Americans Should Know these 20 Facts About the History of the Draft

As President of the Continental Congress John Hancock was unable to implement a national draft. Wikimedia

2. Congress left the payment and supply of the Continental Army to the states

In September of 1776, while George Washington was facing the British Army under Lord Howe on Long Island and Manhattan, a series of defeats for the Americans, Congress moved to create an Army of 88 battalions, describing the number to be provided by each state. Massachusetts and Virginia were allotted the greatest number, 15 battalions each, and Georgia and Delaware were each assigned one battalion. Congress recommended to the states that the battalions be created from the ranks of the individual militias, and gave the responsibility of manning, arming, clothing, and feeding the battalions to the states from which they came.

Congress also took it upon itself to commission all officers of the new army, though they were to be appointed to their positions by the states. It was through this act that Congress also proclaimed the payment of a bounty of land, prorated in acreage based on the rank of the individual, from the public lands of the west in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and beyond. The states responded slowly, and though some units were formed which served in the Continental Army with distinction throughout the war, none of the enlistment goals established by the Congress were ever met, and Washington struggled with retaining an army in the field even after the victory at Yorktown five years later.