Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from James McHenry, 2 July 1799

From James McHenry

War Department 2nd July 1799


You will find by copies of the several contracts for the garrisons under your command (with which you have been furnished),1 compared with the returns of troops in garrison, at which of them it will be proper to provide for the issues of the provisions by an officer appointed and paid by government.

The late Major General Wayne was instructed by me, by letter dated 25th June 1796,2 as follows “As Mr O Hara3 is only to deliver to the army in the quantities and at such posts as you may direct, it will be necessary that a qualified person should be appointed at each post, to receive the rations and issue them to the troops.”

“The business of issuing, it is thought, may be conducted by subaltern officers; you will therefore appoint one for each post (where the Contractor is not bound to issue) with an extra monthly pay graduated from 8 to 20 Dollars according to the number of troops to be supplied.”

I expect this arrangement has been regularly carried into effect. You will, however, now, and from time to time, make all appointments, in conformity with the said instructions whereever necessary.

It will, perhaps appear to you, that as each Garrison has an officer, who is charged with the Quarter Masters stores and cloathing, the same person may also be charged with the issuing of the provisions. I mean such Garrisons as are without a regiment Quarter Master.

I am Sir   with respect   your obedient Servant

James McHenry

Major General Alexander Hamilton

LS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Contract with John Bray, New Brunswick, New Jersey, April 6, 1799, enclosed in Jonathan Rhea to H, April 6, 1799; contract with Joseph Hugg, Woodbury, New Jersey, April 13, 1799, enclosed in McHenry to H, April 15, 1799; contract with Joseph Ruggles, Nathaniel Ruggles, Ralph Smith, Aaron Davis, and Charles Davis, Roxbury, Massachusetts, May 7, 1799, enclosed in Jonathan Jackson to H, May 10, 1799; contract with John Elliot, Wilmington, Delaware, May 11, 1799, enclosed in John Stockton to H, May 11, 1799; contract with Asa Freeman, Dover, Delaware, May 14, 1799, enclosed in Stockton to H, May 22, 1799; contract with James Caldwell, New Castle, Delaware, May 20, 1799, enclosed in Stockton to H, May 22, 1799; contract with John L. Boss, Newport, Rhode Island, May 21, 1799, enclosed in Archibald Crary to H, May 21, 1799; contract with Robert Ball, Wilmington, North Carolina, June 21, 1799, enclosed in Griffith John McRee to H, July 10, 1799. The letters in which these contracts are enclosed are listed in the appendix to this volume.

2For McHenry’s letter to Anthony Wayne, see Knopf, Wayne description begins Richard C. Knopf, ed., Anthony Wayne: A Name in Arms; Soldier, Diplomat, Defender of Expansion Westward of a Nation; the Wayne-Knox-Pickering-McHenry Correspondence (Pittsburgh, 1960). description ends , 488.

3James O’Hara.

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