Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to James O’Hara, 8 November 1794

To James O’Hara1

Camp, Rostrave Township,2 November 8, 1794


Information has been received that Mr. Elliott, one of the Contractors, has been lately killed by the Savages;3 and Mr. Williams,4 his partner, has represented that this, without the aid of your department, may embarrass the measures for furnishing and forwarding the supplies required by the Commander-in-Chief.5 As it is all-important that these supplies should be duly furnished and conveyed to the respective posts, I must request and advise that you will co-operate in the article of transportation as far as may be necessary. For this purpose you will understand yourself with the Agents of the Contractors, ascertain what they can or cannot do, and endeavor to supply what may be deficient. In doing this you will, of course, keep and furnish such a record and statement of the aid you give as will enable the United States to make the proper charges against the Contractors, who are bound by their contract to transport as well as to procure and issue the provisions. It is understood that in the course of the Campaign similar aids have been, from time to time, given by your department. Of these, also, the Treasury ought to have as accurate a view as is practicable; otherwise the public will have to pay doubly for transportation—first in the price of the rations to the contractors, and secondly, in the expense of that which you furnish in aid of them.

With consideration, etc., I am your obt. servant,

Alexander Hamilton.

Mary Carson Darlington, ed., Fort Pitt and Letters from the Frontier (Pittsburgh, 1892), 280–81.

1O’Hara was quartermaster general of the United States Army.

3On October 6, 1794, Robert Elliot was killed by the Indians near Fort Hamilton in the Territory Northwest of the Ohio River (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Indian Affairs, I, 525).

5Major General Anthony Wayne. On October 17, 1794, Wayne wrote to Henry Knox: “… From the return of Provision, & duplicates of letters to the Contractors, & to the Q M General you will see the continued difficulties I am compeled to labour under with respect to supplies;

“The unfortunate death of Mr Robert Elliot,… added to the deranged state of that Department has made it my duty to order the Q M General to supply every defect on the part of the Contractors & at their expence in behalf of the United States to be settled at the treasury at a future day.” (Knopf, Wayne description begins Richard C. Knopf, ed., Anthony Wayne: A Name in Arms; Soldier, Diplomat, Defender of Expansion Westward of a Nation; the Wayne-Knox-Pickering-McHenry Correspondence (Pittsburgh, 1960). description ends , 359.)

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