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To George Washington from Timothy Pickering, 18 September 1795

From Timothy Pickering

War Office Sept. 18. 1795.

Sir,

The Pittsburg mail is arrived, but no letter from General Wayne. I suspect he has sent dispatches by an officer who is taking the route thro’ the Wilderness.1

Mr Hodgden this moment mentions the intelligence he had from his neighbour Mr Vanuxem, a mercantile agent for the French, who told him last evening, that the Secretary of the French Legation here said that a national vessel had arrived at Norfolk, bringing intelligence that Mayence had fallen into the hands of the French—that in a general engagement the Chouans had been cut to pieces—that France had refused the offers of Spain for peace2—that all negociations were at an end between France, Spain, the Emperor & England—and that Pichegru intended for Vienna! I know Mr Vanuxem to be a warm patriol: and French-Norfolk news is notorious for its exaggeration or total want of truth. I am most respectfully sir your obt servant

T. Pickering

ALS, DLC:GW.

1Pickering may have been referring to the Wilderness Road route from Kentucky to Philadelphia through Virginia and the Cumberland Gap.

2The French siege of Mainz (Mayence) took place from 14 Dec. 1794 to 29 Oct. 1795, when Austrian field marshal François Sebastien Charles Joseph de Croix, comte de Clerfayt, broke the siege. Gen. Jean-Charles Pichegru (1761–1804), whose armies had conquered the Netherlands, was now commander of the army of the Rhine and Moselle, which conducted the siege. Pichegru at this time was in communication with emigré royalist forces. He resigned his commission in March 1796, and as president of the lower house of the French legislature in 1797 he led the royalist faction in that body until they were expelled. In 1804 he was arrested for plotting to overthrow Napoleon Bonaparte, and he died in prison.

Chouans was a name given to those involved in a royalist uprising in twelve western departments of France that took place in three phases from 1794 to 1800.

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