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To George Washington from Henry Knox, 7 November 1792

From Henry Knox

War-department, Nov: 7th 1792.

Sir.

I have the honor to submit to you, the pleasing information of a treaty with the Wabash indians; and which appears to have been a general one. After you shall have perused them, they shall be copied, to be laid before the two houses.1

Mr Bradshaw says, there were upwards of seven hundred indians present2—He came by the way of Kentucky, and says that he understood that about twenty people had been killed by the indians at their late several attacks—That they were repulsed at another station, besides Buchannans—that the celebrated John Watts, the indian leader, was shot through both thighs, and the Shawanese warrior was killed, with several other indians.3 I have the honor to be Sir, with very great respect, Your most obedt Servt

H. Knox secy of War

LS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1The enclosed documents are identified in Knox’s letter to the Senate of 8 Nov.: “The President of the United States has directed me to inform the Honorable the Senate, that yesterday afternoon an Express arrived with information from Major Hamtramck, dated at post Vincennes on the 4th of October—that Brigadier General Putnam who then was sick, had on the 27th day of September concluded a treaty of peace with the Wabash and Illinois Indians, consisting of the following tribes—to wit: Eel river indians, Ouittananons, Pattewatimas of the Illinois River, Musquitons, the Kickapoos of the Wabash, Piankishaws, Kaskaskias, and Perorians—and that Brigr General Putnam was to forward to the hostile Indians, by certain Chiefs of the Wabash, the Messages, of which copies are herewith submitted.

“Lieut. Prior, also writes, on the sixteenth ultimo from Louisville on the Ohio, that he has arrived there with sixteen Chiefs of the Wabash Indians, who are proceeding to Philadelphia by the way of Pittsburg” (DNA: RG 46, Second Congress, 1791–93, Senate Records of Executive Proceedings, President’s Messages—Indian Relations). For the treaty of 27 Sept. 1792, see ASP, Indian Affairs, description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends 1:338. For background on this treaty, see GW to Knox, 3 Sept. (first letter), and note 3. GW submitted the treaty, which was never ratified, to the Senate on 13 Feb. 1793. For Lt. Abner Prior’s escort of an Indian delegation to Philadelphia, see James Wilkinson to GW, 1 Nov., n.1.

2Gen. Rufus Putnam recorded that a total of 686 Indian men, women, and children from the various tribes attended the conference at Vincennes (see “Number of Indians Present at the Treaty of Vincennes,” [September 1792], OMC: Putnam Papers).

3According to an account enclosed in William Blount’s letter to Knox of 10 Oct., “On the 30th September, about midnight, John Buchanan’s Station, four miles south of Nashville, (at which sundry families had collected, and fifteen gun-men) was attacked by a party of Creeks and Lower Cherokees, supposed to consist of three or four hundred.” The Indian attackers maintained a “very heavy and constant firing upon the station, (blockhouses, surrounded with a stockade) for an hour, and were repulsed with considerable loss, without injuring man, woman, or child, in the station” (ASP, Indian Affairs, description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends 1:294). Blount’s letter to Knox of 8 Nov. reported that the attacking Indians consisted of 400 to 500 Creeks, 200 Cherokees, and 30 to 40 Shawnees, “of whom, three were killed, and seven wounded.” The dead incorrectly included “the Shawanese warrior” Tecumseh (d. 1813), and Cherokee chief John Watts was among the wounded, “with a ball through one thigh, and lodged in the other . . . now on recovery” (ibid., 331).

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