George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Timothy Pickering, 23 March 1782

Philadelphia March 23. 1782.


Your Excellency being vested with authority, by the resolve of Congress of the 11th of March 1780, to make the necessary regulations relative to the servants of officers of the army; and the general orders of the 18th of January last not comprehending any officers in my department, I request you will be pleased to extend your consideration of the subject, and fix the number of servants to be allowed them respectively. The only characters requiring servants that I expect will be employed, are comprehended in the following list, against which I have marked the number of servants which Colo. Carrington & I have respectively judged necessary to be allowed in the main & the southern army; and which I beg leave to submit to your Excellency’s correction.

No. of servants
The quarter master general 4
The principal deputy quarter
master for the southern service 3
A deputy quarter master 2
An assistant quarter master 1
The Commissary of forage 2
The deputy commissary of forage
with the southern army 2
Any other deputy commissary of forage 1
The Assistant commissary of forage
with the southern army 1
The waggon master 2
A deputy waggon master 1
An Assistant waggon master 1.

The assistant commissary of forage and assistant waggon master are, in the southern army tantamount, to deputies in the main army.

I have omitted brigade quarter masters, as I expect the officers doing their duty will hence forward be called assistant quarter masters, who when assigned to brigades will perform the same duties which are now incumbent on brigade quarter masters; and that they will (agreeably to Genl Knox’s idea) take charge of the spare arms & amunition of their brigades, which their business as quarter masters will admit of their doing with great care and propriety. The conductors of military stores with the brigades to be discontinued. Colo. Carrington perfectly agrees with me in the utility of this alteration; to which also the secretary at war has assented.

I trouble your Excellency with the matter at this time because Colo. Carrington is desirous of carrying the arrangement to the southward with him. It will also be necessary for the secretary at War, that he may direct the contractors to issue provisions to the servants which shall be allowed. And it will be convenient to him when the means of enabling the officers concerned to procure their servants are concerted.

Whatever number of servants your Excellency shall think proper to allow, no emolument is expected to be derived to the officer to whom they are allowed, except for the number actually employed. I have the honour to be with the greatest respect Your Excellency’s most obedient servant

Tim: Pickering Q.M.G.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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