Daniel Brodhead Papers
Brodhead, Daniel, 1736-1809
Gibson, John, 1740-1822
Pennsylvania. Militia. Pennsylvania Regiment, 4th.
Pennsylvania. Militia. Pennsylvania Regiment, 8th.
Washington, George, 1732-1799
0.21 linear feet (1 box)
Born in 1736 in Marbletown,Ulster County, New York, Daniel Brodhead served as a colonel in the Revolutionary War, commanding the Western Department from his headquarters at Fort Pitt from 1779 to 1781. The collection contains copies of orders sent by Brodhead to various military officers, including those stationed at Forts Armstrong, Wheeling, Tuscarora, and Laurens. The letters reveal the recurring difficulties posed by food shortages, lack of money, uncooperative officers, and raids conducted by hostile Indian tribes, which contributed to settlers abandoning their property. Digital reproductions of this collection are available online.
ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
Finding aid prepared by Matt Strauss.
June 4, 2015:
Controlled access terms revised (dar), Correction on birthplace.
Born in 1736 in Marbletown, Ustler County, New York, Daniel Brodhead served as a colonel in the Revolutionary War, commanding the Western Department from his headquarters at Fort Pitt from 1779 to 1781. In the years preceding the outbreak of war, Brodhead operated a gristmill and worked as a deputy-surveyor for the colony of Pennsylvania. Disturbed by the passage of the Coercive Acts in 1774, Brodhead represented Berks County at a protest congress held in Philadelphia. In 1776, he was commissioned as an officer in the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment. Shortly thereafter, Brodhead assumed control of the regiment.
After defending Philadelphia from British forces and spending a winter in Valley Forge, the regiment participated in military activities along the Western Frontier. In 1779, Brodhead became commander of the Western Department at Fort Pitt. In this position, he also oversaw a number of surrounding forts in the area, which were located in present day Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
During his tenure at Fort Pitt, local Indian tribes, a number of which had allied themselves with British forces, conducted raids on settlements along the Western Frontier. In August of 1779, Brodhead led a contingent of troops and militia members on a campaign against the Seneca in northwestern Pennsylvania. Later that year, Congress passed a resolution commending Brodhead for his expedition.
Due in part to the remoteness of Fort Pitt, Brodhead suffered from a shortage of supplies for his troops. In 1781, he was removed from command due to allegations of mishandling finances. At a subsequent court-martial trial, Brodhead was acquitted of all charges.
Following the war, Brodhead served as Surveyor General of Pennsylvania and was one of the founding members of the Society of the Cincinnati. Daniel Brodhead died in 1809 at Milford, Pennsylvania.
Collection Scope and Content Notes
The items in this collection contain instructions sent by Daniel Brodhead from Fort Pitt during his tenure as commander of the Western Department. They reveal the recurring difficulties posed by food shortages, lack of money, uncooperative officers, and raids conducted by hostile Indian tribes, which prompted settlers in the area to abandon their property. Also documented are plans for military maneuvers and logistical matters such as the transferring of soldiers and supplies between forts.
"Instructions to Officers on Different Commands and at Different Posts" consists of copies of orders sent to military personnel stationed primarily at surrounding forts, including Armstrong, McIntosh, Laurens, Wheeling, and Tuscarora. The orders communicate instructions from Brodhead, as well as relaying commands from other government officials, including George Washington (referred to as "his Excellency the Commander in Chief"). A number of the orders, as well as the two letters in the collection, are addressed to Archibald Lochry, a colonel in command of troops from Westmoreland County. In 1781, he would die in a battle known as "Lochry's defeat," after an ambush by British and Indian forces while en route to a planned attack on Fort Detroit. The Darlington Autograph collection (noted below in the Related Materials section) also contains a number of Lochry's letters. Correspondence of Lochry recipients include John Bayard, George Rogers Clark, and Frederick Vernon.
Specific instructions pertain to the building of a stockade at Kittanning (later to be known as Fort Armstrong), the procurement of supplies from settlers through compulsion, and reconnoitering expeditions into Indian Territory. Brodhead writes of his frustrations resulting from officers ignoring his orders and settlers abandoning their property due to Indian attacks.
- Delaware Indians -- History
- Fortification -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh -- History
- Indians of North America -- Wars -- 1775-1783
- Iroquois Indians -- Wars -- Pennsylvania
- Minutemen (Militia) -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
- Seneca Indians -- History
- Bayard, John Bubenheim, 1738-1807
- Brodhead, Daniel, 1736-1809
- Lochry, Archibald, d. 1781
- Fort Armstrong (Pa.)
- Fort Laurens (Ohio)
- Fort McIntosh (Pa.)
- Fort Pitt (Pa.) -- History
- Pennsylvania -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783
- Pittsburgh (Pa.)
- Pittsburgh (Pa.) -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783
- United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- American forces
- United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- Archival resources
- United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- Campaigns
- United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- Participation, Indians of North America
- Military records
Access and Use
Part of the original donation of William M. Darlington’s family library to the University of Pittsburgh in 1918 and 1925 by his daughters, Edith Darlington Ammon and Mary Carson Darlington.
Digital reproductions of this collection are available online.
This collection was located in the Darlington Memorial Library in the University’s Cathedral of Learning until 2007 when it was moved to the ULS Archives Service Center for processing, storage, preservation and service. However, it remains in the custodianship of the ULS Special Collections Department.
Daniel Brodhead Papers, 1779-1781, DAR.1925.04, Darlington Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh
This collection was processed by Matt Strauss in August 2007.
No copyright restrictions.
Darlington Autograph Files, 1610-1967, DAR.1925.07, Darlington Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh
The Archibald Lochry Letters, 1779-1780, MG-276, Pennsylvania State Archives
Brodhead Papers, Draper Collection, Wisconsin Historical Society