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To George Washington from Colonel Daniel Brodhead, 11 February 1780

From Colonel Daniel Brodhead

Fort Pitt Feby 11th 1780.

Dear General.

I wrote you on the 10th & 22nd of November and on the 13th of December last and not having been Honored with a line in answer to either of them Letters begin to fear you have not duly received them wherefore I take the liberty to inclose Duplicates.1 I likewise inclose the proceedings of a Genl Court Martial on the trial of Lieutt Arthur Gordon adjt of the 9th V. Regt and a return of the provisions in Store.2

I have not seen Colo. George Morgan since I came to this Department neither have I seen the Depy Quarter Master Genl since last March.3 I have not a tent for my Men and by the inclosed return you will see that the provisions are scanty, but I hope to be better supplyed in the Spring.

I have frequently given the most pointed orders respecting the public Craft notwithstanding which the greatest part is or will be carried away with the ice, what I could retain at this place I did and secured it by hauling it upon Land. If the officers commanding at the different posts had taken the same care, little or none would have been driven off. Such a deep Snow & such ice has not been known at this place in the memory of the eldest Natives. Deer & Turkies die by hundreds for want of food, the Snow on the Alleghany & Laurel Hills is four feet deep.

By one of our prisoners who lately made his escape from the Wyondats & who has frequently been at Detroit, I am informed that the new Fort erected there has two Bomb proofs of wood—that the walls are very high: fifteen feet thick & made of Fachines and Clay—that the Barracks are sunk some distance into the Ground and that their Roofs cannot be seen from without that it Stands on a fine commanding piece of Ground with a gentle descent each way. likewise that it is surrounded by a Ditch twenty feet wide—The Garrison Consists of 450 Regulars & that the Enemy have 1800 Men at Niagara besides a great number of Indians. If this intelligence is true unless some diversion is occasioned by troops marching up the Susquehanna River, it is not improbable that the Enemy may pay us a visit down the Alleghany River next Spring. And I have neither Men nor Cannon sufficient for this Fort unless a reinforcement can be spared from the main Army, I shall however make the best disposition that circumstances will admit and if possible gain further intelligence from the Delawares who continue their declarations of Friendship for us.

I beg your Excellency will indulge me with twenty Boat Builders & some armourers early in the Spring If I receive no orders to the contrary and can be supplyed with craft I am determined to drive the Shawnese over the lakes which I can do before provisions can be furnished for a capital Expedition.

I shall now transmit an estimate of Cannon and Military Stores to the Honorable Board of war in hopes that by the time they arrive at this place I shall be enabled to do something worthy the confidence you have placed in me.4 With the most exalted regard & esteem I have the honor to be your Excellencies most—obedt & most Humble Servt

Daniel Brodhead

P.S. I have no Artillery Men.

ALS, DLC:GW; LB, NNGL. The postscript appears only on the ALS. The LB indicates that Brodhead sent the letter “By Mr [James] Coffing.” GW replied on 14 March (NNGL).

1These duplicate letters have not been found. GW had already acknowledged receipt of the original letters (see GW to Brodhead, 4 Jan.).

2The enclosed “Return of Provisions &ca Remaining in the Issuing Commissary’s Stores in the Western department on the 31st of January 1780,” signed by John Irwin, deputy commissary general of issues for the western department, indicated that 76,800 pounds of flour, 100,000 pounds of beef, 8,800 pounds of pork, 320 bushels of salt, 1,278 gallons of rum, and 1,800 gallons of whiskey remained at Fort Pitt. The “New store” on the Monongahela River held 20,720 pounds of flour and 70 bushels of salt. At Fort McIntosh there were 4,000 pounds of flour, 1,000 pounds of beef, and 50 bushels of salt. At Fort Henry there remained 8,000 pounds of beef (DLC:GW).

The enclosed court-martial proceedings have not been identified. Brodhead had sent the records of Lt. Arthur Gordon’s trial to GW once before, but GW returned them without approving or disapproving the sentence (see Brodhead to GW, 9 Oct. 1779, and n.5, and GW to Brodhead, 21 Nov. 1779). In his reply to this letter, GW disapproved the sentence and directed another trial.

3In addition to being an Indian agent, Col. George Morgan was deputy commissary general of purchases for the western department.

4Brodhead transmitted the estimate to Richard Peters of the Board of War the next day (see 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). For GW’s request that Brodhead send this estimate to the Board of War, see GW to Brodhead, 18 Oct. 1779, and n.15. GW had already requested that the Board of War send cannon and ordnance stores to Fort Pitt (see GW to the board, 8 Feb., and n.1 to that document).

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