George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Richard Peters, 26 June 1781

War Office June 26 1781


We have the Honour to acknowledge the Reciept of your Excellency’s Letter of the 21st inst. & inclose Copy of ours to Congress in Consequence & also of a Report containing an Enumeration & Valuation of Rations which we laid before Congress for their Consideration & Election. We presume the perfecting the Contracts will lie with the Superintendant of Finance. But Congress will no Doubt be pleased to direct in this Matter.

We are happy to inform your Excellency that we have now procured Means of transporting the Southern Cloathing. That destined for the Marquis’s Army is gone & the Rest will proceed immediately. Your Request as to the Officers of Spencer’s shall be attended to.

The Board consulted with the Executive of Pennsilvania as to the Places of stationing the Convocation Prisoners so as to make them most convenient to the State & have agreeable to the Desire of Council ordered the British to be stationed near York Town & the Germans near Reading the whole to be under the Superintendance of Col. Wood, the officers excepted who are to proceed to Connecticut so soon as they recieve Money from a Flag arrived at George Town in Potowmack for which Purpose they will remain on their parole at Lancaster for a short time. We have the Honour to be with the greatest Respect & Esteem your very obed Servants

Richard Peters

By order

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


War office June 21st 1781


The Board have the honor to transmit Congress sundry enumerations of articles of which a ration may be composed and the value of each. Out of these, Congress will be pleased to elect which they think proper. If the ration is altered it will be proper to resolve.

That the ration to be delivered the Troops of the United States consist of the following articles where the same can be obtained.

That the Commander in Chief or the Commanding General of a seperate Army be and they are hereby authorised with the consent of the Contractor or Contractors to alter the ration as to the articles of which it is composed according to circumstances so as not to exceed the value of that hereby established.

By order of the Board

Richard Peters



c.21 June 1781

Sundry Estimates of the Component parts of a ration

N. 1

1 lb. Beef per day 6
1 lb. Bread do 2
1 pint of milk do 2
3 pints of pease or Beans per week is per day 16/32
1 do Indian meal per do do 4/32
9 gallons of Molasses per 700 Rations do 20/32
3 lb. Candles 8 lb. Soap
per 700 Rations is per ration 8/32
11d. 16/32

N. 2

1/4 lb. Beef per day 7 16/32
1 lb. Bread do 2
1 gill of pease or Beans per day 9/32
1 gill of vinegar do 16/32
1/2 pint of molasses & 1 pint of Indian meal per week is per ration 17/32
10d. 26/32

N. 3

1 lb. Bread 2
1 lb. Beef 6
1 gill of rum or other proof Spirits 2 16/32
3 lb. Candles 8 lb. Soap
per 100 Men per week is per ration 8/32
10d. 24/32

N. 4

1 lb. Beef 6
1 lb. Bread 2
1 gill of Apple or Rye whiskey Rum proof or
1/2 gill of Rum per day 1 16/32
3 pints of pease or Beans or 1 pint of Indian meal
per man per week is per ration 24/32
3 lb. Candles 8 lb. Soap
per 100 men per week is per ration 8/32
10d. 16/32


War Office June 26th 1781


We beg leave to lay before Congress a copy of a letter received from his Excellency the Commander in Chief respecting the proposed contracts for supplying the army with provisions which completes all we can offer for the consideration of Congress on that subject. We agree with the Genl on the propriety of adding vinegar to the ration and in his Ideas as to the proportion and quality of the several species of rum or spirits. We have doubled the number of rations mentioned in the Generals Estimate for the post at Philadelphia on account of the numbers of prisoners constantly stationed there.

We partake in the Generals anxiety respecting the supplies for the opperation against New York and the means of transporting them and entreat the attention of Congress to that pressing and important subject. We have the honor to be &c.

Richard Peters


P.S. A provision of salt is absolutely necessary; but this as well as all others of the Generals very important observations will no doubt be attended to by Congress in their directions respecting the Contracts. For the ration an equivalent in pork should have been mentioned as an alternative One pound of beef or three quarters of a pound of pork have heretofore been given.

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