The Papers of General Nathanael Greene

From Colonel Timothy Pickering,

Has received "two or three" letters from NG that he has not answered.[1] In one, NG informed him of the appointment of Col. [Edward] Carrington as deputy quartermaster for the Southern Army; "no appointment could have been more agreeable." In another, NG recommended Maj. [Robert] Forsyth as deputy quartermaster in Virginia. Pickering approved Forsyth, who accepted the office and "doubtless" wrote Gov. [Thomas] Jefferson "to that effect"; but the letter "was probably delayed on the way or wholly miscarried." Jefferson, hearing nothing from Forsyth and learning that Forsyth had been appointed deputy commissary of purchases, assumed that he had declined the post of deputy quartermaster. "About this time, the Governour says Colo Carrington arrived and claimed a right to nominate a deputy for the state, & nominated Major Claiborne," who was appointed. "Thus there are in fact two deputies for that state."[2] Pickering, who has "regard for both the gentlemen," has written the governor concerning the situation and hopes it "will be adjusted" to everyone's satisfaction.[3] He cannot imagine, however, how Carrington "found his claim to interfere in this appointment," which is "explicitly" vested in Pickering. Carrington's "duties are confined to the army to which he is appointed; and he has no other connection with the deputies of states than to call on them for supplies."
On 3 December, three days after Washington's army moved to winter quarters, Pickering sent along nearly all the "close covered waggons" that NG had requested. There was a long delay in Philadelphia, though, "for want of money."[4] When the roads "are practicable," Pickering can send "any number of open waggons" with horse teams, as the "common baggage of the main army in the next campaign [is] to be carried by ox-teams." He wants to give NG every aid, "but the almost total want of money embarrasses every measure & defeats many attempts."
Autograph Letter Signed (Greene Papers: DLC) 3 pp.
    [1.] From his discussion in this letter, Pickering had apparently received NG's letters of 20 November and 8 December 1780 (PGNG, 6: 495-96, 555-56).
    [2.] On the appointment of Richard Claiborne and the controversy about Carrington's role in that appointment, see note at Pickering to NG, 5 November (PGNG, 6: 467-68n). See also Forsyth's letter to NG of 25 January (PGNG, 7: 196), in which he explained his delay in writing Jefferson.
    [3.] Pickering also wrote Jefferson on 3 February. He concluded his discussion about the appointment controversy by saying that unless Jefferson considered dual appointments for Forsyth a problem, Forsyth should also serve as deputy quartermaster. (Boyd, Jefferson Papers, 4: 521-22) In his reply of 4 March, Jefferson did express reservations about Forsyth holding both jobs. He said that Claiborne had shown himself to be "attentive, discreet, with Talents not inferior to the office," and that Forsyth was "perfectly satisfied" with the present arrangement. (Ibid., 5: 59-60) As a result, Claiborne remained deputy quartermaster for Virginia.
    [4.] NG had requested forty covered wagons in his letter to Pickering of 20 November.