George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Daniel Brodhead, 31 July 1779–4 August 1779

From Colonel Daniel Brodhead

Fort Pitt July 31st[–4 Aug.] 1779

Dear General

I am honoured with your instructions of the 23d of June and 13th Instant.

A Complete Stockade fort is erected at the Kittaning and now Called Fort Armstrong1 and I have Sent orders for the evacuation of Fort Lawrens2 that the Garrison there might be added to the Troops already Collected for the Expedition against the Seneca Country and if no impediment happens I Shall begin my March the 7th or 8th day of Next Month.3

Three reasons induce me to make the Expedition So early I have before informed you that the Terms of upwards of two hundred of my best Men would expire about the 10th of next Month. it Just between harvest and Seeding and therefore expect a Number of Voluntiers from the Country,4 and if the Expedition Should be delayed the Indian Corn would be ripe and could be Carried off by the Enemy which I hope to prevent.

A party of Whitemen and Delawares under the Command of Ensign Morrison5 have brought in one Indian Scalp Since my last and Others have taken a Considerable Share of plunder near their Towns and we had two Men Killed within three hundred yards of Fort Lawrens.

The Wyandots Chipways, Tawas and pootiatimies are not yet come in and I Suspect both them and the Shawnese mean to deceive us, altho i[t] is reported they are on their road to this place to make a lasting peace.6 The Terms of all late Colo. Rawlinss Men, except fifty are expired7 and by a late Law of the State of Virginia the Militia cannot be called out but i[t] is highly probable their Regt will be filled as they now give (including the Bounty of Congress) Seven hundred and fifty Dollars &Ca to each recruit8 this puts it out of my power to recruit my Regt9 untill the State of Pennsylvania Offer a higher Bounty.

I have taken the liberty to enclose the Copy of Articles of Union lately entered into with the Chiefs of the Chirokee Nation10 after it was signed I had an entertainment much in their own way at which they Chearfully recieved the War belt & Tomhawk with one of the Indian Scalps taken by one of my parties.

Should I Succeed against the Senecas I beg your Excellency will do me the honor to Permit me to reduce Detroit and its dependencies.11 At present I have only one Field Piece but not a Single Howitzer Shell or light Swivell a french Gentlemen or Artillerist and most of the Powder in this Department was So much damaged for want of proper magazines in the last Campaign that it is unfit for use.

Many of the Troops are Still Suffering for want of Shoes. I have been Obliged to give Some Soldiers Cloathing to the Indians and unless they can be replaced by the first of October they will be great Sufferers.

Capt. Kilbuck is here. he has Sent for a great Number of Delaware Warriors to Join him on the Intended Expedition.12

The Quantity of flour on hand at these Magazines is very Small and I am informed there is none at Cumberland or Old Town.

It would give me great pleasure to Co-operate with Genl Sullivan but I Shall be into the Seneca Towns a long time before he can receive an account of my Movement I Shall however endeavor to inform him, if a Messenger can be hired to Carry a letter.

I beg leave to thank your Excellency for your requisition to the Board of War.13

I have about Sixty Boats nearly finished and Neither Pitch nor Stuff to compleat them and therefore have Sent all the Boat Carpenters (except fifteen) down the Country to be employed to advantage I will endeavour to procure Stuff to finish the Compliment at first ordered at any Price. I have the honor to be with the most perfect regard and esteem your Excellencies Most Obedt and Most Hble Servant

Daniel Brodhead

P.S. By your Excellencies Bounty Straffain lives.

Augt 4th. I have Just learnt that two Soldiers have lately been killed at Fort Lawrens two boys on Wheeling Creek two Boys taken on Racoon Creek and one Man Slightly wounded14 and a Soldier last evening killed at Fort McIntosh and a Serjeant Slightly Wounded.15 the Inhabitants are So intent upon going to Kentuck and the falls of Ohio that I fear I Shall have but few Volunteers.

D.B.

LB, MNGL.

1For Brodhead’s decision to construct this fort, see his letter to GW, 25 June, n.6.

2Brodhead ordered Lt. Col. Richard Campbell, commander at Fort Laurens, to evacuate on 16 July (Kellogg, Frontier Advance, description begins Louise Phelps Kellogg, ed. Frontier Advance on the Upper Ohio, 1778-1779. Madison, Wis., 1916. description ends 389). When Campbell balked, Brodhead responded with angry letters on 30 July and 7 Aug. (Pa. Archives, description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends 1st ser., 12:141, 154).

3Brodhead led an expedition up the Allegheny River valley from Pittsburgh between 11 Aug. and 14 Sept. (see Brodhead to GW, 16–24 Sept., NNGL).

4A letter from Brodhead to lieutenants of Westmoreland County, Pa., and three Virginia frontier counties, written at Pittsburgh on 17 July, in part reads: “His Excellency, the Commander in Chief, has at length, given me a little latitude, and I am determined to strike a blow against one of the most Hostile nations, that in all Probability will effectually secure the tranquility of the Frontiers for years to come. But I have not Troops sufficient at once to carry on the expedition, and to support the different Posts which are necessary to be maintained. Therefore beg, you will engage as many Volunteers for two or three Weeks as you possibly can. They shall be well treated, and if they please, paid and entitled to an equal share of the Plunder that may be taken, which I apprehend will be very considerable. Some of the Friendly Indians will assist us on this enterprise.

“I cannot conceive that any of my Publick Spirited Countrymen will hesitate a moment on this occasion, nor suffer a temporary emolument to be put in the scale of universal Benefit” (Pa. Archives, description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends 1st ser., 12:137).

5James Morrison became a sergeant in the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment in September 1776 and was appointed an ensign in December 1778.

7For the arrival of this detachment from the former command of Col. Moses Rawlings on 28 May, see Brodhead to GW, 29 May, and n.4 to that document.

8For Virginia bounties, see “An act for speedily recruiting the Virginia regiments on continental establishment” (Va. Statutes description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends [Hening], 9:588–92).

9Brodhead was colonel of the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment.

10For the “Articles of Agreement and Confederation made and entered into by Daniel Brodhead Esqr Colonel Commanding the Western Department, for and in behalf of the United States of North America of the one part and … Chiefs and Warriors of the Chirokee Nation,” exchanged at Fort Pitt on 22 July, see Kellogg, Frontier Advance, description begins Louise Phelps Kellogg, ed. Frontier Advance on the Upper Ohio, 1778-1779. Madison, Wis., 1916. description ends 397–400. For preliminary speeches, see Kellogg, Frontier Advance, description begins Louise Phelps Kellogg, ed. Frontier Advance on the Upper Ohio, 1778-1779. Madison, Wis., 1916. description ends 392–97.

11In a letter to Brodhead on 18 Oct., GW denied him permission to attack Detroit, citing a force insufficient “to authorise the clearest hopes of success” and observing that “a miscarriage would be attended with many disagreable consequences” (DLC:GW).

12For this decision of John Killbuck and other Delaware chiefs, see Kellogg, Frontier Advance, description begins Louise Phelps Kellogg, ed. Frontier Advance on the Upper Ohio, 1778-1779. Madison, Wis., 1916. description ends 387–88.

13For Brodhead’s direct attempt to procure supplies from the Board of War, see his letter to Timothy Pickering, 3 Aug., in Pa. Archives, description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends 1st ser., 12:149–50.

14For William Anderson, a settler on the upper portion of Raccoon Creek in western Pennsylvania, and his two sons, aged 4 and 7 when captured by Indians, see Kellogg, Frontier Retreat, 41.

15Writing to George Morgan from Pittsburgh on 4 Aug., Brodhead remarked: “The Indians have done a good deal of mischief within these few days, but a severe blow against the most hostile may determine them to alter their conduct” (Pa. Archives, description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends 1st ser., 12:153–54; see also Brodhead to John Beck, 1 Aug., in Pa. Archives, description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends 1st ser., 12:142).

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