Many in the service of their country will publicly disdain the need for such recognition but for the most part such sentiments are pure balderdash. Almost everyone likes recognition and in the military, short of awards for gallantry - promotions are it. During the period of the Yankee Doodle Spies, the promotion of officers was a big thing.
Military pride nearly cost us our independence. More to the point, a promotion or command denied often played a pivotal role during the war. Note the less than honorable service of General Charles Lee, Washington's second in command who avoided over-achieving whenever it undercut General Washington's authority. The scheming of General Horatio Gates, victor at Saratoga, became center of an anti-Washington cabal aimed at replacing Washington with him. And pride as toxic to the nation's struggle for independence is most notoriously exemplified by the treason of General Benedict Arnold, whose grievances (and they were legion) included the unjust denial of a deserved promotion to Major General. Each of these men turned on Washington and thus the cause, due to excess pride.
|Continental Army Officers were just human beings|
We often forget that the men who served as our First Patriots were human beings who had families and obligations. Promotion meant prestige and honor. These were very important traits in the 18th century. They also meant more pay and most officers and all enlisted men were not wealthy landholders but teachers, shopkeepers, small farmers, etc. So a promotion and the potential for more money was a real consideration. And all (correctly) assumed that higher rank during the war meant higher prestige that could be advantageous after the war, Again, they weren't much different than folks today. In a perfect world patriotism is its own reward. But in the real world patriotism needs to be rewarded fairly.
the nation in many ways
Unfortunately, a promotion in the Continental Army did not necessarily result in an increase in pay. In fact, payment for officers and enlisted was sporadic. Congress had to ask the states for the money to pay the Army and the states delayed or reneged whenever they could. Without going into it here, this almost took down the new republic before it was launched and only swift action by George Washington himself prevented a disaster. It also formed Washington's political leanings toward a strong central government self-sufficient enough to fund the national defense, the common defense. So curiously, the politics of promotion played a key role in the course of the war and the formation of the country