The Papers of General Nathanael Greene


From Colonel Timothy Pickering

Dr Sir

I have been honoured with two or three of your letters, to which I have returned no answer. One informed me of your having appointed Lt Colo Carrington deputy quarter master for the southern army. From the idea I had formed of that gentleman in an acquaintance of two or three days in the way of business, no appointment could have been more agreeable to me.
In one of your letters you recommended Major Forsythe to be deputy quarter master for Virginia. Soon after he applied himself for the office; and Governour Jefferson tendered him the office. He had my entire approbation, wh[ich] I signified to him by letter whilst he was in Philadelphia. He accepted the office; & might doubtless have sent a letter of advice to that effect to the Governour: but it was probably delayed on the way or wholly miscarried. For on the 15th of January the governour writes me, that he had not heard from Major Forsythe; and being informed that he had accepted the office of depy comy of purchases for the southern department, was led to conclude that he declined the office of deputy quarter master. About this time, the Governour says Colo Carrington arrived & claimed a right to nominate a deputy for the state, & nominated Major Claiborne. The matter was finally referred to Baron Steuben (the governour & council being unacquainted with Major Claiborne) who gave his approbation to Colo Carrington's nomination. So it seems Major Claiborne has received the appointment & thus there are in fact two deputies for that state. I have written to the Governour on the subject by this conveyance. I have a regard for both the gentlemen, & hope the affair will be adjusted to their mutual satisfaction.
On what Colo Carrington could found his claim to interfere in this appointment I am at a loss to determine. He has doubtless read the plan for the department, which not only gives him no such right, but clearly & explicitly vests it in me. His 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.
The close covered waggons nearly to the amount you requested, have been sent on; tho' with great delay from Philadelphia for want of money. I found it impracticable to detach any number till the army moved to winter quarters. But in three days afterwards (about the 3d of Decr) I dispatched four or five & twenty for Philadelphia. Any number of open waggons may be sent you when the roads are practicable, & horses can be procured for them: as the common baggage of the main army in the next campaign to be carried by ox-teams.
With the highest satisfaction I should render you all the aid you wish for, were I possessed of the means: but the almost total want of money embarrasses every measure & defeats many attempts, for the public service. With great respect & esteem I am, dear sir,

your most obedt servt

Tim: Pickering

Autograph letter signed (Greene Papers: DLC) 3 pp.