Essay about Deserting Washington’s Army

1575 Words7 Pages
Deserting Washington’s Army

With the Revolutionary War set to begin, the recruitment of soldiers was fully on. Reasons to enlist in the Continental Army were quite candid for numerous individuals. Motives ranged from looking for a fresh start to wanting to honor friendship/family, or even for the sole purpose of securing regular pay. Many looked to reap the benefits that were promised to them for enlisting in the army. As the Revolutionary War waged on for years to come, soldiers of the Continental Army continued to battle, not only the British, but the many hardships that came their way, as well. By 1780 the number of soldiers abandoning their posts/camps had greatly increased due the number of hardships they encountered. Even
…show more content…
A recruiting hand-bill by George Washington himself even stated that those who enlisted in the Continental Army would receive “a bounty of Twelve dollars…and sixty dollars a year in GOLD, as well as handsome clothing and a large ration of provisions.” With every advertisement similar to this one, in which enlistment is claimed to be accompanied with incentives (usually money or land), empty promises were soon to follow. This was a strong driving force that led men to desert their posts because most soldiers were not getting paid what they had been promised. James Kirby Martin even alludes, in his book Ordinary Courage, to the fact that 100-acre was promised to veterans, but that land never materialized for most of them. He addresses this in context stating, “The truth was, none cared for them; the country was served, and faithfully served, and that was that was deemed necessary. It was, soldiers, look to yourselves; we want no more of you. I hope I shall one day find land enough to lay my bones in. If I chance to die in a civilized country, none will deny me that. A dead body never begs a grave; thanks for that.” Especially with monetary inflation being high during the time of the war, many soldiers deserted the army in order to provide for their families back home. The buying power of the new Continental dollar falls 90% and a number of food riots breakout due to the extreme prices. The lack of financial stability for
Open Document