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To George Washington from Colonel Daniel Brodhead, 25 June 1779

From Colonel Daniel Brodhead

Pittsburgh June 25th 1779

Dear General

About a Fortnight ago three Men which I had sent to reconnoiter the Seneca Country returned from Venango having been chased by a number of Warriors who were coming down the Allegehany in Canoes they continued the pursuit until they came some distance this side the Kittaning & the White men narrowly escaped, A few days afterwards Captn Bready1 with 20 white men & one Young Delaware Chief2 (all well painted) Set out towards the Seneca Country & some of the Indian Warriors Came in to the Inhabitants, they Killed a Soldier between Forts Crawford & Hand & proceeded towards Sewickly Settlement where they killed a Woman & Four Children & took two Children Prisoners. Captn Brady fell in with 7 Indians (who had done this Mischief) about 15 Miles above Kittaning where they had chosen an advantageous Situation for their Camp Surrounded them as well as the Situation would admit & finding he was discovered by the break of day he attackd them & killed the Captn who was a notorious Warrior of the Muncy Nation & mortally wounded most of them but they being encamp’d near a remarkable thicket & having (as is customary with them) stopd their Wounds just after they received them they could not be found—Captn Brady retook Six horses, the two Prisoners the Scalps & all their plunder which was considerable & took Six Guns and every thing else the Indians had except their Bretch Clouts Captn Brady & most of his men Acted with great Spirit & intrepidity but it is confest that the Young Delaware Chief Nonowland (or George Wilson), distinguished himself on this Enterprize3 & I have the pleasure to inform your Excellency that the Delaware Chiefs are safely returned from Philadelp. & one of them agreeable to their Custom stepd forward to the party & receiv’d the Scalp in Triumph,4 Before Captn Brady returned, Lt. Hardin5 who has often distinguishd himself as a Partizan with 11 choice Men set out for the Seneca Country & I am convinced he will not return without Prisoners or Scalps. I have once more thrown in a small Supply of Salt provisions for the Garrison at Fort Lawrens & Lt. Coll Bayard with 120 Rank & file is now erecting a stockade Fort at Kittaning.6

The Mohickan & Shawnese chiefs have sent me a Speech by a String of Wampum requesting me to take pity on them & suffer them to enjoy the blessings of Peace I believe I have frightened them by bringing over to our Interest their chief Allies, the Wyandots, Tawas, Chipewas and pootiotemees By the inclosed Copys of Letters & Speeches Yr Excellency will discover the change7 & if I had but a small quantity of Indian Goods I would make them assist me in humbling the Mingoes up Allegany & the English at Detroit, but unfortunately I am not in possession of a Single Article to pay them for their services, I have enclosed the proceedings of the Genl Court Martial which your Excellency was pleased to order in expectation of receiving your directions respecting them8—With great pleasure I can now inform your Excellency that I have upwards of four hundred head of Beef Cattle & near a Thousand Kegs of Flour with which had I your permission I conceive I could make a successful expedition against the Senecas9 I have the Honor to be with the most sincere regard & Esteem Yr Excellencys most Obt & most Hble Servt

Daniel Brodhead

LB, NNGL.

1Samuel Brady (1756–1795 or 1796) was a lieutenant in Capt. John Doyle’s Independent Pennsylvania Rifle Company when it was attached to the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment in November 1776. Appointed captain lieutenant at that time, to rank from 17 July, Brady participated in eastern campaigns and battles until marching west with his regiment in 1778 after the Battle of Monmouth. Upon his father’s death at the hands of Indians in April 1779, Brady reputedly swore revenge and spent the rest of the war scouting and fighting on the Pennyslvania frontier and in the Ohio country, where his exploits reached legendary proportions. He was promoted to captain in August 1779 and transferred to the 3d Pennsylvania Regiment in January 1781. A lengthy obituary printed in the Federal Orrery (Boston) for 18 Feb. 1796 praised Brady as “surpassed by no Indian Warrior in the activity and skill of their own mode of war.” It has been asserted that Brady died “on Christmas, 1795” (Kellogg, Frontier Advance, description begins Louise Phelps Kellogg, ed. Frontier Advance on the Upper Ohio, 1778-1779. Madison, Wis., 1916. description ends 159) and on 1 Jan. 1796 (see Aurora General Advertiser [Philadelphia], 30 Jan. 1796).

2Nanowland (Nonawland, Nanéwelend; d. 1781), whose English name was George Wilson, frequently carried messages for the Delawares. Becoming friendly with Capt. Samuel Brady, he often joined him on scouts. Nanowland was killed by frontiersmen while camped on an Ohio River island near Pittsburgh after returning from the early spring 1781 punitive expedition against Coshocton, the chief town of the Turtle Clan of the Delaware Indians.

3For later recollections of this attack on the family of Peter King and of Brady’s rescue operation, see Kellogg, Frontier Advance, description begins Louise Phelps Kellogg, ed. Frontier Advance on the Upper Ohio, 1778-1779. Madison, Wis., 1916. description ends 372–79.

4For the delegation of Delaware chiefs that first reached Philadelphia on 4 May, see George Morgan to GW, 9 May, and n.1 to that document; see also GW to John Jay, 14 May.

In an address to the returning Delaware delegation at Pittsburgh on 23 June, Brodhead praised GW as “our Great Warrior” and “an Exceeding good Man” who “does not aim as the English do at taking away the lives of Men who have never injured him nor does his [he] Wish his Warriors to live by plundering & Stealing as the English & Mingoes do but he is always prepard to punish such bad Nations who Wish to live by Murder & Robery” (Kellogg, Frontier Advance, description begins Louise Phelps Kellogg, ed. Frontier Advance on the Upper Ohio, 1778-1779. Madison, Wis., 1916. description ends 369). Brodhead then acknowledged the assistance of Nanowland during the recent rescue operation and promised to “send his Name to the great Warrior who spoke to You in New Jersey to have it Written in a Book never to be forgotten. because he has opened the Way to do Honor to our Deleware Nation And I hope many will follow his Example” (Kellogg, Frontier Advance, description begins Louise Phelps Kellogg, ed. Frontier Advance on the Upper Ohio, 1778-1779. Madison, Wis., 1916. description ends 370).

5John Hardin (1753–1792) was born in Fauquier County, Va., but moved with his family while still a boy to the wilderness of southwestern Pennsylvania, where he became proficient in woodcraft and marksmanship. Hardin, serving as an ensign, was wounded in 1774 during Dunmore’s War. He became second lieutenant of the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment in August 1776 and then first lieutenant in July 1777. Hardin joined Col. Daniel Morgan’s rifle corps, saw action during the Saratoga campaign, and spent that winter at Valley Forge. He resigned from the army in late 1779. Hardin relocated to Kentucky after the war, participated in several military actions against Indians, and was murdered while carrying a flag of truce to negotiate a peace treaty with the Miami tribes.

6Brodhead had ordered Lt. Col. Stephen Bayard to build what became known as Fort Armstrong on 17 June (see Kellogg, Frontier Advance, description begins Louise Phelps Kellogg, ed. Frontier Advance on the Upper Ohio, 1778-1779. Madison, Wis., 1916. description ends 364, and Brodhead to Bayard, 1, 9, and 20 July, 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., 12:133–35, 139; see also Brodhead to GW, 17 April and 31 July–4 Aug.).

7These enclosures have not been identified, but Brodhead wrote Col. Archibald Lochry in a letter of 23 June “that the Wyandottes, Tawas, Chipewas, Pooteatomies, Cherokees and Mohickans have returned the Tomahawks to the Commandant at Detroit and told him he was a bad man and they were determined to make peace with the Americans. The Commandant was very angry and discovered his ill nature, but the Indians despised their threats” (Pa. Archives, description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends 1st ser., 12:130–31). Brodhead was less sure of support from these tribes when he wrote Joseph Reed, president of the Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council, in a letter of 3 Aug., which in part reads: “As I have leave from his Excellency, the Commander in Chief, I shall set out on an expedition against the Seneca Towns, up the Alleghaney River, within a few days. . . . I begin to fear the Tawas, Chipyways, Wyandotts, Pootiatamies, and Shawanese, are acting deceitfully, but a blow up this River may determine them to act a candid part with us” (Pa. Archives, description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends 1st ser., 12:150–51).

8Brodhead enclosed the proceedings of a court-martial, held 6–14 June at Pittsburgh, that acquitted Pvt. James Beham of the 13th Virginia Regiment of murdering a Delaware Indian and tried several soldiers for desertion (DLC:GW; see also GW to Brodhead, 21 May, and Brodhead to GW, 5 June).

9Brodhead led an expedition up the Allegheny River valley from Pittsburgh between 11 Aug. and 14 Sept. (see Brodhead to GW, 16–24 Sept., NNGL). GW consented to this expedition in a letter to Brodhead of 13 July.

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