Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Steuben, 15 April 1781

From Steuben

15 Apl 81


I have already appointed Mr. Robinson Deputy Commissary Issues and hope that Department will soon be properly Arranged.

Orders are already given to Captain Prior for the Removal of the stores from Prince George Ct. Ho. to this place. I have no doubt it will be done immediately.

General Muhlenberg in a Letter dated 14th. informs me that the Enemy have nearly compleated 25 Boats to contain each 100 Men and that it is reported they wait only for them to begin their Operations.

I am &c.

FC (NHi); in an aide’s hand; endorsed: “Copy to Governor Jefferson 15 April.”

In general orders of 16 Apr. 1781 Steuben directed that no future issues of provisions should be made for more than three or four days at a time without a special order from some commanding general or field officer; that a return should be made on or before 15 May 1781 by all commissaries of all issues made since 1 Apr. 1781 and of all stores then on hand; that after 15 May. 1781 no person could act as issuing commissary unless properly authorized by “Mr. John Robertson, who is directed to Act as Deputy Commissary General of Issues in this state till a person shall be appointed to that Office by the Commissary General himself.” In addition to these directions, which were issued “To prevent a waste of publick stores, and to establish regularity,” Steuben at the same time called for “great œconomy … in the issues of spirituous Liquor” and forbade its being issued except “on such Occasions only, as fatigues, hard marches, or wet weather” (MS in Vi). A copy of these orders was sent to Davies by Captain Robert Gamble in a letter dated at Chesterfield, 18 Apr. 1781, which included this comment: “The General orders has caused, I understand, some disturbance and uneasiness among the officers. The animosity will perhaps be kept up by some who is generally fond of spending their opinion. At present I believe the Major [Claiborne] is persuaded that an indignity is offered him. But the orders in my opinion explains themselves” (Vi).

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