Preparations for Movement of the Legion Beyond Fort Jefferson

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Date October 5, 1793
Author Name Anthony Wayne (primary) Location: Hobsons Choice near Ft Washington
Recipient Name Henry Knox (primary)
Summary Wayne plans to move the Legion to a point beyond Fort Jefferson as a way of inhibiting enemy action in that area because he is sure that the Indians are planning an imminent attack before scarcity of provisions forces them to withdraw for the winter. He assures Knox that he understands the tenuous position of the government and will not take unnecessary risks.
Document Format Author's Letterbook Copy
Document Notes Spans Images 261-265 of this collection.
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Henry xxxx Knox; Anthony Wayne; Capt. Pratt; Dragoons & Artilery; Captain Haskell; Captain Cummins; Col. Clark; Ensign Brady; Major Craig; mounted volunteers from Kentucky; Governor Shelby; Major Genl. Scott; haughty Savages; the President;
Related Places Hobsons Choice near Fort Washington; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; the Ohio; Fort Jefferson;
Keywords sixty and some clothing for the Dragoons and Artillery part of which has been damaged; ammunition; Clothing, entrenching tools, arms, and accoutrements; cartridge boxes; correspondence with his Excellency Governor Shelby; a malady called the Influenza; General Return of the Legion; twenty six hundred regular effectives; thirty six guides and spies; three hundred & seventy mounted volunteers; impending savage fury;
Key Phrases The present apparent tranquility on the frontier and at the head of the line is a convincing proof to me that the Enemy are collected or collecting in force to oppose the Legion--either on its march or in some unfavorable position for the cavalry to act in-- Knowing the critical situation of our infant Nation and feeling for the honor & reputation of Government which I will support with my latest [sic] breath, you may rest assured that I will not commit the Legion unnecessarily;
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Head Quarters Hobsons Choice near Fort Washington
5th Octr 1793
Sir,
I had the honor of writing to you on the 17th ultimo of which the enclosed is a copy. - since which Capt Pratt has arrived with sixty and some clothing for the Dragoons & Artillery part of which has been damaged in the land transportation between Philadelphia & PIttsburg the enclosed copy of the report of a board of officers will shew the amount & their opinion thereon.
Captain Haskell arrived here on the [illegible] instant consequence of orders received from you (with his
his company consisting of 68 non commissioned officers & privates, fourteen of whom are in the small pox. Captain Cummins is also arrived with 40 non commissd officers and private twenty of whom together with himself are sick, debilitated & unfit for duty.
It would appear that Colo. Clark had not wrote to, or given any orders either to Haskell or Cummins, to descend the Ohio, which together with the unaccountable act of countermanding Ensign Brady from descending the river (as you will observe by the enclosed copy of a letter from Major Craig) with a considerable quantity of ammunition, clothing, entrenching tools, arms & accoutrements, articles much wanted particularly the arms, cartridge boxes & entrenching tools, I consider a highly criminal being a neglect of duty & disobedience of orders; nor can I hear anything of him or of those essential articles.
Agreeably to the authority vested in me by your letter of the 17th of May 1793, I have used every means in my power to bring forward the mounted volunteers from Kentucky as you will observe by the enclosed copy of a correspondence with his Excellency Governor Shelby & Major Genl Scott upon this interesting occasion.
I have even adopted their own propositions by ordering a draft of the militia, which I consider as the dernier resort, and from which I must acknowledge that I have but little hopes of
of success.
Add to this, that we have a considerable number of officers & men sick & debilitated from fevers & other disorders incident to all armies; but this is not all we have recently been visited by a malady called the Infuenza, which has pervaded the whole line in a most alarming & rapid degree, - fortunately this complaint has not been fatal, except in a few instance & I have now the pleasure of informing you that we are generally recovered or in a fair way - but our effective force will be much reduced as you will observe by the scale at the bottom of the General Return of the Legion, which I have now the honor to transmit by this conveyance: so that after leaving the necessary garrisons at the several posts which will generally be composed of the sick & invalids. I shall not be able to advance beyond Fort Jefferson with more than twenty six hundred regular effectives officers included.
What auxiliary force we shall have is yet to be determined at present their numbers are only thirty six Guides & Spies, & three hundred & sixty mounted volunteers: this is not a pleasant picture; but something must be immediately done to save the frontiers from impending savage fury! I will therefore advance tomorrow with the force I have in order to gain a strong position about six miles in front of Fort Jefferson, so as to
to keep the Enemy in check, by exciting a jealousy and apprehension for the safety of their own women and children , until some favorable circumstance or opportunity may present to strike with effect.
The present apparent tranquility on the frontiers and at the head of the line is a convincing proof to me that the Enemy are collected or collecting in force to oppose the Legion - either on its march or in some unfavorable position for the cavalry to act in. - disappoint them in this favorite plan or manoeuvre they may probably be tempted to attack our lines: in this case I trust, they will not have mush reason to triumph from the encounter.
There cannot continue long embodied for want of provision, and at their breaking up they will most certainly make some desperate effort upon some quarter or other.- should the mounted volunteers advance in force, we might yet compel those haughty savages to sue for peace before the next opening of the leaves: be that as it may - I pray you not to permit present appearances to cause too much anxiety either in the mind of the President or yourself on account of this army. - Knowing the critical situation of our infant nation and
and feeling for the honor & reputation of Government which I will support with my latest breath you may rest assured that I will not commit the Legion unnecessarily; and unless more powerfully supported than I at present have reason to expect, I will content myself with taking a strong position advanced of Jefferson and by exerting every power, endeavoring to protect the frontiers and to secure the Posts & Army during the winter or, until I am honord with your further orders.
With those sentiments & under those impressions permit me to offer my sincerest wishes for the health and happiness of the President & yourself: and believe me to be with profound extreme respect - Your most obedt & very huml Servt.
A Wayne
The Honble Maj. Gen. Knox, Secy of War.
End of the First Volumes.