George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Knox, 27 January 1794

From Henry Knox

War department January 27th 1794


It is with great pain that I submit you the enclosed letters, giving an account of an infamous violation of the peace with the Creeks by some of the violent frontier people of Georgia.1 I have the honor to be with the greatest respect Your obedient Servant

H. Knox


1In a letter to Knox of 1–2 Jan. 1794, Indian agent Constant Freeman described an unprovoked attack on 28 Dec. 1793 by white residents of Georgia upon a small hunting party of Creek Indians, which resulted in the deaths of two Creek men. The documents enclosed in Freeman’s letter included his letter to Georgia governor George Mathews of 1–2 Jan.; an affidavit of 2 Jan. by Bartlet Walker identifying one of the white participants; and U.S. Army captain Richard Brooke Roberts’s letters to Knox and to Mathews, both of 2 Jan., which also described the attack and echoed Freeman’s concerns about the probability of escalating violence unless the state government intervened. All these documents were written at Fort Fidius, Ga., located on the north bank of the Oconee River and approximately six miles south of present-day Milledgeville (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 , 1:472–74).

Map 2: Southwest Territory, 1794. (Illustrated by Rick Britton. Copyright Rick Britton 2008.)

In addition, Knox enclosed two letters from Indian agent James Seagrove of 8 and 9 Dec. 1793. Seagrove wrote both letters to Knox from the Creek village of Tuckabatchie, where he was having some difficulty in getting the Creeks to relinquish their prisoners. Seagrove, however, was confident that the chiefs would agree to visit Philadelphia, which would help to counter hostile interference from Spanish agents. Knox also enclosed Seagrove’s letter of 5 Dec. 1793 to William Blount, governor of the Southwest Territory, and “Notes taken at a treaty held between the Spaniards & Indians at the Walnut hills in Octobr. 1793.” None of these additional enclosures has been identified (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 279). Walnut Hills was the American name for the location of Fort Nogales in present-day Vicksburg, Mississippi. Spanish promises of support for the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Creek Indians were formalized in the Treaty of Nogales, 28 Oct. 1793 (Parry, Consolidated Treaty Series description begins Clive Parry, ed. The Consolidated Treaty Series. 231 vols. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., 1969-81. description ends , 52:175–78; Whitaker, Spanish-American Frontier description begins Arthur Preston Whitaker. The Spanish-American Frontier: 1783-1795; The Westward Movement and the Spanish Retreat in the Mississippi Valley. Boston, 1927. description ends , 167–69).

After reading all these letters, GW returned them to Knox, “with a request that he would give an opinion of what shou’d be done” (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 280). For Knox’s response, see his letter to GW of 28 January.

Index Entries