George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Lachlan McIntosh, 12 March 1779

From Brigadier General Lachlan McIntosh

Fort Pitt [Pa.] 12th March 1779.


I was honored with your Excellency’s Instructions of Philada 31st January & Middle Brook 12th Febry last, which shall be strickly complyed with to the Utmost of my power.1 & hope now Military Matters are in a proper Train they will be better Executed—but fear I shall not be able to get that thorough knowledge of the Country you require & that I could Wish, as few or none of the old Traders or Travelers remain in this Department now. they are all either gone off to the Enemy, Joined our Army below, or removed East of the Mountains & down this River. indeed the Emigration down the Ohio from this quarter I fear will Depopulate it altogether unless I have orders to put a timely stop to it immediately. it is thought near one half of what Remains here will go down to Kaintucky, the Falls or to Illenois (as they Say themselves) this spring.2 their desire of Securing new Lands is so great notwithstanding the Danger they see their Country at present in, & that the Extent of our possessions is our greatest weakness. I would not be Surprised, & expect to hear soon of an Application for a Continental Army for the protection of these new & remote settlements, altho we have every Corner of our Country already to defend & strugle for.

The Boats also that would be necessary for the purposes you intend cannot be made here for want of work Men & Materials untill they are Sent from below. Colo. George Morgan who keeps almost all his public business in this Dept. a profound Secrete from me among his other Schemes sent up a parcell of Boat Carpenters here from Philadelphia last summer to make a Number of Armed Gallies (for what purpose I could never Learn) but as he never came himself to direct them, nor Sent a Single Article that was Necessary as he promised, I employed them to make Six Batteaux & two Flats as we had none, & could not do without them. and to asist at our Fortifications untill the 1st Jany when their times were out which was so Expensive, rather than they should be Idle. I cannot help observing here sir, of this Gentleman & others who have Seperate Veiws & Connections, & a Variety of Lucrative Offices to bestow, Independent as they think of any person who Commands in the Department, that it gives them Such Influence as to make such Officers Authority if hes is Strictly in his Duty Contemptible, which I will Explain further to your Excellency when I have the Honor of Seeing you3 In the Mean time, I must earnestly request you to think of some other General Officer to Succeed me in this Command, which is become exceeding Disagreeable, nor do I think I can be of the Service in it that I ought or would Wish here after, Notwithstanding I have been the greatest Slave in it, Since my first arival. Any where else you please, or think my Small Abilitys can be of use to my Country, in the Service of which I desire to spend the remainder of my Life if required. I Shall be Satisfyed. Yet, (if it deserves Consideration) I begg Leave only to Mention, the distressed Situation of my own Country and Family at present. Colo. Neville has Just Confirmed the Report I had before, that they with the whole State of Georgia, & every Farthing of Property I have in the world are in the possession of the Enemy. but of this as you think proper.4

I am Sorry to inform you that Contrary to my Expectation things have taken a turn here much for the Worse Since I wrote to you the 13th Jany.5 the 30th of that Month I receivd an Express from Colo. Gibson informing me that one Simon Girty (a Runagade among many others from this place) got a Small party of Mingoes (a Name by which the Six Nations, or rather the Senneca Tribe is known among the western Indians) & waylaid Capt. Clark of the 8th Pennsylva Regt with a Sargeant & 14 privates about three Miles this Side of Fort Laurens, as they were Returning after Escorting a few Supplys for that post, and made Clark Retreat to the Fort again, after killing two, & taking one of his Men prisoner with his Saddle Baggs & all his Letters.6 Upon hearing this Unexpected Intelligence I immediately Sent for the Colonels Crawford & Brodhead to advise with them upon the best method of Supplying that Garrison with provision. of which it was very Short, & we had barely Horses enough fit for Service to Transport a Sufficient quantity of Flour over the Mountains for our daily Consumption, & Scarce of Forage for them, altho’ they were almost worn down, It was therefore thought most Eligible upon that & other Accounts to Send a Supply by Water up Muskingum River, as you may See by my Instructions to Major Taylor inclosed who was charged with that Duty No. 1.7 The Inclosures No. 2. 3—& 4. contain the Inteligence I received afterwards from Colo. Gibson at Fort Laurens, and from Capt. John Killbuck at Coochauchking, & will shew the Effect & Sudden Change the Affair of Capt. Clark had upon the Savages prompted & Encouraged by the English.8

The paper No. 5. is an Answer to Capt. John Killbucks Message & is inclosed for your approbation, & was Occasioned by my Anxiety for Taylors Safety, & to Counter-Act the assertion of the English, that we only wanted the Lands of the Indians & as a proof had already taken possession.9 as well as a Message I was informed Colo. Morgan Sent by one Sulivan to them upon his arrival after 8 Months absence, without my approbation or knowledge, telling them the Congress did not want them to take up the Hatchet, but to Lye still & Smoke their Pipes as he formerly told them. that the last Treaty held with them here was false, or that the Interpreter (Colo. Gibson) told them Lyes.10

The 26th February a Scalping Party killed & carryed off 18 persons Men women & Children upon the Branches of Turttle Creek, 20 Miles East of this, upon the pennsylvania Road which was the first Mischief done in the settlements since I marched for Tuscorawas, & made me apprehensive now the Savages were all inimically Inclined, & struck the Inhabitants of Westmoreland with Such a panick that great part of them were moving away.11 while I was endevouring to rouse the Militia, & Contriving by their Asistance to retaliate & make an Excursion to some Mingo Town upon the Branch of Alegany River who were Supposed to have done the Mischief. A Messenger came to me the 3d March Inst. who Slip’t out of Fort Laurens in the Night of Sunday the 28th Feby—by whom Colo. Gibson would not Venture to write, & informed me that on the Morning of Tuesday the 23d February a Waggoner who was Sent out of the Fort for the Horses to draw Wood, & 18 Men to Guard him were fired upon, & all killed & Scalp’t in Sight of the Fort, which the Messenger left Invested & beseiged by a Number of Wya⟨nd⟩ots Chipwas, Delawares &ca12—and in the Last Account I had from them which made me very unhappy as they were so Short of Provision, & out of my power to Supply them with any quantity, or if I had it with Men for an Escort, Since Major Taylor went, who I thought now was inevitably lost and if I had both, there was no Horses to carry it, or Forage to feed them without which they cannot Subsist at this Season. In this Extreme Emergency & difficulty, I earnestly requested the Lieutenants of the Several Countys on this Side of the Mountains to Collect all the Men, Horses provision & Forage they could at any price & repair to Beaver Creek on Monday next the 15th Instant in order to March on that or the next Day to Tuscorawas. & if they would not be prevailed upon to turn out, I was determined with such of the Continental Troops as are able to March, & all the provision we have at all Events to go to the Relief of Fort Laurens upon the Support of which I think the Salvation of this part of the Country Depends.13

I have no intelligence from the Country yet, that I can depend on.

Some Say the people will turn out on this Occasion with their Horses. others, that Mischeivous persons influinced by our Disgusted staff are Discouraging them as much as possible. but am now happily relieved by the arrival of Major Taylor here who returned with 100 Men & 200 Keggs flour—he was Six Days going up about 20. Miles of Muskingum River, the waters were so high & stream so Rapid. & as he had above 130 Miles more to go, he Judged it impossible to relieve Colo. Gibson in time—and therefore returned, having Lost two of his men sent to flank him upon the shore, who were killed & scalp’t by some Warriours coming down Muskingum River. & have my doubts of our only pretended Friends the Delawares of Coochauchking, as none other are settled upon that Water.14

I have the Honor to Inclose you the Last return I had from Colo. Brodhead at Beaver Creek. that of the Military stores, & the only General one I ever could get from our Quarter Master.15 & am with the Utmost Respect. Your Excellency’s most obt & most Hble servt

Lachn McIntoch B.G. Comg Western Dept.


1McIntosh is referring to GW’s letter to him of 15 Feb., but see the source note for that document.

2The Falls of the Ohio River, a rapids where there is a descent of more than twenty feet over the course of two miles, is near present-day Louisville, Kentucky.

3George Morgan (1743–1810) trained in Philadelphia as a merchant, went to the Illinois country to conduct business with military posts and Indians, and received a large land grant from the Six Nations in 1768 as one of the “Suffering Traders” whose goods the Indians had destroyed in 1763. After several years back in Philadelphia, where he became a Patriot leader, Morgan returned to the frontier as the secretary-general and superintendent of the land office for a private company with headquarters at Fort Pitt. He then assumed the duties of Indian agent for the United States and deputy commissary general of purchases for the western department, a position that carried the rank of colonel. In these capacities, Morgan tried to establish a policy of Indian neutrality to limit military operations. Delaware Indians, who liked Morgan, gave him the name “Taimenend,” or “the affable one.” Besides his frontier interests, Morgan owned a farm called “Prospect” near Princeton, N.J., where he lived after leaving Fort Pitt in February 1779.

McIntosh’s poor relationship with Morgan began with the Treaty of Fort Pitt, concluded 17 Sept. 1778, that committed the Delawares to a military alliance with the American forces and repudiated the previous emphasis on neutrality. Animosity between the two men grew as they disputed supply measures and competed for influence with the Delawares. McIntosh’s differences with Morgan prompted him to seek a formal inquiry in May 1779, but he withdrew the request upon GW’s advice (see McIntosh to GW, Alexander Hamilton to McIntosh, and McIntosh to Hamilton, all 14 May, DLC:GW).

4The British had taken McIntosh’s family prisoner after capturing Savannah on 29 Dec. 1778, and they were held captive until January 1780. McIntosh, who owned a large rice plantation in Georgia, had married Sarah Threadcraft in 1756, and the couple had eight children. The person who informed McIntosh about Georgia developments almost certainly was Col. John Nevill, a Virginia Continental officer who had served near Fort Pitt.

5This letter from McIntosh to GW has not been found.

6The letter from Col. John Gibson that McIntosh received on 30 Jan. has not been identified, but McIntosh described this attack in a letter of 29 Jan. to Col. Archibald Lochry, which reads: “I am just informed that Capt. Clark of the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment who was sent to command an escort to Fort Laurens as he was returning with a sergeant & 14 men three miles this side of that post, was attacked by Simon Girty & a party of Mingoes, who killed two of our men, wounded four, and took one prisoner” (Kellogg, Frontier Advance description begins Louise Phelps Kellogg, ed. Frontier Advance on the Upper Ohio, 1778-1779. Madison, Wis., 1916. description ends , 210). For the captured letters, see Beckwith, “Letters from the Canadian Archives,” description begins H. W. Beckwith, ed. “Letters from Canadian Archives.” Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, 1:290-457. Springfield, Ill., 1903. description ends 379–88. John Clark (d. 1819) joined Col. Samuel Miles’s Pennsylvania Rifles as a first lieutenant in March 1776 and was promoted in February 1777 to captain in the Pennsylvania State Regiment, a unit designated the 13th Pennsylvania Regiment later that year. Clark tranferred to the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment in July 1778 and continued in the army with the 8th and two other Pennsylvania regiments until June 1783.

7The enclosure marked “No. 1” is a copy of McIntosh’s instructions to Maj. Richard Taylor written at Fort Pitt on 8 Feb., which reads: “As you was one of the Council of Officers yesterday who were Unanimously of Opinion, that Fort Laurens is a Post of Such Importance it Should by no Means be given up, and that the only way of Sending Supplys to it as we are now Circumstanced and at this Season of the Year, is by Water. and as I have entire Confidence in your prudence and Conduct in executing a Business of Such Consequence, you are hereby ordered to take the Command of Such a party as you think Necessary for the purpose. Two hundred Keggs of flour are now ready and in the Boats here, and you will take in fifty Barrells of Beef and Porke at Beaver and Wheeling in your Way, besides the provision that will be Necessary for your party going and returning, which will be a Sufficient Supply till next fall.

“You will also get as much Whiskey as the Commissary of Issues can Spare, Some Medecines from the Surgeon of the Hospital, and a Black Smith with his Tools, and Some Iron and Steel for the use of that Garrison, with any Other articles, which you know them to Stand in need of as you are lately come from it.

“As our present Situation will heardly Spare the two Boats you Carry from this place and they will be rather Small for your party, and all these provisions and Stores, you will endevour to fit out one or two of the Boats now at Wheeling to Carry with you up the River Muskingham, one of which you may leave with Colonel Gibson, if he Should find it Necessary, and endevour to bring all the rest of these Boats at Wheeling or any Other Boats, Flats or Cannoes you find upon the Way up to Beaver Creek when you return.

“As your health and private affairs required your Going home and this Necessary business has disapointed you now, You have leave of Absence for three Months when you return here again, provided the Situation of our affairs then will admit of it. I wish you Success” (DLC:GW).

8John Killbuck (d. 1811; Caleylamont, Gelelemind, Killalamunt), leader of the Turtle clan of the Delaware Indians, was largely pro-American during the Revolutionary War. Coshocton (Cooshacking, Goschachgünk), formed in 1775 along the Tuscarawas River on the site of present-day Coshocton, Ohio, was the chief town of the Turtles. The enclosure marked “No. 2” is a letter of 13–14 Feb. from Col. John Gibson at Fort Laurens to McIntosh, which reads: “Yours of the 31st of Jany came safe to hand by the two Indians. In my last letter, I Ommitted Mentioning to you that Mr Sample went to Cooshachkung to purchase and Bring, of Corn and Skins, he having Requested me Not to mention it, least Mrs Sample might be uneasy. he Returned from Cooshachkung the 31st of Jany and Brought the Inclosed from John KillBuck by which you will be informed of the Dispotition of the other Indians; Mr Sample informs me that he arrived at Cooshachkung the 22d of Jany, that the next afternoon John Nash Soldier in the 13th Virg. Regt whom they left at their Camp opposite to the town was killed and Scalped by a Delaware Indian uncle to Delaware George, that on the 24th two Delawares Shot 3 of the [R]est and Carried of[f] two more horses, ten Bags, some Bells, 2 Sadles, and some Blankets, that on the 27th, the same Rascals Returned again to Cooshackung, and were seen by the Indians, that KillBuck Brought them into the town and Called a Council, that after he had Scolded them, they promised to Return the things and went of[f] for that purpose. But that one of them hid himself on the Road from the Moravian town [Lichtenau] to Cooshachkung, and as peter parchment and another Soldier of the 13th were Returning from the Moravian town to Cooshachkung in sight of the last mentioned place he fired on them, the Ball Broke parchments Arm and Ent[ere]d his Breast But has since been taken out. parchment Ran a few yards, Being oblidged to Drop his Gun. the Indian took up the Gun and was going to fire again But was prevented by Capt. Johney [Captain Johnny] who happened to be Coming along the Road, who hallowed to him not to shoot. he than Run of[f] and Crossed the River, and Altho this was done in sight of the Town none of the Indians pursued them. You will see the apology KillBuck makes in his letter for not following them. whether that will Suffice I must leave to the Genl to Determine. Indeed he even Says that Col. White Eyes and I Decieved them, that the Tomhawk was forced on them out of Doors, where there was no Council fire, that it was never meant by them to join us as Warriors, that they were only to pilot us. The Moravians sent 11 of their people to assist Mr Sample and party in Bringing up the Wounded man, and KillBuck sent Nine. As Mr Sample was Coming away the Moravians Requested him to Inform me, they wish to have a Fort Built near to the Town as the[y] Coud Assist then with men and provisions, But whether it woud be agreeable to the Cooshachkung people I cannot as yet inform you. KillBuck intends going to Fort pitt, with some Chiefs in a few days agreeable to Col. Morgans invitation provided the Messengers who went to Sanduskey Bring good News when they Return. Shoud the other Nations Continue to Strike us, we shall in my Opinion, only the[n] have Moravians whom we can depend on. If there was any possibility of Evacuating this post and Building a Fort Between the Moravian town and Coshackung, I think it ought to be done for the protection of them poor Moravians, whom I think the States are in honour Bound to protect, But this my Opinion I Beg leave to Submit to the General. I have been informed that I have been Represented in Col. Morgans Speeches to the Indians, as a false Intrepeter, But as this is only from Report I shall wave Saying any thing more on the Subject. Another large packet is sent to KillBuck, I am Supprised the General never mentioned any thing of it, or the former, in his letter to me; In a few days we shall hear what the Intention of the Wiandots and other tribes are. I wou’d once more Beg leave to Recommend to the General, if not a Reinforcement, a Supply of provisions, and other stores shoud be sent without delay to this place. You may depend on my Defending it to the last Extremity, and of my Care to prevent Supprise. The Officers and Men here think it is rather hard they shoud be Curtailed in their Rations, when the troops at the Interior posts Draw full Rations. I am not the least Afraid the[y] will forsake me, let what will happen. Coud our Cloathing Be forwarded with Safety it woud be of Infinite Service, as the last Supply was so small, it scarcely made us any Better. the shoes are so Bad the[y] are almost worn out Already. By the enclosed Returns you will Be made acqua⟨int⟩ed of the Strength of the Garrison, the Quantity of provision and amunition in store. By which you will find that the 30,000 lb. of Beef said to be in Bulk when you left this place did not Exceed 20,000—I have had the Flour and Beef Weighed so that the Returns are Exact. The provision now in store will but Barely last us Thirty days from this on.

14th Feby. last night five of my Regt about 12 o Clock at night deserted from this post the[y] got out thro the Roof the Cabbins, and went down the River in a Cannoe, the night was so dark prevented the Sentrys from seeing of them. I have sent 6 Indians after them and as I have offered a Reward of Fifty dollars for Each or for their Scalps, I am in hopes the[y] will Bring them Back. Three of them Came with the last Command from Fort MacIntosh and have Been Grumbling at Being Curtailed in their Rations ever since they Came here. so little Attention has been given, by the Quarter Master at Fort MacIntosh to what Mr Sample has wrote for, that we are now without a single sheet of paper. I shoud have sent you Returns by the former Express, But was Afraid the[y] might fall into the Enemies hands. The Creeks Being so high has prevented this Express from setting of[f] this Six Days past. I wish two large locks coud be procured for our Gates as the[y] are now only fastened with a Wooden Bar.

“I am much Supprised to find that Speeches are sent to the Indians without my Being made Acquainted. Does the General or any other person think it will be possible for me to Regulate my transactions with them, when I am kept in the Dark. as the Letters and Returns will go safer by Indians, I have hired two for that purpose and must Request the Genl will send the Articles mentioned in the inclosed list for them, and the few Medicenes mentioned in Doctor Brown’s list. the[y] are to goe no farther than Fort MacIntosh. pray hurry them Back as soon as possible. As soon as the Messengers Return from the Wiandot Towns I shall send another Express to you....

“The Messengers leave it to the Genl and Col: Morgan to pay them for their trouble in Carrying the Express” (DLC:GW).

The enclosures that McIntosh refers to as numbers 3 and 4 apparently are the communications of 29 and 30 Jan. from Killbuck at Coshocton to Gibson, both in DLC:GW, initially enclosed with Gibson’s letter of 13–14 Feb. to McIntosh. Killbuck’s speech of 29 Jan. reads: “I now begin to see the Work of the foolish People. They have already began to do Mischief here in my Town, all what has been done here was committed by Dellawares, tho by those who have left us, & were gone to the Wyondotts. We had spoke to them when they came here first, and forbid them to do any Mischief, they then promised Us they would not, but they privately fired on one of Your Men and Wounded Him, and then ran off.

“I can assure You I am very sorry for what happened here by those foolish People, it troubles me indeed very much. But I have taken proper step’s to prevent any Mischieff which might arise from those Nations to the Southward, Six Speeches are ready and will be sent to those Nations in 2 Days. Again Four Speeches are prepared and likewise to be sent off with the first to the Twigtwee’s and all other Nations between them and Ohio River. And again, I have spoke to the O’Tawas, Chippuwe’s, and Putawattamas, and bid them take hold of Our Friendship. Three great Speeches I have sent to those 3 Nations, and ordered the Messengers to Travel Day and Night till they get there. I have desired said Nations to be strong and consider what I have told them, and them make haste and come here to me before the end of the next Moon. This I have done because You desired me to do so. You told me lately at Tuscorawas to speak to those Nations, and desire them to take hold of the Chain of Friendship, and now my Message is on the Road.

“The Reason why I did not follow those foolish people that did this Mischieff here is, because You told me to speak to the Enemy and the back Nations and call them in to You, had You not told me that, I should have soon known what to do with such people that came here to do Mischieff. I should have followed them and killed them.

“My Messengers with Speeches to the Wyondotts acording to Your request, have been gone now already 10 Day’s, and I expect them back again every Day, and as soon as they will be here, I will aquaint You of every thing which they may bring with them immediately.

“I have hear’d that all Nations are a gathering to attack the Fort at Tuscorawas at the full of this Moon. I assure You I shall be very Watchfull, and when I hear of their having Crossed the Lake, and going towards You. I then will go immediately and speak to them, and try to stop their proceeding any further.

“You may depend I shall take all the care I can of Mr Samples and his Men, and promise to deliver them safe unto You again. I send 20 of my Men with them, nobody shall be able to hurt them. I likewise have ordered 3 of my Men to stay with You in the room of those now there at Tuscorawas, they are to be with You as Guards for 15 Days.

“That Chain of Friendship which we once have taken hold of, we never shall let go again, neither shall it ever be broken.” Killbuck addressed this final paragraph to “Brothers the Thirteen United States.”

Killbuck then wrote to Gibson on 30 Jan., reporting “That a Captn of the English from Detroit [Henry Hamilton] has came over the Lake with his Men and has made up an Hundred pack Horses, and loaded them with provissions, and a great Number of English and Indians are to be there very soon from the same place. That the Wyondotts and others had sent out for all Nations to be ready to March from that Time in 10 Days, but that the Wyondochola People sent Word back again, desiring them as the Weather was rather Cold to wait till this Moon was out, and then to March immidiately towards the Garrison at Tuscorawas.

“That Simon Girty had Marched against all orders with 17 Men chiefly Mingoes towards that Garrison & consequently did the Mischieff.

“That Captn Pipe [Delaware chief] said he knew of none of the back Nations that were preparing for War, and supposed that the Wyondotts, Mingoes, and Shawanoes were the only people for Mischieff. That he Captn Pipe had charged his Men very strictly not to join any body of Warriors, be they who the[y] would. That he also had no dealings or concern with them and their undertakings and if any of his foolish Young Men should actually go with the Enemy to War they were disobedient towards his Orders, and might stand their chance.

“The first part of the Letter is what the Men heared, and does not know it very particular; when Pageland returns we shal know more. Captn Killbock desires You to be on Your Guard, tho he knows of nobody that is out at present; several Companies went out but were stoped on the road and turned back again. Simon Girty’s party had divided themselves before they did the Mischieff, but which Way the 8 went nobody knows.” Pekelend (Pageland, Pakelend, Peykeeling) was a Delaware chief.

A note of 13 Feb. from Gibson to McIntosh that covered a letter of 9 Feb. from Killbuck to Gibson, both in DLC:GW, elaborates on the subjects of the enclosures. Gibson’s note, which survives as a Sprague transcript, reads: “Just as I was setting off the express for Fort McIntosh I received the Inclosed, by which you will now be convinced of the designs of the enemy. unless a timely supply is sent we must suffer. As I know the General will take evry step in his power to prevent it & wish not to detain the Express a moment shall say no more.” Killbuck’s letter reads: “My Messengers which I sent to the Wyondotts are already returned again. 2 Days after they delivered the Speech to the Wyondotts they understood that they were to recieve an Answer, but the Warriors in the mean Time coming in with a Prisoner and 2 Scalps and a great many Letters, and having all those read, put a stop to all, and understood they were to recieve no Answer to the Speech. In the mean time however, considering of what was mentioned in the Letters, the half King [Wyandot chief] spoke to the following: ‘Cousin at Cooschacking I have told You a Year ago leave off sending Letters to the Virginians, and quit them entirely, I have peeled Bark and stop’d the Road between them and You that You might not come together any more, but You still continue to go to them. Now I tell You once more, leave entirely your correspondence with the Virgs. and send no more Letters to them. Consider Yourself Cousin, You alone are diverse from all other Nations. all the Nations are of one Mind except You. I am quite astonished at You & your Work, and must needs think You are the cause of the Virgs. building a Fort at Tuscorawas, I cannot think otherwise but You have sold them that Land entirely. I now tell You again Cousin at Gooschacking, do not go any more to the Virgs. neither towards them, for if I see You there, I will consider You as a Virginian, and kill You the same as I will kill the Virgs.’ My Messengers could not hear any News there, for nobody would take any Notice of them, they apearing to one another as Strangers & keeping their matters private, tho at last said they would send the Message over the Lake to Detroit but what Answer might be given they knew not. There are but 4 Nations this side of the Lake that know of what is going on, but which is kept secret. The Wyondotts, Mingoes, Shawanos and the Wyondochala gang. Captn Pipe says he has nothing to do with all those People & their Affairs, and will set his Men on one Side, and quite out of the Way—and bid them sitt still there. He is looked on by the Wyondotts as a Virginian on account of his not joining them. Captn Pipe says likewise it is impossible that the Mingoes can consider of any thing that is good, they being sensible of their Wickedness, and the Mischieff they have done, and this appeared likewise to be the case with the Wyondotts.

“This is the News which my 2 Messengers have brought, which I had sent with Speeches to the Wyondotts.

“Now Brother it really looks very dangerous and tho my Messengers Ears were stop’d, I have since their return heard something whisperd of, and have taken Notice of it. It appears that You will be attacked in a few Days, and at the close of this Moon.”

John Heckewelder’s letter of 8 Feb. to Gibson, supplying intelligence on hostile Indians, and Delaware Indian convert John Martin’s letter of the same date to Gibson, discussing the purchase of a horse and cattle, both in DLC:GW, provide additional information on the Pennsylvania-Ohio frontier. Heckewelder, who was a Moravian missionary to the Indians, wrote from Coshocton: “Pagelend came back last Fryday with no Answer from the Wyondotts, to the Speech—a few Words were only said by the half King [Wyandot chief] & which were, Cousin at Cooschacking! I tell You once more, keep away from the Virgs.—John Montour recieved his Letter and John Killbock’s Speech, Jumped up for Joy and said, my friend [John] Dodge is alive yet, but told pagelend twas to [o] late; had he recieved the Letter but 3 or 4 Days sooner it would have done very well, but to break that which was now agreed to, would cost him his Life. Captn Pipe says he will move with all his Men to one Side & not suffer any of them to go to War—Your Letters which were taken in the engagement near Your Garrison were recd in Pagelends presense at the Wyondott Towns & many a hint given to the same, likewise much spoken of Us here, and our Comunicating with the Virgins.—Girty was present in the engagement. Great bragging of what they had done—Goods enough at Sandusky but only for the Wariors, Hanging for the disposal of the same or any other purposes as the Gover. orders—The design of the Enemy to be kept an entire secret, & none of the same to commit any Hostility’s till the appointed Time—Nobody to come this Way for fear of discovering the secret ⟨illegible⟩.

“Pray what must this secret be? perhaps to come by Way of Water from Detroit with Cannon then up Cajahaga Creek [Cuyahoga River] where but 4 or 5 Miles Land Carriage to the head and upper Lake of this River, then down the same to Your Garrison. Or? to surround Your Garrison & try to starve You out. Or? to try to decieve You by Way of ⟨a strate⟩gem.

“By all accounts the Garrison at Tuscorawas is their Object. This Days news by a Woman from the Wyondott Towns is, that Wingenund [Delaware chief] came into a House where she was (He not observing her a Stranger) saying, the Conclusion is now made that the next full Moon the Wyondotts, Mingoes, Shawanos and Dellawares were to attack the Fort at Tuscorawas. The Woman astonished to hear the Dellawares named, asked after He had gone out again, what are the Dellawares to go and fight to? No she was answered none of the Pipes people He means the Wyondochella gang.

“In Answer to Yours of the 5th Insta. have communicated Your desire to John Killbock. He is going to fort Pitt in a few Days. The Complaints laid by Coll G. Morgan before the Dellaware Councill at Cooshacking consist chiefly of 2 Matters 1stly that Collo. John Gibson had interpreted false in that He had Said the Dellaware Councill had desired that Congress might create Him the future Agent for In[d]ian Affairs, and 2condly that Collonell John Gibson had with his interpretation made the Dellawares to Warriors, to which was agreed that they should be furnished with all Instruments of War. These 2 Art[i]cles they Answer to Collo. Morgan they never thought of, nor either desired.

“I intended to mention the whole matter particular to You, but as Mr Samples came here the last time, told him all I knew of it and desired him to inform You of it, as he had also read Mr Morgans Speech at Cooshacking himself....

“The governor of Detroit [Henry Hamilton] has taken all them little garrison which Colo. [George Rogers] Clark had taken in possession in Tschubhicking [Fort Vincennes] there were but 9 Men left to mention.

“Captn Allexdr MacKee is shot by his own friends thro the Body and another Captn a slight Wound in the head. N. B. This Shawanows News, and declared a fact.” John Montour, the son of Andrew Montour, who served GW as an Indian interpreter during the French and Indian War, had been educated in Philadelphia and supported the Americans during the Revolutionary War. Wyondochella (Wewundochwelund, Wiondughwolend) was a Delaware chief, largely hostile to the Americans, whose principal village was then on the upper waters of the Great Miami River. Capt. Alexander McKee was a Loyalist with a British rank.

9The enclosure marked “Number 5” is a copy of McIntosh’s letter of 25 Feb. to Killbuck, which reads: “last night I recceived your Message of the 18th of this month, from Coochocking, and thank you for sending me the News. I hope you will always do So when any thing extraordinary happens, I am glad to find my good friend Captain John Kilbuck and the wise men of Coochocking hold fast the Chain of friendship between us yet, when So many foolish people are rushing on to their own Distruction. The Governor of Detroit as I have Often told you, knows that he is weak himself and that we will take his Fort and Country from him this Summer: and you will Soon See he is Cheating and deceeving the Indians to fight for him, and he does not care if they Should all be killed or drove from their Country at last for it. he tells you Lyes about the Fort at the falls of Ohio: he cannot take it, and Colonel Clarke is now at Illinois, and all the French and Indians there, like wise people have made peace and Joined him. and we will have men, Cannon, and ammunition enough here and there too, this Summer to take the whole Country the English have.

“I hope you and the Wise men of Coochocking will be Strong and let nobody break the freendship, agreed upon and Subsisting between us, and we will make the Delewares a great and free People: we told you at first in the begining of the War to Sit Still and Smoke your Pipes—but when these Wicked men Continued in their Mischief and threatened you as well as us, when we became one people, it was time for all the freends of America and liberty to take up the hatchet for their own Sakes with us, as your people did at the last Treaty at Fort Pitt and as you have now proved the Sincerity of your Intentions and freendship for us, I will tell you now what I have been thinking a long time of doing for you and did wish to See you here to Mention it to you as the people of Coochocking and the United States of Ameri⟨ca⟩ are now one people, I want to make a Company of your Young Men to Consist of Sixty of them, and to have two Capts. 1t & 2d of the Greatest and best Warriors among you, and to be chosen by your own Council and wise Men and all of them to have provision Sent to your Town and Served out to them every day, one Suit of Clothes every year, and their pay as our people have While the War lasts provided they will take care of our Boats and Horses when they are Carrying provision and other things, Carry News, and Join us when we go to War, to Shew us the path, find out tracts, and Any thing else that may be required of them. this I would have you Consider well upon, and let me know how You and your people will like it and the men who you will Chuse for Captains that I may appoint them and desire our beloved man, Colonel Gibson to tell them what they are to do.

“You gave us leave yourselves like good Men to make Forts for our provision upon your lands on our path to Detroit, untill we take that place and now as the path is bad for our horses and the Waters high, I have Sent Major Taylor in Boats with Flour to Fort Laurens, which are in Muskingham River by this time, as they have been gone from here this two Weeks, and if there is any danger of them, I desire you will inform them of it Immediately that they may avoid it and to deliver the Inclosed letter—and I hope your people will give them every assistance they can and Guard them up Safe to the Fort which will convince us that you intend to Continue your freendship, and I will pay you and them for the Trouble.

“You desire Colo: Morgan to Send powder lead and Flints to you for the defence of yourselves your Women and Children, he went away from here again 3 or 4 Weeks ago; but I will Send all these things to you, and when our provision Boats returns from Muskingham River, if you will then Send Some of your people to Fort McIntosh, One of these Boats Shall go round to Coochocking with them, and Some Flour and Whiskey for you also, but take care that no bad people will hurt or Trouble my Boats or Men while they are going to Fort Laurens and Continue in your River, I wish our friendship to Continue as long as the Sun and Moon endures” (DLC:GW).

Killbuck’s letter of 18 Feb. was written by David Zeisberger at Coshocton and addressed to McIntosh, Daniel Brodhead, and George Morgan. The copy in DLC:GW, apparently sent to McIntosh, reads: “Just now about ten a Clock at Night Capt. John Killbuck came & brought the following disagreeable Intelligence which he received this Evening by an Indian who came from Wiondughwolends [Wyondochella] Town which place he left four Days ago viz.

“That the Governor at Detroit [Henry Hamilton] with 800 Indians & Cannon along with him went to Wobash this last Winter, took a Fort [Fort Vincennes] at a place call’d by the Indians Chuphacking, from thence he went down the River to the Falls of the Ohio River in order to take that Fort, from thence he is to proceed up the River to Fort Pitt & to take all the Towns by the Way—That the Commandant at Detroit [Capt. Richard B. Lernoult] had told the Indians to make an Attempt on Fort Lawrence [Laurens] & in Case they were not able to take it he would come himself & help them, that to Day seven Days ago they had begun to march for that place in order to besiege it—That the Warriors would come to Coochocking for Provisions & if we should not give it them freely they would take by force what they pleased & kill us—Likewise if they should meet any body at some Distance from our Towns they would kill him—If they should meet with any Delaw. Indians at Fort Lawrence they should be treated as prisoners & be kill’d as well as the Virginians—That they would take Care to prevent that no Reinforcement should get into the Fort from Beaver Creek—That they had heard there was some Ammunition in the Fort which they wanted, & after they had taken the Fort they would only cast a few Bullets & than proceed to Fort McIntosh to take it—That 19 Warriors of Wiondughwolends Gang did not chuse to fight against the Fort but went over the Big River to do Mischief.

“Capt. John Killbuck says further—Brothers, Taimenend & Genl McIntosh, I with some of my Counsellors intended to come & see you & to brighten our Chain of Friendship but as this now happened & because we are in a dangerous time I can not come at the time I thought, for I had proposed to set of[f] to Morrow I therefore must wait till a more convenient time & till these dark Clouds are pass’d over a little.

“Brothers, what we have agreed with one another I shall stand to it—Our Frindship nobody shall breake & much more at such a dangerous time I shall hold the more fast to our Friendship even if I should be overthrown I shall not let it slip out of my hand.

“Brother Taimenend the time cometh on that I shall have a great many Enemies—My young people have no Ammunition to defend ourselves our Women & Children—I therefore beg of you to let me have four Casks of Powder & Lead & flints for our own Use.”

10Daniel Sullivan (d. 1790) was captured while young by the Delaware Indians and lived with them for nine years until returning to reside with relatives in Virginia in 1772 or 1773. Returning to the frontier at the start of the Revolutionary War, he was taken prisoner in Detroit by the British in April 1777 for having killed the brother-in-law of one of their Indian allies the previous fall. Sullivan was paroled at New York City on 2 Dec. 1777 and returned to Pittsburgh, where he was deposed on 21 March 1778, stating that he could “render essential Service to the States under the Direction of Colo. Morgan” (Thwaites and Kellogg, Frontier Defense description begins Reuben Gold Thwaites and Louise Phelps Kellogg, eds. Frontier Defense on the Upper Ohio, 1777–1778. Madison, Wis., 1912. description ends , 230–33). Sullivan then assisted George Morgan for about two years, most notably escorting a delegation of Delaware chiefs to Philadelphia and New Jersey in the spring of 1779 (see Address to the Delaware Nation, 12 May 1779, OkTG). He subsequently platted lots at Louisville in 1780; was wounded in September 1782 during the siege of Wheeling, Va.; moved to Vincennes, Indiana Territory, in 1785; and was killed near that place by Indians in 1790.

In a document written at Pittsburgh on 7 April, Col. John Gibson and others charged Sullivan, “an Indian Interpreter,” with “Obstructing the Commanding Officer in his duty and Transactions with the Indians” and other transgressions that made Sullivan “Inimical” as well as potentially “verry dangerous to these states” (DLC:GW). These charges do not appear to have resulted in any formal action against Sullivan.

11This attack was in accordance with the British desire that their Indian allies near Fort Pitt be disruptive and divert American attention from Detroit (see Mason Bolton to Frederick Haldimand, 12 Feb. 1779, and John Butler to Haldimand, 2 April, “Haldimand Papers,” description begins “The Haldimand Papers.” Collections and Researches Made by the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan, vols. 9:343-658; 10:210-675; 11:319-660; 19:296-675; 20:1-749; 25:682-83. 1886–96. description ends Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society Collections, 19:373–74, 383–85).

12For what appears to be another account of this attack, see Daniel Brodhead to GW, 21 March.

13For the expedition assembled at Fort McIntosh to relieve Fort Laurens, see McIntosh to GW, 19 March. Describing his appeals to western Pennsylvania militia to his friend Henry Laurens in a letter written at Fort Pitt on 13 March, McIntosh said that “I put them in mind of their continual boasts & desire of seeing the enemy, who had repeatedly done them so much mischief to be revenged; that we could have no other chance of them equal to their being thus collected together, and would be far better to attack them in their own country than suffer them to come into our settlements. I urged the importance of Fort Laurens as a bridle to keep the Savages in their own country, as well as to facilitate our future operations. If they succeeded in taking, or they obliged us to evacuate it, they would impute it to our weakness, and unite to a man in routing all the inhabitants upon this side of the Mountains; and if we turned out cheerfully for once on this occasion to give them a scourging, and disappoint their first attempt, our business would be done at one stroke, the savages would see our superiority, and be obliged to treat on our own terms, or remain on the other side of the Lakes, and leave all on this side to ourselves, as their towns would be exposed at all times to excursions from Fort Laurens.

“I am informed from the country all these arguments will not prevail, nor the loss of so many of our brave country men, who suffer for the protection of this very people themselves” (Kellogg, Frontier Advance description begins Louise Phelps Kellogg, ed. Frontier Advance on the Upper Ohio, 1778-1779. Madison, Wis., 1916. description ends , 249–51).

14For the efforts of friendly Delaware Indians and Moravians to have Maj. Richard Taylor abort his relief mission to Fort Laurens, see John Heckewelder’s letter of 12 March to McIntosh, which was enclosed with Brodhead to GW, 21 March, and partly transcribed in n.1 to that document.

15These enclosures, both in DLC:GW, are returns of the provision stores, dated 12 Feb., and military stores, dated 13 Feb., at Fort Laurens. The general return of provision stores, signed by Samuel Sample, a former innkeeper at Pittsburgh who served as McIntosh’s quartermaster general, reported quantities of flour, beef, and salt. The return of military stores, signed by Lt. Andrew Lewis, reported 15½ casks of gunpowder, 19½ casks of lead, ½ cask of flints, 10 muskets, and three rifles, but also that the “Arms are unfit for Service.”

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