George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 2 July 1790]

Friday 2d. Exercised between 5 & 7 on horse back.

About one oclock, official accounts of the safety of Major Doughty (who was sent on important business to the Chiccasaw and Choctaw Nations of Indians) were received; together with the detail of his proceedings to the Country of the former, and the misfortune that attended him in ascending the River Tenessee to the intended place of meeting the Chicasaws, by the Treachery of a Banditti composed of Cherokees, Shawanese & Creek Indians who to the Number of 40 in 4 Canoes (Doughty’s party consisting of no more than 15 Soldiers) under colour of a white flag, & professions of friendship rose, fired upon, & killed five & wounded Six more of his men; obliging him (when within Six miles of Ochappo the place of Rendezvous) to retreat down the Tennessee & which he was able to effect by his gallant behaviour & good conduct; notwithstanding the superior force of the enemy & a pursuit of 4 hours and attempts to board the Barge in wch. he was. But being too weak to ascend the Ohio after he had entered it he was induced to follow the Currt. into the Missisippi & thence down the same to a Spanish post A [ ] de grass about [ ] Miles below the Mouth of the Ohio where he was treated with great kindness & Civility by Monsr. [ ] the Commandant. He contrived after this to see the Piemingo & other head Men of the Chicasaw Nation with whom he did the business he was sent on nearly as well as if he had got to Occhappo the place of his destination as will appear by his detail transmitted to the Secretary at War.

Received from the Committee of Enrollment two Acts—One “For giving effect to an Act entitled ‘An Act providing for the enumeration of the Inhabitants of the United States’ in respect to the State of Rhode Island & Providence Plantations”—The other “An Act to authorize the purchase of a tract of Land for the use of the United States.”

Much company of both Sexes to visit Mrs. Washington this Evening.

John Doughty (1757–1826) served in the Revolution as aide-de-camp to Maj. Gen. Philip Schuyler and as a captain in the artillery. He was brevetted major 30 Sept. 1783. In 1789 he was appointed with the same rank to the artillery. He helped in the design and construction of Forts Harmar and Washington. He was sent by Knox in early 1790 to carry guarantees of American friendship to the Chickasaw (GW to Chiefs and Warriors of the Chickasaw, 30 Dec. 1790, DLC:GW). His report to Knox on his mission, 7 April 1790, is in MiU-C: Harmar Papers. Henry Knox’s account of Doughty’s misfortunes agrees substantially with that in GW’s diary (see Knox’s “Causes of the existing Hostilities between the United States, and certain Tribes of Indians North-West of the Ohio,” 26 Jan. 1792, in CARTER [4] description begins Clarence Edwin Carter et al., eds. The Territorial Papers of the United States. 27 vols. Washington, D.C., 1934–69. description ends , 2:364). The secretary of war had earlier mentioned the attack in his “Summary statement of the situation of the frontiers,” 27 May 1790 (DLC:GW). The incident occurred on 22 Mar., and on 25 Mar. Doughty wrote to Maj. John P. Wyllys, describing the attack: “We fought them four hours, and then escaped in this distressed situation. I found it impossible to ascend the Ohio, or, after I reached the Mississippi, to ascend it. My wounded men were in so distressed a situation as to require immediate assistance. The only resource left me was to come to this place, where I have met with every civility” (ST. CLAIR PAPERS description begins William Henry Smith, ed. The St. Clair Papers. The Life and Public Services of Arthur St. Clair: Soldier of the Revolutionary War; President of the Continental Congress; and Governor of the North-Western Territory with his Correspondence and other Papers. 2 vols. Cincinnati, 1882. description ends , 2:134). The commandant of Ansa á la grasa or Anse à la graisse (New Madrid), to which Doughty and the surviving members of his party had fled, was Pedro Foucher (NASATIR description begins Abraham P. Nasatir. Spanish War Vessels on the Mississippi, 1792-1796. New Haven, and London, 1968. description ends , 285, n.1; THORNBROUGH description begins Gayle Thornbrough, ed. Outpost on the Wabash, 1787–1791: Letters of Brigadier General Josiah Harmar and Major John Francis Hamtramck and other letters and documents from the Harmar Papers in the William L. Clements Library. Indianapolis, 1957. In Indiana Historical Society Publications, vol.19. description ends , 231, n.2). Piomingo was a pro-American Chickasaw chief. occhappo: Occochappo (see entry for 26 Jan. 1790). acts: For the act providing for the census in Rhode Island, see 1 STAT. description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 129 (5 July 1790). The second act cited by GW authorized him to purchase for the federal government “the whole or such part of that tract of land situate in the state of New York, commonly called West Point, as shall be by him judged requisite for the purpose of such fortifications and garrisons as may be necessary for the defence of the same” (1 STAT. description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 129 [5 July 1790]).

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