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Letter from Winchester, Virginia


Winchester, Virginia, August 16, 1775.

By Capt˙ James Wood, who was deputed by our Assembly to invite the several Tribes of Ohio Indians to a treaty, to be held at Fort Pitt on the tenth of next month, and who returned last night, we learn that he had visited the Delawares, Shawanese, Senecas, Wyandots, and Tawas. That the commanding officer at Detroit, and deputy agent for Indian affairs, and Monsieur Baubee, a Frenchman, had sent belts and strings of wampum to seventeen Nations, including those above mentioned, informing them, unless they all united, the Virginians would take their country from them. That they purposed to attack them two different ways — one by the Ohio, the other by the Lakes. That the Virginians would invite them to a, treaty, but that they ought by no means to go, as they (the Virginians) were a people not to be depended on. That many other diabolical artifices had been used by those tools of Government, to instigate these savages to attack our frontiers, particularly the Virginians, who were represented to them as a distinct people, and that their attacking them would not be resented by the other Colonies.

Captain Wood had this account first from the Delawares, who appeared friendly, and gave him the belt and string which had been sent them. All the other tribes confirmed this account, and promised to attend the treaty. The Shawanese assured him whatever they had received from Fort Detroit they had buried in the ground, never more to rise, but that the foolish Twightwees and Picts had accepted the belts. Chenusaw, one of the hostages who escaped from Williamsburgh some time ago, arrived at the Shawanese Town the day before Captain Wood. He had informed the Indians that all the people of Virginia were preparing for war, and determined to attack the Indians, except the Governour, whom the people had obliged to go on board of a man of-war; that the hostage had discovered they were to be made slaves and sent to some other country, which he assigned as the reason for his escape. But on Captain Wood' s explaining the matter to the Indians, they appeared entirely satisfied.