George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Francis Halkett, 4 May 1758

From Francis Halkett

Philadelphia 4th May 1758

Dear Sir

General Forbes haveing information, that a party of our Cataubas are just return’d to Winchester, from a Scout to the Ohio, and have brought in with them several Prisoners, and Scalps—as the General is extreamly desirous of knowing the condition of Fort Duquesne, & the situation of the Enemys strength in these parts, he has order’d me to acquaint you, that if the Intilligence the Prisoners give is so distink, and of such consiquence, as to be of service to the General, that you will take the first opportunity to send them to Philadelphia—and to facilitate their convayence, you will send an open letter to the Commanding Officers at the different Posts upon their Route, that they are to forward them with an Escort, from post, to Post—You will at the same time be pleas’d to send the General, any information that you have taken from the Prisoners.1

Thier is a Treaty on foot just now between the Shawanes, the Delawares, and the people of this province, and he is very sorry to learn, that several of the Cherokees have taken into their heads to ramble this way, that several of them are come to Carlisle, and he is just now informed, that some of them are comeing into this Town, the General therefore desires, that you will be at particular pains, to prevent any more of them comeing this way, and that they may be employ’d as much as possible in Scouting parties, to cover our Posts, and Magazines, & keep the Frontiers of the country quiet,2 & as the most effectual Route for that purpose, he would recommend to you, the sending of them out by Rays Town, & Franks Town, to long Island in the West branch of the Susquehana, and examine all the Paths leading towards the Ohio.3

The General is very much allarmd with a letter which he has this moment Receiv’d, with an Account that the Raven (a Cherokee Captain) and 30 of his Men—haveing returnd to their own Country, much displeas’d with the English, he therefore must press it in the warmest manner that the utmost attention be paid by every body under your Command, towards keeping the Indians in a good disposition, and that all meens be used, in bringing back the Raven, & those Indians who have Return home.4

The general is just now employd, in buying all the Strouds, and goods that will be necessary to make in presents to the Indians, and has laid an Embago upon every thing in this Town that will be of service in that way.

Provided that the Catawbas are not dispos’d to part with their Prisoners, you are not to send them, but if they can be procur’d without giveing umbrage, the General will be very desirous of seeing them. I am with great regard Dear Washington your most obedient & most humble Servant

Francis Halkett

P.S. You will please for the future, to send all your Returns to me at Philadelphia, that I may make up a general State of the Whole to be laid before general Forbes at the different times as they shall offer.


1When he got Halkett’s letter on 11 May, GW at once wrote that he had no knowledge of the Catawba’s having brought in any scalps and suggested that the report concerned Ucahula (Ocayula) and the Cherokee instead. For GW’s accounts of the activities of the Cherokee with Ucahula and Lt. Nathaniel Gist, see his letters to John Blair 4–10 May, and to John St. Clair, 4 May.

2Forbes wrote to James Abercromby on this date: “By Letters from Carlisle there are 70 or 80 Cherokees arrived in that neighborhood, with a design I suppose of falling upon the Delawares &c who are now here solliciting a peace. I have therefore sent to stop and divert their process untill wee see how matters turn out. with Tediuscung and the settlement that this province promised to make these tribes at Wioming” (James, Writings of Forbes description begins Alfred Procter James, ed. Writings of General John Forbes Relating to His Service in North America. Menasha, Wis., 1938. description ends , 84–85). The Delaware chief Teedyuscung was in Philadelphia at this time. The step Forbes took “to stop and divert” the Cherokee was to have this letter written to GW. See GW to Halkett, 11 May.

3Perhaps Forbes by this time already had decided to have the army rendezvous at Raystown rather than at Conococheague. See GW to John Stanwix, 10 April, n.4.

4The Raven of Settico arrived at Winchester on 26 Mar. with twenty-nine Cherokee and went with twenty-one of these to Fort Frederick, Md., on 1 April. For an account of his subsequent activities and how he departed in bad odor from Winchester for Carolina on 24 or 25 April, see GW to Halkett, and GW to St. Clair, both 11 May.

Index Entries