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A young Zachary Taylor reports on a profiteering commissary including selling whiskey to the officers at inflated prices.
Bay of St. Louis, July 28, 1820. 8" x 10". "Autograph Letter Signed, ""Z Taylor Lt Col 8th Rgt U.S. Infy Comdg,"" 1 page, 8"" x 10"", Bay of St. Louis, [Louisiana], July 25, 1820, addressed in his hand on the integral address leaf to Colonel George Gibson in Washington complaining about an Army commissary inflating the prices of stores sold to officers. Fold separations expertly repaired, one separation affects a small portion of the signature, small loss from seal tear not affecting text, else very good condition overall.An early letter from the future president during his years in Louisiana with the 8th Infantry Regiment at Bay St. Louis where they had been charged with constructing a military road from the Pearl River to Bay St. Louis on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico. ""The Ass[isstan]t Comi[ssar]y of Subsistence at this place - Lieut B. Bradley, has made a practice of charging the Officers a very high percentage above the contracted price for such parts of rations[?] as they [?] from him on orders for their Subsistence; viz, flour at twelve & a half dollars pr barrell [sic], Pork at twenty, Whiskey at one dollar per Gallon & other parts in the same proportion?" This percentage he says he charges for his trouble, as he is not bound to issue, only on requisitions. The regulation says 'Asst. comys. of Subsistence are permitted to sell to Officers of the Army such articles of Subsistence as they may require, charging them the contract price, to which must be added the transportation ?" thus some of the officers have been compelled to pay from twenty to fifty per cent for the provisions they have drawn for their own use - the transportation being only twenty[?] five per barrell from New Orleans to this place. This has caused much dissatisfaction among them. But as I do not wish to interfere improperly with an officer of your department, I have thought it most advisable to refer this matter to you; being confident, that if he has exceeded his instructions you will correct him, and if he is authorised [sic] to charge the foregoing prices for provisions I wish you to advise me on the subject as it will at once put to rest any unpleasant feelings on the Subject.""The commissary, Bradford Bradley of Louisiana, had been commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. Despite accusations of profiteering, Bradley received a commission as 1st Lieutenant in November 1820. He was honorably discharged from the service in June 1821. "
      [Bookseller: University Archives]
Last Found On: 2016-01-31           Check availability:      Biblio    

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