Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to George Washington, [16 September 1791]

To George Washington

[Philadelphia, September 16, 1791]


I have the honor to enclose the copy of a letter from Mr. Brown1 of Kentucke, to Genl. Irvine,2 giving an account of some interesting particulars in the Western Country. Part of the letter, I have understood, has been forwarded to you, but not the whole. Genl. Irvine is of opinion that the waters will be still so far practicable as to permit the progress of the Troops under Genl. Butler; by the expedient of dragging the Boats in the shallowest places.3

With perfect respect &c. &c.

A: Hamilton

LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

1John Brown had been a member of the Virginia Senate from the District of Kentucky from 1784 to 1788 and a member of the Continental Congress from the Kentucky District of Virginia in 1787 and 1788. When this letter was written, he was a member of the House of Representatives from Virginia. In May, 1791, he accompanied the expedition of Brigadier General Charles Scott against the Indians on the Scioto River.

2William Irvine, who had risen to the rank of brigadier general during the American Revolution, had been a member of the Continental Congress from Pennsylvania from 1786 to 1788.

3Arthur St. Clair began his ill-fated campaign against the western Indians in September, 1791. His second-in-command was Richard Butler, Indian Superintendent of the Northern District. During the summer of 1791 Butler was engaged in recruiting and provisioning in Pittsburgh, but his failure to move his troops by the end of the summer from Fort Pitt to Fort Washington near Cincinnati caused serious concern to both Knox and St. Clair. Although he did reach Fort Washington on September 7, word of his arrival had still not reached Philadelphia by September 24 (Knox to Washington, September 24, 1791, Smith, St. Clair Papers description begins William Henry Smith, ed., The St. Clair Papers: The Life and Public Services of Arthur St. Clair (Cincinnati, 1882). description ends , II, 241–42).

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