"The distresses of the Army": The Ephraim Blaine Letters, 1780-1783

Among the many forgotten heroes of the American Revolution are the commissaries, the hundreds of men who worked to supply the fighting men with arms, clothing and food. The commissaries were an absolutely vital link in winning the war. Consider the difficulties in supplying an army of more than 17,000 men in an era when transportation and communication could only be conducted by horseback or wagon, and there was great food spoilage due to primitive preservation techniques. 

One of the most persevering commissaries in feeding the Continental Army was Ephraim Blaine (1741-1808) of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. This work presents his letters from 1780 through 1783. Most of the letters, referred to as the Commissary of Purchases letters, were written by Blaine; some were written by his chief clerk, George Morton. Blaine's frustration with the job can be judged by some of the letters herein.

The Introduction provides a brief history of the Commissary Department describing its creation and its many internal problems. The index includes the names of all persons mentioned, as well as subjects and supplies.

Joseph Lee Boyle is the author of several Heritage Books about the Revolutionary War.

Joseph Lee Boyle

2021, paper, 420 pp.

ISBN: 9781556137136