We’re Mutts

My recent post on The Election of Second Sons in Genesis (and the postscript on 18th century South Carolina revolutionaries with a chip on their shoulders), reminded me of this scene from Stripes.

Like Bill Murray’s platoon of American soldiers, the church of Jesus Christ is composed of mutts and mutants. We are not by nature heirs of the kingdom and members of his family, but only by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

What General Washington Expected from his Chaplains

This post brings the series on George Washington’s Remarkably Modern Chaplain Problems to a close. Today, we will revisit some of the ground we’ve already covered and capture the last few remaining pieces of Washington’s correspondence that directly relate to chaplains.

The core competencies of the modern Army Chaplaincy are: Nurture the Living, Comfort the Wounded, Honor the Dead. Modern Army chaplains are both religious leaders and staff advisors. What did General Washington expect from his chaplains during the War of American Independence?

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General Washington Provides for His Chaplains

In addition to their pay, chaplains in the Revolutionary War received one standard allowance of rations for himself and one standard allowance of forage for a horse. The standards Washington established at the winter quarters in 1782-1783 show one example of this provision.

The Quarter Master general having represented his inability to procure forage during the Winter for the whole number of horses allowed to the General and other officers of the Line and Staff who remain with the troops in the New Windsor Cantonments, has proposed to supply in the following proportion—which has been approved by the Commander in Chief: …. Chaplain: 1

General Orders, 8 November 1782

That a ration of forage per day shall consist of fourteen lbs. hay & Ten quarts of oats for each horse. … That there shall be allowed for Saddle horses.  Rations …. Chaplain 1

General Orders, 27 December 1782

Even today, all Army officers – including chaplains – receive a Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) as a monthly entitlement. When you are in the field eating Army chow, your unit is supposed to deduct a portion of your BAS from your pay to cover the field rations. And 10 USC 3547 requires commanders to provide chaplains with transportation so that they can perform their duties. For me, it’s been a CUCV, a few HMMWVs, and some GSA vehicle – but no horse.

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General Washington and Chaplain Support of Military Ceremonies

Chaplains today frequently offer prayers at military ceremonies and other similar events. They did in Washington’s day as well. His correspondence reveal that the general frequently directed his chaplain to take part in special military observances.

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