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Brodhead completes Allegheny River expedition

On this day in 1779, American Colonel Daniel Brodhead concludes an ambitious assault against the Seneca Indians throughout the Allegheny Valley of Pennsylvania. Simultaneously, Major General John Sullivan had attacked the Iroquois of New York.

Brodhead had left Pittsburgh in August at the head of 600 men. Over the course of his mission, he destroyed 10 Indian villages, encountering only minimal resistance because the Seneca warriors had traveled to fight the Sullivan-led expedition, which had been ravaging native settlements in New York.

On August 29, 1779, at what is modern-day Elmira, New York, near New York’s southwestern border with Pennsylvania, Continental forces led by Sullivan and Brigadier General James Clinton defeated a combined force of Loyalists and Indians commanded by Captain Walter Butler and Chief Joseph Brant in the Battle of Chemung. Sullivan subsequently embarked on a scorched-earth campaign against the Iroquois in retaliation for their continued raids against frontier settlements. At least 40 of the tribe’s villages were destroyed, along with valuable supplies.

Later, Brodhead was charged with clearing the Lenape-Delaware out of the Ohio Valley. He was successful, but was replaced as the commander of the Western Department under charges of mishandling the department’s finances on September 17, 1781. Broadhead’s name was eventually cleared of most charges and he was made a brigadier general by George Washington later that year. Broadhead went on to become a founder of the Society of the Cincinnati, an association of Continental Army veterans; a member of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly; and the state’s surveyor general. In the latter position, he was tasked with mapping for settlement the land he had previously worked to empty of its original inhabitants.

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