It authorizes appointment of the first four brigadier generals under the United States Constitution.
The Treaty of Paris in 1783 that ended the Revolutionary War (a war in which American Indian tribes were overwhelmingly allied with the British and were treated as defeated powers), recognized United States sovereignty of all the land east of the Mississippi River and south of the Great Lakes. The Indian tribes,...
The Treaty of Paris in 1783 that ended the Revolutionary War (a war in which American Indian tribes were overwhelmingly allied with the British and were treated as defeated powers), recognized United States sovereignty of all the land east of the Mississippi River and south of the Great Lakes. The Indian tribes, however, were not parties to this treaty and many of them refused to recognize American claims. They attacked settlements all across the western U.S. frontier, with serious uprisings a common occurrence. However, this was a particular problem in the area northwest of the Ohio River. During the mid and late 1780s, white settlers in Kentucky and travelers on and north of the Ohio suffered approximately 1,500 deaths during the ongoing hostilities, with white settlers often retaliating against Indians. As a result of the continual violence, President Washington decided to use military force to crush the Miami Indians operating northwest of the Ohio. In 1790 an American force of 1,500 men, mostly militia, was sent to the Ohio, but it proved unsuccessful. President Washington's position was that a vigorous effort needed to be made. Thinking a regular army unit would perform better, Congress followed up in March 1791 by authorizing the raising of one regiment for the U.S. Army, "for making farther provision for the protection of the frontiers." It also authorized the President to draft soldiers to this end. The final military contingent that went west was a mixed group of regular army, militia, and new conscripts.
On November 4, 1791, by the Wabash River, these US forces, sent to teach the Indians a lesson, were instead surprised by them and suffered a crushing defeat, with casualties at 98%. It was the greatest victory of the Indians over the Americans during any Indian war. The news of the debacle reached President Washington at Philadelphia at the start of January 1792, and it created an uproar. Congress and the executive branch launched their first ever investigations. The President summoned a meeting of all of his department heads (Henry Knox, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and Edmund Randolph), and many consider this meeting of all of these officials together as the beginning of the United States Cabinet. All were determined to prevent such a disaster from ever happening again, and that the solution would be a military one. As early as January 6, Secretary of War Knox wrote that papers and plans would be "laid immediately before Congress for their consideration and decision" that would be adequate to the occasion. This would involve significantly increasing the size of the small U.S. Army and dispatching the units to the frontier.
In March 1792, Congress responded by voting to raise additional Army regiments for protection of the western frontier territory. On March 5, it passed "An Act for making farther and more effectual Provision for the Protection of the Frontiers of the United States," raising the regiments and specifying their composition and pay. But these new soldiers would need leaders, and on March 28, 1792, it authorized President Washington to appoint four brigadier generals to assume the leadership role. At the time this act was passed, the United States Army had no brigadier generals, so these four men would be the first to hold the post since the United States Constitution took effect. It read, "An Act supplemental to the act for making farther and more effectual provision for the protection of the frontiers of the United States," and provided: "Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint such number of brigadier generals as may be conducive to the good of the public service. Provided the whole number appointed or to be appointed, shall not exceed four." It is signed in type by President Washington, Vice President John Adams, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Jonathan Trumbull. Beneath that is the legend "Deposited among the Rolls in the office of the Secretary of State," which is signed in ink by Thomas Jefferson, who held that position. Back then it was the responsibility of the Secretary of State to send official copies of acts of Congress to the governors of the states.
While this latter bill was before Congress for passage, President Washington prepared a memorandum showing all of the generals "now living & in this country." Some would be considered for the post of major general and some for brigadier general pursuant to the new law. Under each general he made remarks on his character and ability, and his likelihood of accepted the active posting if offered. Men listed included many luminaries of the Revolution. After considering all these, on April 9, 1792, Washington submitted to the Senate for approval as brigadier generals the names of Daniel Morgan of Virginia, Marinus Willet of New York, John Brooks of Massachusetts, and James Wilkinson of Kentucky. The "Historical Register of the United States Army" indicates that Brooks and Wilkinson accepted, while Willet and Morgan declined. Rufus Putnam of Ohio became the third general, and not until the following year was Thomas Posey of Virginia named to the fourth slot.
Frame, Display, Preserve
Each frame is custom constructed, using only proper museum archival materials. This includes:The finest frames, tailored to match the document you have chosen. These can period style, antiqued, gilded, wood, etc. Fabric mats, including silk and satin, as well as museum mat board with hand painted bevels. Attachment of the document to the matting to ensure its protection. This "hinging" is done according to archival standards. Protective "glass," or Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing, which is shatter resistant, 99% UV protective, and anti-reflective. You benefit from our decades of experience in designing and creating beautiful, compelling, and protective framed historical documents.Learn more about our Framing Services