From James Wilkinson
Natchez [Mississippi Territory] May 24, 1799. “Immediately after I received your Letter of the 12th: Feby: I dispatched an Express over land to Mobile, to gain intelligence of the Detachment, which had marched to take post on that River.…1 The Night before the last, I had the satisfaction to receive assurances from the Commanding officer, that He had reached the point of his destination … and by the same conveyance, I received an accurate chart of the coast from New Orleans … to Mobile Bay, with a survey of the River.… An incident unworthy [of] record, & to be reserved for your presence, had suspended the agreement made with Governor Gayoso for the surrender of Deserters,2 & in consequence of the suspension, the Scoundrels, in service began again to abandon their colours in such numbers, as to cause me serious alarm; but I have now the pleasure to inform you, that after a short discussion, Mr. Gayoso has been prevailed on to send back, two fugitives from the Corps of Artillerists & Engineers, who have been received at Loftus’s Heights, tried, & sentenced. The papers under cover exhibit details.…3 I … will commence my Voyage from this place the Day after Tomorrow.…”4
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
3. Among the papers Wilkinson enclosed were Carlos de Grand Pré to Wilkinson, May 6, 16, 1799 (ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress); Wilkinson to Grand Pré, May 10, 1799 (copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress). Grand Pré was the Spanish Intendant at Natchez. On the verso of Grand Pré’s letter of May 16, 1799, Wilkinson wrote: “I send the originals because I realy have not time to copy them, & have no person near me who can do it intelligibly. Ja Wilkinson.”
Wilkinson also enclosed in the letter printed above Isaac Guion to Wilkinson, May 20, 21, 1799; “Proceedings of a Court Martial” of John Wood and Thomas England, May 21, 1799; “Genl Orders” by Wilkinson approving the court’s sentence, May 23, 1799 (copies, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).
4. Wilkinson did not leave Natchez until May 28, 1799. See the Inhabitants of Natchez to Wilkinson, May 28, 1799; Wilkinson to the Inhabitants of Natchez, May 28, 1799 (copies, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).