The Papers of General Nathanael Greene


From Major Robert Forsyth

Dear Sir

I am appointed Deputy Comy Genl of Purchases for the Sothern Army by Colo Blaine under the late arrangement of that Department, which took place the 30th November last. Previous to my leaving Phila I received a Letter from Govr Jefferson beging my acceptance of the Qr Masters business in this State. I was informed at the same time from another quarter that it was your Friendly recommendation which procured me that offer.
I immediately wrote the Board of War for their approbation to hold both offices, being sensible the public service would be better served by their union. I could not receive an answer for ten days and then could not obtain an official one; however they gave me their private opinions and urged my acceptance, in consequence of which, I took the necessary Instructions from Colo Pettit and set out for Virginia, but before I reached Richmond the appointment was made in favour of Major Claiborne on a supposition that the two Departments were by no means connected and I could not hold both offices.
I am happy that the Major fills the station. I believe his great industry will be fully equall to the Duties of the Office.
I am exceedingly troubled at the scanty prospect before us; the spring at hand and no probability of supplies of salt meats to serve until Beef on foot is fit for the knife. I have wrote the principal State Agent of Maryland and this State respecting the specifics required by Congress but have not been favoured with answers to my Letters[,] indeed I cannot imagine that either state will comply with quarter the requisition. What Spirits and Flour are collect'd I will send forward as soon as the Qr Master can furnish transportation and will wait on you as soon as possible. The great delay I met with in Phila embarrasses me exceedingly for I came away before my Accts were settled expecting the report of the Commissioners would soon follow me, but it has not yet got to hand nor the needful to make easy my creditors who harras me to Death.
I shall be happy to meet your orders on the road. The new system of the Commissarys Department ties my hands in such a manner that I cannot do any thing in procuring Supplies. If the States do not comply with the demands of Congress and deliver the Supplies I do not see how your Army can possibly keep the field.
Major Claiborne is making his appointments and I am Sending his agents such Instructions as I think necessary respecting the commissarys business thrown into their hands. Wishing every possible success to your Arms I am very respectfully

Your most Obdt Servt

Robt Forsyth

Autograph letter signed (MiU-C) 3 pp.