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To George Washington from Colonel Daniel Brodhead, 14 May 1779

From Colonel Daniel Brodhead

Pitsburgh May 14th 1779

Dear Genl

I am just now fitting out about one hundred & fifty men to escort a small quantity of Salt Provisions to Fort Laurens. Indeed I cannot conveniently send a larger party, as the Indians are at present very troublesome on the frontier of Westmoreland County. and a larger party would consume all the Salt Provisions on the March, for fresh I have none save a little Flour, to supply them with.

Inclosed is a Letter or Speech from the Delaware Chief at Coochocking & another from the Wyondat half King, also Copy of a Letter from the Revd Mr Hackenwelder.1 It appears that the Western Nations are not hostile at present as no mischief has been done down the River for some time past, except what may be done by the Shawnese about Kantucke & the Falls of ohio.

It is said Colo. Rawlins is on his March on this side old Town but I have not received a line in answer to two Letters I wrote him by express.

The Spies I sent to the Seneca Country are not yet returned. I sent two whiteman up the Alleghany to reconoitre the Indians supposed rendevous a little above Kittaning but they heard so much firing & saw so many Indian tracks they could not proceed to the place, And now two trusty Delawares have offered their Service to go & bring me the necessary information.

Captain Stokely2 informs me that an hundred Waggons with Salt Provisions were oblidged to unload at Bedford a few days ago for want of Forage to subsist the Horses.

I wish my frequent scrawls may not prove troublesome. I have the Honor to be with the most sincere regard & Esteem your Excellencies most obedt Humble Servt

Daniel Brodhead

LS, PHi: Gratz Collection; LB, NNGL. GW replied to this letter on 23 June.

1The enclosed copy of a speech by the Delaware Indian chief “Hinquapooshees (or the big Cat),” a leader in the Wolf clan, to “Machingwe Geeshooch (or Coll Brodhead),” dated 4 May at “Cooshaching,” reads: “Last Night my Messengers which carried Your Speech to the Wyondotts, returned again with an Answer which I send now to You.

“Brother. I will now inform You of what I hear is going on at the Wyondott Town. There are Ten of the English there with 4 pieces of Cannon, who are going to fight against You. There are also some Indians who have joined them, but I cannot just know the Number. These English are preparing against Fort Lawrence, they have at several times set up thick Timber, dug deep in the Ground, and with rails pinned across at the Top, then brought their Cannon at a distance, and Shot with Bullets Chained together at the same, knocked great holes through. They tell the Indians now, so we will do when we come to Tuscorawas, we will soon knock that Fort all to pieces.

“Brother. The Wyondotts have informed me as a fact, that their Father (the Govr of Detroit) is taken Prisoner by the Virginians. The Virgs. having taken the Fort at (or near) Chubhicking on Miami [Wabash] River and every thing in it. Likewise they say that the Virginians had executed several of the Prisoners. Some of the Wyondotts who came straight from that place, know this to be true.

“Brother[.] The reason why no immediate Answer was given to Your late request was, as I have been waiting all this time for my Messengers to return first from the Wyondotts, and then to do all the Buissness at once.

“Brother[.] It is impossible for me at present to send Two of my Men to You for the buissness You mentioned to me; as I am a little afraid hearing of the Enemy being about to fight You at Tuscorawas; and again my Young Men are not willing to lay about there so long for nothing, but as soon as You will be ready to go, only let me know it, and they shall soon be with You, and go also with You.

“Brother[.] The Messengers are not yet returned from the Shawnese, but as soon as they come, I will inform You of the whole. This I have heard, that both the Wyondotts & Shawnese are about stopping their Men from going with the English against Fort Lawrence, but of the Mingoes I know nothing.

“Brother[.] I desire You to apply to the bearer our Brother Nanéwelend for furthur News, he can tell You more what I have heard, but which I did not care to Write. The Powder and Lead I recieved this Day” (DLC:GW). Lt. Col. George Rogers Clark had captured British Lt. Gov. Henry Hamilton of Detroit and his entire garrison at Vincennes in what is now Indiana on 25 Feb.; see John Parke Custis to GW, 20 Nov. 1778, n.5.

The enclosed copy of “A Speech delivered by the half King at Sandusky, in Answer to a Speech sent to him by Coll Brodhead,” dated 4 May, reads: “Brothers the Virginians[.] I am very glad to hear from my Brothers the Virginians, and that they have called me to come to them at Fort Pitt.

“Brothers. Although I do not yet at present know, what is in the Letter You have sent to me, yet I rejoice to see something from You. I have taken care of the Letter & sent it to my Chieff over the Lake, where I expect it will be recieved well. My Chieffs have heared already something before from our Brothers the Virginians, and I shall also remind them again, and assist them in considering that Work. All I can say at present is to desire You to have yet a little patience, as my Father the English is yet in my Way: In Nine Days time you shall recieve a possitive Answer from my Chieff.

“Brothers[.] Now I have told You my mind. I shall deliver this Speech to my Chieffs, with whom after having heard him I shall join, and nothing at all shall hinder me no more in going straightway to my Brothers the Virginians. I will go straight along, and take no Notice of any thing which might appear in my Way.

“Brothers[.] I shall not concern in any thing any more what my Father does, or is about to do, but shall take the straight Road to You, when I once get up” (DLC:GW).

The final enclosure, a letter from John Heckewelder to Brodhead, dated 28 April–4 May at “Coochsckung,” reads: “I have recd your kind favour of the 18th Instant for which, as also the News Papers, am very much Obliged to you, as we have at present Some news, and that from Several quarters I thought proper to Speak to the Chiefs of this place to Send a Messenger to you, to which they Immediately agreed. Yesterday was the third time that we recd Intelligence of the Fort on Miami [Wabash] River (Called by the Indians Chubhicking) being taken by the Americans, the Account runs thus, That the Governor of Detroit after having taken this Fort from the Americans, Sent all the Indians that was with him home again, except two of the head men of every nation.

“That a few Weeks ago a number of Virginians appeard unexpected at Said Fort, surrounded it and took it with all what was in it, and the Governor made a prisoner, that the night after the Fort was taken two Shawanese made their escape out of the Same, upon which they, the Americans Suspecting the Governor, hanged him Immediately and killed the rest of the Indians who were in the Fort, that the Virginians Sent two men with a large letter, and the war Belt they had found by the Governor over to Kentuck; that these two men were killed by the way by 20 Warriors, and the letter and all taken, that not long after these 20 Warriors (said to be Chibway and Tawas) were coming along with Some Stolen Horses and being at last in Sight of the Fort hobled the Same on the Commons, and marched with the Death hollow towards the Fort, upon which the Drums began to beat, but the warriors having heard nothing of what had happened, as they had gone out from that place to war, Said our Father rejoices that we are coming again, we Shall now be treated well, they then being about half Gun Shot off, they fired out of the Fort, and killed eighteen on the Spot, upon which the other two ran off and brought the letters to the Shawanese Towns where they got a Prisoner to read them, but as he could not read well could make out no more, than that the Commandant of the Virginians mentioned what he had done, and that he requests a Strong reinforcement at: immediately, the letters are now in the hands of Alexr McKee, This news I think may be depended on as we have it from Several places, and good authority by Several who have come from the Wyondott Towns we hear that the English are moving two pieces of Cannon towards Fort Lawrence, and have brought them now already to the nearest Wyondott Town upon Horses, we apprehend bad Consequences if no Cannon is brought Soon to that post, for there is Something very bad a brewing, we hear likewise that the English have built an other and Stronger Fort in Sight of the Old one at Detroit, it is also Said that there is goods and Ammunition in abundance at the Wyondott Towns. we have most Shocking news (yet only private) from the Shawanese Towns, which is, that the Wyondots and Shawanese [(]Stird up by the Mingoes) are to destroy the Delewares entirely, This matter has been ta[l]ked of long ago, and now it Seems the time is aproaching for the executing of it, the nations have ⟨a⟩greed to Flatter the Delewares with fine Storys, and give them hopes that they are for making peace, that they may be quiet and dread nothing from them till they are ready.

“I do not like to give any false account, and would rather remain Silent to this, as I cannot prove it to be true, but I apprehend there is Something in it, and all our old men here are of Opinion there is too much in it, and believe for Certain that if the Americans do not Soon make Some appearance in the Enemys Country, they the Delewares will be gone then, namely That they will Sitt and Dye at last with the Virginians friendship in their hands. a few days ago three warriors, Delewares from the Enemy gang came here they seemed much troubled, their Company being parted they say after having committed a Murder They made to the big river and having finished a Canoe there to cross the Same preceived a Batteaux and large Canoe full of men working up the River, among which the[y] fired killed one man and ran off they lost there the Scalp and Some Horses. another party of muncys Just come in with two Scalps taken at Otter Creek and Some Horses have lost one man. I have not heard yet what the head men at Coochocking will answer you to your last request, all was Safely delivered and read it to them, they have also desired me to write to day for them but are not come yet. the Mingoes have Sent lately Several Belts to the Wyondotts and others, it is said the contents are very bad I am this moment informed that a party of Warriors were Seen not far from here with two prisoners four Scalps and Some Horses.

“[4 May] after I had wrote the above I was informed that no messengers were to go till those who were gone to the Wyondotts retd again, and as I am told Just now that tomorrow the messengers are to go, those from the Wyondotts having retd I mean to Send this along with them. I will not pass any Judgment over what the Wyondots Say in their speech, but this I cannot help Saying that I believe or think very little of it. I believe that if they first Saw they with they english were not able to take Fort Laurence they then would like to Join with you. I heard a few days ago that a party of warriors had killed two men and taken one prisoner at or near Fort McIntosh. The news we have this evening from the Shawanese Corrisponds with the above which I mentioned of the nations Concluding to fall upon the Delewares, I am informed the Shawanes⟨e⟩ are the head of those Villains and the Mingoes and perhaps a part of the Wyondots. I likewise understood the Shawanese burnt the last Speech you Sent to them making all the game of the Virginians they could, saying now they know themselves that they English have overpowered them, and almost killd them all, therefore they want to make freindship with us, that they may Still have a place of refuge. I understand by the Indians who came lately from Fort Pitt that Some of the money is to be called in. I should be very much Obliged to you if you would let me know how that matter is, and if so of what date. most of the money we have we recd last winter of Mr Sample for Cattle and Sundries for the use of the army and bears chiefly the date of may 20th 1777 and April 11th 1778.

“I have wrote a letter to Liliz and Sent it inclosed in one to Mr Willm Henry Esqr. you will very much Oblige me in forwarding the Same by a Safe Oppertunity” (DLC:GW). The rumor of British Lt. Gov. Henry Hamilton’s execution at Vincennes was false.

2Nehemiah Stokely (1753–1792), who built and lived in a blockhouse on the frontier of Westmoreland County, Pa., was appointed a first lieutenant in the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment in August 1776, and was promoted to captain in October 1777. He had left the army as a supernumerary in January 1779.

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