Thesis: Recruitment in the Continental Army

Sample Thesis Paper

Most of the recruitment was concentrated on the poor segments of society. Criminals were also granted immunity from prosecution if they joined. Due to the fact that they were sharing manpower with agricultural and urban sectors of the country, the states could not find enough man power to sustain their armies. Most of the soldiers would not serve more than six months. Washington attempted to enlist more men by offering greater bounties and other advantages. But the shortage in the armed forces continued nonetheless. The incentives did attract many jobless and unskilled immigrants, transients and African Americans. However, arming slaves in the south was not allowed throughout the war. The shortage allowed serving military men to bargain for better conditions and wages. By 1775 of the 20,000 men expected to be fit for duty the Continental army only had 7,754 men ready for battle (Neimeyer, 1997, p.2-3).

As congress began preparing for war they realized how ill equipped their soldiers were for the battle ahead. There were tremendous issues regarding not only the shortage of guns but also gunpowder. Call went out to every state, in order to supply their army each state searched for every individual gun and half barrel they could find. Virginia by the end of their two year search only managed to collect 3,325 muskets and 2,098 rifles almost all of which required urgent repair. So vital was the skill of gunsmiths at this time that they were actually forbidden from enlisting in the army. The constant shortage of guns caused a competition for the already few weapon supplies, between the army and government authorities (Bellesiles, 2003, p.196-201).

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