George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Anthony Wayne, 1 February 1790

From Anthony Wayne

Richmond1 State of Georgia 1st Feby 1790


Since the organization of the Federal System, & the establishment of the several departments, I have not presumed to address your Excellency respecting occurrencies in this Quarter, least it shou’d be improper—being totally unacquainted with the Mode now observed, but I have occasionally wrote to the Secy at War—giving such infor[m]ation as I deemed of moment, in full confidence that it wou’d be communicated to your Excellency!

At present the Indians are quiet—but I am apprehensive that this seeming serenity, will prove to be that calm—which precedes a storm, & that they are only waiting for the leaves of the forest to put forth: the frequent incursions they have made into this State for these two years past, & the losses I have sustained by them, together with the precarious tenor by which property is at present held in Georgia, as it depends upon the whim or caprice of Mr McGilvery & the temper of the Indians, which I have ground to believe is not very placid at this moment; has at last determined me to give up every idea of becoming an inhabitant of this place, & I am making my arrangements accordingly—my family have always continued upon my paternal Estate at Waynesborough in Pennsylvania which renders this disagreeable business more easy!

Permit me now to address you upon a subject to me very interesting! from the late recommendation of your Excellency to the Senate & house of Representatives in Congress, I have not a doubt, but that there will be a Military establishment,2 I therefore take the liberty of soliciting your Excellency for such appointment as you think my former standing in the Army, services & abilities may merit.

It’s a profession of which I am fond—the tactics have been my principle study at leasure hours in this recess—which added to former experiences meliorated by time & reflection, produces a confidence, that whatever discription of troops, may be committed to my charge, either Regulars or Militia, or both—whether Legionary or in seperate Corps—will be perfected in discipline & Manoeuvre, & rendered equally fit for actual service to any in the Union in equal time—pardon this zeal—I feel what I express!

I must acknowledge that I have been much, very much deceived & disappointed in my views & expectations in this Quarter, having placed a very considerable property within reach of the Savages, altho’ on the sea board, the personal part thereof is either distroyed or lost to me forever, & the land must remain a desert, until peace can be made with the Indians, & proper posts established to insure the permanency of that peace.

Under those circumstances I have a double inducement to solicit your Excellency for an appointment,3 & shall hold myself in readiness to act in any Quarter of America where you may please to direct me, & to serve you with the best services of your Excellency’s Most Obt & most devoted Hum. Sert

Anty Wayne


1In 1782 Anthony Wayne acquired an 847–acre plantation from the Georgia legislature for his services during the Revolution. The estate, called Richmond, was on the Savannah River and eventually encompassed some 1,300 acres. In 1784–85 Wayne also received from the Georgia legislature a 1,000–acre grant on the Satilla River in southern Georgia (Nelson, Wayne, description begins Paul David Nelson. Anthony Wayne: Soldier of the Early Republic. Bloomington, Ind., 1985. description ends 170, 198–99, 201–3).

3For a recommendation of Wayne by Richard Peters, see Peters to GW, 2 Aug. 1790. Wayne received no appointment until GW named him major general and commander of the U.S. Army in April 1792 (Executive Journal, description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America: From the commencement of the First, to the termination of the Nineteenth Congress. Vol. 1. Washington, D.C., 1828. description ends 1:117).

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