Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Thomas Mifflin, 17 October 1794

To Thomas Mifflin

Fort Cumberland [Pennsylvania]
October 17. 1794


The President directs me to acknowlege the receipt of your letter of the 16th—enclosing one from Governor Howel.1

The Quarter-Master2 & Commissary General3 will leave this place early in the Morning for Bedford to endeavour to remedy any defects which may exist.

You observe that Col Blaine4 has not been with the Column. I am sure I understood from him & I think I did from Col Biddle5 that the latter had agreed to take charge of the column in his place to Bedford. As to Mr. Postlethwaite6 I know not what can explain his absence.

The embarrassments which are experienced demonstrate the necessity of reducing the number of baggage waggons (which is so great as to defeat the operation) in order that the surplus ones may be applied to the objects of supply.

With great respect   &   esteem   I have the honor   to be   Sir   Your obed ser

A Hamilton

PS   Impress must be used where purchases are inadequate.

His Excelly Governor Mifflin

ALS, Charles Roberts Autograph Collection of the Haverford College Library, Haverford, Pennsylvania.

1In his letter to George Washington of October 16, 1794, Mifflin wrote: “…The enclosed letter from Governor Howell, and my own experience, will not permit me any longer to be silent, upon the very great inattention which has been paid to the supplies of the Right Column of the army under my command, as well as in the Commissary as in the Quarter Master’s department.… the defects and disappointments to which I allude can only be imputed to a want of exertion in the proper Officers, and this is the more evident as neither Col. [Ephraim] Blaine, the Quarter Master Genl:, nor Mr [Samuel] Postlethwaite, the Commissary (both appointed by you) have hitherto attended the army, or sent any deputies who will assume any responsibility or appear to be competent to the duties of their departments” (LS, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives).

The letter from Governor Richard Howell of New Jersey to Mifflin, dated October 15, 1794, reads in part as follows: “I think it my Duty to inform your Excellency that such Difficulties occur in my Route, as should be guarded against on your approach.… There are not waggons forward to Call in Necessaries, & I very much doubt any thing being procured in quantity at or near the next post, therefore empty waggons should be sent on, if you have not supernumerary Waggons with you, & if you have, they should advance immediately to draw in your Supplies” (ALS, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives)

2Henry Miller, acting quartermaster general of the militia army.

3Samuel Hodgdon.

4Ephraim Blaine. For Blaine’s role in supplying the troops, see H to Blaine, September 12, 1794.

5Clement Biddle was quartermaster general of Pennsylvania during the insurrection.

6Samuel Postlethwaite was commissary of the militia army. During the American Revolution Postlethwaite had been in charge of guarding the stores at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and had served as assistant deputy quartermaster from 1777 to 1782.

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