Organization of the Quartermaster's Department
When Washington took command of Continental troops at Cambridge on 3 July 1775, he found a heterogeneous and undisciplined force of some 17,000 men, all of whom had enlisted for only short terms. His army also lacked all essential staff officers. Of the latter, none was more important than the Quartermaster General. In an eighteenth century army he functioned as would a later-day chief of staff. He had no direct authority over troops, yet he was continually with the commanding general, whose orders almost always passed through his hands. He necessarily knew the secret of army movements. As Washington later described his qualifications, the Quartermaster General had to be a "man of great resource and activity, and worthy of the highest confidence." His duties included gathering information, assisting the commanding general in planning marches, and distributing march orders to the general officers. He thoroughly explored the field of operations, opened and repaired all roads on the line of advance and retreat, selected proper points for bridges, and examined fords. He laid out the camp and assigned quarters.1 In addition to these duties in the field, the Quartermaster General was also responsible for the procurement of various kinds of materiel needed to enable an army to march with ease and to encamp with convenience and safety. He and his assistants procured and furnished all camp equipment and tents. When the army went into winter quarters, he provided the lumber and other articles needed to build huts for the troops. He transported the troops and all supplies. He procured horses, oxen, and pack animals and provided the forage for their maintenance. He furnished wagons when the troops moved by land and boats when they went by water. His transportation duties also included providing wagons to haul army supplies to magazines, to posts, and to encampment sites. In view of all these functions, the Quartermaster General had to be not only a competent military officer but also an able administrator and a versatile businessman, familiar with the resources of the country and capable of drawing them out.
1. (1) Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 36:309 (to Secretary of War, 4 Jul 98). (2) Thomas Simes, The Military Guide for Young Officers, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1776), 1:8-9.
Appointment of Officers
The Continental Congress did not neglect arranging for a Quartermaster General. On 16 June 1775 it passed a resolution that called for a Quartermaster General for the main Continental army, who was to be paid 80 dollars per month, and a deputy, under him, for the separate army, who was to receive 40 dollars per month.2 It did not itself appoint the Quartermaster General but authorized Washington to do so, much to the dismay of John Adams. The latter believed that all staff officers should be appointed by Congress, since he felt they ought to act as a check on the Commander in Chief.3
On 14 August 1775 Washington appointed as his Quartermaster General Maj. Thomas Mifflin, a 31-year-old Philadelphia merchant then serving as one of his aides-de-camp. Mifflin's business background was obviously an asset and initially he used it to good effect. However, when both supplies and funds became more difficult to obtain, the prosaic duties of his office proved irksome, and he yearned for the glory to be won by commanding troops in the field. Before the end of 1775 Congress established the rank of his office as that of a colonel in the Continental Army.4 In addition to Mifflin, who held the office during two separate periods, three other men—Stephen Moylan, Nathanael Greene, and Timothy Pickering—served as Quartermasters General to the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Of the four, Greene was the most effective.
Congress appointed deputy quartermasters general to act with separate armies in the field and other deputies to serve in the military departments as these were established. It initially gave each the rank of colonel in the Continental Army and made the appointments without consulting the Quartermaster General, though all of these deputies were considered to be under his direction. On occasion Congress delegated its appointing authority to the commanding general of a separate army.
In response to a plea from Maj. Gen. Philip Schuyler, commander of the Northern Department, Congress appointed Donald Campbell deputy quartermaster general of that department on 17 July 1775, a month before Washington designated Mifflin Quartermaster General. Subsequently, during the retreat of American troops from Canada in June 1776 following the disasters at Quebec and Trois Rivieres, Brig. Gen. John Sullivan, Schuyler's second in command, assigned Maj. Udny Hay to carry out the duties of deputy quartermaster general, for Campbell was being held to face a court-martial.5 So competently did Hay fill this assignment that Congress
2. JCC, 2:94.
3. Burnett, Letters, 1:174, 177-78 (Adams to James Warren, 23 and 26 Jul 75).
4. (1) Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 3:419 (GO). (2) JCC, 3:445 (22 Dec 75).
5. (1) RG 11, CC Papers, item 153, 1:18 (Schuyler to Pres of Cong, 11 Jul 75). (2) JCC, 2:186. (3) At a court-martial held at Crown Point in July 1776, Campbell was sentenced to be cashiered.
brevetted him a lieutenant colonel in January 1777 on the express condition that he remain in the Quartermaster's Department.6 Instead of assigning him to the post of deputy quartermaster general in the Northern Department, however, it appointed him an assistant deputy quartermaster general at Ticonderoga.7
When an alarmed Congress in 1776 directed Washington to send Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates to take command of the forces in Canada, it empowered the latter to appoint such officers as he thought proper. Gates designated Morgan Lewis as deputy quartermaster general for those forces.8 By the time Gates arrived at Albany, however, the troops under General Sullivan had evacuated Canada, and there were no forces for him to command. General Schuyler, who thought that only Sullivan was being displaced by the action of Congress, held on to his command of the Northern Department. Congress supported him, and the appointments that Gates had made for Canada were no longer valid. Morgan Lewis had been at considerable expense to equip himself for his appointment. He therefore hastened to Philadelphia, where his father, Francis Lewis, was serving as a delegate from New York. There he solicited redress from the Continental Congress. On 12 September 1776 Congress appointed him deputy quartermaster general of the army in the Northern Department.9 He served in that capacity and subsequently as deputy quartermaster general of the Northern Department until a reorganization of the Quartermaster's Department in 1780 eliminated the post.
Departing from its action in appointing a deputy quartermaster general for the entire Northern Department, Congress assigned such officers in the Southern Department by state areas. Late in March 1776 it appointed William Finnie, a Williamsburg merchant, as a deputy quartermaster, rather than deputy quartermaster general, in that department. Though not
General Gates, in reviewing the proceedings, decided he did not deserve to be cashiered. In consequence, Congress continued him in his former rank and pay, though he no longer served in the Quartermaster's Department. See ibid., 7:29, 45, 114, (11 and 18 Jan, 18 Feb 77).
6. Originally, the department was designated the Quartermaster General's Department, but soon the shortened form—Quartermaster's Department—came into general usage.
7. Udny Hay was a Quebec timber merchant who lost his possessions there by favoring the American cause. Obliged to flee, he joined the American forces, was appointed a captain in Col. Moses Hazen's regiment in January 1776, and was soon promoted to the rank of major. He served in the Quartermaster's Department until his resignation on 16 October 1780. (1) JCC, 11:554-55. (2) Force, Am. Arch., 5th set., 3:744-45. (3) Washington Papers, 172:61 (Hay memorial, 25 Apr 81).
8. Morgan Lewis was a young man of 21 only recently graduated from Princeton when he joined a rifle company at the outbreak of the Revolution; shortly thereafter he became a member of the staff of General Gates.
9. (1) Burnett, Letters, 2:48-49 (Francis Lewis to Mrs. Gates, 13 Aug 76). (2) RG 11, CC Papers, item 149, 2:417 (Lewis commission).
specified in his appointment, Finnie's area of activity was Virginia, where earlier in the year Governor Patrick Henry had appointed him deputy quartermaster general for the state. Finnie established himself at Williamsburg. Considering himself to be subordinate to the Quartermaster General, he applied to Mifflin for instructions.10 He failed to receive any, but Quartermaster personnel in areas remote from the main Continental army often functioned independently. They were encouraged to do so, since the Quartermaster General was seldom well enough informed to advise them on any course of action. Like Morgan Lewis, Finnie continued in office until the 1780 reorganization of the Quartermaster's Department led to the appointment of Maj. Richard Claiborne as deputy quartermaster for Virginia on 1 January 1781.11 On 7 May 1776 Congress appointed Nicholas Long deputy quartermaster general in North Carolina. It gave him the rank of colonel in the Continental Army. Long continued in this office throughout the war. In the summer of 1777 Congress directed the Quartermaster General to appoint a deputy quartermaster general in the state of Georgia, but it is doubtful that Mifflin ever made the appointment.12
There was neither occasion nor need for Congress to make any appointments for the Southern Army before 1778. The gallant defense of Charleston and the victory over the British at Sullivan's Island in June 1776 were accomplished largely by the provincial forces of South Carolina, although Maj. Gen. Charles Lee had been sent to take command of the Southern Department. The defeat of the British led to a lull in military operations in the south until the fall of 1778. Maj. Gen. Robert Howe was then in command of the Southern Army, with Col. Francis Huger as his deputy quartermaster general. The latter was compelled to resign, however, under pressure exerted by President Rawlins Lowndes of South Carolina, who refused to advance him more money until he had accounted for what he had already received. General Howe recommended the appointment of Col. Stephen Drayton as a replacement, and Congress elected him to the post on 17 November 1778.13
Authority to appoint not only the deputy quartermaster general but all staff officers necessary for the Southern Army later was vested in its commanding general. Congress granted this authority both to Maj. Gen. Horatio
10. (1) JCC, 4:239 (28 Mar 76). (2) Force, Am. Arch., 4th ser., 4:129 (18 Jan 76); 5th ser., 1:491-92 (to Mifflin, 2 May 76; to Pres of Cong, 17 Aug 76).
11. RG 93, Pickering Letters, 126:26 (to Bd of War, 19 Aug 80, and enclosures).
12. (1) JCC, 4:332. (2) The records, however, show a Col. Peter Tarling serving as deputy quartermaster general to the troops in Georgia in the fall of 1777. Ibid., 8:596-97 (1 Aug 77); 9:785-86 (8 Oct 77).
13. Ibid., 12:1138. Congress supported the action taken by President Lowndes; by a resolution of 9 February 1778 it had granted him power to suspend from pay and employment any staff officer in the state appointed by the head of his department and not immediately by Congress. See 11:552-53 (29 May 78).
Gates, who replaced General Howe, and to Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene, who succeeded Gates. General Gates appointed Capt. Joseph Marbury as his "field quartermaster general." Greene, more experienced in supply operations, appointed Lt. Col. Edward Carrington deputy quartermaster general for the Southern Army. Under Carrington's direction the various branches of Quartermaster activity were organized to support Greene's operations in the south.14
Organization Under Mifflin
The organization of the Quartermaster's Department in 1775 was relatively simple. It was designed to provide support to the three divisions into which Washington organized his army. A division was made up of two brigades, averaging six regiments each. One division, constituting the right wing, lay at Roxbury; a second division was posted at Prospect and Winter Hills; and a third division, the center, was located at Cambridge.
In harmony with this troop organization, the Quartermaster's Department in the field was, under Quartermaster General Mifflin's direction, also organized in three units. The headquarters unit at Cambridge employed a staff of nineteen. Five were clerks who kept accounts and records. Two other clerks operated an issuing store to distribute camp utensils and other equipment to the troops. One clerk and an assistant received and delivered wood to the troops, and another clerk and an assistant operated a lumber yard. Two men were employed to run the stables and a granary. One superintendent supervised the work of "all smiths, armourers, and nailers in the Army," and a second superintendent directed the work of fifty carpenters. The Cambridge Quartermaster unit also included two wagonmasters and a barrackmaster and his clerk. In addition, a captain commanded a separate company consisting of an undesignated number of carpenters who were constantly employed on the wagon train used to haul supplies. The two smaller units of the Quartermaster's Department were each headed by an assistant quartermaster general appointed by Mifflin. John Parke directed an office at Roxbury; John Gizgage Frazer headed an office serving both Prospect Hill and Winter Hill. Congress subsequently allowed them the pay of a captain in the Continental Army.15 Each employed one clerk and one wagonmaster. Roxbury, Winter Hill, and Prospect Hill each also had one clerk to receive and deliver wood to the troops in those areas.16 Excluding various artificers, Quartermaster General Mifflin in the winter of 1775-76
14. (1) Ibid., 17:510 (14 Jun 80); 18:994-96 (30 Oct 80). (2) RG 11, CC Papers, item 155, 6:479 (Greene to Pres of Cong, 7 Dec 80).
15. JCC, 5:418- 19 (15 Jun 76).
16. (1) Washington Papers, 23:36 (personnel list, January 1776). (2) Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 3:427, 515 (GO, 16 Aug and 22 Sep 75).
employed a staff of twenty-eight. The organization was well suited to the needs of a stationary army.
In addition to this field organization, Mifflin utilized the services of merchants in various parts of the country to purchase forage, lumber, tentage, tools, and other articles required by the Quartermaster's Department. Unlike the personnel in the field organization, who were paid salaries and eventually given ration allowances fixed by Congress, the purchasing agents worked on a commission basis. They customarily received a 2 to 2½ percent commission on the money they spent in making their purchases.
The movement of the main army to New York following the British evacuation of Boston in March 1776 led to an expansion of the Quartermaster's Department. Under orders from Washington, Mifflin proceeded to Norwich, Connecticut, to prepare needed transportation at that location for troops and supplies. He then went to New York to provide accommodations there.17 Assistant Quartermaster General Parke stayed on at Cambridge only long enough to forward designated quartermaster supplies before he hurried to join Mifflin at New York. Assistant Quartermaster General Frazer remained in the Boston area in charge of the department's supplies that had been left behind. Within a few months he was succeeded by Thomas Chase, who eventually was given the title of deputy quartermaster general in the Eastern Department.18 Meanwhile, in New York Mifflin quickly perceived the advantages of having a local man, familiar with the resources of the state, working in his department. Consequently, on 11 May 1776 Washington announced the appointment of Hugh Hughes as assistant quartermaster general. He was a former New York City school teacher who was serving as a commissary of military stores for the state.19
Five days later Congress elected Mifflin a brigadier general of the Continental Army. Since by law the rank of the Quartermaster General was fixed as that of a colonel in the Army, Mifflin resigned the supply post to accept his promotion. Until his successor was selected, the burden of directing Quartermaster activities in New York fell on Hughes. Since a battle in New York was likely, Washington considered it important to appoint a new Quartermaster General at once. He selected Stephen Moylan, another member of his military family, who had been serving as an aide-de-camp since 7 March 1776. Congress appointed him to the post on 5 June.20 Moylan,
17. Ibid., 4:429-30 (to Mifflin, 24 Mar 76).
18. (1) Ibid., 4:463-67 (to Parke, 3 Apr 76). (2) Hugh Hughes Letter Books (to Chase, 17 Jul 76), New-York Historical Society.
19. (1) Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 5:38. (2) Force, Am. Arch., 4th set., 5:268 (N.Y. Provincial Cong, 15 Feb 76). (3) The New York Convention had appointed Hughes a commissary of military stores on 16 February 1776. Memorial and Documents in the Case of Colonel Hugh Hughes (Washington, 1802), p. 3.
20. (1) JCC, 4:359 (16 May 76); 5:419. (2) Some members of Congress had favored the appointment of Joseph Trumbull, the Commissary General of Stores and Purchases. Their dis-
an Irish immigrant who had been engaged in the shipping business in Philadelphia since 1768, was an ardent patriot. He assumed his duties in the midst of preparations being made in anticipation of the arrival of the British. The active operations that followed the British landing on Long Island on 22 August required much transportation and a steady flow of supplies. Whether Moylan had the administrative talents necessary for executing the duties of his post cannot, on the basis of available evidence, be determined. Washington, however, blamed the Quartermaster's Department for the heavy loss of supplies sustained in the evacuation of New York City in September, conveniently forgetting that in the earlier evacuation from Long Island the main army had lost all the wagons, carts, and horses that the Quartermaster's Department had sent for its use.21
Moylan had been Quartermaster General for little more than three months when a congressional committee arrived on 24 September to inspect the state of the army in New York. After three days of investigation the committee persuaded Colonel Moylan to resign in order to pave the way for the reappointment of Mifflin as Quartermaster General.22 Much to the
inclination to see Walter Livingston succeed Trumbull and Washington's recommendation of Moylan reconciled them to the latter's appointment. Burnett, Letters, 1:478 (Elbridge Gerry to Trumbull, 8 Jun 76).
21. (1) Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 6:170 (to Sam Washington, 5 Oct 76). (2) Force, Am. Arch., 5th ser., 2:570-72 (Moylan to Pres of Cong, 27 Sep 76).
22. (1) Ibid. (2) Late in 1776 Moylan, on orders from Washington, organized and took command of a regiment of dragoons. He served in the Cavalry until ill health forced him to return home to Philadelphia after the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.
satisfaction of Congress and Washington, General Mifflin reluctantly accepted reappointment as Quartermaster General, retaining his rank and pay as brigadier general. Anticipating congressional approval, Washington announced his reappointment on 28 September, and Congress confirmed it on 1 October.23 Mifflin threw himself into the task of supporting the army in New York. The retreat to White Plains and the loss of Fort Washington considerably dampened patriotic ardor. With his army dwindling in size and with terms of enlistment soon to expire, Washington sent his Quartermaster General to Philadelphia to inform Congress of the situation and to obtain relief. Mifflin employed his considerable talents of persuasion in rekindling enthusiasm for the war and in turning out the Philadelphia militia to support Washington.24
Mifflin returned to camp on 9 December 1776, but his stay was brief. Having informed Washington that all military stores still remained in Philadelphia, exposed to possible capture by the British, Mifflin was at once ordered by the general to return to Philadelphia to take charge of the stores. There, in response to orders from Congress, he also engaged in raising troops in the counties neighboring Philadelphia. For his success in bringing the militia into service, Congress promoted him to major general on 12 February 1777. Mifflin appreciated the honor conferred on him but pointed out that during the 1776 campaign his time had been divided between the command of a brigade and the duties of the Quartermaster's Department. In consequence, his services "could not be made so useful to the Public" as he wished. He therefore hoped that "some one Line" of service would be marked out for him in the future, preferably in command of troops rather than as Quartermaster General.25
First Regulatory Measure
When Washington's army went into quarters in the winter of 1776-77, Mifflin remained in Philadelphia and gave much thought to improving the organization of his department. Washington approved his proposals and submitted them to the Continental Congress. On 14 May 1777 Congress adopted his plan, which incorporated the experience gained in the campaigns of 1775 and 1776.26 Congress thereby for the first time provided de-
23. (1) Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 6:125-26. (2) JCC, 5:838. (3) For congressional satisfaction with this appointment, see Burnett, Letters, 2:106, 114, 116, (Gerry to Gates, 27 Sep 76; Caesar Rodney to Thomas Rodney, 2 Oct 76; William Ellery to gov of R. I., 5 Oct 76).
24. (1) Force, Am. Arch., 4th ser., 3:1439 (Robert Morris to Pres of Cong, 27 Sep 76). (2) Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 6:352 (to Gov Jonathan Trumbull, 12 Dec 76).
25. (1) Ibid., 6:352 (to Pres of Cong, 9 Dec 76).(2) JCC, 7:153.(3) RG 11, CC Papers, item 161, fols. 8-9 (Mifflin to Pres of Cong, 12 Mar 77).
26. (1) Washington Papers, 42:116 (Mifflin to Washington, 9 Mar 77). (2) Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 6:283-84 (to Mifflin, 13 Mar 77). (3) Mifflin's proposals and Wash-
tailed regulations for the department. Following Mifflin's recommendation, it called for a more specialized division of duties by authorizing the creation and staffing of separate Forage and Wagon Departments within the Quartermaster's Department. It authorized the Quartermaster General to appoint such assistants and to make such arrangements for conducting the business of his department as he and the Commander in Chief thought best. He was to submit the names of all departmental personnel to the Board of War. For the first time Congress provided for a system of returns, culminating in a consolidated general return, to be submitted monthly by the Quartermaster General to the Board of War, the Commander in Chief, and the commander of each military department. Any subordinate refusing or neglecting to submit a monthly return was to be dismissed from the service. To promote uniformity in the submission of returns, the Quartermaster General was to furnish a form to be used for this purpose.
The Quartermaster General and the deputy quartermasters general in the several military departments had full power, with the consent of the Commander in Chief or the commander of the military department, to dismiss any Quartermaster official neglecting his duties. The regulation provided for the continuation of a deputy quartermaster general for each military department, designating his rank as that of colonel. In addition, the regulation called for the Quartermaster General, with Washington's approval, to appoint one deputy quartermaster general, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, for each division of the Continental Army, and an assistant, with the rank of captain, for each brigade. Most of these appointments were made in July 1777. Like the deputies for the military departments, the new deputies were to be paid a fixed salary, which Congress now raised in view of rising prices.27 On 1 July Washington announced the appointment of Col. Henry Emanuel Lutterloh as deputy quartermaster general for the main Continental army.28 During the prolonged absence of Mifflin from camp in 1777, the administration of Quartermaster activities with the main army in the field devolved upon Lutterloh and his assistants. His office included a clerk, a paymaster, and an assistant deputy quartermaster general, as well as a second deputy to supervise an issuing
ington's letter were referred to a committee, which brought in a report on 16 April 1777, only to have it recommitted. See JCC, 7:191, 272, 292, 355-59 (21 Mar, 16 Apr, 23 Apr, and 14 May 77).
27. Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 8:336-37 (GO, 2 Jul 77). The pay of a deputy quartermaster general of a grand division was set at 75 dollars per month; that of an assistant deputy quartermaster general, at 40 dollars per month. At the same time, Congress raised the pay of the Quartermaster General to 166 dollars per month in addition to his pay as a line officer.
28. (1) Ibid., 8:327-28 (GO, 1 Jul 77). (2) Lutterloh had seen service as a major in the Quartermaster General's Department of the army of the Duke of Brunswick. At the suggestion of Washington, who thought this practical knowledge might be useful, Mifflin appointed Lutterloh a deputy in his department on 14 June 1777. Ibid., 8:179 (to Mifflin, 4 Jun 77).
store, presided over by a storekeeper and his assistant. There was also an assistant deputy quartermaster general in charge of the Continental horse yards, who had the help of an assistant and four hostlers.29
No return of the personnel who handled supply operations in the Quartermaster's Department under Mifflin has been found, but correspondence provides some information on the organization. The Quartermaster General maintained an office in Philadelphia manned by Col. Anthony Butler and four assistants. This office undoubtedly handled applications for funds and maintained close relations with the Continental Congress. At various places throughout the country were the offices of the deputy quartermasters general of the military departments and districts. Morgan Lewis still directed Quartermaster activities in the Northern Department, as Thomas Chase did at Boston for the Eastern Department. Hugh Hughes remained in New York, as deputy quartermaster general, with his headquarters at Fishkill. William Finnie continued to operate out of Williamsburg, Virginia, for the Southern District. To these earlier appointees, Mifflin added other district deputy quartermasters general. In Pennsylvania, where division of a state into districts was most pronounced, he appointed Robert Lettis Hooper at Easton, Mark Bird at Reading, John Davis at Carlisle, and George Ross at Lancaster. In Delaware he appointed Francis Wade at Wilmington. Each of these offices had assistant deputy quartermasters general and clerks. The list is no doubt incomplete, but it serves to show the marked expansion of the Quartermaster's Department in 1777.
Mifflin's Services and Resignation
Mifflin spent little time with Washington's army after 9 December 1776. In addition to drafting his plan for reforming the organization of the Quartermaster's Department and watching its slow progress through Congress, Mifflin, in the winter of 1776-77, was busily engaged in making preparations for the next campaign. Hampered by lack of funds, he wrote the President of the Continental Congress of the consequences to be expected and hoped that he would not be charged with neglect of duty.30 Despite the difficulties, his preparations moved along satisfactorily. He would have gladly relinquished the post of Quartermaster General for a command assignment, but his hints to Congress and Washington about a separate command went unanswered.
In late May 1777 Mifflin informed Washington that he had provided al-
29. RG 11, CC Papers, item 192, fol. 159 (personnel list, Jan 78). The department in the field also included a wagonmaster general and a commissary general of forage to direct transportation and forage activities.
30. Ibid., item 161, fol. 6 (Mifflin to Hancock, 6 Feb. 77).
most every article needed for the coming campaign. He was still in Philadelphia, fully occupied in reforming the Quartermaster's Department under the new plan adopted by Congress and in settling the innumerable, intricate accounts of expenses remaining from the previous campaign. Moreover, several members of Congress thought his presence in Philadelphia was necessary. He reported to Washington that he would have to remain there unless "the Business of the Army cannot be executed to your Satisfaction" by Lutterloh at camp. With the opening of the campaign drawing near, Washington wanted his Quartermaster General at headquarters.31 He was torn, however, between this desire and his need to use Mifflin's services to draw out troops for the defense of Philadelphia and to reconnoiter the area around Philadelphia likely to be the scene of action. He ordered Mifflin to search out probable British landing places and to report back on places that would make good American encampments. Washington also directed Mifflin to gain accurate knowledge of all roads and bypaths on both sides of the Delaware River where enemy troops were likely to operate.32 It was on Washington's orders that Mifflin returned to Philadelphia after appearing at headquarters early in June and again in July 1777.
Until the British took Philadelphia, Mifflin cannot be accused of neglecting his duties as Quartermaster General, for he faithfully and competently executed the orders given him by Congress and by Washington. There is more basis for criticism regarding his performance during the closing months of the campaign and during the winter encampment at Valley Forge. When the British occupied Philadelphia and the Continental Congress fled to York, Mifflin retired to Reading, Pennsylvania. Distressed by the American defeats, he submitted his resignation as Quartermaster General and major general to Congress on 8 October 1777, pleading ill health.33 He sent no word to Washington but remained at Reading, "a chief out of war, complaining, though not ill, considerably malcontent," brooding over his loss of favor at headquarters and his failure to achieve his ambition of a separate command.34
A month later Congress accepted his resignation as Quartermaster General. Since Mifflin's friends in that body were determined to retain his valuable services, Congress at the same time appointed him to the Board of War, permitting him to retain his commission, though not his pay, as a major general. Pleased by this action, Mifflin proposed to wait on Congress for
31. (1) Washington Papers, 47:116- 17 (Mifflin to Washington, 27 May 77). (2) Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 8:64-65, 134-35 (to Mifflin, 15 and 28 May 77).
32. Ibid., 8:204 (to Pres of Cong, 8 Jun 77); 492-94 (to Mifflin, 28 Jul 77); 293-95 (to Joseph Reed, 23 Jun 77).
33. RG 11, CC Papers, item 161, fols. 16-18 (Mifflin to Pres of Cong).
34. (1) Alexander Graydon, Memoirs of a Life (Harrisburg, 1811), pp. 278, 282. (2) See also Octavius Pickering and Charles W. Upham, The Life of Timothy Pickering, 4 vols. (Boston, 1867-73), 1:205-07 (Pickering to Col Alexander Scallem, 17 Feb 78).
orders as soon as it made arrangements for the Quartermaster's Department.35
Congress, however, was in no mood to apply itself to problems of supply organization. Alarmed and disgruntled by the necessity to flee Philadelphia, the delegates were further dissatisfied by Washington's defeat at Germantown. Many of them became increasingly critical of the Commander in Chief and were more inclined to blame him than to assist him by enacting measures to improve supply operations.36 On 8 November 1777 Congress declined to appoint a new Quartermaster General. Despite the fact that it had accepted Mifflin's resignation the previous day, it passed a resolution desiring him to continue in office and investing him with full authority to act until another Quartermaster General was appointed.37 Four months elapsed before Congress made the appointment.
Mifflin had no intention of assuming the burdens of that office again. He expressed the view that Lutterloh could "now take the whole" upon himself, as he had been doing for months. Congress had not provided the funds necessary for Mifflin to prepare for the next campaign, and he warned Lutterloh that he would have nothing to do with the department except to settle his accounts.38
However willing Lutterloh was to execute Quartermaster functions at camp, he lacked an overall knowledge of the department and of the country's resources. He was blamed for shortcomings for which he had no responsibility.39 Meanwhile, Washington was obliged to act as his own Quartermaster General, as he frequently had during the campaign of 1777. Since July, he complained on 23 December, he had received no assistance from his supply chief.40 The lack of an active Quartermaster General and the failure of Congress to take appropriate action contributed greatly to the distress of the troops at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-78.
In December 1777 Washington suggested that two or three members of the Board of War or a committee of Congress should come to camp and, in consultation with him, prepare a plan to correct all abuses and make new arrangements. On 10 January 1778 Congress finally agreed to send a committee to Washington's headquarters, though there was some delay before it began
35. (1) JCC, 9:874 (7 Nov 77). (2) Richard Henry Lee, Memoir of the Life of Richard Henry Lee, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1825), 2:174 (12 Nov 77).
36. For an analysis of the congressional mood, see Burnett, The Continental Congress, pp. 267 ff.
37. JCC, 9:882 (8 Nov 77).
38. RG 11, CC Papers, item 192, fols. 217-19 (Anthony Butler to Lutterloh, 17 Jan 78).
39. Ibid., item 192, fols. 191-92 (Lutterloh to Joseph Reed, 31 Jan 78). (2) For an estimate of Lutterloh's abilities by the committee at camp, see ibid., item 33, fols. 128-29 (to Congress, 12 Feb 78). (3) Washington Papers, 70:44 (Lutterloh to Washington, 22 Mar 78).
40. Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 10: 194 (to Pres of Cong, 23 Dec 77).
its work.41 After conferring with Washington on various Army matters, it was clear to the members that appointment of a Quartermaster General was an "immediate Necessity." Unless the department was administered "by very superior abilities, but little can be expected from our Exertions during the next Campaign," the committee wrote Congress on 28 January. It went on to suggest General Schuyler for the post. If his appointment was inexpedient, it wanted to be informed immediately, as it had others under consideration.42
At the same time, the Board of War was preparing a report that called for Congress either to appoint a Quartermaster General with power to reform his department with the approbation and concurrence of the Board of War, or to adopt a reorganization plan for the department that Mifflin had submitted. The latter had proposed dividing the department into military and civil branches. The duties of the military branch would be discharged by the Quartermaster General, and those of the civil branch would be divided among three officials-a commissary of forage, a commissary for horses and wagons, and a purchasing agent for tents, tools, and other quartermaster supplies. The estimates and orders of the Quartermaster General or the Board of War would govern the purchases made by these three officers. Congress adopted the Mifflin plan on 5 February 1778, ordering the Board of War to prepare suitable regulations for the Quartermaster's Department.43
Two days later Congress directed the committee at camp to consult with General Washington and report to Congress the names of candidates for the positions included in the Mifflin plan. This letter apparently never arrived. The committee, convinced in turn that its letter about the appointment of Schuyler had gone astray, wrote again to the President of Congress on 12 February, describing the conditions at Valley Forge and requesting instructions. Another week went by before Congress began to suspect that the copies of its resolutions sent to the committee had miscarried. On 20 February the President of Congress sent duplicates to the committee. Alarmed over this delay in bringing relief to the troops at Valley Forge, Congress changed its instructions the following day. It authorized the committee, in conjunction with General Washington, "forthwith to make the proper appointments" for the Quartermaster's Department.44
41. JCC, 10:39-40, 41 (10 and 12 Jan 78). The delay was occasioned by the fact that Congress had included the three new members of the Board of War—Mifflin, Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates, and Timothy Pickering—on the committee. Gates had strong reasons for not wanting to go to headquarters—the Conway letter affair was sufficient in itself—and Mifflin and Pickering had similar reasons. Congress excused them from attendance at camp and added other members to the committee.
42. RG 11, CC Papers, item 33, fol. 71 (28 Jan 78).
43. JCC, 10:102-03 (30 Jan 78); 126-27 (5 Feb 78).
44. (1) Ibid., 10:138 (7 Feb 78). (2) RG 11, CC Papers, item 33, fols. 128-29 (committee to Pres of Cong, 12 Feb 78); item 192, fols. 221-23 (Pres of Cong to committee, 20 Feb 78). (3) JCC, 10:186 (21 Feb 78).
The committee was clearly diffident about making these appointments, for it proposed discarding the plan approved by Congress. Since its arrival at camp, it had closly [i.e., closely] examined the existing administration of Quartermaster affairs. The committee had concluded that many abuses had crept into the system. "The number of little piddling pilfering Plunderers in the Character of Deputies, & Deputies Assistants is sufficient almost to form an Army," it protested. The expense was almost "infinite." On some supplies purchasing agents were allowed the then enormous commission of 5 percent, while 2½ percent was paid on every ounce of forage consumed. Furthermore, the committee feared that government teams had transported private property at government expense instead of needed supplies. Success in administering the Quartermaster's Department, the committee held, would depend principally on the character of the men directing it and not upon "paper systems." Analysis of the plan adopted by Congress convinced the committee that the plan would not work. The number of independent officers would be productive of conflicting decisions, confusion, and controversies that the Commander in Chief would have to settle. He would end by being his own Quartermaster General.
Appointment of Greene
Discarding the plan adopted by Congress, the committee proposed the appointment of a Quartermaster General and two assistant quartermasters general. By persuasion and appeals to patriotism, the committee induced Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene to accept the post of Quartermaster General. With time growing short and much still to be done to ready the army for possible action, Washington added his arguments in favor of acceptance. Out of personal devotion to his Commander in Chief, a reluctant Greene relinquished the chance of winning glory on the battlefield and agreed to accept the comparatively prosaic duties of Quartermaster General.
The committee suggested the selection of John Cox, an eminent Philadelphia merchant, and Charles Pettit, a lawyer and accountant who had been secretary to Governor William Livingston of New Jersey, as his assistant quartermasters general. Greene chose the two men. Both were related to Joseph Reed, one of the members of Congress appointed to the committee. Under the committee's arrangements, Greene would perform the military duties of the department and direct all purchases and issues, Cox would make all purchases and examine all stores, and Pettit would keep all accounts and all cash. The committee proposed to compensate these three men by allowing them a 1 percent commission on the money spent by the department, to be divided as they decided among themselves. They subsequently agreed that each man would receive one-third of 1 percent.45
45. RG 11, CC Papers, item 33 vols. 185, 187-95 (committee to Pres of Cong, 24 and 25 Feb 78).
The committee conceded that paying a commission was a temptation to peculation and that such payments should generally be avoided, but it considered that in this instance an exception could be made. It could not compensate these men with an adequate salary without arousing demands for an increase in pay from every other officer. In any event, the committee argued, the only way to avoid peculation was to obtain the services of men of property, morals, and character, as it had done. The committee submitted its proposal and nominations to Congress in the expectation of a speedy decision. With preparations still to be made for the approaching 1778 campaign, Congress had no alternative but to adopt the proposal in early March and appoint the nominees.46
When Greene assumed his duties on 23 March, he built his organization on the framework established by Mifflin. Army brigade quartermasters were retained, but the divisional deputy quartermasters general were eliminated. At least two of the latter reappeared in other assignments—Cornelius Sheriff as a deputy quartermaster general in Pennsylvania and James Abeel, formerly deputy for Greene's division, as a deputy quartermaster general and superintendent of stores, stationed initially at Reading, Pennsylvania, and then at Morristown, New Jersey. Unlike Mifflin, Quartermaster General Greene was generally with Washington's army in the field; his headquarters staff included, in addition to a wagonmaster general and a commissary general of forage, a deputy quartermaster general, various clerks, and an auditor of accounts. As necessitated by his responsibilities, one of the assistant quartermasters general, Charles Pettit, maintained his office at Philadelphia after the British evacuated the city in June. The other, John Cox, traveled extensively as purchaser and inspector of stores.
Greene had no intention of replacing the departmental and district deputy quartermasters general who had worked for Mifflin. Perhaps he had already come to the conclusion that "old agents are like chronick diseases difficult to shake off."47 In any case, he proposed to keep those deputies who had filled their posts competently, as he informed Hugh Hughes, whose services he wished to retain. The latter, however, refused to serve under Greene. It soon became apparent that Hughes felt he had been superseded, deprived of his rank, and left to "the will and pleasure of those put over me." He sharply rejected Greene's references to profits and emoluments; he had served under Mifflin, he informed Greene, for nothing more than his wages and rations.48
46. JCC, 10:210-11 (2 Mar 78).
47. "Letters of General Nathanael Greene to Colonel Jeremiah Wadsworth," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 22 (1898): 212 (14 Apr 79).
48. Hugh Hughes Letter Books (Greene to Hughes, 31 Mar 78, and reply, 6 Apr 78; Greene to Hughes, 16 Apr, and reply, 23 Apr 78).
Although Hughes refused to serve, many of Mifflin's other deputy quartermasters general continued at their posts, particularly those serving in Pennsylvania.49 Mifflin had begun the practice of assigning deputies to supervise Quartermaster activities in given districts. Greene continued this system, but he lacked information on how the districts had been divided or allotted by Mifflin. For example, he appointed John Davis as deputy quartermaster general on the western side of the Susquehanna with the privilege of making purchases on the borders of Virginia and Maryland, only to discover that this district had to be reduced in size. In retaining Archibald Steele as deputy quartermaster general at Fort Pitt in Pennsylvania, Greene learned that Steele's district already included Westmoreland and Bedford Counties in Pennsylvania, Washington County in Maryland, and Berkeley County in Virginia.50
Any hope that Greene's organization would result in a reduction in the number of deputies in Pennsylvania must have dimmed rapidly. In March 1779 there were still seven deputies in Pennsylvania, and each had assistants, wagonmasters, and clerks. In addition, John Mitchell, appointed deputy quartermaster general at Philadelphia, had an office staff of clerks, bookkeeper, cash keeper, and messengers. He also directed a storekeeper and three porters; an assistant for boats, as well as masters, mates, and sailors for three schooners; a deputy wagonmaster general and six wagonmasters; It superintendent of a wood and board yard; and a superintendent of barracks. The Continental stables at Philadelphia also were under Mitchell's charge. Jacob Hiltzheimer, superintendent of these stables and a former subordinate in Mifflin's organization, employed a clerk, 4 conductors, 17 hostlers, 2 wheelwrights, and a laborer.51
Other states also were well supplied with Quartermaster personnel. Greene appointed Nehemiah Hubbard deputy quartermaster general in Connecticut. Hubbard had received his training in the store and ships of Jeremiah Wadsworth's uncle, and he was closely associated with Wadsworth in procurement activities throughout the war. His office at Hartford included an assistant, a clerk, a deputy wagonmaster general, an express rider, two carpenters, a conductor of teams, and eighteen teamsters. In addition, he had assistants at Fairfield, Litchfield, Norwich, Sharon, and Windham. His personnel totaled forty-one. Ephraim Bowen, deputy quartermaster general for Rhode Island, was a member of a prominent mercantile family of that state. He maintained his office at Providence and
49. These included George Ross at Lancaster, Robert Patten at Lebanon, and John Davis at Carlisle, as well as Robert L. Hooper at Head of Elk, whose post was usually grouped with those in Pennsylvania.
50. Papers of John Davis, 1:53, 112 (Greene to Davis, 23 Mar and 9 May 78), Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.
51. RG 11, CC Papers, item 173, 2:53 -56 (circular letter, Greene to Pa. deputies, 26 Mar 79); item 39, 52:373-74 (return, 17 Apr 80).
employed assistant deputy quartermasters general at six other towns in the state, together with a deputy wagonmaster general, wagonmasters, storekeepers, artificers, and clerks.52 At Springfield, Massachusetts, Deputy Quartermaster General William Smith employed a staff of forty.53 Other deputies included Henry Hollingsworth of Maryland, Moore Furman of New Jersey, and Udny Hay, chosen by Greene to take over the direction of Quartermaster activities in New York from Hugh Hughes.
As heretofore, the Quartermaster's Department included the deputy quartermasters general of the Southern, Eastern, and Northern Departments. Under the regulations their staffs also expanded. For example, in the Northern Department Morgan Lewis employed a clerk, a storekeeper, and three assistants in his office at Albany, and an assistant deputy quartermaster general each at Bennington, Fort Schuyler, Saratoga, Schenectady, and Stillwater. At Albany he also directed a deputy wagonmaster general, three wagonmasters, and an overseer of the public stables; a deputy barrackmaster general and an assistant; a commissary of forage, two assistants, and two foragemasters; a superintendent of carpenters and another for the blacksmith's shop; and a captain in charge of bateaumen. There was also a captain of bateaumen at Schenectady and a barrackmaster at Saratoga.54
The Quartermaster's Department under Greene became by 1780 a sprawling, loose organization with a Quartermaster General, 2 assistant quartermasters general, 28 deputy quartermasters general, and 109 assistant deputy quartermasters general. It employed storekeepers, clerks, barrackmasters, express riders, laborers, and artificers, as well as superintendents of government property, roads, stables, woodyards, and horse yards. Its Forage Department included a commissary general of forage, an assistant, 25 deputies, and 128 assistant deputy commissaries, as well as clerks, foragemasters, measurers, collectors, weighers, stackers, superintendents, and laborers. Its Wagon Department employed, in addition to a wagonmaster general and 11 deputies, a large number of wagonmasters, wagoners, packhorsemasters, and packhorsemen. In its boat department there were superintendents, masters of vessels, mates, and boatmen.
The number of personnel in the Quartermaster's Department, which had expanded steadily under Mifflin, increased even more sharply during Greene's administration, particularly as subordinate departments were organized and staffed and as a network of subordinate offices drew upon the resources of the middle and New England states chiefly for the support of the
52. (1) APS, Greene Letters, 12:53 (Hubbard return, 1 Apr 79); 10: 109 (Bowen return, 15 Feb 79). Hubbard did not include the personnel at Danbury. (2) Fast, Business Enterprise in the American Revolutionary War, pp. 73, 97.
53. APS, Greene Letters, 11: 11 (Smith return, 3 Feb 79).
54. Ibid., 10:39 (Lewis return, 1778).
main Continental army. Posts throughout these states had to be supported, but there was no longer a Northern Army to be supplied. Although military operations in the Southern Department had resumed in 1778, supply support of the Southern Army was largely dependent upon the southern states, particularly Virginia and North Carolina. By 1780 the Quartermaster's Department employed almost 3,000 people-mostly stationed in the Middle and Eastern Departments and with Washington's army-at an estimated monthly payroll of 407,583 dollars exclusive of the commissions paid the Quartermaster General, the two assistant quartermasters general, the commissary general of forage, and the purchasing deputy quartermasters general.55 Since Washington's army never exceeded 24,000 men and often numbered considerably less, the proportion of Quartermaster supply personnel had become excessive.
In a separate but related development, combat officers by 1778 had become irritated by the propensity of Congress to attach military rank to staff appointments in the Quartermaster's Department. Washington and his line officers viewed all staff officers, except the Quartermaster General, as civilians who had no military functions but were engaged in carrying out civilian duties in support of the Continental Army. They felt no animosity when Congress fixed the rank of the Quartermaster General as a colonel, for in an eighteenth century army he was an officer of the line who executed both military and civilian duties.56 Nor did they object when Congress assigned the rank of colonel in the Continental Army to each deputy quartermaster general it appointed to a separate army. That officer's duties were, after all, akin to those of the Quartermaster General with the main Continental army. It was another matter, however, when Congress provided the rank of colonel for each deputy quartermaster general appointed to a military department. Greene later observed that the latter's duties were "so distinct from any idea of military rank, that I apprehend they have no necessary Connection nor relation." It was even more galling to line officers when in 1777 Congress attached the rank of lieutenant colonel to the posts both of wagonmaster general and of deputy quartermaster general of a division of the Continental Army and gave the rank of captain to the latter's assistant in each brigade. It is readily understandable why Maj. Gen. Johann Kalb complained: "My blacksmith is a captain. The numerous assistant quartermasters are for the most part people without any military education, often the common tradesmen, but collectively colonels. . . . The army swarms with colonels."57
55. Washington Papers, 161:77.
56. No other chief of a supply agency in the Revolutionary War was given military rank, nor were subordinates, except for the Commissary General of Military Stores, to whom Washington gave the rank of lieutenant colonel because he commanded companies of artillerymen and Artillery Artificers.
57. Friedrick Kapp, The Life of John Kalb (New York, 1884), p. 132.
The issue of rank was pointedly raised when Greene offered the appointment of deputy quartermaster general in New York to Udny Hay. To accept would cancel his former appointment by Congress as assistant deputy at Ticonderoga with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Hay was ready to act under either the old or the new appointment provided his military rank was preserved. Greene referred this problem to Congress. On 29 May 1778 that body ruled that Udny Hay could not keep the military rank of his old appointment. It further resolved that no persons thereafter appointed on the civil staff of the Continental Army were to be entitled to any rank in the Army by virtue of such a staff appointment.58 Complimentary titles of rank, however, continued to be used by staff personnel throughout the war.
Criticism of the Department
Under Greene's direction, preparations for the campaign of 1778, though much delayed, were handled to the satisfaction of both Washington and Congress. Criticism of the department subsided and Greene had freedom to administer it with little or no interference from Congress. Prices for supplies and services, however, rose alarmingly during the year. With prices soaring and expenditures in the department mounting, complaints and criticisms began to grow in volume, as noted by a congressional delegate on 31 October 1778. He had, he stated, learned of frauds and abuses on the part of certain individuals in the department. Congress appointed a committee of three to conduct an inquiry.59
Early in November Greene wrote, to Congress about problems requiring its attention. Congress decided that it was necessary for it not only to take speedy and vigorous measures for regulating both the Commissary and Quartermaster's Departments but also to give constant attention to the two departments. It appointed a committee of three to "superintend" them.60 This supervisory committee carried out its functions for a little more than a year, when its duties were taken over by the Board of War. During 1779 Congress appointed still other committees to promote reform in one phase or another of the activities of the supply departments.
Since the payment of commissions to purchasing agents was suspected of being a major factor contributing to the high costs of the war, even the commissions paid to the heads of the Commissary and Quartermaster's Departments came under review in January 1779. Greene, who was in Philadelphia, proposed to the Committee of Conference that the Quartermaster General and his two assistant quartermasters general each be paid a
58. JCC, 11:554-55.
59. Ibid., 12:1083.
60. Ibid., 12:1114-15 (10 Nov 78). Letters from the Quartermaster General and matters pertaining to his department were referred to this committee. See, for example, 13:150.
salary of 3,000 pounds sterling and expenses instead of commissions. This amount apparently had been approved by the President of Congress in discussions with Greene. The latter agreed either to serve for the proposed salary or to continue under the existing contract. If neither of these offers was satisfactory, he proposed to quit the department entirely. The head of the Commissary Department took the same position.61
When it was hinted to Greene that some members of Congress thought he was "making a fortune too rapidly," he sought to clarify his position in mid-April by writing to James Duane, the head of the Treasury Board. He acknowledged that the emoluments were "flattering to my fortune but not less humiliating to my military pride." Greene wrote that he had always preferred service in the line, and only the persuasions of Washington and the congressional committee had led him to serve as Quartermaster General. Profit, he noted, had not dictated that course, for he had offered to serve a year as Quartermaster General without pay other than what he received as a major general. When the committee had refused that offer, he had proposed serving on the same terms granted to Cox and Pettit. Moreover, he had been instrumental in getting Cox to accept a smaller commission than he had wanted. Greene had not sought the appointment nor did he wish to continue holding it, he wrote Duane, and if his past conduct was not satisfactory, he wanted "to quit a business wherein I cannot please."62
In the course of his stay in Philadelphia, Greene had reported to the Treasury Board the funds that his department would need for the period until 2 March 1779. By late April, however, the department had not been able to get one half that amount. The Treasury was hard pressed on every side, and the demands were infinitely greater than it could satisfy. "The business of financing is in a poor way," Greene wrote Washington. He sought to impress on Congress the disagreeable consequences that might follow "from starving the Quarter Masters Department at this critical season." His department was in considerable debt, he asserted to the congressional committee charged with supervising it, and he would not be able to carry out orders from the Commander in Chief unless he received the needed funds. Greene also informed the committee that the jealousies and suspicions about the payment of commissions in his department and its considerable but unavoidable expenditures, combined with the obloquy to which he was exposed, would compel him to resign for the sake of his reputation if Congress did not act.63
On 23 April Congress considered a report from the Board of War on the salaries of Quartermaster officers and referred it to the supervisory com-
61. RG 11, CC Papers, item 173, 4:191-92 (Greene to John Jay, 15 Feb 79).
62. (1) Ibid., item 155, 1:127-34 (16 Apr 79). (2) See also Washington Papers, 104:82-83 (Greene to Washington, 24 Apr 79).
63. (1) Ibid. (2) JCC, 13:490 (22 Apr 79); 14:503 (23 Apr 79).
mittee. The latter, after conferring with the Quartermaster General, was to report the next day.64 On 11 May 1779 Congress took action relative to salaries in the department. It did not concern itself with the salaries of the Quartermaster General or the assistant quartermasters general, but it resolved that all deputy quartermasters general who were paid commissions were not entitled to either salary or rations. Those who received no commissions, whether stationed at a post or in the field, were to be paid a salary. The resolution also fixed the salaries to be paid all other Quartermaster personnel. All salaried personnel were granted a subsistence allowance and the same clothing allowance as an officer of the line, provided they engaged for a year or longer.65
In the meantime, the congressional committee on the Treasury had reported on 31 March that it was impracticable to carry on the war by paper emissions given the enormous expenses of the Commissary and Quartermaster's Departments. The cause of these alarming costs, it charged, arose from allowing commissions to purchasers in these departments. The two departments, it recommended, ought to be put "on a different footing with respect to the expenditures of public money." Furthermore, a committee should be appointed both to investigate their contingent expenses and to consider and report on practical measures of retrenchment and reform. Congress took no action until 28 May 1779 when it appointed a committee of three to report on possible retrenchments and reforms and a second committee to draft a plan for improving the expenditure of public money by the departments. With the addition of these two committees to the supervisory committee and the committee on the Treasury, Congress now had four committees looking into the activities of the staff departments and devoting their efforts toward reform.66 Remembering Greene's earlier threat to resign, Congress also acted to retain his services. On 7 June it unanimously resolved that it had full confidence in his integrity, although it added that some of his subordinates had undoubtedly abused their positions. It promised that justice would be done to all by the speedy enactment of measures to distinguish the faithful from the unfaithful servant.67
On 9 July Congress resolved that the executive authority of each state should be requested to examine the conduct of every person within the state employed either in the Quartermaster's or Commissary Departments. In cases of misbehavior "or strong suspicion thereof," the state executive was to remove or suspend anyone who was not an officer immediately appointed by Congress. The executive could order the person's prosecution at the expense of the United States and appoint another in his place, although
64. Ibid., 14:503-04.
65. For details of pay and allowances, see ibid., 14:573-74.
66. Ibid., 13:491-92 (31 Mar); 14:519-20 (27 Apr); 533 (29 Apr); 661-62 (28 May 79).
67. Ibid., 14:695 (7 Jun 79).
notice would have to be given to the Board of War and to the Quartermaster General or Commissary General. The executive powers were also to inquire into the number of persons employed in the departments and discharge immediately any they judged unnecessary.68
Greene felt that this resolution put the staff wholly in the power of the state executive officers and would give "the last finishing stroke to our Department."69 The mischievous consequences were apparent at once. Udny Hay, deputy quartermaster general for the lower division of the state of New York, indicated that unless the act was repealed, he and all his assistants would resign. Greene advised the President of Congress that the resolution vested either too much or too little power in the state authority. If the states had the right to judge the agents and the power to dismiss delinquents and superfluous officers, he argued, each state ought to be held responsible for the duties of those officers. Greene had no objection to committing the whole business to the direction of the states, but he did not believe that state control would be less expensive or equally beneficial to the operations of the Continental Army.
Returning to the subject of commissions, Greene observed in late July that critics had used them to promote jealousy and discontent. If the use of commissions was an evil, it was comparatively small, he added, since most of the staff officers were on salary. The emoluments of office in the Quartermaster's Department were far from being as inviting as generally imagined. Some particular districts, he pointed out, were profitable, but the work was extensive and fatiguing. Judging by the difficulties he encountered in engaging good men and by the willingness of those in office to give up their appointments, he had no reason to suppose that suitable agents could be employed at less cost.70
Congress rejected Greene's arguments. Several Quartermaster and Commissary officers had acknowledged that it was impossible to supervise the conduct of subordinates at remote posts. Congress emphasized that its resolution of 9 July had simply established proper regulations for detecting the misconduct of such officers. The regulations were intended to discriminate between those who behaved well and those who abused their trust; they should therefore give no "apprehension" to officers who had faithfully discharged their duty. Congress directed that no subordinate could resign without permission and that permission should not be granted in the midst of a campaign; if it was granted, the head of the department was to be held responsible for all consequences.71
68. Ibid., 14:812-13 (9 Jul 79).
69. APS, Greene Letters, 11:5 (to Pettit, 24 Jul 79).
70. (1) RG 11, CC Papers, item 173, 2:157-73 (Greene to Jay, 28 Jul 79). (2) See also APS, Greene Letters, 11:4 (to Pettit, 29 Jul 79).
71. JCC, 14:944-45 (11 Aug 79).
Meanwhile, on 23 July the committee appointed to regulate and reduce expenses in the departments had brought in a report. Congress evidently intended giving careful study to this elaborate, detailed report, for it ordered sixty copies printed for the use of its members. Months passed, however, without further action. It was 18 October before a committee of the whole considered the plan briefly, but it came to no conclusion. Congress laid it aside until 4 December, when it passed the plan to a new committee.72
While these reform efforts were under way in the summer of 1779, new complications arose to plague Quartermaster officers. The New Jersey legislature enacted a law to raise one million pounds, but in addition to taxing all citizens for their real and personal estates in New Jersey, the law singled out the assistant quartermaster general and the deputy quartermasters general in the state. It levied a specific tax of not more than 10,000 pounds or less than 1,000 pounds on them as Continental officers. Deputy Quartermaster General Moore Furman resigned at once, and Assistant Quartermasters General Charles Pettit and John Cox waited only to learn the outcome of a memorial presented by them to Congress in mid-June.73
Apparently overlooking the discriminatory nature of the law, the committee to whom Congress referred the memorial piously noted on 28 June that every inhabitant of a state ought to contribute in proportion to the value of his estate, real or personal, however acquired; if the memorialists felt themselves aggrieved, the committee concluded, they should apply to the government of New Jersey for redress. Cox and Pettit responded by pointing out that if one state could tax Continental staff officers, the practice could spread to other states, with disastrous consequences. They submitted their resignations. On 8 July Congress thereupon directed the two officers to continue to discharge their duties until action could be taken on their letter, which it referred to a committee. Cox and Pettit professed they were unwilling to do anything to injure the public service and "cheerfully" yielded to Congress' order. Since they still might be assessed the tax, they asked to be indemnified if this occured while they continued to serve.74
After studying the matter, the congressional committee made its report on 6 August. Acknowledging that New Jersey had the right to tax all property, however acquired, the committee could only recommend that the state be called upon to revise its law to remedy the specific harmful effects that arose from it to the service of the United States. If, in the meantime, Pettit and Cox were compelled to pay the tax, the committee proposed that Congress indemnify them, "relying on the Justice of the Legislature of New
72. Ibid., 14:872-80. For congressional action, see 15:1186 (18 Oct); 1187 (19 Oct); 1349 (4 Dec 79).
73. (1) RG 11, CC Papers, item 102, fols. 237-38 (Pettit to Jay, 17 Jun 79). (2) JCC, 14:744-45 (18 Jun 79). (3) See also APS, Greene Letters, 6:96 (to Jay, 24 Jun 79).
74. (1) JCC, 14:779-80, 810 (8 Jul 79). (2) RG 11, CC Papers, item 192, fols. 240-44 (Pettit and Cox to Jay, 7 Jul 79); item 155, 1:545-46 (to Pres of Cong, 9 Jul 79).
Jersey to refund any sum which may be chargeable against the United States by reason of such indemnity."75 Congress heard the report but took no action. In October 1779 Pettit was assessed 1,000 pounds under the New Jersey law; he again appealed to Congress and called attention to the report of the committee. Congress passed on to other matters, and Pettit was left to pay the bill.76
From the beginning of 1779 Greene had awaited the formulation of a plan for the Quartermaster's Department. At the end of the year, having successfully supplied Washington's army through two campaigns, he felt it was an opportune time for leaving the department, and he wrote the President of Congress to this effect. In proposing to resign, he took the opportunity to stress the difficulties confronting the department. He cited the depreciation of the currency as the principal cause of all his difficulties. He added that losses sustained by individuals and by those districts which had been most ready to supply on credit had taught others to be cautious. He pointed out that among both individuals and states there was a growing disposition to be wary. Greene found that each state was so concerned for the benefit of its own inhabitants that the public interest suffered. Whenever the law of a state obliged the people to part with their property for the use of the Continental Army, the local magistrates would not execute the law unless supply agents paid for the property. People had become so dissatisfied with the failure of the department to pay its debts that they had begun to sue supply agents. Some state laws were so strict and magistrates were so protective of property rights that forage officers, operating under a press warrant granted by the Commander in Chief, had been prosecuted and heavily fined for taking forage along the march of the troops. Greene added that he would be happy to give all assistance in developing regulations for the department.77
A month elapsed without a reply, and Greene pressed for an answer.78 The situation was clearly becoming critical. The troops were living from hand to mouth, sustained by emergency requisitions on the states and the repeated use of impressments. Difficulties in the Quartermaster's Department increased daily. Greene had hoped that Congress would adopt some plan for the department's relief, he informed Washington, but his hopes were in vain.
75. JCC, 14:930-33 (6 Aug 79).
76. (1) RG 11, CC Papers, item 155, fols. 253-55 (Pettit to Pres of Cong, 20 Oct 79). (2) JCC, 15:1198-99 (22 Oct 79).
77. RG 11, CC Papers, item 173, 4:243-54 (12 Dec 79).
78. Ibid., item 155, 1:196 (to Pres of Cong, 13 Jan 80).
supplies of money. To extend one is impossible; to obtain the other, we have not the least prospect. I see nothing, therefore, but a general check, if not an absolute stop, to the progress of every branch of business in the whole department.79
He concluded that "it is folly to expect that this expensive department can be long supported on credit." He insisted that there was no lack of resources in the country; the defect Jay in a want of proper means to draw those resources into public use.
Reform of the Department
A year had gone by since Congress had initiated efforts to reform the staff departments. On 20 January 1780 Congress returned again to the report of the committee on regulating and retrenching the expenses of the supply departments and simply disposed of the problem by assigning the whole question of reform to three commissioners, one of whom was to be a member of Congress. They were to inquire into the expenses of the staff departments and the means of bringing about retrenchment, discharge supernumerary and delinquent officers, and abolish unnecessary posts. They were to visit Washington's headquarters and, in conjunction with the Commander in Chief, devise measures for promoting economy in the staff departments and then report their proposals to Congress. Congress chose former Maj. Gen. Philip Schuyler as the congressional commissioner and elected Timothy Pickering, then a member of the Board of War, and General Mifflin as the two other commissioners.80 Schuyler was absent from Congress. When he arrived early in March, he declined to serve as a commissioner; later he also demurred from serving on a committee, whose members included Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Allen Jones of North Carolina, to advise the commissioners. He had no wish to assist Mifflin and Pickering, for he considered both to be unfriendly to Washington. The appointment of Mifflin to superintend the staff departments struck Greene as "extraordinary," especially as he was "still under an impeachment for misconduct in this very business." He considered it a "design more to embarrass than facilitate the public business."81
Mifflin, Pickering, and the two members of the advisory committee worked out an elaborate reform plan. "I am afraid," Schuyler wrote Washington, "it will not only be inadequate but if adopted would give additional Soreness to the wounds already given" the Quartermaster General.82
79. Jared Sparks, Correspondence of the American Revolution, 4 vols. (Boston, 1853), 2:371-74 (26 Jan 80).
80. JCC, 16:75-77, 79 (20, 21, and 22 Jan 80).
81. Greene, Life of Nathanael Greene, 2:265 (Greene to Pres Joseph Reed, 9 Feb 80).
82. (1) Burnett, Letters, 5:92 (22 Mar 80). (2) The report required eighteen pages of printed text in the JCC. See 16:293-311.
Schuyler characterized the plan submitted for the consideration of Congress on 27 March 1780 as the first part of a "voluminous system." This part dealt with the Quartermaster's Department. The second part was to govern the business of the Department of the Commissary General of Issues, established in June 1777, while the third part was to regulate the Hospital Department. Congress ordered the committee to confer with Quartermaster General Greene on the plan.
Greene, who had gone to Philadelphia "confident that there is party business going on again," conferred with the advisory committee on the same day that the report was submitted. "The scheme is too complex and tedious," he wrote Washington, "for such heavy and pressing demands as are frequently made on the department." He noted that "General Schuyler and others think it will starve the army in ten days" and added that the plan would reduce the duties of the Quartermaster General to almost nothing and greatly add to the Commander in Chief's work load. Three days later he wrote, "The more I view it, the less I like it and the stronger my conviction is that it is calculated not less to embarrass your Excellency, than to disgrace and injure me."83 Schuyler found the plan "replete with absurdity." He informed Washington that "the States are to do all," and added that Roger Sherman "roundly asserts that System will strike off four thousand Officers from the Civil departments."84 Congress considered the report but came to no decision, and thus another ambitious reform plan was discarded.
Meanwhile, Greene had advised many members of Congress to send a committee to headquarters to confer with the Commander in Chief and the heads of the staff departments to develop a more workable plan. Congress concluded that such a committee was the only solution, and on 6 April it decided to refer the proposed reform plan to a new committee to make such alterations as might be necessary after conferences at headquarters.85 After days of debate Congress adopted instructions for the committee. The committee members were to confer both with Washington on the propriety of reducing the number of regiments and with the Commissary General and the Quartermaster General on the best method for effecting reforms in their departments.86 The committee was also instructed to examine closely the management of the Hospital, Hide, and Ordnance Departments, to insti-
83. (1) Greene, Life of Nathanael Greene, 2:274-75, 275-76 (Greene to Washington, 22 and 28 Mar 80). (2) Washington Papers, 132:30-32 (Greene to Washington, 31 Mar 80).
84. (1) Burnett, Letters, 5:107-08 (5 Apr 80). (2) See also Washington Papers, 131:88-89, for a brief of this report and Washington's comments on its provisions.
85. (1) Ibid., 132:81-82 (Greene to Washington, 3 Apr 80). (2) JCC, 16:332-33 (6 Apr 80). (3) Congress voted its thanks to Mifflin and Pickering for their efforts. See ibid., 16:364 (14 Apr 80).
86. Subsequently, Congress discharged the committee from reporting on the first portion of its instructions, since a reduction of troops was not considered expedient at the time. Ibid., 17:472 (30 May 80).
tute regulations, and to supervise the execution of any plans adopted. From time to time the committee was to inform Congress of the measures taken, transmitting the names and occupations of persons whom it discharged and of any new officers whom it found necessary to appoint. On the following day Congress elected a committee of three to go to headquarters, namely, Schuyler, John Mathews of South Carolina, and Nathaniel Peabody of New Hampshire.87
The committee ordered some minor reform in the Quartermaster's Department at Philadelphia and proceeded to headquarters to consult with Greene. Although at first distrustful of the committee, Greene cooperated fully in the efforts to bring about reform.88 With Schuyler opposed to the reform plan drafted by Pickering and Mifflin, the committee at headquarters dropped it from consideration and formulated a new plan. In mid-June Schuyler returned to Philadelphia to lay the plan before Congress. Realizing the need to avoid any delay, the committee would have placed the plan in operation immediately if it had been authorized to determine the pay of the staff officers.89
Congress considered the committee's report from time to time during the next four weeks. Pettit informed Greene that one complaint against the report was that it was too long and could not be understood by the members of Congress, yet he had heard that five or six pages had been added to it. He noted that Congress had come to a decision on salaries, allowing the Quartermaster General 166 dollars a month. "You may look on your fortune as made," Pettit jested.90
Finally, on 15 June 1780 Congress approved a revised and, according to Schuyler, much mutilated plan.91 Reform and retrenchment had been the twin goals established by Congress in January 1779. Now, eighteen months later, their impact was spelled out in this new regulatory plan. Personnel was sharply reduced, leaving an organization that was understaffed. The Quartermaster General was allowed only one assistant quartermaster general, appointed by Congress. The plan authorized the Quartermaster General to appoint an officer with the main army and one for each separate army; they were designated deputy quartermasters rather than deputy quartermasters general.
87. Ibid., 16:357, 362 (12 and 13 Apr 80). Congress had created the Hide Department in June 1777.
88. (1) The committee ordered the discharge at Philadelphia of 17 carpenters, 1 assistant storekeeper, 1 assistant barrackmaster, his clerk, and 4 messengers. Burnett, Letters, 5:121 (committee to Greene, 19 Apr 80). (2) See RG 11, CC Papers, item 155, 1:244-47, 248-50 (Greene to committee, 3 and 6 May 80); item 139, 2:85 (committee to Greene, 5 May 80).
89. (1) Ibid., item 155, 3:527-29 (Schuyler to Pres Samuel Huntington, 17 Jun 80). (2) JCC, 17:522-23 (17 Jun 80).
90. (1) Ibid., 17:579-80, 587, 589, 607 (30 Jun and 5, 6, and 12 Jul 80). (2) Greene, Life of Nathanael Greene, 2:297-98 (Pettit to Greene, 2 Jul 80).
91. JCC, 17:615-33.
Unquestionably, the Quartermaster's Department had more than a few supernumerary officers on its staff by the summer of 1780. Much of the expansion of the department can be attributed to earlier congressional regulations that had applied a uniformity in Quartermaster organization to all military departments regardless of need. In addition, under these regulations every deputy quartermaster general assigned to a district had felt justified in setting up elaborate supporting offices with assistants, clerks, foragemasters, wagonmasters, storekeepers, and laborers.
In pursuit of reform and economy, Congress ruthlessly abolished the existing departmental organization. It abandoned its practice of establishing subordinate Quartermaster organizations in the military departments. Instead, it authorized the Quartermaster General to appoint one deputy quartermaster for each state, but only where he judged the appointment necessary. Each appointment had to be approved by the Board of War and by the executive of the state in which the deputy was to be employed.
At the same time, Congress took cognizance of the fact that the adoption the previous February of the system of specific supplies had affected Quartermaster responsibilities.92 That system, which made the states responsible for the supply of forage, permitted Congress to eliminate the Forage Department and retain only a small field organization to support the Continental Army. Since the regulatory plan made the state deputy quartermasters responsible for wagon transportation, Congress also abolished the Wagon Department except for a field organization. The Quartermaster General was authorized to appoint one commissary of forage and one wagonmaster for the main army, deputies for each separate army, and such foragemasters, assistants, conductors, clerks, and laborers as were required.
In support of the retrenchment urged by the Treasury, Congress abolished the payment of commissions. This desirable measure was intended to eliminate abuses that at least some critics attributed to all purchasing Quartermaster officers. Admittedly, there were some who had pocketed handsome commissions, but the larger part of Quartermaster personnel had been on a salaried basis since 1775. It is debatable to what extent the increasing expenditures of the department can be attributed to rascally quartermasters who gave higher than necessary prices for supplies in order to garner larger commissions. The depreciating currency and real price inflation stemming from a booming war economy undoubtedly were significant factors.
Congress specified the salaries to be paid the various officers of the department in lieu of commissions. In setting these salaries, however, it did not take into account the inflationary trend of the previous two years.
92. For the system of specific supplies, see below, Chapter 8.
The Quartermaster General was called upon to pay his state deputies according to the duties they performed, but none was to receive more than 134 dollars a month. Formerly a salaried deputy was allowed rations and forage, but this practice was now stopped. The deputy's assistant, also denied rations and forage, was to be paid no more than 75 dollars a month. But even these salaries, which might be described as niggardly, were unlikely to be paid on time. In consequence, after Timothy Pickering became Quartermaster General, he remarked that "if the public keep those they employ (and who must generally depend on their employment for their subsistence) without pay, they will find means to help themselves: and thus a thousand irregularities and abuses are introduced."93 The deputy quartermaster for the main army was drawn from the line and paid 35 dollars per month in addition to his pay in the line.94 Congress was so destitute that in April 1780 it requested the states to provide back pay for their lines in the Continental Army and to make up the losses those troops had suffered from being paid in depreciated currency.95 Nonetheless, Congress was ever optimistic that competent supply officers could be found who would willingly assume onerous duties for very modest rewards. The impact of the reorganization plan of 15 July 1780 drastically reduced both the number of personnel in the Quartermaster's Department and the payroll to support them.
When Congress adopted the new regulatory plan, it resolved to continue Greene as Quartermaster General and directed him to implement its provisions. Greene did not receive a copy of the plan until 26 July, when he promptly resigned. He had intended to continue in office during the active part of the campaign of 1780, provided matters were left on such a basis as to permit him to conduct the business satisfactorily. But Congress now ignored the experience of 1777 and again introduced changes during that time of year when fighting could be expected. Greene viewed the introduction of this new system in the middle of a campaign as a dangerous experiment that would lead to "a physical impossibility of performing the duties that will be required of me." He wrote the President of Congress that the department under the plan would be inadequately staffed; no provision had been made for his two principal officers, Cox and Pettit, on whom he had relied for the conduct of the department's business, and he feared that other subordinates would leave "an employment which is not only unprofitable but rendered dishonorable."96
93. RG 93, Pickering Letters, 82:68 (to Samuel Miles, 7 Aug 81); 123:177-80 (to Gov Trumbull, 15 Dec 80).
94. When Maj. Richard Pratt resigned as deputy quartermaster for the main army, he was succeeded by Lt. Col. Henry Dearborn on 30 June 1780. He served until the end of the war. See Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 22:286-87 (GO, 30 Jun 80).
95. Ferguson, The Power of the Purse, pp. 18-81.
96. RG 11, CC Papers, item 155, 1:399-402 (Greene to Pres of Cong, 26 Jul 80).
During the time the plan had been under consideration in Congress, another controversy had developed between that body and Greene. The issue involved the responsibility of the Quartermaster General. In the course of an interchange of letters between Assistant Quartermaster General Pettit and the Treasury Board, a doctrine—described by Greene as strange, new, and unexpected—had emerged that implied that the Quartermaster General was responsible for the expenditure of public money by his appointees. This view was quite different from that which the Commander in Chief, the committee of Congress, and Greene had accepted at the time of his appointment. He felt himself responsible for calling his subordinates to account but not accountable for them, and he informed Congress and the current committee at headquarters that he would not hold office "on any other footing." He requested from Congress an expression of its views.97
In response, Congress resolved on 24 July 1780 that it was "essential to the public interest, as well as incident to the nature of all offices entrusted with the disbursements of public monies, that those who exercise them should be responsible for such disbursement, whether it be made immediately by themselves or by agents appointed by and responsible to them." However, since abuses and frauds might happen despite all customary precautions, Congress "will determine on the circumstances as they arise, and make such favorable allowances as justice may require.98
In submitting his letter of resignation to Congress, Greene wrote:
Systems without Agents are useless things and the probability of getting the one should be taken into consideration in framing the other. Administration seem to think it far less important to the public interest to have this department well filled, and properly arranged, than it really is, and as they will find it by future experience.99
His letter was mildly critical, but the use of "administration," which recalled to mind the early days of struggle against the administration in Great Britain, precipitated a storm in Congress that for a brief period appeared likely to sweep Greene out of the Army entirely.100 Punitive efforts failed, and in the end wiser counsels prevailed.
Appointment of Pickering
Congress accepted Greene's resignation on 5 August and appointed as his successor Timothy Pickering, who had helped draft the regulatory plan of
97. Ibid., item 155, 1:303- 14, 315-25 (Greene to Pres of Cong, 19 Jun 80, and enclosures); 327-30 (Greene to committee, 14 Jul 80).
98. JCC, 17:656-58 (24 Jul 80).
99. RG 11, CC Papers, item 155, 1:399-402 (Greene to Pres of Cong, 26 Jul 80).
100. (1) Greene, Life of Nathanael Greene, 2:320-21 (Ezekiel Cornell to Greene, 29 Jul 80); 324 (Cox to Greene, 7 Aug 80). (2) William B. Reed, Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1847), 2:240-41 (Reed to Greene, 19 Aug 80). (3) Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 19:366-70 (to Joseph Jones, 13 Aug 80).
15 July. It gave him the rank of colonel but added the pay and rations of a brigadier general over and above the 166 dollars a month allowed the Quartermaster General under the plan. At Washington's request, Greene continued to perform the duties of Quartermaster General until Pickering's arrival at camp on 22 September, seven weeks after his appointment.101 Pickering was delayed in part by the need to put the new plan into effect and to appoint new officers. By the time he reached camp, Quartermaster preparations for supporting a campaign in 1780 had, for all practical purposes, come to an end, and Pickering was not immediately involved in supplying active military operations. Indeed, only the fact that no campaign was undertaken that summer prevented what might have been dire consequences, for it took Pickering the rest of the year to complete making appointments and reorganizing the department in conformity with the plan.
Pickering did not welcome his appointment, for he judged that little honor was to be acquired from the performance of his duties. He feared, he wrote the President of Congress, that the public might be more likely to attribute any shortcomings in the department to negligence and mismanagement than to "the singular circumstances of our affairs." In accepting the appointment, he hoped that Congress would justly evaluate his efforts.102
Staffing the Quartermaster's Department under the new plan posed some difficulties, but Pickering was fortunate when Charles Pettit accepted reappointment in August as assistant quartermaster general. As he had under Greene, Pettit resided near Congress, was responsible for applying through the Board of War to the Treasury Board for needed funds, and kept the accounts of the department. Within ten months, however, he resigned, and Congress followed his recommendation to abolish the post. It called on the Quartermaster General to assume the duties of the office.103
Convinced that the need for economy had caused the reorganization of the Quartermaster's Department "after four years wasteful profusion," Pickering acted accordingly.104 Although Congress had authorized one deputy quartermaster for each state if the Quartermaster General judged this number necessary, Pickering, where possible, grouped states under one deputy. Jabez Hatch was thus appointed deputy quartermaster for Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, and Donaldson Yeates served in the same capacity for Maryland and Delaware. John Neilson was appointed deputy quartermaster for New Jersey, Ralph Pomeroy for
101. (1) JCC, 17:700 (5 Aug 80). (2) Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 20:54-55 (to Pickering, 15 Sep 80).
102. RG 11, CC Papers, item 192, fol. 17 (to Pres of Cong, 7 Aug 80).
103. (1) Ibid., item 155, 1:333-36 (Pettit to Pres of Cong, 9 Aug 80); item 78, 18:395 (same to same, 12 Jun 81). (2) JCC, 20:677-78 (20 Jun 81). (3) His line pay plus the amount allowed him as Quartermaster General brought Pickering's salary to 291 dollars a month plus twelve rations per day. Pettit as assistant quartermaster general was paid 166 dollars per month.
104. RG 93, Pickering Letters, 123:118 (to Lutterloh, 21 Nov 80).
Connecticut, and Richard Claiborne for Virginia. Pickering retained Nicholas Long in North Carolina and returned Hugh Hughes to duties he had earlier performed for Mifflin in New York. In Pennsylvania he appointed Samuel Miles deputy quartermaster, thereby eliminating seven or eight deputy quartermasters general of the previous administration.105 Each of these appointments had to be approved by the executive of the state in which the officer was to be employed, and the Quartermaster General made a return of such appointments immediately to the Board of War.
Pickering hoped that the credit of the Quartermaster's Department might be recovered by the appointment of men "of the most unblemished Character in whose upright conduct the people could perfectly confide."106 In view of the depreciation of the currency and the other difficulties that had hampered supply officers, however, it is not surprising that he experienced some difficulty in filling the posts of state deputy quartermaster. In some instances he appealed to the governors for aid. Their aid was not necessarily forthcoming. In Connecticut, for example, Pickering's failure to reappoint Nehemiah Hubbard, who had ably served Greene in that capacity, caused Governor Jonathan Trumbull to comment unfavorably about inconveniences arising from "changes in System during the war."107 It was January 1781 before the appointment of the deputy quartermaster for Connecticut was made. Five months elapsed after Pickering accepted the office of
105. Ibid., 126:4-5 (to Pres Reed, 10 Aug 80); 7 (to John Mitchell, 11 Aug 80); 24-25 (to Bd of War, 19 Aug 80).
106. Ibid., 126:52-54 (to Jonathan Trumbull, Jr., 7 Sep 80).
107. Ibid., 123:177-80 (to Gov Trumbull, 15 Dec 80).
Quartermaster General before he could complete the appointment of all the state deputy quartermasters.
The Yorktown campaign severely tested the organization that Pickering had set up. It appears that Washington felt that the success of the campaign was too important for him to rely wholly on Pickering and his small staff to transport men and supplies. Washington himself acted as his chief supply officer.
As soon as the campaign ended, economy and retrenchment again became the goals of Congress and also of Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris, to whom Congress had given the responsibility of supplying the Army by using private contractors instead of relying on the states. Under the system of specific supplies the number of posts handling provision and forage furnished by the states had multiplied. With the use of contractors, neither commissaries nor quartermasters were needed to receive and deliver such supplies, and most of the posts that had been functioning in the districts of the state deputy quartermasters could be abolished. This conclusion was reached at a conference late in 1781 attended by the Superintendent of Finance, the Secretary at War, and the Quartermaster General. Pickering issued orders which resulted in the retention of only fourteen posts from Virginia to Massachusetts.108 An ardent believer in economy, Pickering enthusiastically supported this retrenchment of posts and personnel. He tried to make his actions more palatable to the state deputy quartermasters, whose authority and responsibilities were thus being sharply curtailed, by arguing that "the more the public expenses are reduced, the better they [the deputies] will be supported in their necessary business, and the more punctually paid for their Services."109
Complaints of inadequate pay soon were lodged with Pickering. He brought the matter first to the attention of the Board of War and subsequently to that of the Superintendent of Finance. A committee of Congress to whom the matter was referred reported on 7 March 1782 that it was inexpedient to add to the pay or subsistence allowed officers in the Quartermaster's Department. A week later Congress, taking into account the fact that supplying the Continental Army by contract had considerably lessened the business of the Quartermaster General, reduced his allowance from 3,492 dollars per annum-plus rations and other allowances valued at 1,904 dollars per annum-to the same pay and allowances received by a major general.110
108. RG 93, Pickering Letters, 83:96-98 (to Robert Morris, 19 Feb 82).
109. Ibid., 82:119-21 (to Pomeroy, 19 Dec 81). See also 82:229-31 (to Aaron Forman, 13 Dec 8l); 113-18 (to Hatch, 18 Dec 81); 83:16-20(to Hughes, 10 Jan 82); 25-35 (to Claiborne, 16 Jan 82).
110. (1) Ibid., 82:191-94 (to Bd of War, 20 Sep 81):83:115-17 (to Robert Morris, 22 Feb 82). (2) JCC, 22:119 (7 Mar 82); 129-31 (14 Mar 82).
At the same time, Congress rescinded the power it had previously given to the commanding general of the Southern Army to appoint officers in the Quartermaster's Department serving with his army. This authority was vested in the Quartermaster General, who was now authorized to appoint an additional deputy quartermaster for the Southern Army. This additional officer was to be subordinate to the principal deputy quartermaster of that army, Lt. Col. Edward Carrington. The latter was allowed 75 dollars per month and four rations per day in addition to his pay and subsistence as an officer in the line. The additional deputy received the pay provided in the act of 15 July 1780, that is, 35 dollars per month in addition to his pay in the line.
Before the end of 1782 Congress enacted new legislation, effective I January 1783, for governing the department. It continued Pickering as Quartermaster General but further reduced the personnel in his department. It gave him authority to appoint one deputy quartermaster, one wagonmaster, one commissary of forage, and one director and one subdirector of a company of artificers for the main army. He was to appoint a deputy quartermaster, a deputy commissary of forage, a deputy wagonmaster, and a director and subdirector of a company of artificers for the Southern Army. He was also authorized to appoint as many assistants as both armies required to perform the duties of brigade quartermasters, storekeepers, clerks, and wagon conductors. With the approval of the Secretary at War, the Quartermaster General was also to appoint as many assistants to reside in the states as the public service required. The pay scale was further reduced.111
111. Ibid., 23:682-86 (23 Oct 82); 693 (29 Oct 82). By oversight, the act omitted any mention of rations. This had to be rectified by an amendment. The pay of the Quartermaster General was now set at 166 2/3 dollars per month.
Pickering was thoroughly dissatisfied with these arrangements, which, he charged, cut his salary in half, provided inadequate pay for his staff, and lumped under the head of assistants a number of officers whose duties varied widely-from principal assistants in the Quartermaster General's office, to the deputy quartermaster of a state, to a storekeeper responsible for camp equipage and stores. The salary of 30 dollars a month set by Congress was not adequate for the duties they performed and made it impossible for him to retain men of ability and integrity.112 Hopeful that the law would be amended, he made no new appointments. Congress, however, took no further action before the war ended. By the close of 1782, except for a few assistants in Pennsylvania and New York, the state organizations of the department had virtually disappeared. Responsibilities, organization, and personnel contracted under the impact of continuing financial difficulties. In the closing months of the war Quartermaster personnel employed with the main army dwindled to forty-two, including the Quartermaster General. Pickering himself was eager to be released from his duties, but the necessity to settle accounts and dispose by sale or storage of government property kept him in office for two more years until Congress abolished the office of Quartermaster General on 25 July 1785.
112. RG 11, CC Papers, item 192, fol. 125 (Pickering to Pres of Cong, 4 Dec 82).
113. (1) RG 93, Pickering Letters, 86:60 (to Maj Gen Benjamin Lincoln, 25 Feb 83). (2) RG 94, Estimates of Pay, 103:147 (return, 25 Feb 83). (3) JCC, 29:584.
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