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Instructions to Military Commander in Tennessee, Regarding Boundary with Choctaw & Cherokee

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionMassachusetts Historical Society: John Adams Papers view image
Document Information
Date January 27, 1797
Author Name James McHenry (primary) Location: War Office
Recipient Name Richard Sparks (primary)
Summary Gives instructions for supporting the party surveying the boundary line between the U.S. and the Cherokee and Choctaw nations, as necessary. Asks that Sparks enforce the "Act to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes and to preserve peace on the frontiers," though to hold off from disturbing white settlers on Indian land until the boundary has been ascertained. Gives instructions on the disposition of troops in Tennessee to defend whites against Indian hostility and Indians against white encroachment. Advises that forts be built without waiting for the surveying of the boundary, but leaves this to Sparks.
Document Format Letterbook Copy
Document Notes No tif image.
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Richard Sparks; James McHenry; Cherokees; Choctaws; commissioners; ;
Related Places War Office; boundary between U.S. and Cherokee and Choctaw nations; Tennessee; ;
Keywords boundaries; surveying; ;
Key Phrases [not available]

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Copy of a letter from the Secretary of War to Captain Richard Sparks commanding the Troops of the United States in Tennessee.
War Office, January 27th 1797.
Should the Commissioners who are to ascertain and mark the boundary line between the United States and the Cherokee and Choctaw Nations find it necessary to be covered by a military Escort, and call upon you for one you will be pleased to furnish it, and to give information to the Contractor, that he may take measures to provide the detachment with provisions.
I enclose you the "Act to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, and to preserve peace on the frontier," passed the 19th of May 1796. You will perceive in what cases it is allowable to employ the military force and will govern yourself accordingly. As it repects however, Settlers on the Indian Land, it is thought advisable to suspend proceeding against them till after the line shall have been established, when particular Orders will be transmitted you on the subject.
The force for the protection of the state of Tennessee will for the present consist of your company, Captain Richard's and Captain Wade's, which you will dispose of in such a position or positions as may appear best calculated to cover the frontier Inhabitants from Indian depredations, and the
the Indian land from further Intrusions. I have directed the Agent of the Department of War to assist you with his advice on the occasion as a person acquainted with the Country and of military Experience.
I do not know that it would be safe to delay erecting works for the protection of the Troops till after the line shall be established.
If however you are of opinion, upon consulting with Mr. Henley, that no injury would attend the delay, I should think it better to wait that event, than risk taking Ground which is might be necessary afterwards to relinquish. I shall in the mean while write to the Commissioners who are to establish the line, to examine the Country with an Eye to the most eligible Sites.
I am Sir,
with respect
Your obdt. Servant

James McHenry