From Henry Knox
War Department, 8 August. 1793.
I have the honor to submit, the enclosed dispatches just received from Georgia—to wit—
A Letter from Governor Telfair dated 24 July 1793.1
Two letters, & enclosures, from Major Gaither of 15th & 20th July 1793.2 I have the honor to be Sir, Most respectfully, Your very humble Servt
LS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.
1. In his letter to Knox of 24 July, written at Augusta, Ga., Edward Telfair reported that the Creek Indians were not “generally, at this period, disposed to war” and those Indians friendly to the United States would approve of any attempt to destroy those Creek towns “who have committed murders and outrages.” Telfair wrote that “a sudden stroke” would “effect a restoration of property, as well as the liberation of unfortunate captives. … To destroy their towns and crops, and possess ourselves of prisoners, will ensure peace on a solid basis; and no other principal can be of any duration” (ASP, Indian Affairs, description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends 1:370). On the administration’s consideration of a war against hostile Indians in the South, see Knox to GW, 25 July, and enclosure, and GW to Knox and Andrew Pickens, 26 July, and Knox to GW, 5 Aug. (second letter), and enclosures, and Knox to GW, 7 Aug. 1793.
2. Both of Henry Gaither’s letters to Knox were composed at newly constructed Fort Fidius, which was on the north bank of the Oconee River at present-day Milledgeville, Baldwin County, Georgia (Roberts, Historic Forts description begins Robert B. Roberts. Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States. New York, 1988. description ends , 220). In the letter of 15 July, Gaither wrote that “no recent depredations have been committed by the savages.” He also reported that the state militia “are not yet discharged; the whole of the frontiers are lined with them” and that “a party of militia are to set off this day for the Creek nation … but it is so great a secret, that I cannot hear who is to command them.” In his letter of 20 July, Gaither informed Knox that “the militia of this State are yet in arms. … The Governor has published an order he has received for raising one hundred militia cavalry, and one hundred infantry, both to be under my immediate command, for the defence of the frontier of this State. … The militia officers are by no means pleased with this order. They say the numbers are not sufficient to cover them, and why give the command to a federal officer? I suspect they will not allow the two hundred men to be raised, if murmuring will prevent it.” Gaither enclosed two letters from Timothy Barnard, the deputy agent to the Creek Indians. In his letter to Gaither of 21 June, Barnard reported that the Creeks seemed prepared to “make a peace, and settle matters with the United States,” but that various individual Indians and Spanish agents were attempting to disrupt the process. Barnard added several complaints about the terms of his employment and the dangers he faced living in Indian country, before concluding with a summary of various difficulties in dealing with the various Creek towns. Barnard wrote in his letter to Gaither of 7 July that matters had deteriorated due to the recent murder of David Cornell, a Creek Indian friendly to the United States (ASP, Indian Affairs, description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends 1:422–23). According to GW’s executive journal for 8 Aug. 1793, these letters indicated that the frontiers of Georgia were “tolerably quiet” and that “No depredation has lately taken place.” GW returned them to Knox this same date (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 215–16).