Page:American History Told by Contemporaries, v2.djvu/600

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572
[1777-1778
First Stage of the War

always acted wisely hitherto — His conduct when closely scrutinised is uncensurable. Were his Inferior Generals as skillfull as himself — we should have the grandest Choir of Officers ever God made. . . .

Dec. 28th — Yesterday upwards of fifty Officers in Genl Green's Division resigned their Commissions — Six or Seven of our Regiment are doing the like to-day. All this is occation'd by Officers Families being so much neglected at home on account of Provisions. Their Wages will not by considerable, purchase a few trifling Comfortables here in Camp, & maintain their families at home, while such extravagant prices are demanded for the common necessaries of Life — What then have they to purchase Cloaths and other necessaries with? It is a Melancholly reflection that what is of the most universal importance, is most universally neglected — I mean keeping up the Credit of Money.

The present Circumstances of the Soldier is better by far than the Officer — for the family of the Soldier is provided for at the public expence if the Articles they want are above the common price — but the Officer's family, are obliged not only to beg in the most humble manner for the necessaries of Life — but also to pay for them afterwards at the most exhorbitant rates — and even in this manner, many of them who depend entirely on their Money, cannot procure half the material comforts that are wanted in a family — this produces continual letters of complaint from home. . . .

Dec. 31st . — Ajutant Selden learn'd me how to Darn Stockings — to make them look like knit work — first work the Thread in a parallel manner, then catch these over & over as above. . . .

1778. January 1st. — New Year. I am alive. I am well.

Hutts go on briskly, and our Camp begins to appear like a spacious City. . . .

Bought an embroidered Jacket.

How much we affect to appear of consequence by a superfluous Dress, — and yet Custom — (that law which none may fight against) has rendered this absolutely necessary & commendable. An Officer frequently fails of being duly noticed, merely from the want of a genteel Dress . . . .

Sunday, Jan. 4th. — Properly accouter'd I went to work at Masonry — None of my Mess were to dictate me — and before Night (being found with Mortar & Stone) I almost compleated a genteel Chimney to my Magnificent Hutt — however, as we had short allowance of food & no Grogg — my back ached before Night.

I was call'd to relieve a Soldier tho't to be dying — he expir'd before