WILLIAM A. TRIMBE TO WORTHINGTON
Hillsborough, Ohio, 23d of January1813
Messrs Worthington & Campbell
Absense has prevented me from writing this letter as soon as I had intended.
I have fromerly stated as the result oi experience that the regular troops constitute the most effectual & least expensive force. The superiority of this force results principally from the organization & the extended duration of the period of service. The experience of Washington has fully shown that the best period for an army to serve is during the war, the proportion as the term of service is shortened the strength of an army is dimihished & the expenses for its support & compensation encreased. It would not in my judgnent, be good policy to raise any corps to serve short of eighteen or twenty months. In this period two summer campaigns rlay be performed in the north or two winter campaigns in the south. Time must be allowed for the acquisition of dicipline & subordination without which an army does not deserve the name. An apprenticeship to the military profession is as necessary as to the acts & manufactures. One year would be thought a slihort servitude to the most ordinary mechanical employments.
For some time after troops enter the service (from a change in cloathing, diet, lodging, employment &c &c) they are much afflicted with sickness. After becoming habituated to the camp unless unprovided and much exposed they will be more healthy than in any other situation. There were in Co. McArthurs Regt., at one time about one hundred & fifteen on the sickl report. The fourth Regt. was frequently without sick,, and, if my recollection serves me had at no time more than ten reported.
It is of great importence that the U.S. cloath & furnish all the troops which may be kept in service, militia excepted, unless a volunteer company would choose to furnish their own cloathing without receiving any compensation for the same. An army cloathed in uniform is more easily reduced to subordination & discipline, appears more formidable to an enemy & inspires the troops with a species of pride which has many salutary effects. Wihen troops are required to cloath themselves they will very seldom, in this country, appear in uniform, any many of them either from a parsimonious disposition or from habits of diss- ipation would neglect to provide therselves with the necessary cloathing to pro- tect tlem from the influence of the elements in consequence of which their health is endangered & the service injured. The U.S. by making large contracts for uniform cloathing get it for less than one half what it would cost individuals in this country. It has many bad effects to create too many distinctions between different corps of the same army especially if they belong to the same class. Infantry therefore whether regular or volunteer sllo ld be organized, of':icered, cloathed & diciplined in the same manner & perform duty together as if whole formed but one corps. A volunteer corps organized in this way would differ in no other respect from regular troops than in the name the manner in which they are embodied & compensated for their services. But those differences, without using any kind of deception, would induce many to join the service who would not enlist.
Should Congress not think proper to raiso a volunteer corps of this des- cription, I am clearly & decidedly of opinion that the regular army should be very considerably augmented. Two officers would recruit faster than one. The U.S. will have sections of land. A section granted to those who might serve dur- ing the war & a proportionable quantity to those who might serve shorter terms would offer strong inducement for young men to enter the service (particularly to those of the western country. I have the honor to remain with great respt. your most obt & very,- humble Servt,
William A. Trimble
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