Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Henry Knox, 1 May 1794

From Henry Knox1

War Department
May 1st 1794


I have the honor to transmit you the enclosed extract of a letter, received this day, from Major General Wayne, dated the 10th of March 1794 complaining, in a pointed manner of the very inferior quality of the Hats and Shoes furnished by the contractors of Clothing for the last year.2

The President of the United States to whom this subject has been submitted is of opinion that the Contractors or Inspectors3 ought to be called to a severe account. I am at a loss to know how this is to be done as every article was passed by inspection upon oath. The inspector of Shoes has been dismissed upon a suspicion of some concern in the contract of the present year.4 If you can suggest any mode to carry the President’s ideas into effect I will most cordially co-operate with you.

I have the honor to be Sir   with great respect   your obedient servant

H Knox
Secty. of War

The Secretary of the Treasury

Copy, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

1This letter was enclosed in H to William Rawle, July 17, 1794.

2On April 11, 1792, Major General Anthony Wayne had been appointed commander of the newly reorganized United States Army in preparation for a campaign against the western Indians. The extract from Wayne’s letter to Knox, written from his headquarters at Greenville in the Ohio country, reads in part as follows: “Permit me to mention the very inferior quality of the hats and shoes of the Soldiery—a very large proportion of the hats are very little better than stiffened blanketts which with the least wet drops over the ears and eyes of the men and entirely loses their form … two pair of Mogison Shoes with which the Troops have last been furnished are not equal to one pair of the common Shoes that we had last year …” (extract, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia).

The hats and shoes were those furnished under an October 22, 1792, contract with William Young and George Dannacker. (D, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia).

3John Miller, Jr., and John Stille were inspectors of clothing under an agreement with H. Nathaniel Waters and Peter Cooper, under Miller’s supervision, inspected hats and shoes furnished by Young and Dannacker during the summer of 1793 (H to Miller, January 3, 1793).

George Washington submitted his views on this matter to Knox in a letter of May 1, 1794 (ALS, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress).

4The account of Peter Cooper, who inspected the shoes and boots, is headed “Inspected by Peter Cooper of Young and Dannackers” (D, RG 217, Miscellaneous Treasury Accounts, 1790–1894, Account No. 4513, National Archives).

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