George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Knox, 21 July 1792

From Henry Knox

War department July 21st 1792


I have the honor to inform you that General Wayne in his letter of the 13th instant from Pittsburg says.

“There are no traces of hostile Indians to be discovered upon the borders of the frontiers—all is quiet—and the farmers are assiduously employed in harvesting their hay and grain which I hope they will effect in safety.”

The advance of his troops had not then arrived—but I Estimate by the 28th he would have collected nearly five hundred—including Stakes horse.

Captain Mills will march a detachment from Trenton on the 23d of the following description.

Capt. Mills’s { Ensign Turners1 detachmt from Massachusetts 34.
company Ensign Drakes Connecticut 25.
detachment from Philadelphia  36
Captain Guions Company 95.
Captain Rodgers’s detachment Cavalry  40

Captain Ballard Smith is marching from Richmond about one hundred and ten—Recruits.

Major Rudulph is ordered to muster and accelerate the recruits from Fredericksburg—Alexandria, Winchester and Hagers Town to the amount of Two hundred and fifty.

The four rifle companies raising on the South Western frontiers of Virginia—to wit—Thomas Lewis Howell Lewis Alexander Gibson & William Preston’s have not succeeded greatly I estimate them at about two hundred at present—and they are ordered to repair to Point Pleasant at the mouth of the great Kenhawa.

As soon as a sufficient number of Recruits shall be assembled at any rendezvous they shall be marched.

I have the honor to enclose an extract of a letter from Brigr General Wilkinson of the 12th of the last Month.2

In addition to which I am informed by Mr Hodgdon who has arrived here, that Colonel Hardin and Major Trueman had gone forward with the pacific measures, but he did not recollect the date but I judge they left Fort Washington about the twentieth of May.

They were to proceed upon Harmers trace to a given point then to seperate—Hardin to St Dusky and Trueman to the Miami of Lake Erie.3

It would seem to be fair to conclude that the peace of the frontiers is owing to the pacific overtures.

That these overtures should succeed is devoutly to be desired—For if any Credit is to be given to the enclosed account signed by a Lieutenant Colonel Phillips, it will be difficult to keep the peace with the Creeks4—This is all I know upon the subject.

Major Gaither will depart the next week, and I will charge him most strongly to keep the peace.5

Major Sargent declines the office of Adjutant and Inspector assigning as a reason that the office is not attended with Rank He hints at a Brigadiers rank but I suppose he would be content with that of Lieutenant Colonel.6

I know not at present whom to suggest for his successor. If you should think of any suitable person for this important office, I humbly request that you would appoint him—Brigadier Wilkinson has arisen in my mind as the most suitable—his punctuality rank and activity combined would perhaps give more vigor to discipline than any other person—But I presume he would not accept the office to the prejudice of his command.

Two Captains have been ejected [from] the army at Fort Washington. for inebriety—One, Capt. McPherson was persuaded to resign—Captain Platt cashiered—I have transmitted the proceedings of the Court Martial to General Wayne for his approbation. I have the honor to be Sir—with perfect respect Your obedient servant

H. Knox
Secy of War


Knox enclosed John Stagg’s return “of the Recruits at the respective rendezvous” of 21 July, which reported that 1,672 recruits had arrived by 14 July and 62 more by 21 July, for a grand total of 1,734 (DLC:GW).

1Edward D. Turner (c.1762–1811) of Boston, Mass., who had returned to Philadelphia in the spring of 1792, was promoted to lieutenant in July 1792 and became paymaster for the 2d Sub-Legion. Made a captain in November 1793, he served as a brigade inspector from 1799 to 1802. After resigning his commission in November 1805, Turner became a planter and judge in the Louisiana Territory (see Henry Knox to Anthony Wayne, 20 July 1792, and Wayne to Knox, 30 Mar. 1793, both in Knopf, Wayne, description begins Richard C. Knopf, ed. Anthony Wayne, a Name in Arms: Soldier, Diplomat, Defender of Expansion Westward of a Nation; The Wayne-Knox-Pickering-McHenry Correspondence. Pittsburgh, 1960. description ends 34–44, n.63, 208–13; see also Columbian Centinel Massachusetts Federalist [Boston], 30 Nov. 1811).

2The enclosed extract of the letter that James Wilkinson wrote to Henry Knox from Fort Washington on 12 June 1792 reads: “The Savages have committed no act of hostilities since my last, other than pursuing and forcing back to Fort Hamilton, a scout, consisting of two rifle men, bound to the advanced posts with dispatches; in their flight these courriers lost a packet of letters, but as far as my knowledge extends they were un-important, and it is uncertain whether the enemy got possession of them or not.

“I have not heard one word of or from my messengers first dispatched to the Omee with pacific overtures, altho they have been out more then seventy days, nor have I received a tittle of intelligence from St Vincents, and I remain in the same state of ignorance, with respect to the issue of Colo. [John] Hardin & Major [Alexander] Truemans mission.

“My anxiety impresses my mind with apprehension for their safety, and tho’ the event be doubtless equivocal, yet all my reasoning upon the subject, justifies the conclusion, that the enemy have actually been in deliberation upon the propositions for peace.

“My mounted infantry have commenced duty, and on the 17h instant I expect the mounted rifle men from Kentucky; these Corps will be employed in repeling the depredations of the enemy should any be offered; in protecting our hay cutters; and in escorting provisions to Fort Jefferson, which shall be pushed forward with exertion and without remission” (DLC:GW).

3For the background to the peace mission of Alexander Trueman and John Hardin, see Thomas Jefferson’s Memorandum of a Meeting of the Heads of the Executive Departments, 9 Mar., and Knox to GW, 1 April 1792, n.2.

4The enclosed account has not been identified.

5Henry Gaither recently had been appointed to command troops on the Georgia frontier (see GW to the U.S. Senate, 9 April 1792).

6For Winthrop Sargent’s nomination as adjutant general and inspector, see GW to the U.S. Senate, 9 April. After several other persons had declined to be considered for the post, GW nominated Michael Rudulph adjutant and inspector on 22 Feb. 1793. The Senate consented to his appointment the following day (see GW to the U.S. Senate, 22 Feb. 1793; 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 1:132, 134).

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