From Beverley Randolph
Richmond Novr 29th 1790.
I do myself the Honour to transmit to you a Letter from the Representatives of the County of Russel, stating the exposed situation of their County and pointing out the inadequacy of the mode of defence prescribed to them last year, together with one from General Joseph Martin on the same subject.1
In addition to the circumstances stated in the above mentioned Letters I beg leave to add such information as I have received from persons whose representations I place confidence in.
The Chicamoggas a Branch of the Cherokee Tribe are situated not more than 100 miles from a part of the Frontier of Russel. The upper or old Cherokee Towns are about the same distance—The young men from these Towns allured by the benefits which they observe the Chicamoggas to receive from their predatory War upon these people frequently unite themselves with them or perpetrate their depredations under their name.
From the great expedition which the Indians use when they engage in these incursions they are enabled as I am informed to make their attack and return to their Towns in less than Three days. It is farther stated to me that there has been no time for some years past in which the Inhabitants of that part of the Frontier have considered themselves to be safe except the months of December and March, and in mild Winters there is no month in the year in which they are free from danger. It is also said that the pay allowed to the Rangers last year was by no means adequate to the service2—The reason assigned for this is that these men will be necessarily kept in service 8 or 9 months in the year, that they have none of the allowances exclusive of Pay and Rations which are made to regular Troops that they allways find their own Arms and in most cases the ammunition which they use.
My duty compels me to give you this full statement of the situation of the people of Russel, which I have done the more readily from a conviction that every part of the United States will be equally the object of your care.
Since writing the above, I have received another Letter marked A from Genl Martin—As the subject of it relates to circumstances with which you must be fully acquainted, I shall content myself with transmitting it for your perusal.3 I have &c.
LB, Vi: Executive Letter Book.
With the establishment of the federal government in 1789, Virginia discontinued the expensive but effective system of frontier protection in which county lieutenants called out scouting patrols to intercept Indian attacks on outlying settlements. “An Act to recognize and adapt to the Constitution of the United States the establishment of the Troops raised under the Resolves of the United States in Congress assembled, and for other purposes therein mentioned” authorized GW to call into service state militias “for the purpose of protecting the inhabitants of the frontiers of the United States from the hostile incursions of the Indians, . . . and that their pay and subsistence while in service, be the same as” that of the regular troops authorized by the 12 April 1785 resolution of the Confederation Congress (1 Stat., description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 95–96 [29 Sept. 1789]). Under the act GW instructed territorial governor Arthur St. Clair in October 1789 to call out 1,000 militia from Virginia frontier counties and 500 from western Pennsylvania. After receiving numerous accounts of continuing Indian depredations along the Ohio, GW on 3 Mar. 1790 directed the secretary of war to authorize St. Clair and Gen. Josiah Harmar specifically to empower the lieutenants of the exposed counties to call forth scouting patrols at the expense of the United States, and Henry Knox so informed the Russell County lieutenant on 29 April 1790. The initiation of Harmar’s offensive operations against the Miami and Shawnee terminated this temporary expedient, but militia rangers could still be called out by county lieutenants at federal expense in emergency situations if authorized by St. Clair or Harmar. On 20 July 1790 Governor Randolph forwarded to Knox “Dispatches from Russell County giving information of several murders committed by the indians, and stating that there was reason to apprehend an invasion by a large party,” and the secretary of war replied eight days later authorizing him to order into service a lieutenant and ensign, two sergeants, two corporals, and twenty-six privates of the Russell County militia, which the governor proceeded to do (GW to St. Clair, 6 Oct. 1789 and notes 1 and 2, Representatives of Ohio, Monongahela, Harrison, and Randolph Counties, Va., to GW, 12 Dec. 1789 and note 2; ASP, Indian Affairs, description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends 1:101–3; Journals of the Council of State of Virginia, description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia. 5 vols. Richmond, 1931–82. description ends 5:200, 205).
1. On 25 Nov. 1790 Gov. Beverley Randolph laid before his council the letter signed by Thomas Carter and David Ward, “representing the exposed situation of the County of Russell and the insufficiency of the measures taken by the General Government for its defence.” The governor’s council advised that the letter be transmitted to the president (Journals of the Council of State of Virginia, description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia. 5 vols. Richmond, 1931–82. description ends 5:230).
2. The 12 April 1785 monthly pay of regular troops, extended to state militia troops in the service of the United States by the 29 Sept. 1789 act, was: $50 for lieutenant colonels, $45 for majors, $35 for captains, $26 for lieutenants, $20 for ensigns, $6 for sergeants, $5 for corporals, and $4 for privates. In July 1790 the authorized monthly salaries were: $22 for lieutenants, $18 for ensigns, $5 for sergeants, $4 for corporals, and $3 for privates (JCC, description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends 28:247, 248; ASP, Indian Affairs, description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends 1:102).
3. By the president’s direction Tobias Lear transmitted Randolph’s letter and its enclosures, including the two letters from Gen. Joseph Martin on the subjects of Indian affairs and complaints against him, neither of which has been found, to the secretary of war on 8 Dec. 1790. Knox reported on them to the president a month later (see Lear to Knox, 8 Dec. 1790, and Knox to GW, 5 Jan. 1791, both in DLC:GW).