|Bunbury, British Camp, 1790 .|
Initially, tentatively setting precedents for its limited authority, Congress intended to have the various colonies supply their militia in continental service directly.
Virginia had already seen fit to do so with the first two regiments it fielded in 1775, intending to provide one tent for each officer, one for every two serjeants, one for every two musicians, one for every six privates, and a bell tent for every company.  This was at least the lofty goal in the initial days of the war, when even before the 1st and 2d regiments were formed at Williamsburg,
"A camp is now marked out, behind the college; tents and other camp equipage are getting ready with the utmost expedition; and the troops, from the different counties are on the march for this city..." 
|Artist unknown, French Camp, 1779. |
"Mr. J. Mease having, in consequence of the resolution of the 30th August, made a report, that he cannot find there is any cloth in this city, fit for making tents, except a parcel of light sail cloth, which is in the hands of the Marine Committee: Whereupon,
Resolved, That the Marine Committee be directed to deliver to Mr. J. Mease all the light sail cloth in their hands: And that Mr. Mease be directed to have the same made into tents, as soon as possible, and forwarded to General Washington:
In October of 1776, Congress planned to procure 5,000 tents for the spring campaign of 1777, suggesting that the Continental Army was intended to build huts in fortified cantonments in the winter similar to European armies. 
Unfortunately, their interest in the matter was more often merely an admonision to a general to "...order the deputy quarter master general of the eastern department, forthwith to provide 1,000 good bell tents, and send them to the army...", rather than ensuring that the cloth or tentage was actually acquired and on hand.
|Hemp Canvas Hemp Russia Drill|
"That the Board of Admiralty take order for supplying the quarter master general with such quantity of the duck and Ticklenburg belonging to the United States in possession of the Navy Board at Boston, as he may have occasion for, to compleat the number of tents wanting for the army, and which can be spared from the immediate use of the navy" 
Ticklenburg was a coarse linen fabric manufactured in Ticklenburg, a german town near Osnabruk (Osnaburg), which suggests that the two fabrics (ticklenburg and osnaburg) were probably similar in weave and weight. Both were used for coarse working applications and were exported to North America and the West Indies.
|Linen Osnaberg Linen Duck Canvas|
"Ordered, That Mr. Peter T. Curtenius, as Commissary of this Congress, be desired to purchase the following quantities of Ravens Duck, Ticking, and Bell Tents, of such persons as will sell the same on the publick credit, to wit: 427 pieces of good Ravens Duck; 182 yards of Ticking, fit to make Bell Tents; and twenty-six Bell Tents, which are at Hayman Levy' s, if they are of a proper fashion, good, and of a cheap or reasonable price." 
"Mr. Van Zandt, from the Committee appointed to get as many Tents made as they shall think necessary, reported, that they had agreed with sundry Upholsterers to make two hundred and fifty Tents, and to furnish all materials (Duck excepted) for making the said Tents, with Tent Poles, Mallets, and other necessaries for the said Tents, at the rate of fifteen Shillings for each Tent. That the said Upholsterers have agreed with them to have the said two hundred and fifty Tents finished by the latter end of next week..." 
 Bunbury, H. W. (1790), British Camp Scene. watercolor. Anne S. K. Brown Collection. Retrieved from http://library.brown.edu/cds/catalog/catalog.php?verb=render&id=1163520244421875&colid=13&view=showmods
 The Proceedings of the Convention of Delegates of Virginia, July 17 1775.
 Purdie's Virginia Gazzette, September 29, 1775, p. 2.
 Artist unknown, (1779), French Camp., watercolor. Anne S. K. Brown Collection. Retrieved from http://library.brown.edu/cds/catalog/getimage.php?image_id=1140643012531257.jp2
 Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. vol. 5, Septempber 4, 1776, p 735., Retrieved from http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=lljc&fileName=005/lljc005.db&recNum=319&itemLink=D?hlaw:2:./temp/~ammem_VKFY::%230050320&linkText
 Journals..., 840.
 Journals...vol. 10, 24.
 Will, Johann Martin, (1788) "Accurate Vorstellung so sich nach der erobrung von Schabaz den 24 April 1788, zwischen ihro Majestät dem Kayser, und General Lasen begeben", Retrieved from http://library.brown.edu/cds/catalog/getimage.php?image_id=1145655105468750.jp2
 Journals...vol. 17, 509.
 Journals...vol. 18, 911-912.
 Gerry, Elbridge. Letter to Massachussetts Delegates., June 4, 1775, [S4-V2-p0905], Retrieved from http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/contextualize.pl?p.3593.amarch.1288
 Curtenius, Peter T., Letter to the New York Provicial Congress., June 28, 1775, [S4-V2-P01-sp32-D0576], Retrieved from http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/contextualize.pl?p.4043.amarch.608
 Lt. Campbell, A (1759)., North view of Fort Royal in the Island of Guadaloupe, when in possession of His Majesty's forces in 1759, Engraving by Charles Grignon, London: Jeffrys (1764), Retrieved from http://library.brown.edu/cds/catalog/catalog.php?verb=render&id=1327437137625001&colid=13&view=showmods
 Orders. New York Congress., June 16, 1775, [S4-V2-p1303], Retrieved from http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/contextualize.pl?p.4416.amarch.286
 Orders. New York Congress., June 17, 1775, [S4-V2-p1303], Retrieved from http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/contextualize.pl?p.4418.amarch.781