George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Richard Peters, 6 August 1777

From Richard Peters

War Office [Philadelphia] Augt 6th 1777


The Board have employed the Bearer Mr James White to furnish a temporary Supply of Vinegar, Beer & Vegetables to the Army while they stay in their present Situation.1 As this Gentleman is not in the Commissary’s Department there will be some clashing unless your Excellency puts the Matter upon its proper Footing. Mr White will want Authority to get Waggons to hall the Articles he supplies & he thinks it would be best to have Fatigue Men to dig Potatoes &c. I dont know whether this Supply is a Gratuity to the Soldiers or whether it is to be considered as Part of the Ration. Your Excellency will no Doubt settle this. At all Events the Men should have the Articles they stand so much in Need of & let Forms be settled here after. I have the Honour to be Your very obed. Servt

Richard Peters Secy

If your Excellency should think of appointing or recommending a Field Armourer I am told that the one who acts in that Capacity to the North Carolina Brigade is a very proper one.


1James White (1749–1809), who had attended a Jesuit school in St. Omar, France, before studying medicine at the College and Academy of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania), had been a merchant in Philadelphia before moving to Bells Island, N.C., in 1775. White represented Currituck County in the three North Carolina provincial congresses that met between August 1775 and November 1776. After the war White served in the North Carolina general assembly and as a North Carolina delegate to the Continental Congress, and for a brief period he was superintendent of Indian affiars for the southern district. In the 1790s he was a member of the U.S. Congress, representing the Territory South of the Ohio River and, after the territory was admitted into the Union, the state of Tennessee. White moved to Louisiana in 1799. As one of two assistants to Ephraim Blaine, the new deputy commissary for the middle department, many of the responsibilities for supplying GW’s army while in the Philadelphia area fell upon White’s shoulders. White was required to reside near the Continental Congress, where he could obtain and dispense funds as needed in the department, and the other assistant, John Chaloner, was assigned to GW’s headquarters.

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