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To George Washington from Colonel Daniel Brodhead, 9 October 1779

From Colonel Daniel Brodhead

Pittsburgh Octr 9th 1779

Dear General

I have the pleasure to inform you that I am now in possession of a sufficient Quantity of provisions to subsist a thousand Men for three Months.

A party of Indians have lately done some mischief on the forks of Chiat River,1 & I am informed the Western Mingoes the Wyandots of upper Sandusky2 & the Shawnese have lately been very Hostile against the new Settlements on Kentucke and at the fall of Ohio;3 It would have afforded me great pleasure to have destroyed those Indian Settlements which was quite practicable but I considered your Instructions which directs me to Act on the defensive only until further Orders.4 Should you decline ordering an expedition against Detroit. I can have almost any number of Volunteers to go against the Indian Towns especially from Virginia.

I take the liberty to inclose a copy of the proceedings of a Genl Court Martial on the tryal of Adjt Gordon No. 1 And a return of the Troops in this district No. 2 The reasons assigned by the Genl Court Martial appear to me inconsistant but—your Excellencys directions will be clear.5

I have informed your Excellency that Captn Heaths Independant Company were a very useless and expensive Corps.6 and lately I receivd a Letter from Lt Governor Page of the State of Virginia Wherein he takes upon himself to authorize & empower me to join the late Captn Oharras Company to Captn Heths But as I did not consider myself under any Obligation to receive Instructions from him relative to the disposal of the Regular Troops, I have annexed the few Men of Captn Oharras Company to the 9th Virgia Regt & those of Captn Moreheads to the 8th P. Regt where they wish to be & will prove usefull untill your pleasure is known.7 With the most perfect regard I have the Honor to be yr Excellencys Most Obedt & most Hble Servt

Danl Brodhead

LB, NNGL. GW replied to this letter on 21 Nov. (DLC:GW).

1The Cheat River runs generally northward through West Virginia and empties into the Monongahela River just north of the Pennsylvania line.

2The Wyandot village on the Sandusky River commonly known as Upper Sandusky was located near the present-day town of that name in Wyandot County, Ohio. The Sandusky River begins at Walton Lake in present-day Richland County, Ohio and flows west, then north, emptying into Lake Erie at Sandusky Bay.

3The falls of the Ohio River are located near present-day Louisville, Kentucky.

4For GW’s instructions to Brodhead, see GW to Brodhead, 21 April and 3 May. GW had modified these instructions to remain on the defensive to allow Brodhead to undertake his expedition up the Allegheny River valley against the Seneca Indians from which he had just returned (see GW to Brodhead, 13 July, and Brodhead to GW, 16–24 Sept.). In his reply of 21 Nov., GW again modified his earlier defensive instructions, informing Brodhead that he was “at full liberty to act against the hostile Indians, in such excursions as your circumstances will admit.”

5The enclosed court-martial proceedings and the return have not been identified. In his reply of 21 Nov., GW acknowledged receipt of the court-martial proceedings against Lt. Arthur Gordon but commented only on the foundation in law of one of the verdicts of the court; in his letter to Brodhead of 14 March 1780, GW disapproved of the sentence against Gordon because of the “irregular constitution of the Court,” which lacked the authority of a general officer. However, GW provided Brodhead a “power” by which he could retry Gordon (in private hands).

Arthur Gordon joined the 13th Virginia Regiment as a first lieutenant in December 1776. The regiment was redesignated the 9th Virginia Regiment in September 1778. Gordon deserted before he could be retried (see Brodhead to GW, 24 April 1780, DLC:GW).

7In his reply of 21 Nov., GW approved of the incorporation of captains Henry Heth’s and James O’Hara’s independent companies. These two Virginia independent companies originally raised by act of Congrss in 1777 to garrison Forts Randolph and Pitt (see JCC, description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends 7:21), were at this time both in the garrison of Fort Pitt. O’Hara had resigned the command of his company in May 1778. For Brodhead’s reply of 10 Oct. to John Page’s 7 Aug. letter, 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., 12:167.

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