The Whiskey Insurrection
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Pottsgrove (Pottstown), on the northeast bank of the Schuylkill River, at this time contained about 90 dwellings, "several . . . neat and commodious," and a Quaker meetinghouse (Joseph Scott, The United States Gazetteer: Containing an Authentic Descripton of the Several States. Their Situation, Extent, Boundaries, Soil, Produce, Climate, Population, Trade, and Manufactures, Together with the Extent, Boundaries and Population of Their Respective Counties, Also, an Exact Account of the Cities, Towns, Harbours, Rivers, Bays, Lakes, Mountains [Philadelphia, 1795]). Quartermaster John Hugg Clunn found it "a fine Village, some elegant buildings and the Streets broad" (John Hugg Clunn, "March on Pittsburgh, 1794." Ed. Nicholas Wainwright. Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography [71 (1947), 44-67], 47). During the Revolution, Washington had his headquarters at Pottsgrove 21-26 Sept. 1777.
Womelsdorf (Middletown) in Berks County, Pa., was a "flourishing town . . . containing about 40 dwellings, and a German Lutheren and Calvinist church, united" (Scott, United States Gazetteer). Clunn counted "about 50 Houses mostly built of log. The Church was built by the Lutheran's & Presbyterian's for their joint use" (Clunn, "March on Pittsburgh, 1794," 48).
Myerstown, Dauphin County, Pa., was about 77 miles from Philadelphia on the north side of Tulpehocken Creek, a few miles below the canal. The canal was part of a construction project of the Schuylkill and Susquehanna Navigation Company and connected Quitipihilla Creek and Tulpehocken Creek (ibid., 48, n.25). Quartermaster John Hugg Clunn of the New Jersey militia, visiting the area on 8 Oct. 1794, found Myerstown to be "a Village built of Log. Rode on by the Canal. The Lock is remarkably curious. An Irishman . . . very humbly pulld of his Hatt and asked if I knew the Custom when Gent. came to see the Works. I saw plainly it was 2/ out of my pocket & without further ceremony gave it him--took another look thought it worth 4/" (ibid., 48). Another New Jersey officer noted that the "canal is already dug ten miles, in which are five locks, to embrace thirty feet; that they are executed in a masterly manner--that in the distance already done there is a great number of elegant arched bridges over the canal, wherever it goes across the road. There are now employed 600 hands at it, and every prospect of succeeding in this part of the bold enterprise" (David Ford, "Journal of an Expedition Made in the Autumn of 1794 . . . into Western Pennsylvania," New Jersey Historical Society Proceedings [8 (1859), 76-88], 81). Lebanon, in Dauphin County, at this time consisted of 2 churches and about 40 houses, mostly built of log (Clunn, "March on Pittsburgh, 1794," 48).
Hummelstown, Dauphin County, ten miles east of Harrisburg, had around 90 buildings and a German Lutheran church (Scott, The United States Gazetteer).
Harrisburg at this time "is regularly laid out, and contains upwards of 300 houses; several of these are neat, commodious dwellings; some of brick, and others of stone; a handsome brick court houses, a stone jail, & a German church" (ibid.).
TURNER: The 1st New Jersey Regiment was under the command of Lt. Col. Francis Davenport (William Gould, "Journal by William Gould during an Expedition into Pennsylvania in 1794," New Jersey Historical Society Proceedings (3 [1848-1849], 173-91), 181.) Apparently no Colonel Turner accompanied the New Jersey troops. Washington may have meant to write "Forman." Lt. Col. Jonathan Forman was in command of the 3d New Jersey Regiment, infantry, and New Jersey militia (Clunn, "March on Pittsburgh, 1794," 58, n.80). Captain Gould notes this day that he, Colonel Forman, and another militia officer "accepted an invitation from the President to take a glass of wine with him (Gould, "Journal," 178).
After his arrival in Harrisburg, a group of the town's citizens presented Washington with an address supporting the government. Washington replied before his departure early on 4 Oct. (Library of Congress: Washington Papers; Gazette of the United States, 16 Oct. 1794).
Traveling the same route in 1783-1784, Johann David Schoepf observed that the Susquehanna at Harrisburg was "three quarters of a mile wide, but in the summer months so shallow that only canoes can cross; horses and wagons ford over. In the middle are a few small islands, called Harris's and also Turkey Islands" ( Travels in the Confederation, ed. and trans. Alfred J. Morrison [Philadelphia, 1911, 2 vols.], 1:212). Captain Gould noted today that the troops "suffered much with the cold in crossing [the Susquehanna], it being a very cold morning. The President, General Washington, forded the river in a coach--drove it himself, &c." (Gould, "Journal," 179).
The detachment of the Philadelphia Light Horse had left Carlisle at 3:00 A.M. and met Washington just after he crossed the river (Dunlap's American Daily Advertiser [Philadelphia], 17 Oct. 1794).
At Carlisle, Washington found a town "regularly laid out, consisting of several parallel streets, crossed by others at right angles. It contains upwards of 400 dwellings, chiefly of stone and brick. The public buildings are, a college, a jail, a handsome brick court-house, which stands in the centre of the town; and four houses for public worship" (Scott, The United States Gazetteer). During the Revolution, Carlisle Barracks had been an ordnance depot and in 1791 had been designated as a general rendezvous for federal troops and supplies. It is estimated that during the insurrection between 10,000 and 15,000 troops encamped on the common (Thomas G. Tousey, Military History of Carlisle and Carlisle Barracks [Richmond, 1939], 164-65).
There was "the greatest vieing between the New Jersey and Pennsylvania horse," Captain Ford of the New Jersey troops noted, as to "who should be first on the ground to receive the President. At ten o'clock, the signal for mounting came, and away went the horse" (Ford, "Journal," 85). At 12 o'clock it was announced that the president was approaching. "Immediately the 3 troops from Philadelphia, Gurney's and Macpherson's battalions, and the artillery paraded. The horse marched down the road about two miles, followed by the Jersey cavalry in great numbers. We were drawn up on the right of the road, when our beloved Washington approached on horseback in a traveling dress, attended by his Secretary, &c. As he passed our troop, he pulled off his hat, and in the most respectful manner bowed to the officers and men; and in this manner passed the line. . . . As soon as the President passed, his escort followed, we joined the train, and entered the town whose inhabitants seemed anxious to see this very great and good man; crowds were assembled in the streets, but their admiration was silent. In this manner the President passed to the front of the camp, where the troops were assembled in front of the tents; the line of artillery, horse and infantry, appeared in the most perfect order; the greatest silence was observed" ("Notes on the March from September 30, until October 29, 1794, Pennsylvania Archives, 2d ser., 4:361).
While at Carlisle, Washington and his party occupied two houses belonging to Ephraim Blaine (1741-1804), former commissary general in the Continental Army. Blaine and his family not only provided lodging but also meals and hostelry service for the president and his staff (Douglas Southall Freeman, George Washington [New York, 1949-1957, 7 vols.] 7:202, n.212).
Governor of New Jersey Richard Howell (1754-1802) was born in Newark, Del., but moved with his family to Cumberland County, N.J. He studied law there and was admitted to the bar. In 1775 he joined the 2d New Jersey Regiment as a captain, served as brigade major with Stark's Brigade in 1776, and again with the 2d New Jersey Regiment until his resignation in 1779. He became an active Federalist and was elected governor of New Jersey in 1793, serving until 1801. Something of a poet, Howell is credited with having composed the stanzas in honor of Washington for the president's reception at Assanpink Bridge on his way to New York in April 1789 (see also Daniel Agnew, "A Biographical Sketch of Governor Richard Howell, of New Jersey," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography [22 (1898), 221-30]).
The First Presbyterian Church of Carlisle was on the northeast corner of the town's center square. In 1785 Dr. Robert Davidson (d. 1812) had been called to the church's pulpit (Alfred Nevin, Churches of the Valley [Philadelphia, 1852], 238). Dr. Davidson was an outspoken critic of the rebellion. In a sermon of 28 Sept. 1794 he had railed against the "sinners" who had taken up arms against their government. "But if they will resist, and involve themselves in the guilt of rebellion, they deserve not to be pitied nor spared" (Baldwin, Whiskey Rebels, 226).
[Note: In the letterpress edition the entries for 6 to 12 October have numbered notes. The notes follow the entries for those dates.]
1. On 6 Oct. Washington wrote Secretary of State Edmund Randolph: "As I reached this place Saturday only, & have no very precise information from the Insurgent counties I cannot decide definitely at this moment whether I shall proceed into them with the Troops, or return in time for the meeting of Congress. As soon as I can ascertain the true state of the Troops & other matters at this place I intend to proceed to Williamsport, & probably from thence to Fort Cumberland and Bedford; at one or other of which my ulterior resolution must be taken and in either case communications must be prepared for the meeting of Congress" (Cornell University, Ithaca, New York). By 9 Oct. he had decided to go on with the army at least as far as Bedford and ordered Bartholomew Dandridge to request that Henry Knox send on "sundry Articles such as tents, &ca. &ca." Knox was to forward only such articles "as you conceive will be absolutely necessary for the President's accommodation. . . . As the President will be going, if he proceeds, into the Country of Whiskey he proposes to make use of that liquor for his drink, and presuming that beef and bread will be furnished by the contractors he requires no supply of these Articles from you" (Dandridge to Knox, 9 Oct. 1794, List of Supplies, 11 Oct. 1794, and Washington to Daniel Morgan, 8 Oct. 1794, Library of Congress: Washington Papers).
On 6 Oct. the citizens of Carlisle presented an address to Washington, supporting the laws of the United States. The address and Washington's reply are in Library of Congress: Washington Papers. See also Gazette of the United States [Philadelphia], 18 Oct. 1794. [back]
2. After an outstanding military career during the Revolution, Edward Hand (see entry for 3 July 1791) resumed the practice of medicine. In Washington's view he was "a sensible and judicious man . . . and was esteemed a pretty good Officer. But, if I collect rightly, not a very active one" (John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799 [Washington, D.C., 1931-1944, 39 vols.], 31:510).
On 8 Oct. there was a general review of the New Jersey horse "at a sight of which the President was pleased to express his great satisfaction" (Ford, "Journal," 85). [back]
3. On 2 Oct. a meeting was held at Parkinson's Ferry, composed largely of the same individuals as the 14 Aug. meeting. Its members agreed to a series of conciliatory resolutions in an effort to prevent the army from marching into the insurgent counties and sent two emissaries to present the resolutions to Washington at Carlisle (Gallatin, Speech, 22-23). For the resolutions and a description of the Parkinson's Ferry meeting, see Henry Marie Brackenbridge, History of the Whiskey Insurrection in Western Pennsylvania, Commonly Called the Whiskey Insurrection, 1794 (Pittsburgh, 1859), 253-54.
William Findley (1750-1821), one of the meeting's representatives, was born in Ireland, immigrated to the United States, and settled in Westmoreland County, Pa., soon after the Revolution. He served in the Pennsylvania legislature, in the 1790 state constitutional convention, and in 1791 was elected to the United States House of Representatives where he became a vigorous opponent of administration policies (Pennsylvania Archives, 2d ser.,4:41n). His colleague, David Redick (d. 1805), also a native of Ireland, had settled in Washington County, Pa., where he began the practice of law in 1782. He was a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council 1786, vice-president of the state 1788- 89, and prothonotary of Washington County in 1794 (ibid., 39n).
Findley and Redick approached Carlisle with some apprehension, having heard on their way "alarming accounts of the army, rendezvoused at that place, being very ungovernable and exceedingly inflamed against the people of the western country indiscriminately"; they were even strongly advised by nearby residents not to venture into the town. After their arrival in the town, "having early in the morning waited on the President to deliver the papers, and obtained an appointment for an interview, we withdrew in a short time. This was to have been expected; it was about seven o'clock; but before ten the report was current through both the town and the army, that the President had driven us out in six minutes, and was not to see us again; and notwithstanding the President's established character for discretion and politeness, and the frequent interviews to which we were admitted, this ridiculous story was believed by many in the army" (Findley, History of the Insurrection, 140-42). When they met Washington to deliver the resolutions, he was alone and received them well. After a short conversation he informed them he had some pressing duties and after breakfast "was going to see a division of the army march" but would see them at ten. For Findley's account of the succeeding meeting, much more detailed than Washington's, see Findley, History of the Insurrection, 166-89. As the second meeting drew to a close, the representatives expressed a wish that Washington would remain with the army if it continued on its western march. "He replied on this occasion, that if when at Bedford he discovered that his presence would be necessary, and he was not under the necessity of returning to Philadelphia, he possibly would stay with the army, if it advanced into the western country.
"I do not pretend that we were treated with attention, from any peculiar attachment to us, whether that was so or not is a matter of no importance in this case. The attention however that he paid to us was the result of sound discretion. He was anxious to prevent bloodshed, and at the same time to enforce due submission to the laws, with as little trouble as possible. . . . The President was very sensible of the inflammatory and ungovernable disposition that had discovered itself in the army before he arrived at Carlisle, and he had not only laboured incessantly to remove that spirit and prevent its effects, but he was solicitous also to remove our fears. As often as we suggested apprehensions of danger from that quarter, he consoled us with assurances of good discipline and subordination to the laws being enforced, and of the disorderly corps being dispersed among such as were more orderly, or if that would not do, that they should be discharged with infamy. Orders were actually given to this effect, and at least in some instances punctually executed" (ibid, 187-88).
For a description of various incidents involving the behavior of the soldiers toward the civilian population, see Brackenridge, Incidents of the Insurrections, pt. 2, 30-33; Ford, "Journal," 84; Findley, History of the Insurrection, 143-44.
Findley was correct in believing that other, and contradictory, versions of the meeting were circulating. Capt. David Ford of the New Jersey militia noted that the "committee consisted of the damned scoundrel Finley, who most certainly was the first founder of the opposition to law in the four western counties, and of a Mr. Reddick. . . . The President received them; coldly told them he was determined . . . to march the army to the seat of rebellion, and told them, if they met with the least resistance, he would not answer for the consequences. This stern reply seemed to discompose the old villan, and to please every federalist" (Ford, "Journal," 86). [back]
4. David Bradford, one of the most popular and vocal of the insurgent leaders, was a native of Maryland but moved to Washington County, Pa., in 1773 or 1774 and was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1783. He was elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1792. Bradford, who was specifically exempted from the amnesty extended to the other insurgents after order was restored, eventually fled to Louisiana (Pennsylvania Archives, 2d ser., 4: 333-34; Lois Mulkearn and Edwin V. Pugh, A Traveler's Guide to Historic Western Pennsylvania (Pittsburg, 1954), 322). [back]
5. William MacPherson (1756-1813), a native of Philadelphia, was a graduate of Princeton. He had served as an officer in the British army before the Revolution but joined the Continental Army in 1779. In Sept. 1789 Washington appointed him surveyor for the port of Philadelphia; in 1792, Philadelphia port inspector; and in 1793, Philadelphia naval officer (Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (Washington, D.C., 1828, 138 vols. to date), 1:25, 104, 143, 144) . During the Whiskey Insurrection he was in command of a battalion of Philadelphia volunteers called "MacPherson's Blues" (Pennsylvania Archives, 2d ser., 4:317). [back]
6. Francis Gurney (1738-1815), a native of Bucks County, Pa., served in the French and Indian War, and as a colonel with Pennsylvania troops during the Revolution. After the war he became a merchant in Philadelphia and for a time was warden of the post of Philadelphia, a Philadelphia alderman, and a member of the city council (Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 47 , 175-76). In 1794 he was in command of the 1st Regiment of the Philadelphia Brigade with the rank of colonel. Apparently Gurney had considerable difficulty maintaining discipline among his troops, for Washington wrote Hamilton, 26 Oct., on his way back to Philadelphia, that "I heard great complaints of Gurney's Corps (&c some of the Artillery) along the road to Strasburgh. . . . In some places, I was told they did not leave a plate, a spoon, a glass or a knife; and this owing, in a great measure I was informed, to their being left without Officers. At most if not all the encampments, I found the fences in a manner burnt up. I pray you to mention this to Govr. Mifflin" (Library of Congress: Hamilton Papers). [back]
7. John Dunlap (1744-1812), born in County Tyrone, Ire., came to the United States as a child and was apprenticed to his uncle, William Dunlap, a prominent Philadelphia printer. In 1771 he became printer of the Pennsylvania Packet and in 1784 joined with David C. Claypoole to publish the paper as a daily. Dunlap & Claypoole were printers to the Continental Congress during the Confederation and in 1794 were publishing the Daily Advertiser in Philadelphia. Dunlap had served in the 1st Troop of Philadelphia Light Horse during the Revolution and was captain of the troop during the insurrection (Pennsylvania Archives, 2d ser., 4:324; Isaiah Thomas, The History of Printing in America (1810; Reprint, New York, 1970), 386-87, 393-94). [back]
8. In 1793 Anthony Walton White moved from New York to New Brunswick, N.J., and in 1794 was commissioned brigadier general of cavalry in the campaign against the whiskey insurgents (Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 47 , 172-73). See also entry for 1 Jan. 1787. [back]
9. After the Revolution, Daniel Morgan had returned to his estate Saratoga in Frederick County (see entry for 8 Sept. 1784). Now 58 and plagued by ill health, he came out of retirement to serve with the Virginia militia in the 1794 campaign. After the insurrection was repressed, he remained in command of some 1,500 troops which remained in western Pennsylvania to keep order during the winter of 1794-1795. [back]
10. William Irvine, who held the rank of major general in the Pennsylvania militia, was in command of a brigade composed of troops from Cumberland and Franklin counties (Tousey, Military History of Carlisle, 165). [back]
11. On 10 Oct. "the Philadelphia horse, McPherson's blues and a number of other corps were formed into a legion, to be put under the command of Gen. [Frederick] Frelinghuysen, to lead the van of the army. This corps began their march and was reviewed with a critical eye, by the President. They were followed by the train of artillery, and were to have been followed by the Jersey horse, but by some mistake or other the wagons for transporting our baggage were not provided. This default was severely censured by the President" (Ford, "Journal," 86). [back]
Chambersburg, in Franklin County, about 150 miles west of Philadelphia, consisted of "one long street, on which are erected about 200 dwellings, two Presbyterian churches, a stone jail, and handsome brick court-house, a paper and a merchant mill" (Scott, The United States Gazetteer). According to local tradition, Washington may have lodged tonight with Dr. Robert Johnson, a surgeon in the Pennsylvania line during the Revolution (William H. Egle, ed., Notes and Queries, Historical, Biographical, and Genealogical, Relating Chiefly to Interior Pennsylvania (Reprint. 2 vols., 1st-2d ser., 1894-1995), 1:225).
Greencastle was 11 miles southwest of Chambersburg, in Franklin County, and consisted of about 80 houses and 2 churches (Scott, The United States Gazetteer).
From Shippensburg to Bedford the army was able to make use of a well kept state road, generally following the route of Forbes Road, constructed during the French and Indian War (Clunn, "March on Pittsburgh, 1794," 50, n.38).
Johann David Schoepf described his trip through this region as a journey "through fertile valleys and over a few barren hills, consisting wholly of limestone soil and growing almost nothing but white-oaks. I came to Hancocktown on the Potowmack; a small place begun shortly before the war and numbering only a dozen houses. It belongs to Maryland which province here runs very narrow, for but a mile and a half from the town I crossed the boundary-line" (Schoepf, Travels, 1:308).
Cumberland, Md., was the rendezvous for the militia from Maryland and Virginia; the Pennsylvania and New Jersey militia were to rendezvous at Bedford, Pa.
George Lewis (see Diaries entry for 3 April 1785) was now a captain in command of the Fredericksburg Troop of Volunteers. He was promoted to major on 17 Oct. The troops under Lewis's command had left Fredericksburg on 22 Sept. (Robert Wellford, "A Diary Kept by Dr. Robert Wellford, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, during the March of the Virginia Troops to Fort Pitt (Pittsburg) to Suppress the Whiskey Insurrection in 1794," William and Mary Quarterly (1st ser., 11 [1902-1903], 2, 8; Merrow Egerton Sorley, Lewis of Warner Hall: The History of a Family (Columbia, Mo., 1937), 154).
Samuel Smith (1752-1839), Baltimore merchant, was born in Pennsylvania but in 1759 moved with his family to Baltimore. During the Revolution, Smith served with Maryland regiments from 1776 to 1779, resigning in 1779 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. From 1790 to 1792 he served in the Maryland House of Delegates. In 1793 he was elected as a Democrat to the Third Congress and served until 1803 when he was elected to the Senate. At this time he was a major general in the Maryland militia (Frank A. Cassell, Merchant Congressman in the Young Republic: Samuel Smith of Maryland, 1752-1839 (Madison, Wisconsin, 1971, 58-59).
David Lynn (d. 1835) served in various Maryland regiments from 1776 to 1783.
Dr. Robert Wellford of Fredericksburg, who was with the Virginia troops, noted in his diary Washington's arrival at Cumberland: "Between eleven & twelve o'clock this day arrived the President of the United States escorted into the town & to Head Quarters near the Fort by three troops of light dragoons, every man of whom cheerfully left ye encampment to pay the President a compliment, every regiment was drawn up in excellent order to receive him, & as he passed the line of Infantry he deliberately bowed to every officer individually. The Artillery at the same time announced his arrival" (Wellford, "Diary," 7).
On 17 Oct., Dr. Wellford of the Fredericksburg troops reported that he "was this day invited to dine with the President, and with a number of Officers, dined under Genl. Lee's Marque, and was treated very affably by the President, who was pleased to express his approbation of my conduct" (Wellford, "Diary," 8). TERRENCE: probably Joseph Torrence of Franklin Township, Fayette County, Pa. Clinton may have been Charles Clinton of Union Township, Fayette County.
On 19 Oct., Dr. Wellford noted in his diary that "this morning the President of the United States set out for Bedford on his return to the right wing of the Army, & from there to the seat of Government. . . . The Cavalry this morning escorted the President about five miles from (camp), when he requested the Troops to return, & taking leave spoke to Major George Lewis as follows: 'George, You are the eldest of five nephews that I have in this Army, let your conduct be an example to them, and do not turn your back until you are ordered.' Major Lewis made a suitable reply, but from this address of the President it was conjectured that the Troops would not be entirely disbanded at the end of the three months' service.
"Mem: The President's five nephews are Major George Lewis, Commandant of the Cavalry. Major Laurence Lewis, Aid de Camp to Major Genl. Morgan. Mr. Howell Lewis, in Capt. Mercer's troop, and Mr. Saml. Washington (son of Col. Ch's Washington), and Mr. Laurence Washington (son of Col. Saml. Washington), both of whom are light horsemen in the troop lately commanded by Capt. Lewis" (Wellford, "Diary," 8-9). At this time Bedford, some 110 miles west of Philadelphia, contained 41 log and 9 stone dwellings, a brick market house, a stone jail, a courthouse, and a brick building for keeping the records of the county (Scott, The United States Gazetteer). "The President's reception at Bedford on his return to the seat of Government was affectionate and interesting," Dr. Wellford continued. "When it was announced that He was approaching, the troops & the artillery paraded, the Cavalry marched down the road two miles, & drew up on the right of the road. As General Washington passed he pulled off his hat, &, in the most respectful manner, bowed to the officers & men, and in this manner passed the line, who were affected by the sight of their Chief, for whom each individual seemed to show the affectionate regard that would have been to an honoured Parent. As soon as the President passed, his escort followed the Troops, joined the train, & entered the town, whose inhabitants seemed anxious to see this very great and good Man. Crowds were assembled in the streets, but their admiration was silent. In this manner the President passed in front of the Camp, where the troops were assembled in front of the Tents. the line of Artillery Horse & Infantry appeared in the most perfect order, the greatest silence was observed. Genl. Washington approached the right uncovered, passed along the line bowing in the most respectful & affectionate manner to the officers--he appeared pleased" (Wellford, "Diary," 9-1O).
David Espy was one of Bedford's first settlers. His house was "a two story stone structure with three windows across the front and a high tripped roof giving almost a full floor in the attic." The house had been used by Arthur St. Clair when he was prothonotary of Bedford County (Mulkearn and Pugh, Traveler's Guide, 13O, 139). ROAD: For Washington's route to join Gen. John Forbes for the march on Fort Duquesne in 1758, see Freeman, Washington 2:324-33.
STAFF DEPARTMT.: It is uncertain in some instances to which officers Washington was referring. Henry Miller was quartermaster for the militia army as a whole; Clement Biddle was quartermaster for Pennsylvania. Edward Hand was adjutant general. The contractor was probably Elie Williams who was in Bedford at this time. Ephraim Blaine of Carlisle was responsible for wagons, horses, forage, and fuel. George Gale, supervisor of the revenue for Maryland, was responsible for supplying the Maryland militia; Joel Gibbs was contractor for the artillery (Erna Risch, Quartermaster Support of the Army: A History of the Corps, 1775-1939 [Washington, D.C., 1962], 11O; Syrett et al., Hamilton Papers, 17:150-52).
Washington's farewell to the army was contained in his letter of this day to Henry Lee expressing "the very high sense I entertain of the enlightened and patriotic zeal for the constitution and the laws which has led them chearfully to quit their families and homes and the comforts of private life to undertake and thus far to perform a long and fatiguing march and to encounter the hardships and privations of a Military life." He warned every officer and soldier, however, that he had come to western Pennsylvania to support the laws and "that it would be peculiarly unbecoming in him to be in any way the infractor of them. . . . The dispensation of . . . justice belongs to the civil Magistrate and let it ever be our pride and our glory to leave the sacred deposit there unviolated" (Library of Congress: Washington Papers). Lee included the letter in his General Orders of 21 Oct. 1794 (Pennsylvania Archives, 2d ser., 4:350-53).
Washington's instructions were submitted through Alexander Hamilton in a letter from Hamilton to Lee, 20 Oct. 1794: "I have it in special instruction from the President of the United States . . . to convey to you on his behalf, the following instructions for the general direction of your conduct in the command of the Militia army." The instructions directed Lee to march the army in two columns in the direction of Parkinson's Ferry and suggested that upon the army's arrival in the insurgents' area a proclamation should be issued exhorting all citizens to abide by the laws. Armed insurgents should be turned over to the civil authority and the rest sent home. When the insurrection was suppressed the army was to withdraw "detaching such a force as you deem adequate; to be stationed within the disaffected Country. . . . You are to exert yourself by all possible means to preserve discipline among the troops, particularly a scrupulous regard to the rights of persons and property and a respect for the authority of the civil magistrate; taking especial care to inculcate and cause to be observed this principal, that the duties of the army are confined to the attacking and subduing of armed opponents of the laws, and to the supporting and aiding of the civil officers in the execution of their functions" (Syret et al., Hamilton Papers, 17:331-36).
JUDGE, AND ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA: Richard Peters (1744-1828), judge of the United States district court of Pennsylvania and a native of Philadelphia, served as secretary of the Board of War 1776-1781 and as a member of the Continental Congress 1782-1783. William Rawle (1759-1836) of Philadelphia studied law in London at the Middle Temple. After his return to the United States in 1783 he practiced law in Philadelphia. Washington appointed him United States attorney for the district of Pennsylvania in 1791. Peters and Rawle accompanied the army on its march west from Bedford.
Herman Husbands (1724-1795) was living at Coffee Springs Farm in Somerset County, Pa., in 1794. Born probably in Cecil County, Md., he moved to North Carolina around 1755. About 1759 he returned to Maryland but moved back to North Carolina in 1761. He soon became a spokesman for frontier rights and was a leader of the Regulators in North Carolina in the backwoods attack on Gov. William Tryon's taxation policies. He was forced to flee to Pennsylvania in 1771. Settling in Somerset County, he served in the Pennsylvania legislature 1777, 1778, and 1790, where he was particularly interested in the development of the iron industry in Pennsylvania (Mulkearn and Pugh, Traveler's Guide, 290). Johann David Schoepf encountered this frontier eccentric. "barefoot and dressed in dirty clothes," on his journey west in 1783-1784. After his flight from North Carolina, Schoepf observed, Husbands "betook himself hither into the mountains, where under a changed name and wearing strange clothing, he contrived to avoid further persecution. . . . Instead of matters of state he concerns himself now with prophecies of which several have appeared in Goddard's Maryland Calendar under the name of Hutrim Hutrim, or the Philosopher of the Alleghany. In one of these he had calculated the time of his death, but has already lived some years beyond the term" (Schoeph, Travels, 1:292-97). When the revolt against the excise erupted, Husbands not surprisingly assumed a leading role.
Robert Philson was a storekeeper in Berlin, Bedford County, Pa. Husbands, Philson, and two other prisoners taken at approximately the same time were sent to Philadelphia for trial, and Washington wrote Hamilton 31 Oct. that they "were safely lodged in this City on Wednesday afternoon" (Library of Congress: Hamilton Papers).
On his return to Philadelphia, Washington apparently followed a route from Bedford to Chambersburg, from Chambersburg to York, and then to Lancaster, from which place he proceeded to Philadelphia. On Tuesday evening 21 Oct. he wrote Hamilton from "Hartley's" (Library of Congress: Washington Papers). This was William Hartley's stone house, some four miles east of Bedford (Mulkearn and Pugh, Traveler's Guide, 141). By 26 Oct. he had reached Wright's ferry on the Susquehanna. From there he wrote Hamilton that "thus far I have proceeded without accident to man, horse or Carriage, altho' the latter has had wherewith to try its goodness; especially in ascending the North Mountain from Skinners by a wrong road. . . . I rode yesterday afternoon thro' the rain from York Town to this place, and got twice in the height of it hung, (and delayed by that means) on the rocks in the middle of the Susquehanna, but I did not feel half as much for my own situation as I did on acct. of the Troops on the Mountains, and of the effect the rain might have on the Roads through the glades" (Library of Congress: Hamilton Papers). On 31 Oct. he wrote Hamilton from Philadelphia that "by pushing through the rain (which fell more or less on Saturday, Sunday and Monday) I arrived in this City before noon on Tuesday [28 Oct.]; without encountering any thing so unpleasant than the badness of the ways, after the rains had softened the earth and made them susceptible of deep impression of the Wheels" (Library of Congress: Hamilton Papers).
After Washington's departure from Bedford, the army, unruly and poorly disciplined, continued on the march to the Pittsburgh area and to Washington County, reaching the disaffected counties early in November, and by 17 Nov. Hamilton, who had accompanied the army, wrote Washington that "the list of prisoners has been very considerably increased, probably to the amount of 150. . . . Subsequent intelligence shews that there is no regular assemblage of the fugitives where it is supposed--there are only small vagrant parties in that quarter affording no point of Attack. Every thing is urging on for the return of the troops" (Library of Congress: Washington Papers). On 19 Nov., Hamilton wrote that "the army is generally in motion homeward" (Library of Congress: Washington Papers). A regiment of infantry, with nine months' enlistment, was raised by Lee to maintain order in the counties involved in the insurrection (Hamilton to Washington, 8 Nov. 1794, Princeton University: De Coppet Collection). The insurgents' trials dragged on through much of 1795 and most of the accused were acquitted for lack of evidence, Washington issuing a proclamation 10 July pardoning most of those who were not sentenced or under indictment (Pennsylvania Historical Society: Wallace Papers).
In his Sixth Annual Address to Congress, 19 Nov. 1794, Washington recapitulated the course the government had taken to suppress the insurrection and gave his own views as to its cause: "During the session of the year 1790, it was expedient to exercise the legislature power, granted by the constitution of the United States, 'to lay and collect excises.' In a majority of the States, scarcely an objection was heard to this mode of taxation. In some indeed, alarms were at first conceived; until they were banished by reason and patriotism. In the four western counties of Pennsylvania, a prejudice, fostered and embittered by the artifice of men who labored for an ascendancy over the will of others by the guidance of their passions, produced symptoms of riot and violence. It is well known, that Congress did not hesitate to examine the complaints which were presented; and to relieve them, as far as justice dictated, or general convenience would permit, But the impression, which this moderation made on the discontented, did not correspond, with what it deserved. The arts of delusion were no longer confined to the efforts of designing individuals. The very forbearance to press prosecutions was misinterpreted into a fear of urging the execution of the laws; and associations of men began to denounce threats against the officers employed. From a belief, that, by a more formal concert, their operation might be defeated; certain self-created societies assumed the tone of condemnation. Hence, while the greater part of Pennsylvania itself were conforming themselves to the acts of excise; a few counties were resolved to frustrate them. It was now perceived, that every expectation from the tenderness which had been hitherto pursued, was unavailing, and that further delay could only create an opinion of impotency or irresolution in the government. Legal process was, therefore, delivered to the Marshal, against rioters and delinquent distillers" (Gazette of the United States [Philadelphia], 19 Nov. 1794).«back | home