George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Mifflin, 20 May 1794

From Thomas Mifflin

Phila. 20 May 1794


In compliance with your request, communicated by the Secretary at War, in his letter of the 19. current,1 I have the honor to inform you, that orders were immediately issued to the Adjutant General, for organizing, arming, and equipping, according to law, 10,768 of the Militia of Pennsylvania, officers included; agreably to your requisition, founded on the Act of Congress, entitled "An Act directing a detachment from the Militia of the United States."2 Of those orders; of the Roll stating the quota of the several Brigades [of] this Commonwealth; and of a letter to the Adjutant General, calling for such information as may eventually enable me to guard against the want of arms and equipments, I have, for your satisfaction, inclosed authenticated copies:3 and, permit me to assure you, Sir, that I shall with the utmost chearfulness take the most effectual measures in my power, for organizing arming and equipping, according to law, not only the detachment comprised in your requisition, but the whole Militia of Pennsylvania. I am, with perfect respect, Sir, Yr most obedt Hble Ser.

Df, in Alexander J. Dallas’s writing, PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790-99; LB, PHarH: Executive Letterbooks.

GW transmitted this letter to Secretary of War Henry Knox on 23 May (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 305).

1For Knox’s circular to the governors of 19 May, see Knox to Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., 16 May, n.1.

2The act of 9 May 1794, transmitted with Knox’s circular letter of 19 May, specified each state’s proportion of 80,000 militia to be held "in readiness to march at a moment’s warning." The act allowed the acceptance of independent corps as part of the detachment, directed that the militia were not to be compelled to serve longer than three months "in any one tour," and "requested" that GW call on state executives to arm and equip the whole of their state militia "according to law" (Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:367-68).

3The enclosed copies have not been identified, but Mifflin’s orders were issued in a letter to Josiah Harmar of 19 May. In a second letter to Harmar of the same date, Mifflin mentioned "the difficulty, that may arise from a non-compliance with that part of the Law, which enjoins it, as a duty upon every man not specially exempted, to provide his own arms and accoutrements" and indicated that if the law could not be enforced, he would feel obliged "to require the particular aid of the Legislature" to supply the deficiency. He asked Harmar, "in a confidential manner," to inform the brigade inspectors of his views and "inform them, that while they endeavour by every patriotic incitement, and lawful coercion, to produce a compliance with the existing regulations, it will be proper, as early as possible, to ascertain and communicate the actual prospect of success, from individual exertions" (both letters, PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790-99). For the roll stating quotas and other instructions about the mobilization, see Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 9th ser., 1:773-77.

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