Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. I (1748-1757)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. I (1748-1757) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889-1893). Vol. I (1748-1757).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Since writing my last I have still stronger presumption, indeed almost confirmation, that they were sent as spies, and were ordered to wait near us, till they were truly informed of our intentions, situation, and strength, and were to have acquainted their commander therewith, and to have lain lurking here for reinforcements before they served the summons, if served at all.
I doubt not but they will endeavour to amuse you with many smooth stories, as they did me; but they were confuted in them all, and, by circumstances too plain to be denied, almost made ashamed of their assertions. I dare say you will treat them with respect, which is due to all unfortunate persons in their condition. But I hope you will give no ear to what they will have an opportunity for displaying to the best advantage, having none present to contradict their reports.
I have heard, since they went away, that they should say they called to us not to fire; but that I know to be false, for I was the first man that approached them, and the first whom they saw, and immediately upon it they ran to their arms, and fired briskly till they were defeated.1
We have heard of another being killed by the Indians, that made his escape from us; so that we are certain of thirty-three killed and taken.2 I thought it expedient to acquaint your Honor with the above, as I fancy they will have the assurance of asking the privileges due to an embassy, when in strict justice they ought to be hanged as spies of the worst sort, being authorized by their commander, at the expense of a character, which should be sacred to all nations, and never trifled with or used in an equivocal way. I am, &c.
The 29th. Dispatched Ensign Latour to the Half-King, with about Twenty-five Men, and almost as many Horses; and as I expected some French Parties would continually follow that which we had defeated, I sent an Express to Colonel Fry for a Reinforcement.
After this the French Prisoners desired to speak with me, and asked me in what Manner I looked upon them, whether as the Attendants of an Embassador, or as Prisoners of War: I answered them that it was in the Quality of the Latter, and gave them my Reasons for it, as above.
The 30th. Detached Lieutenant West,1 and Mr. Splitdorph, to take the Prisoners to Winchester, with a Guard of twenty Men.
Began to raise a Fort with small Pallisadoes, fearing that when the French should hear the News of that Defeat, we might be attacked by considerable Forces.
[1 ]This letter was probably written on the 29th.
[1 ]Drouillon’s statement of the affair may be found in Dinwiddie Papers, i., p. 225. The curious charge brought against Washington for the killing of Jumonville long exercised French historians, and even English writers found it awkward to explain away. The various accounts are summarized in Parkman, Wolfe and Montcalm, i., p. 149, and Sparks, Writings of Washington, ii., p. 447.
[2 ]It appears by M. de Contrecœur’s orders to M. de Jumonville (See Mémoire, &c. p. 104) that his party consisted of thirty-five men, that is, himself and another officer, three cadets, a volunteer, an interpreter, and twenty-eight soldiers. Two of the party had returned the day before, whose tracks had been seen by the Half-King, as he reported to Colonel Washington, thus leaving thirty-three, who were engaged in the skirmish. As two cadets only were taken, one of the men, who returned, must have been a cadet.—Sparks.
[1 ]In the French this is Wart, the usual way of printing Ward.