From Richard Peters
War Office [Philadelphia] Septr 6th 1777
Congress having referred the foregoing Letter to the Board they did not choose to make Report thereon until they had consulted your Excellency upon the Subject.1 It is therefore sent you with a Request that you would give your Opinion thereon & if the Ration now given is according to any Establishment made by you, the Board will be obliged to you for Information of the Reasons inducing you to enlarge it. If not be pleased to let them know whether it ought to be reduced to the original Ration or whether any & what Alterations should be made. I have the Honour to be with the greatest Respect your very obed. Servt
Richard Peters Secy
1. The enclosed letter from Robert White to John Hancock, dated 28 Aug. at Wilmington, reads: “Having the honour of being appointed by the Hone Continental Congress to the Office of Deputy Commissary General of Issues for the middle department, I have made some Progress in executing the same; in the course of which I have observed that the soldiery claim as their allowance & have been accustomed to receive the following Ration, One pound of bread or flour man day, One & a half pound of Beef or eighteen ounces of pork, Six ounces of butter man week, One pint of Indian Meal man week, Three pints of pease man week, One Quart of Beer man day, Eight Pounds hard soap for 100 Men week, Six Pounds Candles 100 Men week.
“This Ration materially differing from the one resolved on by Congress on the 4th November 1775 as their Journals Vol. 1. page 80. 81. [JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 3:322] puts me under the necessity of troubling your honour upon this Subject.
“I have therefore to request the favour of being informed by your Honour whether or not there be any authority from Congress for issuing to the soldiery the Ration as above, or whether I am to conform to that establish’d November 4th 1775 which is as follows. Resolved, That a Ration consist of the following kind and Quantity of Provisions. One pound of Beef, or three quarters of a pound of pork⟨, or⟩ one pound of salt Fish day. One pound of bread or flour man day. Three pints of pease or beans week or Vegetables equivalent at one dollar bushel for pease or beans[.] One pint of Milk man day or at the rate of 1/72 of a dollar. One half pint of Rice or one pint of Indian meal man week. One Quart of Spruce Beer or Cyder man day or nine Gallons of Molasses Company of one hundred men week. Three pounds of Candles to 100 Men week for Guards. Twenty four pounds of soft or eight pounds of hard soap for 100 Men week.
“The difference being so exceedingly great will I trust sufficiently excuse my troubling your honor upon this subject as also authorize me to expect the favour of an Answer to this as expeditiously as possible” (DLC:GW). White, who had been appointed deputy commissary general of issues for the middle department on 14 Aug., resigned on 15 Sept. “as upon trial he finds it impossible for him to do the duties of the office” (ibid., 8:640, 744).