« AnteriorContinuar »
men, contending on their own land, are superior to any mercenaries on earth.
The General calls upon Officers and men, to act up to the noble cause in which they are engaged, and to support the honor and liberties of their country.
If any Officers leave their posts before they are regularly drawn off and relieved, or shall, directly or indirectly, cause any soldier to do the like, they shall be punished, as far as martial law will extend, without fear or mitigation.
THE ARMY, AGENTS OF CIVIL POWER.
The army are the mere agents of civil power. Out of camp, they have no other authority than other citizens; and their offences against the laws are to be examined, not by a military officer, but by a magistrate. They are not exempt from arrests and indictments for violations of the laws.
MAXIMS FOR OFFICERS.*
Be strict in your discipline. Require nothing unreasonable of your officers and men; but see, that whatever is required be punctually complied with.
*Sent by Washington to Colonel William Woodford, at his request, in the year 1775.
Reward and punish every man according to his merit, without partiality or prejudice. Hear his complaints. If they are well-founded, redress them; if otherwise, discourage them, in order to prevent frivolous ones.
Discourage vice, in every shape.
Impress upon the mind of every man, from the first to the lowest, the importance of the cause, and what it is he is contending for.
Be easy and condescending in your deportment to your officers; but not too familiar, lest you subject yourself to a want of that respect, which is necessary to support a proper command.
Men who are not employed as mere hirelings, but have stepped forth in defence of every thing that is dear and valuable, not only to themselves but to posterity, should take uncommon pains to conduct themselves with the greatest propriety and good order, as their honor and reputation call loudly upon them to do it.
TWO VIEWS OF DANGER.
Men who are familiarized to danger, meet it without shrinking; whereas troops unused to service, often apprehend danger where no danger is.
THE THREE INCENTIVES, IN BATTLE.
Three things prompt men to a regular discharge of their duty, in time of action: natural bravery, hope of reward, and fear of punishment.
REGULARS AND RECRUITS.
Natural bravery and hope of reward are common to the untutored and the disciplined soldier; but fear of punishment most obviously distinguishes the one from the other.
THE COWARD'S BRAVERY.
A coward, when taught to believe, that, if he breaks his ranks and abandons his colors, he will be punished with death by his own party, will take his chance against the enemy; but a man who thinks little of the one, and is fearful of the other, acts from present feelings, regardless of consequences.
Men just dragged from the tender scenes of domestic life, unaccustomed to the din of arms, totally unacquainted with every kind of military skill, (which is followed by want of confidence in themselves, when opposed to troops regularly trained, disciplined, and appointed, superior in knowledge, and superior in arms,) are timid, and ready to fly from their own shadows.
THE REVOLUTIONARY PATRIOT'S ONLY FEAR.
The virtue, spirit, and union in the provinces, leave them nothing to fear, but the want of ammunition.
MILITARY RANK, THE PEOPLE'S GIFT.
I cannot conceive one more honorable, than that which flows from the uncorrupted choice of a brave and free people,—the purest source and original fountain of all power.
THE FREEMAN'S HEREDITARY PRIVILEGES.
Under God's providence, those who influence the counsels of America, and all other inhabitants of the
United Colonies, at the hazard of their lives, are determined to hand down to posterity those just and invaluable privileges, which they received from their
Single men in the night will be more likely to ascertain facts, than the best glasses in the day.
SURPRISALS OF THE ENEMY.
The usual time for exploits of this kind is a little before day; for which reason a vigilant officer is then more on the watch. I therefore recommend a midnight hour.
A dark night, and even a rainy one, if you can find the way, will contribute to your success.
Several of our officers have broken their paroles, and stolen away. This practice, ignominious to them