To Henry Knox
May 13. 1793
I need not observe of how much moment it is, that the Commanding General should without delay establish with the Contractors the construction which I put on the Contract; about which I have no idea that they can mean any serious difficulty.
With respect I have the honor to be &c
Secy of War
ADf, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford.
1. James Wilkinson, a brigadier general in the United States Army, had served as a lieutenant colonel and deputy adjutant general for the northern department during the American Revolution. In 1784 he settled in Kentucky, where he engaged in business and politics and during the seventeen-eighties was involved in the so-called “Spanish Conspiracy” for the separation of Kentucky from the Union. In March, 1791, he commanded a band of Kentucky volunteers in an expedition against the Ohio Indians. In October, 1791, he received a commission as lieutenant colonel in the regular Army and the next year was promoted to brigadier general.
2. The contractors were Robert Elliot and Elie Williams, who had contracted to furnish supplies to the Army on the western frontier during the preparations for a new campaign against the western Indians. Knox forwarded the extract of Wilkinson’s letter to Major General Anthony Wayne on May 17, 1793. See H to Wilkinson, May 13, 1793. According to Knox’s letter to Wayne, the question raised by the contractors was “whether they are bound to transport the rations of provisions and furnish them daily to the Troops while on their march” (LS, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia).