Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George Muter, 27 May 1780

To George Muter

Richmond May 27th. 1780


You will be pleased to give orders to Mr. Moody to employ immediately such artificers as he has skilled in making Cartouchboxes, in that way, and to direct the QrMaster to procure leather.

As far as the public has or is entitled to leather let that be used and the deficiency be supplied by purchase. If a sufficient stock can be procured for covering in the best manner let them be so covered: if this article is very scarce, they must have flaps only. As the number wanted will be very great he may continue making till further orders.

Be pleased also to order the persons having custody of the ordnance, arms and other military stores, provision Waggons, horses, geer and other public property to make returns of what they have on hand, and the condition of the several articles: and that they hereafter make such return monthly. The Commissary has received these orders from me twice but has never obeyed them.

We want also Wooden Canteens to be made immediately. If Mr. Moody has no Artificers who can do this it could be best for him to employ some on Wages; if this cannot be done to a sufficient extent, he must procure them to be made by the piece. We should possess from eight to ten thousand Canteens in the whole. I am Sir Yr. very hble Servt.,

Th: Jefferson

Tr in Board of War Letter Book (MiU-C).

On 12 May 1780 the House appointed a committee to prepare, and on 6 July the two houses agreed upon, “An act to repeal an act establishing a board of war, and one other act establishing a board of trade, and authorizing the governour and council to appoint a commissioner of the navy, a commissioner of the war office, and a commercial agent” (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , May 1780, 1827 edn., p. 8, 75; Hening, description begins William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia description ends x, 291–2). No record has been found of the exact date of Muter’s appointment as commissioner of the war office, but the Board of War functioned very little after the removal of the government to Richmond in March, and Muter’s correspondence with TJ indicates that the former may have been acting in the capacity of commissioner before TJ was authorized to make a formal appointment.

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