George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Daniel Brodhead, 17 October 1780

Fort Pitt Octr 17th 1780

Dear General

Your favour of the 14th of August I had the Honor to receive on the 7th instant, and am very thankfull for the Contents.

You must ’ere now be convinced that Colo. Bowman’s apprehensions were founded on Certain intelligence, of an expedition intended against the Forts on Kentucke.

I have sent out parties to take Cattle & Grain from the inhabitants and expect to obtain a considerable supply of Flour, as the Mills begin to have water sufficient to manufacture it, but the Inhabitants disappoint us of getting Beef, by driving their Cattle into the Mountains. And we have at present neither Bread nor meat, but expect a small supply immediately.

Captn Brady is on command and Captn McIntire has leave of absence to Philada as soon as they return I will express your Excellencies Thanks for their Conduct.

In full confidence that a sufficient supply of Provisions would sooner or later be furnished for the Troops in this District, as well as for such number of Militia, as policy or the exigencies of affairs, might render it necessary to call into Action. I, with a view to cut off the Wyondats and other Indian Towns, that were very Troublesome to our Settlements, called fore [a] Draft from the Militias at three Different times and was as often disappointed in obtaining Provisions, which with the unsettled state of the Boundary line between Pensilvania & Virginia, has greatly discouraged the Inhabitants, and I apprehend, given a handle to the disaffected.

I take the liberty to inclose copies of Letters lately received from Colonel’s Beeler & McCleary, [pur]porting some of the above facts.

The Delaware chiefs with upwards of thirty warriors, are come, to aid me upon an expedition, but as I have neither Bread not Meat to give them, they will soon discover that, it is not in my power to act offensively. They appear much dejected on account of the total want of goods, which they were promised in exchange for their peltry.

Unless supplies of Beef &c. Are procuring Below the mountains, which I know not[hing] of, the Troops here will experience great hardship before Spring, And desertions will [be] very frequent.

I have frequently represented to the Honble Board of War, the hardships of the Troops and am now informed by their Secretary that compulsion is tolerated by the Supreme Executive Council of Pensa for a temporary Supply.

I continue my enquiries respecting the strength of Detroit and my intelligence is of a piece with that formerly communicated. I have the Honor to be with the most exalted Respect & Esteem Dear General your Excellencies most obedt & most Hble Servt

Daniel Brodhead

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


October 10th 1780.

Dear Sir,

I Received yours of the 7th Inst. this morning but it is not in my power to give you a just return as you request until the last of this week, for I have been obliged to issue orders to press Horses & draught men as I could not get Volunteers enough, of which I have not got a return as yet; I am sorry to inform you that I am afraid we shall come but little speed—I find that the Government of Virginia will not protect me in anything I do by virtue of the laws of Virga since their last resolution, & the laws of Peensylvania have not as yet taken us as yet under their protection All this the Country is acquainted with, so that every thing I do is at the Risque of my fortune unless protected by the States. If it had not been to forward an Expedition I should have declined acting a good while ago, as no man ever had a more disagreeable time of it than I have at present, having no law to defend me— We are assured of your good intentions for the safety of the Country & are very sorry that we cannot act with that Spirit that we ought to do, but hope that the laws of Pena will either be extended in a few days from this time, or the laws of Virga be kept in force—It is very unhappy that the two Contending States have not provided a better way for the defence of this Country than to let it fall between them both until matters are settled between them. I have the honor to be with the greatest Respect Dear Sir, your most Obedt Hble Servt

Joseph Beelor Coll

Copy without law to protect me


Monongahalia County the 11th day of Octr 1780

Dear Sir

Your favour per Express just now came to hand it being on public Service. Colo. Evans being at this down the Country, I open’d it, and there find you are again Obliged to postpone your intended Expedition, you call for a return of the number of men and Horses, that you may depend on from this County, which I am unable at this time to furnish you with, as all the returns were made to Colo. Evans, and he being from home, I can’t come immediately at them. However so far I can inform you that upon the receipt of your Letter I went to the Officers of the second Battallion of our County Militia, who happen’d to be then assembled at General Muster, and made the matter known to them, at the same time call’d upon them for a copy of their returns made to Colo. Evans, that I might as near as possible comply with your request and they (after some consultation held upon the matter) gave it me for an Answer, That as they found all their hopes of Relief from a Campaign being this fall carried against their Indian Enemys were abortive, and knowing that their frontiers at least 60 to 70 Miles in length were infested with the savages killing their People have at last Oblig’d them to say they can’t spare any Men, further adding that they are heartily sorry that there should be the least seaming Jarr or Desenting Voice from the Orders of Colonel Brodhead, as a Commanding Officer, for the defence of this Country but from his never having it in his power, for want (as we conceive) of the necessary supplies to put his schemes in Execution, during the whole course of the last summer & fall & our unhappy People daily falling an easy pray to the Enemy Oblig’d them to throw of all dependance, on any natural aid on this side of the mountain this fall, but that of themselves for their relief, and therefore they mean to embody, and take the most plausable methods for their defence, and under there Circumstances they think their numbers is already too small, without any diversion Notwithstanding they were ready twice last summer both with men Horses and Provisions to have comply’d with your requisition fully, had you put your plan in execution, I have (as I look upon it my Duty least any deception should take place) Stated this matter truly, as I took it from the Officers mouths—And now permit me to observe to you that the state of our frontiers is really deplorable to see helpless women and Children flying before the ravages of the Savage, and that even while part of us is engaged in burying of our neighbours that have been Butchered by them, Others of us is falling a Sacrifice to their Hellish Inventions, those and many other matters that have come under your Cognizance I hope you will (as a friend to Human nature) State in a proper light to the Board from the which proper relief can be had, I have the Honor to be with due respect Dr Sir Yr Most Obedt Hble Servant

Wm McClerry

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