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I am honored with your favor of the loth of October, and should have appointed the time and place for the immediate execution of Gamble, but both he and Davis had effected their escape, as I informed your Excellency in a former letter. The officers, who commanded the guards at the times they respectively escaped, were arrested, tried, and acquitted ; and, therefore, I thought it unnecessary to trouble you with the proceedings respecting them.
I was applied to, to endeavour to intercede with your Excellency, to remit the sentence of Captain Beal ; but I thought it too just, to say any thing about it. The proceedings respecting Gosset were packed up, in a mistake. The Court-Martial sententenced him to be whipped; and, as your Excellency had authorized me to determine upon all proceedings which did not affect life, or the dismission of an officer, I did not intend to have troubled you with the proceedings respecting him.
I have, for a long time past, had two parties in the country, commanded by Field-Officers, to impress cattle, and yet the troops are frequently without meat for several days together. Indeed, I am so well convinced that there is not half meat enough on this side the mountain for the supply of the troops, that I have thought it advisable to risk the sending a party of hunters to kill buffalo, at Little Kanhawa, and laying the meat, until we shall be able to send for it, which, I expect, will be in the spring.
The Delaware Chiefs have declared war against the Senecas; and Captain John Montour was immediately sent, with two Delawares and one white man, to bring a prisoner from their towns. At French Creek (Venango) he fell in with a party of eight Senecas, who, a few days before, had taken a woman and two children from Westmoreland county. He shot one of the Indians upon a raft in the creek, and the rest ran away; but, after a few minutes, one of them returned, under cover of some timber, and asked Montour who he was. He told them that he and his men were Delawares ; that they were sent by their Chiefs ; and that they might thank God the water prevented getting at them ; when the Seneca expressed some mark of contempt, and followed his own party. This relation may be depended on. Captain Montour, with a party of Delawares, is now in pursuit of another party of Indians, supposed to be Delawares, or Muncies, who were discovered by a Delaware runner, on their way towards these settlements.
I do all in my power to encourage partisan strokes. But, was I at liberty to give rewards, I have neither money nor goods to do it with. I can venture to say that I could, at any time, for a small quantity of goods, engage a very considerable number of Delaware Indians to go with me upon an expedition ; and I believe that a considerable quantity would enable me to set the Indians at war against one another, so as to divert them from our frontiers.
Many of the inhabitants are uneasy to see any notice taken of the Delaware Indians, and once attempted to destroy a great number of them, who were under our protection, but were prevented by a guard of regular troops. I have hitherto made use of every address in my power to keep as many of them from joining the enemy as it was possible for me to do, in obedience to your Excellency's instructions ; and I shall be very thankful for your further commands respecting them.
I am sensible that there are a great number of disaffected inhabitants on this side the mountain, that wish for nothing more than a fair opportunity to submit to the British Government, and, therefore, would be glad to have the regular troops withdrawn.
I have received the General Orders respecting the new arrangement of the army, and shall remit the arrangement of my regiment to General Wayne by this conveyance. I am a stranger to the intention of most of my brother officers; but, for my part, I am inclined to assist, to the end, in a work so nobly begun. I beg leave to return your Excellency my warmest thanks for your continual care of the troops which I have the honor to command.
I have the honor to be, &c.,
P. S. A half Indian, of the name of Bawhee, brought me a draft of the works at Detroit, which I take the liberty to inclose. He dropped some hints of his being in British pay, and I confined him in irons, but know not how to punish him without bringing more trouble upon the inhabitants.
- Daniel Brodhead
- Correspondence of the American Revolution; Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Volume III., Jared Sparks, 1853