This event is well documented as an early attempt at biological warfare. In modern times, it has been discussed in the context of bioterrorism. British officers, including the top British commanding generals, ordered, sanctioned, paid for and conducted the use of smallpox against the Native Americans. As described by one historian, "there is no doubt that British military authorities approved of attempts to spread smallpox among the enemy", and "it was deliberate British policy to infect the indians with smallpox".
In one instance, as recorded in his journal by sundries trader and militia Captain, William Trent, on June 24, 1763, dignitaries from the Delaware tribe met with Fort Pitt officials, warned them of "great numbers of Indians" coming to attack the fort, and pleaded with them to leave the fort while there was still time. The commander of the fort refused to abandon the fort. Instead, the British gave as gifts two blankets, one silk handkerchief and one linen from the smallpox hospital, to two Delaware delegates after the parley, a principal warrior named Turtleheart, and Maumaultee, a Chief. The tainted gifts were, according to their inventory accounts, given to the Indian dignitaries "to Convey the Smallpox to the Indians".