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Instructions to Captain Henry Burbeck

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Source Name Image(s)
CollectionUnited States Military Academy: Henry Burbeck Papers view image
Document Information
Date April 10, 1790
Author Name Henry Knox (primary)
Recipient Name Henry Burbeck (primary)
Summary As Burbeck has equipped a company according to previous orders, Knox now gives him further instructions. He is to proceed to Savannah, Georgia. If the Creek Indians are invading or about to invade, he should offer to assist the state militia to fight the Creek. If, on the other hand, there is no threat of invasion, the company should proceed to the St. Mary's River and erect a fort. The primary purposes of the fort will be to protect frontier inhabitants and apprehend runaway Negroes. They are to be friendly with the Spanish garrison.
Document Format Document
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Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Henry Knox; Captain Henry Burbeck; Battalion of Artillery; recruits; President of the United States of America; Captain Savage; Captain Smith; Creek Indians; Indians; Governor of Georgia; Militia of the State of Georgia; Captain; frontier inhabitants; Spanish; soldiers; Spanish officer; Secretary of the Treasury; Mr. Habersham; Legislature; civil authority; ;
Related Places West Point; Savannah River; Georgia; Savannah; St. Mary's River; War Office; ;
Keywords clothes; muskets; brass six pounders; cannon; entrenching tools; construction; block houses; barracks; boats; river transportation; provisions; medicines; hospital stores; pay; sloop Rambler; instructions; orders; fair wind; invasion; express; partial hostilities; encampment; stores; certificate; water casks; boards; public articles; fortifications; works; security; pallisadoes; palisades; timber; earth; citadel; sketches of works; Indian attacks; magazines; ammunition; provision; Spanish garrison; offense; injury; discipline; camp; economy; contracts; rations; public horse; rate; triplicate receipts; vouchers; horses; baggage; training; report; preservation; ;
Key Phrases reconnoiter well the grounds contiguous to the mouth of the river for a health and strong position; the most cordial friendship to that nation;

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Instructions to Captain Henry Burbeck
Commanding a Company of the Battalion of
Artillery in the Service of the United States
Having directed that your Company should be completed out of the recruits at Westpoint to Seventy non Commiss.d officers and privates--that it should be completely and uniformly clothed- armed with musquets and furnished with two brass six pounders with 200 rounds of ammunition for the musquets and furnished 300 Rounds for the Cannon- that it should be furnished with intrenching tools and tools for the construction of Blocke houses and barracks- that it should be furnished with boats for river transportation-that it should be furnished with three months provisions, medcines and hospital Stores and also with two months full
full Pay; and it should be imbarked on board the Sloop Rambler- and be in readings to receive further Orders. all of which objects. I am Satisfied to learn by your report of this day are substan[undecipherable] executed,
In the name and in behalf of the President of the United States of America I now give you the following instructions by which you are to govern yourself--
Wi^th the first fair wind you are in company with Brigg States General having on Board Captains Savages and Smiths Companies immediately to proceed to Savannah River in Georgia. On your arrival at the mouth of that river you are to repair to Savannah in a boat in order to make the ultimate arrangements for the destination of the respective Companies
If you shall learn from Authentic information
at Savannah that the creek Indians have made a formidable invasion or Should be on the point of making such invasion, you will immediately dispatch an express to the Governor informing him of your arrival and readiness with the troops under your orders to join Such of the Militia of the State of Georgia as he should think proper to be imbodied on Occasion or otherwise to act as circumstances may require--
But if you should be informed, as is highly probable, that the said creek indians remain quiet or have Committed only partial hostilities, you and the other Captains, with their Companies, must proceed to your and their respective destinations, agreeably to your written instructions of this day- In either case however you must inform the Governor of your Arrival==
Your Company is to be Stationed on the river St Mary's, the Southern boundary of the United States, On your Arrival at the Mouth of the Said river you
you will choose a healthy Situation for the encampment of your Company, wich you will immediately disimbark together with your Cannon and Stores- you will discharge the Sloop Rambler, giving ^ the Captain a Certificate under your hand and seal, certifying the number of days that he was detained by you at Savannah and P Riverxrivers over and above the days which he is by agreement to allow for the disembarkation of the troops and stores--
The water casks, boards and other public articals used in fitting the said sloop for the reception of the troops, you will also land for the benefit of your Garrison,
You will after landing, reconoitre, will the grounds contiguous to the mouth of the rivers for a healthy and strong position, in which you Shall as far as possible unite all the qualities of convenience and defence--
Having decided upon the spot for your Fortications you will immediately proceed to construct works
works necessary for your Security. In the first instance you will erect a line of pallisadoes. In the Second Strengthen the Same either by timber or earth, as may be most convenient, and in the third to erect one or more block houses to defend the curtains of your works, and in ease of necessity to Serve as a Citadel.--
I herewith deliver you sketches of works which in my opinion will be proper defences against indian attacks-- These however must be varied according to the nature of the ground which will require the exercise of your Judgement--
In the construction of your works you must provide magazines for the deposit of your ammunition and provisions, and also for a constant supply of fresh water
The main object of your Station will be to protect the frontier inhabitants from the incursions of the Creek Indians, provided the Said indians Should manifest hostile dispositions- besides this object you
you will on all occasions, apprehend runaway negroes, and direct them to be returned to their masters.
Being in the vicinity of a Spanish Garrison, you will embrace all opertunities of evincing the most cordial friendship to that nation. If accidental differences Should arrise between Soldiers of ^your garrison and any of the Spanish soldiers or subjects, you will conduct yourself with perfect tempers and politeness in the enquiry, if the offence or injury Should have been committed by any of your Garrison, you will inflict exemplary punishment--if by any Spanish soldiers or Subjects you will make a Statement of the affair with great precision and Coolness to the nearest Spanish Officer--
You will on the voyge direct direct guards to be daily mounted on boards your Sloop be due Subordiantion observed--
On your Arrival at St Marys you will commence
commence by observing the ^most rigid dicipline and regularity in all respects--
Your Camp and fortifications must be guard, against the possibility of a Surprise, either by indians or any set of Men whatever, you must observe the most habitual and Soldierly vigilance--at once reflecting honor on your own and the national character. You must impress it as a maxim on your Officers that to be Surprised is to be disgraced forever--
It is the firm determination of the President of the United States that the troops Shall be Subject to the most perfect discipline, and thoes Officers who disregard the Same Shall experience all the effects of their neglience-- negligence
You will also impress on all under your Command the importance of ecconomy and an attention to all species of public property, and in case of
of of disobedience to your orders in this respect, you must make the delinquents the feel the effects of discipline either by Corporal punishment or otherwise as the case may require--
The Secretary of the Treasury has written to Mr. Habersham of Savannah to form Contracts to Supply you with rations of provisions-and I have requested it as a condition of said contracts that you should always have in your magazines, wholesome provisions for two months-- with Such a Supply and proper precautions against surprises, you will have nothing to apprehend from an indian enemy--
Circumstances may require that you should keep a public Horse for the purpose of sending expresses to inform the inhabitants of any danger- you may also require boards and other small supplies for your Garrison, the quartermasters line, for these purposes, I have requested the Secretary of the Treasury to direct
direct Mr. Habersham to pay a Sum to your Orders in Savannah no exceeding five Hundred Dollars--
You will obtain the articles you may so require at the cheapest rate, and take triplicates receipts for the same. --the money paid on your order will be charged to you, and the bills and reciepts as Stated above will be your vouches to exonorate you from the Said charges on a Settement at the Treasury of the United States --
Circumstances may also require you to act in the field either seperately or in conjunction with the other Companies, you will require horses for your Artillery and Ammunition and also horses and teams for your Baggage- In this care you will obtain the means of transportation on the best terms possible for the public, and draw on Mr Habersham for the Amount--
You will regularly made me a report on the last day of each Month, of all circumstances of a public nature
nature, which happen during the said month, this report must be independant of the returns of your Company which also must be made at the Same time--
You are yourself to observe the greatest respect for the civil authority of the State, and to enjoin the Same Sentiment on all under your Orders--
To every intimation therefore you receive from the Governor or Legislature you will pay due regard and in all cases to afford Such assistance and protection as the case may require and the State of your command admit--
These instructions will point out the general objects of your duty- But the details of training and disciplining your Company and the other minute parts of your duty must depend on the value you Set [undecipherable] your own character--
The estimation in which you shall be held as an Officer and your future prospects in that line will
will altogether ^dependon yourself: A ^ good Officer may be unfortunate, but he never can justly be disgraced --
For every event not contemplated in these instructions the public must rely upon the exercise of your talents and Judgement and I Sincerely hope your Conduct will merit their approbation and that of the President of the United States--
As soon as convenient after your arrival at your Station, you will inspect every Barrell of your provision, carefully noting every one which may be deficient in quantity or quality and the means by which it became so and transmit me a particular report thereof in order that if Such deficiencies shall have been caused by the contractors, he may be called upon to make it good- you will have the whole provision repacked and put in the best Order for Preservation--
Given at the War Office of the
United States this tenth day of
April One Thousand Seven Hundred Ninety
Secretary of War