George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 9 June 1781]

9th. A Captn. Randolph—sent by General Clarke from Pittsburg, arrived here with letters & representations of his disappointments of Men, and the prospect of failure in his intended Expedition against Detroit unless he could be aided by the 9th. Virginia Regiment & Heths Company at Pittsburg—but the weakness of the Garrison & other considerations would not admit this—nor did it appear to me that this reinforcement would enable him to undertake & prosecute the Plan.1

1At this time George Rogers Clark (1752–1818) was at Pittsburgh. Clark had mounted successful campaigns against Vincennes in 1778 and 1779 and was largely responsible for forestalling British plans to recapture the Illinois country and the Ohio Valley in 1779–80. In Dec. 1780 he began to plan for a new campaign against British-held Detroit and Lake Erie and in Jan. 1781 was made brigadier general of the Virginia forces in the West. Preparations for the expedition, however, were constantly thwarted by shortages of men and supplies (see CLARK [1] description begins James Alton James, ed. George Rogers Clark Papers, 1771–1781. Springfield, Ill., 1912. In Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, vol. 8. Virginia Series, vol. 3. description ends , 8:cxlii—cxlvii). The two letters from Clark to GW are dated 20 and 21 May 1781 (DLC:GW). GW replied to Clark on 8 June 1781 (DLC:GW).

Capt. Henry Heth’s company was one of two independent companies raised after Feb. 1777 to garrison Fort Pitt and Fort Randolph. Each consisted of a captain, two lieutenants, one ensign, and 100 enlisted men (see BERG description begins Fred Anderson Berg. Encyclopedia of Continental Army Units: Battalions, Regiments, and Independent Corps. Harrisburg, Pa., 1972. description ends , 100–101; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 7:21).

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