This Week In Quartermaster History
the new Continental Army lay siege to British troops occupying Boston in the summer of
1775, General Washington, from his field headquarters at Cambridge made several key
appointments -- including that of Quartermaster General.
The post of Quartermaster General, a position that combined military skill and business acumen, was inherited directly from the British Army. He served as "senior logistician" on the Commanders staff, responsible for the acquisition and distribution of most supplies in the field. A Commissary General and a Clothier General handled food and clothing, respectively; while a Director General oversaw hospital support and medical stores.
But it was to the Quartermaster General that the Commander looked to provide the overwhelming mass of supplies and equipment (tents, blankets, shoes, leather, paper, desks, shovels, etc.) for the patriot Army. And the transportation needs as well -- the boats, wagons, horses, mules, oxen, and the forage needed to feed the animals. The QM General enjoyed the Commanders utmost confidence, helped plan the route of march, and in many ways functioned as a twentieth century Chief of Staff.
On14 August 1775, General Washington appointed a 31-year-old Philadelphia merchant -- Thomas Mifflin -- to serve as his first Quartermaster General.
Compiled by the
U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps Historian
Fort Lee, Virginia