Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO COLONEL WILLIAM FITZHUGH. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. I (1748-1757)
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TO COLONEL WILLIAM FITZHUGH. - 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).
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TO COLONEL WILLIAM FITZHUGH.
15 November, 1754.1
I was favored with your letter from Rousley Hall, of the 4th instant. It demands my best acknowledgments for the particular marks of esteem you have expressed therein, and for the kind assurances of his Excellency Governor Sharpe’s good wishes towards me. I also thank you, and sincerely, Sir, for your friendly intention of making my situation easy, if I return to the service; and do not doubt, could I submit to the terms, that I should be as happy under your command in the absence of the General, as under any gentleman’s whatever. But I think the disparity between the present offer of a company and my former rank too great, to expect any real satisfaction or enjoyment in a corps, where I once did, or thought I had a right to, command; even if his Excellency had power to suspend the orders received in the Secretary of War’s letter; which, by the by, I am very far from thinking he either has, or will attempt to do, without fuller instructions than I believe he has; especially, too, as there has been a representation of this matter by Governour Dinwiddie, and, I believe, the Assembly of this State. We have advices that it was received before Demmarree obtained his letter.
All that I presume the General can do, is, to prevent the different corps from interfering, which will occasion the duty to be done by corps, instead of detachments; a very inconvenient way, as is found by experience.1
You make mention in your letter of my continuing in the service, and retaining my colonel’s commission. This idea has filled me with surprise; for, if you think me capable of holding a commission, that has neither rank or emolument annexed to it, you must entertain a very contemptible opinion of my weakness, and believe me to be more empty than the commission itself.
Besides, Sir, if I had time, I could enumerate many good reasons, that forbid all thoughts of my returning; and which to you, or any other, would, upon the strictest scrutiny, appear to be well founded. I must be reduced to a very low command, and subjected to that of many, who have acted as my inferior officers. In short, every captain, bearing the King’s commission, every half-pay officer, or others appearing with such commission, would rank before me. For these reasons I choose to submit to the loss of health, which I have, however, already sustained, (not to mention the effects,) and the fatigue I have undergone in our first efforts, than subject myself to the same inconveniences, and run the risk of a second disappointment.
I shall have the consolation of knowing, that I have opened the way, when the smallness of our numbers exposed us to the attacks of a superior enemy; that I have hitherto stood the heat and brunt of the day, and escaped untouched in time of extreme danger; and that I have the thanks of my country, for the services I have rendered it.
It shall not sleep in silence, my having received information that those peremptory orders from home, which you say could not be dispensed with, for reducing the regiments into Independent Companies, were generated, hatched and brought from Will’s Creek. Ingenuous treatment and plain dealing I at least expected.1 It is to be hoped the project will answer; it shall meet with my acquiescence in every thing except personal services. I herewith enclose Governour Sharpe’s letter, which I beg you will return to him, with my acknowledgments for the favour he intended me. Assure him, Sir, as you truly may, of my reluctance to quit the service, and of the pleasure I should have received in attending his fortunes. Also inform him, that it was to obey the call of honour, and the advice of my friends, I declined it, and not to gratify any desire I had to leave the military line. My inclinations are strongly bent to arms.
The length of this, and the small room I have left, tell me how necessary it is to conclude; which I will do, as you always shall find
Truly and sincerely your most humble servant
[1 ]When the Assembly met in October, they granted twenty thousand pounds for the public exigencies, and the governor received from England ten thousand pounds sterling in specie, with the promise of ten thousand more, and two thousand firearms. Thereupon he resolved to enlarge the army to ten companies, of one hundred men each, and to reduce them all to Independent Companies, by which there would be no officer in the Virginia regiment above the rank of a captain. This expedient, he supposed, would remedy the difficulty about command. Washington accordingly resigned, as he would not accept a lower commission, than the one he had held. Referring to the resignation Thomas Penn wrote: “I am concerned to find Colonel Washington’s conduct so imprudent.”—Penn Arch., II., 255.
[1 ]That is, the Independent and Colonial companies must always act separately, and not in concert by detachments from each. The inconvenience of this method was proved in the case of Captain Mackay, previously to the battle of the Great Meadows. Colonel Innes, at Will’s Creek, contrived to keep up a nominal command, by acting under two commissions, his old one from the King received in the former war, and his new one from Governor Dinwiddie, to each of which he appealed as occasion required.—Sparks.
[1 ]There is no evidence of any unfair purpose in this matter of reducing the regiment, and thereby throwing out the higher officers. Governor Dinwiddie wrote to the Earl of Halifax, on the 25th of October: “As there have been some disputes between the regulars, and the officers appointed by me, I am now determined to reduce our regiment into Independent Companies, so that from our forces there will be no other distinguished officer above a captain.” He afterwards asked that blank commissions be sent to him which would place the officers on an equality. In this he could urge the Carthagena expedition as a precedent.