George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Mifflin, 5 September 1793

From Thomas Mifflin

Phil: 5 Sep. 1793


I received your Excellency’s communication, respecting the unfavorable issue of the negotiations for peace with the hostile Indians, in a letter from the Secretary at War, of the 3d instant;1 and I have the honor to transmit, for your information, a copy of the orders, which I have given to the Adjutant General, for providing effectually for the protection of the Frontier of this State.2 As I do not concieve, that the three Riffle Companies will be adequate to that object, should an actual attack be made within our territory, I have thought it proper in cases of emergency to authorize competent drafts from the Militia. I am, with perfect respect, Sir, Yr most obed. Ser.

Df, PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99; LB, PHarH: Executive Letterbooks.

1Secretary of War Henry Knox wrote Mifflin on 3 Sept.: “I am instructed by the President of the United States to state to your Excellency, that information has this day been received by express, that notwithstanding the utmost efforts of the Commissioners, the pacific overtures to the hostile Indians north of the Ohio have been rendered abortive by their insisting upon the Ohio as the boundary.” After briefly describing the course of negotiations, including that “the tribes most determined for war, are the Wyandots, Delaware, Shawnees, and Miamis, although it is said a considerable proportion of these were for peace,” and that the Six Nations had urged peace, Knox continued: “Affairs being thus circumstanced it is probable that the sword only can afford ample protection to the frontiers.

“It is understood that the militia embodied on the frontiers of Pennsylvania under your orders together with the patroles called scouts, are deemed sufficient for their defence. But it may be proper to caution the people immediately that every measure necessary to guard against surprize should be adopted” (PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99).

2The enclosed copy of Mifflin’s letter to Pennsylvania Adjt. Gen. Josiah Harmar of 4 Sept. has not been identified, although GW sent it to Knox for filing at the War Department (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 238). Mifflin directed Harmar to “immediately transmit to the Commanding Officers of the respective Brigades of Washington, Westmoreland, Fayette and Allegheney Counties, orders for paying the strictest attention to my letters of the 18 of March & 29 May 1791; and authorising them in case of an actual invasion of the Savages, or of a well grounded apprehension of their approach, to call, either in concert, or separately, a competent draft of the Militia of their Brigades into service. You will, at the same time, instruct the Brigadiers of Washington, Allegheney and Westmoreland, to place the Riffle Companies of their respective Counties, upon the best possible footing” (PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99; see also PHarH: Executive Letterbooks).

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