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    James Wilkinson Autograph Letter Signed Recounting the Battle of Kenapacomaqua. Three pages of a bifolium, 6" x 7.5", "Camp 4 Miles West of the Big Spring" [Near the Wabash River]; August 16, 1791. Addressed to General Charles Scott, Wilkinson writes just nine days after the Battle of Kenapacomaqua. He recounts the battle's events, including the capture of Miami Chief Little Turtle's daughter, who he mistakes for his sister, and the destruction of the village. It reads in part:

    "I surprised the head quarters of the Miami Nation altho 60 of their warriors were on this side of the Wabash watching for us...I...struck the very ford of the Wabash I had aimed at, within 2 ½ miles of the Town, valued by the French L'anquille, & by the Savages Kenapacomaqua, situate on Eel River, a League from its confluence with the Wasbash. Mckee deceived us in every instance...here the king resided, & I have his sister Prisoner, as appears from numberless British credentials in her possession. We have killed & taken 42 of the Enemy & reclaimed one unfortunate prisoner. I have two men killed & one wounded...we have done pretty well - for we finished the Business with the Miami Nation, leaving them neither home or Provision, & have destroyed a Mikapoo town of 30 houses, with about 400 Acres of corn in the Ear..."

    Wilkinson's pride in his success was a bit overblown. The village was only lightly defended thanks to a Grand Council held by Alexander McKee's in July at the Miami Rapids. The white captive Wilkinson freed informed him that the village had been further weakened by a flu epidemic that recently swept through. However, even though of the majority of his forty-two prisoners were women and children, Wilkinson's inflated report was still sent to Washington, who later rewarded him with a command in the Regulars. The Northwest Indian War continued for another four years.

    James Wilkinson (1757-1825) is a controversial figure in early United States history. Largely remembered today for his part in the Burr Conspiracy, Wilkinson served under all four of the first U.S. presidents and was a great friend of Jefferson's. Despite this auspicious start to his career, he was later revealed to be selling American secrets to the Spanish crown. Because his opulent lifestyle left him chronically short of funds, Wilkinson began working for the Spanish under the moniker Agent 13. He was responsible for alerting the Spanish of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and suggested they send a patrol to intercept the men; however, they were unable to locate them. While he was suspected during his lifetime of spying, it wasn't until the 20th Century that official documentation linking Wilkinson to Spain came to light.

    Condition: Lightly soiled with minor foxing. Some creasing with pencil notations to page one and four. Smoothed folds. Tape adhesive along edge and minor edgewear with some small closed tears.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2021
    6th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 288

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