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lids,) 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 and spies, and three hundred and sixty mounted volunteers. This is not a pleasant picture; but something must be done immediately, to save the frontiers from impending savage fury.
“I will, therefore, advance to-morrow, with the force I have in order to gain a strong position about six miles in front of Fort Jefferson, so as to keep the enemy in check (by exciting a jealousy and apprehension for the safety of their women and children,) until some favorable circumstance or opportunity may present to strike with effect. The present apparent tranquillity 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 maneuvre, they may probably be tempted to attack our lines. In this case I trust they will not have much reason to triumph from the encounter. They 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 (from Kentucky] advance in force, we might yet compel those haughty savages to sue for peace before the next opening of the leaves. * * Knowing the critical situation of our infant nation, and feeling for the honor and 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 by taking a strong position advanced of Fort Jefferson, and, by exerting every power, endeavor to protect the frontiers, and to secure the posts and army during the winter, or until I am honored with your further orders.”
In a letter from Major General Wayne to the Secretary of War, dated “Camp, south-west branch of the [Great] Miami, six miles advanced of Fort Jefferson, October 23d, 1793,” the writer said, “I have the honor to inform you, that the Legion took up its line of march from Hobson's Choice, on the 7th instant, and arrived at this place in perfect order, and without a single accident, at ten o'clock in the morning of the 13th, when I found myself arrested for want of provision. Notwithstanding this defect, I do not despair of supporting the troops in our present position, or rather at a place called Still Water, at an intermediate distance between the field of [St. Clair's] battle and Fort Jefferson. * * The safety of the western frontiers, the reputation of the Legion, the dignity and interest of the nation, all forbid a retrograde manæuvre, or giving up one inch of ground we now possess, until the enemy are compelled to sue for peace. The greatest difficulty which at present presents, is that of furnishing a sufficient escort to secure our convoys of provisions and other supplies from insult and disaster; and, at the same time, to retain a sufficient force in camp to sustain and repel the attacks of the enemy, who appear to be desperate and determined. We have recently experienced a little check to our convoys, which may probably be exaggerated into something serious by the tongue of fame, before this reaches you. The following is, however, the fact, viz: Lieutenant Lowry of the 2d sub-legion and Ensign Boyd of the 1st, with a command consisting of ninety non-commissioned officers and privates, having in charge twenty wagons, belonging to the Quartermaster General's department, loaded with grain, and one of the Contractor's (wagons] loaded with stores, were attacked early in the morning of the 17th instant, about seven miles advanced of Fort St. Clair, by a party of Indians. Those gallant young gentlemen (who promised at a future day to be ornaments to their profession, together with thirteen non-commissioned officers and privates, bravely fell, after an obstinate resistance against superior numbers, being abandoned by the greater part of the escort upon the first discharge. The savages killed, or carried off, about seventy horses, leaving the wagons and stores standing in the road, which have all been brought to this camp without any other loss or
damage except some trifling articles. One company of light infantry, and one troop of dragoons have been detached this morning to reinforce four other companies of infantry, commanded by Colonel Hamtramck, as an escort to the Quartermaster General's and Contractor's wagons and pack-horses. I have this moment received the return of the mounted volunteers * [from Kentucky] under General Scott, recently arrived and encamped in the vicinity of Fort Jefferson. I shall immediately order a strong detachment of those volunteers as a further reinforcement to Colonel Hamtramck. I fear the season is too far advanced to derive that essential service, which, otherwise, might be expected from them. Whether they can act with effect or not is yet eventual. It is reported that the Indians at Auglaize have sent their women and children into some secret recess or recesses, from their towns; and that the whole of the warriors are collected or collecting in force. The savages, however, cannot continue long embodied, for want of provisions. On the contrary, we have, by great exertions, secured in this camp seventy thousund rations. I expect one hundred and twenty thousand in addition by the return of the present convoy, unless they meet with a disaster --- a thing that can scarcely happen should my orders be duly executed, which I have no cause to doubt, from the character, vigilance, and experience of the commanding officer, [Colonel Hamtramck.) A great number of men, as well as officers, have been left sick and debilitated at the respective garrisons, from a malady called the influenza. Among others, General Wilkinson has been dangerously ill. He is now at Fort Jefferson, and on the recovery. I hope he will soon be sufficiently restored to take his command in the Legion.”
The approach of winter, which was regarded as an unfavorable season for carrying on active hostilities against the Indians, induced General Wayne to dismiss the Kentucky militia, and to place the regular troops in winter quarters. On a tributary of the southwest branch of the Big Miami river he erected
* About one thousand men. t Forts Washington, Hamilton, St. Clair, and Jefferson.
Fort Greenville,* where he established his head-quarters. On the 23d of December, 1793, he ordered eight companies of infantry, and a detachment of artillery, under the command of Major Henry Burbeck, to take possession of the ground on which St. Clair was defeated in 1791, and to erect a fortification at that place. This order was executed, and the new post was called Fort Recovery.t When this fort was built and garrisoned, General Wayne received, from some of the hostile tribes, a message in which they expressed a desire to make peace with the United States. The terms, however, on which Wayne proposed to enter into pacific negotiations, were either evaded or rejected by the Indians; many of whom were led to believe, early in 1794, that Great Britain would, in the course of that year, assist them in their attempt to force the American settlers to retire from the territory lying on the northwestern side of the Ohio. I
It is necessary here to refer to the unsettled and critical state of the relations which existed at this period between the United States of America and the governments of Great Britain, France, and Spain. The French nation, which, in 1778, under the government of Louis XVI. had established treaties of commerce and alliance with the United States, was, during the year 1793, convulsed to its centre by the progress of an extraordinary and sanguinary revolution, terribly marked by its anarchy, massacres, cruelty, and impiety. The revolutionists formed a new constitution, abolished royalty, beheaded Louis XVI. and his wife, suppressed religious communities, prohibited the wearing of ecclesiastical costumes, abolished Sundays, instituted what was called the worship of Reason, armed near a million of soldiers,* and engaged in a war in which they were opposed by the arms of England, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Prussia, Sardinia, Piedmont, the two Sicilies, and the Roman States.
* This forl stood in the vicinity of the site on which the town of Greenville, in Darke County, Ohio, now stands.
† The site on which Fort Recovery was built lies on the bank of one of the head branches of the river Wabash, in the southwestern part of Mercer County, Ohio, about one mile and a quarter east of the eastern boundary of Indiana.
1 On the 10th of February, 1794, Lord Dorchester, the Governor General of Canada, told a number of Indian chiefs, who were assembled in council at Quebec, that he should not be surprised if Great Britain and the United States were at war in the course of the year;" and, in April, 1794, three companies of British troops moved from Detroit to the foot of the Rapids of the Maumee, where, acting under the direction of Lieutenant Gover nor Simcoe, they built and garrisoned a fort on the left bank of the river.
At this time the government of the United States was pressed with business “equally delicate, difficult and disagreeable.” † On the Sth of April, 1793, Mr. Genet, Minister Plenipotentiary of the French Republic, arrived at Charleston, in South Carolina, where he was received with enthusiasm by the Governor of the state and the citizens, who remembered with sentiments of gratitude the essential aid which the people of the United States had received from France during the latter years of the American Revolutionary war. The secret instructions which were given by the Executive Council of France to Mr. Genet, on his departure for the United States, contained the following passage: “As it is possible that the false representations which have been made to Congress of the situation of our internal affairs — of the state of our maritime force- of our finances, and especially of the storms with which we are threatened, may make her ministers, in the negotiations which citizen Genet is instructed to open, adopt a timid and wavering conduct, the Executive Council charges him, in the expectaiion that the American Government will finally determine to make a common cause with us, to take such steps as will appear to him exigencies may require, to serve the cause of liberty and the freedom of the people.” | Holding the opinion that the government of the United States would finally determine to make a “common cause" with France, the French Executive Council had furnished Mr. Genet with blank commissions for privateers, to be delivered “ to such French or American owners as should apply for the same;" and he had, also, in his possession, "officers' commissions, in blank, for several grades in the army.” Even
* Letter (dated June 14, 1793,) from the French Minister Genet, to Mr. Jefferson, Secretary of State.
† Jefferson's Correspondence, iii. 248. 1 Am. State Papers--Foreign Relations, i. 709.--Pitkin's Pol. and Civ. His. ii. 361.