George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Daniel Brodhead, 14 September 1780

From Colonel Daniel Brodhead

Fort Pitt [Pa.] Sepr 14th 1780.

Dear General

I am honored with your favor of the 4th of July; and cannot avoid feeling most sensibly, the neglect, or want of resources, to enable Your Excellency, and those who have the Honor of Commanding under you, to act offensively against the Enemy. I am happy however, to find that our good Allies afford us aid. And have a happy presage that with the smiles of divine Providence, Your Excellency will be enabled to drive the Enemy out of our Country.

The French Inhabitants at Detroit are much in our Interest, and wish most heartily to See an American force approaching. I really believe, that twelve hundred well appointed Men would carry that place, without great difficulty. And I wish for nothing more, when circumstances will admit, than the Honor of making the attempt.

The whole Garrison with Sergeants to lead them, came to my Quarters a few days ago to represent that they had not received any bread for five days together. Their Conduct was civil & respectfull, & upon being told that every possible exertion was making to prevent their further suffering, they retired, in good order, to their Quarters.

I make use of every fair method, and sometimes a little compulsion, to obtain a temporary Supply. But with my best endeavours I am very Apprehensive, we shall be great sufferers, before your requisitions are complied with.1

Both Gamble & Davis, who were under sentence of Death, and who well deserved their Fate, have been suffered to make their Escape out of the Guard House, although they were ironed, on hands & feet. I ordered the Officers who commanded the Guards under arrest for neglect of Duty. One of them is tried & acquitted, the other remains to be tried.2 Colo. Gibson was appointed President of the Genl Court Martial ordered by your Excellency, and the same Court remains, untill it is your pleasure to dissolve it. I have the Honor to be with the sincerest wish for your success, Your Excellencies most Obedt Servt

Daniel Brodhead

P.S. I have taken the liberty to inclose an extract from a Letter I lately received from the Revd Mr Hackenwelder.3 Two Indians who were sent from the Moravian Towns with Messages to Sandusky, report, that almost all the Wyondot party consisting of thirty odd Warriors, were killed & wounded by the party sent to attack them.


ALS, DLC:GW; LB, NNGL. GW acknowleged this letter in his reply to Brodhead, 13 Oct., postscript.

1For these congressional supply quotas, see Circular to the States, 2 June, n.1.

2GW pardoned Pvt. Peter Davis and confirmed Pvt. David Gamble’s execution, but both soldiers escaped (see General Orders, 13 Oct.; see also Brodhead to GW, 7 Dec., DLC:GW).

3The enclosure was from John Heckewelder to Brodhead written at Salem, Ohio country, on 14 Aug. with a report that “a Party of white men” had attacked and killed Wyandot Indians crossing the Ohio River northwest of Fort Pitt (DLC:GW; see also Brodhead to GW, 21 Aug., n.2).

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