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Plan for the Providing and Issuing of Military Supplies

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Source Name Image(s)
CollectionLibrary of Congress: Alexander Hamilton Papers view image
Document Information
Date April 8, 1799
Author Name Alexander Hamilton (primary)
Recipient Name James McHenry (primary)
Summary Hamilton describes in some detail his plan for providing and issuing military supplies.
Document Format Copy of Signed Document
Document Notes [not available]
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups James McHenry; Alexander Hamilton; Chiefs of the Treasury and War Departments; assistants; Quartermaster General; Commissary of Provisions; Commissary of Military Stores; Superintendent of Military Stores; clerks; storekeepers; Purveyor; deputy; Commander of the Army; Inspector General; Regimental Paymaster; Company Officers; officers; non-commissioned officers; privates; distant detachments; Commanding Officers of Regiments; battalions; substitutes; Commander in Chief [Washington]; Secretary of War [McHenry]; ;
Related Places [not available]
Keywords well digested plan; different parts of our military system; procuring and issuing supplies; channels through which supplies are to pass; distinct branch of service; contracts; means of transportation; hospital stores; clothing; written orders; instructions; checks upon the respective deputies; points of union between between the militrary and civil authorities; pay; bounty; monies; forage; provisions; recruiting service; receipt; payrolls; warrants; requsite vouchers; certificates; regulations; issuing of clothing; receipt for pay; bounty; returns; requisitions; duplicates; ;
Key Phrases [not available]

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Hamilton to the Secretary of War.
New York, April 8, 1799
Nothing can be more desirable than a well-digested plan for connecting the different parts of our military system, in regard to the procuring and issuing of supplies. I send you the outline of a scheme for that purpose. It is important that this, or a substitute more eligible should be without delay established. It is particularly essential that the channels through which supplies are to pass to the Troops, and the mode of application for them, should be designated and understood. The plan now transmitted embraces this among other objects. I beg leave to urge a speedy attention to the subject.
With great respect and consideration, I have the honour to be, Your obedient servant. A. Hamilton
Plan for the providing and issuing of Military Supplies.
The business of providing shall constitute one distinct branch of service: That of issuing another.
The Purveyor shall be charged with the procuring of all supplies, except those for which contracts are made directly by the chiefs of the Treasury or War Departments.
The Superintendent of Military Stores, shall superintend the issues of all supplies.
The Purveyor shall have near him three Assistants, by whatsoever Denominations: One, in relation to
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relation to the supplies, which, according to past practice, fall within the Department of Quartermaster General including the means of transportation: Another in relation to the supplies, which, according to past practice, fall within the Department of Commissary of Provisions; with the addition of medical and hospital stores: A third, in relation to the Supplies, which, according to past practice, fall within the Department of Commissary of Military Stores, with the addition of Cloathing. The person who now resides at the Seat of Government, in quality of Quartermaster General, may perform the duty of the first-mentioned Assistant.
The Superintendent of Military Stores, shall have near him, three principal clerks; each of whom particularly to superintend the issues in one of the above mentioned branches, aided by as many Store-keepers as may be necessary.
The Purveyor shall have with each army a Deputy, to be charged with the procuring of all supplies necessary to be procured with the army.
The Superintendent shall have with each army a Deputy, who shall have under him three Assistants: One, to superintend the issues of Quartermaster Stores, another to superintend the issues of Provisions; a third, to superintend the issues of other Military Stores and Clothing.
The Purveyor and his Deputies shall deliver over all that they provide, to the Superintendent and his Deputies. The actual custody and issuing of articles to be with the Store-keepers, pursuant to the written orders of the Superintendent and his Deputies.
The Quartermaster-General, with the main army, and the Deputy-Quartermaster-General, with each separate army, shall have the superintendence of the Deputies of the Purveyor, with the respective armies; to see that they do their duty according to their instructions from the Heads of their respective Branches and
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Branches, and the order of the Commander of the army.
The Inspector-General with the main army, and the Deputy-Inspector General with each separate army shall have a like charge of the Deputies of the Superintendent of Military Stores.
These Officers to serve as checks upon the respective Deputies, and points of union between the military and civil authorities.
The Paymaster-General shall reside at the Seat of Government, and be the fountain of all issues of money for the pay, bounty, etc., of the troops. He shall have a Deputy with each army, who shall be charged with the issuing of all monies to the Regimental-Paymasters.
The Quartermaster of each Division shall be charged with the procuring of all supplies, which may be occasionally necessary for such Division, in addition to the general supplies.
The Quartermaster of each Brigade shall be charged with the like duty, when the Brigade is detached only; and always with the superintendence of the issues for such Brigade, and consequently with the directions of all Brigade Officers having the custody of supplies.
Each Brigade shall have a Commissary of Forage, and another of Provisions; to be charged respectively with the issues of those articles.
The Regimental-Quartermaster shall receive and issue all supplies for the regiment, except of money and clothing.
The Regimental-Paymaster shall receive and issue all supplies of money and clothing for the regiment.
The Regimental-Paymaster shall issue moneys for the Recruiting Service, to the Company officers charged with that service, pursuant to Warrants from the Commanding Officer of the Regiment, or
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regiment, or from the Superintending Officer of the Recruiting Service for such regiment; taking from each an accountable receipt.
Whenever it is practicable, he will himself pay the Officer, non-commissioned Officer, and Privates of his regiment, individually. When, by reason of distant detachments, this cannot be done, he will deliver the money to the Officers commanding Companies, or to the Officers commanding parts of Companies, at stations too distant for the agency of the Commander of Companies; taking from each an accountable receipt. The money must, in each case, be paid and issued, pursuant to Pay Rolls, signed by such Commanding Officers; and wherever it is practicable, accompanied by Warrants of the Commanding Officers of Regiments, or of Battalions when detached.
For all moneys, which shall be issued to Officers to be disbursed by them, they shall account monthly with the Regimental-Paymaster, producing to him the requisite vouchers. Upon every such accounting, he shall give a certificate of the substance thereof to the Officer with whom such accounting shall be; specifying therein the vouchers which shall have been produced and left with him. This accounting shall be provisional only, and liable to the revision and control of the proper officer of the War Department, to whom the accounts and vouchers must be forwarded.
The same regulations, as nearly as the subject will admit, shall be observed in respect to the issuing of clothing and other articles (provisions excepted) which shall be issued to the non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers; and in respect to the accounting for the same.
Every receipt for pay, bounty, or other matter from a non-commissioned Officer, or Private, who cannot write,
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cannot write, shall be certified by a Commissioned Officer, who, whenever it shall be practicable, shall be other than the person for whom it is to serve as a voucher.
All Documents, or Returns upon which issues of money, or other articles, are to be made, must be countersigned by the Chief Officer of the regiment, or other particular Corps for which the same is to be issued.
The accounts of Regimental-Paymasters and Quartermasters, shall, previous to their transmission to the War Department, be presented to the Commanders of Regiments, or of Battalions when detached; and to the persons from who respectively they shall have received the objects for which they are accountable; who shall summarily examine them, and certify their opinion respectively.
The above Regulations shall apply to all persons who may act as Substitutes for the Officers to whom they relate.
All Returns and Requisitions for obtaining supplies from the Department of War, shall go from the Deputy-Superintendent of Military Stores with each army to the said Superintendent.
Estimates for Supplies shall be reported by the Deputy-Quartermaster-General with each army to the Commander of each army; and shall be, by him, transmitted to the Secretary of War, with his opinion.
Each Deputy shall send a Duplicate of every estimate to the Quartermaster-General who shall report to the Commander-in-Chief general estimates for all the troops of the United States, illustrated by the particular estimates; which general
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which general estimates shall be transmitted by the Commander-in-Chief to the Secretary of War, with his opinion.