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Daniel Brodhead Papers

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The entire collection is scanned and online.

What’s in the entire collection?

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.

About Daniel Brodhead

Born in 1736 in Marblehead, 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.

In 1779, Brodhead became commander of the Western Department at Fort Pitt. 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. 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.

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