George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Knox, 3 December 1794

From Henry Knox

Department of War December 3d 1794


In examining General Wilkinsons papers in order to answer them, I find a letter written by him on the 30 June and received during my absence on the 23 of Augt1—It contains matter of such serious import as requires to be submitted to your consideration and some order taken thereon—It ought to have been submitted by Major Stagg during my absence. I submit also my last letter to him.2 I have the honor to be with perfect respect Your obedient servant

H. Knox


1The five words preceding were inserted in Knox’s writing. James Wilkinson’s letter to Knox of 30 June has not been identified. Knox’s reply to Wilkinson of 5 Dec. indicates that the letter concerned Wilkinson’s dispute with Gen. Anthony Wayne (see Knox to GW, 4 Dec., n.1).

2Knox may have been referring to his letter to Wilkinson of 12 July. In that letter he noted that “the difference of opinion and coolness between you and General Wayne causes great pain” to GW and to himself and might “cause some violent injury to the service.” Since Wilkinson had sent his “statement” in a private letter, Knox was “persuaded” that Wilkinson “did not expect that any notice should be publick.” He therefore declined giving an opinion on Wilkinson’s complaint, merely regretting the disagreement “between two officers so high in rank and of whose experience and talents a favorable opinion is entertained.” He did not, however, intend “to shield any officer of whatever rank, from any charges for military crimes” if they were brought publicly (NNGL: Knox Papers).

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