Details Presented in Special Aurora Supplement, November 10, 1812
Supplies for the Army were conducted out of what was known as "The Office of the Purveyor of Public Supplies". Established in February of 1795 by an Act of Congress, within the Dept. of Treasury, at a salary of $2000 per year for the Commissary General. The office was located at 196 Spruce Street in Philadelphia. This is why it was not a problem for the Aurora, a newspaper published in Philadelphia, to obtain the information presented here. The report came about due to a number of cases where the supplies for entire regiments, among them that of Gen. Winder's on his way to Albany, were not where they were supposed to be. (The Winder story is found under the Baltimore section of the Newspapers.)
The report refers in Part 7 to three men who held the post of Purveyor or Commissary General to that time: Tench Coxe, Benjamin Mifflin, and Callender Irvine. The first Purveyor was Tench Francis, and Tench Coxe was his grandson. Coxe, who was an excellent economist and supporter of American manufacturing, often changed sides as it suited him and his times, including having been a royalist in 1776 and joined with Howe in 1777. A Whig once, a Royalist once, a Federalist once and finally a Jefferson Republic party member, he was appointed by Jefferson in 1803 as Purveyor. It was Tench Coxe who undertook to develop the American arms manufacturers. Benjamin Mifflin was a clerk for many years in the Purveyor's Office under Coxe. By the time Callender Irvine became the Commisary General, Mifflin was Deputy Commissary General, but died in September of 1812. For the War of 1812 and beyond, Callender Irvine headed the Supplies Office for all Army and Naval supplies. His words in reply to the Aurora also included here in part 9, though they address the problem of Winder's needs, speak for the way in which he undertook to do his job.
Part 1 speaks to the clothing materials purchased, and notes the extensive amount of Ravens duck cloth that would be purchased from Kentucky and with a savings of $50,000 by not purchasing from Europe.
Part 2 speaks to the clothing issued to what is called the "Additional Army" from January 1, 1812 to September 30, 1812. Note that of this list, the woolen clothing had all been made since July of 1812.
Part 3 speaks to arms and accoutrements, camp equipage, tools and cooking needs, cavalry needs, and ammunition needs.
Part 4 comments on what is in Part 3 and addresses the need for proper distribution and care of the supplies.
Part 5 addresses what was being made at that very moment in late 1812. This part is a clear indication that for the first time the American clothing industry was beginning to use assemly and flow management to be more efficient in clothing manufacture. This is a peek into the real world of making War of 1812 uniforms.
Part 6 is a mention of the arms manuafacturers established by Tench Coxe during his tenure as Purveyor, including the one at Harper's Ferry.
Part 7 deals with the contracts of both Tench Coxe and Benjamin Mifflin that even to that late date had not been fulfilled. The muskets, bayonets and sabres listed under Tench Coxe refer to items contracted for by the Purveyor's Office under his leadership that were involved in scandal and controversy. The incompletes under Benjamin Mifflin may have been due to his untimely death. Note how many contracts are shown as complete and being delivered under Callender Irvine.
Part 8 presents information of great importance, especially given how bloody some of the battles in the North were, information about medical supplies and hospitals. One is left to question, given these numbers, if enough serious consideration had been given to battlefield medical assistance. This section also addresses nitre, sulphur and marine salt supplies.
Part 9 is the final paragraph of the letter to the Aurora editor, based on the work involved with this special supplement after he addressed the issue of Gen. Winder's problem specifically (found under Baltimore in Newspaper section). In this paragraph he sums up his philosophy regarding doing his job.