776, it agreed to the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776; the Congress acted as the de facto national government of the United States by raising armies, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, making formal treaties such as the Olive Branch Petition. The Second Continental Congress came together on May 11, 1775 reconvening the First Continental Congress. Many of the 56 delegates who attended the first meeting were in attendance at the second, the delegates appointed the same president and secretary. Notable new arrivals included John Hancock of Massachusetts.
Within two weeks, Randolph was summoned back to Virginia to preside over the House of Burgesses. Henry Middleton was elected as president to replace Randolph. Hancock was elected president on May 24. Delegates from twelve of the Thirteen Colonies were present when the Second Continental Congress convened. Georgia had not participated in the First Continental Congress and did not send delegates to the Second. On May 13, 1775, Lyman Hall was admitted as a delegate from the Parish of St. John's in the Colony of Georgia, not as a delegate from the colony itself. On July 4, 1775, revolutionary Georgians held a Provincial Congress to decide how to respond to the American Revolution, that congress decided on July 8 to send delegates to the Continental Congress, they arrived on September 13. The First Continental Congress had sent entreaties to King George III to stop the Coercive Acts; the Second Continental Congress met on May 10, 1775 to plan further responses if the British government had not repealed or modified the acts.
For the first few months of the war, the Patriots carried on their struggle in an ad-hoc and uncoordinated manner. They had seized arsenals, driven out royal officials, besieged the British army in the city of Boston. On June 14, 1775, the Congress voted to create the Continental Army out of the militia units around Boston and appointed George Washington of Virginia as commanding general. On July 6, 1775, Congress approved a Declaration of Causes outlining the rationale and necessity for taking up arms in the Thirteen Colonies. On July 8, they extended the Olive Branch Petition to the British Crown as a final attempt at reconciliation. Silas Deane was sent to France as a minister of the Congress, American ports were reopened in defiance of the British Navigation Acts; the Continental Congress had no explicit legal authority to govern, but it assumed all the functions of a national government, such as appointing ambassadors, signing treaties, raising armies, appointing generals, obtaining loans from Europe, issuing paper money, disbursing funds.
The Congress had no authority to levy taxes and was required to request money and troops from the states to support the war effort. Individual states ignored these requests. Congress was moving towards declaring independence from the British Empire in 1776, but many delegates lacked the authority from their home governments to take such a drastic action. Advocates of independence moved to have reluctant colonial governments revise instructions to their delegations, or replace those governments which would not authorize independence. On May 10, 1776, Congress passed a resolution recommending that any colony with a government, not inclined toward independence should form one that was. On May 15, they adopted a more radical preamble to this resolution, drafted by John Adams, which advised throwing off oaths of allegiance and suppressing the authority of the Crown in any colonial government that still derived its authority from the Crown; that same day, the Virginia Convention instructed its delegation in Philadelphia to propose a resolution that called for a declaration of independence, the formation of foreign alliances, a confederation of the states.
The resolution of independence was delayed for several weeks, as advocates of independence consolidated support in their home governments. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee offered a resolution before the Congress declaring the colonies independent, he urged Congress to resolve "to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances" and to prepare a plan of confederation for the newly independent states. Lee argued that independence was the only way to ensure a foreign alliance, since no European monarchs would deal with America if they remained Britain's colonies. American leaders had rejected the divine right of kings in the New World, but recognized the necessity of proving their credibility in the Old World. Congress formally adopted the resolution of independence, but only after creating three overlapping committees to draft the Declaration, a Model Treaty, the Articles of Confederation; the Declaration announced the states' entry into the international
Slavery in the United States
Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel enslavement of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Slavery had been practiced in British America from early colonial days, was legal in all Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, it lasted in about half the states until 1865, when it was prohibited nationally by the Thirteenth Amendment. As an economic system, slavery was replaced by sharecropping. By the time of the American Revolution, the status of slave had been institutionalized as a racial caste associated with African ancestry; when the United States Constitution was ratified in 1789, a small number of free people of color were among the voting citizens. During and following the Revolutionary War, abolitionist laws were passed in most Northern states and a movement developed to abolish slavery. Northern states depended on free labor and all had abolished slavery by 1805.
The rapid expansion of the cotton industry in the Deep South after the invention of the cotton gin increased demand for slave labor to pick cotton when it all ripened at once, the Southern states continued as slave societies. Those states attempted to extend slavery into the new Western territories to keep their share of political power in the nation. Southern leaders wanted to annex Cuba as a slave territory; the United States became polarized over the issue of slavery, split into slave and free states, in effect divided by the Mason–Dixon line which delineated Pennsylvania from Maryland and Delaware. During the Jefferson administration, Congress prohibited the importation of slaves, effective 1808, although smuggling via Spanish Florida was not unusual. Domestic slave trading, continued at a rapid pace, driven by labor demands from the development of cotton plantations in the Deep South. More than one million slaves were sold from the Upper South, which had a surplus of labor, taken to the Deep South in a forced migration, splitting up many families.
New communities of African-American culture were developed in the Deep South, the total slave population in the South reached 4 million before liberation. As the West was developed for settlement, the Southern state governments wanted to keep a balance between the number of slave and free states to maintain a political balance of power in Congress; the new territories acquired from Britain and Mexico were the subject of major political compromises. By 1850, the newly rich cotton-growing South was threatening to secede from the Union, tensions continued to rise. Many white Southern Christians, including church ministers, attempted to justify their support for slavery as modified by Christian paternalism; the largest denominations—the Baptist and Presbyterian churches—split over the slavery issue into regional organizations of the North and South. When Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election on a platform of halting the expansion of slavery, seven states broke away to form the Confederacy; the first six states to secede held the greatest number of slaves in the South.
Shortly after, the Civil War began. Four additional slave states seceded after Lincoln requested arms in order to make a retaliatory strike. Due to Union measures such as the Confiscation Acts and Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the war ended slavery before ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in December 1865 formally ended the legal institution throughout the United States. Africans first came to the New World with Christopher Columbus in 1492. Juan Las Canaries was a crewman on the Santa Maria. Not much longer after, the first enslavement occurred in what would be the United States. In 1508, Ponce de Leon established the first settlement near present-day San Juan and began enslaving the indigenous Tainos. In 1513, to supplement the dwindling Tainos population, the first African slaves were imported to Puerto Rico; the first African slaves within the continental United States arrived via Santo Domingo to the San Miguel de Gualdape colony, founded by Spanish explorer Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón in 1526.
The ill-fated colony was immediately disrupted by a fight over leadership, during which the slaves revolted and fled the colony to seek refuge among local Native Americans. De Ayllón and many of the colonists died shortly afterwards of an epidemic and the colony was abandoned; the settlers and the slaves who had not escaped returned to Haiti, whence. On August 28, 1565, St. Augustine, Florida was founded by the Spanish conquistador Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles and he brought three African slaves with him. During the 16th and 17th centuries, St. Augustine was the hub of the slave trade in Spanish colonial Florida and the first permanent settlement in the continental United States to include African slaves.60 years in the early years of the Chesapeake Bay settlements, colonial officials found it difficult to attract and retain laborers under the harsh frontier conditions, there was a high mortality rate. Most laborers came from Britain as indentured laborers, signing contracts of indenture to pay with work for their passage, their upkeep and training on a farm.
The colonies had agricultural economies. These indentured laborers were young people who intended to become permanent residents. In some cases, convicted criminals were transported to the colonies as indentured laborers, rather than being imprisoned; the indentured laborers were not slaves, but were required to work
Valley Forge functioned as the third of eight military encampments for the Continental Army's main body, commanded by General George Washington. In September 1777, British forces had captured the American capital of Philadelphia. After failing to retake the city, Washington led his 12,000-man army into winter quarters at Valley Forge, located 18 miles northwest of Philadelphia, they remained there for six months, from December 19, 1777 to June 19, 1778. At Valley Forge, the Continentals struggled to manage a disastrous supply crisis while retraining and reorganizing their units. About 1,700 to 2,000 soldiers died due to disease exacerbated by malnutrition. Today, Valley Forge National Historical Park preserves and protects over 3,500 acres of the original encampment site. In 1777, Valley Forge consisted of a small proto-industrial community located at the juncture of the Valley Creek and the Schuylkill River. In 1742, Quaker industrialists established the Mount Joy Iron Forge. Thanks to capital improvements made by John Potts and his family over the following decades, the small community expanded the ironworks, established mills, constructed new dwellings for residents.
Surrounding the valley was a rich farmland, where Welsh-Quaker farmers grew wheat, hay, Indian corn, among other crops, raised livestock including cattle, sheep and barnyard fowl. Settlers of German and Swedish descent lived nearby. In the summer of 1777 the Continental Army's quartermaster general, Thomas Mifflin, decided to station a portion of his army's supplies in outbuildings around the forges, due to its variety of structures and secluded location between two prominent hills. Fearing such a concentration of military supplies would undoubtedly attract the British, the forge-ironmaster, William Dewees Jr. expressed concerns about the army's proposal. Mifflin established a magazine at Valley Forge anyway. After the British landing at Head of Elk, Maryland on August 25, 1777, the British Army maneuvered out of the Chesapeake basin and towards Valley Forge. Following the Battle of Brandywine and the abortive Battle of the Clouds, on September 18 several hundred soldiers under General Wilhelm von Knyphausen raided the supply magazine at Valley Forge.
Despite the best efforts of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton and Captain Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, the two Continental army officers selected to evacuate the supplies from Valley Forge, Crown soldiers captured supplies, destroyed others, burned down the forges and other buildings. Political and environmental factors all influenced the Continental Army's decision to establish their encampment near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in the winter of 1777-1778. Washington conferred with his officers to select the site that would be most advantageous to his army. Washington first asked his generals where to quarter the Continental Army in the winter of 1777–1778 on October 29, 1777. In addition to suggestions from his officers, Washington had to contend with the recommendations of politicians. Pennsylvania state legislators and the Continental Congress expected the Continental Army to select an encampment site that could protect the countryside around Philadelphia; some members of the Continental Congress believed that the army might be able to launch a winter campaign.
Interested parties suggested other sites for an encampment, including Lancaster and Wilmington, Delaware. However, following the inconclusive Battle of Whitemarsh from December 5–8, increasing numbers of officers and politicians began to appreciate the need to defend the greater Philadelphia region from British incursions. Considering these questions, an encampment at Valley Forge had notable advantages. Valley Forge's high terrain meant, its location allowed for soldiers to be detached to protect the countryside. Proximity to the Schuylkill River could facilitate supply movements down the river. Wide, open areas provided space for training. On December 19, Washington conducted his 12,000-man army to Valley Forge to establish the encampment; the encampment was situated along the high, flat ground east of Mount Joy and south of the Schuylkill River. In addition to a concentration of soldiers at Valley Forge, Washington ordered nearly 2,000 soldiers to encamp at Wilmington, Delaware, he posted the army's mounted troops at Trenton, New Jersey, additional outposts at Downingtown and Radnor, among other places.
In the two winter encampments prior to Valley Forge, the Continental army had sheltered themselves in a combination of tents, constructed huts, civilian barns and other buildings. Valley Forge would mark the first time Washington ordered the army concentrated into a more permanent post where they constructed their own shelters; this strategic shift encouraged a whole new host of problems for the American Patriots. The Valley Forge encampment became the Continental Army's first large-scale construction of living quarters. While no accurate account exists for the exact number of log huts built, experts estimate a range between 1,300-1,600 structures. Brigadier General Louis Lebègue de Presle Duportail selected grounds for the brigade encampments and planned the defenses. Afterwards, brigadier generals appointed officers from each regiment to mark out the precise spot for every officer and all enlisted men's huts. Despite commanders' attempts at standardization, the huts varied in terms of size and construction techniques.
Military historian John B. B. Trussell Jr. writes that many squads "dug their floors two feet below ground level," to reduce
The Yorktown or Virginia campaign was a series of military maneuvers and battles during the American Revolutionary War that culminated in the decisive Siege of Yorktown in October 1781. The result of the campaign was the surrender of the British Army force of General Charles Earl Cornwallis, an event that led directly to the beginning of serious peace negotiations and the eventual end of the war; the campaign was marked by disagreements and miscommunication on the part of British leaders, by a remarkable set of cooperative decisions, at times in violation of orders, by the French and Americans. The campaign involved land and naval forces of Great Britain and France, land forces of the United States. British forces were sent to Virginia between January and April 1781 and joined with Cornwallis's army in May, which came north from an extended campaign through the southern states; these forces were first opposed weakly by Virginia militia, but General George Washington sent first Marquis de Lafayette and Anthony Wayne with Continental Army troops to oppose the raiding and economic havoc the British were wreaking.
The combined American forces, were insufficient in number to oppose the combined British forces, it was only after a series of controversially confusing orders by General Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander-in-chief, that Cornwallis moved to Yorktown in July and built a defensive position, strong against the land forces he faced, but was vulnerable to naval blockade and siege. British naval forces in North America and the West Indies were weaker than the combined fleets of France and Spain, after some critical decisions and tactical missteps by British naval commanders, the French fleet of Paul de Grasse gained control over Chesapeake Bay, blockading Cornwallis from naval support and delivering additional land forces to blockade him on land; the Royal Navy attempted to dispute this control, but Admiral Thomas Graves was defeated in the key Battle of the Chesapeake on September 5. American and French armies that had massed outside New York City began moving south in late August, arrived near Yorktown in mid-September.
Deceptions about their movement delayed attempts by Clinton to send more troops to Cornwallis. The Siege of Yorktown began on September 28, 1781. In a step that shortened the siege, Cornwallis decided to abandon parts of his outer defenses, the besiegers stormed two of his redoubts; when it became clear that his position was untenable, Cornwallis opened negotiations on October 17 and surrendered two days later. When the news reached London, the government of Lord North fell, the following Rockingham ministry entered into peace negotiations; these culminated in the Treaty of Paris in 1783, in which King George III recognized the independent United States of America. Clinton and Cornwallis engaged in a public war of words defending their roles in the campaign, British naval command discussed the navy's shortcomings that led to the defeat. By December 1780, the American Revolutionary War's North American theaters had reached a critical point; the Continental Army had suffered major defeats earlier in the year, with its southern armies either captured or dispersed in the loss of Charleston and the Battle of Camden in the south, while the armies of George Washington and the British commander-in-chief for North America, Sir Henry Clinton watched each other around New York City in the north.
The national currency was worthless, public support for the war, about to enter its sixth year, was waning, army troops were becoming mutinous over pay and conditions. In the Americans' favor, Loyalist recruiting in the south had been checked with a severe blow at Kings Mountain in October. Virginia had escaped military notice before 1779, when a raid destroyed much of the state's shipbuilding capacity and seized or destroyed large amounts of tobacco, a significant trade item for the Americans. Virginia's only defenses consisted of locally raised militia companies, a naval force, wiped out in the 1779 raid; the militia were under the overall direction of Continental Army General Baron von Steuben, a prickly Prussian taskmaster who, although he was an excellent drillmaster, alienated not only his subordinates, but had a difficult relationship with the state's governor, Thomas Jefferson. Steuben had established a training center in Chesterfield for new Continental Army recruits, a "factory" in Westham for the manufacture and repair of weapons and ammunition.
French military planners had to balance competing demands for the 1781 campaign. After a series of unsuccessful attempts at cooperation with the Americans, they realized more active participation in North America was needed. However, they needed to coordinate their actions with Spain, where there was potential interest in making an assault on the British stronghold of Jamaica, it turned out that the Spanish were not interested in operations against Jamaica until after they had dealt with an expected British attempt to reinforce besieged Gibraltar, wanted to be informed of the movements of the West Indies fleet. As the French fleet was preparing to depart Brest in March 1781, several important decisions were made; the West Indies fleet, led by the Comte de Grasse, after operations in the Windward Islands, was directed to go to Cap-Français to determine what resources would be required to assist Spanish operations. Due to a lack of transports, France promised six million livres to support the American war effort instead of providing additional troops.
The French fleet at Newport was given a new commander, the Com
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of the U. S. is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, a Reformed Baptist theologian and religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, he named the area in honor of "God's merciful Providence" which he believed was responsible for revealing such a haven for him and his followers. The city is situated at the mouth of the Providence River at the head of Narragansett Bay. Providence was one of the first cities in the country to industrialize and became noted for its textile manufacturing and subsequent machine tool and silverware industries. Today, the city of Providence is home to eight hospitals and seven institutions of higher learning which have shifted the city's economy into service industries, though it still retains some manufacturing activity; the city is the third most populous city in New England after Worcester, Massachusetts. Providence was one of the original Thirteen Colonies. Williams and his company were compelled to leave Massachusetts Bay Colony, Providence became a refuge for persecuted religious dissenters, as Williams himself had been exiled from Massachusetts.
The city was burned to the ground in March 1676 by the Narragansetts during King Philip's War, despite the good relations between Williams and the sachems with whom the United Colonies of New England were waging war. In the year, the Rhode Island legislature formally rebuked the other colonies for provoking the war. Providence residents were among the first Patriots to spill blood in the lead-up to the American Revolutionary War during the Gaspée Affair of 1772, Rhode Island was the first of the Thirteen Colonies to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown on May 4, 1776, it was the last of the Thirteen Colonies to ratify the United States Constitution on May 29, 1790, once assurances were made that a Bill of Rights would become part of the Constitution. Following the war, Providence was the country's ninth-largest city with 7,614 people; the economy shifted from maritime endeavors to manufacturing, in particular machinery, silverware and textiles. By the start of the 20th century, Providence hosted some of the largest manufacturing plants in the country, including Brown & Sharpe, Nicholson File, Gorham Manufacturing Company.
Providence residents ratified a city charter in 1831 as the population passed 17,000. The seat of city government was located in the Market House in Market Square from 1832 to 1878, the geographic and social center of the city; the city offices outgrew this building, the City Council resolved to create a permanent municipal building in 1845. The city offices moved into the Providence City Hall in 1878. During the American Civil War, local politics split over slavery as many had ties to Southern cotton and the slave trade. Despite ambivalence concerning the war, the number of military volunteers exceeded quota, the city's manufacturing proved invaluable to the Union. Providence thrived after the war, waves of immigrants brought the population from 54,595 in 1865 to 175,597 by 1900. By the early 1900s, Providence was one of the wealthiest cities in the United States. Immigrant labor powered one of the nation's largest industrial manufacturing centers. Providence was a major manufacturer of industrial products, from steam engines to precision tools to silverware and textiles.
Giant companies were based in or near Providence, such as Brown & Sharpe, the Corliss Steam Engine Company, Babcock & Wilcox, the Grinnell Corporation, the Gorham Manufacturing Company, Nicholson File, the Fruit of the Loom textile company. From 1975 until 1982, $606 million of local and national community development funds were invested throughout the city. In the 1990s, the city pushed for revitalization, realigning the north-south railroad tracks, removing the huge rail viaduct that separated downtown from the capitol building and moving the rivers to create Waterplace Park and river walks along the rivers' banks, constructing the Fleet Skating Rink and the Providence Place Mall. Despite new investment, poverty remains an entrenched problem. 27.9 percent of the city population is living below the poverty line. Recent increases in real estate values further exacerbate problems for those at marginal income levels, as Providence had the highest rise in median housing price of any city in the United States from 2004 to 2005.
The Providence city limits enclose a small geographical region with a total area of 20.5 square miles. Providence is located at the head of Narragansett Bay, with the Providence River running into the bay through the center of the city, formed by the confluence of the Moshassuck and Woonasquatucket Rivers; the Waterplace Park amphitheater and riverwalks line the river's banks through downtown. Providence is one of many cities claimed to be founded on seven hills like Rome; the more prominent hills are: Constitution Hill, College Hill, Federal Hill. The other four are: Tockwotten Hill at Fox Point, Smith Hill, Christian Hill at Hoyle Square, Weybosset Hill at the lower end of Weybosset Street, leveled in the early 1880s. Providence has 25 official neighborhoods, though these neighborhoods are grouped together and referred to
The Newburgh Conspiracy was what appeared to be a planned military coup by the Continental Army in March 1783, when the American Revolutionary War was at its end. The conspiracy may have been instigated by members in the Congress of the Confederation, who circulated an anonymous letter in the army camp at Newburgh, New York, on March 10, 1783. Soldiers were unhappy that they had not been paid for some time and that pensions, promised remained unfunded; the letter suggested. The letter was said to have been written by Major John Armstrong, aide to General Horatio Gates, although the authorship of its text and underlying ideas is a subject of historical debate. Commander-in-Chief George Washington stopped any serious talk of rebellion when he appealed on March 15 in an emotional address to his officers asking them to support the supremacy of Congress. Not long afterward, Congress approved a compromise agreement it had rejected: it funded some of the pay arrears, granted soldiers five years of full pay instead of a lifetime pension of half pay.
The motivations of numerous actors in these events are the subject of debate. Some historians allege that serious consideration was given within the army to some sort of coup d'état, while others dispute the notion; the exact motivations of congressmen involved in communications with army officers implicated in the events are debated. After the British loss at the Siege of Yorktown in October 1781, the American Revolutionary War died down in North America, peace talks began between British and American diplomats; the American Continental Army, based at Newburgh, New York, monitored British-occupied New York City. With the end of the war and dissolution of the Continental Army approaching, soldiers who had long been unpaid feared that the Confederation Congress would not meet previous promises concerning back pay and pensions. Congress had in 1780 promised Continental officers a lifetime pension of half their pay when they were discharged. Financier Robert Morris had in early 1782 stopped army pay as a cost-saving measure, arguing that when the war ended the arrears would be made up.
Throughout 1782 these issues were a regular topic of debate in Congress and in the army camp at Newburgh, numerous memos and petitions by individual soldiers had failed to affect Congressional debate on the subject. A number of officers organized under the leadership of General Henry Knox and drafted a memorandum to Congress. Signed by enough general officers that it could not be dismissed as the work of a few malcontents, the memo was delivered to Congress by a delegation consisting of General Alexander McDougall and Colonels John Brooks and Matthias Ogden in late December 1782, it expressed unhappiness over pay, months in arrears, concern over the possibility that the half pay pension would not be forthcoming. In the memo they offered to accept a lump sum payment instead of the lifetime half pay pension, it contained the vague threat that "any further experiments on their patience may have fatal effects." The seriousness of the situation was communicated to Congress by Secretary at War Benjamin Lincoln.
Congress was politically divided on the subject of finance. The treasury was empty, Congress lacked the power to compel the states to provide the necessary funds for meeting its obligations. An attempt to amend the Articles of Confederation to allow Congress to impose an import tariff known as an "impost" was decisively defeated by the states in November 1782, some states had enacted legislation forbidding their representatives from supporting any sort of lifetime pension. Members of the "nationalist" faction in Congress who had supported the tax proposal believed that the army funding issues could be used as a lever to gain for Congress the ability to raise its own revenue; the army delegation first met with other nationalists. The politicians convinced McDougall that it was imperative for the army to remain cooperative while they sought funding; the hope they expressed was to tie the army's demands to those of the government's other creditors to force opposing Congressmen to act. On January 6 Congress established a committee to address the army's memo.
It first met with Robert Morris, who stated that there were no funds to meet the army's demands, that loans for government operations would require evidence of a revenue stream. When it met with McDougall on January 13, the general painted a stark picture of the discontent at Newburgh; when Congress met on January 22 to debate the committee's report, Robert Morris shocked the body by tendering his resignation, heightening tension. The Congressional leadership moved to keep Morris's resignation secret. Debate on a funding scheme turned in part on the issue of the pension. Twice the nationalists urged the body to adopt a commuted pension scheme, but it was rejected both times. After the second rejection on February 4, a plot to further raise tensions began to take shape. Four days Colonel Brooks was dispatched back to Newburgh with instructions to gain the army leadership's agreement with the proposed nationalist plan; the army leadership was urged by Gouverneur Morris to use its influence with state legislatures to secure their approval for needed changes.
On February 12, McDougall sent a letter to General Knox suggesting that the army might have to mutiny by refusing to disband unt
The Continental Army was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the ex-British colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in their revolt against the rule of Great Britain; the Continental Army was supplemented by local militias and volunteer troops that remained under control of the individual states or were otherwise independent. General George Washington was the commander-in-chief of the army throughout the war. Most of the Continental Army was disbanded in 1783; the 1st and 2nd Regiments went on to form the nucleus of the Legion of the United States in 1792 under General Anthony Wayne. This became the foundation of the United States Army in 1796; the Continental Army consisted of soldiers from all 13 colonies and, after 1776, from all 13 states. When the American Revolutionary War began at the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, the colonial revolutionaries did not have an army.
Each colony had relied upon the militia, made up of part-time citizen-soldiers, for local defense, or the raising of temporary "provincial regiments" during specific crises such as the French and Indian War of 1754–63. As tensions with Great Britain increased in the years leading to the war, colonists began to reform their militias in preparation for the perceived potential conflict. Training of militiamen increased after the passage of the Intolerable Acts in 1774. Colonists such as Richard Henry Lee proposed forming a national militia force, but the First Continental Congress rejected the idea. On April 23, 1775, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress authorized the raising of a colonial army consisting of 26 company regiments. New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut soon raised similar but smaller forces. On June 14, 1775, the Second Continental Congress decided to proceed with the establishment of a Continental Army for purposes of common defense, adopting the forces in place outside Boston and New York.
It raised the first ten companies of Continental troops on a one-year enlistment, riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia to be used as light infantry, who became the 1st Continental Regiment in 1776. On June 15, 1775, the Congress elected by unanimous vote George Washington as Commander-in-Chief, who accepted and served throughout the war without any compensation except for reimbursement of expenses. On July 18, 1775, the Congress requested all colonies form militia companies from "all able bodied effective men, between sixteen and fifty years of age." It was not uncommon for men younger than sixteen to enlist as most colonies had no requirement of parental consent for those under twenty-one. Four major-generals and eight brigadier-generals were appointed by the Second Continental Congress in the course of a few days. After Pomeroy did not accept, John Thomas was appointed in his place; as the Continental Congress adopted the responsibilities and posture of a legislature for a sovereign state, the role of the Continental Army became the subject of considerable debate.
Some Americans had a general aversion to maintaining a standing army. As a result, the army went through several distinct phases, characterized by official dissolution and reorganization of units. Soldiers in the Continental Army were citizens who had volunteered to serve in the army, at various times during the war, standard enlistment periods lasted from one to three years. Early in the war the enlistment periods were short, as the Continental Congress feared the possibility of the Continental Army evolving into a permanent army; the army never numbered more than 17,000 men. Turnover proved a constant problem in the winter of 1776–77, longer enlistments were approved. Broadly speaking, Continental forces consisted of several successive armies, or establishments: The Continental Army of 1775, comprising the initial New England Army, organized by Washington into three divisions, six brigades, 38 regiments. Major General Philip Schuyler's ten regiments in New York were sent to invade Canada; the Continental Army of 1776, reorganized after the initial enlistment period of the soldiers in the 1775 army had expired.
Washington had submitted recommendations to the Continental Congress immediately after he had accepted the position of Commander-in-Chief, but the Congress took time to consider and implement these. Despite attempts to broaden the recruiting base beyond New England, the 1776 army remained skewed toward the Northeast both in terms of its composition and of its geographical focus; this army consisted of 36 regiments, most standardized to a single battalion of 768 men strong and formed into eight companies, with a rank-and-file strength of 640. The Continental Army of 1777–80 evolved out of several critical reforms and political decisions that came about when it became apparent that the British were sending massive forces to put an end to the American Revolution; the Continental Congress passed the "Eighty-eight Battalion Resolve", ordering each state to contribute one-battalion regiments in proportion to their population, Washington subsequently received authority to raise an additional 16 battalions.
Enlistment terms extended to three years or to "the length of the war" to avoid the year-end crises that deplet