Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Timothy Pickering, 21 August 1780

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.

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