George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Gibson, 24 August 1781

Head Quarters Fort Pitt Aug 24th 1781.


Just as I was closing the packet to your Excellency I Reced two letters from the Revd Mr ZeisBerger at the Moravian Towns on Muskingum, a Copy of which I now inclose, the intelligence therein contained is very alarming. I have sent to alarm the Country and hope they will turn out.

I am apt to Believe that part relative to Johnson is without foundation as the French Creek is so low that they cannot possibly come down.

I shall use every means in my power for the Defence of this and the other posts and hope with the Assistance of the Country to be able to oppose the Enemy shoud they advance. I am with respect, your Excellencys most Obdt Humble Servt

Jno: Gibson Colo. Comd Ft Pitt

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Toppaking Augt 18th 1781

Dr Sir—

By the Bearer I acquaint you, that a Number of Indians about 250 in all are approaching towards you, as much I cou’d learn is their Intention to go to Wheeling. they also said to Fort McIntosh & Ft Pitt, the first place I am apt to believe most, where they will go to—They will try to decoy the Garrison out where they lie in Ambush ready for them, or drive some Cattle or Horses, that they shall be followed and so cut them off. The Party is headed by Matthew Elliot and a few English and French, but I believe some will turn back from Gnadenhutten, where they are at present, and not go to War, We wish they were gone from us, for they are very troublesome to us. You will have the Indians to remove from the Island that they may not be in danger to be cut off in the night, at which they aim—Be on your guard, at Fort Pitt, as well as the other Posts on your Boatguard & the New Store if they should venture to come so far—Guy Johnston it is sd is coming down by Presquisle, with a Thousand men to make a diversion and stop Genl Clarks proceeding down the River; because they had Intelligence that he wou’d come to Detroit with an Army—The party consists of Wiandotts, Delawares, Monsies, & a few Shawnesse—They carry the English Flag with them—You will be carefull not to mention abroad that you had the Intelligence from our Towns, for it wou’d prove dangerous for us if the Indians shou’d get Intelligence of it, that might happen by a Prisoner if they shou’d take one—I am in haste yr Obt Hbl. sevt

D. Zeisberger

P.S. Please to let me know how matters are & if Genl Clark is march’d off & where, his march will I reckon Contribute much to our safety—This Messenger I sent off privately please to use him well—The messenger who was sent on an errand to Cap. Johnny at or about the Shawnee Towns, is returnd, and will come to the Fort as soon as possible, at present he cannot come, because the Warriors watch him—He brings good news from Cap. Johnny concerning his own person—The speech sent to him was Very Acceptable.


Tuppaking August 21. 1781

Dear Sir

The Messenger I had dispatched two days, having been detained in my absence as I went to Gnadenhutten where the Warriors encamp, which I was very sorry to hear and returned from thence immediately in order to dispatch him. Now Schoppehilla the Messenger who was sent with a Message to Captain Johnny will bring you now an Answer from him, and tell you all the news he has heard in the Indian Country. Yesterday before I left Gnadenhutten, Six Warriors brought in a prisoner and a scalp. By the former they got intelligence that General Clark with 1500 Men went down the River yesterday 10 days ago, and that 100 of his Men had deserted, which was all the Intelligence I learned he gave, and Mathew Elliot wrote it down to send it to Detroit as I imagine. From Sandusky we have a certain Account, of which however neither Elliot or McCormick mentioned a word of to me, or any body here, that the Fort there had narrowly escaped being taken by the prisoners and French, who designed to give Arms to the prisoners privately and half of the Garrison had joined in the plot when the matter was discovered, the Warriors I think will go off in two or three Days, and I yet think for Wheeling, because the Prisoner told them that the Garrison there consisted of 15 men only and if they attempt they should prove unsuccessfull, perhaps they may go to the Inhabitants, or scatter in order to do mischief in several places. The half King of the Wiandotts, has ordered us to move from hence but we will stand our ground, and I have good reason to beleive they will say no more to us at this time. I hear a great many of the Delawares will come back if we stay here, they are tired of the War and are starving; We likewise have intelligence of the french Major [Lauclot] his arrival at Miami River below Scioto, with a thousand Men white and Indians, and that 80 English, with some hundreds of Indians were gone to give him battle, before Genl Clark should join him. but now I am in good hopes they came too late. pray dont publish my Letter for this is not a proper time for it, make haste to secure Wheeling Fort first of all. I am with great esteem Dear Sir Yr Most obed. Hble Sevt

D. Z.

Please to give something to the Messenger Saml Nanticock is a true man he is poor & wants a little cloathing.

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