Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. I (1748-1757)
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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).
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TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Fort Cumberland, 18 July, 1755.
As I am favored with an opportunity, I should think myself inexcusable was I to omit giving you some account of our late Engagement with the French on the Monongahela, the 9th instant.
We continued our march from Fort Cumberland to Frazier’s (which is within 7 miles of Duquesne) without meeting any extraordinary event, having only a straggler or two picked up by the French Indians. When we came to this place, we were attacked (very unexpectedly) by about three hundred French and Indians. Our numbers consisted of about thirteen hundred well armed men, chiefly Regulars, who were immediately struck with such an inconceivable panick, that nothing but confusion and disobedience of orders prevailed among them. The officers, in general, behaved with incomparable bravery, for which they greatly suffered, there being near 60 killed and wounded—a large proportion, out of the number we had!
The Virginia companies behaved like men and died like soldiers; for I believe out of three companies that were on the ground that day scarce thirty were left alive. Capt. Peyroney and all his officers, down to a corporal, were killed; Captn. Polson had almost as hard a fate, for only one of his escaped. In short, the dastardly behaviour of the Regular troops (so-called)1 exposed those who were inclined to do their duty to almost certain death; and, at length, in despite of every effort to the contrary, broke and ran as sheep before hounds, leaving the artillery, ammunition, provisions, baggage, and, in short, everything a prey to the enemy. And when we endeavoured to rally them, in hopes of regaining the ground and what we had left upon it, it was with as little success as if we had attempted to have stopped the wild bears of the mountains, or rivulets with our feet; for they would break by, in despite of every effort that could be made to prevent it.
The General was wounded in the shoulder and breast, of which he died three days after; his two aids-de-camp were both wounded, but are in a fair way of recovery; Colo. Burton and Sr. John St. Clair are also wounded, and I hope will get over it; Sir Peter Halket, with many other brave officers, were killed in the field. It is supposed that we had three hundred or more killed; about that number we brought off wounded, and it is conjectured (I believe with much truth) that two thirds of both received their shot from our own cowardly Regulars, who gathered themselves into a body, contrary to orders, ten or twelve deep, would then level, fire and shoot down the men before them.
I tremble at the consequences that this defeat may have upon our back settlers, who, I suppose, will all leave their habitations unless there are proper measures taken for their security.
Colo. Dunbar, who commands at present, intends, as soon as his men are recruited at this place, to continue his march to Philadelphia for winter quarters:1 consequently there will be no men left here, unless it is the shattered remains of the Virginia troops, who are totally inadequate to the protection of the frontiers. * * *
[1 ]The regulars laid the responsibility of defeat on the provincials, alleging “that they were harassed by duties unequal to their numbers, and dispirited through want of provisions; that time was not allowed them to dress their food; that their water (the only liquor, too, they had) was both scarce and of a bad quality; in fine, that the provincials had disheartened them by repeated suggestions of their fears of a defeat should they be attacked by Indians, in which case the European method of fighting would be entirely unavailing.”—Review of the Military Operations in North America, from 1753 to 1756. The Gentleman’s Magazine asserted these same forces—Irish, Scotch and English—ran away “shamefully” at Preston-Pans. The news of Braddock’s defeat “struck a general damp on the spirits of the soldiers” in Shirley’s and Pepperell’s regiments, and many deserted.
[1 ]“Fearful of an unpursuing foe, all the ammunition, and so much of the provisions were destroyed for accelerating their flight, that Dunbar was actually obliged to send for thirty horse loads of the latter before he reached Fort Cumberland, where he arrived a very few days after, with the shattered remains of the English troops.” Review of the Military Operations in North America. Dinwiddie wished Dunbar to remain and make a new attempt on Duquesne; but a council of officers unanimously decided the scheme was impracticable, and on the next day (August 2d) began his march towards Philadelphia.