Estrangement among the Delawares, 1779
WITH THE beginning of the new year, the colonial military position on the western frontier began to deteriorate. Nevertheless, the western commanders made one more desperate effort to confront their British adversaries.
From the first of the year until August 2, when Fort Laurens was finally abandoned, there was a flood of military correspondence between the Muskingum Valley and the United States authorities at Fort Pitt and the eastern headquarters. More than eighty separate letters passed between Fort Laurens, Fort Pitt, Washington's headquarters, and Congress, to and from Zeisberger, Heckewelder, and the Delaware chiefs. From these documents a clear picture emerges of the complicated maneuverings occurring on the western frontier.1
The Delawares, desperately in need of trade goods, clothing, guns, powder, lead, and other supplies that could not be found at Fort Pitt, began to accept the proffered help from Detroit. This new development made Zeisberger increasingly concerned about Lichtenau's close proximity to the Delaware capital. With more than three hundred of his own people living within three miles of the Goschachgunk, the possibility of the Delaware