George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Knox, 2 November 1790

To Henry Knox


My dear Sir,Mount Vernon Novr 2d 1790

I am a little surprised that we have not heard (so long after the time appointed for the Rendezvous)1 of the issue, the progress, or the commencement of the Expedition against the Wabash Indians under the conduct of Brigr Genl Harmer.2 This, in my opinion, is an Undertaking of a serious nature.3 I am not a little anxious to know the result of it, & therefore request, if any official or other accts have been received by you relating thereto, that you would forward them to this place; provide⟨d⟩ they can reach it before Monday the 22d instant on which day I expect to leave home for Philada.

As this matter—favorable or otherwise in the issue—will require to be laid fully before Congress4 that the motives which induced the Expedition may appear; and as circumstances may not allow time for a complete statement of facts after my arrival, I request it may meet your earliest attention; that I may be prepared at the opening of the Session to make the Communication.5 With sincere regard & friendship I am Yr Affecte6

Go: Washington

ALS, MH: Dearborn Collection; ADfS, owned by Mr. Alpheus Hyatt Mayor, New York, N.Y.; LB, DLC:GW.

1GW had originally written in the draft, “at this late period of the business, heard something.”

3The draft reads, “very serious nature.”

4GW had first written “fully explained to Congress” in the draft. For his congressional message touching upon the Harmar expedition, see GW to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 8 Dec. 1790.

5GW again asked Knox for information for the presidential address to Congress two and a half weeks later (see GW to Knox, 19 Nov. 1790, and to John Jay, 19 Nov. 1790, nn.1 and 4).

6Knox’s 10 Nov. 1790 private letter from New York in reply to GW’s of 2 Nov. reads: “I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 2d instant.

“Not a word has been received relative to the preparations for, or the commencement or success of the Wabash expedition, but Governor St Clairs letter which I transmitted to you on the 25th of last month; excepting the contractors information that they have made all the necessary supplies, both of provisions, and horses, and other articles in the quarter masters Line.

“This expedition is an anxious subject⟨;⟩ there has been sufficient time, the distance considered, to have received information relative to the rendevouz and march of the militia and troops, but some accident may have retarded the letters in ascending the Ohio, or in crossing the Country through Kentuckey.

“The instant any material information is received, it shall be transmitted either to meet you at Mount Vernon, or on the road to Philadelphia.

“I shall set out with my family for Philadelphia this day.

“The statement of facts respecting the conduct of the Wabash Indians, shall be duly prepared, agreably to your directions” (DLC:GW).

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