From Timothy Pickering
Philadelphia, 21 Aug. 1780. Having been appointed by Congress to “an important and at this time a most difficult and ungratefull office,” that of quartermaster general, Pickering is obliged to request the governor and Council of Virginia to appoint a deputy quartermaster general for Virginia. Has consulted the Virginia delegates in Congress and requested them to recommend a proper person, but they could not; hence is obliged to call on TJ. Explains duties and importance of the office: “The Congress and the people at large expect a reformation of Abuses and retrenchment of expences. The deputy quarter master therefore should be an œconomist, and possess’d of a good Share of firmness.” Encloses a warrant and instructions for the deputy appointed, and requests notification of action taken.
FC in Pickering’s Letter Book (DNA: RG93). Enclosures not found.
Pickering had been elected to the office of quartermaster general to succeed Gen. Nathanael Greene on 5 Aug. 1780 (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. W. C. Ford and others, Washington, 1904–1937 description ends , xvii, 698). He was expected to put into effect a new plan for conducting that sadly disordered department, which had been set forth in a lengthy report adopted by Congress on 15 July (same, p. 615–35). See TJ’s reply, 6 Sep. 1780.