George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Cleves Symmes, 10 July 1778

From John Cleves Symmes

Minisinks [N.J.] the 10th of july 1778.


I have the honor to transmit to Your Excellency an Examination of Jacob Wise, who says Many things of the Intentions and Movments of the Enemy, the Substance of which Your Excellency will have Inclosed.1

It would be vain in me to Comment or infer. I beg leave only to Mention to your Excellency that the Militia come in but slow, we have not three hundred men on the River and an extent of 30 Miles frontier. our safety at present depends on the delays of the Enemy, which we cannot expect will protect us long. I should think myself too officious were I to expostulate with your Excellency on our situation.

The distressed Inhabitants from Wioming are passing this post by hundreds in the Most forlorn Condition; Perhaps no Age has produced a paralel of Cruelty.

John Devee (now present) who Escaped the battle assures Me that 360 Men fell in the Action who now lie Unburied. I have the honor to be, Your Excellencies humble servant

John Cleves Symmes

ALS, DLC:GW. A notation on the cover indicates that this letter was sent “pr Express.”

1In the enclosure, dated 10 July, Jacob Wise, “one of the Number of those who cut of[f] Wioming on the 3rd & 4th Inst.,” testified “that he left the body of the Enemy on the 5th who were then Making Up the River with the plunder of the Settlement laden in Canoes, that there were six or seven hundred Indians, thinks the Number of the Tories did not exceed two hundred, that there were no Regular troops with them, that they were Commanded by Col. [John] Butler and a Senakees Chief [Sayenqueraghta]; that one of the block house Garrison Capitulated, Upon terms of having life and property spared, but that the Indians Imediately seized all their property: This Examinant further saith that he left the detachment Commanded by Col. Brant on the Delaware about fourteen days since, that Brant hath about one thousand Indians in his party and two hundred Tories, that their Rendouzvous was at Quago 46 miles above Coshethton and 80 miles from the Upper end of Minisinks, This Examinant says that he Understood (since the Reduction of Wioming) that Col. Butler was to March across from the Susquehannah to join Brant and proceed down the Delaware; That the despotick Conduct of the Indians and the destress which he suffered among them Induced this Examinant to leave them. That he hear’d the Indians had 250 scalps and that they Complained because they Could not get the scalps of the Drowned” (DLC:GW).

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