THE following pages contain the history of a very unfortunate campaign, the conducting of which had been committed to me; of the success of which very sanguine expectations had been formed: and that, by the effects of it, peace would be restored to the United States, and safety to the inhabitants of the western country; to which quarter great numbers of people, invited by the mildness of climate and the fertility of the soil, had removed. The very general acquaintance
viI had in Pennsylvania; the services I had rendered to it while a province; the many offices I had filled there, and the public stations I had held in the United States; and above all, the confidence which, it was universally known, general Washington honoured me with through the whole of the revolutionary war, and the high estimation in which I stood with my fellow citizens, had contributed to raise those expectations to, perhaps, an unreasonable height, and the disappointment was great in proportion. In military affairs, blame is almost always attached to misfortune: for the greatest part of those who judge, and all will judge, have no rule to guide them but the event, and misconduct is ever inferred from want of success; and the greatest share of praise or
viiblame, according as the event may be, will ever fall upon the principal officer: but in this case no mean was observed. The public mind was agitated in an extraordinary manner, and the vexation, naturally incident to the disappointment of fond hopes, was increased by bitter calumnies, gross misrepresentations, and vile falsehoods, spread abroad to every region by means of the public prints, and every species of misconduct was attributed to me. In this state of things, conscious how little I merited the opprobrium with which it was attempted to overwhelm me, and having nothing either to palliate or to conceal, I applied to the president to institute a public investigation into my conduct. From a want of officers in service of a rank proper to form the necessary
viiimilitary court, there was a difficulty in it; and, while he was deliberating on the manner of effecting it, so as to give entire satisfaction to the public, the house of representatives in congress took the matter into their own hands, and appointed a committee, composed of Mr. Fitzsimmons, Mr. Giles, Mr. Clarke, Mr. Sedgwick, Mr. Steele, Mr. Mercer, Mr. Vining, and Mr. Findley, to inquire into the causes of the failure of the expedition. The committee entered upon their duty immediately, and gave notice to the secretary of war and to me, to attend. At this time, it might have been sufficient for me to have stated to the committee a single fact, to wit; that when I undertook to conduct the expedition, the day for opening the campaign was, by the plan of it, and by my instructions,
ixfixed to the first of July in that year; that it was afterwards, by orders from the war-office, postponed to the tenth of that month, and that is was not until the tenth of September, that the body of the army, ill prepared in every respect to take the fields, arrived at Fort Washington, the place of general rendezvous, by which delay the greatest part of the season, proper for operating in that country, without a single grain of provender for the horses, was lost, indeed almost the whole of the season. But a simple acquittal from having contributed to the misfortune that ensued, could not have satisfied me. I chose that the committee, and through them the house of representatives and the public, should be made acquainted with every circumstance relating to it, and should
xsee that, desperate as the prospect before me was, every possible exertion to give to the expedition that success so ardently desired, and so confidently expected, had been made by me; and without charging any person directly, leave them to infer the causes of the failure from the evidence they should receive.
After a very minute and laborious investigation, and the examination of a multitude of witnesses, which occupied them until congress were on the point of adjourning, the Report, which immediately succeeds the Narrative, was unanimously agreed to, and delivered to the house, was read there and a resolution entered into, that, at an early day in the succeeding session, it should be taken into consideration.
As some part of that report bore hard upon the secretary of war and Mr. Hodgdon, the quarter master, when congress met again, the secretary addressed a letter to the speaker, together with a memorial of the quarter master, requesting that they might be permitted, respectively, to give explanations and information, viva voce, respecting the causes of the failure of the expedition. That letter and memorial, the speaker laid before the house on the fourteenth of November, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two. The house did not think proper to comply with the request, but passed a resolution in consequence of it, recommitting the report, that had been made at the former session, to Messrs. Fitzsimmons, Giles, Steele, Clarke, and Findley, with instructions
xiito reexamine it, and to receive the explanations, &c. of the secretary of war and Mr. Hodgdon, and make report to the house upon the whole. A notification was sent to me, then at a considerable distance, and the committee would, forthwith on my arrival, have proceeded to the duty assigned to them; but the secretary, although he had requested to be heard at the bar of the house, more than a month prior to that time, and when, it must be supposed he was fully prepared, was not ready; nor was it until very near the end of the session again, though repeatedly called upon by the committee, that his communications in writing, and those of the quarter master, were given in, and new documents and witnesses adduced; and, in consequence of this delay, very little
xiiitime was left for me to consider them, or for the committee to make their report. To reply to those voluminous communications (the secretary's occupied, I think, one hundred and thirty-five pages, and had been for many months upon the anvil) three days only were assigned to me; and this, I hope, will afford some excuse for the rude state in which my observations upon them appear. I was obliged to give them to the committee just as they fell from the pen, without being corrected, or even fairly copied; and now, it has been thought improper to vary them in any manner from the record. The design of those gentlemen, in thus protracting the business was, to me, evident enough, to wit: to prevent a report being made to the house during that session. If that could be effected,
xivthere was an end of the business; for, as it was the last session of that congress that could possibly take place, if no report was made to it, there would be nothing for the new congress to act upon, and it would be laid to sleep for ever: for there was no probability that the new congress would direct the inquiry to be begun again; indeed it would have been impracticable; still, if they would engage in it, they must have taken it up de novo, which it was morally certain they would not attempt.
Those reports of the committees will be found in their order in the sequel; and, as they were published at the time they were made, it might have been expected that they would have been as satisfactory to the public
xvas they were gratifying to me, and it may, therefore, excite some surprise that now, after a lapse of more than twenty years, when the event itself, disastrous as it was, is almost forgotten, the proceedings had upon it at the time should be obtruded. Had it been indeed forgotten, or had the calumnies then so zealously propagated been laid to sleep, the remembrance of them would not have been awakened by me; but, when I found them revived by certain members of the national legislature on the floor of congress, and brought forward with the evident design of preventing the payment of a debt, solemnly acknowledged to be not only justly but meritoriously due, by no less than four different committees at different times; although they had no bearing upon or
xviconnexion with that subject, it was a proof that they were not only not forgotten, but that they were remembered and believed, and it appeared high time to attempt to cure their prejudices, if truth could cure them, and that they would take the trouble to peruse their own records when presented to them; and to that end I respectfully requested the house to order the papers, respecting the causes of the failure of the expedition, to be printed, that the members, if they would revert to that subject, might do it with some understanding. The house did not think proper to comply with the request, and I am now obliged to do it myself, as well for that object as for general information, and in vindication of my own reputation, in which, if the public have no interest, now that
I am past service, my children have a great one; as, after a long life, I am bold to say, zealously and usefully spent in public service, and the sacrifice of a very liberal fortune, it is all the inheritance they are likely to derive from me; and even that, those persons, it would seem, are unwilling should descend to them. It is impossible for me to suppress the sentiment that, the revival and republication of calumnies long-refuted, especially when the refutation is in the possession or power of the parties, can only proceed from an equal if not greater degree of malignity and depravity of heart, than that of the original inventors; with them, personal motives might have existed to spur them on, while the others can have no motive but sheer malice. It is, however, some consolation,
xviiithat the evil report of a Varnum, (of his coadjutor, Root, I speak not; he is below contempt) of an Alston, and of a Shaw, and some others, can do injury to no person any where but on the floor of congress; and it was a great satisfaction to see with what indignation, and even abhorrence, their observations were received by the house, and finally checked by the candid interposition of the present speaker, Mr. Clay.
ARTHUR ST. CLAIR.
Copies of some of the many letters to and from the secretary of war, the quarter master, and the contractor's agents, tending to elucidate the subject, and the examination of some of the witnesses, taken from the minutes of the committee, are added: to have
xixtranscribed them all would have swelled the volume to an immoderate size; and as the whole of them agree in the main circumstances, those, it is hoped, will be thought sufficient.
Having mentioned above the reports of sundry committees on a claim for reimbursement of a sum of money, advanced by me to begin the raising of the permanent army, during the revolutionary war, I have thought it would not be improper to subjoin the report of the committee of claims on that subject, made on the twenty-third of February, one thousand eight hundred and ten, and the report of a select committee, on the twenty-fourth of January, one thousand eight hundred and eleven.
ON the fourth day of March, 1791, I was appointed major general in the armies of the United States, and invested with the chief command of the troops to be employed against the hostile Indians. My instructions, which contain the plan and objects of the campaign, are in the hands of the committee, and bear date the 25th of March. Before I enter into any account of the general operations, it will be proper to advert, for a moment, to the expedition directed to be carried from Kentucky into the Indian country by general Scott. Although the orders for that expedition are prior to those for the general operations, yet they are to be considered as connected together; and though the time fixed for the first to take place, was the tenth of May, it was, nevertheless, subjected to be delayed to a later period, by the general commanding the troops, and by him only; (see the sixth condition of general Scott's instructions.) After those orders had been despatched to general Scott, it was thought proper to make a trial to
2induce the Indians to peace, by the intervention of the friendly Senecas; and, accordingly, on the eleventh of March, colonel Proctor was charged with a message to them, and directed to repair to the Cornplanters' town, and to take with him from thence, some persons of influence, to the Miami towns. It was evident, that from the eleventh of March to the tenth of May, a short time intervened for colonel Proctor to go from this city, (which he did not leave for some days afterwards) to the Senecas, and from thence to the Miami villages, and do business at both places, which, according to the Indian forms, is always attended with delay, and to return to Fort Washington. It therefore became necessary, that the expedition from Kentucky should be postponed; and, as no person had the power of doing so but me, it became necessary likewise that I should proceed to that country without loss of time. It may be observed, that the expedition might have been put off to an after time by orders from the war-office; or that powers might have been granted to some other person, for the purpose: either might have been done no doubt; but it was further considered as important, that I should be in that country at as early a period as possible; not on account of the expedition only, but that I might be at hand to observe the motions of the Indians; that if any opportunity offered, means might be taken to induce them to peace; that I might receive colonel Proctor's communications: and that I might have an opportunity of being known to, and conciliating the people of Kentucky; for it was expected that some reliance must be placed upon the assistance to be derived from that country, for the main
3expedition; and it was judged proper that genera Butler, who was appointed second in command, should remain in this state, to superintend the recruiting service, and forward the troops as they were raised. Accordingly I set out from this city on the twenty-eighth of March, and on the road, on the thirtieth, was seized with the gout This was, for myself, an unfortunate circumstance. But, seeing the honour of the government, in some measure committed by the interference that might happen between general Scott's expedition and colonel Proctor's mission, I determined to persevere at all hazards: and, though with a degree of pain and difficulty that cannot well be imagined by those who have never felt the tortures of that disease, arrived at Lexington in proper time. (See my letters to the secretary of war, of 26th of May, 1791.) General Scott's expedition was delayed until the twenty-fourth of May, which gave a fortnight more for colonel Proctor to arrive in. No account of him being received, and no indications of a pacific disposition appearing in the Indians, he was left at liberty to proceed at that time. Express orders, however, for that purpose, did not leave the war-office until the ninth of July, and it would seem to have been expected there, that he would have been detained until the arrival of those orders; which would have brought it to some time in August.
4and his information to me; and for the confirmation of it, I appeal to the honourable Mr. Brown, who went with him, on that expedition, as a volunteer: and it is to be observed, that from the tenor of the instructions, I had no reason to expect farther orders on that head. After having settled every thing with general Scott, and having spent some little time in Kentucky, for the purpose of becoming acquainted with the leading characters, and establishing some confidence between them and me, (which I flatter myself I did not altogether fail in,) and the gout having left me, I set out for Fort Washington, where I arrived on the fifteenth day of May, 1791.
It will now be proper to take up the plan of the campaign, and the instructions I received for carrying it into execution, together with the means which were put in my power. And if it should appear, (which, I hope, will, as clearly as any thing in nature can be made to appear) that, in every point they were fulfilled with the most perfect exactness; that the means were inadequate, and brought forward too late; the misfortune that befel us will not be laid to my charge: and if it does appear, that every thing was done, which could be done, to insure a happier issue, the committee will think a better fortune was really merited. It may, however, be observed, that the insufficiency of the means, and their being brought forward too late, must have been known, and the expedition should have been laid aside. But when it is considered, that this is a circumstance, rather reasoned to from after events, than known before hand: — that the body of the troops were raised for six months only; — that the
5public expectations were up in an extraordinary degree: and that the secretary of war had written in the name of the president, in the most positive terms, to press forward the operations; it will be evident that no officer could have taken upon himself to decline it. So early as the twenty-first of July, before any of the troops had arrived at Fort Washington, he says, "The president is greatly anxious that the campaign be distinguished by decisive measures." On the fourth of August he again says, "The president still continues anxious that you should, at the earliest moment, commence your operations." This is repeated on the eleventh, and on the eighteenth he observes, "The president is persuaded you will brace to exertion every nerve under your command." And on the first of September, after again repeating the great anxiety the president feels, he says, "He therefore enjoins you, by every principle that is sacred, to stimulate your operations in the highest degree, and to move as rapidly as the lateness of the season, and the nature of the case will possibly admit." A bare inspection of those extracts would induce a belief, that the army had been formed long before, and that some delays had happened on my part, that could not be accounted for: whereas the case really is, that the troops were not arrived at Fort Washington when the last letter was written; that their not being assembled sooner was no fault of mine, for I had repeatedly written to general Butler, in the most pressing manner, on this subject; that, from local circumstances, though the troops on the upper part of the Ohio were subject to my orders, they were not within my reach, and they had been disposed of by general
6Butler, in a manner and for purposes I was unacquainted with.
I will now take up the particular points of the instructions, that the committee may have a distinct view of the manner in which they were executed; the preparatory measures for the campaign that fell upon me, and the means I had to effect them. I will examine the orders of march, encampment and battle, together with the movements of the army, and its operations, to the field of battle. I will then proceed to the matters that have been suggested, as causes of the misfortune, arising from me; and apply the testimony which has been adduced. These are the detaching the first regiment; the want of harmony among the superior officers; my not consulting them upon the movements of the army; the deficient arrangements for the transportation of the provisions and baggage; the want of due care of the cavalry-horses; my own conduct in the action personally; the non payment of the troops; and the manner of discharging the levies.
The expedition, to be conducted by general Scott, being the first article which presents itself, I must return to it; and that it was calculated for an early period, appears from the instructions, (page four) where it is said, "It is, however, important to be remembered, that all persons employed on this account, (viz. colonel Proctor's mission,) must, if practicable, return to Fort Washington, on or before the fifth day of May next, for the reasons which will hereafter appear." One of these reasons was, the expedition's being calculated for the tenth of May, (see page ten of the instructions) "and that all messengers and others, who might have
7been sent to the Indians, should be back five days before he moved." The little probability there was, the colonel Proctor would arrive by the tenth of May, rendered it necessary to suspend general Scott's march, and accordingly I did suspend it until the twenty-fourth of May, (see my letter to the secretary of twenty-sixth of May.)
It may be remarked here, that the expedition was considered as important for the reasons detailed in page six of the instructions, and that I was empowered to order a second and third, if the first should produce no considerable effect, (see page eight) and either connect them with the main operations, or direct them to particular objects, in a desultory manner. It was contemplated, that the regulars and levies might be recruited, and rendezvous at Fort Washington by the tenth of July. They were not, however, arrived, when a second expedition from Kentucky was proposed, and the spirits of the people being up, from the success that attended the former, and though no decisive consequences had followed from it, and it was impossible to connect it with the main operations, yet, as they were very pressing to undertake it, I did not think it proper to let their ardor cool, and I was in hopes to be able to march before the effect of it would be evaporated, and probably before it reached the destined object. It was accordingly authorized, agreeably to the form prescribed, and departed from Fort Washington on the third day of August, under the command of general Wilkinson, with the instructions from me, which are before the committee. But the army was not formed till long after the return of general Wilkinson,
8and I was thereby disappointed of the use that might have been made of this expedition, as a collateral movement. I had still the power to order a third expedition from Kentucky, and direct it independently to some particular object, or connect it with the army; but it was not done in either way, for various reasons: there was no object to which it could be directed independently, but was either of too great magnitude or too trifling; (see my letter to general Scott, and, to the secretary of war on that subject, fourth of September, 1791.) It was then known that the force for the campaign would fall considerably short of what had been thought necessary, and that it must be made up from Kentucky. That was to be done in one of two ways; either by calling out a corps of mounted volunteers, and annexing them to the army; or by a draught from the militia. But volunteers would not submit either to the discipline of an army, or to the slow movements which one that had a road to cut every step it advanced, and forts to build, was necessarily subjected to; neither would they labour; they therefore could not be annexed to the army; neither had there been an object, could a third desultory expedition have been attempted, without frustrating the expectation of supplying the deficiency of numbers for the main expedition by draughted militia. It was certain that when mounted men were to receive two thirds of a dollar per day, to be under the command of their own officers, and to do pretty much as they pleased, and footmen were to receive but three dollars a month, and be subject to military law; that, could the militia law have been enforced with rigour, it would have been with
9great difficulty the draught could have been made; but the militia law could scarce be enforced at all (see my letter to the secretary of war of September the fourth) the mounted corps and the militia draught were absolutely incompatible; and as one of them must be relinquished, I chose to relinquish the mounted corps as being less efficient and attended with enormous expense.
The next point is the raising the levies, the plan for which is annexed to my instructions, but the management of it was necessarily confided to general Butler, as I was obliged to go to Kentucky for the reasons that have already been detailed. The intention was, that they should be marched to Pittsburgh, by companies as they were raised, there to receive my orders, (see page five of instructions.) But what orders could they receive from me from Kentucky. All I could do, was to leave general directions for general Butler to send them forward as they arrived, without loss of time, and that this was done, (see my letter to the secretary of war of . . . . . . and my opinion was, that a single company could descend the Ohio in as great safety as ten thousand, and when I went down myself, I took but ten men. Orders were repeatedly sent to him afterwards, to forward the troops, but without effect. Some dispositions made of them for the defensive protection of the frontiers, of which I was never informed, I suppose prevented it.
When I assumed the command of Fort Washington, the present fit for duty, amounted to eighty-five privates, as appears from the returns. The distant garrisons of Fort Harmar, Fort Steuben, and Fort Knox, were to
10form a part of the army. Orders were given to major Zeigler as I descended the river, to join me at Fort Washington by the fifteenth of July, with the troops under his command, excepting a sergeant and twelve men which were to remain at Fort Harmar; and immediately on my arrival at Fort Washington, orders of the like nature were despatched to captain Ashton at Fort Steuben, and to major Hamtramck at Fort Knox: those orders were punctually obeyed, and on the . . day of . . . . I had all of the first regiment together that I could expect, amounting to four hundred and twenty-seven rank and file; but none of the new raised troops, neither those for the old regiment, or the levies, excepting captain Armstrong's company from Philadelphia, and captain Mountfort's from North Carolina. With the troops from Fort Steuben came a number of Indian prisoners, that had been taken by general Scott; those I was obliged to lodge in the barracks of the fort; but, as that was very inconvenient, a new ravelin was ordered to be added to it, and houses to be erected for their accommodation, within it. The carriages of the guns which had been used in general Harmar's expedition were found to be unfit for service, and of course, new carriages were to be made. Those works required a great number of fatigue men and artificers, but there was no corps of artificers in existence: draughts therefore had to be made, from the corps of all that were to be found of that description, and they were required in a variety of branches, such as smiths, carpenters, harness makers, colliers, wheelrights, &c. and as the troops from the distant parts, as well as the garrison of Fort Washington, were
11ill provided with camp equipage, every thing of that kind that could be made at the place was set about; this, with the ordinary duties and occasional parties of observation, rendered the service excessively hard; but it was relieved by the arrival of major Gaither with a detachment on the twenty-eighth of July. On the twentieth of June, major Ferguson arrived with a quantity of military stores, and it was then known, that nearly the whole ammunition for the campaign was to be made up; and a laboratory had now to be prepared; and one, convenient enough for making the musket-cartridges in, was soon got in order; but there was no place to fill the shells in but one of the block houses which was occupied as a store-house, where also all the artillery cartridges had to be filled, as well as the shells for the howitzers; for loose powder could not be trusted in a barrack room, with fires on all sides of it; and it was a very hampered and far from a safe situation. Any person acquainted with the fixing of ammunition, knows that it is a very tedious as well as laborious business; and that in places where there is no want of room, or other conveniences, accidents very frequently happen, and the laboratory blows up. But it was not ammunition for the campaign only that was wanted, but a stock likewise for the projected post at the Miami, which was to be garrisoned by twelve or fourteen hundred men (see the instructions, page fourteen,) for the winter at least; and for the intermediate posts. It was discovered also, that the carriages of the guns that came from Philadelphia, were unfit for service, and that those pieces must be new mounted. This occasioned more labour, and of course a greater number of workmen,
12for not only shops to work in was to be built, but tools to work with to be made. An armoury likewise was to be constructed, for the repairing of the arms; and it would have been altogether impossible to have got forward at all, had there not been a considerable number of artificers among the troops that arrived with major Gaither. Heavy draughts had of course to be made from them, which was submitted to with some reluctance; and that is not to be wondered at. The officer dislikes to have his men taken away from him, and it is but too often the case, that dislike to labour is the principal inducement to men's listing as soldiers, which, when there is occasion to employ them as artificers, always occasions discontent. The arms of the detachment were in bad order also, and had nearly all to be repaired: and so fast did the work of that kind increase upon our hands, that, at one time, it appeared as if it would never be got through; nor indeed would it, but for the indefatigable industry of major Ferguson, who undertook to superintend the artificers, as well as the laboratory. Nor was the labour confined to the military branch; it was of necessity extended to the quarter master's also; the provisions in which were now known to be very deficient. A great number of axes, campkettles, canteens, knapsacks, kegs for the musket cartridges, and spare cannon ball, and boxes for the fixed ammunition, had to be made; and cordage of various kinds, and the cartridge boxes to be repaired. Splints also for the wounded were to be made of half-jacked leather, prepared on the spot, those that had been sent from Philadelphia being useless. In short, almost every art was going forward,
13and Fort Washington had as much the appearance of a large manufactory on the inside, as it had of a military post on the outside. Bells also for the horses were to be made, for the cavalry had been sent on without them, but a sufficient number were never completed, the materials having run out. The cattle for the campaign, which was expected to have begun about this time, were also poured upon us; and of course required considerable guards. From this view the committee will be sensible of the preparatory measures that fell to my share to attend to, and the little means I had to effect them; they were, notwithstanding, got into considerable forwardness, and it was become necessary to take a new position for the support of the cattle and horses; the country near Fort Washington being entirely eaten out; and on the seventh of August, all the troops, except the artificers and a small garrison for the fort, moved to Ludlow's station about six miles distant.
It may perhaps be said, that a detachment, which could have received their provisions at the fort, would have answered the purpose of protecting the cattle and horses, and the additional price of the ration, at that station, been saved by the public; and such seemed to have been the opinion of some gentlemen of the committee. But it must have arisen from their not being fully acquainted with the circumstances, or that they had been misrepresented to them. All the troops I could take the field with were not more than sufficient to put the cattle and horses in safety; and, besides the real injury that would have followed from a number of them being either killed or driven off by the Indians, in consequence of their being trusted to a weak guard;
14the disgrace that would have attended such a circumstance, was a risk no prudent officer would expose himself to. But it was necessary in other points of view. The troops were totally ignorant of field-duty; and drunkenness, which it was impossible to check while they remained in the neighbourhood of the village which surrounded Fort Washington, prevailed in a most extraordinary degree. Colonel Darke arrived on the twenty-ninth of August, and as there was now a probability that the army would be soon assembled, the troops at Ludlow's station were ordered to be led by him to the Great Miami, to a place that had been before reconnoitred, and where the first post of communication was to be established, and I set out for Kentucky, to obtain the necessary reinforcement from thence, to which I knew there were some obstacles, and which are detailed in a letter to the secretary of war, on the fourth of September.
15Washington, to inquire into the conduct of general Harmar, agreeably to the secretary of war's letter of the twenty-third of June; and during the session of that court, I was occasionally at the camp, to hasten the execution of the fort, and at Fort Washington to forward the preparations of the campaign. The inquiry being over, general Butler joined the army on the . . . day of September; and on the thirtieth, the fort being nearly completed, so far, at least, as to be in a condition to receive a garrison, two pieces of artillery were placed in it, and it was named Fort Hamilton; and part of the militia being arrived from Kentucky, I gave, in orders, the manner in which the army was to march, to encamp, and to form in order of battle, in various circumstances, and left general Butler to put it in motion, being obliged to return to Fort Washington to organize the militia, with whom, a number of officers out of all proportion to the privates, had come forward; which he did on the fourth of October. A plan of those various orders has been laid before the committee by the secretary of war; but, though to military men they will speak for themselves, it may not be improper that I should explain them a little and shew that they were not adopted without mature reflection, and consideration of probable contingencies.
Every person the least acquainted with tactics, knows that it is necessary there should be a certain disposition of the troops established. It is perfectly immaterial, whether one or more lines are contemplated: in either case it is the foundation of every order of march. An order of march is comparatively good, in proportion to the ease and celerity with which it can be
16changed into a proper order of battle; and that order of march is positively good, which can, in all cases, be most easily converted into that order. But the cases that can happen to an army advancing with a view of acting offensively, but subject to be itself attacked, which require the order of march to be speedily changed into an order of battle, are either when the attack is to be made in the front or by the flanks; and defensively, when the attack is to be sustained in front or rear, or on the flanks. Suppose that the enemy are found posted in such a manner as to favour an attack in front, as it regards the line of march: a bare inspection of the plan will shew with how much ease and expedition the order of the battle can be formed, the original disposition being supposed in two lines. Two pieces of artillery are found at the head of each column of the line of march, a little advanced of the ground on which the troops are to form in order of battle, the fire of which will protect them, while that is performing; and the moment it is done, the pieces move to their post in the centre of the front line, from which they are distant the length of half a battalion only. The second line is formed at the same time, and nearly in the same manner, and every kind of arm, the infantry, the cavalry, the artillery, and the rifle men, are found in their proper places, without any countermarching, which always takes time, and is frequently attended with much confusion. Should it be necessary to extend the front line, so as to outflank the enemy, it is done by moving one of the battalions of the second line to either flank, as occasion may require; and by the same simple movement, the whole may be
17formed into one line, if circumstances should demand it. If the enemy are found on either flank, with repect to the line of march, the order of battle is formed at once, by the single motion of facing the battalions. The lines are separated from each other about the proper distance, and every kind of arm is again found in its proper place. Do circumstances require an extension of the front line, or that the whole should be found in one line? it is performed as before. Is the army to act defensively and sustain the attack of the enemy? as the attack must be made in one or the other of the ways before mentioned, the order applies equally to the defensive. Should the army be attacked on both lines, at the same time, it is prepared for defence as well as an army can be under such circumstances, by only facing one of the lines outwards; and still every arm is in its proper place: but this is a case that rarely happens, and never can happen but when the enemy is greatly superior. I believe it will not be easy for the ablest tactician to devise an order of march, from which an order of battle can be deduced, susceptible of being applied in so many different cases, with greater ease, regularity, and despatch; and therefore, without fear of being contradicted, I venture to say that it is positively good.
The original order of encampment was founded on a presumption that in the area surrounded by the troops, food enough could be found for the horses for one night; and had the army marched earlier, possibly it might have been the case, and they would have been safe from straying, or being carried off by straggling Indians, which no vigilance whatever can altogether
18prevent. It did not answer that expectation; the order of encampment was therefore changed, and the army ordered to encamp in two lines. This I think will be sufficiently explanatory, and, I hope, satisfactory.
On the thirteenth of October, being advanced forty-four miles from Fort Hamilton, and a proper place presenting itself for another post, the army halted, and encamped in two lines, the artillery and cavalry being divided upon the flanks, and the rifle men without them, at right angles, as in the figure below.
The outlines of a fort thirty-five yards square, with four good bastions, were traced as soon as possible, and the work was set about with vigour; and by the twenty-fourth it was in such forwardness, the houses being all covered, the platforms laid in the bastions, and fraising of those begun, that it was thought it might be completed by the troops which would be left in garrison. A detachment was accordingly made for the purpose; two pieces of artillery were placed in it, and it was named Fort Jefferson. It is constructed of large timber laid horizontally, the curtains of the work forming the outer walls of the barracks. The army took up the line of march, advanced six miles, and made another halt, to wait the arrival of provisions; and this change of ground was of absolute necessity, the food for cattle and horses being entirely eaten out
19round Fort Jefferson. It was while the army were constructing that place, that the desertion of the militia happened, which will be taken notice of hereafter. It would have been very proper that there should have been an intermediate post between Fort Hamilton and Fort Jefferson, but the lateness of the season forbad its being attempted.
From this detail, it will be seen that every article in the original instructions was fulfilled, as far as was practicable to fulfill them. But I beg leave to recapitulate them, and to specify the additional instructions contained in the letters of the secretary of war, at different times. They are; — That general Scott's expedition should move in order to ease the frontiers, by the tenth of May, if not delayed by me. But it was delayed by me, to give colonel Proctor more time, and took place on the twenty-fourth of that month. That a second expedition, with the same view, should be undertaken if I thought it advisable, and to favour the main operation, which was also made: but from circumstances not dependent on me, it could not have effect, as to the last object.
That I had power to order a third expedition; which was not done for the reasons before assigned, and mentioned in my letter to the secretary of September the fourth (see also my letter to general Scott.)
That one great object of the campaign was the establishment of a post at the Miami village.
That intermediate posts between Fort Washington and that place were to be erected (see page twelve of the instructions,) which was done, as far as was practicable, by erecting Fort Hamilton and Fort Jefferson.
That the establishment of the post at the Miami village was to take place at all events, (page twelve and thirteen) a battle was therefore to be hazarded for it.
That the discipline of the army was committed to me, (page twenty-two) and for the pains taken to establish it, consult the orderly book; which, I am sorry to say, may be truly called a book of pains and penalties.
That the recruits were to be marched to Pittsburg by companies; there to receive my orders; but I could give no orders in the case, except a general direction to general Butler, to forward them as they arrived; which was done by me, but not attended to by him. Those orders were repeated at different times, and the pressing necessity that the troops should be assembled, set forth.
That I had reason to expect the troops would be collected by the tenth of July at Fort Washington (page six of the instructions.)
That a superiority in number over the Indians was taken for granted (page thirteen and fourteen) as was also the discipline of the troops. They were totally without discipline, the greatest part of even the standing regiments being recruits.
That I was to conciliate the people of the frontiers, and the district of Kentucky. How far I succeeded in that respect I appeal to the honourable Mr. Brown.
That Mr. Hodgdon, the quarter master, was to be under my orders, (page twenty-five) but that he did not think proper to obey them, (see my letter to the secretary of September fourth.) And here I would
21observe, that I would have brought him to a court-martial the moment he set his foot on shore at Fort Washington, if I had had a proper person to put in his place: but considering that I had not a proper person; that his business was then nearly done to his hands; and that if anything went wrong in that department, it might be ascribed to the displacing of him, he was suffered to continue.
That the provisions were to be transported at the expense of, and by the means provided by the contractors (see instructions, page twenty-five) but the means were not provided by them. I had to provide them myself, and to pledge the public for the expense (see my letter of August twenty-ninth to the secretary of war.)
That the objects of the quarter master's department were defined; (page twenty-five) money was put into his hands for those objects, (see letter of June ninth) and a part of it was to be applied for the payment of the bounties to the levies: (see page twenty-three) but a part of it was applied by me for the relief of the levy-officers, by giving them one month's pay; for which I had no orders. I could not well have given them more, if there had been money, because I knew nothing of the state of their accounts with the public, nor what advances had been made to them, either as pay or for recruiting, nor whether their recruiting accounts were closed.
That the levies and militia were to be mustered on their arrival; for which see the muster-rolls.
The secretary's letters of the twenty-first and twenty-ninth of March are about the injury done to the Cornplanter, as he was returning home, and directing measures
22for obtaining redress to be taken: proper measures to obtain redress for him had been taken before those letters reached me, (see my letters to the secretary of the nineteenth and twenty-fifth of April.)
The orders in that of the seventh of April were complied with, in the manner detailed in mine of the twenty-sixth of May. Also those of the nineteenth, (see mine of the first of June.)
The letter of the twentieth of April directs me to make such use of the levies, marching at that time to Pittsburg, as that the militia may be dismissed. But I was in Kentucky, and therefore could do nothing in it. Two months, at least, from the date of the letter, must have elapsed, before orders from me could have reached them.
The letter of the fifth of May is on the same subject.
That of the twelfth advises, among other things, that it will be the beginning of August before the troops can be assembled at Fort Washington.
It was expected on the first of May, that colonel Proctor had gone forward to the Miami villages, under a strong escort of friendly Indians.
On the twenty-sixth of May, deficiencies were apprehended by the secretary in the regular troops, but not of the levies, excepting one battalion.
That of the third of June informs me of colonel Proctor's return to Philadelphia, and directs general Scott to be let loose; but Scott's expedition had been ordered for the tenth of May, but had been delayed on account of colonel Proctor, until the twenty-fourth only; for I had no reason to expect farther orders about
23it. Deficiencies in the number of troops for the campaign, then likely to happen, and general Butler empowered to raise a battalion to supply them.
The quarter master did not leave Philadelphia until the first of June.
By that of the sixteenth, it is expected that general Butler informed me, regularly by every opportunity, of the arrival of the troops. It would have been of very little use, if he had done it. A deficiency of the troops then certain, and which must be supplied by me from the frontiers; and it is thought the army will not move before September.
June twentieth. General Butler written to, about forwarding the troops to Fort Washington. The regular regiments to be filled by recruits from the levies, and the money in Hodgdon's hands to be applied to that purpose.
That of July the seventh, is about obtaining a corps of mounted volunteers to form part of the army. But this was an impracticable scheme: if it had been practicable, it would have been attended with an expense out of all proportion to the service to be obtained from them; — promises to write to the governor of Virginia, and contains directions about the militia of Kentucky; gives orders to me to remedy all defects in the contractor's system for transportation, if in the power of the quarter master, but the contractors had no system, and I had no quarter master. On the twenty-first of July, the secretary expected the expedition to commence on the first of September at farthest; gives general directions to supply all deficiencies of the contractors; and the president's orders to establish
24posts of communication; mentions his anxiety that the campaign should be distinguished by decisive measures.
August fourth. It was expected that by the time I received that letter, I should receive my whole force: but except the troops from the distant garrisons; and major Gaither's detachment, no part of it was arrived; powder and lead that were required, were to be forwarded by the quarter master; shot and shells for the posts had been ordered, but they cannot arrive in time. Mr. Hodgdon had depended on a furnace near Pittsburg, and on the twenty-eighth of July he writes, "that they cannot be had:" takes notice of the conditional agreement I had directed the contractor's agents to enter into in Kentucky, and promises that the contractors shall have directions respecting it, (see my letter of August eighth.) The president still anxious that the operations should commence at the earliest moment; Hendricks Apaumut gone to the Miamis from colonel Pickering. For the measures taken for his safety, (see my orders to the officers commanding at the outposts, and a proclamation to the inhabitants.
August eleventh. The president exceedingly anxious that the troops on the upper part of the Ohio should be assembled at Fort Washington at as early a period as possible. But why write to me about assembling them? They were dispersed on the frontiers of Virginia and Pennsylvania, and not within my reach. Every letter I received from the secretary increased the hope of receiving them, and served to keep me stretched upon the tenter-hooks of expectation, from day to day.
25bad, and contains directions to have it proved, and the manner of doing it. Those reports had reached Pittsburg before major Ferguson left it, who informed me that he had proved it, and found that it was good, that is, sufficiently strong, (see my letter of . . . . . . ) but if he had not done this before, it was too late when this letter arrived; for, had it been found bad, it could not be replaced; and if ever so good, the trial at that time might have begot suspicions about it, that would have had a very mischievous effect upon the troops; and as to concealing an experiment that was to be made in a garrison with a howitzer, it was impossible, (see my letter, in answer, of September fiftteenth.
The president's anxiety for the commencement of the campaign is again expressed in very strong terms, "it is not easy to express his anxiety, that the campaign should be successful; he is persuaded you will brace to exertion every nerve under your command." How far this was done, may best be judged of from the preparations I had made, at the time that letter was received; from the establishment of two considerable forts, and the cutting a road for ninety miles.
August twenty-fifth. The troops still at Pittsburg, and the president lamenting their detention exceedingly. The secretary says, "the highest exertions will, of course, be necessary, and the president depends upon their being made." I think I may venture to say, he was not disappointed in that respect.
September first, contains as express and positive orders for the prosecution of the last campaign, as were ever given. "The president enjoins you, by every principle that is sacred, to stimulate your exertions in
26the highest degree, and to move as rapidly as the lateness of the season, and the nature of the case will possibly admit." The committee will judge, whether, after this, I had an option; and whether, if I had taken it upon myself to lay aside the operations, there would not have been an inquiry of a very different complexion from the present.
There were difficulties indeed, in my way, but they did not appear to me to be insuperable. The force of the enemy was not known, but there were probable grounds for supposing it inferior, in point of number, to ours; and it is now known, that the superiority they had obtained in that respect, was of but a few days standing, prior to the action. Had we commenced our march one month sooner, every thing had been easy, and the pain of this inquiry had been saved to the committee and to me.
Let us now turn to the causes of the failure of the expedition, suggested to have arisen from me. And the first is the detaching the first regiment, which happened at a time when the flour of the army was nearly expended, and a considerable convoy of that article known to be upon the road, and believed to be at no great distance. The troops, I think, had been two or three days at half allowance of flour; but beef, equal to the deduction, was issued in lieu of it.
It may be proper to remark here, that an arrangement had taken place with colonel Oldham, who commanded the militia, that the scouts and parties of observation, which he had general orders to send out daily, were to be taken from that corps, for which service they were much fitter than the troops, a great part of which had
27never been in the woods in their lives, and many never fired a gun, and that the militia should be excused from all fatigue duties, which they submitted to with the utmost reluctance. Colonel Oldham had been at breakfast with me, and having received orders about some particular party of observation, had gone to put them into execution. On his way to his own encampment, which was at a little distance from that of the army, he was informed that about half the militia had gone off in a body, which he immediately communicated to me; and very soon afterwards, Mr. Chrystie, who acted as his brigade major, returned with the information that the number of deserters had been exaggerated — it was believed not to exceed a hundred, and that they had declared their intention to plunder the convoy, and make the best of their way home, through the woods; their having taken no provisions with them rendered that design very probable. And further, that colonel Oldham was very apprehensive the whole of the militia would follow them. In this dilemma, the first regiment was ordered to march immediately, with the double view of securing the provisions, which was of the utmost consequence, and of overawing the remaining militia, who would not probably attempt to go off, when so respectable a corps was between them and their own country. The provisions were to march from Fort Hamilton in two divisions. The first, which was a small one, was known to be near, and expected that very day, and it did arrive in camp early the next day, escorted by sixty militia, who had arrived from Kenucky, after the march of the army. The second division was supposed to be within twenty miles; and
28accordingly major Hamtramck, who commanded the first regiment, had orders to march twenty miles down the road towards Fort Hamilton, or until he met the second division, and return with it; as also to overtake the deserters if he could; but that was a secondary object. He did not meet it, nor overtake them in the expected distance, and pursued his route considerably further, without meeting it at all. The contractor had failed in getting the convoy off from Fort Hamilton at the time appointed. And thus, that regiment was separated from the army for a time, and to a distance far beyond what had ever been intended.
29cover the country, and secure the acquisitions that had been made.
The second point is a want of harmony between the superior officers and their general. Improper treatment by him, of the second in command; and a supercilious behaviour to the officers in general.
The committee have had an opportunity of examining but few of the officers to these points; and there is but one I think, a colonel Darke, who has said any thing like it. And when the committee compare his declaration, with the friendly and even affectionate style of the letters he wrote to me, long after the period he speaks of, it will not be easy for them to give credit to him: they will be still more at a loss, when they know, that at the very time when he was making professions of friendship to me, which I believed real, as I had never given him cause to harbour other sentiments, he wrote a private letter to the president of the United States, reflecting severely upon me, and almost every other officer in the army, and sent it open, with orders to the person who carried it, to shew it (as he declared) every where, as he went through the country; and that it was actually shewn to many, and openly read at a public meeting in Kentucky. When the committee reflect, I say, upon some things that have come out, in the examination of the witnesses, and even upon his own testimony, and the following letters from colonel Sargent to me,
30of my health prevented me from discovering; and that this weak and prejudiced man, at the same time he was guilty of the greatest duplicity himself, was their dupe, and made to fancy he saw things which never existed. Of this letter to the president, I was informed by a gentleman in Kentucky, before I left Fort Washington to return to this city, who was present when it was publicly read, which occasioned the letter to colonel Darke, of December second.
I will take the liberty to observe to the committee, that haughtiness and a supercilious behaviour, are the very last charges I should have expected to be brought against me, being certain they are no part of my character, and my friends have sometimes remarked, that it ran rather to the other extreme: and I well know, that I have myself so fine a feeling of every thing that gives pain, that I have, through the whole course of my life, most studiously avoided inflicting it in any way upon others: it is true, the officers were not treated with balls and regattas, as they may have met with elsewhere. I knew the service they were going upon was a hard one; that of necessity it must be a campaign of difficulties and self-denial, and it became me to set the example. But if that had not been the case, the whole business of it, in every department, falling upon me, I had no time left for convivial pleasures, of which, at proper seasons, I acknowledge there are few men much fonder; but last campaign afforded not a proper season, and besides, my health would not have admitted of it: so much was I occupied, that the sun never rose upon me once, from the time I assumed the command till after the battle, and my whole time was
31employed, with little intermission, often till very late at night.
But it has been said, I treated general Butler improperly: surely I had but little opportunity. He arrived at Fort Washington about the fifteenth of September; was put on a court of inquiry immediately on my return from Kentucky, and did not join the army until, I think, the twenty-seventh. In two or three days, I left him in the command of it, and did not come up with him again until the eighth of October. The truth is, that in the very first conversation I had with general Butler, I discovered that he was soured and disgusted, and I supposed it was occasioned by the fault that had been found with the detention of the troops up the river; (for copies of letters to him from the secretary at war, upon that subject, had been forwarded to me). I therefore touched that string very lightly. I did, indeed, ask for some information with respect to the levies, which he promised to give in writing, with the manner how they had been employed; but it never was done. Every thing seemingly went on well. If there was any coolness, it was on the part of general Butler, and not of me; and I did think, I discovered an unusual distance and reserve about him. On the morning, however, after I overtook the army, general Butler made an apology for having changed the order of march and substituted another, and gave me his reasons for it. I observed to him, without the least heat, that they did not appear to me to be satisfactory; that the order he had instituted, was worse than the original one, because the line of battle could not so soon be formed from it, in case of necessity; the artillery would
32have a considerable distance to march to their places, and the labour of the troops was greatly increased by it: for it was far easier to open three roads, of ten or twelve feet wide each, if necessary, than one of forty; the quantity of big timber to be cut down increasing in a surprising proportion, as the width of the road is increased: but, as it was done, the army should continue to march as he had ordered, for some days, as I thought it of little importance, except as to the labour, which must be reduced by reducing the breadth of the road to what was barely necessary, as I was confident the enemy would not be met with very soon, and that it might not appear to the army that there was any contradicting sentiment between us. I hinted, at the same time, the ill effect it might have, that the two first officers should be altering the dispositions of each other, and the impropriety of his having altered one, that had been directed in public orders, and consequently known to the whole army; and that, as we advanced into the country, I would certainly direct the original disposition to be taken up. From that moment his coolness and distance increased, and he seldom came near me. I was concerned at it, but as I had given no cause, I could apply no cure. While encamped near Fort Jefferson, and that fort was going on, he came to my tent one day, and observed that the season was wearing away fast, and that he doubted much, whether we should be able to accomplish the objects of the campaign: but, in order to render them more certain, if I would give him the command of a thousand of the picked men of the army, he would go forward to the Miami villages, and take post there, while.
33I might finish the fort with the remainder, and come on at my leisure. I received the proposal with an astonishment that, I doubt not, was depicted m my countenance, and, in truth, had like to have laughed in his free, which he probably discovered. I composed my features, however, as well as I could, told him, though it did not appear to me, at first view, as a feasible project, nevertheless, it deserved to be considered; that I would consider it attentively, and give him an answer in the morning, which I accordingly did, with great gravity: and from that moment, his distance and reserve increased still more sensibly. And this is the only proposal, that I recollect, he ever made me during the campaign; and I suppose it to be that which it seems, he complained had been treated with contempt. It possibly may be, that he proposed, at another time, as I was certainly very much indisposed, to ease me of the command of the army entirely; but I do not recollect it. But it has been said, by some of the gentlemen who have been examined, that the adjutant general was very obnoxious to the officers in general, and his living at head quarters prevented them from going there. An adjutant general, gentlemen, in any army where a punctilious obedience of orders is not made a point of honour, if he does his duty, can never be a favourite character; and prejudices were raised against colonel Sargent, the moment he entered on the office, because he was not, at the time of his appointment, an officer in the army. But a punctilious obedience cannot well happen in an army just raised, and upon the spur of the occasion: it is the effect of long habit, and the dismission of factious and indolent characters: for persons in whom either of
34those are strongly marked, cannot long remain in an army that is well commanded. It is the duty of the adjutant general to attend to the execution of all orders, to watch over the conduct of the officers, and to make the general acquainted with their characters, so far as it respects the discharge of their public duties: all the returns are made to him, and he must see that they are correct, by comparing them with the former ones, and when alterations are not accounted for properly, to send them back. This circumstance, it is easy to see, may be a source of discontent, and was indeed a plentiful one. I had much trouble with them before an adjutant general was appointed, small as the number of troops then were; but above all, with the provision-returns. Those returns are usually made out by the quarter masters, and signed by the officers commanding the corps; if a considerable degree of attention was not paid to those returns, it would be in the power of the quarter masters to injure the public very considerably. Before the appointment of the adjutant general, I discovered that there was a want of attention to those returns, and therefore forbad provisions to be issued upon any returns that were not countersigned by myself, that I might have an opportunity of comparing them with the morning reports. This was continued after the appointment of that officer, only that they were to be countersigned by him: and the numerous mistakes he discovered in those returns, which he was obliged to send back, though signed by the commanding officers of the corps, shewed the propriety of the order, though it occasioned much uneasiness with them, and a dislike to him: a very little pains on their own parts.
35which it was their duty to have taken, would have obviated both. It may be that there was something in the manner of his doing business that was not pleasing; for there was an austerity in his manner, but it was an austerity that was not without its uses. I have seen, gentlemen, many adjutants general in many armies; and it is but justice to that gentleman, who is now at a great distance, to declare, that I have never seen one, who discharged the duties of that office with more care, intelligence, and exactness. On the thirtieth of October, having directed the quarter master to lay out the ground for the encampment of the army, in two lines, when it reached the ground, I found it was laid out in a square. I reprimanded the quarter master sharply, who replied, it was by general Butler's directions it had been done, who had sent captain Butler to assist him: indeed he very much wanted somebody to assist him, for he could never lay out two straight lines at equal distances from each other, nor apportion the ground to the corps. In the temper general Butler had discovered, it appeared unnecessary and perhaps improper, to say any thing to him about it: and therefore, I issued an order, that in future, the army should always encamp in two lines, in order of battle, unless it should be expressly ordered otherwise. From that time, general Butler never came near me but when I sent for him.
From this detail it will appear, that, so far from having treated general Butler improperly, or indelicately, I had taken the utmost pains to avoid giving him the least dissatisfaction; and indeed I was well aware of the evils that might follow from the appearance of a want of harmony and confidence in each other. And this
36was a point we had both been cautioned upon by the president, before I left Philadelphia. But independent of the public duty, and the recommendation of the president, it would have been the most unaccountable thing in nature, that I should have changed my conduct to general Butler at once, without any cause; and from having been the most steadfast, useful friend he ever had, (which he mentioned himself to major Gaither a very short time before) become his enemy, and treat him with disrespect and contempt. The thing is altogether incredible! My friendships change not so lightly; and it was continued to him, and to every connexion of his, as far as opportunity offered, from the time it commenced in 1774, to the day of his death; sometimes under circumstances that might have shaken it, without my incurring any suspicion of inconstancy. And the secretary of war will do me the justice to say, that, had there been any occasion for it, which I was pleased to find there was not, I interested myself for the reappointment of both his brothers. There was no want of harmony among the officers, nor among the corps. There was, indeed, a little jealousy between the levies and the standing regiments, which had its rise entirely from colonel Darke, who had taken a great dislike to major Hamtramck; for no other reason, that I could discover, than that the major was a very exact officer, and a gentleman in his manners, which threw the colonel a little in the shade: but there was great uneasiness in the colonel's own regiment, owing to his having brought in his son, as a captain, over two gentlemen, Mr. M'Crea and Mr. Glenn, who had raised the company; throwing one of them out altogether, and making the other a lieutenant;
37which I in some measure removed by giving him, Mr. Glenn, an appointment in the horse.
The next point objected to me is, that I did not consult the officers, upon the movements of the army. If this be a fault, it is certainly true; and if thereby the misfortunes of the campaign were produced, they are to be laid to my door. But what had I to consult them about? The object of the campaign was determinate, and the plan of operations chalked out by my instructions. These instructions I put into general Butler's hands at Fort Washington, before he joined the army, but, I think, a day or two, at most, after my return to that place from Kentucky. If I had not lost my diary, or if the adjutant general was here, I could ascertain the very day; but it is immaterial as to the time: he had them long before the army marched, and, consequently, had all the information I could give him, in proper time. It would seem, indeed, from colonel Darke's testimony, that the general had complained long after they had been communicated, that he had been treated indelicately in that they had been withheld so long: if so, I am, indeed, sorry that he was so very easily offended; he knew I had instructions, and it appears also, from colonel Darke's testimony, that the secretary of war had informed him they would be communicated to him. If he thought the communication was too long delayed, it would have been more honourable, more decent, and more dignified, to have applied for them, which the secretary's letter would have justified him in doing, than to suffer that delay to rankle in his mind, and to complain of it to others, and above all, to colonel Darke, whom he looked upon with great contempt,
38and who, he knew, was dissatisfied with him, and had complained of him to me. Was I to consult the officers, whether I should follow the orders of the president, so positively delivered by the secretary of war, or put an end to the campaign, and defeat the public expectations? If the last had been my view, it would seem, from what has been deposed before the committee, I should not have been disappointed in receiving such advice. But for what reason put an end to the campaign? Had the enemy disturbed us at all on the march? No, they had not, in the smallest degree: a single Indian had not been seen, except a few straggling hunters on whom our parties fell by accident. Was there any intelligence that their force was too great for us to cope with? There was none of any kind, neither could it be obtained. It was left, then, to the calculation of probabilities; and to me it appeared most probable that, as they did not attempt to molest us in our advances, which they might have done to great effect, they had been disappointed in collecting a sufficient force; that they either would desert their towns on the approach of the army, or sue for peace, which they had been informed they could obtain on proper terms: and it was this last event that I most expected. But if the second in command held a different sentiment, was it not his duty, if he thought the general was wantonly committing his army, to make representations to him on that head, instead of raising jealousies and sowing discontents. I should certainly have done so in such a situation; and I can with truth declare, had such representations been made, they would have been received with decency, and considered with candour. It
39may be, that the army was moved in a manner that did not coincide with the opinion of the second in command, and some other officers. I was not, however, informed of it. But be that as it may, I thought myself competent to judge of the matter without consulting them. At a very early time of life, I took up the profession of arms, and served through the whole of the war of 1756, under some of the first generals in the world. I had the honour to be personally known to and trusted by a Wolfe, a Moncton, and a Murray. I served again through the whole of the last war. I had joined theory to practice, by an attentive perusal of the best military books, in most languages, and had made myself acquainted with the engineer's branch, so far at least as it concerns fortification; and without some knowledge of that, either natural or acquired, I will venture to say, that no man will ever be a general: and if I thought myself equal to directing the movements of two thousand men, it will not be deemed great presumption.
But what occasioned the uneasiness that has been spoken of? Why, the troops had wanted half a pound of flour, for a few days, and got beef in place of it; and the officers were restricted to a single ration. Persons that cannot look greater difficulties than those in the face, with patience, and even with pleasure, should never think of being soldiers.
I certainly did not consult general Butler on detaching the first regiment. I did not think it necessary then, nor do I now, that I should take his opinion whether a detachment, that appeared to me to be necessary, for various important purposes, should be made, nor of what troops it should consist: if he was not informed
40of the reasons for which it was made, it was because he absented himself from head-quarters. The orders for that regiment to march were given the moment the information of the desertion of the militia was received. The sending a corps saved the time the making details and distributing the orders for them would have taken up; and if it was delayed on account of provisions, that would equally have happened with any other.
The next point, in order, is the inadequate arrangement for the transportation of the provisions and baggage. By my instructions, (page twenty-five) the provisions were to be transported at the expense of, and by the means provided by the contractors: but by the secretary's letters of July seventh and twenty-first, I was empowered to remedy all defects in their system, if in the quarter master's power, but at that time no quarter master had appeared. I had, nevertheless, provided sufficient, or what appeared to me to be a sufficient number of horses for the business; and that it was not fully so, was owing entirely to want of system in the contractor's people; to their neglecting of their horses when they first arrived at Fort Washington, where great numbers of them were lost, and the little care that was taken of them when on the road. Mr. Earnest, the person charged with the transportation by Mr. Duer, arrived too late to put the business in proper train: for it was not till general Butler arrived, that he made his appearance; and, that the contractor's horses were murdered by improper treatment, appears clearly from the circumstance, that the quarter master's horses, though in constant service, and loaded, almost every
41day, were in perfect good condition the very last day's march, when the others were nearly all destroyed. The deficiencies, however, were supplied by the quarter master, whom I sent back from the army for the express purpose (see my letter to Mr. Earnest of nine-teenth October) and I had such assurances from him, that I had no reason to fear a want of proper supplies, if we gained the Miami villages; and to have laid aside the operations of the campaign, on that account, would have been highly improper. His letters to me on that subject have been lost, but he, no doubt, has them, and will produce them, should he arrive before this inquiry closes.
It has been said that the cavalry horses were ill taken care of, and it is true in part. One hundred horses arrived at Fort Washington on the twenty-ninth day of July, and were ordered to be landed on the Virginia shore, opposite to Fort Washington, on the upper side of Licking river, under a guard of thirty men. That was a place where the pasturage was abundant and excellent; not at the very point, where a family or two were living, but at a very little distance from it, and there was no danger of their being stole from thence by the Indians, which they would have been more exposed to on the Fort Washington side. A person in the character of conductor and forage master, had been sent with them by Mr. Hodgdon, and they were continued under his particular care. Neither bells nor hopples had been provided for them, and that they were wanting was not reported to me; and I could never suppose, that general Butler, who knew so well the necessity there was for both, for horses that were to be turned
42to the woods to feed, and which were embarked under his own eye, would suffer the quarter master to send them away without them: especially when they were going from a country where they might have been procured, to a country where it was certain they could not be provided. The very first night, seventy of them were missing. Indeed, after having been so long crowded together in boats, the beasts were happy to find themselves loose, and ran wild into the woods the moment they got their feet on shore: and it was not till the conductor came to inform me of that accident that I knew he was unprovided with bells and hopples; and then it was also discovered, that this conductor had probably never seen a horse turned to feed, except in an inclosure, and did not know that bells were necessary. Indeed had he gone in pursuit of the horses, it would have been necessary that he should have carried a bell himself, for he never would have found his way back again. The greatest part of those horses were recovered; their halters were converted into hopples, and they were confined within a chain of sentries in the day time, and tied up in the night. It was also soon discovered, that this conductor, instead of giving their horses their forage properly in troughs, which he had been directed to have made of the bark of the trees, strewed it along the river beach, and left them to pick it out of the sand as they could, by which a great part of it was lost, and the horses much injured by kicking each other, and fighting about it: such treatment must soon have reduced the ablest horses in the world. Artificers were immediately set to work to make bells, but the materials ran out before a sufficient
43number were completed. Men to mount the horses were to be draughted from all the corps: a measure recommended by the secretary of war, before I left Philadelphia; and, certainly, as the officers and men must be draughted, it was very proper that they should be taken in due proportion from the whole army; for if they had been taken from any one corps, it would have been weakened too much, and the rest would have considered it as proceeding from an improper predilection. Captain Snowden was particularly mentioned by the secretary as a proper person for the command of a troop, and his former reputation, as an officer, with which I was well acquainted, and his having served in Lee's legion, seemed to point him out as the most proper; and he was accordingly appointed: but it had escaped me that it was in the infantry of the legion, that he had principally served. Thirty men were drawn out from the troops then present, to serve as horsemen, which was about the proportion they would bear to the whole, when collected; and it was my opinion that thirty men, having no other duty to do, might take care of seventy or eighty horses, until the rest of the troops should arrive. It is still my opinion, that they might have done it well. It is in proof to the committee, that it was not done, and that it did not pass unnoticed. It appeared to me, that there was a want of attention to the horses on the part of captain Snowden, and though reluctantly, I was obliged to look out for an officer for the second troop who should command him. All the care possible was taken to provide for them, but they were then much reduced,
44and the frosts soon robbed the grass they got, of most of its nutritive quality.
It seems to have been supposed, that the troops not being paid occasioned discontent among them, and was the cause of the desertion which prevailed, and might have been one of the causes of the failure of the expedition. The secretary of war, in his letter of the twenty-third of June, says "Captain Beatie marched from Trenton this morning, &c. He has under his charge, seventeen thousand eight hundred and forty dollars and fifty cents, which is to be delivered to Mr. Hodgdon, the quarter master; this money is intended as a sort of military chest, and to be issued from thence by your orders, &c."
The committee will please to observe, that, until the quarter master arrived, there were no monies for the payment of any of the troops. That the sum placed in his hands, was equal to one month's pay only. That general Butler had paid one month to the levies at Pittsburg, so that the military chest was nearly empty when the quarter master did arrive, and the army had marched to the Miami river. Nevertheless, as some of the levies had not received their month's pay, and a dollar advance, having left Pittsburg before that payment was made to the others, it was issued to those by my orders. And if that had not been done, a new object for the application of the money in Mr. Hodgdon's hands, is pointed out in the secretary's letter of the thirtieth of the same month. But it is in proof that no discontent prevailed among the troops, from the detention of their pay. They were in a country where they could make no other use of it than laying it out in
45whiskey, of which pernicious beverage they contrived to get by far too much; and the numerous courts martial, with which the orderly book is filled, is a melancholy proof of the mischiefs which were produced by it. Desertion certainly prevailed to a great degree, but it arose from the kind of men who had been inlisted,
The last part of my conduct, which seems to have been deemed improper, but which could have no influence upon the campaign, because it was then over, is the manner in which the levies were discharged. I think it has been fully proved, that proper means were taken to send to their respective countries, all of them that chose to return, the Virginia battalion excepted. But I beg leave to bring them again to view. The officers commanding corps were called upon to furnish lists of the number, that would return by land, for it was not
46in my power to furnish boats to take them all up the river. This may appear extraordinary, as there had, certainly, boats enow come down, not only for the whole of them, but for the horses and military stores likewise. But the boats which come down the river, are a sort of floats or rafts, from forty to sixty feet in length, and ten to eighteen in width, and cannot ascend the river at all. Light keel-boats of the usual construction, and a great force of oars, can alone overcome the current; and besides, the winter had set in with so great severity, that there was little probability the river would continue long enough navigable. It was, however, attempted with a part, and succeeded. Of necessity, the rest had to go by land through the wilderness. Those were put under the direction of officers, who were furnished with money to provide for them, to their respective places of inlistment, calculating each day's march at fifteen miles. This was all that could be done for them. But they were to be mustered and discharged previously to their being dismissed. The clothing of the levies was very much worn when they first arrived at Fort Washington; and it was evident, that unless they obtained a supply, in some way or other, they must suffer extremely during the campaign. The officers desired my opinion whether, if they should purchase such articles for the men, as they stood most in need of, it might not, with propriety, be stopped from their pay. I had no hesitation about it, and advised the measure. And in consequence, many of them did obtain those supplies upon their personal credit. It became a payment to the soldiers, so far as it went, which the officers, in my opinion, had a right to be repaid by the public:
47and as no paymaster was appointed for that corps, I did suppose the pay of the companies would come into the hands of the captains, who would stop it of course.
By the articles of war, no soldier is to be dismissed from the service, without a discharge in writing signed by a field officer. It had been long a custom for soldiers whose times had expired, to sell their discharges; that is, they gave up their discharges to some person, who gave them money for them, as they could agree, and transferred their right to whatever arrearages might be due to them, which was paid to the assignee at the pay-office. It was probable that the levies, or some of them, would do so likewise. But the officers, as has been stated, had made them considerable advances, and many of them being killed, those remaining generally lost their company books in the action, the particulars could not then be ascertained. It became necessary to devise some means of securing them. Besides, the men had very generally thrown away their arms and accoutrements, which, in good conscience, they ought to be charged with. The just balance, if it could have been come at, due to every man, should have been indorsed upon the discharges respectively; but as that could not be done, and it was probable they would be charged with the arms they had lost, which would appear by the muster-rolls, orders were given to the commanding officers to indorse upon the back of every discharge, a certificate that money and clothing had been furnished, the amount of which could not be ascertained at that time, and was to be deducted from the pay due. It was expected that this circumstance would have induced the soldiers to keep their discharges till they
48returned to the place, where they could have received their money, as the uncertainty with respect to what was really due would discourage purchasers, and the officers and the public be secured. It had not, indeed, the effect; for they were sold for whatever was offered, and it all went in whiskey; and it would probably have been the same thing, if they had received their money. All the difference would have been, that the horrid scene of intoxication and brutality that ensued, would have been of longer continuance. The design, however, was a good one, and calculated to do justice to the officers, who were in advance for the men; to the public, whose arms they had thrown away; and to themselves, by obliging them to keep their discharges until their accounts could be settled, and their arrearages paid to them: for it was not to be supposed, that they would throw them away for a quart of whiskey, as it has been proven that some of them did. That an ill use was made of it was not my fault, neither had I the power to remedy it. In those respects, the whole of the levies were alike. But how came it about, that no provision was made for sending home the Virginia battalion, in the same manner as the others? I can perceive, that some gentlemen in the committee have harboured a suspicion that it arose from some improper partiality on my part. But the suspicion is without any foundation, and, had there been an opportunity to examine major Bedinger, who commanded it, they would have been satisfied, that he reported to me that none of the men intended to return further than Kentucky; that they were furnished with the quantity of provisions he required for them; that the greatest disorder imaginable prevailed among
49the men, whose times of service being expired, they would submit to no control of the officers, nor obey their orders; and that he requested me to dismiss them and dispense with the muster that had been ordered to be taken; or, if there had been an opportunity to examine the adjutant general, upon this head, it would have been proven, to their perfect satisfaction; for he had a better opportunity to see and know the actual state of things: for, at that time, I was confined to my chamber, and most frequently to my bed. Indeed, I have cause to lament his absence on this inquiry, as many things, which he could have testified, must rest upon my assertion. The details of the army were his province, parties of all kinds, and for all purposes, were formed by him: their objects were communicated to the officers who commanded them, through him, together with their particular orders. Many of them appeared upon the orderly books, but many more were directed verbally.
But it has been suggested, that my conduct was improper in the time of the action, and it has been demanded of many of the witnesses, whether I was employed in giving orders, and did issue them with coolness and composure. I would beg leave to ask, what orders, it is supposed, could be necessary to be given to an army, every part of which was engaged at the same moment and continued so for near four hours without intermission, and every man doing his best? It is in proof, that I was seen, by several of the few officers who have been examined, passing and repassing along the lines; that in doing so, I conversed with and gave directions to several of the field officers; that I attempted to force up to the action the broken militia
50and others; that I was personally present at the first charge made upon the enemy; that I led up the troops which drove them back, when they first entered the camp by the left flank; that colonel Darke received the orders for the charge made by him, with a part of the second line, from my lips; and that when a retreat was become indispensable, I put myself at the head of the troops which broke through the enemy, and opened a way for the rest. Had there been an opportunity of examining more of the officers, the committee would have been informed of more instances, where every thing that was possible to be done by man, to bring the action to a happy issue, was done by me; for there are but few of them who did not see me, at one time or other, during its continuance. But I forbear to mention them, being satisfied that no doubts can remain in their breasts. It has been proven, likewise, that upon the retreat, I did every thing that could be done to stop the troops, and to prevent their throwing away their arms, that they might be in some condition to defend themselves; that I was always near the rear of them. Indeed many of the officers pressed me to move forwards, being apprehensive that I might fall into the hands of the enemy. But besides that my horse was unable to move much beyond a walk, and that I could not bear a quicker motion, it would have been indecent in the highest degree, and I would sooner have suffered a thousand deaths.
But it may be asked, if I was unable to bear the trotting of a horse, how can that be reconciled with my having exerted myself so much during the action, and on foot too for a great part of it. The inquiry is a
51natural one; and I can answer it no otherwise, than that the fact was so. I certainly was able to move much better that morning than I had been able to do for some days before, and did so, notwithstanding that I was very feeble; but before captain Trueman brought me a horse, I was very nearly exhausted, and without one; though unhurt, I must have remained upon the field. That I was on foot any part of the time, was owing to my horses being killed. I had four of them; they had been turned out to feed over night, and were brought in before the action began. The first I attempted to mount, was a young horse, and the firing alarmed him so much, that I was not able to accomplish it, though there were three or four people assisting me; and I had just moved to a place where I could have some advantage of the ground, when the beast was shot through the head, and the boy that was leading him up, through the arm. It took a little time to disengage the furniture and prepare another; but, at the moment it was done, the horse, and a servant of colonel Sargent, who had him in hand, were both killed. I could wait no longer; my pains were forgotten, and for a considerable time, I could walk with a degree of ease and alertness, that surprised every body. I ordered the third horse to be got ready, and follow me to the left of the front line, which was by that time very warmly engaged: but I never after saw either the horse or the man, and suppose they were both killed. The fourth was killed under the count De Malartic, whose own horse had died upon the march.
It is impossible not to perceive, that some orders given by me, with respect to the rations of the officers,
52have been misunderstood by some gentlemen of the committee, or have been misrepresented to them. I beg leave to state the case, and apply the orders.
By law, the officers are entitled to a certain number of rations, according to their different grades, but none to less than two. They are a liberty to draw from the contractor's stores, the whole, or any part of them they think proper, and to be paid for what is not drawn (which is what is understood by retained rations) at the contract price. By turning to the contract, it will be discovered, that the contractor is to pay the officer for those retained rations, in money. But if he has not money, as was the case during the last campaign, or refuses to pay for them, the officer has still his claim upon the public, with whom, and not with the contractor, he made his engagements. The contractor is a person he knows nothing of, interposed between him and the public for public conveniency, and the public is responsible to the officers for him. But how is the officer's claim for retained rations to be supported, unless by a certificate from the issuing commissary, that, in the month of June, for example, captain A. B. drew at Fort Washington . . . . rations only, and . . . . were retained? In every case, then, where rations are retained, and the contractor does not pay for them, due bills, as they are called, such as is stated above, must necessarily follow, and on those certificates being presented at the pay-office, the amount, at the contract price, is paid and transferred to the treasury to be charged to the contractor. This, I suppose, to be the manner in which the contractor is charged. But be that as it may, I am sure that the retained rations have
53been paid for at the pay-office. On the other hand, that the contractor may be enabled to receive from the treasury the monies he has advanced for retained rations, it is necessary that they should come into the abstracts; but they cannot come into the abstracts, if they are not included in the returns, which are always given up when the abstracts are signed, and are the vouchers for the issues. I could see no way so easy and so natural at once to secure the officer, the contractor, and the public, as to direct that the whole number of rations which every officer was intitled to receive, should be included in the provision returns, and that the issuing commissary should give a certificate to every officer, of the number of rations that were not drawn, or not paid for by him. Where they were paid for, the business was completed. If he had not money to discharge them, they were still due to the officers by the public, and the certificates, on being produced at the pay-office, would be paid there, and the money carried to the debit of the contractor. And there was no risk in this to the public, for the abstracts are never signed oftener than once a month, and rarely so often; so that by delaying an abstract, had there been the appearance of any design to do injustice on the part of the contractors, it was always in the power of the commanding officer to keep them in advance, far beyond the value of the retained rations; and if that were not done, the contractor's securities would still be liable. And this subject was brought to the view of the secretary of war by me, on the sixth October, (see my letter of that date.) It was a measure, that could in no shape favour the contractors, and was calculated expressly for the benefit of the officers, by indentifying their respective claims. If gentlemen
54suppose that I had any interest in the contract, they are mistaken. Every speculation that can be entered into by the general of an army, or any person in public trust, I think infamous, and shall continue to think so, by whomsoever the example may be set.
It has been said, that not only the interests of the country have been injured, but the reputation of its arms has received a deep wound. The army, it is true, was beaten, but it was beaten after a more obstinate struggle against a greatly superior force than has often been exhibited. When has it been known before now, at least in modern times, that troops have continued the combat until two thirds of their number were stretched upon the ground, and when a most dangerous example had been set, in the first moment, by the advance giving way, almost without firing a shot, and very much disordering the battalions? Where is the instance in which the disorder has been sooner remedied, in the very moment too when they were attacked and under the fire of the enemy? When was the enemy charged with more vigour and intrepidity than by those very battalions, as soon as they were put in order? When was it, that a whole army sustained, at one and the same time, on all its parts, the attack of a superior enemy with equal firmness, and that none of them attempted to quit the field until they were ordered? All this happened to our little beaten, but not disgraced army, and would have shed a lustre upon the best disciplined troops in the world. They were not disciplined, but their native valour supplied the want of it. And if the retreat, when ordered, was not a very regular one, they did no more than what young troops, when obliged to turn
55their backs upon the enemy, have always done and always will do. Their own weakness, which had escaped notice while in action, appeared to them, and they had a dreadful foe; and it was not at all surprising that they should make haste to escape. The whole business, when viewed in a proper light, reflects honour, and not disgrace, upon the troops.
The postscript to my letter of the ninth of November, to the secretary of war, has also been a subject of animadversion, as having been intended to fix a stain upon the memory of general Butler. But how does it appear that there could have been such an intention? It is in proof to the committee, that the information alluded to in that postscript,
56they did not proceed from me. And whether general Butler received the information or not, makes no difference in the case. But there is not the smallest reason to suppose he did not receive it; for captain Slough's testimony bears such strong marks of authenticity, and is strengthened by so many collateral circumstances, as to enforce belief, and is even corroborated by the testimony of colonel Darke, although it was evident he wished to evade the questions which were proposed to him; and it would moreover be difficult to imagine, why captain Slough should forge a story after general Butler was dead, which could make no possible difference in our affairs, nor be of the smallest use to himself.
I will trouble the committee with one observation more only; it is on the indisposition I was afflicted with for nearly all the campaign; that, surely, was a misfortune and not a fault, and, it might have been expected, would more naturally have been the subject of commisseration than complaint; more especially as the public service was not retarded, nor did it suffer by it in the least, and I have great reason to be thankful, that though I suffered much, both from pain and sickness, and my bodily strength was very much wasted, the vigour of my mind was not affected or impaired in the smallest degree, but if sickness be a fault, was it exclusively so in the commander in chief; for unfortunately the second in command did not escape, and was sometimes rendered unfit for duty altogether, which I never was.
But how was my sickness brought on? By my being exposed three days and nights between Fort
57Washington and Lexington, at the time I went to Kentucky about the militia, in the heaviest rains that were ever known to fall with such continuance; in an uninhabited country; in the day time, every step to the horses' knees, and in the night, the bare ground to lie upon: this brought on a bilious complaint, that I was never able to shake off, until the gout again came and relieved me from it in a considerable degree. If I had had less zeal for the service, I should probably have had more health, and would not have been languishing, as I still am, from the effects of it.
It was my case to be placed in very difficult circumstances, and, I trust, the committee will think, I did the best to overcome them: that, in every respect I fulfilled my duty, which was complicated in an unusual manner, and thereby an uncommon burthen was placed upon my shoulders, and that, from whatever causes the campaign proved unsuccessful, the misfortunes cannot be laid to my charge.
One thing more occurs to me that I have neglected to take notice of. It has been said that no attention was paid to the wounded officers, who accompanied the remains of the army on the retreat from Fort Jefferson, and that some of them, particularly major Butler, were left in a very exposed situation. The committee will please to recollect, it has been proved that all the wounded who were not in a situation to perform the march to Fort Hamilton, had been ordered to remain at Fort Jefferson, that if any did come on, who were not able for the march, it was without my knowledge, and contrary to my intention; that it was in the night when the troops moved from that place, and that
58some might easily fall behind without being observed; that, I was so far overcome by the fatigues of the day, it was with the utmost difficulty I could keep on horseback, and it was no great wonder that a case, which had been provided against, but which might nevertheless be supposed to exist, was not attended to; that no report was made to me of any officer being left upon the road; that orders were given to the conductor of the convoy, which was met the next day, to afford every possible relief to every person he met, whether wounded or not, and that on my arrival at Fort Hamilton, when it was known that major Butler was not arrived, a party from that garrison was immediately ordered expressly for the purpose of bringing him in. That gentleman and myself met in the night, on a narrow bridge over a deep gut, both so weak, that we could not prevent our horses from jostling each other, which had like to have thrown us both into the swamp. The major mentioned that his horse was on the point of failing entirely, and begged me, if it were possible, to get him another; a wounded servant of my own, the only one I had left, was immediately dismounted, and the horse he rode sent to the major; and as the troops halted soon after, and I did not see him again, I concluded that he had gone on.
It was my intention to have applied the testimony of every witness particularly, but besides that I was not possessed of it, having only the notes I had taken upon their examination, it would have taken up too much of the time of the committee. And I am persuaded, they will find the general result, that I have assumed, to be a just one.
Report of the Committee to The House of Representatives.
Mr. Fitzsimmons, from the committee appointed to inquire into the causes of the failure of the late expedition under major general ST. CLAIR reported, that the committee had, according to order, proceeded to examine all the papers furnished by the executive department relative thereto. Sundry papers and accounts, furnished by the treasury and war departments, with explanations of the same by the heads of those departments in person, to hear the testimony of witnesses upon oath, and written remarks by general ST. CLAIR, upon the facts established by the whole evidence, and the result of their inquiries, the committee has agreed to the following report.
The contract for the supplies of the army on the route from Fort Pitt, was made by Theodosius Fowler with the secretary of the treasury, and bears date
60the twenty-eighth day of October, one thousand seven hundred and ninety; that at the same time a bond in the penalty of one hundred thousand dollars, with Walter Levingston and John Cochran, securities thereto, was entered into for the due execution of the said contract.
That on the third day of January, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, the contract was wholly transferred from the said Theodosius Fowler, to William Duer, a copy of which transfer was lodged in the office of the secretary of the treasury; that, by letter from the secretary of war, bearing date the twenty-fifth of February, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, addressed to William Duer, it appears that he was considered as contractor; that no correspondence appears to have taken place subsequently to that time, between Theodosius Fowler and either the treasury or war departments: that on the sixth of March, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, a contract was entered into by William Duer with the secretary of war, for supplying the troops with provisions until their arrival at Fort Pitt, and at Fort Pitt, a bond was at the same time entered into by the said William Duer, for the due execution of the said contract, in the penalty of four thousand dollars, without any security whatsoever.
That the act making provision for the defence of the frontiers, received the signature of the president of the United States the third of March, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one. That general ST. CLAIR was appointed commander in chief of the army destined for the expedition, on the fourth day of the same month, and on the twenty-eighth left Philadelphia for Fort Pitt, at which place he arrived on the sixteenth of April, and from thence proceeded to Lexington, and from thence to Fort Washington, where he arrived on the fifteenth of May. At the time of the arrival of the general at Fort Washington, the garrison there consisted of seventy-five non-commissioned officers and privates fit for duty; the garrison at Fort Harmar of forty five; at Fort Steuben of sixty-one; at Fort Knox of eighty-three: and on the fifteenth day of July, the whole of the first United States' regiment, amounting to two hundred and ninety-nine non-commissioned officers and privates, arrived at Fort Washington under orders from the commander in chief. General Butler was appointed second in command in the month of March, and immediately proceeded to make the necessary arrangements for the recruiting service. That he arrived in Baltimore, in the state of Maryland, the twenty-eighth of April, and continued there till the thirtieth of the same month; that he arrived at Carlisle, in the state of Pennsylvania, on
62the ninth of May, and at Fort Pitt on the twenty-second of the same month. It appears that no monies for purchasing supplies were furnished at Carlisle, which was the place of rendezvous for the inlisted soldiers, on the ninth of May; and that Mr. Smith, agent for the contractor, was actively engaged in furnishing supplies for the troops, on credit.
It appears by letters from John Kean, another of the contractor's agents, that no money had been received by him on the eighth of May, and it appears that on the twenty-third of March, there was advanced to William Duer upon the last mentioned contract, from the treasury, the sum of fifteen thousand dollars; and that there was advanced upon the first mentioned contract, the sum of seventy thousand dollars, in the following sums and at the following dates, to wit.
|March 22d . . .||10,000 dollars.|
|April 7th . . .||15,000.|
|April 25th . . .||15,000.|
|May 7th . . .||20,000.|
|July 20th . . .||10,000.|
It appears from the correspondence of general Butler to the secretary of war, from the ninth of May to the ninth of June, repeated complaints were made of
63fatal mismanagements and neglects in the quarter master's and military stores departments, particularly as to tents, knapsacks, camp kettles, cartridge boxes, pack saddles, &c. all of which articles were deficient in quantity, and bad in quality.
The pack saddles particularly, were made in Philadelphia, which with the transportation amounted to more than double the price at which they might have been procured at Fort Pitt, and were found, upon examination, to be unfit for use; the arms sent forward appear not to have been duly examined, and arrived at Fort Pitt extremely out of order, and many totally unfit for use, which circumstance rendered repairs absolutely necessary, and added to the delay of the troops at Fort Pitt.
It appears that a great proportion of the powder supplied for the use of the army, was not of good quality, though an experiment was made by major Ferguson at Fort Pitt with a howitz, who reported in favour of the quality of the powder. On the ninth of June general Neville, another of the contractor's agents, informed general Butler, that he had not at that time, received any monies from the contractor, for the purchase of provisions, &c. for the troops, and was obliged to supply them on credit, that the country furnished
64provisions in abundance at a cheap rate, when money was had for the purchase. That shortly after this information was communicated to general Butler, at his request four hundred dollars were advanced to general Neville by the quarter master for the purchase of provisions for the troops. The troops arrived at Fort Pitt in the following order, to wit.
May 16th — Captain Slough, sixty-nine men.
May 18th — Captain Powers, seventy-eight men.
May 19th — Captain Cribs, forty men: same day captain Guthrie, twenty-three.
May 25th, Captain Armstrong, seventy-six: same day captain Kirkwood, sixty-seven.
May 28th — Captain Snowden, one hundred and one.
June 2d — Captain Sparks, eighty three.
June 3d — Captain Butler, sixty-one; same day captain Brook, eighty-two; same day, captain Vanswaringen, eighty-eight.
June 5th — Captain Pike, seventy-three; total, including officers and privates, eight hundred and forty-two; and left that place in the following order; major Ferguson with captain Armstrong's company, about the first of June; captain Snowden, with the troops under his command, on the . . . . day of . . . . major Gaither, with about five hundred men, twelfth July, and on the twenty-second August, the last of the
65troops under the command of captain Phelon, and general Butler with the quarter master, on the twenty-sixth of August.
It appears that general Butler had orders from the department of war, to protect the frontiers with the troops under his command, and that the delays in sending the troops forward from Fort Pitt, arose partly from that circumstance and partly from the temporary want of supplies of provisions and other necessaries, and from want of the necessary boats for their transportation, which were not in readiness so soon as the troops were; it appears that general Butler acted with ability, activity, and zeal, in his command at Fort Pitt, and that the delays of the troops there cannot be imputed to his want of judgment, or his want of exertion.
The troops met with considerable difficulties and delays in going down the river, from the low state of the water, and arrived at Fort Washington in the following order — captain Mumford, from North Carolina, with about fifty men, on the . . . day of . major Ferguson, with captain Armstrong's company, on the . . . day of . . major Gaither, with the troops under his command, on the . . . day of . . Colonel Darke, with the troops under his command,
66on the . . . day of . . and the Kentucky militia, on the . . . . day of . . .
The army, consisting of about two thousand non-commissioned officers and privates, moved from Fort Washington by orders from the commander in chief, to a place five or six miles from thence, called Ludlow's station, where they continued till the seventeenth of September, at which time the whole army amounted to about two thousand three hundred non-commissioned officers and men fit for duty. That the price of rations at Fort Washington, agreeable to contract, was 6 3-4 90ths of a dollar per ration, the price of rations at Ludlow's station, 15 1-4 90ths of a dollar per ration.
That the inducements of the commander in chief to this movement, appear to have been to furnish green forage
Mr. Hodgdon was appointed quarter master general in the month of March, and continued at Philadelphia until fourth June; he then proceeded to Fort Pitt, where he arrived the tenth of the same month; no sufficient causes have appeared to the committee to justify this delay, and his presence with the army appears to have been essentially necessary previously to that time; the duties of the commander in chief were much increased in consequence of the absence of the quarter master general, and after a continued expectation of his arrival at Fort Washington, for more than six weeks, the commander in chief gave him express orders, by letter, to repair to camp without delay.
The receipt of the letter is acknowledged, but the orders contained therein, were neither answered nor obeyed, and his arrival at camp was not until the tenth of September. The commander in chief, until that time, in addition to the duties of his office, discharged those of the quarter master general, and the military stores furnished by that department were so deficient from mismanagement and neglect, that many things essential to the movements of an army, were either wholly made or repaired at Fort Washington, and even the tools for the artificers to work with: the quarter master particularly informed the commander in chief, that two complete travelling forges were sent forward,
68and upon examination both them of were found to be without an anvil; many other things, equally necessary, were either wholly omitted, or unfit for their intended use. There were six hundred and seventy-five stand of arms at Fort Washington the first of June, and most of them totally out of repair. The commander in chief appears to have been correct and attentive in all his communications with the secretary of war, and to have discharged the various duties which devolved upon him, with ability, activity, and zeal.
The army moved from Ludlow's station on the seventeenth day of September, and arrived at the place where Fort Hamilton is now erected, on the . . . day of September; they employed about fifteen days building that fort, and then proceeded in their march to the place where Fort Jefferson is now erected, forty-four miles in advance of Fort Hamilton, where they arrived on the twelfth October, and commenced their march from that place on the twenty-fourth of the same month. That the army, at this time, consisted of seventeen hundred non-commissioned officers and privates fit for duty; at this time the army had not more than three days' supply of flour, and were sometimes at one fourth, and sometimes at one half allowance of that article, the deficiencies of which allowance, were made up by increasing the quantity of beef, with which
69they were plentifully supplied. The army was delayed five or six days in their march from Fort Jefferson, for the want of provisions, and the season was so far advanced, that sufficient green forage for the horses could not be procured, from which circumstance many of the horses were totally lost, and others rendered unfit for service.
The orders to the commander in chief were express and unequivocal, to proceed with the expedition, so much as, in the opinion of the committee, to preclude the commander in chief from exercising any discretion relative to the object.
On the thirty-first October, about sixty of the Kentucky militia deserted in a body, and the first regiment, consisting of about three hundred effective men, was detached with a view to cover a convoy of provisions which was expected, and which it was supposed was in danger from the deserted militia, and to prevent farther desertions.
On the third of November, after detaching the first regiment, the army consisted of about fourteen hundred effective men, and on the morning of the fourth, about half an hour before sunrise, a general attack was commenced, and in a few minutes thereafter nearly the
70whole army was surrounded by the enemy, the action continued about four hours, during which, several charges were made by a part of the army, which caused the enemy to give way, but produced no good effect; the attack was unexpected, the troops having been just dismissed from the morning parade: it commenced upon the militia, who were in advance of the main army, and who fled through the main army without firing a gun;
The committee have had no competent evidence before them to asertain the number of the enemy in action; there were various conjectures as to the number, from different persons, from five hundred the lowest, to one thousand or twelve hundred the highest.
Mr. Barton, a witness examined by the committee, conversed with a chief at Niagara, who was in the action, and was by him informed, that the number of the enemy in action was one thousand and forty, and that six hundred more had convened, but were engaged in hunting at the time of the action. He was also informed that the enemy had not collected in any considerable numbers, until a few days before the action. This information appears to be corroborated by some circumstances sufficient to induce a belief of the fact in the committee.
The contractors for supplies, agreeably to the term of contract, were to furnish horses, &c. for the transportation of the supplies; in this condition of the contract there was a total failure, which compelled the commander in chief to direct between six and seven hundred to be purchased by Israel Ludlow, one of the contractor's agents, to draw bills on Mr. Duer, the acting contractor, for payment, which bills were indorsed by the commander in chief, to the amount of about
72seventeen thousand dollars, were protested by the contractor, and paid at the treasury; the persons employed by the agents of the contractor to drive the horses, appear to have been totally unacquainted with that business, and from the want of bells, hopples, and other necessaries of that kind, as well as from other gross mismanagement, many of the horses were lost, and others rendered unfit for service; from which causes, there were not packhorses sufficient to transport the necessary quantity of flour from Fort Washington for the use of the army on their march; this circumstance retarded the execution of the expedition.
The officers, agreeable to the terms of contract, had an election of drawing the whole of the rations, to which their rank intitled them, or of receiving the contract price in cash; the contractor's agents, not being furnished with money for this purpose, gave rise to a general order, by which the officer was directed to receive from the contractor's agent, a certificate called a due bill, of one of which the following is a copy.
"Due major H. Gaither, one hundred and seventy-three compleat rations, on the route to Miami village, as appears by Mr. Wilson's certificate."
ROBERT EARNEST for Mr. DUER.
Fort Washington, Nov. 17th, 1791.
This due bill, issued upon the officer's signing some satisfaction for his whole rations, which acknowledgment, forms a voucher for settlement to the contractor with the treasury department, and the officer is refused payment for these due bills at the pay-office: all casualties by which those evidences of debt become lost or destroyed, are the gain of the contractor, and the loss of the officer.
It is suggested by the secretary of the treasury, though not with positive certainty, that a sufficient sum will be found due from the treasury to the contractor, upon a final settlement, to cover all these debts to the officers; the general order which had the operation before stated, continued in force about five or six weeks, and was abolished about the nineteenth October. The privates of the levies received but three dollars pay each, from the time of their inlistments to the time of their respective discharges, and were actually discharged without pay or settlement; notes of discharge were given them specifying the time of their service, and bearing indorsations, that some advancements had been made to them on account, without stating the amount, the object of which is suggested to have been to prevent transfers; the intended effect was not produced by the measure; the notes were sold for trifling considerations; the real sums due on the
74notes were various, from ten to twenty-five dollars, and they were often sold for one dollar, or one gallon of whiskey; the monies for the pay of the levies, did not leave Philadelphia till the fourth December, nor arrive at Fort Washington till the third of January 1792, some time after the last inlisted levies were known to be intitled to their discharges;
The clothing for the levies appears to have been of very inferior quality, particularly coats, hats, and shoes, the last of which, in many cases, lasted not more than four days, and better clothing furnished them upon their inlisting into the regular service, which was, for a time, countenanced by the commander in chief.
Various modes appear to have been pursued by the officers in inlisting the levies, which occasioned great uneasiness and some confusion; a considerable part of the Virginia battalion was so inlisted, that the terms of their inlistment appears to have expired the first of November; the orders to the recruiting officers appear not to have been sufficiently explicit upon this point: whether the terms of inlistment were to commence at the time of inlistment, or at the arrival at a place of rendezvous. The militia appear to have been composed chiefly of substitutes, and totally ungovernable, and regardless of military duty, or subordination. It appears that the commander in chief had it in contemplation to commence the expedition at least one month earlier then it was commenced, with the force he then had, which was not very different from the real force in the action, but was prevented for the want of the quarter master and contractor, and in consequence of the extreme deficiencies and derangements of the business of those departments; the person sent forward by the quarter master being totally incompetent for the business, and the agents not being sufficiently supplied with money to enable them to execute their duties.
It appears to the committee, that in the wilderness, where vegetables are not to be had, and the duties of
76the soldier uncommonly hard, the rations allowed by law, if completely supplied, are insufficient. This circumstance, with others, produced discontent and desertion among the soldiers.
It appears to the committee, that there were appropriated for the use of the war department, for the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, the sum of six hundred and fifty-two thousand, seven hundred and sixty-one dollars, and sixty-one cents; and that there have been advanced by the treasury to the war department, upon that appropriation, five hundred and seventy-five thousand, nine hundred and six dollars, and fifty-seven cents, to wit.
|1791.||February, advanced .||$ 15,000 00.|
|March do . . . .||46,002 20.|
|April do. . . . .||100,106 20.|
|May do. . . . .||80,109 80.|
|June do. . . . .||55,387 42.|
|July do. . . . .||14,105 39.|
|August do. . . . .||14,554 59.|
|September do. . . . .||14,796 53.|
|October do. . . . .||184 81.|
|November do. . . . .||107 28.|
|1792.||January do. . . . .||33,753|
|February do. . . . .||43,562 61.|
|1792.||March, advanced . . .||1,741 6.|
|amounting to||$ 419,311 1.|
|To which add monies borrowed from the bank of North America without interest, on loan. . . . .||156,595 56.|
|$ 575,906 57.|
And that the treasury has always been in readiness to make the requisite advances upon the request of the secretary of war. It does not appear to the committee, in what manner or to what amount these advancements have been disbursed, the accounts not being yet settled at the treasury, nor was it possible, from the nature of the case, that they could, at this time, have received any conclusive or satisfactory information on that point.
From the foregoing state of facts, the committee suggest the following as the principal causes, in their opinion, of the failure of the late expedition under major general ST. CLAIR.
The delay in furnishing the materials and estimates for, and in passing the act for the protection of the frontiers; the time after the passing of which was hardly sufficient to complete and discipline an army for
78such ah expedition, during the summer months of the same year.
The delays consequent upon the gross and various mismanagements and neglects in the quarter master's and contractor's departments: the lateness of the season at which the expedition was undertaken, the green forage having been previously destroyed by the frost, so that a sufficiency of subsistence for the horses, necessary for the army, could not be procured.
The want of discipline and experience in the troops.
The committee conceive it but justice to the commander in chief, to say, that in their opinion, the failure of the late expedition can in no respect be imputed to his conduct, either at any time before or during the action; but that, as his conduct, in all the preparatory arrangements, was marked with peculiar ability and zeal, so his conduct, during the action, furnished strong testimonies of his coolness and intrepidity.
The committee suggest, as reasons for leaving the number of troops blank at particular periods, and the dates of some particular facts, blank, the want of
79sufficient time to complete the report with minuteness, and, in some instances, the want of sufficient evidence.
The said report being read, resolved that the house will, early in the next session, proceed to take the same into consideration.
Extract From The Journals of The House of Representatives of the United States.
Wednesday, 14th Nov. 1792.
THE speaker laid before the house a letter from the secretary of war, together with a memorial of Samuel Hodgdon, late quarter master general to the army, respectively praying that they may be heard, and permitted to give information and explanations as to the causes of the failure of the expedition under major general ST. CLAIR, which was read, and the order of the day, that the house do resolve itself into a committee of the whole on the report of the committee appointed to inquire into the causes of the failure of the expedition under major general ST. CLAIR, being called for, it was on motion made and seconded, resolved, that the committee of the whole house to whom was committed
81the report of the committee appointed to inquire into the causes of the failure of the expedition under major general ST. CLAIR, be discharged from the farther consideration thereof, and that the said report, together with the letter of the secretary of war, and the memorial of Samuel Hogdon, be committed to Mr. Fitzsimmons, Mr. Giles, Mr. Steele, Mr. Clarke, and Mr. Finley. After this committee had reexamined the former report, and all the new documents and witnesses that had been introduced, and received the communications of the secretary of war and the quarter master, I addressed them in nearly the following words, and I am sure to this effect.
When I appeared before the committee last session, I confined myself to shewing that, to whatever causes the failure of the expedition was owing, none of them had proceeded from me, either directly or derivatively; and if from the observations I have to make, blame should seem to be thrown on the secretary of war and quarter master, they have themselves to thank for it, by endeavouring, as they have done, to transfer the great share they had in producing the misfortunes of the last campaign from themselves, and laying it upon me, a weight I am not willing to bear; and the examination
82of all the evidence being now gone through, I beg leave, without further preface, to submit the following observations, which though thrown together in great haste, (for you well know the little time that was allowed me) I confidently believe you will find in perfect uniformity to the whole of the testimony adduced then, and now, and that they will point to the true causes of the failure which is the object of your inquiry.
Observations on The Statements Made to The Committee by The Secretary of War and The Quarter Master General.
TH E first observation of the secretary which I shall take notice of is in these words, (see his third page) "that after general directions given, the secretary of war cannot be responsible for the conduct of the quarter master general, or the punctual execution of the contractors while with the army." This is readily admitted. But should the quarter master be withheld from joining the army by the secretary, or employed by him in business foreign to his office, whereby the duties of it are improperly delayed, and any ill consequences should follow, the secretary would be responsible.
The secretary, in a letter to general Butler of the nineteenth June (see his page thirteen) says, that he, general Butler, had made frequent complaints of fatal
84mismanagement in the quarter master's and military store departments, and observes, that they had been remedied in the following manner, to wit, "The clothing and canteens for Clarke's battalion must have arrived about the first instant. Sheet iron was sent forward to make camp kettles at Fort Pitt. The knapsacks were neither strapped nor painted, but the quarter master was to forward both paint and straps. But to remedy this matter entirely, I have directed a sufficiency to be painted and strapped here, and they will be forwarded in a few days." It appears, then, that defects in the equipments of the troops, who ought to have been in the field at Fort Washington before the tenth July, on which day the campaign was ordered to be opened, were to be remedied by articles that were to be forwarded to Fort Pitt from Philadelphia in a few days after the nineteenth day of: June, and could not reach that place much under a month, and then they would be five hundred miles from Fort Washington.
In the same letter, speaking of the quarter master, he says, "I have directed him to take your advice upon such preparations as you may deem essential and which have not been done already." After having detained the quarter master in Philadelphia from the time of his appointment in March to the fourth June, to prepare what was essential, he is sent to Fort Pitt to take the advice
85of general Butler upon such preparations as might appear essential to him, and, of course, to stay there until they were completed; and in this light the quarter master viewed it: for, an express order from the commander in chief, could not bring him away from thence, because, as he has said, general Butler thought him more usefully employed there than he would be at head quarters. A proper combination of circumstances, seems to have been wanting in the secretary's mind, when he informed general Butler, that the mismanagements in the quarter master's department would be remedied by articles, to be sent to Fort Pitt from Philadelphia after the nineteenth June, and could not arrive there till after the time the whole army, completely equipped, and provided at all points, ought to have been at Fort Washington, and many hundred miles beyond it.
In his sixteenth page, the secretary observes, "it ought also to be remembered that Philadelphia was a common centre, from which all the stores were supplied, excepting those furnished in the eastern states from the arsenal at Springfield; that the numerous articles for the equipment of a body of men were to be prepared and transported to the respective battalion rendezvouses as well as for the general purposes of the campaign, to Pittsburg. These circumstances being duly investigated,
86it would be rather a circumstance of approbation than censure to find the articles, so soon as they really were, transported to their respective rendezvouses." Very possibly this circumstance may deserve some praise. But there are other circumstances which ought to have been duly investigated by the secretary, before he decided upon a campaign to be carried on principally by troops raised for six months only, to wit, whether he had equipments for them; and if he had not, whether they could be provided and transported to wheresoever they were wanted in due time, and whether the numerous articles in the ordnance and military store departments were on hand, or could be provided and transported likewise. If it had appeared, on that investigation, that there would be a failure in any one of them, it was evident that the plan could not be carried into execution. Whether it was made or not I am not informed; but, certainly, I was suffered to depart in order to assume the command, without a hint of the probability of a disappointment in any one of them, and had I not believed that every thing either was, or would be in readiness to move from the common centre in due time to accord with that fixed for assembling the troops, and beginning to operate, specified in the plan of the campaign, I should never have undertaken to conduct it.
The secretary, in the seventeenth page, says, "It is to be observed that the six hundred and seventy-five stand of arms, mentioned in the report to be at Fort Washington on the first of June, and most of them totally out of repair, were no part of the arms depended on for the campaign." If it be meant that those arms were not depended on for the troops, it is admitted; but I had none else to depend on for the militia. I had seen great numbers of the militia from Kentucky, who were employed in the campaign under general Harmar, supplied with arms at Fort Washington, and I had reason to expect there would be a like necessity in that to be led by me; of course the arms were to be put in order.
In the eighteenth page the secretary states, that "the tents were new, the bodies of the best Russia sheeting, but that it ought to be acknowledged an error was made, by way of saving, of making the ends of inferior stuff." The tents were new, and the sheeting they were made of very good. But Russia sheeting is a very improper material for tents. I had too much reason to know that the men could not lie dry under that part of the tents which was made of the sheeting, and was by far the best part of them, and all the officers represented it, as they were not permitted to carry on the campaign, any other than soldiers' tents. It
88was a strange saving, to make the ends, which are the most exposed parts of tents when pitched, of the worst material; (it was that kind of coarse linen called brown rolls which I think was used for them) colonel Mentgez, the inspector of the army, has declared to the committee on oath, "that they would not keep out a drop of rain." Independent of the injury the men must sustain, the value of the ammunition which would in one campaign be destroyed by such tents, would pay several times over for good ones. He goes on: "knapsacks new, and of the same kind used by the troops without complaint." It has been in proof to the committee, that they were not knapsacks, but haversacks, a kind of bag for carrying provisions in. They were not of the same kind used by the troops, as appeared from the depositions of general Harmar and major Zeigler: it seemed, however, that such knapsacks had been given to a company of recruits raised by the major when a captain, and that they went to pieces before the company reached Lancaster. The first regiment was completed in knapsacks made for it at Fort Washington by my orders. Whatever surplus of those things called knapsacks, brought on by the quarter master, and remained at Fort Washington, is of no consequence, for there was not one of them there at the time the army marched to the Miami river; and if there were ten thousand of them there now, of the kind
89the levies were furnished with, they are useless as knapsacks.
The secretary, in the nineteenth page, says "that the arms and equipments were of the description given is abundantly proved by the affidavits produced by Mr. Hodgdon, to which I refer, and by the evidence of captain George Flemming, keeper of the public stores at West Point." Mr. Flemming's evidence respects the cartridge boxes. I should not have supposed that it would have been attempted to establish the goodness of them by that deposition, because it proves too much. Mr. Flemming says, "I cannot help remarking, in my humble opinion, it would have been lavishing the public money to have purchased new and left these to lie and rot; it would have been far easier for me, if I could have done it with justice to the public, to have reported them unfit for service, than to have had the very disagreeable task of cleaning them of the old rags and other trash the soldiers had left in them; cleaning and repairing them, and the intolerable smell the blackening them with train oil and black paint occasioned." It would appear from this passage that, instead of being hung up and oiled from time to time, which, if they had been intended for further service they would have required, they had been thrown by as useless, and were lying in heaps, and rotting in filth, probably since
90the conclusion of the war. If cartridge boxes, even if they have never been used, are not hung up and oiled now and then, the leather will shrink from the wood, and they will become useless. The other affidavits referred to, are either those of the maker of the articles, or of the persons who had been employed to put them in repair. Would the tent maker, for example, come forward and swear that he had imposed upon the public, or the gunsmith that he had done his work unfaithfully? But it is most probable, both did what they were employed to do faithfully; the tent maker made as good tents as could be made of the materials he was directed to use for the purpose, and the gunsmith cleaned the arms very well, but never examined haw they were put together. Besides, the affidavits are all in the hand writing of Mr. Hodgdon's clerk, questions and answers, except two; and these are in one hand writing, drawn up in the same manner; and all taken exparte, although some of the persons are inhabitants of Philadelphia, and might have been examined before the committee.
In the twentieth page of the secretary's observations, this passage is found, "the force to be employed for the defensive protection was trifling, and intended as a substitute for the discharge of the militia, the expense of which was intolerable;" and in the twenty-first
91page, he gives extracts from his orders to general Butler. The first is on the fifth May, as follows; "general ST. CLAIR, I am informed, has descended the Ohio; it is to be presumed he has left orders for you at Fort Pitt. In these orders I hope he has directed part of the levies to be posted for the covering the upper part of the Ohio, so that the militia, who have been called out by the county lieutenants under the direction of the president of the United States, as contained in my letter of the tenth March, should be discharged. But, if he should not have instructed you upon this point, and has left it discretionary with you, as to the disposition of some of the levies, and it should be your judgment that they may be used for the temporary purpose of covering the upper part of the Ohio, I pray you to use them accordingly." It would have been very extraordinary indeed, if I had instructed general Butler upon this point, when the first intimation given to me of such a use being intended to be made of the levies, is contained in a letter of the secretary, dated at Philadelphia on the twenty-eighth April, and I had left Pittsburg on the twenty-fifth of the same month, and which could not have reached me till the latter end of May or the beginning of June.
The secretary writes again to general Butler, (see page twenty-two) "I suppose that general ST. CLAIR
92will have directed that all the regulars, and probably part of the levies, descend the Ohio to head quarters; it is far from my intention of interfering in the least with his orders; my object is to discharge the militia consistently with the other objects of the campaign." On the twelfth May that business was again brought to general Butler's view; "I inclose you a duplicate of my letter of the fifth instant; I beg your immediate attention to the objects contained in it, relative to the dismissal of the militia of the frontier counties, as soon as the arrival of the levies will admit the measure." There is no qualification here with respect to any orders general Butler might have received from me. But again, on the nineteenth of the same month he writes, "when the levies shall arrive, if you have the disposal of them by the general's orders (as I wish not to interfere with the troops after their arrival at Fort Pitt) it will be important that they should be arranged so as to cover the frontiers for the present in order that the militia may be discharged." Again on the ninth June, after giving fresh directions on the subject he adds, "but as I have before mentioned, it is my desire to avoid the least interference with the orders of general ST. CLAIR; his orders must be obeyed in all respects." What was an officer to do in this case? Here are qualified and unqualified orders pointed to the game object, and then they appear as advice.
It was really placing general Butler in a very extraordinary situation. If he did what the secretary of war anxiously wished him to do, it would contravene the orders he had received from me, which he was to obey in all respects; and if he did not do it, he would contravene his wishes, and continue an enormous expense upon the United States. But, this is not the only time that the secretary formed the bed of Procrustes! On the twenty-eighth April, however, I wrote to the secretary, that I was to leave Fort Pitt in two hours, and that orders would be left there for general Butler to send on the levies as they arrived, conformable to the plan of the campaign; and on the first of May, from Muskingum, I informed him that from local circumstances it was impossible for me to do any thing respecting the militia of the upper country, or the defensive protection, and requested him to take it upon himself, (see my letter of the first of May,) all fear, therefore, that such interference would be disagreeable to me, or improper in him, was groundless: and every application to me on that subject, after the receipt of that letter, which was on the nineteenth May, was superfluous; to be sure, it never entered into my head, that the secretary of war would authorize a disposition of the troops, at an intermediate place, inconsistent with the plan of the campaign. It would seem that the secretary wished a certain disposition of the
94levies to be made in the upper country, but did not choose to be answerable for it; and it is clear, that general Butler considered the advice, the directions, or the orders, for I know not well what to call them, which he received from the secretary, as obligatory upon him; and that they were so intended, will more fully appear, from a passage in the letter of the nine-teenth May, which he has not extracted. The words are, "I trust you will take decisive measures, as soon as the nature of the case will admit consistently with the protection of the frontier counties, to dismiss all the militia called out by the county lieutenants, as far down as the great Kenhawa; general ST. CLAIR will take care of all below the great Kenhawa." Although these extracts shew much solicitude on the part of the secretary that the militia should be discharged, and the public disburthened of the enormous expense occasioned by them, they shew, at the same time, much indecision in the secretary likewise; a short order to general Butler would have saved the trouble of writing so many letters to him and to me, about the matter, and have done the business.
On the twelfth July, the secretary writes general Butler (see his twenty-seventh page) "indeed it will be proper that both you and the quarter master should be at Fort Washington with all possible despatch." It
95would indeed have been proper that they had been there at a day much earlier than the twelfth July, the campaign having been ordered to open upon the tenth. The secretary knew, on the twenty-fifth April, that I had expected to meet the quarter master at Fort Pitt, and had complained to him on the first and on the twenty-fifth June, from Fort Washington, of his absence. But the quarter master had been detained in Philadelphia, by the secretary, until the fourth June; and it was not till two days after the time for opening the campaign, that he discovered it would be proper for him and the second in command to be at the place where the army was to be formed, with all possible despatch: truly, that was a notable discovery!
In the same letter, the secretary says again, "but every sort of stores necessary for the campaign, which shall be arrived at Fort Pitt, must precede or accompany captain Phelon." He had informed general Butler, that captain Phelon's detachment was to be considered as the last of the troops for the campaign, and would arrive at Fort Pitt on the sixth or eighth of August: every sort of stores for the campaign that was arrived at Fort Pitt, was to precede or accompany this detachment. It would seem, however, that the secretary knew (from the expression, which shall be arrived) that all the stores necessary, were not arrived there, and
96would not be arrived there at the time he expected captain Phelon to leave it with the last of the troops for the campaign.
On the eleventh August, the secretary writes again to general Butler in these words, "if you should therefore be still at Fort Pitt, it is the decided orders of the president of the United States, that you repair to head quarters with all possible despatch, with all the troops, officers, and stores destined for the campaign." And again on the twenty-fifth August, "I am commanded by him (the president of the United States) to inform you that he is by no means satisfied with the long detention of the troops on the upper part of the Ohio, which he considers as unnecessary and improper, and it is his opinion, unless the highest exertions are made by all parts of the army to repair the loss of the season, that all the expenses that have been made for the campaign will be lost, and that measures, from which so much has been expected, will issue in disgrace." On these orders I have nothing to remark except, that before general Butler would receive the first of them, it would be six weeks beyond the day originally fixed for commencing the operations, and nearly equal to the time which was taken up by the army in marching, and cutting a road for artillery through the woods for ninety miles, and building two
97considerable forts; and that when the second order issued from the war office, neither general Butler, nor the quarter master, nor the contractor's agent for transportation, had gone forward, neither did any of them arrive at Fort Washington until the tenth September. So much for the secretary of war's observations on his letters to general Butler: let us now see general Butler's letters to him.
On the ninth June, general Butler informed the secretary of the manner in which the levies were disposed of for the defence of the frontiers, and on the twenty-third, "that there would be no more troops kept on the frontiers than what was really necessary for their defence; and that those should be thinned and sent forward, as convoys would be wanted to protect the cavalry, stores, &c. which should be sent on as soon as collected." The secretary, then, must have known, about the middle of June, the disposition general Butler had made of the levies. He knew long before that, the orders I had left for general Butler respecting them; if there was any thing improper in the manner he employed them, or inconsistent with my orders, or with the objects of the campaign, he ought to have countermanded it instantly; and, as he did not countermand it, it was a tacit approbation of the measure. It seemed too, by the letter of twenty-third June, above mentioned,
98that neither cavalry nor stores were collected at Fort Pitt on that day, although the campaign was intended to be opened on the tenth July. This error must have been owing to the detention of the quarter master in Philadelphia if the collection of cavalry, stores, &c. could be made by him only in person; if it could have been made by another, by his orders, it was owing to his negligence.
On the eighteenth August general Butler informed the secretary that "the quarter master had always been as forward in his arrangements as possible, nor does he know of any stop from any quarter, when the troops were ready," but, as general Butler informed the secretary in a letter prior to that, that the troops, when they did arrive, were by no means ready to take the field from want of necessary equipments, there must have been a fault here somewhere, let it lie where it may, and of course a stop, until it could be corrected: the delay occasioned by it may have given the quarter master time to make his arrangements, and be ready when the troops were. But what arrangements had he to make at Pittsburg besides providing boats, and purchasing horses, &c? and ought he to have left that until half the time destined for the campaign, which he had spent in Philadelphia, was elapsed. The boats and the horses, if he could not attend to it
99himself, might have been provided, and ought to have been provided, long before his arrival at Pittsburg; the stores were sent from Philadelphia in waggons, and of course in a situation to be embarked in boats, and surely a deputy (and he had one there) might have seen to their embarkation. But I had, moreover, impressed upon him the necessity of providing boats immediately, before I left Philadelphia, because I knew that disappointments, in them, for common purposes, often happened, where a few only were wanted.
The conclusion the secretary has drawn, in his thirty-fourth page, to wit, "from the whole of this correspondence, it appears that the delay of the troops at Fort Pitt can in no wise or degree be justly charged upon the department of war, because the orders were intirely discretionary as to the employment of the levies, and that the employment of them was on the measure being consistent with the orders of the commander in chief and the main object of the campaign, is not just. It has appeared that the secretly was informed of the orders that general Butler had received from the commander in chief; that he was also informed of the manner in which the levies were employed, and that it was not consistent with either the orders of the general to general Butler, or the objects of the campaign". That he did not countermand that use being
100made of them, although in possession of those circumstances; and therefore although it was not an express, it was a tacit approbation of the measure; and that the orders from him to general Butler were so extremely obscure and contradictory, the reverse of the secretary's conclusion is the true one.
The secretary, speaking of the discretionary powers of the commander in chief (see page thirty-five and thirty-six) observes that, "in order that this question may be fully investigated, it will be necessary to resort to the said instructions and letters themselves. The committee were possessed of them intire, at the time of making their former report, and it is to be regretted that any circumstances should exist to render it improper at present to produce all the instructions and letters to the commander in chief, but it is indispensable that some of the principal parts should be here recited. This passage is to me wholly unintelligible. Are any part of my instructions withheld from the committee? Can any circumstance possibly exist, to render it improper to produce to a committee of the house of representatives, all the instructions given to the commander in chief of an expedition that failed, when that committee is appointed, expressly, to inquire into the causes of its failure, and their inquiry may turn upon this point, whether the instructions were
101pursued or not? I do most solemnly declare that, if all the orders have not been produced to the committee, they were never all given to me? If the committee were ever in possession of them intire, they are in possession of them intire at this moment. If there are any other orders or instructions, I hope the secretary will produce them and account for their having been kept in petto until this late hour. I was in Philadelphia, not at the framing the instructions, as the secretary states, but when they were framed. I was consulted upon the objects of the campaign, and the force necessary to accomplish them. I gave information of the probable number of Indians that would be brought against us. I then thought the proposed force equal to the design: I think so still according to the calculations then made. But let it be remembered that it was supposed all the Indians who would be met with in the field, were the Shawanese, the Miamies, a part of the Wabash tribes, and a part of the Delawares. The neutrality of the Pipes tribe of the Delawares, of the Wyandots, of the Ottawes, and of the Peotewatamies was counted upon; and I repeat it, had the calculation as to their neutrality held, the force was sufficient. But the force of the enemy expected to be met with, and with which only our force was compared, was increased by the accession of all those who had been reckoned upon to take no part, to which is to be added a
102great number, not less than seven or eight hundred of the more northerly Chipeways. Nevertheless, had the expedition proceeded in proper time, all would probably have been well; for, it is now known, that it was but a few days before the action that many of their reinforcements joined them at the Miami towns.
The secretary goes on, and after having laid before the committee, (see his sixty-ninth page) certain extracts from the instructions, and subsequent letters to me, assumes the point as proven, which, if there is meaning in words, and that meaning made obvious from other circumstances, can never be established, to wit, "that it will not appear the orders to the commander in chief to proceed with the expedition, were so express and positive as to preclude him from exercising any discretion relatively to that object; but that it will rather appear he was constituted the sole and competent judge of the force and arrangements which would insure the objects of the expedition, and invested with plenary powers for that purpose." In the observations I submitted to the committee last spring, it was proved, I think beyond contradiction, that the orders to proceed with the expedition were express and positive, and that no discretionary power to lay it aside was vested in me; but he now observes that I had full powers to remedy all deficiencies, and infers from thence
103that I had power to lay the expedition aside, which appears to me to be a very curious inference. The committee will please to recollect, that the number of men to be employed upon the campaign was settled; my power, therefore, to remedy deficiencies in that respect, must be confined to the original number; I had no power to increase it; yet, had it appeared necessary to increase it, and additional numbers could have been obtained, I certainly would have assumed the power to have made an addition, and trusted to the necessity of the case for my justification. In the name of common sense, can plenary powers to remedy deficiencies in force, in supplies, and in means of any kind necessary for the attainment of an object, contain a power not to attempt the attainment of it? and when the officer to whom the plenary powers were given had served himself of them, could he decline the attempt when vast expenses too had been made, and the public expectation raised to a very great heighth? If he had laid it aside, those plenary powers would have been urged as the strongest reason to condemn him for the measure. But, there is another circumstance which shews that it could never have been the design of the plenary powers as they are called, to invest the general with a discretionary power to lay aside the expedition, to wit; the principal part of the troops to be employed in it, were by law to be raised for six months only, though "by a
104latitude in some of the recruiting instructions," the time of service of a part was prolonged till six months after their arrival at certain places of rendezvous.
Candour, it seems, dictated to the secretary that the extracts from my letters (see page seventy-two) should be accompanied by other parts of the said letters, and they are added to his observations as an appendix. I thank the secretary: but, when he mentioned that the army marched only twenty-seven miles and a half from the fourth October to the fourth November, why did he not mention, likewise, that they had a road to cut for the artillery every step of the way, and some considerable bridges to build; that, in that time, they had built two large forts, with barracks in each of them capable of accommodating one hundred men, although they had been retarded for several days by hard rains, and were compelled to halt several days to allow the convoys of provisions to come up with them? Those were circumstances with which he was equally well acquainted: but I suspect the secretary's candour forsook him a little on this occasion, and that he thought it a good opportunity to insinuate the idea of some improper delay.
Several extracts from my letters to the secretary, have been produced to prove that I thought my force sufficient. It is admitted that I thought so, and ever held up to him that opinion. But that opinion was founded on the calculation of the probable numbers that might be brought against us. From his information,
106and from mine when the plan of the campaign was settled, it was concluded that we would not be opposed by more than twelve or fifteen hundred Indians. I continued to think, on the fourth September, that they would not exceed that number, and that they could not be kept long together for want of subsistence. But it may be thought a neglect at least, if not a grievous fault in the general, that he had not information of the enemy's force; and in a war between civilized nations it would be an unpardonable fault: but, where I was, it was impossible to obtain intelligence. Spies cannot be sent into a camp of savages: no reward that could be given would induce any person to attempt it; and if any were found hardy enough or avaricious enough to undertake it, the chance of their returning was as ten thousand to one. No such person, however, was to be found. There were channels, however, by which intelligence, even of the savages might have been obtained, open to the secretary, which, from local circumstances, were shut to me.
The secretary, in his ninety-sixth page, observes, "that it is stated in the report of the committee, that Mr. Hodgdon was appointed quarter master in the month of March, and continued in Philadelphia until the fourth of June. He then proceeded to Fort Pitt, where he arrived the tenth of June; and that no
107sufficient causes have appeared to justify this delay, and his presence appears to have been essentially necessary with the army previously to that time." As an answer for the quarter master's absence he says, "that he had to make all the numerous arrangements, not only in his own department, but in the ordnance department also, he having been for many years commissary of ordnance and military stores. The preparation and transportation of all the supplies required intelligence, activity, and arrangement; until those previous measures were taken, the campaign could not commence; there was no army to which Mr. Hodgdon could repair; there was not, until the tenth of June, more than about one hundred men at Fort Washington." It seems, then, that Mr. Hodgdon was detained at Philadelphia by the secretary, not only on account of his being quarter master, which office he had been appointed to, but also as commissary of ordnance and military stores, an office he did not then hold. But every thing Mr. Hodgdon could have done in Philadelphia as quarter master, might as well have been done by a deputy, and he had one there. It must have been on account of the ordnance and military stores, with which as quarter master he had nothing to do, that he was detained. It is truly unfortunate for the United States, if the preparations in the ordnance and military stores for a campaign, in which about twenty-five hundred men were
108to be employed, could not be executed without the assistance of Mr. Hodgdon, that he was taken out of that branch. I should have supposed that, after having been so long in the care of so active and intelligent an officer, every thing was in such perfect regularity, that an order from the war-office, to any amount, could have been executed at a moment's warning — I am sure it ought to have been so. But what does the secretary mean by preparations in the ordnance and military stores department? For a campaign calculated for six months, the making up the ammunition would have been a proper preparation, because it is a work of time; but he well knows that it had to be done at Fort Washington, the powder both for cannon and musketry having been sent forward in casks. It would indeed be hard to tell what were the arrangements made by Mr. Hodgdon in Philadelphia, in the three months he was detained there, that could not as well have been done by his deputy. As to the articles that were not in the public stores, and of course had to be purchased, there is not a broker in Philadelphia that could not have procured them in half a day. Had the secretary, however, thought proper to inform me that he detained him, I should certainly not have complained of Mr. Hodgdon, whose absence was very inconvenient, and, as I thought, improper; but I should have remonstrated against the detention of him to the secretary himself, and through
109him to the president. It has been fully proved to the committee, how much in both branches was done at Fort Washington, where there was neither quarter master nor deputy; and I repeat it, that had not the greatest exertions been made there to get forward the business in the ordnance and military stores, by major Ferguson, and in the quarter master's branch, by myself, the season for operating must have passed away entirely. With all that was done there, the operations were thrown into a part of the season extremely unfavourable to them. It is essentially necessary that the quarter master of an army and the general should be together; for without the most perfect agreement in their respective measures, the best concerted plan will be frustrated. I had reason to expect that the quarter master would leave Philadelphia immediately after me; and had I conceived that he could have been detained there, I would not have stirred one step without him. I expected him at Pittsburgh before I left it, as appears by my letter to the secretary, of the twenty-fifth of April, written at the time of that expectation, and not subject to be interpreted by after events. All the arrangements that could have been necessary at Philadelphia, amounted to a detail of the stores necessary in both branches, which, it was to be presumed, would be furnished from the war-office; for it is not to be supposed that the secretary, in a matter of so great
110moment, and which was truly "the pivot of the campaign," would trust to Mr. Hodgdon, with all his intelligence, how highly soever he might have estimated it. The details being made, which, certainly, with Mr. Hodgdon's assistance, could not have taken up many days, nothing remained for the quarter master but to direct the manner of their being transported, and if his deputy was not able to execute that part, he certainly had not been very well chosen.
The secretary produces another extract from a letter of mine, of twenty-ninth October, as a proof that I considered myself invested with discretionary powers. The words are, "if no further supply (meaning flour) arrives than what the quarter master's horses can bring, the campaign is over, and my attention must be turned to securing possession of the country so far as we have advanced." The inference from this, that I believed myself invested with discretionary powers, and would act under them, is an extraordinary one. Is there any person on earth, who has three grains of understanding, but knows that an army advancing through a country totally uncultivated, must take its subsistence along with it? that if the subsistence fails, from whatever cause, and they continue to advance notwithstanding, famine and destruction must be the unavoidable consequence? If, then, an adequate supply for the remaining
111part of the campaign (which the quarter master's horses could not bring up) did not arrive, and the campaign was ended, is it not evident, that the so putting an end to the campaign was an act of necessity and not of discretion? But he observes farther on this subject, that "none of the letters written by me hold up the idea that I did not possess discretionary powers." Certainly no letter of mine holds up the idea that I did possess them. Under orders the most positive that words can make them, and in which expressions of peculiar force had been sought after and used; and to these a solemn adjuration by every thing that was sacred, delivered in the name of the president, to press forward the expedition, it would have been absurd to have supposed myself possessed of discretionary powers to discontinue it. But farther, when it is considered that the force for that campaign was engaged for a short period, which was nearly expired when I received that solemn adjuration, I think on the sixth of October, I must have been an ideot to suppose I had any discretion in the case. I readily admit, however, that the want of such a power was not experienced; for, to the last moment, I had the most sanguine hopes of accomplishing the objects of the campaign, by taking post at the Miami villages, and restoring peace and harmony between the savages and the United States.
The secretary might have inferred more strongly, that I conceived myself invested with discretionary powers, from a letter of mine to the contractor's agent, for transportation, than from any thing he has produced on this subject, and, in justice to him, I will not withhold it. On the eighth of October I wrote to him thus: "I make no doubt, sir, that you will do all in your power — impossibilities I do not look for; but, sir, ninety thousand rations of provisions ought to have been at this place by this time, and horses to carry forward forty-five thousand. This you know had been demanded and promised; instead of which, by the day after tomorrow I shall not have an ounce, unless some arrives in the mean time. If you found the transportation impracticable, you ought to have informed me, that I might have taken means to have got supplies forward, or not have committed my army to the wilderness. I have now sent two hundred and eighty or ninety horses from the quarter master's department to bring a supply; and I require an explicit answer to the following questions. What is the earliest time you can have twenty days' flour for the army forward at this place? If you are not able to send on flour for twenty days, for how many days can you send, and when may it be expected to arrive with certainty? It seems to me, sir, to be idle to talk about disappointments in drivers, and horses thereby unemployed, in a business where the
113honour and the interests of the United States are so deeply concerned as in the present. No disappointment should have happened which was in the power of money to prevent; and money could certainly have prevented any here. A competent number of horses were provided to your hand: how they have been employed I know not; certainly one half of them have never been upon the road, or we should not have been in our present situation; and take notice, that the want of drivers will be no excuse to a starving army and a disappointed people." From this extract it might have been fairly inferred, that I conceived I had the alternative in my power, of prosecuting the campaign, or of laying it aside, that I might not expose my army to perish by famine; and I certainly had that alternative in my power, notwithstanding the express and unequivocal tenor of my orders; but not in consequence of any discretionary power, because no such power could be involved in them from the nature of things, and from the constitution of the army. No army ought ever to advance, in any country, without being certain of subsistence; if that fails ex necessitate rei the operations must cease. The committee will excuse me, I hope, for calling their attention to that part of my instructions which directs "that the provisions are to be transported at the expense of, and by the means provided by, the contractors," and that it was only in case of a failure on their
114parts, that I had any power to interfere in order to remedy it through the quarter master, if it should be in his power.
The quarter master has said that he presented to me a list of articles in his department, for my approbation, and it is true that he did so; and I did so far approve of it as to tell him that they were all of them necessary; certainly I did not tell him that it contained all that were necessary, and the secretary never did consult me upon what might be wanted in the quarter master's department. Had he desired an estimate from me, I should have endeavoured to have made him one, though it would have been demanded with more propriety from the quarter master, after he had made him acquainted with the objects of the campaign. Surely it could not be my duty to furnish the quarter master with an estimate. That list, I see, contained one hundred axes. Could it be possible that I should approve of one hundred axes as the whole supply of that article, when one fort, the great object of the campaign, which I had to construct had we reached the place contemplated, would sometimes have required a thousand to be employed at once? But Mr. Hodgdon, amongst the various preparations and arrangements he had to make, gave a striking instance of his exactness as a commissary of ordnance. Three pound cannon were ordered for the
115expedition, for which four pound shot were sent on, and there was not, to my recollection, a single piece of that calibre in the western country, (see return of military stores forwarded). But there is another instance as striking as this: the want of shot for the three pounders had been noticed by me to the secretary as early as the sixth of July; and in reply he says, "on the twenty-seventh of March I ordered two hundred shot and shells for each piece of artillery then directed for the posts. Mr. Hodgdon depended on a furnace at Fort Pitt for these articles, by which the transportation would be saved; — he on the twenty-eighth of July informs me that they cannot be had."
On the subject of retained rations the secretary observes (page 102) "the contractor does not stipulate to pay money — he stipulates only to furnish the rations, on which he obtains a profit; but he could have no profit on paying the money, and, of course, none is provided." In addition to what I submitted to the committee last spring upon this subject, I have only to remark, that it has been customary to make large advances to the contractors at the outset, and of course they have money in their hands to pay for the retained rations; and this subject was brought to the secretary's view in a letter of mine of the sixth of October, to which I refer.
On Mr. Ludlow's deposition I have nothing to remark, except that he was in town after the report had been referred back to the committee, and, of course, might have been examined before them.
The inference drawn by Mr. Hodgdon, from his having been sent back from the army to procure further means of getting forward flour, which is presented by the secretary in his one hundred and thirteenth page, viz. "that if the arrangements in his department had not met with my approbation, he would not have experienced that additional mark of my confidence," does not follow so clearly as both those gentlemen seem to think. Whether I had confidence in him (Mr. Hodgdon) or not, I was obliged to make use of him, because he was the proper officer, and because it was "through the quarter master, if it should be in his power," that I was instructed to remedy all defects in the commissariate. To induce him to exert himself in this pressing emergency, not only the laudable desire to maintain a character, which every man wishes to possess, but even his vanity was applied to; not indeed from a suspicion of want of zeal or inclination to execute any part of his duty, but to rouse them. On the contrary, I had remarked in him a solicitude to perform his duty; but it was a business he did not understand — his talents did not lie that way. Ex quovis ligno non fit Mercurius.
Mr. Ludlow's letter, which is introduced in the one hundred and eighteenth and some following pages, appears to be a candid statement; but it may be well doubted whether the testimony of the packhorse drivers, be any thing more than an apology for their own carelessness. Inattention to the contractor's horses by the persons in whose immediate care they were on the campaign, was evident to every person in the army, and was often observed upon by me, to their agent, who candidly acknowledged the fact, and declared it to be out of his power to remedy it.
On the first general inference of the secretary of war (page one hundred and twenty one) drawn from the information and explanations given by him, and the affidavits produced by Mr. Hodgdon, to wit, "that it will not appear that the failure of the expedition was in anywise or degree the consequence of any defective quality, or deficient quantity of the arms, accoutrements, or powder; or of the tents, knapsacks, canteens, camp-kettles, or of the pack-saddles which were made in Philadelphia;" I will only remark that, from the quality of the arms and accoutrements, and all the other articles which he has recounted, the expedition could not fail; for, except the tents and knapsacks, in all the others the defects were remedied by my orders, That it could not fail from the bad quality of the powder,
118neither was any complaint made of it to me except the rifle powder, and the best of that was selected for the service. Of these circumstances the secretary was informed by a letter from me of the fifth December 1792, from which this is an extract (after speaking of the experiment he had directed to be made of the powder at Fort Washington) "I informed you that those reports had reached Pittsburgh before major Ferguson had left that place, or the powder been forwarded from thence, and, that he informed me he had proven it there, and found it of sufficient strength, and I gave you the reasons why I declined making any experiment upon it at Fort Washington." This referred to the musket powder, which was, I believe of good quality; at least no complaint was made of it; but I had no opportunity of knowing how it would answer in firing, until the day of the action, having had no paper to make cartridges for exercise.
The second general inference of the secretary, to wit, "that it will not appear that the delay of the troops at Fort Pitt was owing to the orders of the secretary
119of war, or the want of boats for the transportation of the troops," does only follow sub mode, for it does appear, that although they were not stationed or detained by his orders directly, yet a use was made of them, that had met with his approbation, and they were detained in consequence thereof, notwithstanding that he knew, on the fourth August, I did not approve of the disposition that had been made of them in the upper country; and they were so near him (though at a great distance from me) that orders for their being sent to head quarters, in conformity with the general plan of operation, could have been delivered to general Butler in five days.
The third general inference, to wit, "that it will not appear the orders to the commander in chief, to proceed with the expedition, were so express and unequivocal as to preclude him from exercising any discretion relative to that object; but, that it will appear he was constituted the sole and competent judge of the force and arrangements which would insure the objects of the expedition, and invested with plenary powers for that purpose," does not follow: the direct reverse does follow most clearly, to wit, that the orders to the commander in chief were express and unequivocal to proceed with the expedition, and that he had no discretionary power to lay it aside, of which the plenary
120powers with which he was Invested as to the force and arrangements which would insure the attainment of the objects (independent of the solemn adjuration in the name of the president and the constitution of the troops) are the strongest proofs that could possibly be adduced.
The fourth general inference of the secretary, to wit, "that it will not appear the distressed manner in which the levies were discharged without pay can be attributed to the want of money at Fort Washington which might have been applied to that purpose," does not follow; but the contrary appears, not withstanding the statement made to the secretary by Mr. Hodgdon; for it is clear from the accounts of Mr. Hodgdon himself, exhibited in the public offices, that the money stated by him to have been in his hands at the time the levies were discharged, was not in his hands; because a great part of it had been applied by my warrants to the purposes for which it was designed, prior to that time: and that, if he had money, it could not be known to me, and must have been obtained by drawing bills upon the treasury or the secretary of war, in an unauthorized manner; and farther, that, if the money had really been there, the levies could not have been paid off, because no person was furnished with the materials which were necessary for a liquidation of the accounts. But it
121will appear, upon a closer examination, that there was not money at Fort Washington to have paid the levies had I been furnished with their accounts; for, notwithstanding the statement made by Mr. Hodgdon, in which he says there was in the military chest at Fort-Washington the sum of sixteen thousand two hundred and ninety-two dollars, seventy-seven cents, the fact is otherwise.
|From the abstract of Mr. Hodgdon's accounts in the office of the accountant to the war department, it appears that there was put into his hands for the
purpose of pay for the troops, and the bounties to an additional battalion proposed to be raised at Pittsburgh, the sum of
|$ 20,069 10|
|And that he had expended on the twelfth December||10,160 41|
|Leaving a balance in his hands of||9,909 69|
|It further appears, from the abstract of Mr. Hodgdon's account in the auditor's office, that he received for the purposes of the quarter master's department||20,000|
|And that there was expended by him and his deputy at Fort Pitt, and between Fort Pitt and Fort Washington, and at Fort Washington . . .||36,398 73|
|Making a sum paid, beyond what had been received, of||16,398 73|
|But, it farther appears that he had drawn bills unauthorized, for||12,972 90|
|Which still leaves a balance overpaid by him, of||3,425 83|
|But, if the balance in his hands on the pay account (see the first statement) be transferred to the quarter master's department, to wit||9,909 69|
|He had on hand, of all the monies||6,483 86|
|Of which, there was appropriated, by the secretary's orders, to the arrears of the old troops, to the first of March 1791, the sum of||5,000|
|So that, instead of sixteen thousand two hundred and ninty-two dollars and seventy-seven cents, as he has stated, he had only the sum of one thousand
four hundred and eighty three dollars and eighty-six cents.
It would seem from this, that Mr. Hodgdon is not much more accurate as an accountant than as a quarter master, or commissary of military stores.
But if Mr. Hodgdon had really had the money he says he had, it was unknown to me. He had no power to draw bills unless the necessity for drawing was certified by me. He never made any application to me to certify such necessity. From the disbursements he must necessarily have made at Pittsburgh, and the warrants that I had drawn upon him at Fort Washington, I knew the chest must be very low. But it may be asked, why I had not demanded from Mr. Hodgdon a state of the chest. The committee will please to consider that the day after my return to Fort Washington, I was obliged to take to my bed, from which it was not expected I should ever arise; for eight days, food of any kind never entered my lips; that notwithstanding, I had much business to attend to without examining accounts, for which I was not in a situation. Yet I did not forget the state of the chest, for Mr. Hodgdon has informed them, that when there was occasion to draw warrants on him, it was usual with me to inquire of him whether he was able to pay them.
There seems to have been a little confusion with the secretary about the seventeen thousand dollars sent on by captain Beattie. Five thousand dollars were appropriated
124to pay the arrears of the old troops, the residue, "which would form about a month's pay for my army," was to be paid when I thought proper; and a part of it had been paid, by Mr. Hodgdon's own ackowledgment, to the levies at Pittsburgh; after this a part of it was to be applied, by the seretary's order, to the bounties to recruits, and so he knew it was used: and yet, long after this, he supposes it to be still on hand, as appears by a letter from him to the secretary of the treasury, of the twenty-fifth November.
I thank the secretary for the justice he has done me, when he says, that by not making payments, and distributing the surplus clothing to the levies, and charging them therewith, I probably conceived I was pursuing the public interest. But I must observe that the clothing could not have been given to the levies: it was provided for, and appropriated to the standing regiments by himself; neither, had there been money, could I have paid the levies, for the want of their accounts and a paymaster. The secretary had indeed written to Mr. Hodgdon to act as paymaster, with respect to the residue of the seventeen thousand dollars. But that he had given him even that authority he never informed me. But it will clearly appear, from the instructions of the secretary to Caleb Swan on the second December, that the payment of the levies was not
125designed by him to take place until that gentleman should arrive at Fort Washington; for, in these instructions he says, "Mr. Howel, the paymaster, will deliver you the sum of fifty thousand dollars which is estimated as sufficient for the full payment of the levies, militia, and regulars, with the farther sum of seventeen thousand dollars, which is presumed to be in the hands of Mr. Hodgdon, the quarter master, subject to the orders of general ST. CLAIR for the payment of the regular troops.
The eighth inference of the secretary, to wit, "that it will not appear upon the perusal of the orders given for that purpose, that the failure of the expedition can, with justice or propriety, be charged upon any essential omission in the preparatory part of the campaign by the secretary of war," does not follow, because it does appear that the quarter master was detained in Philadelphia for three months by the secretary of war in preparatory measures, all of which, he has informed the committee, were done under his (the secretary's) own eye. That he did remain at Fort Pitt for near three months longer, with the secretary's knowledge, engaged, as he says, in preparations and arrangements. That there were essential omissions in the preparatory part of the campaign, for there was not a sufficient quantity of powder, lead, or cartridge paper sent forward
126until the twenty-first of August, when captain Houdin arrived: that, after the ammunition did arrive at Fort Washington, it had all, or nearly all, to be made up for service, which, in the most convenient situations, requires a great deal of time, and, therefore, had the troops been assembled at the proposed time, the expedition must have been delayed. If, then, the failure of the expedition was at all occasioned by the advanced season of the year in which it was undertaken, so far as that was the consequence of delay or omissions in the preparatory parts, so far it is justly chargeable to the department of war.
The secretary's observations that the utter defeat of an army, seldom fails to produce the loss of a campaign, at whatever season of the year it is undertaken, is grounded on probability, and supported by experience. The loss of a battle, however, at an early season, may sometimes be remedied, but when it happens when troops can no longer keep the field, no remedy can be applied. But, I cannot let pass, without some animadversion, the artful manner in which the superiority of my army in point of numbers is insinuated in the secretary's one hundred and twenty-third page; it is in these words: "although the subscriber, on the first news of the defeat, entertained the idea, from the information of a foreign gentleman who had been upon
127the upper lakes in the month of October, and also from other circumstances, that the Indians in the action of the fourth of November were greatly superior in number to our army, yet he is constrained to acknowledge that subsequent information does not warrant the belief that their numbers were materially different from those mentioned by the committee, to wit, one thousand." What the information of the foreign gentleman to the secretary was, I know very well, for I had it from the secretary and from the gentleman himself, with whom I was personally acquainted; and the committee may remember, that I proposed he should be examined before them; it was thought, from certain circumstances, that there would be an impropriety in it, and I acquiesced, though I could not acquiesce in the secretary's proposal to me to get his deposition taken before a magistrate; if motives of delicacy restrained the committee from calling him before them, could I call him before a justice of the peace.
128to us was about a thousand? It could not be before the twenty-third of December, when he addressed me in these words, "be assured sir, that however great the defeat, that both your reputation, and the reputation of the troops under your command, are unimpeached, the fact seems to be pretty well ascertained by the way of Detroit, through different channels of communication, that there must have been opposed to you at least twenty-five hundred Indians." It could not be before last spring, when I communicated to him a letter I had just received from major Hamtramck, which stated the loss of the Indians at between three and four hundred. That letter is still in my possession, but it is not in this city. In it, the major informed me, that Billy, (an Indian lad of the Owatonon tribe, whom I had taken with me from Fort Washington in order to make use of him as a messenger, in case there should be an opportunity of sending any message to the hostile Indians) was returned, and that he said he was in the council house, when there was a great meeting of the Indians, and the war chiefs delivered in an account of their respective losses, which was done by laying down a bit of stick for every man that was killed; that they made a great heap, and as he thought, could not be less than three or four hundred. It is to be presumed, I say, that the secretary's subsequent information must have been later than the time
129I communicated this letter to him, or he would have told me he had better information. He got a part of it at least, in the course of last summer, as it is contained in the deposition of one Davis, taken before justice M'Millen, at Fort Washington, on the ninth of June last, and that of Mr. M'Connel, taken on the twenty-second of that month. Davis had been taken prisoner by the savages and had escaped, and he swears they told him all the neighbouring tribes were collected on the fourth of November, but they did not tell him their whole number, neither did he inquire. M'Connel's deposition contains only the reports of the people to him; he says, however, that Billy, the Indian lad I have mentioned, told him he was present when an account was given by the Indians of their loss, and that he was near enough to count that of the Shawanese and Delawares; twenty-five of the first, and twenty of the last. One of these depositions was transmitted by general Wilkinson, who says the deponent is a respectable inhabitant, the other was found, as the clerk says, on the files of the war office; and nobody knows from whence it came, or how it got there. Is such testimony, which must have been sought after by some person, (for a deposition could not get into the war office of itself, and I am sure that general Wilkinson would not have volunteered in a business of that sort,) to discredit, in the secretary's mind, the information of
130a respectable foreign gentleman, and that which the secretary had received through different channels by the way of Detroit, and constrain him to acknowledge that he was mistaken? The most perfect candour can point to no other reason for such an acknowledgment than to make an impression unfavourable to me. But, it was physically impossible that an army posted as mine was, could be attacked in front and in rear, and on both flanks, at the same instant, and that attack be kept up in every part for four hours without intermission, unless the enemy had been greatly superior in numbers; and that the army was so attacked was very fully proved to the committee last spring. How effectual the fire of the troops was I cannot pretend to say; the loss which the savages sustain in action can never be well ascertained in any case; but, where the advantage is on their side, and they keep the ground, it is still more uncertain: admitting, however, that there were but a thousand of the Indians, and that my army was sixteen hundred, (three hundred of whom gave way on the very first onset, and were of very little use afterwards) and that there were three hundred of the assailants killed: it cannot be called a very ineffectual fire where three hundred men are killed out of a thousand, or even out of twenty-five hundred, which they amounted to according to the secretary's account to me. It was indeed more effectual on the part of the savages, and it will always be so, because
131every man of them is a perfect marksman, and never fires at random; if the fire from the troops, however, was ineffectual, had the secretary furnished me with cartridge paper in proper time, they might have been accustomed a little how to direct it before they came to action. As it was, it was probably the first time to many of them, that they fired a gun.
When two armies come to action, every thing else being equal, the advantage will always be on the side of superior numbers, humanly speaking, but when an inferior army is attacked by a superior force, as was the case with mine, nothing can turn the scale in favour of the inferior, but superior skill and bravery. If there was superior bravery in my army, the best means to give an opportunity to exert it were taken. The enemy was charged with the bayonet a number of times with as much bravery as ever was exhibited by men, on all of which the enemy gave way; and had there been a good corps of riflemen, or a body of horse to have followed them, the army might have been formed to so much advantage by a slight change of order, as might have rendered it successful; but the only corps of riflemen, one small company, I had, beside the militia, some of whom were armed with rifles, and they were panic struck, was a very small one, and posted on the right flank, where it was respected, and kept in
132check a superior body of savages, and the cavalry horses were so weakened by want of food, for I had not one grain of provender, that they were scarcely able to carry themselves.
By whomsoever the idea was entertained (see the secretary's one hundred and twenty-fourth page) that an army might, at an earlier day, have glided unperceived into the heart of the Indian country, it was ridiculous. There is not a people on earth who watch the motions of their enemies, when in open war, with a closer or more eager attention; and that they suffered me to advance, without much molestation, for ninety miles into their country, and posts to be established, without conflict, was not owing to ignorance of, or inattention to, our movements, but more probably to the causes I suggested in a letter to the secretary of war, to wit, "either a difference of sentiment among themselves as to their plan of operation, a disappointment in collecting their force, or a resolution to await us at the Miami towns, and there fight or sue for peace, according to circumstances." And that they were able to keep together at that place as long as they did, it is now known, was owing to the assistance they received from the British, from whom they received supplies of provisions, of arms, and of clothing.
I thank the secretary for admitting, as he has done in his one hundred and twenty-fifth page, "that I possessed highly zealous dispositions to promote the objects of the campaign, and expressed the greatest degree of anxiety at its procrastination," but he might have saved the regret he expresses, that "my indisposition while on the expedition, may have prevented the troops from being cheered by my presence, and me from making, personally, such observations and dispositions as might, perhaps, have altered the situation of things." If the presence of the commander in chief could cheer his troops, they were never deprived of mine. When they were in motion I was constantly at their head; when at work on the forts I was constantly attentive to them there, and by mixing familiarly with their officers, did every thing in my power to sweeten their labours. From a comparison of my situation with their own, they would naturally draw some consolation; for, though they were exposed to labour and fatigue, they had not pain and sickness to struggle with; the sick were disposed of in the posts, and their situation made as comfortable as circumstances would admit. Except for two days, when an unavoidable halt was made on account of provisions, my indisposition never confined me altogether, and the march of the army was never retarded one hour on account of it. These things the secretary ought to have known, and, if he made
134any inquiry, certainly did know. He might have known too, that during those two days halt, when I feared I would not be able to proceed further on horseback, a bier was made for me, determined to accompany them in all events; — but, had he spared that regret, an opportunity of insinuating that the public interest suffered from my indisposition, would have been lost.
Had the secretary reflected on the ground that he himself took in the third page of his observations, to wit, "that after suitable directions given by the principal officer, he cannot be supposed to attend to the execution in detail," he might have spared the regret also "that any circumstances should have prevented my knowledge of the force and contiguity of the enemy, until it was too late to take the precaution of abatties, or other slight works for the security of my camp," for it appeared that suitable orders to obtain a knowledge of the contiguity of the enemy, if such contiguity existed, were given, although not executed; and therefore, on his own principles, no blame lies at my door in that respect; and as to the want of information of the force of the enemy, I have already shewn it was impossible to obtain it. But supposing both the superior force of the enemy (for surely the secretary would not fortify a camp against an inferior force) and their contiguity had been known, the secretary thinks
135the camp should have been secured by abatties and other slight works. But for what purpose? To be reduced to the disgraceful necessity of laying down our arms and suing for mercy to the savages? It is well known that they will not attack works which cannot be carried without the loss of men, for which even the most brilliant success is reckoned no compensation. No, gentlemen, had I been informed that the Indians were near me, and in superior force, I should have made no abatties, which could give no advantage to me, but would have afforded cover to them. I should not have shut myself up in a fortified camp, as the secretary seems to think I ought to have done, to surrender or starve; but I should have attacked them; notwithstanding the long march the army had made, and the late hour before the tents were pitched, I should have marched again that very night, and they would have been attacked in their camp at an earlier hour on the fourth of November than we were attacked in ours. The event might have been unfavourable, but it would have been putting the fairest chance for success on our side, and if it had failed, the attempt would have merited praise.
Having now gone through the secretary of war's observations and explanations, so far as they relate to their principal object, which I take to have been to
136exculpate himself from having had any share in the failure of the late expedition, and to transfer the blame to me, I should take up the communications of Mr. Hodgdon; but those communications are so replete with insolence and folly, that, to make large remarks upon them, would only serve to place those qualities in a less conspicuous point of view; and as, in my remarks on those of the secretary, I have been obliged to take some notice of the quarter master's also (for they are so closely linked together as not to be separated) it is the less necessary. Some few remarks, however, I will beg leave to offer; and as there is, indeed, a little obscurity in a part of my correspondence with the secretary, relative to the quarter master, I will endeavour to explain it, and to shew that his involving general Butler in the strictures I made on the quarter master's department, is only an attempt to turn aside the public eye from the proper object.
The obscure passage, is in a letter of mine to the secretary of war, dated twenty-fourth of July, wherein the word "all" has been omitted in the copying, and the insertion of that word is all that is necessary to render it perfectly intelligible and clear. It is on the subject of bringing horses from Pittsburgh, which is there represented as an unfortunate idea, although I had written to the quarter master on the sixth of the same
137month, that the arrangements he had made about horses, at that place, appeared to be prudent. There is certainly a seeming contradiction here. But, the insertion of that word before horses sets it right, and so it certainly was written in the original. The sentiment would then be: If the quarter master is not bringing all the horses for the campaign with him from Pittsburgh, (which whether he is or not he has not thought proper to inform me,) it seems to me the public expectation will be disappointed; and whether he is or not, it was an unfortunate idea. It could not possibly relate to the horses he had informed me of on the twenty-second of June, but to the further number which was necessary and for which he depended on Kentucky. After having been in constant expectation of his arrival, from day to day, from the sixth of July, when he was ordered to repair to head quarters, to the twenty-fourth of that month, and seeing neither him nor horses make their appearance, it was natural to conclude that he had given up the design of purchasing horses in Kentucky, and that he was bringing not only those of which he had advised me, but the whole number that he conceived to be necessary, but whether he was or not, he had not thought proper to inform me; and a quarter master of any intelligence, who, from any cause whatever, had been detained beyond the time a campaign was to open, would have done so, if they were to be
138had where he was. Had he taken that step, however, it was an unfortunate idea, because they could have been had at an earlier day in Kentucky, and been brought to head quarters fresh and uninjured, and because the delays occasioned by the lowness of the water would have been avoided, and the expense of the boats been saved.
Mr. Hodgdon has said, that "the duties of the commander in chief could not be increased by the absence of the quarter master, because Robert Buntin was appointed an assistant in the quarter master's department, by the commander in chief, on the first of June." Robert Buntin was not appointed assistant quarter-master until the twentieth day of August, the day before the arrival of captain Houdin, the deputy of Mr. Hodgdon; the next day the horses which I had ordered to be purchased in Kentucky were to arrive, and it was necessary that there should be some person to receive and take care of them. Tired out with expecting Mr. Hodgdon, I did on that day, the twentieth of August, appoint Mr. Buntin assistant quarter master, and announced him as such to the army, and informed the secretary of war also; Mr. Buntin, however, had been employed by me to purchase horses for the quarter master's department before that time, for which he was to receive the usual commission: what
139that was I knew not. On the settling of Mr. Buntin's accounts Mr. Hodgdon informed me that there would be a saving to the public if Mr. Buntin was paid as an assistant from the time I sent him to Kentucky to buy the horses, instead of allowing him the commission, and that he would be satisfied with it. If he was satisfied I could have no objection, and in that manner he was paid, and his account, I suppose, is the voucher by which Hodgdon pretends to make a quarter master of him from the first of June. Robert Benham was also sent to Kentucky to buy horses, but was never appointed in the quarter master's department, by me, in any station whatsoever; Mr. Hodgdon employed him as horse-master on my recommendation.
I hope the committee will pardon me for troubling them with the transcript of Mr. Hodgdon's observations on my letter to the secretary of war of the twenty-fourth July. "He complains (says he) of being still without any account of general Butler or the quarter master, nor is there either man or horse arrived, how then could he possibly have an account? But, if he had really been so anxious as he would seem, why not unfold his views and wishes to general Butler and myself, as well as to the secretary of war, who was three hundred and twenty miles beyond us. We were certainly not less surprised at his silence, as he would
140appear to have been at ours, although we made fewer complaints. We could not but wonder at what he was doing at Fort Washington, and probably with greater justice than he could be surprised at our transactions at Fort Pitt. Would he have had me descend the Ohio river unprovided with the necessary requisites for an expedition, and begin my preparations where they should be ended? At present this is not beyond belief; he would then have had a strong ground for censure, since the events that have happened; but then I had no reason to indulge such an idea." On this I have no comment to make! It is truly sui generis; and has no parallel, I presume, in the history of military transactions ancient or modern.
Mr. Hodgdon asks "if every thing, on his arrival, was in readiness in his department, why then remain twenty-five days longer without commencing the campaign?" The campaign? was commenced before either general Butler, or the quarter master, or the contractor's agent for transportation, or the last great detachment arrived at Fort Washington. The few troops I had were advanced twenty-eight miles into the Indian country, and would have advanced sooner had the artillery been in readiness. It was, I own, a hardy movement: but it was a necessary one, unless I would have suffered the season to slip away entirely. There
141they halted to wait the arrival of the rest of the troops and the quarter master. Whether every thing was ready on the arrival of Mr. Hodgdon on the sixteenth of September or not, it was not until the twenty-third of that month that he promised me to have every thing necessary, for the present time, at camp by the evening of the twenty-seventh, and even in that he failed, (see my letter to the secretary of war of September twenty-third, and Mr. Hodgdon's to me of October the first.)
Mr. Hodgdon treats very lightly there being but one froe and one cross-cut saw with the army on the fourteenth October, and asks "who can be surprised at the defeat of the army after that?" The committee will not be much diverted, I presume, at his pleasantry on so serious a subject. Froes and saws are necessary implements in building forts and barracks; it was his duty to have provided a sufficient number of each to carry on the works with expedition. If there was not a sufficient number, time must have been wasted; and, as time was every thing to my army, the want of froes and saws may have contributed to the failure of the expedition. Tools were sent for to Fort Hamilton after the twelfth, and did not arrive till after the fourteenth of October.
I made a mistake in my former observations in point of time, when I mentioned the blunder of the quarter master in laying out an encampment: it could not have happened on the thirtieth of October, because he was then absent from camp, and the army was halted for provisions. The committee may recollect that the session of congress was so near a close I was excessively hurried in the remarks I had to make, and that all through them the dates were left blank when they were brought in, and filled up at their table from papers in their possession; a mistake in a date was easily committed in such circumstances; but I was not mistaken as to the facts, and I will help the late quarter master to the places where they happened. The first, was in laying out the encampment the evening before the army reached the large morasses eastward of fort Jefferson; the next, at the place where it encamped after getting through those morasses, and is, I believe, that which major Zeigler mentioned in his deposition: the first, must have been on the ninth or tenth, and the last on the eleventh or twelfth of October.
Mr. Hodgdon may draw consolation from the circumstance, that others, (as he says) have been charged with misconduct as well as himself. It is the usual consolation of conscious guilt. But a wound, he says, has been given to the memories of an
143Oldham and a Butler; and at this he is so distressed that he almost forgets himself. Let us examine this wound, and see from whence the stroke that inflicted it proceeded. A postscript to a letter of mine of the ninth of November, (as it has been published by the secretary of war) contains these words "some orders that had been given over night to colonel Oldham, and which were of much consequence, were not executed, and some very material intelligence was communicated by captain Slough to general Butler in the course of the night before the action, which was never imparted to me, nor did I ever hear of it till after my arrival here." It was proven to the committee, in the most unequivocal manner that, at the time I was writing that letter, and had just finished it, major Gaither called to visit me, and, in the course of conversation, informed me there was a report that captain Slough had discovered the enemy the night before the action, and had communicated the discovery he had made to general Butler; that I expressed much surprise, and informed him that I had never heard of it: that I sent for captain Slough and questioned him upon it; and it was proven by captain Slough himself that he did then and not before, inform me that he had discovered the enemy, and had made general Butler acquainted with it, and that he had proposed to him to go and make the same communication to me; that the general said to him, as
144he must be very much fatigued, he had better lie down and get some sleep, and that he would inform me himself. It was proven also by captain Slough, that the letter I had been then writing, he was to have carried to Philadelphia, and was then waiting for it, and that was not till after the packet had been made up and sealed that he called to inform me that, with my permission, he must put off his journey to Philadelphia on account of his uncle, colonel Gibson, who had been badly wounded and left at Fort Jefferson. The letter was then sent to Lexington to take the chance of the first opportunity that offered. I must request the committee to look at the letter itself, they will find that this postscript, which has made so much noise, and said to have been intended to wound the reputation of general Butler and colonel Oldham, was mutilated in the publication made by the secretary. It stands thus, "private, or otherwise as you shall judge proper;" but those words were left out in the publication, expressly by the secretary's direction; for it appears that they are underlined with a pencil, and the letters "del" written over them with the secretary's own hand, as a direction for the clerk who copied it for the press to leave out those words. Those words must have conveyed to the secretary a doubt, at least, existing in my mind, at the time the postscript was written, as to the propriety of publishing that information, although it was a circumstance
145proper for him to be possessed of; unaccountable as it seemed to me, I had no reason to doubt the truth of it: and even now, it will not be easy to imagine a reason why captain Slough, a young man of fair character, and of good connexions, all of them in habits of friendship with general Butler, should fabricate such a story when the general was dead. If I had intended to fix a stain upon the memory of general Butler by this information, it was easily in my power, so far as the publication of it would have done so, for had I only interwoven it with the general subject of my letter, without leaving any discretion in the case to the secretary, it was inevitable. The secretary, I hope, will pardon me, but I cannot help observing, that it was not very discreet in him to publish it, whatever it may have been in me, to put it in his power. But, there is another circumstance still more extraordinary: the secretary did not know, at the time of publication, what the information was which captain Slough had given. Had captain Slough presented the letter, as it was intended he should have done, the secretary would undoubtedly have inquired into the matter, but, as it went by another hand, he had no means of being acquainted with it, which alone, was sufficient to have induced him to withold it from the public, had there been no reserve about it on my side. If then a wound has been given to the reputation or memory of general
146Butler, or colonel Oldham, it came from the hand of the secretary of war, and not from mine; and to cure it, Mr. Hodgdon is loading it with his own mismanagements also. His design, however, is obvious, he hopes again to raise that ferment, this business from the manner it was managed, raised last spring, and turn the public attention away from himself; but he is, I trust, mistaken: the public may be misled but they are never long wrong, and want nothing but truth fairly laid before them, to be always right.
There is one thing more, respecting this postscript, which I would wish to make the committee acquainted with, though, in truth, it is foreign to their inquiry. On my arrival at Philadelphia, last winter, finding much noise about it, and much misrepresentation, and hurt at the mutilation it had undergone, since it had been thought proper to publish it at all, I complained of it to the secretary of war, and told him that I must explain it; he said it would be right to do so, but requested that he might see the explanation before it was sent to the press. I did shew him a letter I intended for that purpose in which notice was taken of the suppression of the cautionary words. He did not approve of it; said there had been a consultation about it, and it was thought proper to publish it in that manner, and gave some vague reasons why the explanation should
147not be made in that shape; in short, he persuaded me not to notice that circumstance, and I was weak enough to acquiesce, though not convinced, and if I have been punished for it, I deserved it for having ever reposed any confidence in him.
Various causes concurred in occasioning the failure of the expedition under my command; but those which had the principal agency in producing it, were the following to wit, first, the want of a due combination in the general measures, whereby the effect of the desultory expepeditions under general Scott and general Wilkinson was lost as to the general issue of the campaign. Secondly, the long detention of the troops on the upper part of the Ohio, which threw the operations of the campaign into an improper season, when the grass and forage, with which the country abounds at an earlier time of the year, and were the sole dependence for the cattle and horses, were entirely destroyed by the frosts. Thirdly, great delays in the preparatory measures of the ordnance and military stores department, and in that of the quarter master general, inconsequence whereof the campaign could not have been opened earlier than it was opened, had the troops been assembled at Fort Washington, by the time that had been projected; not much earlier at least, for without the ordnance and military stores, they could not have moved. Fourthly, mismanagement
148of the contractors, whereby the operations were retarded after the campaign was opened, and six days, the most important in the whole campaign, entirely lost: and, fifthly, the superiority of the enemy. There is no doubt but the diminution of our numbers by sickness and desertion, the misbehaviour of the militia, the undisciplined state of the troops, and the absence of the first regiment, contributed to the defeat of the army. To the want of discipline, the shameful rout which took place after the action, was certainly owing: but, it would be doing great injustice not to observe, at the same time, that during the continuance of it, no troops ever behaved with more firmness, or charged the enemy with the bayonet with more intrepedity; neither did the officers of any army display, on any occasion, more gallantry or make greater exertions, of which the great number that fell and were wounded, is a melancholy proof.
ARTHUR ST. CLAIR.
I have one more acknowledgment to make to the secretary of war. In a conversation I had with him last spring, soon after the rising of congress, on the subject of the report of the committee, I observed that as a resolution had been entered into to take the report into consideration at an early day in the next session, and as the public mind was then at rest, it would be
149best that it should not be agitated again by that subject, but the report be adopted without opposition. After appearing to reflect upon the observation for a short time, he replied, "no sir, that report must be rejected:" for that declaration I am obliged to him. The conversation dropped, and I concluded, from that moment, his measures were taken, and that it would be necessary for me to attend again at the next session of congress. Had it not been for that accidental circumstance, I should have been many hundred miles distant, and the field would have been left open for him to have made what use of it he thought proper, unopposed; and, from the whole of his communications to the committee, it is evident that a use, very unfavourable to me, was intended to be made of it: and as he requested, on the 14th of November, to be allowed to make his observations and explanations, viva voce, to the house long before I arrived, and must have been prepared at that time, what the effect would have been, when there was no possibility of replying or controverting them, may be easily imagined.
The observations of the secretary of war and the late quarter master, which have been so long on the anvil, seem intended for the press. They are welcome to publish them. But if they do, my remarks, thrown together in much haste, (having been allowed but three
150days to prepare them, and no time either to correct them or have them fairly copied) and rude as they are in style, shall follow them: for truth, like beauty, needs not the foreign aid of ornament.
IT has been observed, and it got into the newspapers, that too much time was wasted in building forts; that the movements of the army were too slow, and that it was finally surprised. Had the quantity of labour, necessary in the construction of forts, been considered, and compared with the number of men I had to employ in it, after deducting those which were necessary for putting the camp in security; for escorts and parties of observation and discovery, and for the police I believe the observation would not have been hazarded. It might have been discovered not only that the work was carried on early and late with as many men as circumstances would allow to be employed on it, but with an assiduity that exceeded any thing that ever took place in the American army, or I believe in any army that ever existed. Had it been considered, that a road was to be made for the artillery every step we advanced, and that we were encumbered with a vast convoy of cattle and horses, which were to be unloaded and taken
151care of at night and got up and loaded again in the morning, it would never have been suggested that the movements were slow; with all these encumbrances, the marches often equalled those usually made by armies where roads are already prepared. It is true, however, that the the construction of Fort Hamilton took up more time than I had calculated upon by several days, which was owing to several causes. In the first place, many of the men were as little acquainted with the use of axes as they were of arms. In the second place, the axes were of a very bad quality; I was obliged to cause shops to be erected there for the repair of them, as not a day passed in which a great many were not rendered unfit for further use, and I had not others to put into their hands; and in the third place, the quarter master had made the ample provision of one grindstone. As to the army's being surprised, the fact is otherwise. The advanced party was indeed surprised, and the army was suddenly and unexpectedly attacked; but it was prepared for action, and maintained the conflict with order and firmness, under circumstances that have seldom failed to produce a very bad effect upon the best disciplined troops: I mean, the advanced parties giving way, running through the lines, and throwing them, for a short time, into very great confusion. From the precautions taken, the army,
152my, though it might be beaten, as any army may be, could never be surprised.
For farther satisfaction I have subjoined a ground plan of the forts, and an abstract of the work done at Fort Hamilton. The circuit of that fort is about one thousand feet, through the whole extent of which a trench about three feet deep was dug to set the piquets in, of which it required about two thousand to inclose it; and it is not trees, taken promiscuously, that will answer for picquets, they must be tall and straight, and from nine to twelve inches diameter, (for those of a larger size are too unmanageable,) of course few trees that are proper are to be found without going over a considerable space of woodland. When found, they are felled, cleared of their branches, and cut into lengths of about twenty-feet. They were then carried to the ground and butted, that they might be placed firm and upright in the trench, with the axe, or cross-cut saw; some hewing upon them was also necessary, for there are few trees so straight that the sides of them will come in contact when set upright. A thin piece of timber, called a ribband, is run round the whole near the top of the picquets, to which every one of them is pinned with a strong pin, without which, they would decline from the perpendicular with every blast of wind, some hanging outwards and some inwards,
153which would render them in a great measure useless. The earth thrown out of the trench is then returned and strongly rammed to keep the picquets firmly in their places, and a shallower trench is dug outside about three feet distant, to carry off the water and prevent their being moved by the rains; about two thousand picquets are set up in the inside, one between every two of the others; the work is then inclosed. But, previously, the ground for the scite of the fort had to be cleared, and two or three hundred yards round it, which was very thickly wooded, and was a work of time and labour. The ground where this fort stands, is on the east side of the Miami river, on the first bank; but there is a second bank considerably elevated, within point blank shot, which rendered it necessary to make the picquets, particularly along the land side, of a height sufficient to prevent an enemy from seeing into the area, and taking the side to the river in reverse, and a high platform was raised in one of the bastions on the land side to scour the second bank with artillery. Another, made with the trunks of trees, and covered with plank as that was, was raised in one of the bastions towards the river, in order to command the ford, and the river for some distance up and down. Plank was sawed for the platforms and the gate, and barracks for one hundred men; a guard room, two store houses for provisions, and barracks for the officers were constructed within it, and all this was done
154in about fourteen days, almost entirely by the labour of men; though some use was made of oxen in draw- the timber, the woods were so thick and encumbered with underwood, it was found to be the most expeditious method to carry it.
FRIDAY, 13th FEBRUARY, 1793.
MR. GILES, from the committee to whom was recommitted the report of the committee appointed to inquire into the causes of the failure of the expedition under major general ST. CLAIR, together with the documents relating thereto, including the letter from the secretary of war, and the memorial of Samuel Hodgdon, reported, that the committee had, according to order, proceeded to reexamine the documents formerly before them, as far as seemed necessary — to hear and examine other testimony produced to them — to hear and consider the written communications made by the secretary of war, Samuel Hodgdon, and the commander in chief of the expedition; and as the result of their farther inquiries, make the following supplementary report.
The original report commences in the following words: "The contract for the supplies of the army on the route from Fort Pitt, was made by Theodosius
156Fowler with the secretary of the treasury, and bears date the twenty-eighth day of October, one thousand seven hundred and ninety; that at the same time a bond in the penalty of one hundred thousand dollars, with Walter Livingston and John Cochran, securities thereto, was entered into for the due execution of the contract. That on the third day of January, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, the contract was wholly transferred from the said Fowler to William Duer, a copy of which transfer was lodged in the office of the secretary of the treasury; that by letter from the secretary of war, bearing date the twenty-fifth of February, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, addressed to William Duer, it appears that he was considered as contractor; that no correspondence appears to have taken place subsequently to that time, between Theodosius Fowler and either the treasury or war departments."
From documents received by the committee since their last appointment, it appears that the copy of the before mentioned transfer was not lodged in the office of the secretary of the treasury until the seventh of April, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one; at which time it was received by the secretary of the treasury under cover of a letter from William Duer, informing him of the circumstance of the said transfer,
157and making requisitions for certain advances of money. That the secretary of the treasury, by letter in reply of the same date, agrees to make the advances required, to William Duer as the agent of Theodosius Fowler.
It appears that all the warrants issued from the treasury for the purposes of this contract, were issued to William Duer as the agent of Theodosius Fowler.
The secretaty of the treasury has furnished the committee with the written opinions of the attorney general of the United States, and several other lawyers of eminence, all of whom concur in opinion, that the securities to the bond originally given by Theodosius Fowler for the execution of this contract, are now responsible for all damages consequent upon any breach of that contract.
The secretary of war, who alone appears to have been the agent on the part of the United States, in all things relating to the execution of the contract, has always corresponded with William Duer, as contractor, and his correspondence commences at a date prior to that of the copy of the contract lodged at the treasury.
The original report proceeds: "That on the sixth of March, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one,
158a contract was entered into by William Duer with the secretary of war, for supplying the troops with provisions, until their arrival at Fort Pitt, and at Fort Pitt. A bond was at the same time entered into by the said William Duer, for the due execution of the said contract in the penalty of four thousand dollars, without any security whatsoever."
It appears by a reexamination of the documents formerly before the committee, that the date and terms of the said contract were misrepresented, the date being the twenty-sixth instead of the sixth of April, and the terms of the contract being to furnish provisions for the troops until their arrival at Fort Pitt, but not during their continuance at that place. The first of these mistakes appears to have been merely casual; the second appears to have arisen from paying greater attention to the manner in which the contract was executed, than to the terms of the contract itself; it having been conceived by the committee that colonel Neville, the agent for supplying the troops during their continuance at Fort Pitt, acted under the last mentioned contract. This circumstance is rendered the less material from the consideration, that, according to the plan of the campaign, no delay of the troops at Fort Pitt was counted upon. The statement is otherwise correct.
The secretary of war, in his communication, states that it was not the custom of the office to require other security than that of the contractor, for the due execution of contracts of small amount; and it appears by a letter of the secretary of the treasury since the former report, that the secretary of war consulted him upon the occasion alluded to, and that he agreed in opinion that farther security was not necessary.
It is stated in the original report, after speaking of the contractor's agents, that "it appears by letters from John Kean, another of the contractor's agents, that no money had been received by him on the eighth of May, and it appears that, on the twenty-third of March, there was advanced to William Duer on the last mentioned contract, the sum of fifteen thousand dollars." Upon reexamining the letters of John Kean, it appears that he had received the sum of four hundred and fifty dollars, and no more, before the aforesaid eighth day of May, which was before overlooked by the committee. And it appears from documents received by the committee since their report, that the sum of fifteen thousand dollars was not advanced to William Duer on account of the last mentioned contract, on the twenty-third of March. The committee were led into this mistake by a document received from the treasurer, representing the fact as stated in
160the original report, which document is still before the committee. The true state of this transaction, as recently stated, appears to be as follows.
A warrant issued in favour of Joseph Howell, on the twenty-third of March, for the sum of fifteen thousand dollars, for the use of the war department generally, and not for William Duer, as stated in the account rendered by the treasurer: of which sum, were advanced to William Duer, on the twenty-sixth of March, four thousand dollars; on the eighth of May following, were paid to James Smith, contracting agent for William Duer, one thousand dollars; and between the twenty-first of May and the twenty-third of July, were paid to John Kean, another agent for William Duer, four hundred and thirty-seven dollars and ninety-one cents; making the whole sum advanced on the last mentioned contract, five thousand four hundred and thirty-seven dollars and ninety-one cents; the residue of the fifteen thousand dollars is suggested to have been applied to the war department generally.
The original report states that—
"It appears from the correspondence of general Butler, from the ninth of May to the ninth of June, repeated complaints were made of fatal mismanagement and neglects in the quarter master's and military stores
161departments, particularly as to tents, knapsacks, camp-kettles, cartridge-boxes, pack-saddles, &c., all of which articles were deficient in quantity and bad in quality. The pack-saddles, particularly, were made in Philadelphia, which, with the transportation, amounted to more than double the price at which they might have been procured at Fort Pitt, and were found, upon examination, to be unfit for use."
Mr. Hodgdon has produced to the committee a number of ex parte affidavits and certificates, to prove that those several articles were furnished in sufficient quantities and of good quality. Most of these affidavits, however, were made by the manufacturers of the respective articles, or persons in the employment of Mr. Hodgdon, and generally written in a different handwriting from that of the subscribing deponents; and most of the certificates by persons unknown to the committee. But the testimony formerly taken by the, committee, and the corroboration of it by the evidence of respectable and disinterested persons, lately taken by the committee in presence of Mr. Hodgdon, appears abundantly sufficient to justify the statement of facts contained in the original report. With respect to the pack-saddles, however, it is necessary to remark, that some qualification of the expression used in the original report, would be proper. They appear to have
162been made of different sizes; those of the largest size, are proved to be wholly unfit for use, the horses used for packhorses being generally small; some of the smaller pack-saddles, however, appear to have been used in the campaign, and to have answered the purpose they were intended for, better than was expected.
It is stated in the original report, that,
"The arms sent forward appear not to have been duly examined, and arrived at Fort Pitt extremely out of order, and many totally unfit for use, which circumstance rendered repairs absolutely necessary, and added to the delay of the troops at Fort Pitt."
The committee are led to conclude, from authentic information recently received, that the complaint of the arms intended for the regular troops and levies is unfounded; some of the arms appear to have been damaged after they were put into the hands of the troops, from their inexperience or carelessness, though delivered to them in good order.
The committee were led to make the unqualified statement contained in the original report, from the unqualified manner in which this subject is spoken of by some of the witnesses, formerly examined by the committee; they not having stated with sufficient
163precision, the causes of the arms being out of order, nor specifying the probable number requiring repairs.
The original report proceeds with the following expression:
"It appears, that a great proportion of the powder supplied for the use of the army, was not of good quality, though an experiment was made by major Ferguson at Fort Pitt, with a howitzer, who reported in favour of the powder.
The committee are satisfied, from experiments made since the original report by captain Ford, at Fort Washington, upon request of the secretary of war, and by samples of the powder from thence, actually furnished the committee, that the powder was originally of good quality; but that a certain quantity of it was damaged by exposure to the air and moisture after being delivered to the troops.
164tents. It is in testimony to the committee that great quantities of the fixed ammunition were actually rendered useless from that cause.
It is stated in the original report, that—"Mr. Hodgdon was appointed quarter master general in the month of March, and continued in Philadelphia until the fourth of June, he then proceeded to Fort Pitt, where he arrived on the tenth of the same month. No sufficient causes have appeared to the committee to justify this delay, and his presence with the army appeared to be essentially necessary previously to that time."
In this statement, the duration of Mr. Hodgdon's stay at Fort Pitt was casually omitted, which appears to have been from the tenth of June till the twenty-sixth of August, The insertion of this fact will sufficiently explain the sense of the committee in the inference respecting time, in which the presence of the quarter master general wag necessary at the army.
It is stated in the original report, that—
"There were six hundred and seventy-six stand of arms at Fort Washington the first of June, and most of those totally out of repair."
These arms, the precise number of which appears not to be accurately ascertained, are admitted by the secretary of war to have been at Fort Washington, in the situation described; but he suggests that they were old and useless arms, which had been collected at that place, and were not counted upon as any part of the supply of arms for the expedition; it appears that the regular troops and levies were completely supplied with arms, without recurrence to this stock: but a number of them were repaired, by orders of the commander in chief of the expedition with a view, as he suggests, to arm the militia from Kentucky, who it was expected, would arrive either insufficiently armed, or not armed at all: and he did not conceive the arrangement made by the war department, competent to arming the militia, together with the other troops.
The original report states, that—
"The privates of the levies received but three dollars pay each, from the time of their respective inlistments to the time of their respective discharges, and were actually discharged without further pay or settlement; notes of discharge were given them specifying the time of their service, and bearing indorsations that some advances had been made them on account, without stating the amount, the object of which is suggested to have been to prevent transfers; the intended effect
166was not produced by the measure; the notes were sold for trifling considerations; the real sums due on the notes were various, from ten to twenty-five dollars, and they were often sold for one dollar, or one gallon of whiskey; the monies for the pay of the levies did not leave Philadelphia till the fourth of December one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, nor arrive at Fort Washington until the third of January one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, some time after the last inlisted levies were known to have been intitled to their discharges.
In addition to the reasons contained in the original report respecting the discharging of the levies, without their stipulated pay, which are admitted by the secretary of war to be justly stated, he has in his late communication suggested to the committee that, at the time of the discharge of the levies, there was actually in the hands of the quarter master general, the sum of sixteen thousand two hundred and ninety-two dollars and seventy cents, which were subject to be applied to any object agreeably to the discretion of the commander in chief of the expedition, and might have been applied, if he had thought proper, to the payment of the discharged levies, and would have been sufficient for two months' pay to the officers, and four months' pay to the privates. This sum is admitted by the quarter
167master general, to have been in his hands, at the time of the discharge of the levies, and would have been applied to their pay if orders had been given by the commander in chief of the expedition, for that purpose, but that no such orders ever were received by him. The secretary of war infers, from these circumstances, that no censure should be imputed to the war department, for not having paid implicit attention to this subject.
The circumstances respecting this transaction, have been attentively examined by the committee, and appear to them to be the following: the quarter master general upon his leaving Philadelphia, was furnished with the sum of twenty thousand dollars for the use of that department. He was afterwards furnished with two other sums, to wit: the sum of seventeen thousand eight hundred and forty-four dollars and fifty cents, on the twenty-third day of July, and the sum of two thousand two hundred and twenty-four dollars and sixty cents, on the seventh day of July, making together, the sum of twenty thousand dollars and sixty-nine cents. It appears by a letter from the secretary of war to the commander in chief of the expedition, that five thousand dollars of this sum were to be applied to the pay of the regular troops, if the commander in chief should think that a proper appropriation of the money, which,
168however, was not done,
It is suggested by the commander in chief, that he never considered the money before mentioned, appropriated to the pay of the levies upon their discharge, nor that it was ever intended to be applied to that object; he farther suggests a want of knowledge of the money said to be on hand at the time of the discharge of the levies; although he admits, that the quarter master general, shortly after his arrival at head quarters, tendered him a statement of the cash on hand, which he returned without examination, observing that he
169had already received sufficient information relatively thereto from the secretary of war; that he was informed of the amount of monies originally received by the quarter master general, and conceived that he could form some idea of the balance on hand, from the sums disbursed in consequence of warrants drawn by him, which he expected were paid from that fund; that his want of information, as to the real balance, arose from the circumstance of the bills drawn by the quarter master general without his knowledge, or the requisite certificate from him, which bills operated as a relief to that fund for their amount. The commander in chief of the expedition further suggested, in the presence of the quarter master general, that upon making draughts upon the fund before alluded to, he usually inquired of the quarter master general, whether it was sufficient for the purpose of answering the draught; and upon repeating this inquiry just before the discharge of the levies, he received for answer that "the chest was very low." This statement was acquiesced in, or at least was not denied by the quarter master general.
The quarter master general has furnished the committee with a statement of his account, by which it appears, that he had on hand, on the fifth November, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, cash to
170the amount of fifteen thousand nine hundred and twelve dollars, and forty-two cents, and two thirds of a cent, which, he suggests, have been applied to the use of his department. This balance is denied to have been on hand, by the commander in chief, at the time; and he has furnished a statement of disbursements from the original fund, which leaves the balance, at the time of the discharge of the levies, of one thousand four hundred and eighty-three dollars, eighty-six cents, exclusive of the five thousand dollars appropriated to the pay of the old troops.
The commander in chief suggests that there was no paymaster to the army, nor any person authorized to settle the accounts of the soldiers, and ascertain the real balances due to them, until the arrival of Mr. Swan on the third day of January, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, and infers that he had no authority to direct a settlement and order pay to the soldiers until he was informed of the arrangements made at the war office relatively to that object. This suggestion is strongly corroborated by a letter of the secretary of war, addressed to the commander in chief, and forwarded by Mr. Swan, which designates Mr. Swan as paymaster, and contains instructions relatively to the terms of settling the accounts of the soldiery. The same letter serves to shew, that the twenty thousand
171and sixty-nine dollars and ten cents, put into the possession of the quarter master general, were not conclusively destined for the pay of the levies, nor so considered by the secretary of war; because it is asserted in that letter, that Mr. Swan is furnished with a sum of money sufficient for the pay of the levies, without making any deduction in consequence of the monies furnished the quarter master general.
It is asserted by the secretary of war, in his communication to the committee, that the time of service of the levies did not expire until after the arrival of Mr. Swan at Fort Washington, particularly Gaither's and Rhea's battalions, the term of their inlistments having been, to serve six months after their arrival at Fort Washington, which was deemed the place of rendezvous. The time which had elapsed from the period of their inlistments to their arrival at Fort Washington; the evident impropriety of annexing such a condition to the inlistments, caused the condition itself to be dispensed with, and those levies were actually discharged shortly after the twelfth of November, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, in consequence of their having served six months, which is the extent of the service authorized by law, and actually received certificates at that time, of having performed six months service.
Upon a reexamination of the original report, and the evidence now before the committee, they are satisfied with the same, and find no material alterations or corrections necessary.
A regard for candour has induced the committee to adopt this mode of reporting, because the original report is thereby preserved, mistakes existing in the same and which are now corrected, and the causes of those mistakes rendered obvious, and the whole subject presented to view, upon the fairest terms, in the opinion of the committee, to all persons concerned therein.
Ordered, That the said supplementary report, together with the report which was made the eighth day of May last, be committed to the committee of the whole house on Wednesday next.
Tuesday, the 26th February, 1793.
On a motion made and seconded, "That the house do now, according to the order of the day, resolve itself into a committee of the whole house, to take into consideration the reports of the committees appointed to inquire into the causes of the failure of the expedition under major general St. Clair." It passed in the negative. Ordered that the committee of the whole house be discharged. Thus it appears that, although
173the house had resolved to inquire into the causes of the failure of that expedition, and the inquiry had been pursued with great assiduity by the committees to whom it was referred, and a report had been made from each of them, they were determined that neither themselves or the public should be informed; the ill consequences of which I have severely felt, and still continue to feel, though twenty-one years have elapsed since the event that gave rise to the inquiry.
Copies of Letters Referred to in The Foregoing Narrative.
Camp, sixty-eight and a half miles advanced,
21st October, 1791.
FROM a letter of the contractor's agent for transporting the provisions of the army, of the seventeenth instant, I have the greatest reason to fear a disappointment which may render the whole campaign abortive. You will, therefore, sir, with all the expedition you can make, go back and obtain a certain and precise account, from him, of the measures he has taken to afford a certain supply of provisions for the army, not only at this place, but at every other where it may move to; and on the communication, I should have been glad to have furnished you with a copy of my orders to him upon the subject,
175but I have them not with me: they are in general these — that forty-five thousand rations of provisions should move with the army: that twice in every ten days, forty-five thousand rations should move from Fort Washington to the next post, until three hundred and sixty thousand rations were sent forward; that forty-five thousand rations should again move with the army from the first post to a second, and an equal number twice in every ten days until the residue of the three hundred and sixty thousand were carried forward, and so on from post to post, still moving with forty-five thousand rations. They have failed entirely in enabling me to move with forty-five thousand rations, and from the letter above mentioned, the agent seems not to expect to move any beyond this place; for he says, "if you move from thence (meaning this place) shortly, and take ten days provision with you, it will deprive us of the means to transport what may be necessary after that is exhausted." After, then, that you know exactly what the contractor can do as to transportation, (for so far as they can do it, it is their business, and must not be taken out of their hands) you will take your measures so, as that, on the twenty-seventh instant, I may be able to move with three hundred horse-loads of flour, and that one hundred and fifty horse-loads succeed that every seven days: one hundred and fifty horses being sent back every seven
176days. For whatevever expense may attend the arrangement, this shall be your warrant; and I am certain, from your personal character, as well as from your zeal for the public good, that no unnecessary expense will be incurred. It is to be observed, that our beef will be expended about the fifth or sixth of next month. When I left Fort Washington, the agent of the contractor informed me that he expected a drove of cattle very soon; whether they are arrived or not I am not informed. I have written to him on this occasion; but I request you to inform yourself, and, if necessary, to make provision there also; and indeed there is not a moment to lose about it, and to provide for any deficiency. He writes me that the measures he has taken will give a supply to the last of December or a month longer, but nothing must be left to hazard.
I have the honour, &c. (Signed)
ARTHUR ST. CLAIR.
Samuel Hodgdon, Esq.
Quarter master general.
Philadelphia, 23d January, 1792.
THE communications that have been made to the committee by the secretary of war and Mr. Hodgdon, seem intended to give a new turn to the inquiry, and present themselves to my mind, not as a justification of themselves, or an exculpation from any share which they, or either of them, may have had in producing the misfortunes of the last campaign: but a combined attack upon me personally. It would be improper in me to obtrude upon the committee any observations I may think proper to make upon those communications, in that point of view; but as it has been remarked, that some part of the report of the committee (respecting Mr. Hodgdon particularly) may have been drawn from the information contained in my official letter to the secretary of war, the truth of which information has been denied, it is incumbent on me to shew to the committee, as far as it is now in my power to shew it, that
178the information I gave was well founded: to that end, I would request that captain Suydam and captain Kersey, who are, I believe, at New Brunswick in New Jersey, may be summoned as witnesses, and general Harmar and major Zeigler, who are in this city. These are the only persons I know of at present, who were at Fort Washington when I arrived there, who are within reach; and the use I mean to make of their testimony is, to fix what was the general opinion in the army with respect to Mr. Hodgdon as quarter master, and the great share of toil, trouble, and vexation that fell upon me from his absence. I mention the use which is intended to be made of it, because, if those points are thought to be sufficiently established already, I would dispense with captain Suydam and captain Kersey, on account of the trouble and expense the journey must unavoidably put them to. I would also request that the committee would call for the letters of colonel Mentgez, to the war office, in his quality of inspector, after I assumed the command at Fort Washington.
I have the honour to be, &c.
ARTHUR ST. CLAIR.
The honourable Thomas Fitzsimmons, Chairman of the Committee of Inquiry.
Philadelphia, 5th December, 1792,
IN the letter you honoured me with on the twenty-ninth of last month, you inform me that the committee of congress had stated in their report, that a great part of the powder supplied for the expedition under my command, in 1791, was bad, and desire my opinion on that subject.
In your letter to me of the eighteenth August, 1791, you informed me that reports had been raised in Philadelphia, that the powder sent forward for the expedition was not good, and desire that it may be proved according to a method therein prescribed. In answer, on the . . day of . . I informed you that those reports had reached Pittsburgh before major Ferguson left that place, or the powder been forwarded from thence, and that he had informed me that he had proved it there and found it of sufficient strength, and I gave you the reasons why I declined making any experiment upon it at Fort Washington. This referred to
180the musket powder, which was, I believe, of good quality; at least no complaint was made of it. But, I had no opportunity to know how it would answer in firing, until the day of the action, having had no paper, not a single sheet, to make cartridges for exercise. The rifle powder was very generally complained of, although the best in the magazine was selected for service.
I have the honour to be, &c.
ARTHUR ST. CLAIR.
General Knox, Secretary of war.
War department, 23d of December, 1791.
I HAVE received your letter of the ninth November by the way of Lexington, and yours of the seventeenth, by Mr. Denny.
Your misfortune, to be sure, has been great and unexpected. But, sir, it was one of those incidents which sometimes happen in human affairs, which could not, under existing circumstances, have been prevented.
The event, and the gallant men, are to be regretted, but the mind, instead of being depressed, must be braced to prepare an adequate remedy.
In devising measures to this end, I should have been happy that your health and other circumstances permitted that you had repaired here even earlier than your intimations.
Be assured, sir, that however great the defeat, that both your reputation, and the reputation of the troops under your command are unimpeached; the fact seems to be pretty well ascertained by the way of Detroit, through different channels of communication, that you must have had opposed to you upwards of twenty-five hundred Indians. If this should prove true eventually, the consolation would at least arise, that you were beaten by superior numbers. I enter not into particulars, as it is probable you will be soon here, as it is also probable that even this letter may miss you.
I am, sir,
With high esteem and respect, &c.
Secretary of war.
Major general St. Clair.
Fort Washington, 12th Nov. 1791.
I REQUEST the favour that you will make known to the militia the great regret I feel for the loss they sustained in their late gallant commander, lieutenant colonel Oldham, and several other brave officers and soldiers. It is with pleasure I acknowledge the satisfaction received from their general orderly behaviour, and the harmony and good understanding that prevailed, during the campaign, between them and the other classes of troops which composed the army. If some of them did desert the service of their country at a critical moment, it reflects a lustre upon those who were not to be influenced by the base example; but as that very desertion occasioned the absence of a considerable body of the troops at the time of the action, and may thereby have been the cause of the misfortune that befell us, it will be the duty of every officer to use his utmost endeavours that they be brought to condign punishment agreeably to the laws of the country.
While I wish the militia, individually, a safe return to their families, and to their country all happiness, I cannot resist the giving this further proof of my good will, by observing, that in no case where I have seen militia employed, has there been that subordination and prompt obedience of orders, which are necessary to the success of military operations; and I recommend it to them, should they ever be again called into their country's service, to endeavour to acquire those habits, and to practise them with alacrity, as the only means, under God, by which either personal honour or public advantage can be obtained.
With great respect,
I am, sir,
Your obedient servant,
ARTHUR ST. CLAIR
Major Brown, commanding the militia of Kentucky.
The above letter was sent to major Brown (for he nor the militia did not return to Fort Washington) before he crossed into Kentucky, and a copy was sent to the printer at Lexington, with a request that it might be published, but he did not think proper to comply with it.
Fort Edward, 14th July, 1777.
CONGRESS may probably think it extraordinary, that so much time has elapsed before they heard from me, after a step of so much consequence, as the evacuation of the posts that had been entrusted to my care; but it was not in my power to write whilst on the march to this place. I am sorry to find, that my letter to general Schuyler the night the evacuation took place, has not come to his hands, as, for want of that, though he has, doubtless, informed congress of the event, he could not give them the reasons that induced it; they were these:
Seeing the posts of Ticonderoga and Mount Independence were nearly invested, and having intelligence by my spies, that they would be completely so in twenty-four hours, when we should be cut off from the possibility of succour: that the batteries of the enemy were ready to
186open, and the whole of our encampment on the Ticonderoga exposed to their fire. Considering, at the same time, the weakness of the garrisons; that the effective numbers were not sufficient to man one half of the works, and that, consequently, the whole must be upon constant duty, which they could not possibly long sustain, and that of course, the places with their garrisons, must inevitably, in a very few days, fall into the enemy's hands. I saw no alternative but to evacuate them and bring off the army; whereupon I called the general officers together, to take their sentiments. They were unanimously of opinion, that the places should be evacuated without the least loss of time; and it was accordingly set about that night, the fifth instant. After embarking in the boats as much of our cannon, provisions, and stores as was possible, the boats were ordered to Skeensborough, and I sent colonel Long, an active, diligent, good officer, to take the command there, with his regiment, and the invalids, until I should join him with the army, which was to march to that place by the way of Castletown. The body of the army reached Castletown the next evening, thirty miles from Ticonderoga and twelve from Skeensborough; but the rear guard, under colonel Warner, which with the stragglers and infirm, amounted to near twelve hundred, stopped short of that place six miles, and
187were next morning attacked by a strong detachment the enemy had sent to hang on our rear and retard our march. Two regiments of militia, who had left us the evening before, and halted about two miles from colonel Warner, were immediately ordered to his assistance, but, to my great surprise, they marched directly down to me: at the same time I received information, that the enemy were in possession of Skeensborough, and had cut off all our boats and armed vessels. This obliged me to change my route, that I might not be put betwixt two fires, and at the same time, be able to bring off colonel Warner, to whom I sent orders, if he found the enemy too strong, to retreat to Rutland, where he would find me to cover him, that place lying at nearly equal distances from both. Before my orders reached him, his party was dispersed, after having for a considerable time, sustained a very warm engagement, in which the enemy suffered so much, that they pursued him but a small distance. Our loss I cannot ascertain, but believe it does not exceed forty killed and wounded. About two hundred of the party joined me at Rutland and since, but great numbers of them are still missing, and I suspect have gone down into New England by the way of Number Four. After a very fatiguing march of seven days, in which the troops suffered much from bad weather
188and want of provisions. I joined general Schuyler the twelfth instant.
It was my original plan to retreat to this place, that I might be between general Burgoyne and the inhabitants, and that the militia might have something round which to collect themselves; it is now effected, and the militia are coming in, so that I have the most sanguine hopes that the progress of the enemy will be checked; and I may yet have the satisfaction to experience that, by abandoning a post, I have eventually saved a state.
Perhaps I may be censured by those who are unacquainted with the situation I was in, for not sooner calling the militia to my assistance. I think I informed congress that I could not do that for want of provisions; and as soon as I got a supply I did call for them, and was joined by near nine hundred the day before the evacuation; but they came from home so ill provided, that they could not nor would not stay with me but a few days. The two Massachusetts regiments of militia likewise, which composed part of the garrison, gave me notice that their time expired in two days, and then they intended to go home. In vain did I beg of their officers to exert every influence they had over them, and from their subsequent behaviour, I am fully persuaded the officers were most to blame. They kept with me,
189however, for two days; but their conduct was so licentious and disorderly, and their example beginning to affect the continental troops, I was constrained to send them off.
Inclosed you will find a copy of the council of war, in which is contained the principles upon which the retreat was undertaken. As I found all the general officers so fully of opinion that it should be undertaken immediately, I forbore to mention to them many circumstances which might have influenced them, and which I should have laid before them had they been of different sentiments; for I was, and still am, so firmly convinced of the necessity as well as the propriety of it, that I believe I should have ventured upon it had they been every one against it.
I have the utmost confidence in the candour of congress, and persuade myself that, notwithstanding the loss they have sustained, when they have impartially considered I was posted, with little more than two thousand men, in a place that required ten thousand to defend it: that these two thousand were ill equipped and worse armed (not above one bayonet in ten, an arm essential in the defence of lines): that with these two thousand I have made good a retreat from under the nose of an army at least four times their numbers,
190and have them now between the country and the enemy, ready to act against them, my conduct will appear, at least, not deserving of censure.
I have the honour to be, &c.
ARTHUR ST. CLAIR.
P. S. The enemy's force, from the best accounts, is three thousand five hundred British, four thousand Brunswick and Hesse Hanau, two hundred Indians and two hundred Canadians.
Major General ST. CLAIR,
Brigadier General DE ROCHEFERMOY,
Brigadier General POOR,
Brigadier General PATTERSON,
Colonel Commandant LONG.
General St. Clair represented to the Council that, as there is every reason to believe that the batteries of the enemy are ready to open on the Ticonderoga side, and
191the camp is very much exposed to their fire, and to be enfiladed on all quarters, and as there is also reason to expect an attack upon Ticonderoga and Mount Independence at the same time, in which case, neither could draw any support from the other, he desires their opinion, whether it would be most proper to remove the tents to the low grounds, where they would be less exposed, and wait the attack at the Ticonderoga lines; or whether the whole of the troops should be drawn over to Mount Independence, the more effectually to provide for the defence of that post. At the same time the general begged leave to inform them, that the whole of our force consisted of two thousand and eighty-nine rank and file, including one hundred and twenty-four artificers unarmed, besides the corps of artillery, and nine hundred militia that have joined us, and will stay but a few days.
The council was unanimously of opinion that it is impossible, with our force, to defend Ticonderoga and Mount Independence, and that the troops, cannon, and stores, should be removed this night, if possible, to Mount Independence.
2dly. Whether, after the division of the army at Ticonderoga have retreated to Mount Independence, we shall be in a situation to defend that post, or in case
192it cannot be defended, is a retreat into the country practicable?
The council are unanimously of opinion, that as the enemy have already nearly surrounded us, and there remains nothing more to invest us completely but their occupying the neck between the lake and the east creek, which is not more than three quarters of a mile over, and possessing themselves of the narrows betwixt us and Skeensborough, and thereby cutting off all communication with the country, a retreat ought to be undertaken as soon as possible, and that we shall be fortunate to effect it.
ARTHUR ST. CLAIR,
Maj. Gen. DE ROCHEFERMOY,
Brig. Gen. ENOCH POOR,
Brig. Gen. JOHN PATTERSON,
Brig. Gen. Colonel Commandant LONG.
A true copy taken from the original.
ISAAC BUDD DUNN.
Published by order of Congress,
CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary.
Extracts From The Minutes of the Committee.
COLONEL MENTGETZ, inspector of the army, sworn.
His duty was to inspect the men, and arms and accoutrements, and clothing, and report the state of discipline, and also the state of the posts, provisions, and treatment of the sick, and make report to the secretary of war. He commenced his duty under general ST. CLAIR, with the inspection of the militia under general Scott, on the twenty-second or twenty-third May; next, captain Armstrong's troops at Fort Washington; mustered and inspected arms and accoutrements, in companies and battalions; mustered the whole army at Fort Hamilton except the militia; the badness of the weather prevented the inspection of arms and accoutrements at that time.
Question by the committee. — What was the state of the arms and accoutrements of the troops inspected at Fort Washington, on their first arrival there?
Answer. — Many of them broken and out of order, owing to the negligence of the men and accidents on the march, and from some of the arms being old, but the officers were informed and instructed to have them repaired; about thirty arms in Gaither's, and as many in the Jersey battalion. The arms in the first and second regiments were superior to those of the levies.
Question with respect to touchholes. — He recollects a few of them, and ordered the guns to be exchanged; some of them had none; had no opportunity of inspecting particularly, Butler's, Clarke's, and Bedinger's, in number about six hundred. The clothing of the levies was inferior to that of the first regiment except the overalls; was of opinion that had they been ever so good, they would not have lasted them, owing to their not taking care of them; did not see any of the men barefooted, but heard the officers complain that shoes did not last them three weeks.
Question. — Were not the arms of those sent from Pittsburgh inspected at Fort Washington?
Answer. — They were, except Rhea's battalion, about one hundred and nineteen men.
Question. — Were the arms with which the troops arrived at Fort Washington, repaired there?
Answer. — He cannot tell.
Question. — What artificers were there at Fort Washington?
Answer. — Thirty-two; six were engaged by the quarter master, they were employed under the direction of major Ferguson, in repairing arms and military stores, making cartridges and preparing cannon; three hundred dozen of cartridges were made at Fort Washington.
Question. — What repairs did artillery want?
Answer. — Making new carriages and mounting for cannon, and saddler's work.
Question by Mr. Hodgdon. — Do you know of any complaint of the powder?
Answer. — He did not; tried some of it with his pistols and found it good.
Question by general Knox. — What was the general quality of the levies?
Answer. — They were a bad set of men, not fit to be soldiers; a number of them with rotten legs (thirty) fifty or sixty wheelbarrow men in the two battalions, of the last class about a hundred; the first class, he believed, remained mostly at Fort Washington.
Question to general Knox, by the committee. — Were the above men mustered before they marched?
Answer. — They were mustered at the different rendezvous by major Ferguson, major Craig, and Mr. Swan.
Question to Colonel Mentgetz. — What was the state of discipline of those levies?
Answer. — They had no discipline at all.
Question. — Was due attention paid to those levies after they arrived?
Answer. — There was.
Question by general Knox. — What was the quality of the militia?
Answer. — About one hundred and thirty good; about two hundred and sixty bad men; twenty of them discharged or left at the hospital at Fort Washington.
Question. — What was the quality of the first and second regiments?
Answer. — Second regiment, some of them bad men of the class above described; first regiment mostly good men.
Question. — What number of riflemen in the army?
Answer. — About three hundred in the militia, and forty-two in Rhea's battalion.
Question by general St. Clair. — Were you not an eye witness to a great number of arms being repaired at Fort Washington, and that we were so extremely pressed, that all the artificers in the army were employed on that business, and could with difficulty get through it?
Answer. — I saw them employed in repairing arms, but there were good arms in store sufficient to arm the men.
Question by general Knox — Do you think the expedition was delayed for want of arms?
Answer. — I do not, nor do I believe it was.
Question. — Do you think the defeat was owing to the badness of the arms?
Answer. — I do not.
Question by the committee. — Do you think the repair of arms was any interruption to the discipline of the army?
Answer. — So far as the number went it was. There were rope-makers, and other tradesmen. Ropes were made from hemp for traces for the artillery, in the absence of the quarter master.
Question by general St. Clair. — Was there but one draught of artificers made from the army?
Answer. — Does not know.
Question by general St. Clair. — Do you not recollect that an order was given for the smiths to do no work of any kind for the officers?
Answer. — I do not, a number of rifles in Rhea's battalion were private property, and wanted repairs. Two tinmen were employed in making cannisters for shot, and two smiths in making camp-kettles.
Question. — Do you recollect how many smith's fires?
Answer. — There were six besides the travelling forges. The cartridge boxes in Gaither's and Patterson's battalions were old and unfit, but were ordered to be repaired.
Question. — What was the quality of the tents generally?
Answer. — The tents of two companies, one from Maryland, and the other from North Carolina, were good; the rest were bad, the front and rear part of them, and would not keep out the rain, from actual experiment.
Question. — Was it possible for the men to keep themselves or arms, &c. dry in them?
Answer. — The horsemen's tents would not keep out rain; saw about five that were good, but did not know whether they were sent forward from the war department. There were no knapsacks but haversacks,
200generally painted blue and red; saw five hundred in the store, painted in the store after the army marched.
Question by general Knox. — Did you hear the defeat of the army ascribed to the badness of the tents?
Answer. — I did not.
He was not with general ST. CLAIR on the expedition; was at Fort Washington when the general arrived; heard numberless complaints among the officers of the ill conduct of Mr. Hodgdon, the quarter master, and of his not being forward at head quarters, and the trouble that general ST. CLAIR was unavoidably subjected to by his absence. Is of opinion that the arrangements of Mr. Hodgdon, after he did arrive, were ill judged and defective. These deficiences, he understood by conversing with the officers, left Fort Washington twenty-fifth or twenty-seventh October one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one. These discontents were frequent among the officers, and from his own observations he judged of the bad arrangements of Mr. Hodgdon, particularly the tying up the horses to the fences; cavalry were suffering for want of forage which the fences shewed, as they eat the fences both before and after the arrival of Mr. Hodgdon; heard
201major Ferguson complain of the quarter master about the trouble he gave him in his department. The complaints of the officers were want of forage, smallness of tents, badness of pack-saddles, and many other articles. Remembers he heard major Ferguson inveighing bitterly against the quarter master's conduct; took notice of the tents being very bad; the flanks were of Russia sheeting, and the ends of crocus, or osnaburg; were very small, and could not in his opinion keep out the rain. The clothing of the levies was miserable indeed; great disparity between the clothing for the regulars and that for the levies; the latter, was not half so good in quality; heard great complaints by sundry officers of the levies. The increased toil of the general, he understood from the officers, was on account of the absence of the quarter master. Did not hear major Ferguson complain particularly of the trouble he had in repairing arms, but heard him complain loudly against the quarter master for the trouble he gave him in his particular department; heard his complaints, particularly of the pack-saddles, saying, that they were large enough for elephants; did not hear any observations on the powder while at Fort Washington, but has heard complaints of it from the officers since. Does not recollect hearing any complaints of hospital stores. Considers the movement to Ludlow's station as a necessary movement to get out of the
202village. Conceives that one axe to every tent to be necessary for tent use and common occurrences on a march, besides a magazine of axes, frees, saws, &c. for the purpose of building bridges, making fortifications and cutting roads.
Question by the secretary of war. — Do you recollect a number of useless arms accumulated at Fort Washington?
Answer. — I do. Some were brought from Muskingum; some of them worked up as old iron.
Question by the secretary of war. — Do you recollect any useless arms in store at Fort Washington, while you had the command?
Answer. — I do recollect a few; they were very generally repaired when out of order, and of course few could remain useless.
Question. — Where were your recruits armed?
Answer. — At Philadelphia, They came well armed to him.
Question by Mr. Hodgdon. — Do you recollect the state of the gun-carriages that were used upon your expedition?
Answer. — I do not think they were in order for another expedition, but must have been much wrecked, but might have been repaired; some of them had been new on that expedition.
Question. — Where was the ammunition for ordnance and musketry prepared for your expedition?
Answer. — At Fort Washington, some musket cartridges were brought from Muskingum by major Doughty.
Question. — Who superintended the laboratory at that time?
Answer. — Major Ferguson.
Question. — Who was the principal artificer?
Answer. — Thorpe.
Question. — Did you hear major Ferguson say any thing about the cartridges for general St. Clair's expedition taken from Philadelphia?
Answer. — I do not recollect — I heard him say something about them, but what it was I do not recollect.
Question, — What was the state of the arms of the first regiment, when general St. Clair took command?
Answer. — They were very good.
Question. — What number of artificers had you?
Answer. — I do not recollect. — there was no regular corps of artificers, but they were usually draughted from the troops. There were a number of shops in the ravelin before general St. Clair arrived; does not know of any being built before he (Harmar) left it.
Question. — Do you recollect the number of axes in your campaign?
Answer. — I do not recollect certainly — I think there were about fifty.
Question. — What number of men had you with you?
Answer. — One thousand four hundred and fifty-three including militia.
Question by general St. Clair. — Were not all the militia under your command, armed at Fort Washington?
Answer. — There were a great number of them armed there — some came entirely unarmed, and many others with bad arms to be repaired.
Question. — Were the arms the militia had on that campaign returned at Fort Washington?
Answer. — They were, as the officers had receipted for them.
Question. — Did you take notice of the knapsacks of the first regiment and of the levies?
Answer. — The knapsacks of the first regiment were, by my orders, covered with bear-skin, purchased for the purpose and charged to the public; the knapsacks of the levies were small; the covering of the knapsacks increased the martial appearance of the troops as he conceived, as also the difference of clothing of the regulars, between the regulars and levies. The expense
206of bear-skins about two dollars, each of which would make five or six covers; easy to figure to oneself, the levies with clothing of no price, by the side of regulars who were well clothed and accoutred.
He arrived at Fort Washington about the twentieth of June, and continued until he went on the expedition. General St. Clair arrived on the first, second or third of May. Remembers well the uneasiness among the officers on hearing of Hodgdon's appointment of quarter master to the army, as they were well acquainted with him, and knew him to be totally unfit for such a business. That the arrangements which were taken by him proved the event at an early period, as almost every step taken by him was deficient, ill-judged and increased the disgusts and complaints in the army. That from the long delay in the quarter master's arrival, they were in hopes that when he did arrive, he would come well prepared, but that when he did come, his arrangements were extremely defective, which increased the complaints and disgusts of the army — But he seemed generally busy, but did nothing. That the pack-saddles were too large and complained of by major Ferguson, who seemed extremely uneasy on that account, and indeed, they were
207condemned by every officer who had been conversant in that business. That the tents were truly infamous, the ends being made of crocus; that by reason of this, a great number, indeed many hundred dozens of cartridges were destroyed, and the troops not being kept dry were sick in great numbers. That there were some few good tents which were of the old stock on the former expedition, and that the difference between those tents and these furnished for the expedition was obvious to every person. That the clothing for the levies was infamous, as many who arrived at Fort Washington were almost naked; that the powder was proved from his own experiment, as he tried it and found it extremely weak; that it would not carry a ball but a small distance comparatively with genuine powder; that the axes were too soft, and when used would bend up like a dumpling; that in consequence of the badness of the axes, he purchased a good one for himself, at his own expense. That as to the hospital stores, particularly the wine furnished, was extremely bad. When general Wilkinson arrived, he made particular inquiry about the state of the arms and of the hospital stores, and required a particular return from the different officers who superintended each department; after this, none of the bad wine was issued; although there was some good found, none was issued to the sick. That after general St. Clair arrived at
208Fort Washington, the shops were repaired and some new ones built; that those pieces particularly, that had been in general Harmar's expedition, had new wheels made and new carriages altogether; he did not think there was any fixed ammunition but what was made up at Fort Washington, as he was informed by major Ferguson who superintended the laboratory; that there might have been some small quantity brought in boxes, but how much he knows not. That the fixing ammunition requires considerable time and knowledge in the business, and every soldier is not fit for it; that he was told by major Ferguson that boxes were too open for the transportation of fixed ammunition, and that kegs are the only things proper, as they were tight and water-proof; that they were made at Fort Washington; that the boxes, slings, &c. for the balls and shells for ordnance were also made at Fort Washington; that he frequently noticed general St. Clair the first up in a morning, going from shop to shop to inspect the preparations, and that he seemed very uneasy at the delay in different preparations that were necessary for the campaign. That to his knowledge, the shells were fixed at Fort Washington; also, wheels for the carriages and the carriages themselves, and many other things he cannot recollect. That raw hides were cut up to make lashings and other uses, as also, ropes were made, about which business a number of
209hands were employed; that he particularly remembers that before the troops arrived at Fort Jefferson, and on the march, that he was sent forward to view the encamping ground pitched on by the quarter master; the ground had been marked out by him, and it was so executed that even the soldiers laughed at it; that there was not even a single eminence that could guard the army occupied, and the greatest part was contained in a valley; that it was then too late to change the ground, and the army remained there that night; that in consequence the out piquet was strengthened by fifteen men until about eight o'clock next morning; that the whole had orders to be ready in case of danger, an hour before day. I think, from my own experience, I never saw such a degree of trouble thrown on the shoulders of any other general that I have served with, as upon general St. Clair, from the absence of the quarter master, and the preparations that were necessary to be made in his department, in order to be able to take the field in season; that in his opinion it was well for the quarter master that he served in a republican government.
He conceives that the delay in marching from Ludlow's station, was occasioned by the difficulty in clearing the road, in making bridges, &c.; one day the army marched but a mile and an half; added to this, there was so small a stock of provisions on hand, that,
210had the army moved on, they must have eaten their fingers; that the men were frequently at half allowance, and the quarter master was sent back to hurry it; that the army was obliged to wait frequently for provisions, at Fort Jefferson two days. That the general, in his opinion, always shewed a zeal to accomplish the objects of the expedition; that, in his opinion, the works at the different forts could not have been built with greater expedition than they were on general St. Clair's march. Even the officers shewed a pride in working with the men, in order to expedite the work; that major Ferguson frequently complained of the want of almost every kind of intrenching tools, particularly axes, and frequently there was only one axe to three men, so that, consequently, two must look on and only work by turns.
Question by general St. Clair. — It was suggested to the committee last spring, that the discontents which prevailed amongst the officers, were occasioned by a haughty, supercilious treatment of them by me, and particularly to general Butler: did you ever see any thing of that kind from me to any officer?
Answer. — I never heard of any supercilious or improper conduct or behaviour of the general to general Butler until after, on my way to Philadelphia, when I
211was greatly surprised to hear it; as I was, during my continuance with the army, frequently at head quarters, and saw the behaviour of general St. Clair to general Butler and the officers of the army.
He joined the army about eighteen miles from Fort Hamilton in its advance; tolerably good rifles and some muskets; commanded the outermost post in the morning of the attack; they usually paraded by tap of drum. About day discovered a packhorse-man running and about thirty Indians after him; advanced his guard to meet them; but perceiving their number, halted; two or three guns fired on my centinels; rallied eleven or twelve militia, and joined captain Pike's company; saw about twenty Indians pursuing the flying militia, and there appeared, from the yell, to be a great number, suppose three hundred. Heard the yell in the quarter where captain Simmons was stationed; appeared from the yell to be a great number; saw the commander in chief riding, I think, in the right wing; saw him again in the retreat near the rear; passed him in the retreat; supposes that not more than from sixteen to twenty Indians followed in the retreat; had no reason to suppose the enemy were in numbers about the camp the night preceding the action. With respect to captain Slough:
212after the second firing, captain Slough came to me and told me he was sent out to waylay a party of Indians, whom he supposed were endeavouring to steal horses; he did not say by whose orders he was sent out; that he went with him about fifty yards and shewed him the path, and then turned; saw him not again till after the action; did not expect an attack, by his not returning to me. The militia about two hundred and seventy; many of them old, and by no means woods-men; never heard of want of harmony in the army.
Question by general St. Clair. — Do you know where colonel Oldham was killed?
Answer. — I saw a person who was killed in the regular encampment, lying on the ground, whom I took to be colonel Oldham.
Question. — Did you see major Brown in action?
Answer. — I did, several times, passing backwards and forwards and trying to rally men, after I got into the encampment.
Question. — Was major Brown in the militia camp at the time it was attacked?
213Answer. — I do not know of my own knowledge, but heard that neither he nor colonel Oldham were in the militia camp,
Question. — Were not such of the rifles, belonging to the militia of Kentucky, as were out of order, repaired at Fort Washington?
Answer. — They were.
Question by the committee. — Do you think that the party of Indians that attacked you, could have got round the camp?
Answer. — I do not. I suppose that to have been a party lying all night on the back of the camp.
Question. — Did you hear any complaint of the powder during the campaign?
Answer. — I did. The powder was very bad; I fired at a tree several times and hit but seldom; it would not force the ball.
He arrived at Fort Pitt about the twelfth of May, and left it in July, about the last of it. He was detached
214to Fort Franklin; arrived at Fort Washington the first of September; muskets good; but clothing for the company indifferent; the troops sometimes badly supplied with provisions on the march, not sufficient in quantity though good in quality; as to flour, half a pound, and a pound and a half of beef; began to march early on the third of November, and marched till we arrived within about a mile and a half of the ground on which we did afterwards encamp. We remained there some time, and were ordered to march; we went on and encamped near the bank of the St. Mary's, or a branch of it, as we supposed; our line, the left of the right wing, encamped about one hundred or one hundred and fifty yards from the bank of the river; dark before we got our tents pitched and fires kindled. While I was busily pitching my tent, colonel Gibson came up with a racoon in his hand, and told me if I would come to his tent he would shew me how to dress a racoon Indian fashion; I went to his tent and sat down, and we were shortly after joined by captain Butler; he observed that he thought if a party was sent out they might have an opportunity of catching some of the rascals who might attempt to steal horses; I told him that I should like to command such a party; he sate some time and then left us; colonel Gibson, doctor M'Croskey, and lieutenant Kelso were present at this conversation; they were also present when captain Butler on his return and brigade
215major Morgan came there. One of them asked me if I would take the command of such a party; I told him I would, provided they would give me good men; capt. Butler told me I should have volunteers, and desired me to get ready and go to general Butler's tent. Butler went to the right wing of the army, Gibson's regiment, and mentioned it, and twenty-three or twenty-four, almost all serjeants, joined me; in the mean time I went to my tent to prepare, and then went to general Butler's tent, and found a number of men collected about the fire of the tent. General Butler asked me to walk into the tent, and ordered some wine. Mr. Denny, aid-de-camp to general St. Clair, was there also. General Butler then told me I ought to be very cautious in going out; either he or the brigade major gave me the countersign; he directed me to call on colonel Oldham in my way out, and inform him where I was going. I called at colonel Oldham's tent; he was lying down with his clothes on, who, after I informed him, requested me not to go, as he was sure my party would be cut off, for, says he, I expect the army will be attacked in the morning; I replied, that as I had received my orders I must go. He then directed me to the officer who commanded his picquet guard, with whom I fixed on a watch-word, and desired him to communicate it to his centinels, lest I might be fired upon in the dark. After passing the militia centinels, I proceeded
216about a mile up the path, for I had been directed to go one, two or three miles up the path, and when I came to a convenient piece of ground, to dispose of the men in the best manner so as to intercept the Indians who came that way. About one mile from camp I halted, divided my men into two parties, about thirty or forty yards apart on each side of the path, and ordered lieutenant Cummings and ensign M'Michael to take command of the party on the right of the path, and I took charge of the party to the left; ordered them all to lie close down to the ground. We had not been long in this situation, before six or seven Indians came along to my left, about fifteen yards from where I lay; we fired on them seven or eight guns, and, I believe, killed one; the Indians ran immediately. I ordered the men to load their pieces, and lie down without budging from the place. In about a quarter of an hour a large party of Indians came along in the same direction and about the same distance; after they had passed me they stopped and coughed, and I suppose were trying to find me out; they then proceeded on towards camp: I thought they meant to waylay me. While I was in this situation another party, nearly the same number, passed to the right of Cummings; Cummings then came up to me and asked me if I had seen that party, and he thought they were going to waylay us, saying it was a very large party, and that it would be prudent to
216about a mile up the path, for I had been directed to go one, two or three miles up the path, and when I came to a convenient piece of ground, to dispose of the men in the best manner so as to intercept the Indians who came that way. About one mile from camp I halted, divided my men into two parties, about thirty or forty yards apart on each side of the path, and ordered lieutenant Cummings and ensign M'Michael to take command of the party on the right of the path, and I took charge of the party to the left; ordered them all to lie close down to the ground. We had not been long in this situation, before six or seven Indians came along to my left, about fifteen yards from where I lay; we fired on them seven or eight guns, and, I believe, killed one; the Indians ran immediately. I ordered the men to load their pieces, and lie down without budging from the place. In about a quarter of an hour a large party of Indians came along in the same direction and about the same distance; after they had passed me they stopped and coughed, and I suppose were trying to find me out; they then proceeded on towards camp: I thought they meant to waylay me. While I was in this situation another party, nearly the same number, passed to the right of Cummings; Cummings then came up to me and asked me if I had seen that party, and he thought they were going to waylay us, saying it was a very large party, and that it would be prudent to
217return to camp. George Adams, who had gone out with us as my guide, came up by this time, and said he thought it would be prudent for us to return; and as I found the men uneasy, I ordered them to fall into the path in Indian file and return to camp, and if they were attacked, to defend themselves with the bayonet altogether and not fire their pieces; every fifteen or twenty yards we heard something moving in the woods on both sides of the path, but could not see what it was; we pushed on and gained the militia camp as soon as possible. I halted my party near colonel Oldham's tent, and went into it and awakened him about, I believe, twelve o'clock. Adams was with me when I went out and returned, and heard the conversation. I told colonel Oldham that I was of the same opinion with him that the camp would be attacked in the morning, for I had seen a number of Indians. I was just going to dress myself, says he, and go and inform the commander in chief about it; I will thank you to inform the general that I think the army will be attacked in the morning. I proceeded to camp, and as soon as I had passed the camp guard, dismissed the party and went to general Butler's tent; I saw nobody awake or up but the sentry, and then went to colonel Gibson's tent as soon as possible; I awakened colonel Gibson and doctor M'Croskey and told them of the discoveries I had made, and asked colonel Gibson to go with
218me to general Butler; he said he was stripped and would not; but as you received your orders from him, go and make your report to him. I then went to general Butler's tent, and as I approached it I saw him come out of the tent and stand by the fire; I went up to him and took him some distance from the fire, not thinking it prudent the sentry should hear what I had seen; I also told him what colonel Oldham had said, and that, if he thought proper, I would go and make the report to general St. Clair. He stood some time, and after a pause, thanked me for my attention and vigilance, and said, as I must be fatigued I had better go and lie down. I went from him and lay down, and never awakened till the firing began on the militia camp; I had taken off none of my clothes, expecting what happened.
Question by general St. Clair. — Did you hear colonel Gibson express an intention to resign?
Answer. — I believe that colonel Gibson was much dissatisfied with the adjutant general. I heard colonel Gibson, at a creek about seven miles from Fort Jefferson, say that we ought not to proceed much further, as the times of the inlistments of the men were nearly expired, and that if we did proceed we must suffer; I never heard him complain of any supercilious conduct
219of the general; colonel Gibson was, I believe, very much dissatisfied at the decision of the board of officers, who gave rank to colonel Darke; saw colonel Oldham in the rear of the flying militia, calling them cowardly rascals, and ordering them to stop; the last time I saw him he was with major Ferguson with the artillery; suppose he fell early in the action near that place. The clothing delivered to my company was extremely bad; I expressed my dissatisfaction at it when I received it; major Ferguson told me he had complained of it to general Knox, previously to its being sent from Philadelphia; and Knox replied that it must go on — it was a case of necessity. Shoes, hats, and coats, extremely bad; shirts small.
Colonel Semple, sworn.
He was quarter master to colonel T. Butler's battalion; went down with colonel Gibson's detachment; sent the clothing from Carlisle, twentieth July, to Pittsburgh; went with major Butler on the twenty-seventh; some of the clothing tolerably good, the other bad — arrived at Pittsburgh second of August, and left it on the twelfth; employed in finishing boats in the mean time; knows of no other causes, than the boats not being ready, for the detention at Pittsburgh; the river very low, a boat struck on the thirteenth and nearly
220lost; great difficulties in getting down the river for want of a sufficiency of water; horses taken out and travelled by land to the great Kenhawa. The quarter master general did not go down with the detachment; great deficiencies of provisions for want of a sufficient number of packhorses by the contractors to transport them. General Butler fell about the middle or nearly the left of his brother's battalion, about an hour after the charge made by that battalion; carried him, after he fell, back to the battalion, to be dressed by the surgeon. Knows of captain Slough's going out with a reconnoitring party the evening before the action; his party formed from captain Butler's company principally; never heard of the Indians surrounding us till we were attacked next day; heard colonel Oldham, the night before, mention that he had discovered fresh Indian tracks in the creek, and the tracks of horses, as if the Indians had been viewing us — he said also, that he thought it probable we should be attacked. Just after the taps of the drums, on the morning of the fourth, I heard major Butler interrogating Adams about the success of the enterprise of captain Slough the preceding night: Adams replied that they had seen a num- of Indians — that he (Adams) had shot at, and he believed had killed one, and wished a party to go out with him and endeavour to find the Indian. Major Butler seemed displeased that they had taken no
221prisoners; about this time the firing began, the attack having been made on the militia; I observed major Ferguson preparing to fire his cannon on the Indians who were pursuing the flying militia, and soon saw him fire, which put them in great confusion, but they were soon rallied by their leader on horseback, dressed in a red coat. In the course of the engagement general ST. CLAIR and general Butler were continually up and down the lines; as one went up one line the other went down the other.
Question by general St. Clair. — Did you see Mr. Morgan with general Butler when he fell, or at any other time in the course of the action.
Answer. — The first time I saw general Butler after he fell, I saw only four soldiers with him putting him into a blanket; I did not see Mr. Morgan with general Butler after he fell; I saw general Butler frequently in the course of the action, and never saw Mr. Morgan with him at any time during the same.
He acted as an aid-de-camp to general ST. CLAIR; joined the army at Fort Washington the first of August. There were but few troops at Fort Washington when I arrived; the greatest part were at the camp
222on the great Miami: those who were at Fort Washington were employed in repairing arms; there were every day parties of militia sent out on scouting parties to reconnoitre and gain intelligence. He was in the action, and sent with orders for a party to cover the left flank of the army, but could not find the officer, and was wounded in executing the order. He professes himself unable to judge of the conduct of the general; but conceives that he was cool, deliberate, and calm, and gave his orders to the adjutant general in different parts of the camp, encouraging the men; saw him in the centre of the camp threatening the men who would not turn out and endeavour to repel the enemy; that he saw him draw his pistol and threaten one man particularly with death. He knows of several of the horses that were turned out the night before; one was killed under him; another under his servant, and another that the general had. He knows that the general remained in the rear, and made every exertion to obtain a party to cover the retreat; saw general Butler about an hour after the commencement of the action. General ST. CLAIR asked me several times if I had seen general Butler, and was surprised that he had not met with him.
Question by general St. Clair. — Do you know any thing of discontents prevailing amongst the officers?
Answer. — I do not.
Question. — Do you know of any supercilious conduct of the general?
Answer. — I do not; the officers frequently coming to the general's tent of an evening.
Question. — Do you recollect on the morning that the desertion of the militia was heard of, that colonel Oldham and some others were at breakfast with the general?
Answer. — I do, and that he went to the militia camp and prevented others from deserting. The first regiment could not immediately pursue them because there was no beef killed; they marched in the evening. The militia who deserted complained of the insufficiency of rations, and said they would plunder the convoy of provisions that was on the way; indeed they complained generally of the insufficiency of the rations.
He joined the army at Fort Hamilton. On the march the light horse were by general orders on the flanks of the army, and also two companies of militia on their flanks.
There was, on the day of the action, a party of horsemen employed as scouts, who had been sent out some days before, and did not return till two days after the action. Faulkner's company, (riflemen) were generally out in advance of the army and frequently did not return till late at night. The militia had orders to send out parties after the army halted, to patrole. Was in the action; saw the general frequently give orders to colonels Darke and Gibson, and to the adjutant general. The general appeared to be perfectly cool and collected in the action. Some time after the commencement, the general asked him if he knew how long it had lasted, there being a cessation of the firing; he seemed pleased in the idea of repelling the savages and keeping the ground. This cessation, deponent supposes, must have been produced by a charge of our troops. Left the field with the general; does not know of any orders from the general to colonel Clarke to cover the retreat; he knows that it was impossible any such orders could have been executed; came off the field in the front, but soon fell into the rear; believes that if the general and some few others had not opened the way the men would never have followed. In this charge the corps were mixed promiscuously with each other, and moved in one body. As soon as the Indians discovered the intention of the charge and the army retreating, they began firing.
Question by general St. Clair. — Were you not sent on by me to stop the troops?
Answer. — I was, and caused them to stop for two minutes, requested Mr. Morgan, captain Suydam and others, to get some of the stoutest men to stop up the road, to prevent them going off in confusion. After this the men got into compact order. I remember you rode up to a body of men under the command of major Stephenson, which seemed well formed, but do not know the precise orders you gave to major Stephenson. I also recollect that yourself and colonel Gibson collected a body of men and retook a part of our encampment that the Indians had taken possession of. The picquets were advanced half a mile or a mile, according to the nature of the ground; camp-guards, about one hundred yards. Colonel Oldham had orders to furnish daily two companies of riflemen to act as flankers to the army, and also to send out scouts.
Question. — What did you think of the firing in the night before the action?
Answer. — I was in company with general Butler and colonel Gibson, and we all, when we heard the firing, supposed it to be from our own centries on Indians attempting
226to steal horses; we had no idea of any number of Indians being in the neighbourhood.
Early in the night captain Butler came to the adjutant general and requested that he might take out a party and endeavour to waylay the Indians who might be stealing horses. He afterwards declined it, saying it would not be proper for him to leave camp, but that he would send out a party fit for the purpose; shortly afterwards I was at general Butler's tent, and the party was paraded, and captain Slough, I found, was the officer pitched upon; he came up to general Butler's tent, and had some conversation with him and colonel Gibson: whether it was to ask advice or receive orders I know not. Dr. Brown, I think, was present at the same time. I remember major Ferguson being with the general the evening before the action, and that there was a plan laid for throwing up some works.
Question. — Did you hear any thing of a want of harmony amongst the officers?
Answer. — I knew that the officers were generally averse to the adjutant general, as he was rather too severe a disciplinarian for young troops and young
227officers; several of the officers did not so frequently visit head quarters after colonel Sergeant was appointed. I never heard of any dissatisfaction expressed towards general ST. CLAIR; colonels Gibson, Darke, and general Butler, were frequently at the general's tent. I never knew of any haughty or improper behaviour of the general towards general Butler, or any other officer; quite the contrary. I never heard it insinuated, that any proposition of general Butler's had been treated improperly or with contempt by general ST. CLAIR, and I was present when general Butler apologized for having altered the order of march.
After the army had halted of an evening, it was a standing order, that one half the men that were not on duty, should go out and procure grass for the horses.
The reason of moving to Ludlow's station, I conceive to have been to train the men, and to procure food for the horses.
The wounded men, who were not able to march with the army, were ordered to remain at Fort Jefferson.
Question by general St. Clair. — When we met the convoy the day after we left Fort Jefferson, do you recollect what passed?
Answer. — After taking a small portion, a captain and sixty men were added to the escort, and ordered to proceed to Fort Jefferson, with orders to supply any who might be met with on the way; the cause of the army's halting, was for want of provisions; the public as well as the contractor's horses were despatched back from Fort Jefferson; and most of the stores deposited there.
Question by the committee. — Can you assign any reason for the detention of the army at Fort Pitt?
Answer. — I had orders from general Butler to march four or five days before I did march; I applied to the issuing commissary (Nevil) for provisions; he answered that he had neither provisions nor money to purchase them.
Question. — Was there not a considerable number of troops at Fort Pitt at that time?
Answer. — The companies of captains Pike, Slough, Powers, Vansweringen, Brock, and my own company; captains Brock and Vansweringen, were to have gone with me, and were detained for want of provisions.
It will be readily perceived that those extracts do not exhibit the depositions of the witnesses in the shape in which they were delivered. They seem to be merely memoranda of the prominent parts of them, taken down unconnectedly, and probably in the words of the witnesses, by the chairman of the committee, that they might be had in remembrance when they were about forming their report. The depositions were not committed to writing at large.
I had failed in obtaining payment of the balance due to me from the public, on account of the advances I had made towards raising the permanent army, and also in my application to the house of representatives, to order the publication of the foregoing papers from their files, it was suggested to me by some of my friends in that house, that it would be better for me to abandon the prosecution of that balance, and accept of an annuity, which they thought might be procured, and made to grow out of the last application, without a new one formally for the purpose. Though I could not see how that could be managed, I could have no objection, provided it was such an allowance as I ought to accept; and, in order to induce the house to some liberality in the grant, I threw together the following account of some of my transactions in the public service, and addressed it to the honourable Mr.
232Giles, with a request that he would have the goodness to communicate it to any of the members he might think proper, which he obligingly did. The proposition was handsomely advocated in the senate, and a bill passed for the purpose, in which, though the allowance was far short of what I had contemplated, I should have thankfully received: "my necessities, but not my will consented;" but it was entirely rejected in the other house, notwithstanding the support it met with from some of the most distinguished members. That statement is now added, although it was never intended to be made public; and that I am very sensible there are few occasions in which a person can, with propriety, speak of himself; but when his reputation is publicly attacked, especially in the great council of the nation, the vindication of it becomes a duty, and he may even pretend to some little merit. The treatment I met with in that house has forced it from me, and will, I hope, procure me pardon from the public for thus obtruding it upon them.
My first connexion with the United States began in the year 1775. Congress had appointed commissioners to repair to Fort Pitt to treat with the Indians, and induce them to a neutrality during our contest with Great Britain. These were, the late judge Wilson, of Pennsylvania, general Lewis Morris, of New-York, and doctor Walker, of Virginia. The two first were
233members of that body and my particular friends. On their way to the rendezvous they called upon me, and requested that I would accompany them and act as their secretary during the negociation
234that brought me into the view of congress; and without any application on my part, or indeed any intention to apply, and without being consulted about it, some time in December of that year, I received a letter from Mr. Hancock, then president of congress, inclosing a commission as colonel, and pressing me strongly to repair immediately to Philadelphia. Although I had a young wife I loved very much, and five small children equally dear to me, and held six offices in Pennsylvania, all of them lucrative, viz. clerk of the court of general quarter sessions, prothonotary of the court of common pleas, clerk of the orphan's court, judge of probate, register of wills, recorder of deeds, and surveyor of the largest county in the province, I did not hesitate, for I held that no man had a right to refuse his services when his country called for them. I resigned them all; proceeded forthwith to Philadelphia, and on the twenty-second day of January, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six, received instructions to raise a regiment to serve in Canada, where, it was known to many of the members, I had served in one thousand seven hundred and fifty-nine and sixty, and in six weeks the regiment was completed, not a single man wanting: and, on the twelfth of March it left Philadelphia, fully equipped, and I had six companies of it in the vicinity of Quebec on the eleventh of May, just in time to cover the retreat of the army
235from that place, and the other four companies at Sorrel, on the St. Lawrence.
In the month of July, after the arrival of general Burgoyne at Quebec was ascertained, I suggested to general Thomson, who commanded at Sorrel, the practicability of retarding at least, if not preventing entirely the British transports from passing up the river by taking post at the village of Trois Rivieres, from which place I had seen, in the former war, a division of them very much injured and obliged to fall back, and proposed to gain possession of it with six hundred men. He agreed to it, and on the third day of that month I marched from the camp at Sorrel to the village of Nicolette, which is opposite to the lower end of the lake St. Pierre on the south side, from whence it was intended to cross the St. Lawrence, and the boats that were necessary for that purpose were ordered to join me there, in the night. To amuse the people of the village, and to cover the design of any ulterior movement, some field works were traced immmediately on our arrival, and we began to break ground as if the design had been to take post there. A few hours after my departure from Sorrel, general Sullivan arrived there, and being an officer of higher rank than Thomson, of course took the command, and instantly detached him with two or three regiments to join me at Nicolette,
236which he did that night, and took the command. We wrought assiduously all the next day on the redoubts, as though we had been really in earnest to establish ourselves, and in the succeeding night crossed the lake without any accident, landing about two hours before day. While halting at the point of the lake to refresh the men, a report was somehow spread amongst them that the British had a post about three miles from us, at a white house on the main road to the village, and it soon reached the general's ear. It had been the intention not to pursue the main road, but to strike off from it into another that lay nearly parallel, but at some distance from the river, and the point of separation was between us and the white house. General Thomson, on hearing that the British were in his neighbourhood, instantly put the detachment in motion to surprise them; but, when we reached the house there were no troops there, nor had any been there; the place, however, where the roads separated had been passed, and we were full two miles advanced of it; the guide, a very intelligent man, in whom I had full confidence, thought we might gain the intended road by marching across the forest in less time than must necessarily be spent in marching back to the place first proposed, but without any path; it was accordingly attempted, but a considerable time was spent without reaching it, and the general became suspicious that the guide was
237misleading him, and impatient of the delay, and the sun being near the rising, he ordered the troops back on their tract to the main road they had quitted, where they were soon discovered and fired upon from an advanced guard boat. The colours were then displayed and the drums ordered to beat, and he resolved attempting that by open force, which had been intended to be done by surprise. The detachment marched but a short distance, before an armed vessel, posted lower down the river, opened her fire and annoyed it a good deal, which induced the officer who led the front division to strike off into a road that presented itself, leading obliquely from the river, and that seemed as if it would fall into the same road, after crossing what appeared to be a small wood, which would, in the mean time, cover the men from the fire of the vessel. It led us indeed into the wood, which was far from being a small one as had been supposed, and was crossed with the utmost labour and difficulty, being a morass, the whole way through it, full three miles over; knee deep nearly at every step, and intersected by a small rivulet which had to be crossed many times, and took the men to their breasts. It opened at last upon a cultivated plain at no great distance from the village, but beyond it. Here we saw the transports were arrived, and the troops busily debarking, and a considerable body, with some pieces of artillery, coming to meet us; and the advance
238of the two corps were soon engaged; but the party was not equal; and ours was obliged to give way, and we were soon forced to trace back our steps through the same dismal swamp by which we had advanced, in which general Thomson and colonel Irvine lost both themselves and the party, and, with several others, fell into the hands of the enemy. The command thus devolving upon me, I had to direct the detachment back to the landing place, where I found a large party of the enemy had got before us, and were formed in good order on a rising ground above the point of the lake, and that the officer who had been left there with the boats, had retired on their appearance. There seemed nothing left for us but to lay down our arms, and very little time to consult upon what was most proper to be done, and the troops, as may well be imagined, in very great disorder; but, as I knew the country, there seemed to me yet one way, and but one way to escape that misfortune and disgrace; they were therefore hastily formed as with the design to attack, and making a movement to the right, which threw a point of woods between them and the enemy, they were ordered to enter it in a certain direction, and by pursuing it a little way they would fall upon a road which led to the Accadien village, along which road they were instructed to make the best of their way until they had crossed the Riviere de Loups, beyond which I thought it improbable they
239would be pursued, the ford being difficult, and the ground on the farther side favourable to check the pursuit, should they attempt it, and I gave them a route through that village (where they would be able to get some sustenance) to Berthier, nearly opposite to the camp at Sorrel: a considerable distance was gained before the enemy discovered that they were gone, when they made a very general but harmless discharge of musketry, and did not attempt to follow them. For myself, having been severely wounded by a snag running quite through one of my feet, in returning through the swamp, I could not go with them, and was obliged to submit to the chance of being a prisoner, with three or four officers who were exhausted by fatigue; these I led a small distance up a rivulet that falls into the river at the point of the lake, and finding a large tree blown up from the roots, we all sat down in the cavity it had made, trusting to the concealment it seemed to promise; and it did not disappoint us, and in a few days we got back to our post at Sorrel.
The camp at Sorrel, with a view to defence, had been very ill chosen: it was placed in a low ground lying along the St. Lawrence from the mouth of the Sorrel downwards, and no otherwise fortified than by a four gun battery in front, on the edge of an extensive beach of
240moveable sand, of which, every high wind took up great quantities, and so filled the embrasures of the battery, that the cannon had to be dug out very frequently; the left flank was perfectly secured by the Sorrel, but on the right flank there was nothing but a sort of abattie formed of very tall aspine saplings, the only kind of wood that grew in the low ground, set upon end, of considerable breadth, and which effectually hid every thing below it, and would have covered completely the approach of an enemy, and nothing more would have been requisite to drive every man out of the camp, than to set fire to the abattie with a favourable wind; in the rear was a high ground, running from the village of Sorrel quite round to the river St. Francis, a distance of about eight miles. I had often remarked to general Sullivan the danger of the situation, and the ease with which the enemy could pass a body of troops into our rear by that river (St. Francis, a good boatable stream, which nearly encircled us) and cut off our communication with the posts above us, and with Lake Champlain, and pressed him to change it and occupy the high ground. He did not think it necessary; but after we had seen a very heavy column of the enemy pass by us on the opposite side of St. Lawrence, on their way to Montreal, there was no longer time to trifle with our situation. All the boats were in the Sorrel below the rapids of Chambly; it seemed certain that the enemy would lose no time at
241Montreal, but push a strong corps immediately across to St. John's, a distance of twenty-five miles only; seize that post (which was garrisoned with only a serjeant and twelve men) and Chambly, at the head of the rapid, and it would be no longer possible to get out of the country; and any attempt to repossess them would be fruitless, as the measles had gone through the whole army, except the Pennsylvania regiments, which were detached with colonel Wayne, to the village of La Prairie, opposite to Montreal; and much the greatest part of the men not yet recovered. I, therefore, with all the field officers, waited upon the general, and requested him to change his position, warning him at the same time that, should he persist in continuing to occupy his present ground, and any ill consequences should follow, (and which must inevitably follow if he was attacked there) that he alone must answer for it. After reflecting for some time, he replied he believed we were right, and he would immediately order the boats to be got above the rapids; a very difficult business, for the rapid was more than a mile in length, very deep, and a current like that of a mill sluice; but for the general's own personal exertions and directions, for he perfectly understood it, it would not have been accomplished. While thus employed, colonel Wayne, who had been obliged to abandon La Prairie, joined us at Chambly, and the whole moved to St. John's, to
242which place the boats were sent, and from which we proceeded the next day to the Isle au Noix in Lake Champlain, and so critical was the movement, that before the last of the boats were out of the reach of musketry, the enemy entered the fort.
In the fall of this year, I was ordered by congress to leave the northern department and join general Washington in New Jersey, and did join him as he was retreating through that province, and continued with him all that winter, and had my full share in the business at Trenton, which gave the first turn to our affairs.
On the second crossing to that place, when lord Cornwallis met us, and an action the next morning seemed unavoidable, notwithstanding the army was in a very unfavourable position, the general summoned a council of the general officers at my quarters, and after stating the difficulties in his way; the probability of defeat, and the consequences that would necessarily result if it happened, desired advice. I had the good fortune to suggest the idea of turning the left of the enemy in the night; gaining a march upon him, and proceeding with all possible expedition to Brunswick. General Mercer immediately fell in with it, and very forcibly pointed out both its practicability, and the
243advantages that would necessarily result from it, and general Washington highly approved it; nor was there one dissenting voice in the council, except as to some of the details, of little moment, and I was instantly sent to prepare for its execution; the consequences are well known. But after we had reached Princeton, and the little force there had been dispersed, a new difficulty arose; the enemy were coming on rapidly, and our rear guard, about two miles off, was warmly engaged with their advance, and the general was missing: he had joined in the pursuit of a flying part of Manhood's corps and followed it too far, and whether he was killed or taken prisoner was not known, and the very doubt of either of them having happened, occasioned the greatest consternation, when he happily appeared to dispel it. But, what was now to be done? The design of proceeding to Brunswick was necessarily abandoned; it was eighteen miles distant, and the troops were very much fatigued, and, as the principal deposite of the enemy's military stores was at that place, they had certainly not been left unguarded; resistance was therefore to be expected, which would require some time to overcome, and a superior army was close upon us. No one general officer, except myself, knew any thing of the upper country, and the knowledge that I had of it was slight indeed, and gained by pure accident. In passing to the northward in the beginning of the
244campaign, my route lay through Morris Town, at the time when a large party of the enemy were foraging the lower country, and had advanced as far up as Springfield, at the foot of the range of mountains, known by the name of the Short Hills, where general Williamson was opposing them with the militia. I set off on the instant to join him, but before I reached him, the enemy had retired; but I had thereby an opportunity to see some part of those hills which were afterwards of as great use to general Washington, and from which sir William Howe never could decoy him, and dared not to attempt to drive him. I mentioned them to him, and Morris Town and its vicinity as a place where the army could be cantoned. He quickly decided, and the army had orders to take the route towards that place, and I was left with a rear guard to destroy the bridges, the last of which was barely effected when the enemy appeared and fired upon us.
The next year I was sent to the northward again, to take the command under general Schuyler at Ticonderoga, for the defence of which, I had about two thousand men and boys half armed, and ill equipped in every way, notwithstanding that general Gates had the year before, demanded ten thousand regular troops, and so many of the militia as he might think proper to call for, for which he had unlimited authority. Had
245every man I had, been disposed in single file on the different works and along the lines of defence, they would have been scarcely within the reach of each other's voices; but congress had been persuaded that the enemy would make no attempt in that quarter, and such a number of men only, as were judged to be sufficient for completing the works that had been projected, were assigned to me. Those two thousand I found arranged into many regiments, with their full complement of officers and three brigadiers: these, by the evacuation (so much censured at the time, and since as much approved) were saved to their country, and formed the nerve of that army which fought general Burgoyne and forced him to surrender, and without which, that army could not have been formed. That great consequences were foreseen from that measure, is evident, from my letter to congress on the occasion,
Although I was, for a considerable time, suspended from command, I never left general Washington nor the army, and before the battle of Brandywine, I suggested to him a measure similar to that so happily executed at Trenton, and would have been attended with similar effects. It had before occurred to himself (who rarely indeed missed sbserving any advantage that could be taken of the enemy) and he then shewed me
246general Greene's division in motion to put it into execution, and desired me to attend him to general Armstrong's quarters (about two miles from Chad's ford, where the body of the army was posted) who, with the Pennsylvania militia, which he commanded, was to have had a share in it; but the Pennsylvania militia were not in readiness, and he was obliged to abandon the project. It was this: while sir William Howe was ascending the Brandywine to cross it near Birmingham church, general Knyphausen had been left with a strong corps in front of our army at Chad's ford, clearly to keep it in check, until sir William had made good his passage above; to carry or disperse that corps was the object. Greene's division was to descend the river to general Armstrong's quarters, and that movement would be concealed from Knyphausen by the thick woods on the river's bank, and being joined by his division, cross the river there, and fall in the rear of Knyphausen, while the general, with the corps at Chad's ford, should cross at that place and attack him in front, which would infalliby oblige sir William to retrace his steps: for the loss of that corps he could not bear, and it was certain he would run every risk to prevent it.
In the action at Germantown I was not. After the retreat of sir William Howe from White Marsh, the
247campaign was supposed to be over, and I obtained permission to visit my family, and I was attending congress when the action at Monmouth took place.
Upon sir Henry Clinton's moving to Rhode Island with a large portion of the troops at New York, the general intended to attack that place while they were absent, and on that occasion offered to me, in a private letter which I still preserve, the command of the light infantry of the army, usually under the orders of the marquis de la Fayette (who at that time was absent) to which was to be added some chosen corps. It was most joyfully accepted, nor could he have contrived to have done me a more grateful favour, nor in a more gracious manner. The sudden return of sir Henry prevented the attempt, and the marquis soon after returned to his command.
When the army marched to the southward, I was left in Pennsylvania to organize and forward the troops of that state, and bring up the recruits, about three hundred men, that had been raised there; and the command of the American army was kept open for me, the general intending to take upon himself, formally, the command of the allied army, which hitherto he had only done actually. After having sent off the greatest part of that line, under the command of general Wayne,
248and on the point of following them, congress became alarmed that some attempt on Philadelphia would be made from New York, in order to divert general Washington from his purpose against lord Cornwallis; and they ordered me to remain with the few troops I had left, to which it was purposed to add a large body of militia, and to form a camp on the Delaware: of this I immediately apprised general Washington, who had written to me, very pressingly, to hasten on the reinforcements from that state; informing me of the need he had of them, and, as he was pleased to say, of my services also. He wrote again, on the receipt of my letter, in a manner still more pressing; and I laid that letter before congress, who, after considerable delay and much hesitation, revoked their order, and I was allowed to join the army before York Town, but did not reach it until the business was nearly over, the capitulation having been signed in five or six days after my arrival. From thence I was sent with six regiments and ten pieces of artillery, to the aid of general Greene in South Carolina, with orders to sweep, in my way, all the British posts in North Carolina; but they did not give me trouble, for, on my taking a direction towards Wilmington, they abandoned that place and every other post they had in that country, and left me at liberty to pursue the march by the best and most direct route; and on the twenty-seventh of December, I
249joined general Greene near Jacksonsburgh, and seeing no probability of active operations, and certain that the war was nearly over, early in the summer I returned to my family.
In the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six I entered into the public service in civil life, and was a member of congress, and president of that body when it was determined to erect a government in the country to the west, that had been ceded by Virginia to the United States, and in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight the office of governor was, in a great measure, forced upon me. The losses I had sustained in the revolutionary war from the depreciation of the money and other causes, had been very great, and my friends saw in this new government means that might be in my power to compensate myself, and to provide handsomely for my numerous family. They did not know how little I was qualified to avail myself of those advantages, had they existed. I had neither taste nor genius for speculation in land; neither did I think it very consistent with the office. But, if it had been otherwise, the high price at which they were set when brought to sale, required so large a sum of money, to secure any considerable quantity, as was altogether out of my reach, had the prospect been ever so flattering. The accepting that office was the most
250imprudent act in my life, (although with prudence in money matters I was never overburthened) for I was then in possession of one of the best offices in Pennsylvania, auctioneer of the city of Philadelphia, which had of course to be resigned. But a new course to my ambition opened upon me, and I am free to confess I was not exempt from that vice, if it be a vice, and that I was attracted by it. Mine was, however a laudable ambition; that of becoming the father of a country, and laying a foundation for the happiness of millions then unborn. How well I succeeded in it is perfectly well known, though the scene was top distant to make much impression on the general government. So long as there were no complaints they were satisfied, and probably made few inquiries. But from my long absence I lost all that influence at home which had been once very considerable, and was ruining myself in the public service abroad, a folly I hope few will be guilty of after me. The government of the United States was introduced, and made palatable to them, amongst a people (acquired by the treaty of peace) who were strangers to their laws, different in their manners, and ignorant of their language, and had strong prejudices against them all. The difficulties arising from these circumstances were overcome, but not without my incurring very heavy expenses; and when the migration from the United States to that country began (and it
251was soon very great) they were much increased; for the people being at liberty to settle where they pleased, their establishments were formed in every part from one end of it to the other, a distance of one thousand miles, in which there were neither roads nor intermediate places of accommodation; notwithstanding which, I was under the necessity of visiting them all very frequently, first to put them in order and provide for the administration of justice amongst them, and afterwards to keep them in order, as from the influx of new settlers they were daily changing, and required a great deal of attention to keep them in habits of obedience to the laws, and to prevent them from degenerating into savages. The fatigues, the danger from wandering parties of Indians, who looked on these establishments with a very evil eye, and the almost constant exposure, night and day, it is not easy to describe; yet any thing by way of compensation was never made to me, and the repayment of my expenses was refused, because they had not been previously authorized by law, which, as they were altogether contingent, it was impossible they should have been. To the establishment of that country, which was by me led up from thirty men (the first American adventurers) to upwards of sixty thousand in about fourteen years, the general government never contributed one cent, except the salary, which was not equal to my travelling expenses for a good many years
252The country that was then under my care, now contains one large state that will send six members to the next congress, and was left by me flourishing and happy, and the civil and military establishments as perfect in every respect as any in the union, and three territorial governments.
When the war had broken out with the Indians, I was appointed to command the troops destined to chastise them after general Harmar had failed in it, and was also unsuccessful, and a committee of the house of representatives was appointed to inquire into the causes of the failure; you, sir, was a member of that committee, and attended to the inquiry with great patience through the whole of it, although it was protracted through two sessions of congress, not indeed, by me, for having nothing either to palliate or to conceal, I was as ready for it the first hour as at the last; and after a very careful investigation, they found nothing in me to blame, but a good deal to approve, and made two reports, both very honourable to my reputation and consolatory to my feelings, and though, so long a time has since elapsed, I doubt not that the particulars are still in your recollection.
In the revolutionary war, when congress brought into their service officers from foreign countries, it was
253usual to compensate them for any pecuniary losses they might thereby sustain at home. General Lee, the baron Steuben, and colonel Hazen, are instances. General Lee received a large sum, the quantum I do not now recollect, in consideration of his British half pay which he resigned; but it was paid to him upon a stipulation. He would not give his services unless the government gave the money. With me there was no stipulation, neither could I be considered as a foreign officer, but it is most probable, that had it not been known that I had seen much service, they would not have called upon me. The sacrifices I made were freely made, and were of more than five times the value of general Lee's half pay; they were not for these reasons the less meritorious, nor less to be depended upon that I had a deeper interest in the issue of the contest. With the baron Steuben, I think, there was no stipulation, but he was amply, and honourably for the country, rewarded for his services, which were indeed very great and most useful. Now, that I am, partly by those very sacrifices in the beginning, partly by the expenses incurred in the north western territory, and partly by an indirect effect of the first embargo,
254affluence to extreme poverty, with a long train of orphan grand children dependent upon me, it will not, I hope, be thought an unreasonable expectation, that some allowance may be made to rescue the little remainder of a life, spent almost wholly in the service of this country, and my descendants from the worst of evils, poverty and the want of education, which I am now unable to give them!
ARTHUR ST. CLAIR.
W. B. Giles.
"Ticonderoga, October 26th, 1776.
"Received of general St. Clair, eighteen hundred dollars, for the recruiting service.
WM. BUTLER, major 2d P. B."
Which paper is hereunto annexed; under which receipt and on the same paper, the following memoranda are made, "gave captain Nelson one hundred and fifty-four dollars for the same purpose; October thirtieth, captain Moore three hundred and sixty-two dollars; November third, Mr. Armstrong seven dollars and ten cents." The committee are satisfied that the petitioner advanced the sum mentioned, for the object and in the manner set forth by the memorialist; that it was applied to the reinlistment for the permanent army by major Butler; that the United States have received the benefit of the sum advanced; that neither the United States or major Butler, have ever paid any part of the said sum to general St. Clair. Of the authenticity of Butler's receipt there can be little doubt. Besides the internal evidence of the original paper, and being on a piece of paper, containing private memoranda, written with the same pen and ink apparently, the certificate of Joseph Howel, jun. assistant commissioner of army accounts, that the claim had been laid before him, sixth November, 1787; and also, that before the death of major Butler, or as early as 1793, the receipt was put in possession of Mr. Ross, an attorney, to bring suit against said Butler. Howel's certificate No. 1. Ross's certificate No. 2. In a transaction of this kind, the committee would not be satisfied of the justice of this claim, upon a proof that the money
258had been advanced for the United States; but would require presumptive satisfactory evidence, that the reimbursement never had been made of this particular sum.
This evidence is furnished by the circumstances of this case, and the documents of the memorial. Although the memorialist has had various settlements with the government of the United States, except the final settlement of his accounts for revolutionary services with Pearce in 1787, he never could with propriety have made the claim, as they were accounts arising for disbursements of monies for specified purposes, and for services and claims arising from considerations long since the American revolution, and with which other claims could not have been blended. In the settlement of his army accounts with Pearce, he might have laid in his claim for the $1800. No positive proof, independent of the positive declarations of the memorialist exists of the exhibition of the claim for settlement at that time. But the certificate of Joseph Howel, the successor of Pearce, establishes two facts, which remove all doubts on this part of the subject; that William Butler, to whom the $1800 had been advanced, had not settled his public accounts, which was the reason why Pearce could not admit this claim as alledged by St. Clair; and secondly, that the $1800
259did not appear upon the books of the office of army accounts in favour of the memorialist; and the want of a settlement of accounts with Butler, seemed a reason why Howel did not take upon himself to settle said claim the sixth of November, 1787; from these two facts, it seems certain that the petitioner, in 1787, made claim to this $1800, which had not been allowed, and that all subsequent settlements and transactions between him and the United States, were of a totally distinct nature, and could not include such a claim as this. Considering the circumstances of this case, the committee do not think the lapse of time a presumptive evidence, that the claim has been paid, having a particular regard to the conduct of general ST. CLAIR; he has not been negligent in making claim either against the United States or William Butler. The presumption is strong that this claim was presented to Pearce for settlement one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven. It is certain it was presented to Howel the sixth of November one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven; that before the death of major Butler, he gave the receipt to Mr. Ross, upon which to bring a suit, about the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three, and after Butler's death applied to his executors; that he presented his petition to reimburse him this money in the year one thousand eight hundred and three; that previous to this time Ross had returned the
260receipt of Butler, upon a belief that an action would not lie against his executors for money advanced for public purposes; and that in one thousand eight hundred and nine, the executrix of William Butler refused to give the petitioner his books, containing his account with the petitioner; that the memorialist never could have presented his claim to any of the officers of the government for liquidation, after the twenty-third of July one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight; (see twelfth volume journals of old congress, seventy-seventh page:) and the statute never was suspended as to this class of claims; the suspension only applied to a prior resolution respecting claims for military services, which were barred after August one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six; (see volume ten, journals, two hundred and fifty-fifth page) and the act suspending the statute of limitations, passed the twenty-seventh of March one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three, only as to claims for personal services; (see volume two, laws, page thirty-one and thirty-two.) A paper purporting to be a statement of accounts between general ST. CLAIR and major Butler in the hand writing of the petitioner, the petitioner has satisfactorily explained how that paper came to be in his own hand writing; but that paper, if evidence in the case, would establish important facts in favour of general ST. CLAIR. It appears by this
261document, that the money was advanced by general ST. CLAIR, and that money applied to the benefit of the United States, and balanced by money expended by major Butler in the recruiting service. So far from these facts absolving the government from the payment of this claim, they make the claim more obligatory upon the United States, as the money was advanced at a most perilous and interesting moment, and gives the claim the most meritorious marks; nor can there be any presumption that this money had been previously paid to general St. Clair by the paymaster general or any of the officers or agents of the government, but the presumption is very strong the other way, that it was not advanced to him by the agents of the United States. First, because he had then received the commission of general, and did not stand in such a relation to major Butler, as to suppose with him the deposite of money was made for the use of major Butler; second, the time and place of making the advance in the north, proves with other facts that major Butler had finished the recruiting service in the formation of his company while captain and in Pennsylvania, and that the recruiting the men to inlist as a permanent part of the army, was the recruiting alluded to; (see general Washington's letter on this subject) referred to by the memorialist. It is believed by the committee that the money advanced to major Butler to recruit his company in Pennsylvania,
262was furnished by the United States, and given to the petitioner while colonel in the United States army and in the state of Pennsylvania; and the account between colonel ST. CLAIR and captain Butler, as to money for recruiting men, in the first instance, ceased with a completion of that employment, which ended after the army left Philadelphia to the north; and in August the twelfth, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six, colonel ST. CLAIR was commissioned brigadier general, and the money advanced to major Butler was in October the twenty sixth, and it is presumed, unless the contrary appears, that general ST. CLAIR'S elevation in rank changed his relations, as it respected the men commanded by major Butler, and that he had nothing to do with the regiment of which Butler was a part, only as it composed a part of his brigade. Independent of these considerations, the existence of the receipt of major Butler, in the possession of the petitioner, furnishes strong and violent presumption that the money mentioned in it has never been paid, either by the government or Butler; if by the government, the foundation of the claim would have been required, and as the receipt was the basis of that claim, it must have been repaid; if Butler had ever satisfied this claim, he certainly would have taken in his receipt. It would be a presumption not warranted by law or reason, to suppose that the petitioner has ever been divested of this paper,
263and that he has in any way whatever come to the improper possession of the receipt again. The fact must be taken as found, that he holds the receipt bona fide, without its having ever been discharged. The committee need not say more, to shew the impropriety of blending this account of one thousand eight hundred dollars, with other accounts between the petitioner and William Butler, or with the United States; the item of one thousand eight hundred dollars, advanced at Ticonderoga, has alone occupied the attention of the committee, and they think it would be improper to blend it with other distinct inquiries, not embraced by the claim. They are satisfied that the petitioner advanced the money; that it was applied to the benefit of the United States; that he has used reasonable diligence to have said claim settled; and that the said sum has never been paid by the United States, or major Butler, to the petitioner; and if it appears upon the treasury books or book of the war office, that general ST. CLAIR is indebted to the United States, it cannot invalidate his claim; in this case, it could only go as an offset for so much. But this inquiry is not before the committee; there is a remedy for the case of public debtors. This claim being barred by the statute, the committee as in other cases feel bound to recommend the following resolution.
Resolved, That the prayer of the petitioner ought not to be granted.
Resolved, that the prayer of the petitioner is reasonable and ought to be granted.
266the convoy was not met with within that distance, it was considered to be in no danger from the deserted militia, as they must have taken a different route; but as the orders were given to him verbally the moment the mutiny and desertion of the militia was announced, they might not have been sufficiently explicit, or might have been misunderstood by him. It is believed they were for him to march twenty miles on that road, or until he met the convoy, in the expectation that it would have been met with in a shorter distance.
267oats that had been sent from Fort Pitt, had all been used long before the army marched, and the pasturage to be found in the woods is soon eaten out by a number of cattle in a body, and a change of place becomes absolutely necessary.
269passport from lord Dorchester: from that circumstance the committee thought it improper that he should be called upon.
It is said, (pages 151 and 152) that, from the precautions which were taken, though the army might be beaten, it could not be surprised; but what those precautions were, though fully and satisfactorily explained to the committee, to whom it was very easy, as they had the plans upon paper before them, they do not appear in the narrative nor in the observations. They were the following. When the army was in march, it was preceded by a small party of riflemen, with the surveyor, to mark the course of the road; for we had no guides, not a single person being found in the country who had ever been through it, and both the geography and topography were utterly unknown; the march was, therefore, made upon a compass-course, conjectural indeed, but which proved to be sufficiently correct, as it brought us into a large path leading to the Miami towns about twenty miles from them; from that party scouts were sent out to scour the country every way; then followed the road cutters with a party to cover them; then the advanced guard, and after them the army in two columns, with one piece of artillery in front, one in the centre, and one in the rear of each. In the space between the two columns, marched the remaining artillery destined for the fort at the Miami towns; then the horses with the tents and provisions, and then the cattle with their proper guard, who were to remove them in case of the enemy appearing.
271Without the columns, at a distance of about one hundred yards, marched the cavalry in file, and without them, at the same distance, a party of riflemen, and scouts without them, then followed the rear guard at a proper distance. When encamped, which was always in order of battle, guards from each battalion were posted from fifty to one hundred yards advanced in front and rear and on each flank, and a chain of sentries from them quite round the encampment. Without them one hundred yards more advanced, were outlying piquets, and another chain of sentries from them; and as soon as the tents were pitched, small parties were sent out in all directions to scour the country round. The columns of march were formed in this manner: the right wing of the first and of the second line marched by the right, the right-hand file advancing straight forward after the piece of artillery; and the succeeding files wheeling to the left on the ground the first file had left, and so on until they were all in one column; and the left wing of each line marched from the left wheeling to the right, as the others had wheeled to the left, until these two wings were also all in column; and to reduce these columns again into the order of battle, on the word or signal to halt and form line of battle, the pieces and the leading files halt, and the whole of the right column march obliquely to the left and place themselves in a line with the pieces and the leading
272files on the right and the pieces in the centre, and the left column at the same time performs the same manoeuvre, only marching obliquely to the right.
It has been observed, that the army came late to their encamping place the evening before the action; in consequence of which, the country around could not be so well examined as usual. The cause of their arriving so late was this: when the army arrived, in proper time, at the place where the quarter master had marked out the encampment, it was such a situation as I could not approve of: a single shower of rain would have put it in such a condition as no man could have kept his feet; a halt was therefore made, until more proper ground, where there was water, could be found; and captain Butler, then acting as Mr. Hodgdon's assistant, was sent forward for that purpose. He returned with the information, that he had gone forward a considerable distance and could find none. I was not satisfied with that report, and despatched another person, Mr. Buntin, with orders to proceed farther than captain Butler had done. After he had been absent some time, I grew very uneasy, and proposed to general Butler that he should go forward with me, that we might see with our own eyes, and we set out forthwith; and in about two miles met Mr. Buntin returning with the information that he had found an excellent situation near a large
273creek, about a mile and a half farther on. We rode on to view it, and being perfectly satisfied with it, orders were sent back to the troops to move on; they had then about four miles to march, which, with the time that had been lost, made it very near night before they got to the ground, and it became impossible to examine the country round so well as it ought to have been done. The troops were, however, under arms the next morning about two hours before day in order of battle, which was the constant practice, and had been just dismissed and few of them even got to their tents, when the attack was made upon the advance of the militia, and they were assembled again in a very few minutes.
|The honourable William Anderson,||Chester, Pennsylvania|
|Mr. Thomas Abrams,||Philadelphia|
|The honourable Stephen Archer,||Belle Air, Maryland|
|Miss Jane Aitken,||Philadelphia|
|Mr. Daniel Adgate,||do.|
|A. Allice||Wilmington, Delaware|
|William Atlec,||Bucks county, Pennsylvania|
|Thomas S. Anners||do.|
|Michael H. Anthony||do.|
|William H. Abbot||do.|
|The hon. Richard Brent||Dumfries, Virginia|
|Abijah Bajelow||Leominster, Massachusetts|
|William Blackledge||New Brunswick, N. Carolina|
|William Butler||Edgefield, S. Carolina|
|Josiah Bartlet||New Hampshire|
|J. A. Bayard||Wilmington, Delaware|
|Mr. James N. Barker||Philadelphia.|
|Israel Bukius||Morgan Town, Virginia|
|J. B. Bespham||do.|
|John R. Batzer||do.|
|Mathew L. Bevan||do.|
|Birch and Small||do.|
|Paul Beck, Junior||do.|
|Mr. John Brown||Philadelphia|
|Charles Biddle, junior,||do.|
|John L. Baker||do.|
|George D. Blevin||do.|
|Craven B. Buding||George Town.|
|The hon. Martin Challenden||Jericho, Vermont|
|Charles Cutts||Portsmouth, New Hampshire|
|Thomas B. Cook||Cattskill, New York|
|Pierre V. Cortland, junior||do|
|Mr. George Clarke||Greencastle, Pennsylvania.|
|Curry and Miller||do|
|Mr. R. A. Caldcleugh||Philadelphia|
|James P. Cox||do|
|Joseph Cooper, junior||do|
|George M. Coates||do|
|John H. Curtis||do|
|William Crawford||George Town, Columbia|
|Richard R. Crawford||do|
|The hon. John||Davenport, junior Connecticut|
|Mr. Roger Davis|
|Mr. Samuel Darch||Philadelphia|
|John A. Doughton||do|
|William J. Duane||do|
|The hon. William Eustice||City of Washington|
|William Edgar, junior||New York|
|Mr. Joshua R. Evans||Philadelphia|
|Samuel W. Emlen||do|
|W. S. Evans||do|
|Thomas L. Evans||do|
|Charles Evans||Rockville, Montgomery county, Md,|
|The hon. William Findley||Westmoreland, Pennsylvania|
|Asa Fitch||Salem, New York|
|Mr. John S. Fisher||Philadelphia|
|Mr. John Fries||Philadelphia|
|James C. Fisher||do|
|Joshua H. Fry||do|
|Joseph H. Flemming||Rising Sun|
|The hon. Chauncey Goodrich||Hartford, Connecticut|
|Nicholas Getman||Exeter, New Hampshire|
|Andrew Gregg||Armsburg, Pennsylvania|
|W. B. Giles||Virginia|
|Thomas Gholson||Brunswick do|
|Thomas R. Gold||New York|
|Mr. Thomas Greeves||Philadelphia|
|Dr. P. J. Glentworth||do|
|Thomas L. Griffith||do|
|Mr. Joseph Grice||do|
|John H. Gartley||do|
|William G. Govett||do|
|Joseph Gray, senior||do|
|Mr. Robert Gray||Philadelphia|
|Joseph Getty, junior||do|
|Robert Gitty Georgetown|
|The hon. Outerbury Horsey||Wilmington, Delaware|
|T. L. Halsey||Providence, Rhode Island|
|Joseph Howland||New York|
|Mr. Ebenezer H. Hillyard||Philadelphia|
|Robert G. Harper||Baltimore|
|Thomas L. Hall||do|
|B. B. Howel||do|
|Charles L. West||do|
|Henry L. Helmuth||do|
|Mr. James Hickman||Philadelphia|
|R. Hutchinson and M. W. Ash||do|
|J. C. Hall||do|
|William Hall, junior||do|
|Joseph P. Horner||do|
|William E. Howel||do|
|John L. Howel||do|
|John E. Hoskins||do|
|John Hay George Town|
|The hon. Richard Jackson||Providence, Rhode Island|
|Mr. Owen Jones||Philadelphia|
|Robert E. Jones||do|
|C. P. Iddington||do|
|Samuel L. Ines||do|
|The hon. Philip B. Key||Maryland|
|Mr. Edmund Kinney||Philadelphia|
|William R. King||do|
|F. Y. Krug||do|
|M. B. Kuhl||do|
|John Kurby Georgetown|
|The hon. Lyman Law New||London, Connecticut|
|Robert le Roy Livingston||New York|
|John Lambert||Amwell, New Jersey|
|Dr. Michael Leib||Philadelphia|
|Mr. Lowndes||South Carolina|
|Joseph Lewis, jun.||Milton, Virginia|
|Mr. William Lawrence||New York|
|Doctor Logan||near Philadelphia|
|Messrs. David and Charles Longstreth||Philadelphia|
|Mr. Thomas M. Longstreth||do|
|Mr. Samuel N. Lewis||Philadelphia|
|John Alford Lane||do|
|J. J. Littleboy||do|
|John R. Latimer||do|
|Thomas Johnson Baltimore|
|The hon. James Munroe||City of Washington|
|Thomas Moore Virginia|
|George C. Maxwell||New Jersey|
|Colonel Alexander Maccomb||City of Washington|
|Richard A. Hill Morris||do.|
|Moore and ————||do.|
|The hon. Samuel M'Kee|
|Jonathan O. Mosely|
|A. M'Bryde||Newbern, North Carolina|
|Mr. George Morris||Philadelphia|
|Allan M'Lane||Wilmington, Delaware|
|Morris and Brothers||do.|
|Benjamin R. Morgan||do.|
|Mr. William Murdoch||Philadelphia|
|John M. Miller||do.|
|Daniel M'Kiowen Georgetown|
|James I. Morsel||do.|
|The hon. Thomas Newbold||New Jersey|
|Mr. Caleb Newbold||Philadelphia|
|J. G. Noyers||do.|
|John D. Nelson||do.|
|John Negus, jun.||do.|
|J. D. Norris||do.|
|Dade P. Noland||Leesburgh, Virginia|
|The hon. Stephen Ormsby||Kentucky|
|Mr. Thomas Orr|
|R. W. Ogden||do.|
|George H. Oat||do.|
|William O'Neale||City of Washington|
|The hon. John Pope||Kentucky|
|Timothy Pilkin||Farmington, Connecticut|
|William Piper||Bedford, Pennsylvania|
|Joseph Pearson||Salisbury, North Carolina|
|Colonel Z. M. Pike||City of Washington|
|Mr. Oliver Pollock||do.|
|Abraham L. Pennock||do.|
|James P. Parke||do.|
|W. B. Poultney||do.|
|Mr. James Pleasants||Philadelphia|
|Daniel Pearson, jun.||do.|
|John W. Peter||do.|
|John M. Price||do.|
|William Platt||Camden, New Jersey|
|The honourable Josiah Quincey||Boston|
|The hon. James Read||Boston|
|Philip Reed||Rochel, Maryland|
|William Reese||Marblehead, Massachusetts|
|H. M. Ridgley||Devon, Delaware|
|Mr. John G. de la Roche||Philadelphia|
|Blath S. Rober||do|
|Doctor B. Rush||do|
|Mr. Richard Roberts||Philadelphia|
|Thomas S. Roberts||do|
|The hon. Philip Stuart||Maryland|
|Richard Standford||North Carolina|
|John Smith||Winchester, Virginia|
|George Smith||Lycoming county, Pennsylvania|
|Mr. J. M. Schenck||Ohio|
|Daniel Sutter, jun.||Philadelphia|
|John S. Smith||do|
|Mr. Richard Smith||Philadelphia|
|Jacob Sutger, jun.||do|
|John Clement Stocker||do|
|Daniel S. Smith||do|
|Joseph W. Sutter||do|
|Thomas F. Stiles||do|
|Samuel Selby, jun.||do|
|Joseph H. Smith||do|
|James S. Skerret||do|
|Amos Stoddart||Washington City|
|The hon. Samuel Taggart|
|C. Tait||City of Washington|
|John Taliaferro||Fredericksburgh, Virginia|
|Charles Turner, jun.||Massachusetts|
|John Tayloe, Esq.||City of Washington|
|Mr. Edward Tiffen||do|
|J. B. Thomson||do|
|George Taylor, jun.||do|
|Charles Thomson, Esq.||do|
|Mr. Robert Vaux||Philadelphia|
|Henry Voight, jun.||do|
|The hon. Leonard White||Morgantown, Virginia|
|Thomas Wilson||do do|
|Mr. Richard Wistar, jun.||Philadelphia|
|Bartholomew W. Wistar||do|
|John H. Warder||do|
|Charles C. Watson||do|
|Thomas G. Willis||do|
|John M. Wallace||do|
|I. G. Wardsmuth||do|
|C. P. Wayne||do|
|Samuel Wheeler, jun.||do|
|John W. Wheelwright||do|
|Mr. Peter York||Philadelphia|
|William Young||Rockland, Delaware|
|Mr. John Zimmerman||Philadelphia|
|The following Names were mispelled in the foregoing list.|
|Mr. Joshua Bartlet||Philadelphia|
|J. B. Bispham||do|
|George D. Blering||do|
|Craven B. Beeding||Georgetown|
|The hon. Martin Chittenden||Jericho, Vermont|
|William Eustis||City of Washington|
|Nicholas Gilman||Exeter, Vermont|
Additional List of Subscribers' Names.
|Francis Johnston, Esq.||Philadelphia|
|John L. Leib||do|
|H. Toland, jun. (six copies)||do|
|N. Pryor, jun.||do|
|John Barker (two copies)||do|
|Lewis R. Brown||do|
|Samuel B. Shaw||do|
|E. S. Sergeant||do|
|William Milnor, jun.||do|
|James S. Smith||do|
|Thomas Bradford, jun.||do|
|B. Newcomb, jun.||do|
|J. C. Kelsey||do|
|Richard Peters, jun.||do|
|J. R. Ingersol||do|
|C. W. Hare||do|
|Samuel H. Jacobs||do|
|Hor. Binney (two copies)||do|
|John C. Lowber||do|
|John B. Wallace||Philadelphia|
|William H. Todd||do|
|Hon. Henry H. Breckenridge|
|James E. Smith||do|
|John Porter, jun.||do|
|John G. Capp||do|
|Joseph M'Clellan||West Chester|
|Jabez Hoopes||West Chester|
|John Duer, jun.||do|
|Isaac D. Barnard||Chester|
|Isaac G. Gilpin||Birmingham|
|John Jacobs||East Whiteland|
|George Entriken||West Bradford|