The Virginia Gazette

Today in the 1770s: October 2

WILLIAMSBURG, October 2, 1779.
The Commissioners of Trade having been empowered to establish a publick tannery for the better and more regular supplying the army with shoes and leather, do give this publick notice that the highest prices will be given for all kinds of hides, and ready money paid for the same upon the delivery thereof, to Mr. Powell Reins at Portsmouth, Mr. John Stringer on the Eastern Shore, Mr. Hugh Walker at Urbanna, Mr. Thomas Pierce at Smithfield, Mr. Moss Armistead at Hampton, Mr. William Cary at York, Mr. William Goodson at Williamsburg, Mr. James Hunter jun. at Fredericksburg, Mr. Zachariah Clarke at Hanover town, Mr. Smyth Tandy at Richmond, Mr. Robert Gilliam at Petersburg, or Capt. Charles Thomas at Warwick. By order of the Board, WILLIAM RUSSELLl, C.B.T.

Virginia Gazette (Dixon & Nicolson) October 9, 1779

About this entry:

Leather products were essential to the war effort. Soldiers' shoes were a continual concern of their officers and figured into the correspondence of George Washington throughout the war. He wrote from Valley Forge on January 19,1778, "It has been recommended, by Congress, to every State to cloath their own quota of Troops . . . I am certain that, with proper exertions, it may be done by the middle and northern States very nearly by their own internal manufacture; but lest that should not be sufficient, the continental Agents will continue to import and to purchase from private Adventurers all kinds of Goods proper for the use of the Army. Considering the many impediments that lay in the way of foreign importations we ought to put as little dependance as possible upon that source, especially for the Articles of Shoes and Stockings of which there is the greatest consumption and for the want of a regular supply of which our Soldiers suffer amazingly." In October 1778 the Virginia legislature passed a recruitment act. It stated that each person who enlisted for three years would be entitled to four hundred dollars, some bounty lands, regular pay and rations and be furnished annually with "a coat, waistcoat, and breeches, two shirts, one hat, two pair of stockings, one pair of shoes, and a blanket".

Sources: Washington Papers, Virginia Statutes, v 9, p588-9.

Brought to you by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation