From Henry Knox
War department January 3d 1794
I have the honor to submit to your consideration letters just received from General Wayne.1 I have the honor to be with greatest respect Your obedient Servant
LS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.
1. After receiving notice of the failure of Indian commissioners Benjamin Lincoln, Timothy Pickering, and Beverley Randolph to achieve a peace treaty with the hostile Indians of the Northwest Territory, Gen. Anthony Wayne began preparations to move his army from its headquarters at Hobson’s Choice, near Fort Washington, and closer to the villages of the Miami Indians on the Auglaize River (see notes 1 of Knox to GW, 16, 30 Nov. 1793). By 10 Oct., Wayne had established new headquarters on a branch of the Miami River now known as Greenville Creek, and approximately six miles from Fort Jefferson (Wayne to Knox, 23 Oct. 1793, Knopf, Wayne description begins Richard C. Knopf, ed. Anthony Wayne, a Name in Arms: Soldier, Diplomat, Defender of Expansion Westward of a Nation; The Wayne-Knox-Pickering-McHenry Correspondence. Pittsburgh, 1960. description ends , 278). During the remainder of 1793 and into 1794, Wayne would oversee the construction of Fort Greene Ville at this site, from which the two enclosed letters were written. In his first
Map 1: Northwest Territory, 1794. (Illustrated by Rick Britton. Copyright Rick Britton 2008.)
letter to Knox of 15 Nov. 1793, Wayne wrote that it was the opinion of the general officers that the army stop its advance at this point, which was “within striking distance” of the principle Miami villages and from which the army could “cover the frontiers & our heavy convoys from depredations & insults of the Savages. . . .”
Wayne reported that the “Mounted Volunteers of Kentucky,” under Maj. Gen. Charles Scott, had returned home. He also expressed his exasperation with the failure of army contractors to provide supplies in a timely manner and was especially anxious that a convoy with clothing should arrive soon, as “the greater part of the troops are nearly naked” (Knopf, Wayne description begins Richard C. Knopf, ed. Anthony Wayne, a Name in Arms: Soldier, Diplomat, Defender of Expansion Westward of a Nation; The Wayne-Knox-Pickering-McHenry Correspondence. Pittsburgh, 1960. description ends , 281–84; see also JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 276).
A second letter from Wayne to Knox of 15 Nov., which was marked private, also was enclosed. In this letter, Wayne wrote about problems within the officers corps. “The rights of man, has been held up as a Criterian, even of Military Government. Attempts have frequently been made to evade & disobey Orders, under various & unworthy pretexts & idle quibles . . . It has been advanced as a Cardinal principle, & Officers have been advised to say ‘Sir I have owed my Country service—& I have done it—I still owe allegiance, & that in return for a Granted right—of going, & coming, when I please’ & to such a pitch was this doctrine carried (at a crises when we have scarcely a Guard & reliefs) that when some young Gentlemen were refused a furlough, they offered their resignations & prepared to depart without any further Cerimony, saying they were advised, to do so, by experienced Officers!” Wayne promised to make an example of the instigator of this behavior, when identified. Wayne then complained about the neglectful behavior of army contractors, warning that from “present appearances, it most certainly was expected, that I shou’d be compeled to retreat, for want of supplies: this was only intended to Operate against me but principally against Government: The Honor & dignity of which shall never be Committed by any Conduct of mine. I mention those facts & circumstances in confidence—which will probably be openly demonstrated in a little time; as they have failed in causing me to retreat—probably their next attempt will be to default my Advance.” In a postscript, Wayne noted that James Wilkinson, having been ill, has only recently returned to active duty (NNGL: Knox Papers). GW returned both these letters to Knox on 4 Jan. (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 276).