James Madison Papers

Thomas Pinckney to John Armstrong, 16 November 1813

Thomas Pinckney to John Armstrong

Head Quarters Sixth District
16th November 1813.


I have had the honor of receiving the Presidents instructions concerning my assuming the direction of the expedition against the Southern Indians, communicated in a Letter of the 7th of this Month from the Department of War,1 in consequence whereof I am making arrangements for taking a position nearer to the scene of action, from whence I may give a general direction to the three Corps who are destined to act on this expedition, until they shall form a junction; at which period the then existing circumstances will determine whether it will be proper for me to take the command in person.

General Williams went hence last week to report himself to Govenor Mitchell; I have written to inform him of the President’s instructions and purpose addressing the late Governor Mitchell by this Mail to request that he will remain at Milledgeville until I shall arrive there, for the purpose of a personal communication with him. I have also written to the Commanding officer of the Tennessee Troops and those marching from Georgia, suggesting some ideas concerning the mode of conducting the Expedition: for, until I shall have obtained accurate information of the present state of affairs, I am unwilling to issue any positive instructions. Copies of my communications to these officers are herewith.*

I have earnestly to entreat, Sir, the President’s orders concerning the treatment of the hostile Indians provided this expedition shall be successful—a considerable portion of those employed in this contest will I am informed be desirous of a total removal of the Creek Nation from Georgia and the Mississippi Territory: whether the policy & justice of the United States may require this measure, and whether its practicability be within the limit of the means intended to be used on this occasion are subjects fit for the decision of the Government only; and I take the liberty of presenting it thus early to the attention of the President, because it would be advantageous to shape the immediate course of our proceedings to what may be the desired result.

I should be happy, Sir, also to receive the President’s animadversions on the mode on which I purpose to direct our operations, described in the plan suggested to the General officers commanding the different corps in the expedition. I have the honor to be very respectfully Sir your most obedt Servant

Thomas Pinckney

* Time is wanting to prepare these copies for the present mail, they shall be forwarded by the next.

RC (DNA: RG 107, LRRS, P-296:7). Marked in an unidentified hand: “Has been shown to the President.”

1In his letter to Pinckney of 7 Nov. 1813, Daniel Parker conveyed JM’s order that Pinckney’s command be extended to include the Seventh Military District, giving him overall responsibility for the campaign against the hostile Creek Indians. Parker also recommended that Pinckney communicate with Georgia governor David B. Mitchell regarding the campaign and that he employ Brig. Gen. David R. Williams as part of it, and stated that the contractors had received sufficient funds (DNA: RG 107, LSMA). In addition, Parker evidently enclosed copies of Tennessee governor Willie Blount’s 4 Oct. 1813 letters to militia major generals Andrew Jackson and John Cocke, and to Mitchell, regarding the Tennessee militia’s participation in the campaign (Parker to Blount, 7 Nov. 1813, DNA: RG 107, LSMA), which Blount had enclosed in his 18 Oct. 1813 letter to John Armstrong. Blount instructed Jackson and Cocke to act in concert with each other and with Georgia and federal forces as much as possible, and informed Mitchell that the two Tennessee generals would apprise him “of their march, positions, movements, and intended attacks, in due time so as best to promote the public service” (DNA: RG 107, LRRS, B-331:7).

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