Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to James Read, 2 November 1799

To James Read1

N Y. Nov. 2nd 1799


I have received your letters of the twenty seventh and twenty ninth of September.2

There is as yet no established rule on the subject of forage. I have proposed one to the Secretary of War3 but it has not yet received his sanction. In the mean time you will exercise a proper discretion in the case. There is a fixed sum4 which is to be received in the lieu of forage when the article is not actually drawn. Officers therefore should be careful not to draw a larger quantity than is proportioned to the established price.

The system makes no provision of artificers for the Infantry. Four women are allowed to a company and draw rations with the men.

Soldiers are not entitled to rations for the time they have been on furlough. When half a gill of spirits is issued to each soldier the officers are entitled to draw and they are to receive half a gill for each ration they are allowed. It is to be understood that officers draw the spirits only when they draw the other parts of the ration, and not when they receive the price, instead of the articles.

It is agreeable to me that you should fix upon Avery’s borou⟨gh⟩ as a rendezvous. With regard to every thing but the recruiting service you are under the command of General Pinckney,5 and to him you will apply for instructions.

With great consideration

Col. Read

Df, in the handwriting of Thomas Y. How, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Read was the lieutenant colonel commandant of the Sixth Regiment of Infantry and was stationed at Raleigh, North Carolina.

2Both these letters are listed in the appendix to Volume XXIII.

In the letter of September 27, 1799, Read wrote: “… You will oblige me by directing the proper officers to inform me the quantity of Forage that is to be issued? How many Artificers are allowed in the Infantry? What proportion of Women to Men are allowed to draw Rations? Are Soldiers entitled to Rations for the time they have been on furlough …? When half a Gill of Spirits is … issued to each Man, are the Officers to draw Spirits also…?”

In the letter of September 29 Read wrote: “As some difficulty has arrisen in procuring a proper place for an Encampment in the neighbourhood of this Town [Raleigh, North Carolina] on account of objections made by some of the Inhabitants to the cutting of Wood, notwithstanding they were told that they would be paid for their Wood; I have to request the favour of you to authorize me to make Averysborough the Regimental Rendezvous if I should find it necessary.…”

4The “fixed sum” for forage not actually drawn depended on the rank of the officer and ranged from sixteen dollars a month for a brigadier general to six dollars a month for lieutenants and cadets (“An Act for the better organizing of the Troops of the United States; and for other purposes” [1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845); II (Boston, 1850). description ends 749–55 (March 3, 1799)]).

5For the troops under Charles Cotesworth Pinckney’s command, see the introductory note to H to James Gunn, December 22, 1798.

Index Entries