Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from James McHenry, 11 May 1799

From James McHenry

War department May 11. 1799.


If the new recruiting instructions have not been forwarded to the several Officers who are inlisting men for the regiments of Artillery and four old regiments of Infantry, whose names & places of rendezvous are contained in the list some time since sent you, I would suggest the propriety of your transmitting them as early as possible1 together with the law making an alteration in the ration.2

Will it not be proper that the several Contractors should be notified of the alteration that they may govern themselves accordingly?

I am Sir   with great respect   Your obed servant

James McHenry

Major General Hamilton

LS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

2This is a reference to Sections 19 and 22 of “An Act for the better organizing of the Troops of the United States; and for other purposes” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845); II (Boston, 1850). description ends 749–55 [March 3, 1799]). Section 19 reads: “That a ration of provisions shall henceforth consist of eighteen ounces of bread or flour, or when neither can be obtained, of one quart of rice or one and an half pound of sifted or bolted Indian meal, one pound and a quarter of fresh beef, or one pound of salted beef, or three quarters of a pound of salted pork, and when fresh meat is issued, salt at the rate of two quarts for every hundred rations, soap at the rate of four pounds, and candles at the rate of a pound and a half for every hundred rations.…”

Section 22 reads: “That it shall be lawful for the commander in chief of the army, or the commanding officer of any separate detachment or garrison thereof, at his discretion, to cause to be issued, from time to time to the troops under his command out of such supplies as shall have been provided for the purpose, rum, whiskey, or other ardent spirits in quantities not exceeding half a gill to each man per day, excepting in cases of fatigue service, or other extraordinary occasions, and that whensoever supplies thereof shall be on hand, there shall be issued to the troops vinegar at the rate of two quarts for every hundred rations.”

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