George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Craig, 7 December 1781

Fort Pitt 7th Decemr 1781

May it Pleas Your Excellency

I adressed A Letter to Your Excellency Dated at Philadelphia 15th of April informing Your Excellency of my being Ordered there by General Clarke for Ordnance [Stores]; after finishing that Business I Returned as Expeditiously as Possible, and arrived at this Post with the Stores 24th of June, in hopes of finding the General Readey to Prosceed with A Formidable Army on his Intended Enterprize, but to My great Mortification, found that his whole Force did not Amount to five Hundreds fifty men, his Boats were not finished, A Considerable Quantity of Flour was Provided, Beef Could not be Purchased with Paper Money, the General almost Dispearing of doing any thing of Importance, but Still Determined to Attempt Something—he Ordered me instead of Seven Peices that were first intended to take only three viz. our Royal Howitzer one Six Pd and one three Pd; with Propper Apperatus and Amunition—on the 29th of July we Embarked, and Proceeded to Wheeling, where we Expected A Considerable Number of the Militia would have joined us, we found only Eighteen Collected there, and the greater Part of those with us Determined to go no further, Suspicious of being Carried too great a Distance from thier Famileys—the General Assured them he would take them no farther than the Miami, and that he would Return with them before the Winter, but notwithstanding all his Adress Several Parties Marched off—after waiting four days for the Westmoreland Militi. (our Numbers Decreasing every hour) we Prosceeded to Middle Island, Soon after our arrival there, the General was informed by Express of Colonel Lochereys arrival at Wheeling, with one Hundred & Eighteen of the Westmoreland Militi., and that he waited there for Provisions Amunition and Boats, the General sent him Back A suply, togather with Instructions to follow us to the Miami; within August 10th left Middle Island and without Halting at Miami Arrived at the Great Falls on the 18th, Our little Army much Reduced Several Boat Crews of Militi. having Deserted—here it was Expected Seven Hundred of the Kentuckey Militi. would have joined us, together with Part of two State Regiments, we were Still disapointed—it appeared that not more than three Hundred & fifty Could be Raised and not Certain of that Number, also not Possible to Assemble them in less time than one Month—the State Troops did not amount to one Hundred & fifty Men Almost Naked—and they together with those we Carried with us one half were Sick—in this Situation were we untill the latter End of Sept.—an expedition therefore Either up the Wabash or Miami became Impracticable—the General, finding that nothing Offensive Could be done this Season Determined to Strengthen A Small irregular Fort Built the Presceeding Sumer at the Falls, and Erect an other at the Mouth of Kentuckey, in Order to Secure the Provisions and Facilate the Opperations of an Other Campaign—the Militi. were Called for this Duty—the Season being thus Advanced, and nothing further to be done in which my Assistance became Necessary, I Applyed to General Clarke for Permission to Return with my Company and Guns to this Place, [which] he with Reluctance Granted—I was informed it was impossible to March Artillery by Land to Fort Pitt—I was therefore under the Necessity of Rebuilding an Old Boat to Carrey them, (the new Boats being too Small) in which I was Employed till the 12th of Octr—on the 13th I Embarked and in Order to Conceal my Intentions from the Enemy Sett off in the Night—in A few days by fresh Tracks on the Indian Shore I was Convinced the Enemy had Discovered me—it then became Necessary to make as Formidable an appearence as Possible—my Force amounted to Eighty four men (including A Party of Militi. that were Returning Home) on Board Seven Boats in one of which I had a three Pdr Mounted two of my Boats were much incumbered with Sick and two Famileys that were Returning to Monongahala Settlement—I kept as Strong A Party on the Virginia Shore as I Could Spare from working the Boats. I Ordered three Spies one half mile in Front of the Boats one of Which was to keep the Bank of the River one at forty Yards distant the other fifty Yards further moving Parelell and keeping Each other in View; and if Possible Discover any Ambuscade or Party of the Enemy that might be Waiting for me, and in Order to Deceive the Enemy with Respect to My Strength or at least Lead them to believe my Party was the Advance Part of An Army they had Expected up the Miami; I Fiered A Morning and Evning Gun and at Night made as many Fiers as might Induce them to Believe my Force Amounted to five Hundred—this Stratagem had the intended Effect it Prevented Small Partys from Anoying me and also the spies who had first Discovered me, I imagined went up to they [   ] to inform them of an Army Coming up the Miami—I was Confirmed in this by their [Tracti] not being seen above that River, and on Considering that the Enemy on hearing Cannon Fiered, would Conclude they were intended for their Countrey. Carreying Artillery to Fort Pitt against the Current would appear to them verey improbible—after Passing Miami I moved as Expeditiously and as Silently as Possible, untill I Reached [Sioto] after which I was convinced the Enemy had not Pursued me but had waited at some advantagous Place up the Miami—by this time my men were much Fatigued and Short of Provisions having taken on Board only thirty days Flour it at the Falls Depending on the Hunting for Beef, which Brought in an insufficent Suply the near aproach of Winter Prevented my killing for that Purpose, but Continued my March with unremiting Deligence, and Arrived at this Post (with the Loss of three men Drowned & one Killed by Accident) on the 28th of November my Men almost Fatigued to Death having Rowed 705 Miles against A Rappid Current—I Beg Your Excellencys Pardon for this Trespass of Your Patience—and Permit me to Subscribe myself Your Excellencys Devoted Obedt Servt

J. Craig

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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