Instructions for Mounting Militia Against Wabash

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionNational Archives and Records Administration: 1st Cong, House, Sec War Reports, RG233 view image
CollectionPrinted Version only view image
PublicationSmith, William Henry, ed. The St. Clair Papers, The Life and Public Services of Arthur St. Clair. N.p. 1881. Reprinted Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1970. (no image)
PublicationLowrie, Walter and St. Clair Clarke, Matthew, eds. American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 Vols. Washington, DC: Gales and Seaton, 1832. (no image)
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Document Information
Date August 23, 1790
Author Name Henry Knox (primary)
Recipient Name Arthur St. Clair (primary)
Summary Militia to be raised in defense of frontier from raids by Wabash Indians. Politics with Great Britain addressed, regarding suspicions of US intentions toward Canadian territory.
Document Format Document Signed
Document Notes [not available]
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Arthur St. Clair; Henry Knox; President of the United States; George Washington; Wabash; Indians; hostiles; savages; militia; Brigadier General Josiah Harmar; British Officers; messenger; Shawnesse; Continental Troops; Secretary of the Treasury; Alexander Hamilton; contractors; Samuel Hodgdon, Commissary of Military Stores; Lieutenant Ernest; ;
Related Places Fort Washington; Fort Pitt; Fort Harmar; frontier; territory; Virginia; Ohio River; Canada; Great Britain; Fort Vincennes; Philadelphia; Red Stone; Wheeling; Monongohalia; Monongahela River; ;
Keywords measures; offers of peace; murders; robberies; rendezvous; horseback; regulations; offenses; treaties; maps; supplies; articles; rifle powder; musket powder; bullets; cartridge paper; case shot; howitzers; six pounders; military stores; ;
Key Phrases [not available]

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Augt 23 1790
The Secretary of
War to --
Gov. St. Clair
"I have submitted to the President of the United States your Letter of this date, and the papers therein referred to, containing the reasons on which you have founded the proposed operation against the Wabash Indians.
"While the President regrets exceedingly the occasion, he approves the measures you have taken for preventing those predatory incurssions of the Wabash indians, which for a considerable period past have been so calamitous to the frontiers lying along the Ohio.
"The offers of peace which have been
made upon principles of justice and humanity to the Wabash indians, and refused, will fully justify the conduct of the United States in the operations which have been directed for the prevention of future murders and robberies.
"It is the earnest desire of the President that the operation should be effectual, and produce in the Indians proper dispositions for peace. __ He therefore confides in your judgment and abilities, as being properly acquainted with the force of the Indians, the nature of the operation, and all circumstances of the case, whether any further force shall be added to that already ordered. __ If upon due deliberation you should be of opinion that the force you have directed should be inadequate to the end proposed and that an additional number of militia should be requisite he consents to the measure, and hereby authorizes you for that purpose.
In this case the additional numbers of militia should be taken from the frontier counties of Virginia, an amount of their vicinity to Fort Washington, the place of rendezvous.
"And if you should be of the judgment that two hundred of the militia should be mounted on Horseback, he also consents to such arrangement, under the regulations proposed in my letter to Brigadier General Harmar of the 7th day of last June.
"It may not however be improper to observe, in all the arrangements for the expedition, that while energy is the first principle to be observed, that it must be blended with a just economy.
"There are existing jealousies in the minds of the British Officers in Canada of the designs of the United States respecting the Posts to have been relinquished by the last peace. It will be a point therefore of delicacy that you should take measures by sending some Officer or messenger at a proper time, to assure the commanding Officer of the real object of the expedition. That the Shauneese and some others joined with them have committed such enormous offences against the Citizens of the United States as are any longer insupportable but to assure him of the entire pacific
dispositions of the United States towards Great Britain and its possessions--
"You will also find it at some certain moment highly proper to inform the Indians with whom you have formed treaties, of your pacific dispositions towards them--
"And it may also be proper under certain circumstances of humiliation of the Indians, to conclude with them treaties of peace, provided it can be done on proper Security of their good [undecipherable] and consistently with the dignity and interest of the United States--
"The President has directed me to declare that many important circumstances [concur?] to press, that the operation should commence immediately after the assembling of the Militia--and as the main force will march from Port Washington, it is his opinion, as far as our opinion can be formed from the maps, that the march of the Troops from that fort should commence two or three days previous to those from Fort [undecipherable]--
The Militia employed must be [undecipherable] precariously to their [undecipherable], and on their [undecipherable] return before they are discharged,
by a field officer of the Continental troops agreeably to your instructions from the President dated the 5th of October 1789, and to Brigr General Harmer dated the 7 of June last.
I have made an estimate for the object of the expedition and transmitted it to the Secretary of the Treasury, and I have requested him to advance a sum of money to the Contractors in order to enable them to furnish the requisite supplies of Transission and Articles in the Quarter Masters Department--
I have also written to Mr. Hodgston, Commissary of Military Stores in Philadelphia to forward immediately by the way of Red Stone and Wheeling five tons of best Rifle and Musket powder, four tons leaden bullets--Cartridge papers--Case shot for 5 1/2 inch Howitzers and for three and six pounders.
I have written to Lieut Ernest at
at Fort Pitt, directing him to repair to Red Stones in order to receive said Stones, and to have them transported down the Monongahalia, by water, to Fort Harmer, or to Wheeling by land, and thence to Fort Harmer, as he shall find most convenient.