George Washington Papers

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear, 24 August 1793

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear

War department August 24th 1793


Will you please to submit the enclosed letters of the 27th and 30th July from the Secretary of the South Western Territory, and their enclosures to the President of the United States.1 I am Sir with great esteem Your humble servant

H. Knox


1Daniel Smith’s letter to Knox of 27 July, from Knoxville, reported that the unauthorized attack on some Cherokee Indians by a party of militia led by Capt. John Beard had done “less damage” than expected, and the Indians “have done no damage here for about a week or ten days.” On this incident, see Knox to GW, 16 July, and note 1. Smith supported “the design … of sending General [John] Sevier, with 100 or 150 horsemen, down the north side of the Tennessee” River, particularly since this expedition would probably prevent “a large number of volunteers” from making “an incursion on the Cherokees” in early August (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 1:464).

Smith’s letter to Knox of 30 July covered an extract of a letter from Gen. James Robertson to Smith of 20 July. Robertson wrote that “times” in the Mero Distict “are much more gloomy at present.” He believed that the Cherokees were preparing for war against the white settlers and provided a number of examples to support his opinion, including efforts by the Cherokees to enlist the Chickasaws in the proposed war. Smith’s letter to Knox also enclosed a list of persons killed by the Indians in the Mero District since 10 May 1793 and a letter from the Chickasaw chief Piomingo to Robertson of 17 June 1793 expressing thanks for the recent gift of corn and reporting on the “bad doings” of the Creeks and Cherokees and their hostility toward the white settlers and the United States (ibid., 465–66). GW received Smith’s letters and enclosures on this same date (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 230).

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