George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Knox, 19 February 1794

From Henry Knox

War department February 19th 1794


I have the honor to submit to your consideration the copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury enclosing a letter from Mr Habersham Collector of Savannah in Georgia, and an Agent for the Treasury department in that State, relatively to the supply of Rations there on account of the United States.1

As the number of Militia in Georgia have very far exceeded the number permitted by you on the 30th of May last,2 and as it does not appear by any information received to be under the contemplation of the Governor of Georgia to reduce them, it is hereby submitted whether a letter ought not to be written to him in the name of the President of the United States directing him to reduce the number to be kept up at the expence of the United States to the One hundred horse and One hundred foot permitted on the said 30th of May last, and that the latter number be retained no longer than circumstances shall render indispensible.

That if a greater number be required the case must be stated for the consideration and decision of the President of the United States.

That these directions be considered as conformable to the present state of things but that if an actual invasion should take place the provisions contained in the constitution must govern.3 I have the honor to be with perfect respect Your obedient Servant

H. Knox.
secy of war


1For the letter from John Habersham to Alexander Hamilton of 16 Jan. and Hamilton’s letter to Knox of 12 Feb., both of which noted the large numbers of militia units called into active service by Georgia governor Edward Telfair and his successor, George Mathews, see Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 15:643–44; 16:27.

2In his letter to Telfair of 30 May 1793, Knox wrote that “from the circumstances of the late depredations on the frontiers of Georgia, it is thought expedient to increase the force in that quarter for defensive purposes, The President therefore authorizes your Excellency call into and keep in service, in addition to the regular force stationed in Georgia, one hundred horse, and one hundred Militia foot, to be employed under the orders of Lieut. Colonel [Henry] Gaither in repelling inroads as circumstances shall require” (DLC:GW; printed in 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 , 1:364).

3According to GW’s executive journal, he approved Knox’s suggested directions and instructed him “to write accordingly” (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 285). Knox’s subsequent letter to Mathews, c.19 Feb., has not been identified.

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