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In 1792, General Anthony Wayne established a training camp at Legionville to build an army, "The Legion of the United States", capable of subduing the hostile Indian tribes to the west. The following is a letter from one Joseph Strong, rank unknown, who was posted to Legionville in early 1793 and sends his thoughts along to a friend in New England together with a map of the encampment.
The map was printed on Page 1 of the Summer 1996 issue of Milestones.
Joseph Strong made the following comment under his map:
"Thus you see in a very hasty rough draught a pretty accurate plan.
"This place is on Indian ground. It was a thick wilderness when the Army arrived here the 1st of December last.
"The lands are cleared round for a considerable distance from Camp. The place is very agreeable."
You are undoubtedly sensible of the sudden and unexpected order I received to leave my post at Middletown. I was obliged to part from my friends without any ceremony, and obey the rigid commands of war. - As a military man I endeavored to conceal the sorrow I felt in my heart and to appear calm on my entrance to an important and interesting scene of my life - Though I did not bid you a formal adieu yet a secret prayer went to heaven from my heart for your happiness in life. I wish sincerely that a consolation might raise your soul above the power of affliction.
I have been healthy and happy since I left N. England. My prospect is pleasing at present and I hope will continue so forever. I have been here but 3 weeks and cannot give you any full information respecting the strength and facts on business of the Army.
I was in Pittsburgh 2 weeks, and formed an acquaintance which was improving and agreeable to me.
The place is 22 miles below Pittsburgh, situated on the North Eastern side of the Ohio on one of its highest banks. The Camp is beautifully disposed at present. It is uncertain when the army will leave this station. It is probable they will continue here 'till after the treaty signed with the enemy - if so, we shall continue here until fall and perhaps make this winter quarters again.
The army is sickly at present. Though the ruling epidemic is abating - The common disorder has been a Typhus fever. This has proved mortal in a few instances.
You can readily form an idea of my opportunities for improvement, both in position and professional knowledge - I hope I shall conduct worthy of my situation.
I expect if I live to return, you will remark my improvements to me in evening conversation in your office. My friend I should rejoice to see you and again experience the pleasures of that friendly intercourse with which you honoured me the last summer; but I expect to behold one bloody battle in a savage country before I return. I wish to live near my friends again in my own country; but if I die, may I be suffered to die with honour. It is fully believed by those who are the best judges of the state of the hostile tribes in this country that no reconciliation can be effective short of a victory over them. Capt. Collins a gentleman of reputation has just arrived here with honest intelligence from them. He has past disguised 2200 miles in their country and says they are determined on war. I cannot divine the events of my life in future, but be assured, if I live, I live your sincere friend, and if I die I hope not to forget you.
P.S. Give my love to all.