George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Captain Hendrick Aupaumut, 4 July 1779

To Captain Hendrick Aupaumut

[New Windsor, 4 July 1779]

To Solomon Hendricks of the Stockbridge tribe of Indians.

You having represented to me that you and thirty two Others1 of the said tribe, whose names you have furnished me with,2 are desirous of going on the expedition with General Sullivan—and are willing to do it for the same pay and allowances of the Troops belonging to the Continental Army—and that the said party have chosen you their Captain—This is to declare that from the good opinion I have of your ⟨b⟩ravery and attachment to the United States of America,3 I approve of the same—and also that you shall have and receive the pay4 of a Captain, while you are actually employed with your Company On the said expedition. And in like manner I declare that every private man in your company, while they are in the said service shall have & receive the same pay and allowance of provisions,5 as the Soldiers employed in the6 Army. And Lastly, when the Expedition is ended, If Genl Sullivan or the Commanding Officer, shall certify that you & your Company behaved well and distinguished Yourselves, You shall, over and above your common pay, receive a sum of Money as a Testimonial for your good conduct & services.7 Given at Head Qrs New Windsor July the 4: 1779.

Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

GW’s warrant book for this date indicates that $100 was given to “Solomon Hendricks a Stockbridge Indian (expences)” (Revolutionary War Warrant Book 4, 1779–1780, DLC:GW, Ser. 5).

Hendrick Aupaumut (1757–1830) was a Stockbridge Indian born and raised in the Christian missionary community of the same name in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Stockbridge Indians largely accepted white cultural values and supported the Patriot cause, sending a company of volunteers to join the Continental army in autumn 1777. Aupaumut apparently was a member of that company and assumed command after an engagement at King’s Bridge, N.Y., on 31 Aug. 1778 decimated its ranks and left the captain dead (see Charles Scott to GW, that date, and n.3 to that document, and General Orders, 11 Sept. 1778, source note). Aupaumut’s tribal relationship to the Stockbridge chief known familiarly as “King Solomon” appears to have caused confusion among GW and his aides over Aupaumut’s name (Jones, Stockbridge, description begins Electa F. Jones. Stockbridge, Past and Present; or, Records of an Old Mission Station. Springfield, Mass., 1854. description ends 28). Nothing more is certain about the service of Aupaumut’s Stockbridge Indian company until GW wrote Samuel Huntington on 13 Sept. 1780 that Aupaumut, who “with about Twenty of his Tribe have been serving as Volunteers with the Army since the beginning of July,” sought compensation from Congress before returning home (DNA:PCC, item 152; see also n.7 below). An offer from the Stockbridge Indians to rejoin the army in late summer 1781, likely involving Aupaumut, prompted a polite response from GW, but he revealed his actual thoughts in a letter to Maj. Gen. William Heath of 2 Sept. 1781, when he stated “it has ever been my opinion that their services never compensated the expence” (MHi: Heath Papers; see also GW to the Chiefs of the Stockbridge Indians, 2 Sept. 1781 [DLC: GW]). Aupaumut visited GW at Newburgh, N.Y., in July 1783 and secured a testimonial, dated 8 July, praising the Stockbridge Indians for “their attachment to the United States during the late War” (CtHi: Washington Letters and Papers; see also Joseph Shauquethqueat to GW, 2 July 1783, [PHi: Gratz Collection]). Aupaumut remained an important Stockbridge leader as the community moved westward to escape white encroachment on their land. The small tribe finally ended up in Wisconsin. During these decades, Aupaumut frequently served as an envoy from the United States to negotiate with Indian tribes less willing to cede to government demands, notably traveling to Ohio during GW’s first presidential administration (see Papers, Presidential Series, description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series. 19 vols. to date. Charlottesville, Va., 1987–. description ends 10:279–81, 11:5, 473, 479; Jeanne Ronda and James P. Ronda, “‘As They Were Faithful’: Chief Hendrick Aupaumut and the Struggle for Stockbridge Survival, 1757–1830,” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 3 [1979]: 43–55; and Rachel Wheeler, “Hendrick Aupaumut: Christian-Mahican Prophet,” Journal of the Early Republic, 25 [2005]: 187–220). Aupaumut’s influence among his tribe waned during his last years as he fell victim to alcoholism.

1At this place on the draft manuscript, Harrison initially wrote “Warriors.” He then struck out that word and wrote “Others” above the line.

2No written document with these names has been identified.

3GW’s assistant secretary James McHenry wrote the previous nine words in the left margin of the first page of the draft manuscript. The single letter lost because of damage is supplied in angle brackets from the Varick transcript.

4At this place on the draft manuscript, Harrison wrote and then struck out the words “and allowances.”

5At this place on the draft manuscript, Harrison first wrote “in every respect.” He then struck out those words and wrote “of provisions” above the line.

6At this place on the draft manuscript, Harrison wrote and then struck out the word “Continental.”

7It is uncertain, and probably unlikely, that Aupaumut and his company participated in Maj. Gen. John Sullivan’s expedition against the Six Nations. For the activities of four Stockbridge Indians who served as guides under Sullivan, see Sullivan Expedition Journals, description begins Frederick Cook, ed., and George S. Conover, comp. Journals of the Military Expedition of Major General John Sullivan against the Six Nations of Indians in 1779 With Records of Centennial Celebrations. Auburn, N.Y., 1887. description ends 246, 249, 252; see also GW to William Goodrich, 19 June and this date.

Index Entries