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To George Washington from Colonel Daniel Brodhead, 22 November 1779

From Colonel Daniel Brodhead

Pittsburgh Novr 22d 1779

Dear General

The Deleware Chiefs have paid me another visit and the wyandot Chiefs are said to be on the road to this place.

The Deleware Chiefs inform me that the english at Detroit have refused to supply the Wyandots with cloathing because they had entered into a treaty of friendship with us they likewise say that the new Fort at that place is f[i]nished and that the walls are so high that the Tops of the Barracks can scarsely be seen from the outside but they dont know whether there are any Bomb proofs as they are not permitted to go into the Fort. They think the number of Soldiers does not exceed 300 and some part of that number still remains in the old Fort.

I take the liberty to enclose sundry Speeches & my answers1 If no provision is made for these naked wretches they will be compelled to submit to the Enemy & to be employed by them or perish. All my enquiries from Indians are oblique & such as would induce a belief that Niagara was the object, & I shall endeavour to continue them under the Same Idea untill I have Kyahoga,2 which is nearly at the centre between the two Posts and equally adventageous for making a descent on either of them.

The Deleware Chiefs came to this place with a determination to pay another Visit to your Excelly but upon my telling them that I should shortly strike the Warpost they imediately declined going3 & declared that they and their best Warriours would join me.

I will use every possible method to obtain more perfect intelligence The Wyandot Chiefs have met with greater indulgence from the Enemy than the Delewares & can probably give me intelligence respecting the strength of the Enemies Works & Garrisons.4

Neither the Commissary of purchases or the Commy of Forage have money & their Credit is much failed with the inhabitants but I trust they will soon be Supplied.

The Shawenese & mingoes have lately killed & taken twenty men besides some women & Children near the mouth of little Miami river, & taken two Boats with twenty horse Loads of Dry Goods. It is supposed that the Officer who commanded this party was a Captain who was Sent by the State of Virginia down this river to purchase some goods for the Troops of that State many months ago.5

My situation is so remote that I but seldom am acqua[i]nted with what passes in the interior part of the Country and fear I shall be too late in sending an estimate of Artillery to the Board of War but I will do it so far as I am capable so soon as I have sufficient Reason to hope the intended Expedition against Detroit will take place.6 But if it should be otherwise and our expedition against Nochez approved my estimate for Artillery &c. will be Something Less.

I am informed that the Legislature of the State of Virginia has lately imported a number of excellent Mortars & that they are willing to lend them to Congress.7 I have the honor to be with the highest Sentiments of respect & esteem your Excellencies most [ ] & most Hble Servt

Daniel Brodhead
Colo. commandg W.D.

LB, NNGL. GW replied to Brodhead on 4 Jan. 1780 (Ia-HA).

1These enclosures have not been identified. Brodhead enclosed the same items, also not identified, in a letter to Timothy Pickering, president of the Board of War, written on this date. This letter from Brodhead to Pickering described the “Delaware Chiefs” as “poor wretches” who were “quite destitute of clothing, and unless they can soon be supplied by us, they will be compelled to submit to such terms as our enemies may impose on them.” Brodhead added: “I beg leave to renew my application to have some supplies sent up for them and likewise beg you will appoint or permit me to appoint some proper person to receive their peltry in exchange for the goods furnished, whereby the Public cannot meet with a loss but must reap a certain profit” (Pa. Archives, description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends 1st ser., 12:190).

2Cuyahoga was a Delaware Indian village located near present-day Cuyahoga Falls in northeastern Ohio and about one hundred miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

3Delaware chiefs had met GW in May (see George Morgan to GW, 9 May, and n.1 to that document, and GW to Morgan, 11 May; see also General Orders, 14 May, source note, and GW to John Jay, same date).

4For Brodhead’s subsequent efforts to secure intelligence on Detroit’s defenses, see his letter to GW, 13 Dec., and n.1 to that document.

5Brodhead is referring to an action on 4 Oct. that resulted in the death of Virginia colonel David Rogers. John Campbell, taken prisoner during the affair, wrote Capt. Richard B. Lernoult, British commander at Fort Detroit, from “Shawney Town,” presumably Illinois country, on 23 Oct.: “On the 27th of last month, I set off from the Falls of Ohio on board of a Batteau with an Intention of going to Fort Pitt.” Campbell’s batteau joined “two other Boats in the Service of the State of Virginia under the direction of Mr. David Rogers who had sundry clothing & other things on board which they brought from the Mississippi & on the 5th Inst. about three miles below the little Miami River we fell in with a party of Senecas, Wiandotts, Delawares & Shawneys at the crossing place of the Ohio Mr. Rogers with a party of men from the Boats attacked the Indians who were superior in number to the party he had with him he was obliged to retreat & two of the Boats fell into the hands of the Indians” (“Haldimand Papers,” description begins “The Haldimand Papers.” Collections and Researches Made by the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan, vols. 9:343-658; 10:210-675; 11:319-660; 19:296-675; 20:1-749; 25:682-83. 1886–96. description ends 10:368; see also Robert Todd to George Rogers Clark, 16 Oct., in James, Clark Papers, description begins James Alton James, ed. George Rogers Clark Papers, 1771–1781. Springfield, Ill., 1912. In Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, vol. 8. Virginia Series, vol. 3. description ends 371). For details on Rogers, his mission, and additional contemporary accounts that place the attack on 4 Oct., see Kellogg, Frontier Retreat, description begins Louise Phelps Kellogg, ed. Frontier Retreat on the Upper Ohio, 1779–1781. Madison, Wis., 1917. description ends 82–94.

6Brodhead indicated submission of his estimate to the Board of War when he wrote GW on 11 Feb. 1780 (DLC:GW; see also Brodhead to Richard Peters, 12 Feb., in Pa. Archives, description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends 1st ser., 12:207–8).

7For correspondence related to Virginia officials purchasing mortars, see Arthur Lee to Thomas Jefferson, 4 Sept., and William Lee to Jefferson, 24 Sept., in Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 41 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends 3:82–83, 90–93.

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