WAYNE, Anthony (1745-1796), General. Letter signed ("Anty Wayne") as Major General, Continental Army, to "The Lieutenant of the County of Washington," Headquarters, Legionville, Penn., 29 April 1793. 2 pages, folio, paper lightly tanned.
"MAD ANTHONY" RECRUITS "SCOUTS OR SPIES" FOR SERVICE IN THE OHIO VALLEY. In the wake of escalating Indian attacks against settlers and military outposts in the Ohio Valley, culminating in the bloody defeat and rout of a large army commanded by St. Clair (4 November 1791), Washington had appointed Wayne, a distinguished veteran of the Revolution, to take charge of the faltering and disorganized army in the north-west. Wayne, whom the Indians referred to as "the chief that never sleeps" quickly recruited new units and in Fall 1792 began their extended training at Legionville (near Ambridge, Pennsylvania, north of Pittsburg), prior to crossing the Alleghenies and establishing a base of operations at Fort Recovery (in Fall 1793), from which he would move directly, in force, against the Indian confederation. Here, from his camp at Legionville, Wayne invokes "the power and authority vested in me by the President...'to determine the strength and number of the Garrisons upon the upper parts of the Ohio; and the number of scouts or spies that shall be admitted...to the different Counties lying upon the Ohio & the Alleghany [sic] from Fort Franklin to the Falls of the Ohio.'"
"You...will be permitted to call into service such numbers of the most expert hunters or woodsmen, to serve as scouts or patroles in order to alarm the inhabitants on the approach of any danger..." Any scouts or spies so recruited, Wayne notes, will be well paid (five-sixths of a dollar per day) by the War Department, provided they are accurately mustered according to specific directions.
Wayne and Washington must have been painfully aware that the disastrous defeats of General Harmar and St. Clair (not to mention that of Braddock in 1755) were at least in part due to poor or spotty intelligence regarding the Indian's movements, strength and intentions. It was an oversight neither intended to repeat. Wayne spent months training and organizing his "Legion," and after negotiations failed, moved into the Ohio Valley to establish several strong forts. Finally, on Aug. 20, 1794, Wayne's army attacked and soundly defeated the Indians at Fallen Timbers, just south of Toledo. The power of the tribes and British alliance were ended, but it was almost a year before the signing of the Treaty of Greenville on 3 August 1795 which definitively opened the Northwest Territory to settlement.