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.