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1784 Two Hundred Years Ago

May 2024
1min read


By the time the Treaty of Paris officially ended the Revolutionary War in September 1783, the Continental Army had been almost entirely disbanded. We were now free and independent states, and the question arose: Do free and independent states need an army? The Congress debated the point with some heart—not only the need but the cost were at issue—and decided yes. On June 3, 1784, a resolution was passed that established a “body of (700) troops … assembled into one regiment.” This, with the addition of fifty-five men at Fort Pitt and twenty-five more at West Point, constituted the entire army of the United States.

Pennsylvania had supplied the most men and therefore was allowed to select the new commanding officer. He was Josiah Harmar. He called his troops the First American Regiment, as indeed they were. In December they took up quarters at Fort McIntosh, built in 1778 in the small, western Pennsylvania town of Beaver. This was the first peacetime post of the United States Army.

The fort has been restored by the Beaver Area Heritage Foundation and was formally dedicated in 1978.

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