James Wilkinson was born in Calvert County, Maryland, in 1757. He studied medicine and had a medical practice in Monocacy, Maryland. Wilkinson joined a volunteer rifle corps at the beginning of the Revolutionary War and quickly became acquainted with prominent officers such as Nathanael Greene, Benedict Arnold, and Horatio Gates. He rose through the ranks, becoming a brevet brigadier general after the Battle of Saratoga.
After the war, Wilkinson first became a farmer in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, before moving to Kentucky, where he worked as a merchant. While in Kentucky, Wilkinson came to know Esteban Rodriguez Miró, Spanish governor of New Orleans. Wilkinson re-joined the US Army in 1791 and participated in conflicts with Native Americans in the Northwest Territory. Following the death of General Anthony Wayne in 1796, Wilkinson took command of the army, retaining his rank of brigadier general. During the War of 1812, Wilkinson, then major general, oversaw the failed invasion of Canada in the fall of 1813. He left the army in 1814 after a failed court martial and spent his final years in Louisiana and Mexico City, where he died of gout on December 28, 1825.
Henry Burbeck (1754-1848) was a native of Boston, Massachusetts. He began his military career as an artillery officer during the Revolutionary War and became brevet major in 1783. He served under Anthony Wayne and James Wilkinson in the Northwest Territory during the 1790s and served as an artillery officer until the conclusion of the War of 1812. Burbeck died in New London, Connecticut, on October 2, 1848.