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Secretary of War Orders Payment for Georgia State Militia Called Out to Prepare for War with the Creeks

Timothy Pickering, Autograph Letter Signed, as Secretary of War, to William Simmons, January 8, 1796, [Philadelphia]. 1 p., 7 x 12 in.

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I am very much inclined to think the claim of Georgia to the whole will be supported.

Despite a 1790 peace treaty, small raiding parties of Creeks and local white militias continued to cross the disputed western border of Georgia to commit depredations. Painting an alarming picture of barbarous Indians in 1793, the governor of Georgia sought and received the promise of federal support for defending the frontier, though President Washington and the Secretary of War were clear that they did not approve of the governor’s plan to wage war.

This order represents an important point in the contentious relations between the state of Georgia and the federal government over defending the Georgia frontier against the Creeks. President Washington had already appointed the writer, Secretary of War Timothy Pickering, as Secretary of State; when he wrote this letter, he was filling both positions. Pickering was premature in thinking the additional claims of Georgia would be supported. Congress repeatedly denied the state’s request for payment for several times the number of militia that the President had authorized until 37 years later, when the potential for conflict with the Cherokee caused the U.S. House of Representatives to pay Georgia’s claim fully.

Item #25998, $1,750
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