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Situation of the Legion at Hobson's Choice Near Cincinnati; Anger at Proposal to Replace Legion with Militia

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionClements Library: Anthony Wayne Letterbooks view image
MicrofilmHistorical Society Of Pennsylvania: Anthony Wayne Papers (no image)
PublicationKnopf, Richard C., ed. Anthony Wayne, A Name In Arms: The Wayne-Knox-Pickering-McHenry Correspondence. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1960. (no image)
Document Information
Date June 20, 1793
Author Name Anthony Wayne (primary) Location: Hobson's Choice
Recipient Name Henry Knox (primary)
Summary Wayne continues to fret over the lack of supplies for his troops, a concern which is exacerbated by continued harassment by the Indians at the cost of several American lives. He is angered by the proposal to reduce American forces that would be replaced by state militias that, he argues, are ineffective in comparison to his well-trained Army.
Document Format Author's Letterbook Copy
Document Notes Cited in Knox to Wayne, 06/28/1793.
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Henry Knox; Anthony Wayne; General Posey; Governor Shelby; Colonel George Nicholas; General Wilkinson; mounted volunteers; Congress; militia; Indians; regular troops; Executive of the General Government; General Logan; Legion; the Legion; enemy; women and children; savages; General Scott; Mr. Nicholas; heads of Departments; contractors; escorts; Lieutenant Clark; Chickasaws; chiefs and warriors; Spanish; Secretary of the Treasury; Spanish Post & Gallies; Frenchmen; Mr. Maupin; Deputy Quartermaster; Major Doyle; dragoons; infantry; recruits; ;
Related Places Hobson's Choice; Fort Washington; Kentucky; Fort Jefferson; Fort Hamilton; prairie; L'ance a l' Graire; confluence of the Ohio with the Mississippi; Ohio River; Mississippi River; France; Louisiana; Pittsburgh; Fort Hamilton; mouth of the Great Kenhawa; Great Kenhawa; Great Miami; Indian Country; ;
Keywords copies of letters; sentiments; opposition; increase of the army; reduction; honor and dignity; wigwams; opposition to any increase in the Army; two thousand mounted volunteers under the Governor; combined force; difficulty & danger; appointment; orders; strong jealousy; magnus appollo; rank and degree; employment; ration; flour; advance; estimate; horses; enclosed returns; garrison; road cutting; making hay; stores and articles; present war with France; obstruction; stores; clothing; wounded; died; attack; bark canoes; general return; aggregate force; idea suggested by Mr. Nicholas; cordial cooperation with the heads of Departments; delivery of the ration raised by the Contractors; trifling quantity of flour; three hundred horses; making hay on the prairie; stores and articles for the Chickasaws; arms and ammunition designed for the Chickasaws; stores, troops or clothing; want of water; this state of anxious suspense; a General Return of the Legion;
Key Phrases nothing shall induce me to commit the honor and dignity of Government nor to expose the Legion unnecessarily to the whole combined force of the Enemy--whilst two thousand mounted volunteers under the Governor and all the Militia Generals & subordinate officers of the state of Kentucky/in pay of the United States/ were stealing a march very wide from the Army in order to burn a few wigwams and to capture a few women and children/ a business that might as well be effected by two hundred

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No60. To mayor Genl Knox
Secy of war.

Hobsons choice

Near Fort Washington 20. June 1793.


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 17th. ultimo by General Posey, who arrived at this place on
the 7th instant due attention has & shall be paid to every part thereof in proper season.-

In the interim, I have the honor of enclosing you a copy of my letter & communications of the 27th. ultimo, with copies of letters from Governor Shelby to me & from Colo. Geo: Nicholas to General Wilkinson upon the subject of mounted voluntiers.-

You'l observe they breathe the same sentiments and perfectly in unison with those sported on the floor of Congress the last session in opposition to any increase of the army or rather for its reduction: i,e, that the militia are the most proper people to enterprize against the Indians and to act independent of the regular troops or, in other words to be organized & to act independent of the Executive of the General Government. _

This idea was more strongly mentioned in a letter fro a General Logan to Genl. Wilkinson, but with less [arto?] address! - of this I have not been able to obtain a copy; it was rather too idle & ridiculous to merit attention. _

however nothing shall induce me to commit the honor and dignity of Government;
nor to expose the Legion /unnecessarily/ to the whole combined force of the Enemy, whilst twothousand mounted voluntiers under the Governor and all the militia Generals or subordinate officers of the state of Kentucky (in pay of the United States) were stealing a march very wide from the Army in order to burn a few wigwams & to capture a few woman & children /a business that might as well be affected by two hundred/ and in which they returned triumphantly and safe to their respective homes; leaving the Legion to contend with the combin'd force of the savages and exposed to every difficulty & danger. -

This business and policy is too obvious to will further comment but this in confidence.

however, I trust every thing will be right and properly understood and to the end that there shalt not exist any doubt or difficulty as to the mode & manner of the appointment of the Comissioned officers and to convince them tat they must be amenable to my orders and directions. I have wrote subsequent letters to Governor Shelby and to Genls Scott & Logan of which they enclosed are copies.-

It would appear that there exists a strong jealousy between the two latter gentlemen
men, which I hoe to turn to public advantage by holding up an idea of two distinct operations at a proper time & season: this will probably stimulate them to an exertion often influence in furnishing the quotas mentioned in my letters to those generals._

You'l please to observe that I have in some degree met the idea suggested by Mr. Nicholas (who is the magnus appollo of employing those and other officers in a rank one degree inferior to that they now hold in the militia. _ should this proportion be rejected I have no manner of doubt from overtures that have already been made to me/ that I shall be able to bring into the field from six to eight hundred mounted voluntiers properly officered & appointed in dependent of those influential characters: but my first wish & object is a cordial cooperation with the heads of Departments._ a few days with however determine this business

The demur respecting the delivery of the ration raised by the contractors is settled unequivocally; so that there will be no further difficulty upon that head._ but the trifling quantity of flour deposited at Fort Jefferson is a serious business and would alone be an insurmountable barrier to the immed advance of

the Army._ the Contractors offer in their justification your letter to the Secretary of the Treasury of the 3.d November 1792. and that the advances made them from the treasury was upon the estimate therein contained; but they have fell vastly short of that estimate._ I have therefore ordered them to increase their means of transport from Fort Hamilton to Fort Jefferson, so as to make a deposit of flours & the small component parts of the ration for sixty days allowance for the aggregate of the Army: which will require three hundred horses diligently employed for thirty five days._ no will they be able to compleat this deposit by every exertion before the first of august, as you will observe by an accurate estimate herewith transmitted, even should no accident happen which I shall take care to guard against by strong & proper escorts._

I do not count upon the flour now there as mentioned in the enclosed returns, because it will be nearly consumed by the Garrison & escorts before that period; as I was under the necessity of of augmenting that Garrison with the road-cutting party, who compleated that business about the first instant and are now employed in making hay on the prairie in the vicinity of that Post & covering the fatigue from insult._ these are objects indispensibly necessary, preparatory to a forward

move. -

I have now the honor to enclose you a copy of my letter & instructions to Lieutt Clark the officer who has charge of the stores and articles for the Chickasaws; as also, of my speech to the Chiefs and warriors of that nation. -

I have some ground to apprehend that Lieut Clark may meet with difficulty and obstruction from the Spanish Post & Gallies stationed at L'ance a'l' Graise about eighty miles below the confluence of the Ohio with the Mississippi. - they are naturally a jealous people - and the present war with France may increase that jealousy so, as to induce them to seize the arms & ammunition designed for the Chickasaws under pretext that they were intended for another purpose; especially as a very great proportion of the inhabitants of Louisiana are Frenchmen. I therefore thought proper to direct him to drop down by that Part in the night-time to prevent any difficulty or disagreeable consequence. -

I have no account as yet of any stores troops or Clothing having arrived at Pittsburgh: I dread the want of water / altho' we have rather too much at present / any delay may therefore be attended with very alarming consequences - as the troops raised under the act of the 5th. of march 1792 are nearly naked. -

The Indians continue hostile, notwithstanding the pending treaty: a Mr Maupin, one of the D.Q. Masters who was wounded the latter end of May, dies in a few days after at Fort Hamilton; on the 5th instant they made an attack upon the inhabitants at the mouth of the Great Kenhawa; one white man was killed & another wounded; on the night of the 6h they carried off twenty of the Contractors horses from Fort Hamilton; on the 7th they fired upon a fatigue party close by that Fort and founded an artificer; and on the 17th a considerable party of Indians landed from bark canoes in which they had descended the Great Miami within one mile of Fort Hamilton; I Immediately detached Mayor Doyle with a strong part of Dragoons & infantry in search of them, but the savages dispersed & went off.

In short they appear full as hostilely inclined as at any period of the present war. I wish this business was decided--this state of anxious suspense is almost intolerable.-

Enclosed is a General Return of the Legion: the first line of the summary view will show you the probable aggregate force of regular troops that will advance into the Indian Country._ in this all the troops of every description are included except the invalid Garrisons & raw recruits that may be
be on their march to Pittsburgh.

I have the honor to be with Sincere esteem & regard your most obedt & very huml Servt


B. - I had nearly omitted to enclose a copy of Genl Wilkinsons letter to me on the subject of mounted Voluntiers &ca _

(the) Honble

Maj. Gen. Knox
Secy of War