George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Knox, 26 December 1792

From Henry Knox

[Philadelphia] 5 oClock 26 Decr 1792


I have the honor to submit two letters from Brigr Genl Wilkinson with their enclosures. These were received by express, who left Fort Washington the 1st of Decr.1 I have the honor to be respectfully Your obedient Servant

H. Knox


1The letters from James Wilkinson have not been identified, but they are probably those mentioned by Knox in his letter to Gen. Anthony Wayne of 28 December. “I have received,” Knox wrote, “from Brigadier General Wilkinson by express letters dated the 9th and 18 Ultimo enclosing copies to you of the 13th. November” (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 154). The enclosed copies were a series of letters, which Knox had war clerk Benjamin Bankson copy, reporting problems with the shipment of payroll money and various supplies for the army (see Wilkinson to John Belli, 9, 10 Nov., Belli to Wilkinson, 9 Nov., Mahlon Ford to Wilkinson, 12 Nov., Caleb Swan to Wilkinson, 28 Oct., 10 Nov., and Wilkinson to Swan, 9 Nov. 1792, in PHi: Wayne Papers). Those letters originally were enclosed in Wilkinson’s letter to Wayne of 13 Nov. from Fort Washington (PHi: Wayne Papers), and they were probably the “confidential” letters mentioned in Knox’s letter to Tobias Lear of 25 Dec. 1792.

Knox in his letter of 28 Dec. informed Wayne: “It is highly proper that you should cause inquiry to be made into the nature and degree of the Confusion of Stores and Clothing complained of by Brigadier General Wilkinson.” After reviewing some recent shipments, Knox observed: “There were no precautions neglected to prevent mistakes and if any have arisen they cannot with justice be charged to any persons who had the direction of the business in Philadelphia.” Knox then turned his attention to another grievance: “The complaints relatively to the pay department in the district of Brigadier General Wilkinson requires an instant remedy—It certainly would have been a good opportunity by Major [Michael] Rudulph’s detachment to have forwarded the money for the troops below, and you must have had some powerful reason for withholding it. . . . The Secretary of the Treasury is highly desirous the troops should be paid up and punctually every month. . . . I hope you may have received the letter of Brigadier Wilkinson of the 13th and its five enclosures, as it is of considerable importance—But if any accident should have happened to it copies shall be forwarded to you as soon as can be made” (ibid., 154–57).

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