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Washington, George (1732-1799) to Daniel Brodhead

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06690 Author/Creator: Washington, George (1732-1799) Place Written: Morristown, New Jersey Type: Letter signed Date: 14 March 1780 Pagination: 4 p. : docket ; 33.2 x 21 cm.

Summary of Content: General Washington refers to previous correspondence with General Brodhead, known for leading several military expeditions against Native Americans. Writes that a previously mentioned expedition "against the Natches and the English settlements upon the Mississippi, is now at an end, the Spaniards having already possessed those Posts." Instructs Brodhead not to attack the British force at Detroit, but states "if you think yourself competent to an excursion against any of the hostile tribes of Indians, you are at liberty, as I have mentioned ... to undertake it." Orders Brodhead to supply information on future military returns regarding Brodhead's regiment, as well as several other regiments and companies, so he can give the states credit for their soldiers' service in detached corps. Reports that he previously requested that the Board of War send ordnance stores to Fort Pitt, where Brodhead was stationed, but that it was deemed impractical due to the difficulty of passage at that time of year. States that he recently ordered General Henry Knox to detach an Officer of Artillery and other men for duty at the Garrison at Fort Pitt. Disapproves of a sentence brought against Lieutenant Gordon, stating "a General Court Martial can only be held by order of the Commander in Chief- or of a General Officer commanding a separate department ... " Expresses the need for a new trial for Gordon and other prisoners. Discusses the loss of unspecified boats and the expense of boat building. Surmises that the remaining boats are sufficient for carrying supplies. Gives Brodhead permission to visit his family.

Background Information: Signer of the U.S. Constitution. Henry Knox served as Chief of Artillery during the Revolutionary War.

Full Transcript: Head Quarters Morris Town 14th. March
1780
Dear Sir
I have recd your favor of the 11th. ulto. You will, I imagine, long before this time, have received mine of the 4...th January, which acknowledges yours of the 10th: and 22d: Novembr. and 13th: December - What I hinted in that letter, respecting [text loss] expedition against the Natches and the English Settlements upon the Missisippi, is now at an end, the Spaniards having already possessed those Posts. -
From the accounts which you have received of the enemy's force at Detroit, and my Ideas of yours (having recd. no late Returns) it is [text loss] that you can make no attempt upon that place: But, if you think yourself competent to an excursion against any of the hostile tribes of Indians, you are at liberty, as I have mentioned in some of my former letters, to undertake it -
In your next Return, be pleased to let me know the different terms of service of your own Regiment and of the 9th: Virginia - and let the Returns, of the late Rawlin's and the independent Companies, not only specify the terms of Service, but to what States the Men, who compose them, belong - This is necessary to enable me to give [2] the States credit for their Men Serving in detached Corps -
I had, upon the 8th: February, desired the Board of War to prepare a certain quantity of Ordnance and Stores for Fort Pitt, and recommended to them, to endeavor to send them up while the Snow was on the ground, if this should be of opinion that it would be possible to pass the Mountains at that Season. I imagine it was deemed impracticable, as they wrote me on the 4th: instant, that the stores were ready, and would go off as soon as the Roads would permit - I have directed General Knox to detach an Officer of Artillery with a proper number of Men for the duty of the Garrison of Fort Pitt.
I am under the necessity of disapproving the Sentence against Lt. Gordon, on account of the irregular constitution of the Court. A General Court Martial can only be held by order of the Commander in Chief - or, of a General Officer commanding a separate department [text loss] any one of the States - But that justice may be duely administered, I enclose a power, by which, Mr. Gordon may be brought to a new trial, as may any other prisoners, whose cases may require a General Court. I return the former proceedings.
[3] My apprehensions that the Boats would be lost, if they were suffered to be taken into employ, for common purposes, was the reason of my directing them to be carefully laid up, untill wanted. And I perceive, by your letter, that my fears were not groundless. The expense of the materials for Boat building, and the Wages of proper Workmen are at this time so enormous, that, as there is little or no prospect of any offensive operations, I shall not give orders for the number of Carpenters you mention. The Boats that have been saved are, I imagine, more than sufficient for the purposes of transporting Stores &ca. from post to post. I have desired the Board of War to direct a few Armourers sent up -
In one of your former letters you expressed a wish of coming down the Country to visit your family. Upon the prospect of matters at that time, I did not think it expedient for you to leave the post: But I think in the present situation of Affairs to the Westward, you may take an opportunity of doing it. You will be the best judge of the matter when this gets [text loss] your hands, and will determine upon the prop[text loss] of the measure from circumstances. I take it [4] for granted Colo Gibson will remain at the post should you come down, as I would not chuse that a place of such consequence should be intrusted to an Officer of inferior Rank -
I am with great Regard
Dear Sir
Your most obt. Servt.
Go: Washington

Colo. Brodhead
[docket]
His Excelcy Go: Washington
recd. 22nd. April 1780.
The property of A.J. Faulk;
Kittawing, Pa.
See More

People: Washington, George, 1732-1799
Brodhead, Daniel, 1736-1809

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: PresidentRevolutionary WarRevolutionary War GeneralMilitary HistoryGlobal History and CivicsForeign AffairsAmerican Indian HistoryMuster Rolls and ReturnsFortificationMilitary SuppliesAmmunitionWeaponryCourt Martials and Courts of InquiryMilitary LawPrisonerMaritimeConstruction

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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