Alexander Hamilton Papers

Remarks Concerning the Office of Inspector General, [January–March 1778]

Remarks Concerning the Office of Inspector General1

[Valley Forge, January–March, 1778.] Describes purpose and proposed organization of the department of inspector general. Recommends Baron von Steuben for inspector general and suggests other men as assistants.

D, in writing of H, Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives.

1This document is found undated among the letters of April, 1781. Fitzpatrick dates it January, 1778, and states that “it seems to be a statement made by Washington to the Congress Committee then at Valley Forge in January, 1778” (GW description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington (Washington, 1931–1944). description ends , XXVII, 548, note 91). The first mention of the office of inspector general by Washington is found in a list of questions put to the council of war, October 26, 1777. The issue again arose when Major General Thomas Conway was appointed inspector general in late 1777. Washington in a letter to the President of Congress, Henry Laurens, on January 2, 1778, concerning Conway, mentioned the earlier list of questions and stated that he had intended to recommend Baron d’Arendt for the position. On January 29, 1778, in a long report to the Committee of Congress with the Army there is a short paragraph mentioning the need of an inspector general and assistants. However, beginning March 17, 1778, Washington wrote a series of letters and orders using the material contained in the document calendared above. Then, in a letter to the President of Congress, Henry Laurens, on April 30, 1778, he recommended the creation of the office of inspector general and suggested the appointment of Baron von Steuben to that office. J. C. Hamilton prints this as an H document and dates it May 5, 1778 (JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851). description ends , II, 153–55), but since H probably wrote this in the capacity of aide-de-camp, it is calendared as such in this volume.

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