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Gen. Washington & His Chaplains

This Day in History: May 8th, 1781 “Washington directed to re-arrange assignments to one chaplain per brigade. The dismissed were to receive a pension of one half a Captain’s pay for life. No new chaplains were commissioned after this point.  Since they were rarely in one place for services, it was decided that light dragoon units did not need a chaplain”

“The normal term of service for a chaplain at the start of the war was six months. Like the men who couldn’t spare any more time away from their farms, the clergy were not paid by their home churches and were usually responsible for paying for their temporary replacements back home. A few served only during the week and returned home each weekend”.

“Throughout the Revolution, chaplains, although officers without rank, had no specified uniform.  David Jones apparently wore an officer’s uniform but without epaulets, changing to rougher clothes when serving as a surgeon.  Most wore their usual civilian dress and there is one record of black material being issued to a chaplain for the purpose of making a replacement set of clothes.  On May 19, 1780, the Supreme Executive Council at Philadelphia ‘ordered that a suit of cloaths of Black be furnished by the State Clothier to the Reverend Mr Samuel Blair, Chaplain to the Brigade of artillery, in the same manner as has been furnished to other Clergymen’.”


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