George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Irvine, 21 May 1782

Fort Pitt May 21st 1782


A number of the principal people of this Country made application to me about two Weeks since, for my consent to their collecting a body of Volunteers to go against Sanduskey, which I agreed to on these express conditions that they did not mean to extend their settlements nor had any thing in View but to harrass the Enemy with an intention to protect the frontier; and that any conquests they might make should be in behalf and for the United States, that they would be governed by Military Law, as Militia, that they must collect such numbers as might probably be successfull, and last, that they would Equip themselves, and Victual, at their own expence—They are Accordingly assembling this day at the Kings Bottom, all on Horseback with thirty days provision—They have Asked of me Only a few Flints and a small supply of Powder.

As they will Elect their Officers, I have taken some pains to get Colonel Crawford appointed to Command, & hope he will be, he lift me yesterday on his way down to the place of Rendezvous, he does not wish to go with a smaller number than four hundred, whether this number will assemble I can not say, he pressed me for some Officers, I have sent with him Lieutenant Rose my Aid De Camp, A very Vigilant Active Brave young Gentleman well Acquainted with service, and A Surgeon, these two are all I could venture to spare—several were solicitous for my going, but I did not think my self at liberty consistent with the Spirit of Your Excellencys Instructions, nor are we in such a situation that I could take a single Continental Soldier along, particularly as the Volunteers are all mounted—If their number exceeds three hundred I am of Opinion they may succeed, as their march will be so rapid they will probably in a great degree effect a surprise.

I can not find a man in this Country who has a tolerable knowledge of the road to Niagara, there are numbers who are acquainted to the heads of Aligany from thence I think, the people of the State of New York are better acquainted than any this way. I have the honor to be with perfect Respct Sir Your Excellencys Most Obedient and Most Humble Servant

Wm: Irvine

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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