John Brown to William Irvine4
[Danville, Virginia, August 22, 1791]
An Express from Gen: Wilkinson5 has this moment reached this place informing of his success. He has destroyed a large Indian Town situated at the banks of the Wabash; also a Kichapoo town containing about 30 houses, & has killed & taken 42 of the enemy. His loss two men killed & one wounded. I have not as yet heard where the Express left him, but expect he has repassed the Ohio before this time. Genl. St. Clair is now here endeavouring to procure aid from the Kentucke militia. His regular force, as yet, does not exceed 500 or 600 men & the river is too low to admit of Boats descending from Fort Pitt. I fear he will meet with great difficulty in obtaining assistance from this Country as the Militia are extremely averse to a co-operation with the regulars, & I am doubtful whether they can be compelled by the Laws of this State, especially as the Executive of Virginia6 has given no orders upon the subject to the Lieutenants of this District.7 The Bearer will only allow me time to assure you that,
I am With very great respect Sir, Your Mo: Hble Servt.
22d. Augt. 1791
P. S. Have lately received two packets from you.
4. LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.
5. During the American Revolution James Wilkinson had served as a brigadier general and after the war had settled in Kentucky where he engaged in various separatist intrigues. In August, 1791, he led an expedition against the Indians north of the Ohio. For an account of this expedition, see Wilkinson to St. Clair, August 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, 233–39.
6. Beverley Randolph.
7. Concerning the difficulties St. Clair faced in obtaining militia from Kentucky for the western campaign, Knox wrote to Washington on September 24 as follows: “He called upon the county lieutenants to meet him the 3d of September, in order to obtain from them as many militia as he might require. He was induced to this measure from the advice of Judge Innes, and others, in order to persuade the lieutenants, to a measure, which it seems they would enter with an order from the Governor of Virginia, which they had not received. I wrote to the Governor of Virginia, by your authority, on the 15th of July, requesting him to instruct the county lieutenants of Kentucky that, in case General St. Clair should call for militia, that there should be no obstruction. He answered on the 4th of August, ‘that he had embraced the first opportunity to instruct General Scott to use every exertion to insure them of ample compliance with the requisition of the general of the Federal troops for militia.’ But I flatter myself that he will not think proper to require any militia, excepting, perhaps, two or three hundred mounted volunteers.” (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).