Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1756. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. I (1748-1757)
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1756. - 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 ROBERT HUNTER MORRIS, GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA.
Winchester, 5 January, 1756.
I am sorry it has not been in my power to acknowledge the receipt of yours till now. At the time that your letter came to Winchester, I was at Williamsburg; before I got back, it was conveyed thither; and so from place to place has it been tossing almost till this time.
There is nothing more necessary than good intelligence to frustrate a designing enemy, and nothing that requires greater pains to obtain. I shall, therefore, cheerfully come into any measures you can propose to settle a correspondence for this salutary end; and you may depend upon receiving (when the provinces are threatened) the earliest and best intelligence that I can procure.
I sympathized in [a] general concern to see the inactivity of your province in a time of eminent danger; but am pleased to find, that a feeling sense of wrongs has roused the spirit of your martial Assembly to vote a sum, which, with your judicious application, will turn to a general good.1
We took some pretty vigorous measures to collect a force upon our frontiers, upon the first alarm, which has kept us peaceable ever since. How long this may last is uncertain, since that force, which were militia, are disbanded, and the recruiting service almost stagnated.
If you propose to levy troops, and their destination is not a secret, I should be favored were I let into the scheme, that we may act conjunctly, so far as the nature of things will admit.
Pray direct to me at Alexandria, to which place I design to go in about ten days from this. I heartily wish you the compliments of the season. I am, &c.
ADDRESS TO THE OFFICERS OF THE VIRGINIA REGIMENT.1
8 January, 1756.
* * * * * * *
This timely warning of the effects of misbehaviour will, I hope, be instrumental in animating the younger officers to a laudable emulation in the service of their country. Not that I apprehend any of them can be guilty of offences of this nature: but there are many other misdemeanors, that will, without due circumspection, gain upon inactive minds, and produce consequences equally disgraceful.
I would, therefore, earnestly recommend, in every point of duty, willingness to undertake, and intrepid resolution to execute. Remember, that it is the actions, and not the commission, that make the officer, and that there is more expected from him, than the title. Do not forget, that there ought to be a time appropriated to attain this knowledge, as well as to indulge pleasure. And as we now have no opportunities to improve from example, let us read for this desirable end. There is Bland’s and other treatises which will give the wished-for information.
I think it my duty, gentlemen, as I have the honour to preside over you, to give this friendly admonition; especially as I am determined, as far as my small experience in service, my abilities, and interest of the service may dictate, to observe the strictest discipline through the whole economy of my behaviour. On the other hand, you may as certainly depend upon having the strictest justice administered to all, and that I shall make it the most agreeable part of my duty to study merit, and reward the brave and deserving. I assure, you, gentlemen, that partiality shall never bias my conduct, nor shall prejudice injure any; but, throughout the whole tenor of my proceedings, I shall endeavour, as far as I am able, to reward and punish, without the least diminution.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Alexandria, 14 January, 1756.
Major Lewis, being at Winchester when your letter came to hand, was immediately despatched to Augusta, to take upon him the command of the troops destined against the Shawnese Town;1 with orders to follow such directions as he should receive from you. This scheme, though, I am apprehensive will prove abortive, as we are told that those Indians are removed up the river, into the neighbourhood of Fort Duquesne.
I have given all necessary orders for training the men to a proper use of their arms, and the method of Indian fighting, and hope in a little time to make them expert. And I should be glad to have your Honor’s express commands, either to prepare for taking the field, or for guarding our frontiers in the spring, because the steps for these two are very different. I have already built two forts on Patterson’s Creek, (which have engaged the chief of the inhabitants to return to the plantations;) and have now ordered Captain Waggener with sixty men to build and garrison two others, (on places I have pointed out high up on the South Branch,) which will be a means of securing near an hundred miles of our frontiers, exclusive of the command at Fort Dinwiddie, on Jackson’s River. And, indeed, without a much greater number of men than we have a visible prospect of getting, I do not see how it is possible to think of passing the mountains, or acting more than defensively. This seems to be the full determination of the Pennsylvanians; so that there can be no hope of assistance from that quarter. If we only act defensively, I would most earnestly recommend the building of a strong fort at some convenient place in Virginia, as that in Maryland, not to say any thing of its situation, which is extremely bad, will ever be an eyesore to this colony, and attended with more inconveniences than it is possible to enumerate. One instance of this I have taken notice of, in a letter that accompanies this, and many more I could recite, were it necessary.
If we take the field, there is no time to carry on a work of this kind, but we should immediately set about engaging wagons, horses, forage, pack-saddles, etc. And here I cannot help remarking, that I believe it will be impossible to get wagons or horses sufficient, without the old score is paid off; as the people are really ruined for want of their money, and complain justly of their grievances.
I represented in my last the inconveniences of the late act of Assembly, which obliges us first to send to your Honor for a commission to hold general courtsmartial, and then to delay execution until a warrant can be had from Williamsburg, and I hope you will take the thing into consideration. We have several deserters now on hand, whom I have taken by rigorous measures, and who should be made examples to others, as this practice is continued with greater spirit than ever.
Unless clothing is soon provided, the men will be unfit for any kind of service. And I know of no expedient to procure them, but by sending to the northward, as cloth cannot be had here. I left, among other returns, an exact account of the clothing at every place, when I was in Williamsburg. I shan’t care to lay in provisions for more than a thousand men, unless I have your Honor’s orders. We have put out such of the beeves as were unfit for slaughtering. If they survive the winter, they may be useful in the summer.
Ensign Polson having received a commission in Colonel Gage’s regiment, makes a vacancy here which, with your approbation, will be filled by Mr. Dennis McCarthy, whom you once appointed a captain. He has continued a volunteer ever since, and has recruited several men into the service, and I hope your Honor will allow me the liberty, as you once promised me, of filling up the vacancies, as they happen, with the volunteers, who serve with that expectation. We have several with us, that seem to be very deserving young gentlemen. I shall observe the strictest justice in promoting them according to their merit, and their time of entering the service. I have ordered Captn. Hog to render immediately a fair account to the company of the money sent him. He was ordered to lay in provisions for only 12 months. Captn. Stewart has recruited his complement of men. I should be glad to know whether he is to complete his horse against the spring and provide accoutrements.
I have been obliged to suspend Ensign Dekeyser for misbehaviour till your pleasure is known. See the proceedings of the enquiring courts. His character in many other respects has been infamous. I have also been obliged to threaten, in your name, the new appointed officers with the same fate if they are not more diligent in recruiting the companies, as each received his commission upon those terms. Captn. Mercer comes down for more money and to satisfy how the £10,000 has been applied.
The skipper of the vessels has embezzled some of the stores; but for want of a particular invoice of them, we cannot ascertain the loss. He is kept in confinement until your Honor’s pleasure is known. I am, &c.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Alexandria, 14 January, 1756.
When I was down, the Committee among other things resolved, that the Maryland and Carolina companies should not be supported with our provisions. This resolve (I think) met with your approbation; upon which I wrote to Colonel Stephen, desiring him to acquaint Captain Dagworthy thereof, who paid slight regard to it, saying it was in the King’s garrison, and all the troops had an equal right to draw provisions with us, by his order, (as commanding officer,) and that we, after it was put there, had no power to remove it without his leave. I should, therefore, be glad of your Honor’s peremptory orders what to do in this case, as I do not care to act without instructions, lest it should appear to proceed from pique and resentment at having the command disputed. This is one among the numberless inconveniences of having the fort in Maryland. Captain Dagworthy, I dare venture to affirm, is encouraged to say this by Governor Sharpe, who we know has wrote to him to keep the command. This Captain Dagworthy acquainted Colonel Stephen of himself. As I have not yet heard how General Shirley has answered your Honor’s request, I fear the success, especially as it is next to an impossibility (as Governor Sharpe has been there to plead Captain Dagworthy’s cause) by writing to make the General acquainted with the nature of the dispute. The officers have drawn up a memorial to be presented to the General, and, that it may be properly strengthened, they humbly beg your solicitation to have us (as we have certain advices that it is in his power) put upon the establishment. This would at once put an end to contention, which is the root of evil, and destructive to the best of operations; and turn all our movements into a free, easy channel.
They have urged it in the warmest manner to me, to appear personally before the General for that end, which I would at this disagreeable season, gladly do, things being thus circumstanced, if I had your permission; which I more freely ask, since I am determined to resign a commission, which you were generously pleased to offer me, (and for which I shall always retain a grateful sense of the favor) rather than submit to the command of a person, who, I think, has not such superlative merit to balance the inequality of rank, however he adheres to what he calls his right, and in which I know he is supported by Governor Sharpe. He says, that he has no commission from the province of Maryland, but acts by virtue of that from the King; that this was the condition of his engaging in the Maryland service; and when he was sent up there the 1st of last October, was ordered by Governor Sharpe and Sir John St. Clair not to give up his right. To my certain knowledge his rank was disputed before General Braddock, who gave it in his favor; and he accordingly took place of every captain upon the expedition, except Captain James Mercer and Captain Rutherford, whose commissions were older than his; so that I should not by any means choose to act, as your Honor hinted in your last, lest I should be called to an account myself.1
I have, during my stay above2 from the 1st3 of December to this, disposed of all the men and officers, (that are not recruiting, and can be spared from the fort,) in the best manner I can for the defence of the inhabitants, and they will need no further orders till I could return. And the recruiting officers are allowed till the first of March to repair to their rendezvous, which leaves at present nothing to do at the fort, but to train and discipline the men, and prepare and salt the provisions. For the better perfecting both these, I have left full and clear directions.
Besides, in other respects, I think my going to the northward might be of service, as I should thereby, so far as they thought proper to communicate, be acquainted with the plan of operations, especially the Pennsylvanians’, so as to act, as much as the nature of things would admit, in concert.
If you think proper to comply with my request, I should be glad of any letters, as you think would enforce the petition to the General, or any of the governors in my way there. I am, &c.
TO LIEUTENANT-COLONEL STEPHEN.
Alexandria, 1 February, 1756.
If you find that a good road by Ross’s Mill can be so easily cut, the sooner it is set about the better. As the Governor is still silent concerning what I represented about building a fort on Patterson’s Creek, I would have you desist, at least for a while, and erect such buildings as are absolutely necessary at Fort Cumberland, and no more.
You may depend upon it I shall take proper notice of the late proceedings you speak of, but for certain reasons am obliged to postpone it. Things not yet being rightly settled for punishing deserters according to their crimes, you must go on in the old way of whipping stoutly.
If casks are still wanted, there should be great care used to provide them in time.
Looking upon our affairs at this critical juncture to be of such importance, and having a personal acquaintance with General Shirley, which I thought might add some weight to the strength of our memorial, I solicited leave, which is obtained, to visit him in person, and accordingly set out in two days for Boston, having procured letters, &c. from the Governor, which was the result of a Council for the purpose called. You may depend upon it, I shall leave no stone unturned for this salutary end; and, I think, if reason, justice, and every other equitable right can claim attention, we deserve to be heard.
As I have taken the fatigue &c. of this tedious journey upon myself, (which I never thought of until I had left Winchester,) I hope you will conduct every thing in my absence for the interest and honor of the service. And I must exhort you in the most earnest manner to strict discipline and due exercise of arms.
You may tell Mr. Livingston from me, that, if the soldiers are not skilled in arms equal to what may reasonably be expected, he most assuredly shall answer it at my return. And I must ingenuously tell you, that I also expect to find them expert at bush-fighting. You are to order that a particular account be taken of the provisions that are delivered to the Maryland and Carolina companies by the commissary.
The Governor seems determined to make the officers comply with the terms of getting their commissions, or forfeit them, and approves of Dekeyser’s suspension,1 and orders, that he shall not be admitted into the camp. He seems uneasy at what I own gives me much concern, i. e., that gaming seems to be introduced into the camp. I am ordered to discourage it, and must desire that you will intimate the same.
As money may be wanted for paying the troops, and other incidental charges, order the paymaster down to Alexandria, where he may receive of Mr. Kirkpatrick the sum requisite.
I think of nothing else at present; so, with once more exhorting you to strict observation of discipline, I conclude, yours, &c.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Alexandria, 2 February, 1756.
I can but return my very hearty thanks for your kind condescension in suffering me to wait upon General Shirley, as I am very well assured it was done with the intention to favor my suit.
There is as yet an unanswerable argument against our taking the field, which I forgot to mention in my last; that is, the want of a train of artillery, and, what is full as necessary, engineers to conduct the affair, if we hope to approach Fort Duquesne. By the advices, which we have received hitherto from the northward, the Pennsylvanians are determined to act defensively. For that purpose they have posted their new raised levies upon their frontiers at different passes, and have received the additional strength and favor of a detachment or two from the regulars. I have ordered, besides the forts that are built, and now building, that a road which I had reconnoitred, and which proves nearer and better, to be immediately opened for the more easy transporation of stores, &c. from Winchester to Fort Cumberland; so there is not the least fear of the soldiers being corrupted through idleness. The commission for calling general courts-martial appears to me to be imperfect, (notwithstanding it is drawn by the attorney-general,) as it rather, by the words, appoints me, or whomever it is directed to, president of the said court, than invests a power to call one as often as occasion shall require. For which reason it is not in my power to hold a court-martial without its being first ordered by you; whereas, the commission should empower to appoint a court, of which he is to be president. But as I hope there will be little occasion for any until I come back, it may be deferred until then, when that and other things, I trust, will be properly settled. * * *
I have always, so far as it was in my power, endeavoured to discourage gaming in the camp; and always shall so long as I have the honor to preside there.
I have delivered the skipper to Mr. Carlyle, who proposes, in order to save expense, to send him round by water, in the vessel that brought up the stores. The evidences in this affair will be Mr. Carlyle, Ensigns Buckner and Deane, and one of the men now in the vessel.
I cannot help observing, that your Honor, if you have not seen the clothing lately sent up, has been imposed upon by the contractors, for they are really unfit for use; at least, will soon be so.
I have nothing in particular to add, but to assure your Honour, that I shall use my utmost diligence in the prosecution of my journey and pretensions, and that I am, &c.1
NOTES ON HIS JOURNEY TO BOSTON.
EXTRACTS FROM THE PENNSYLVANIA GAZETTE.
February 12, 1756. Last week Colonel Washington arrived here from Virginia.
February 19. Last week Colonel Washington set out from this city for New York.1
February 26. New York, February 23. Colonel Washington, of and from Virginia, but last from Philadelphia, left this city for Boston on Friday last, there ’tis thought, to consult with General Shirley, measures proper to be taken with several tribes of Indians to the southward, and particularly the Cherokees, some hundreds of whom, from the back parts of the two Carolinas, it is reported, have assured the Western Governments of their coming in, and firmly adhering to the interest of the English, in opposition to the French.2
March 11. Boston, March 1. Last Friday came to this Town, from Virginia, the Hon. Colonel Washington.3
March 18. Yesterday Colonel George Washington arrived here [Philadelphia] from the northward.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Winchester, 7 April, 1756.
I arrived here yesterday, and think it advisable to despatch an express (notwithstanding I hear two or three are already sent down) to inform you of the unhappy situation of affairs on this quarter. The enemy have returned in greater numbers, committed several murders not far from Winchester, and even are so daring as to attack our forts in open day, as your Honor may see by the enclosed letters and papers. Many of the inhabitants are in a miserable situation by their losses, and so apprehensive of danger, that, I believe, unless a stop is put to the depredations of the Indians, the Blue Ridge will soon become our frontier.
I find it impossible to continue on to Fort Cumberland, until a body of men can be raised, in order to do which I have advised with Lord Fairfax, and other officers of the militia, who have ordered each captain to call a private muster, and to read the exhortation enclosed (for orders are no longer regarded in this county), in hopes that this expedient may meet with the wished-for success. If it should, I shall, with such men as are ordered from Fort Cumberland to join these, scour the woods and suspected places, in all the mountains, valleys, &c. on this part of our frontiers; and doubt not but I shall fall in with the Indians and their more cruel associates! I hope the present emergency of affairs, assisted by such good news as the Assembly may by this time have received from England, and the Commissioners, will determine them to take vigorous measures for their own and country’s safety, and no longer depend on an uncertain way of raising men for their own protection. However absurd it may appear, it is nevertheless certain, that five hundred Indians have it more in their power to annoy the inhabitants, than ten times their number of regulars. For besides the advantageous way they have of fighting in the woods, their cunning and craft are not to be equalled, neither their activity and indefatigable sufferings. They prowl about like wolves, and, like them, do their mischief by stealth. They depend upon their dexterity in hunting and upon the cattle of the inhabitants for provisions. For which reason, I own, I do not think it unworthy the notice of the legislature to compel the inhabitants (if a general war is likely to ensue, and things to continue in this unhappy situation for any time), to live in townships, working at each other’s farms by turns, and to drive their cattle into the thickly settled parts of the country. Were this done, they could not be cut off by small parties, and large ones could not subsist without provisions.1
It seemed to be the sentiment of the House of Burgesses when I was down, that a chain of forts should be erected upon our frontiers, for the defence of the people. This expedient, in my opinion, without an inconceivable number of men, will never answer their expectations.2
I doubt not but your Honor has had a particular account of Major Lewis’s unsuccessful attempt to get to the Shawanese Town. It was an expedition, from which, on account of the length of the march down, I always had little expectation of, and often expressed my uneasy apprehensions on that head. But since they are returned, with the Indians that accompanied them, I think it would be a very happy step to prevail upon the latter to proceed as far as Fort Cumberland. It is in their power to be of infinite use to us; and without Indians, we shall never be able to cope with those cruel foes to our country.1
I would therefore beg leave to recommend in a very earnest manner, that your Honor would send an express to them immediately for this desirable end. I should have done it myself, but was uncertain whether it might prove agreeable or not. I also hope your Honour will order Major Lewis to secure his guides, as I understand he attributes all his misfortunes to their misconduct. Such offences as those should meet with adequate punishment, else we may ever be misled by designing villains. I am your Honor’s, &c.
Since writing the above, Mr. Pearis, who commanded a party as per enclosed list, is returned, who relates, that, upon the North River, he fell in with a small body of Indians which he engaged, and, after a dispute of half an hour, put them to flight. Monsieur Douville, commander of the party, was killed and scalped, and his instructions found about him, which I enclose. We had one man killed, and two wounded. Mr. Pearis sends the scalp by Jenkins; and I hope, although it is not an Indian’s, they will meet with an adequate reward at least, as the monsieur’s is of much more consequence. The whole party jointly claim the reward, no person pretending solely to assume the merit.1
Your Honor may in some measure penetrate into the daring designs of the French by their instructions, where orders are given to burn, if possible, our magazine at Conococheague, a place that is in the midst of a thickly settled country.
I have ordered the party there to be made as strong as time and our present circumstances will afford, for fear they should attempt to execute the orders of Dumas.2 I have also ordered up an officer and twenty recruits to assist Joseph Edwards, and the people on those waters.1 The people of this town are under dreadful apprehensions of an attack, and all the roads between this and Fort Cumberland are much infested. As I apprehend you will be obliged to draft men, I hope care will be taken that none shall be chosen but active, resolute men,—men, who are practised to arms, and are marksmen.
I also hope that a good many more will be taken than what are requisite to complete our numbers to what the Assembly design to establish; as many of those we have got are really in a manner unfit for duty; and were received more through necessity than choice; and will very badly bear a re-examination. Another thing I would beg leave to recommend; and that is, that such men as are drafted, should be only taken for a time,2 by which means we shall get better men, and which will in all probability stay with us.
TO GOVERNOR MORRIS.
Winchester, 9 April, 1756.
I had scarce reached Williamsburg, before an express was after me with news of the French and Indians advancing within our settlements, and doing incredible mischief to the inhabitants, which oblig’d me to postpone my business there, and hurry to their assistance with all expedition: when I came to this place I found everything in deep confusion, and the poor distressed inhabitants under a general consternation. I therefore collected such force as I coud immediately raise, and sent them in such parties, and to such places as t’was judged most likely to meet with the Enemy; one of which, under the command of Mr. Pearis, luckily fell in with a small body of them as they were surrounding a small fort on the No. River of Cacapehon, whom they engaged, and (after half an hour’s close firing) put to flight with the loss of their commander, Mons. Douville (killed), and three or four more mortally wounded. The accident that has determined the fate of Monsieur has, I believe, dispersd his party, for I don’t hear of any mischief done in this colony since, tho’ we are not without numbers who are making hourly discoverys.
I have sent you a copy of the Instructions that were found about this officer, that you may see how bold and enterprising the enemy have grown, how unconfind are the ambitious designs of the French, and how much it will be in their power (if the colonys continue in their fatal lethargy) to give a final stab to liberty and property.
Nothing I more sincerely wish than a union to the colonys in this time of eminent danger, and that you may find your Assembly in a temper of mind to act consistently with their preservation. What Maryland has or will do, I know not, but this I am certain of, that Virginia will do everything that can be expected to promote the publick good.
I went to Williamsburgh fully resolved to resign my commission, but was diswaded from it at least for a time.1 If the hurry of business, in which I know your Honor is genly. engaged, will admit of an opportunity to murder a little time in writing to me, I shoud receive the favour as a mark of that esteem which I coud wish to merit, by shewing at all times, when its in my power, how much I am, Sir, &c.
P. S. A Letter this instant arriving from Williamsburg informs that our Assembly have voted £20,000 more, and that their forces shd. be increasd to 2000 men. A laudable example this, and I hope not singular one.
TO JOHN ROBINSON.
Winchester, 16 April, 1756.
When I wrote you last, I was in high hopes of being by this time at the head of a large party scouring the Allegany Hills. But the timidity of the inhabitants of this county is to be equalled by nothing but their perverseness. Yesterday was the time appointed for all to meet who were inclined to join for this desirable end, and only fifteen came, some of whom refused to go but upon such terms as must have rendered their services burthensome to the country. Therefore, I am again reduced to the necessity of waiting the arrival of a party from Fort Cumberland before I can leave this place.1 There has been no mischief done since I wrote you last,2 which I attribute in some measure, to the frequent parties I have ordered out in pursuit of the enemy. Yesterday I received an account which made me suspect that the Indians rendezvoused upon the back of the Warm Spring Mountain. I have, therefore, sent orders to an officer3 who is out with a party of one hundred men, to proceed thither with the best guides he can procure, and search that mountain well; which, if the intelligence be true, I hope he will render a good account of them.
Nothing, Sir, equals the pleasure I felt at hearing of the generous supplies the Assembly have voted. But to find that the men and money which they have given are properly disposed of, and that the men are formed for the service of the country, and not to make commissions to serve individuals, I have sent the Governor a plan or scheme, of which you have a copy; to form the two thousand men into one regiment, consisting of two battalions of ten companies each; with five field officers, each having a company, and every company to consist of one captain, two lieutenants, one ensign, four sergeants, four corporals, two drummers, and eighty-seven private men: which will save the country the annual expense of five thousand and six pounds, sixteen shillings and eight pence, as you may see by the enclosed. And we at the same time be better appointed and established more after the British custom than we now are, or shall be if formed into two regiments, or one regiment with only fifty men in a company.1 As instances of which I shall observe: first, were we formed into two regiments after our present appointment, we must have one hundred and two commissioned, and two hundred [and] twenty four non-commissioned officers, besides staff officers. But these indeed will be the same in two battalions, as in two regiments. Whereas in the present scheme, you have only eighty commissioned officers, and two hundred non-commissioned. The pay therefore of them, together with the staff-officers and private men, all amounts only to £34,145. 10. per annum. Whereas the same number of men in two regiments, or in fifties, according to our present establishment, will be £39,152. 6. 8. The difference therefore is, as I before observed, £5,006. 16. 8., which would go a great length either in clothing, or defraying incident charges of the regiment. Another difference is that of giving the field officers companies, which is practised in all parts of the world but this, and here discontinued evidently to the disadvantage of the country, as the field officers who have no companies are allowed in the same proportion as if they had, and three captains are paid to do this duty.
This calculation is made for the two thousand men, to include officers; but if that is not the intention of the Assembly, the scheme still holds good, or better in proportion, and differs in this respect only: that each company is to contain one hundred men instead of eighty-seven, and to have the addition of a sergeant or two to each.
I have made bold, Sir, to offer my opinion freely; and if it meets with the approbation of your House, I should be glad if you would help it into execution. Otherwise, as I am sensible, the Governor may be strongly importuned for commissions, he may good-naturedly grant them, without considering how manifest an injury it will be to the country and service in general.
As I am convinced, that no other method can be used to raise two thousand men, but by drafting, I hope to be excused, when I again repeat, how great care should be observed in choosing active marksmen. The manifest inferiority of inactive persons, unused to arms, in this kind of service, although equal in numbers, to lively persons who have practised hunting, is inconceivable. The chance against them is more than two to one. Another thing I hope will merit the consideration of the Assembly, and that is, that they will put all such men as are raised for the expedition in actual pay, and under the same discipline that ours are at present; otherwise, I am very well convinced their good intentions will prove abortive, and all the drafts quit the service as soon, or before, they are brought into it.
I do not conceive it to be a hardship to put even drafts under martial law, if they are only taken for a certain time, which I could wish to be the case, as I thereby hope for better men.1 I am &c.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Winchester, 18 April, 1756.
It gave me infinite concern to find in yours2 by Governor Innes, that any representations should inflame the Assembly against the Virginia regiment, or give cause to suspect the morality and good behaviour of the officers. How far any of the individuals may have deserved such invidious reflections, I will not take upon me to determine, but this I am certain of, and can call my conscience, and what, I suppose, will still be a more demonstrable proof in the eyes of the world, my orders, to witness how much I have, both by threats and persuasive means, endeavoured to discountenance gaming, drinking, swearing, and irregularities of every other kind; while I have, on the other hand, practised every artifice to inspire a laudable emulation in the officers for the service of their country, and to encourage the soldiers in the unerring exercise of their duty. How far I have failed in this desirable end, I cannot pretend to say. But it is nevertheless a point, which does in my opinion merit some scrutiny, before it meets with a final condemnation. Yet I will not undertake to vouch for the conduct of many of the officers, as I know there are some, who have the seeds of idleness very strongly ingrafted in their natures; and I also know, that the unhappy difference about the command, which has kept me from Fort Cumberland, has consequently prevented me from enforcing the orders, which I never failed to send.
However, if I continue in the service, I shall take care to act with a little more rigor, than has hitherto been practised, since I find it so necessary.
I wrote your Honor in my last how unsuccessfully we attempted to raise the militia, and that I was reduced to the necessity of waiting here the arrival of an escort from Fort Cumberland.
Should this escort arrive before Mr. Kirkpatrick does from Williamsburgh (whom I hourly expect), I must yet wait a little longer, he being left with all my accounts and papers to lay before the committee, and were I to go up without him, it would put it out of my power to settle with the recruiting officers above, in order that I might make a final settlement with the committee below. The garrison at Fort Cumberland is barely manned. The rest are out on parties; yet the Indians continue to hunt the roads, and pick up straggling persons. This your Honor may see by the enclosed from Captain John Mercer, who, being out with a scouting party of one hundred men, I have ordered to search the Warm-Spring Mountain, where, it is lately reported, that the Indians rendezvous. The commission your Honor has sent for holding courts-martial is yet insufficient, as it is copied, (I suppose, too literally) after Governor Innes’s, who had no power to hold a general court-martial, or to try commissioned officers, having none either to hold a court, or in short any to try. But this may be postponed until I come down, which will be in a short time after I arrive at Fort Cumberland. I am your Honor’s, &c.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Winchester, 19 April, 1756.
Since writing my letter of yesterday’s date, the enclosed came to hand, by which your Honor will be informed of a very unlucky affair.1
I immediately consulted Governor Innes, and such officers of my regiment as were at this place, on the necessary steps to be taken. They unanimously advised, that I should remain here with the fifty recruits that are in town, for the defence of the place, until the militia be raised, that we may thereby be enabled to compose a formidable body, and march out against the enemy. This engagement happened within twenty miles of Winchester, and the sergeant, who brought the letter, assures me that they have reason to imagine, that their numbers are greater than the letter informs.1 He says that there were many French amongst them, and that the chief part of the whole were mounted on horseback; so that there is a great probability that they may have a design upon this place.
I have sent an express to Lord Fairfax, with a copy of Stark’s letter, and have desired, in the most earnest manner, that he will be expeditious in calling the militia; but, alas! that is an unhappy dependence; yet the only one we have at present. I am your Honor’s, &c.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Winchester, 22 April, 1756.
This encloses several letters, and the minutes of a council of war,2 which was held upon the receipt of them. Your Honor may see to what unhappy straits the distressed inhabitants as well as I, am reduced. I am too little acquainted, Sir, with pathetic language, to attempt a description of the people’s distresses, though I have a generous soul, sensible of wrongs, and swelling for redress. But what can I do? If bleeding, dying! would glut their insatiate revenge, I would be a willing offering to savage fury, and die by inches to save a people! I see their situation, know their danger, and participate their sufferings, without having it in my power to give them further relief, than uncertain promises. In short, I see inevitable destruction in so clear a light, that, unless vigorous measures are taken by the Assembly, and speedy assistance sent from below, the poor inhabitants that are now in forts, must unavoidably fall, while the remainder of the country are flying before the barbarous foe. In fine, the melancholy situation of the people, the little prospect of assistance, the gross and scandalous abuses cast upon the officers in general, which is reflecting upon me in particular, for suffering misconducts of such extraordinary kinds, and the distant prospects, if any, that I can see, of gaining honor and reputation in the service, are motives which cause me to lament the hour, that gave me a commission, and would induce me, at any other time than this of imminent danger, to resign without one hesitating moment, a command, which I never expect to reap either honor or benefit from; but, on the contrary, have almost an absolute certainty of incurring displeasure below, while the murder of poor innocent babes and helpless families may be laid to my account here!
The supplicating tears of the women, and moving petitions from the men, melt me into such deadly sorrow, that I solemnly declare, if I know my own mind, I could offer myself a willing sacrifice to the butchering enemy, provided that would contribute to the people’s ease.
Lord Fairfax has ordered men from the adjacent counties, but when they will come, or in what numbers, I cannot pretend to determine. If I may judge from the success we have met with here, I have but little hopes, as three days’ incessant endeavours have produced but twenty men.
I have too often urged my opinion for vigorous measures, therefore I shall only add, that, besides the accounts you will receive in the letters, we are told from all parts, that the woods appear to be alive with Indians, who feast upon the fat of the land. As we have not more than a barrel or two of powder at this place, the rest being at Fort Cumberland, I could wish your Honor would send some up. I have wrote to Alexandria and Fredericksburg, desiring that two barrels may be sent from each place, but whether there is any at either, I know not. I have sent orders to Captain Harrison to be diligent on the waters where he is posted, and to use his utmost endeavours to protect the people; and, if possible, to surprise the enemy at their sleeping-places. Ashby’s letter is a very extraordinary one.1 The design of the Indians was only, in my opinion, to intimidate him into a surrender. For which reason I have wrote him word, that if they do attack him, he must defend that place to the last extremity, and when he is bereft of hope, then to lay a train to blow up the fort, and retire by night to Fort Cumberland. A small fort, which we have at the mouth of Patterson’s Creek, containing an officer and thirty men guarding stores, was attacked smartly by the French and Indians; they were as warmly received, upon which they retired. Our men at present are dispersed into such small bodies, guarding the people and public stores, that we are not able to make, or even form a body. I am your Honor’s, &c.1
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Winchester, 24 April, 1756.
Not an hour, nay scarcely a minute, passes, that does not produce fresh alarms and melancholy accounts. So that I am distracted what to do! Nor is it possible for me to give the people the necessary assistance for their defence, upon account of the small number of men we have, or is likely to be here for some time. The inhabitants are removing daily, and in a short time will leave this county as desolate as Hampshire, where scarce a family lives!
Three families were murdered the night before last, at the distance of less than twelve miles from this place; and every day we have accounts of such cruelties and barbarities, as are shocking to human nature. Nor is it possible to conceive the situation and danger of this miserable country. Such numbers of French and Indians are all around, no road is safe to travel; and here we know not the hour how soon we may be attacked.
But as it is not in my power to give your Honor a full account of every thing, I have sent Captain Peachey to wait upon you, who can be more ample and satisfactory in every point, that requires your Honor’s notice. I have written for the militia of Fairfax, Prince William, and Culpeper, and expect them here in a very few days. But how they are to be supplied with ammunition and provision, I am quite at a loss. The distance of Fort Cumberland from us, where these supplies are, renders them useless, in a manner, and puts us to the greatest straits; and the inhabitants leaving their farms, will make it impossible for the militia to subsist without provisions, which are now very scarce, and will be more so. I should therefore be glad your Honor would send arms, ammunition, and provisions up, and give immediate orders for the Irish beef at Alexandria, which cannot be had without your consent.
Your Honor spoke of sending some Indians to our assistance, in which no time should be lost, nor means omitted to engage all the Catawbas and Cherokees, that can possibly be gathered together and immediately despatched hither. For without Indians to oppose Indians, we may expect but small success. And I should think it no bad scheme, (while the Indians remain here in such numbers,) to have a detachment sent out with some friendly Indians to make an attempt upon their towns,—though this should be executed with all imaginable secrecy.
I hear the Assembly are for augmenting the forces (in pay) to fifteen hundred, which are far too few to defend the frontiers against so numerous an enemy. But I have often wrote you my sentiments upon this and other subjects, so shall not now enlarge. I have also written to the Speaker by Captain Peachey, who will, I imagine, communicate to your Honor what demands your immediate regard.
I wish your Honor would resolve me, whether the militia that are expected here must be supplied out of the public stocks of provisions laid in for the soldiers, or if they are to find themselves. The want of due direction in matters of this nature causes great inconvenience. Give me leave to urge your Honor’s speedy care of sending men and ammunition to our assistance, else the consequence may prove very fatal in a little time.
I have been just now informed, that numbers about the neighbourhood hold councils and cabals to very dishonorable purposes, and unworthy the thoughts of a British subject. Despairing of assistance and protection from below (as they foolishly conjecture), they talk of capitulating and coming upon terms with the French and Indians, rather than lose their lives and fortunes through obstinacy. My force, at present, is very weak, and unable to take the necessary measures, with those suspected; but, as soon as the militia arrive, be assured I will do my utmost to detect and secure such pests of society, if my information is not groundless, which I should be pleased to find so.
I enclose your Honor a copy of a council of war lately held here,1 and copies of some letters since my last to you; one of which, for Colonel Martin, was just sent to me from Fort Hopewell, on the South Branch. They have had an engagement there, with the French and Indians, the particulars of which you will see by the enclosed. Captain Waggener, with a party of his men, joined them next day, and went in pursuit of the enemy, but could not come up with them. The waters were so high, that although Captain Waggener heard them engaged, he could send them no assistance. From these and other circumstances, you may form but a faint idea of the wretched and unhappy situation of this country, nor can it be conceived.
My extreme hurry, confusion, and anxiety must plead an excuse for incorrectness, &c. I am your Honor’s, &c.
TO JOHN ROBINSON.
Winchester, 24 April, 1756.
Yesterday I received yours by Mr. Kirkpatrick, and am sorry to hear the reflections upon the conduct of the officers. I could wish that their names had been particularized, that justice might be done to the innocent and guilty! for it is extremely hard, that the whole corps should suffer the most ungenteel reproaches for the inadvertence and misconduct of a few.1
The deplorable situation of this people is no more to be described, than my anxiety and uneasiness for their relief. And I see in so clear a light the inevitable destruction of this county without immediate assistance, that I cannot look forward but with the most poignant sorrow.
You may expect, by the time this comes to hand, that, without a considerable reinforcement, Frederick county will not be mistress of fifteen families. They are now retreating to the securest parts in droves of fifties. In short, every thing has too melancholy an appearance for pen to communicate. I have therefore sent an officer, whose good sense and judicious observations will be a more effectual way of transmitting an account of the people’s distresses.
I wish the Assembly had given two thousand men, instead of fifteen hundred, and that I had been acquainted with the dispositions they intended to make. Since I am ignorant of this, I hope it will not be thought presuming when I offer my sentiments upon the subject.
We are, Sir, first to consider, that if a chain of forts is to be erected upon our frontiers, it is done with a design to protect the people. Therefore, if these forts are more than fifteen and eighteen miles, or a day’s march, asunder, and garrisoned with less than eighty or an hundred men each, the intention is lost, and for these reasons. 1st, if they are at greater distances, it is inconvenient for the soldiers to scout, and allows the enemy to pass between without being easily discovered, and when discovered so soon pursued. And secondly, if they are garrisoned with less than eighty or an hundred men, the number will be too few to afford detachments. Then, again, our frontiers are so extensive, that, were the enemy to attack us on the one side, before the troops on the other could get to their assistance, they might overrun and destroy half the country. And it is more than probable, if they had a design upon the first, they would make a feint upon the other. Then we are to consider what sums the building of twenty forts would cost, and the removing stores and provisions to each, and in the last place, we are to consider where and when this expense is to end. For, if we do not endeavour to remove the cause, we are liable to the same incursions seven years hence as now, if the war continues, and they are allowed to remain on Ohio.
I shall next give the reasons, which I think make for a defensive plan. If the neighbouring colonies refuse us their assistance, we have neither strength or abilities of ourselves to conduct an expedition; or, if we had, and were the whole to join us, I do not see to what purpose, since we have neither a train of artillery, artillery-men, engineers, &c, to execute any scheme beyond the mountains against a regular fortress. Again, we have not, that I can see, either stores or provisions, arms or ammunition, wagons or horses, in any degree proportioned to the service; and to undertake an affair, where we are sure to fall through, would be productive of the worst consequences, and another defeat would entirely lose us the interest of every Indian.
If, then, we cannot act offensively with a prospect of success, we must be upon the defensive; and that there is no way to protect the people, or save ourselves, but by a chain of forts, is evidently certain.
I would beg leave, in that case, to propose that there should be a strong fort erected at this place, for a general receptacle of all the stores, &c, and a place of residence for the commanding officers, to be garrisoned with one company for the security of the stores, and to serve as escorts for all wagons, that are going higher up, because it is the most public and most convenient for intelligence of any in the country, and the most convenient to the part that will ever be attacked by numbers, it lying directly on the road to Fort Duquesne, from whence, and their Indian allies, who are still up higher, we have the greatest reason to apprehend danger. It also lies convenient to the inhabitants for raising the militia when occasion requires.
I have found by experience, that being just within the inhabitants is absolutely necessary to give orders for the defence of the people; and that Fort Cumberland is of no more use towards the defence of the country, than Fort George at Hampton, and know as little what is doing. For the people so soon as they are alarmed, immediately fly inwards, and at this time there is not an inhabitant living between here and Fort Cumberland, except a few settlements upon the Manor about a fort we built there, and a few families at Edward’s, on Cacapehon, with a guard of ours, which makes this very town at present the outmost frontiers, and though a place trifling in itself, is yet of the utmost importance, as it commands the communication from east to west, as well as from north to south, for at this place do almost all the roads center, and secures the great roads of one half of our frontiers to the markets of the neighbouring colonies, as well as to those on Rappahannock and Potomack. At Fort Cumberland I would have one company garrisoned to secure the place, to procure the earliest intelligence, and to cover all detachments that may be sent towards the Ohio, which is all the use it can ever be of. In the next place, I would propose, that a good fort should be erected between this and Fort Cumberland, which shall be in a line with the chain of forts across the country, and be garrisoned with two companies. This I would advise, because, as I before observed, if we are ever attacked by a large body, it must be here, as they have no other road to our frontiers, either to transport men or necessaries.
These three forts that I have already spoken of will employ four companies, which will be a tolerable body, if the companies are large, which they would be, according to the plan I sent you. And it would be a trifling expense to augment each company to one hundred privates, which will make two thousand, exclusive of officers, which were included in the scheme last sent.
After this is done, I would post the remaining companies equidistant, or at proper passes, along our frontiers, agreeable to the enclosed sketch, and order communications to be opened between fort and fort, and large detachments scouting to discover the tracks of the enemy.
And now, sir, one thing to add, which requires the Assembly’s attention, and that is, what vale, or upon what part of our frontiers these forts are to be built? For I am to tell you that the Great Ridge or North Mountain, so called in Evans’s map, to which I refer, is now become our exterior bound, there not being one inhabitant beyond that on all the Potomack waters, except a few families on the South Branch, and at Joseph Edwards’s, on Cacapehon, (which I have already mentioned,) guarded by a party of ours. So that it requires some consideration to determine whether we are to build near this to protect the present inhabitants; or on the South Branch, or Patterson’s Creek, in the hopes of drawing back those, who have forsaken their dwellings,
If we do not build there, that country will ever want settlers; and if we do, there is so great a blank, with such a series of mountains between, that it will be next to impossible to guard the people effectually. I could again wish, that the Assembly had given two thousand men, exclusive of officers, to be formed into two battalions of ten companies each, with four field officers. Indeed, fifteen hundred men are a greater number than ever was in a regiment of only one battalion, and they should be divided into two, with four field-officers, who should be posted so as to have the immediate care of a certain number of forts, with orders to draw from one to another, as occasion should require.1
I could add more on this subject, but am so hurried, that I am obliged to refer for further particulars to the bearer, who will tell you, that, to carry on all these works, a number of tools, as well as many other necessaries, will be absolutely wanting.
I have given my opinion with candor, and submit to correction with the greatest pleasure. Confusion and hurry must apologize for the incoherence and incorrectness hereof.
I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.
TO JOHN ROBINSON.
Winchester, 27 April, 1756.
In my last I omitted to observe one thing touching the defence of our frontiers by a chain of forts, and it is this:
If the province of Maryland makes no provision for its frontiers, we shall have a long, unguarded space quite open and defenceless from Wills Creek to the mouth of Shanandoah, where the enemy may have, and have already given proof of, free egress and regress in crossing Potowmack; plundering, burning, murdering and destroying all before them. It is matter of moment, and worthy the Assembly’s notice. For we must secure that weak side, if our neighbours are so indifferent as to disregard their own safety, because of its connexion with ours. In this case the number of forts will be increased to two or three more. Another material point to be regarded by the Assembly, and of very great importance to the inhabitants, is the situation of these forts intended along the frontiers. As I mentioned to you before, that placing them on the former utmost frontier, would be of small service to defend the present frontier settlements, now so remote from the former.
For the enemy would still make incursions, and carry off their booty with impunity, without a considerable number of men posted at these forts constantly patrolling in order to interrupt them. And without such defence and protection, the people will never be induced to return again to their plantations.
Again, if the forts are built upon the present exterior settlements, the former lands will remain unsettled: nor need we expect that the inhabitants will extend their improvements beyond these forts, while such disturbances continue.
I would again urge the necessity of a large and strong fort at this town1 for very cogent reasons, as I hinted in my former, it being the center of all the public roads, and a place of the most importance on the frontiers. I would advise its being large, as it will be the sole refuge for the inhabitants upon any alarm, where they may be received and protected until they can return with safety to their plantations. And as it must be the magazine of stores, to supply many other forts, the country and soldiers with provisions, ammunition, &c., it ought, of consequence, to be large and pretty strong.
Had such a place of defence been here, it would have hindered some hundreds of families from moving further than this, that are now lost to the country. The women and children might have been secure, while the men would have gone in a body against the savages, whereas the number of men now left is so small, that no assistance or defence can be made to any purpose. Winchester is now the farthest boundary of this county—no inhabitants beyond it: and if measures are not taken to maintain it, we must retire below the Blue Ridge in a very short time.
Let me therefore recommend to yours and the Assembly’s particular care, that no time be lost in this salutary proposal: for should this panic and fear continue, not a soul will be left on this side the Ridge: and what now remain, are collected in small forts (out of which there is no prevailing on them to stir) and every plantation deserted.
I have exerted every power for the protection and peace of this distressed, unhappy people, and used my utmost to persuade them to continue, until assistance come, though to little effect. I have repeatedly urged Lord Fairfax to send for the militia of the adjacent counties, and have sent myself several expresses to hurry them on.
If the Assembly approve the scheme of erecting a fort here and at other places, tools of all kinds will be wanting, and must be sent up immediately, that no time may be lost. Carpenters from below should likewise be engaged; and every proper method for dispatching so desirable and so general a good, as this defence for Frederick, &c. * * *
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Winchester, 27 April, 1756.
I sent an express to Fort Cumberland on Tuesday last, who is just returned with the enclosed letters, which I forward, to prevent the trouble of extracting a part.
In my letter to Colonel Stephen, I did among other things inform him of the accusations laid to his charge, and that he must expect to have the matter inquired into. Your Honor will see what he says upon the subject.
Desolation and murder still increase, and no prospects of relief. The Blue Ridge is now our frontier, no men being left in this county, except a few that keep close with a number of women and children in forts, which they have erected for that purpose. There are now no militia in this county; when there were, they could not be brought to action. If the inhabitants of the adjacent counties pursue the same system of disobedience, the whole must fall an inevitable sacrifice; and there is room to fear, they have caught the infection, since I have sent (besides divers letters to Lord Fairfax,) express after express to hurry them on, and yet have no tidings of their march. We have the greatest reason in life to believe, that the number of the enemy is very considerable, as they are spread all over this part of the country; and that their success, and the spoils with which they have enriched themselves, dished up with a good deal of French policy, will encourage the Indians of distant nations to fall upon our inhabitants in greater numbers, and, if possible, with greater rapidity. They enjoy the sweets of a profitable war, and will no doubt improve the success, which ever must attend their arms, without we have Indians to oppose theirs. I would therefore advise, as I often have done, that there should be neither trouble nor expense omitted to bring the few, who are still inclined, into our service, and that, too, with the greatest care and expedition. A small number, just to point out the wiles and tracks of the enemy, is better than none; for which reason I must earnestly recommend, that those, who accompanied Major Lewis, should be immediately sent up, and such of the Catawbas as can be engaged in our interest. If such another torrent as this has been, (or may be ere it is done,) should press upon our settlements, there will not be a living creature left in Frederick county; and how soon Fairfax and Prince William may share its fate is easily conceived, if we only consider a cruel and bloodthirsty enemy, conquerors already possessed of the finest part of Virginia, plenteously filled with all kinds of provisions, pursuing a people overcome with fear and consternation at the inhuman murders of these barbarous savages!
I have exerted every means that I could think of, to quiet the minds of these unhappy people: but, for a man to have inclination, and not power, he may as well be without either, for the assistance he can give.
The inhabitants of the county, who are now in forts, are greatly distressed for the want of ammunition and provision, and are incessantly importuning me for both; neither of which have I at this place to spare. And if I had, I should be much embarrassed how to act, as I could not be safe in delivering either without your orders; and to hear the cries of the hungry, who have fled for refuge to these places, with nothing more than they carry on their backs, is exceedingly moving. Therefore I hope, your Honor will give directions concerning this matter.
I have wrote to the Assembly, setting forth the great and absolute necessity there is of erecting a large and strong fort at this place, to serve as a receptacle for all our stores, &c., and a place of refuge for the women and children in times of danger. Was this necessary work completed, the men would, upon any alarm, (as they say themselves,) immediately lodge their families here, and turn out against the enemy. But without some such place of defence, they must always fly in the manner they have, in order to secure their wives and children!
This is the place generally fixed upon, as it has a free and open communication with all the country, from its centrical situation. It also secures the communication with the neighbouring colonies, as well as the trade, to the rivers of Rappahannock, Potomack, &c., and, though trifling in itself, a place of the utmost importance to the country in general, being contiguous to that part of our frontiers (but alas! this is the utmost frontier at present) which ever must, if any, sustain the attack of numbers, as it is the nearest to Fort Duquesne, to which place we have opened a full communication. It is also contiguous to their Indian allies, who are at present higher up the Ohio than themselves. It is also conveniently situated for procuring the earliest intelligence, when the enemy is about, and to obtain relief from the militia below. In short it would be needless to urge all the cogent reasons that plead in its behalf, and shew how conveniently situated it is for the commanding officer to reside at. But one I shall add, which alone would be sufficient, and that is what I have before observed, viz., the procuring intelligence. This I now am truly sensible of, from the earliest experience I have had since I came to this place. Since the first murders were committed by the Indians, I have never missed of receiving intelligence of their motions; while Colonel Stephen has, in a manner, lived in total ignorance thereof. The reason is very obvious; for Fort Cumberland is detached so far without the inhabitants, no person thinks of alarming them, but immediately, upon the first fright, retires into the inhabitants. And secondly, it is absolutely necessary to have one large magazine to supply the different forts with stores, &c. which magazine should be rather within the inhabitants, for the greater security in receiving and delivering them out again, and furnishing any reinforcements that may arrive from below, with provision, ammunition, &c. which will always facilitate their march. There should also be ammunition lodged here for supplying the country people when found useful.
Your Honor will observe some parts of Colonel Stephen’s letters, as about reinforcements from the second division, and the number of men, &c., which were only finesses in case the letters had fallen into the enemy’s hands. The letters, that conveyed the true accounts, were put into the pummel of the saddle, as were mine to him.
I have been formerly, and am at present, pretty full in offering my opinion and counsel upon matters, which regard the public safety and interest. These have been solely the object of all my thoughts, words, and actions; and, in order to avoid censure in every part of my conduct, I make it a rule to obey the dictates of your Honor, the Assembly, and a good conscience.
I shall not hereafter trouble you further on these topics, as I can add nothing to what I have said. I am your Honor’s, &c.
MEMMS. RESPECT’G THE MILITIA, APRIL AND MAY, 1756.1
Answer ye the Governor that there are orders for drawing out all the ammunition, &c., from Fort Cumberland. Know of the Governor how they have apportioned the Regiments; whether into two Battalions or not; about Mr. Fairfax, and for blank Commissions. Whether the Field officers are allowed companies or not. The great disadvantage the Counties will labor under by appointing their draughts for so short a time; before they are raised they must be discharged. Another disadvantage, as we are to act upon the defensive is our delays in building Forts. It will be after mid-summer before they can be completed and if the Enemy are thick it can’t be done at all with[out] a great number of men to cover the workmen.
On Thursday the 29th of May,2 1756, divers expresses being first sent to the County Lieutenants of Fairfax, Prince William, and Culpeper, Mr. Dalton at the head of 31 volunteers and 54 militia from Fairfax came to town. On same day I received an express from Captain Broadwater at the gap of the Short Hills, informing me that himself and the Captains Ramsay, Minor and Hamilton with about 100 men, were at that place; that he had received my despatches to hurry on the militia and desired to know what number should be sent. I hereupon advised with Captain Dalton, who told me that ten men from each of those Companies were the complement intended by the commanding officer in Fairfax. I thereupon ordered that number to be immediately detached. Sunday morning they accordingly came under Captain James Hamilton, as did Captain Russel with 23 volunteers from Williams’s Gap.
This day I received another express from Captain Broadwater, setting forth that he had just received one from Colonel Carlyle ordering him to remain at that place till he heard from me and that he was scarce of provision and could not buy. I also about the same time received an express from Colonel Carlyle desiring me to order up such part of the said Militia as I thought necessary, upon which I sent to Captain Broadwater for a detachment of 25 more and ordered the others to be dismissed.
May 2d. The aforesaid detachment of 25 arrived, which made in the whole, including Volunteers (but of these 13 returned) 173 men.
May 3d. 100 of the aforesaid Militia under the Captains Minor and Hamilton were ordered to march for the Branch; the rest to join a Scouting Party of the Regiment that was ordered to search Back Country.
May 4th. The Parties marched. Captain Hamilton was ordered to consult Pearsal & the Kirkendal for the proper place to fix his Company at below the Troughs, and Captain Minor to advise with Colonel Vanmeter & Captain Waggener for fixing above. See their instructions in my orderly book dated May 4th.
Captain Dalton with his Volunteers and the rest of the Militia marched with the scouting party of the Regiment, he had orders to post the militia after he had finished their tour of duty and returned to Conogochieg, at any place where the generality of the people in those parts, but more especially Captain Swearing, would choose as the most convenient for protecting the whole; and to return to this place with his own company of volunteers. See his orders of the 4th May. This day 10 of Minor’s and Hamilton’s men deserted.
May 6th. The Prince William detachment consisting of 8 officers and 121 private Men arrived here, and about an hour or two after them came Colonel Ewel.
May 7th. Lieutenant Colonel Peyton came to town, and Captain Joseph Murdock, with 2 officers and 20 men from King George, sent up by Colonel Champe. A detachment of 50 privates left the County; the rest deserted on their march.
May 8th. The County Lieut. of Prince William, Colonel Henry Lee, arrived. This day we began to experience in a surprising degree the superlative insolence of the Prince William Detachment who made use of every means to treat not only the private soldiers, but the officers of the Virginia Regiment ill, and upon one of them being seized and ordered to the guard House, for abusing in the most insolent manner the officer [ * * ] one of their officers called for a number of Men to rescue him and pulled down the house, swore the officers of the Virginia Regiment were all scoundrels and that he could drive the whole corps before him. The fright that he received from one of them and his acknowledgments next morning sufficiently allowed for his imprudence. In the evening of this day Captain Dalton, with not only his Volunteers, but Captain Russel and his, with the remaining few of the Militia, came to town. Upon enquiring the reason of this I was answered that Captain Russel and his volunteers had got tired and must needs go home, and that the Militia, which were only 13, were too small to post at any pass as I had ordered, as indeed they were.
May 9th. Captains Dalton, Russel, with the Volunteers and Militia, set out on their return homewards; so that there only remains of the Fairfax militia those who went on to the Branch. 4 o’clock this evening I had an express from Colonel Slaughter, informing me that he was then as far as Perkins’s with about 200 of the Culpeper militia, upon which I ordered him to remain there, as the town had more already in it than they could lodge, and many quarrelsome fellows amongst them. He also informed me that they had not above 50 firelocks in the whole.
May 10th. He came into Town and informed me that beside himself there were—Officers whereof—were field Officers and—private Men; and that by a late supply his number of Arms were now about 80. Colonel Bailor with 4 Field Officers, 4 captains, 8 subalterns, 8 corporals & 8 sergeants and 170 privates arrived at this place from Caroline County.
May 11th. Colonel Spotswood from Spotsylvania, with 3 Field Officers, 5 captains, 10 subalterns, and 130 private Men, arrived here and encamped in Colonel Wood’s meadow. Colonel Henry Fitzhugh, with 2 captains, 4 subalterns, 1 clark, 4 sergeants and 102 privates, also came to Town, as did 9 of the King George Deserters. The Prince William Militia were ordered to march to-morrow under the Command of a captain and 4 subalterns to strengthen the Forts on Patterson’s Creek, with a superintendent and 20 men, and to build another at the mouth of Little Cocapenon,1 but Colonel Henry Peyton who had received a special commission from his Honour, the Governor, insisted upon going out to command them. I expostulated with him on the absurdity of it: and represented the unnecessary charge it would run the country to, employing of supernumerary officers, but nothing would put aside his intentions. He said his only motive in going was to serve his country and that he expected no reward or gratuity for his trouble; and that unless he went, he was sure the men would desert. Present, Colonel Lee, Captain Mercer and Mr. Kirkpatrick.
May 12th was the first time I could get a return of the number of Carpenter’s that were among the militia. In the Evening about 5 o’clock, Lieutenant-Colonel Peyton with the Prince William Detachment, marched, consisting of himself, 1 captain, 4 subalterns & 96 privates, as per return. See his orders at large in my orderly book.
This day also the King George Militia had orders to march to Mendenhalls Fort to protect the inhabitants under those Mountains. The Officers and Soldiers of the Militia begin to discover great uneasiness at their stay and want much to return, thinking they have performed a sufficient tour of duty by marching to Winchester.
May 13th. An express came from Colonel Peyton informing that a Sergeant and 14 men deserted last night from him at Paris’s Fort, and desiring Reinforcement. I was obliged to countermand the Orders to the King George Militia and to send them to join him with orders to remain in Ashby’s Fort, and they accordingly marched 29 in number under Lieutenant Nugent. The rest were sick & deserted, and this night 4 out of the 29 also marched off. Many complaints from the officers of Militia about the insufficiency of the allowance of Provisions for the men (tho’ they have one pound of meat and the same quantity of flour per day, which is the same that the soldiers have) obliged me to order the Commissary to deliver the officer’s allowance to the private men in order to appease their clamours. This I did to prevent increasing the allowance and setting bad examples. But this proving insufficient also, I was obliged to order the allowance to be increased to 1¼ of Flour and as much flesh per Day.
May 14th. The Orange Militia under Colonel Talliaferro consisting of 2 Field officers, 4 Captains, 4 subalterns and 100 private men, came to town, as did Colonel Barrat with 130 men from Louisa. In the Evening of this day I summoned all the Field officers to meet, that we might advise and consult on proper expedients to be taken with the militia. See a copy of the proceedings in my orderly Book. In consequence of these resolves and advise from Colonel Martin & Mr. Commissary Walker, knowing the situation of our frontiers, I ordered the Commanding Officers of each Militia to furnish the following number of men, which was proportioned equally among those that were here, and appointed them to remain as below:
Fairfax and Prince William have furnished a larger number of men than the other Countys because they arrived with those Number’s and were ordered on to assist and relieve the Inhabitants on the Branch, and [?] it would have run the Country to considerable additional Expense to relieve them now, and to no very great purpose as we soon expected to receive the draughts.
May 15th. The Council being finished the aforesaid number of Men were ordered to be draughted, and the remainder to receive provision to carry them back and to be discharged. The said several draughts were ordered to get ready to march in the morning to their respective Posts.
May 16th. The commanding officers of each Militia (Culpeper excepted) reported that several of their Men had deserted; upon which I sent out to see if they could be taken. The commissary also reported that he had been trying and could not procure a Wagon to transport the necessary stock of Provisions and ammunition with them and was therefore obliged to postpone their March one day longer. By this time I had engaged 70 Carpenters from the militia to work at 6d. extra pay on the Fort, and also had their own officers to overlook and manage them.
May 17th. Some time last night an express from the Branch arrived with letters from Ashby’s Fort and Pearsall’s Fort informing that a considerable body of Indians were about again and had taken a prisoner. Upon this all the Militia of Louisa and Stafford, save 6 of the first and 8 of the latter deserted, and the Caroline Detachment being reduced to 40 Rank & file, the Spotsylvania to 22 and the Orange being lessened also, was obliged to add the 6 Louisa men to the Carpenters till the return of their officers, who I immediately sent in pursuit of them; the 8 Stafford men to those of Spotsylvania, & to alter the disposition that was first made to the one following viz—
The reason for this disposition, to guard the Inhabitants that still remained, to secure their grain and stock, to help in with their harvest and to be contiguous to the people and to each other that they might unite occasionally and go in quest of the Enemy. Besides the Militia officers that were sent after their deserters, I ordered out one from the Regiment with a party of 8 or 10 Men mounted, to go in pursuit of them. Our strength being so much reduced by the number of Deserters that had gone off that upon the return of Ashby’s [?] I immediately dispatched an express to Colonels Barrat, Talliaferro and Slaughter, who were the last that had left this place, ordering them to return with their Men. In the Evening the Colonels Barrat & Talliaferro returned without any men, informed me that many of them had taken different roads homewards and that those who were with Colonel Talliaferro upon hearing that they were ordered back charged their pieces and continued their march towards their County in defiance of the officers.
May 18th. Last night Mr. Bullet, the officer who I had sent out, returned with 14 of the deserters, who to avoid punishment enlisted in the Virginia regiment.
19th. The Express returned from Colonel Slaughter who also informed that his men were dispersed, but if they could be gathered again he would return on Thursday.
May 20th. About 9 o’clock this night an Express came to me from Colonel Slaughter, who informed me that he had met at the place appointed for the Rendezvous of his Militia but that only 8 or 9 appeared, desired to know if he should farther rendezvous to collect. He believed it might be done so soon as they recovered a little from the fatigue of their march. I wrote him by this Express & desired him, as I had heard nothing of the Enemy since, to postpone bringing up any Men till they were drafted, which I recommended to him to be done with the greatest expedition; also, if it would not be contrary to the governor’s orders to him, to march his Men so soon as drafted to this place, as it would save much time and expence.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Winchester, 3 May, 1756.
I received your two letters of the 23d and 26th ultimo.
I have sent down an Indian scalp, which was taken off at the place where Captain Mercer had his engagement. He was found thrust under some rocks, and stones piled up against them. They have reason to believe there were more killed, from the quantity of blood found on the ground where the Indians fired from, and from other discoveries of their attempts to make more graves. But a hard shower of rain prevented their making a farther search.
We have some reason to believe, the Indians are returned to Fort Duquesne, as some scouts from Fort Cumberland saw their tracks that way; and many corroborating accounts affirm, that the roads over the Allegany Mountains are as much beaten, as they were last year by General Braddock’s army. From these and other circumstances we may judge their numbers were considerable. Whether they are gone for the season, or only to bring in a larger party, I am at a loss to determine.
For which reason, and from the scarcity of provisions on this side Fort Cumberland, I must beg leave humbly to offer it to your Honor’s superior judgment, if it would not be advisable to stop all the militia, that are ordered from the ten counties, save about five or six hundred from the adjacent ones? which will serve to cover our frontiers on this quarter, (which is the only part that ever will or can be much exposed,) until the regiment is completed by drafts, and until they can erect fortresses, if the country intend a chain of forts for their defence. Drafts, if they are judiciously chosen, will be of infinitely more service, and much less expense to the country, and can be immediately put to their posts.
I am convinced, that, if your Honor has a mind to stop any part of the militia, you will have full time, notwithstanding they are ordered to rendezvous at this place on the 10th instant. I never knew any yet to appear in ten days after they were expected; and I am also apprehensive, that having so many of the militia out will be the means of retarding the drafts, which, above all things, I wish to see.
Though I have often troubled you on this head, I must again beg leave to desire your particular instructions and information, of what is to be done, as, being in a state of uncertainty, without knowing the plan of operations, or what scheme to go upon, reduces me to the greatest straits, and leaves me to guess at every thing. Orders, that are absolutely necessary to be despatched to the officers one day, appear the next as necessary to be contradicted; so that I really cannot tell how to act for the good of the service, or satisfaction of any individual. Was the regiment complete, and things put on a proper footing, the whole would go on smoothly and regularly, which is now rendered impossible. So much am I kept in the dark, that I do not know whether to prepare for the offensive or defensive; and what might be absolutely necessary in the one, would be quite useless in the other.
Great inconveniences arise from our being so dispersed through the country. The men cannot be regularly paid or supplied. If every company had its proper post assigned, pay might be sent to them, and necessaries always provided in due season. We could also have the same advantages were we collected in one place. But there are so many detachments out, one officer may command men of every company of the regiment, and if necessaries are sent them he is removed from his command, and those things cannot be stopped out of their pay. So by this method the country loses money, the men are badly supplied, and always discontented.
I find the act of Assembly against mutiny and desertion quite insufficient, except in those two particular crimes. There is no notice, nor can a court-martial be held, by virtue of this act against any officer or soldier who is charged with cowardice, holding correspondence with the enemy, quitting or sleeping upon a post, nay, many other crimes, which are provided against in the articles of war. I think, at this time, it would be for the good of the service to make an act to enforce the articles of war in general, except two or three particular ones, such as impressing wagons, &c. They are in force in our mother country. They think them the best calculated for keeping soldiers under discipline; and none of them would prove burthensome, or inconvenient, either to the public or any individual, and I cannot, nor I imagine few others can assign any reason, why we should pretend to quit that which by long experience has been found the best, to introduce one quite insufficient.
There are now in town about one hundred and fifty of the Fairfax militia. Three hundred are expected from Prince William. With the soldiers and militia now here, I intend to go out and scour the woods hereabouts for three or four days until the others arrive.
I want very much to go to Fort Cumberland to regulate affairs there, but fear I cannot spare time, as my presence will be very necessary here.
Clothes for the men are very much wanted. There are none in store, and some men, who have been enlisted these two months, to whom we could give nothing but a blanket, shoes, and shirt, are justly dissatisfied at having two pence per day stopped from them.1 Provision here is scarce, and the commissary much wanted to lay in more. I have been, and still am, obliged to do this duty, as well as most others, which I would take upon me, rather than let any thing be wanting for the good of the country, which I could do.
I enclose your Honor the sentence of a general court-martial, which was held here upon a sergeant for running away with his party.1 They have, I think, very justly adjudged him to suffer death, which sentence I hope you will approve of as there never was a fitter object to make an example of, being the second time he has been guilty of the same crime, nor a better time, as the newly drafted recruits for the regiment may be here by that time to see it executed, and it will be a good warning to them. * * *
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Winchester, 23 May, 1756.
The method I shall use to inform your Honour of the proceedings of the militia, is to enclose a transcript of my journal that relates to that affair, and to send a copy of a council of war held here by the field-officers of these counties, you were pleased to order to our assistance.2 These I hope will be sufficient to discover the springs that actuated my conduct.
The spirit of desertion was so remarkable in the militia, that it had a surprising effect upon the regiment, and encouraged many of the soldiers to desert: but as I never had failed in sending officers on different roads upon the first reports, so neither did I neglect it now, and luckily caught two, who being brought to trial, were both convicted, as your Honor will see by the court’s proceedings. James Thomas, one of them, was among the first of my followers, and always behaved himself with the greatest sobriety, honesty and diligence, so far as I have ever seen or heard. And I imagine if he did not lose the money, as he says in his defence, he might be prevailed upon to spend a part in liquor, and then was afraid to meet his officer with the rest.
The other criminal, Henry Campbell, is a most atrocious criminal, and richly deserves an ignominious death for a former as well as the present offence. He was once a sergeant and entrusted with some goods from Alexandria, part of which he embezzled, and, because it could not be absolutely proved, was only reduced. After that (in December last,) he deserted, and carried several men with him; and, upon the most solemn promises of good behaviour, was pardoned, but for this only reason—we had no power to hold general courts martial. And now he was instrumental in carrying off seven others, two only of whom were taken. For these reasons I hope your Honor will think him as worthy an example against desertion, as Lewis against cowardice, whose execution I have delayed until the arrival of the drafts. These examples and proper encouragement for good behaviour will I hope, bring the soldiers under proper discipline.
I found it absolutely impossible to go to Fort Cumberland at this time, without letting matters of greater importance suffer in my absence here; such a multiplicity of different kinds of business am I at present engaged in. Governor Innes is gone up, who, I hope, will assist with his advice in settling things to rights, if any irregularities have been practised contrary to the custom of the army; but I cannot find by any inquiries that I have been able to make, that there have been.
I have ordered a sufficiency of officers to be left at Fort Cumberland, and the rest to repair to this place, in order to proceed to Fredericksburg, agreeably to your Honor’s commands. And as soon as the gentlemen Associators arrive here, I shall take that place in my way to Williamsburg, to settle my accounts, and receive more money, which is already scarce with me. I am heartily glad, your Honor has fixed upon those gentlemen to point out the place for erecting of forts, but am sorry to find their motions so slow.1 The summer season will be so far advanced, that, if we meet with opposition in conducting the work, the difficulties and delays that must attend the execution cannot be described.
It gave me infinite concern to find the Assembly had levied their troops until December only. By the time they shall have entered into the service, they will claim a discharge. To get the least smattering of the duty they cannot, and we find by experience, that our poor and ragged soldiers would kill the most likely militia in five days’ marching, so little are the latter acquainted with fatigue. Men would almost as soon have entered the service for seventeen months, as for seven, and in that time I am convinced we could have enlisted them all upon our own terms. As it is, some perhaps may be got. Pray does your Honor approve that they should. One of those would be of more worth than two of the others.
Your Honor in a letter of the—ult. approved the scheme I sent down for forming the regiment into two battalions of twenty companies, (giving the field-officers each one,) but never gave any directions concerning the appointment. Nor do I think there can be any plan judiciously concerted, until we know what number of forts are to be built upon our frontiers, as the number of our companies must in a great measure depend upon the divisions of the regiment. As the case now stands, there are several vacancies in the regiment, and I have but one blank commission. Though, if I had, I should not think it prudent to fill up more, until matters are a little better regulated.
At this place I have begun the fort according to your orders, and found, as little of the matter as I know myself, that the work would not be conducted, if I was away, which was one among many reasons, that detained me here.1 I have also ordered Captain Stewart, who commands at Conococheague, to fortify that place as well as he can, with the tools he can procure, and shall endeavour in all things, so far as I am capable, to act for the best.
Mr. Dick, (who is just returned from the northward,) says, there are orders for drawing out all the ammunition and other stores that belong to the train at Fort Cumberland, and to send them immediately round to New York. I have thought it expedient to give your Honor the earliest advice that you may order accordingly; for should this be done, it will leave that place entirely defenceless, and stop the source that can supply us otherwise. I have given Colonel Stephen previous notice of it, and have desired he will work on the conductor of the train, (in whose care it is left,) to have the forts of Ashby, Cockes &c., plentifully furnished, before such an order arrives.1 I am, &c.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Winchester, 25 June, 1756.
I doubt not but your Honor will be as much surprised, as I have been concerned and vexed, at my stay here.
When I left Williamsburg, I did it with a design to proceed with the utmost expedition to Fort Cumberland. In order thereto I arrived at Fredericksburg to dinner, the day after I left your Honor, at one o’clock, and gave the officer, posted at that place, a list of such tools as were wanted to build the chain of forts, and ordered they might be sent by a wagon, pressed for that purpose, immediately to Winchester, to which place I repaired to get every thing in readiness, and wait their coming to escort them to Fort Cumberland.
After I had been here two or three days I received a letter enclosing a list of the tools from the officer, who informed me that he had, according to order, despatched them in a wagon, hired for that purpose; for which wagon I have been waiting with the greatest impatience and uneasiness imaginable. How to account for this delay I am quite at a loss (as I am certain they were sent) unless the wagoner has lost his horses or run off with the wagon and contents.
I thought it needless to proceed without them, as nothing can be done for want of tools. I have sent two or three expresses to hurry them on, and shall make no delay when they arrive. I intend to take the advice of a council of war, (when I arrive at Fort Cumberland,) about the line on which these forts are to be erected, &c. and shall visit all the ground that I conveniently can, and direct the building.
It is a work, that must be conducted tedious for these reasons, vizt., the scarcity of tools, smallness of our numbers, and want of conductors. The strength of our forces will not admit of many divisions, because, in that case, each party may probably be demolished. We can, therefore, only attempt, with such men as can be drawn out of the garrisons already established, to build fort after fort, and not, by attempting too many at a time, thereby run the risk of having the whole demolished. To go on in the manner above mentioned must be extremely tedious, unless your Honor will be pleased to put the militia that are upon our southern frontiers under the command of Captain Hog, and order them to begin on the Mayo River, and proceed in their building until they meet our parties, who will advance to the southward. I can point out no other method at present to expedite this necessary work. If your Honor approve this scheme, and will let me know by express, I shall despatch another to Captain Hog, to inform him thereof, and shall enclose him such a plan, as the whole will be directed by. Your Honor’s orders to the militia, and indeed to the inhabitants of those parts, to assist with their advice in fixing upon the places, and with their labor in forwarding the work, must be absolutely necessary.
Your Honor never gave me a decisive answer to a question I asked, about giving the field-officers companies. For which reason I have presumed to repeat it again, because there are two companies now vacant, by the death of Captain John Mercer, and the resignation of Captain Savage, and should either be given to the field-officers, or oldest lieutenants. There is no advantage can possibly arise to the field-officers by having companies, (but trouble there certainly will) as they are allowed, I suppose, the same pay now, as though they had.
The only reason that urges me to repeat it is because I look upon this to be a singular instance to the contrary, and running the country to the additional expense of three supernumerary captains.
Two hundred and forty-six drafts are the total number brought in, out of which number several have deserted. Three were discharged, being quite unfit for service, (and indeed several more ought to be, if men were not so scarce,) and there remain now in confinement six Quakers, who will neither bear arms, work, receive provisions or pay, or do any thing that tends, in any respect, to self-defence. I should be glad of your Honor’s directions how to proceed with them.1 I cannot yet return to your Honor the names of the volunteers, that will be appointed to the vacancies, but as soon as I arrive at Fort Cumberland shall acquaint you according to request.
Governor Sharpe is building a fort on Potomac River, about fifteen miles above Conococheague, which may be of great service towards the protection of our people on that side. It is thought the fort will cost the province of Maryland near thirty thousand pounds, before it is finished.2 I am, &c.3
TO CAPTAIN WAGGENER.
Fort Cumberland, 13 July, 1756.
The companies of the Virginia Regiment are completed to an equal number, except yours, which, through mistake of the returns, is not. But as I expect more men every minute, you shall be immediately completed.
As you have on command with you several men of other companies, the officers have received orders to apply to you for them, and you must deliver them up. I desire you will send James Campbell, the Drummer, by the first escort that comes to Winchester.
From the great confidence I repose in your diligence, I have appointed you to a command, on which much depends; and I doubt not you will see the work carried on with expedition. And I must particularly recommend it to you to keep up a strict command, both over officers and men, as you will be answerable for any delays or neglect which may happen for want of due discipline; and I would not wish your good nature should occasion you to overlook a fault in an officer, who may be your best friend.
As I am informed by the people who met me at Pearsalls, that there is a fort now kept by the country people, about twenty miles from your upper one, in a proper place; if, upon arriving there you find it will do with a little alteration or amendment, I would have you take it in behalf of the country, leave men to garrison it, and so proceed on to the next place. When you arrive there, you may get all the timbers ready, and by that time I shall send you a plan of the kind of forts I would have you build.
The people whom I have conversed with on the subject, seem to think there will be no difficulty in providing provisions for the men. I would have you provide for these in the same manner you have hitherto done for your own company; and whatever orders you give on that account shall be duly honored. I would have you from time to time transmit me an account of all occurrences.
The governor has ordered the militia to be discharged as soon as harvest is over, since they are so unwilling to continue until December; and should you march on with all the men to building these forts, it might give the inhabitants uneasiness, and raise complaints to be left unguarded. I would, therefore, desire you to leave small parties at proper places to keep them quiet and easy, in case you see occasion for it.
If you have occasion for more ammunition, you must send to Fort Cumberland for what you want.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR CAPTAIN PETER HOG.
As the Assembly has voted a chain of Forts to be built on the Frontiers, the Governor has ordered out the Militia of Augusta to assist you in erecting them, and it was determined in a Council of War held at Fort Cumberland, agreeable to the Governor’s orders, that you should have the care of constructing them, “and that you should receive directions to Build at or about 20 or 30 miles distance, as the situation of the Country requires, or Ground will permit, and to have particular regard to the Body of Inhabitants to be defended, and the passes most frequented by the Enemy, and that Capt. Hog begin to build, observing the above considerations, to the Southward of Fort Dinwiddie, extending the Line towards Mayo River as directed by the Assembly.”
You are, therefore, as soon as possible, to proceed to Augusta Court-house and consult with the Comanding Officers, and others of that County, and fall upon the most expeditious methods to raise the Militia, with which and your own Company, except about 30 private which you are to leave under the Command of Lt. Bullet, at Fort Dinwiddie, and set immediately upon that Duty, taking Care to observe the orders herewith sent you by his Honor, the Governor, and to draft the best Work men to take with you.
If you are apprehensive that the Enemy will annoy you, and endeavour to obstruct your erecting these Forts, You are first to proceed to the place which shall be judged most convenient for the defence of the Inhabitants, and Erect your first Fort there—if not—proceed as first directed.
You are, while upon this Work, to keep out constant covering parties, and above all things guard against a surprise.
I have sent you herewith a plan of the kind of Forts you are to build, which you must follow exactly.
The men drafted from your Company for this command will receive double pay for every day they work, which you are to be exact in taking account of. ’Tis the Same that ’s allowed the soldiers here who work, and the Militia will receive 6d. extra for every day they work. Both Soldiers and Militia here are contented with this allowance.
I hope your own Company, with the Addition of the Militia, will be of sufficient force to conduct this work, but lest dividing your Men may subject your seperated partys to the insult of the Enemy, I would have you keep in a Body and Build Fort after Fort, leaving Garrisons in them from 15 to 30 men under command of a sub or Trusty Sergeant.
As the difficulty of getting Tools in these parts is not easily to be conceived, I would advise you to pursue the same methods in Augusta that I have done here, vizt: to get of the Inhabitants, giving receipts for the Quantity and Sorts of Each, and paying for the use, also the damage and Loss, if any is sustained, but to buy would be best; if this you can do, take particular care of the whole you receive.
Given under my hand, at Winchester, 21st of July, 1756.1
TO CAPTAIN STEWART.
Winchester, 22 July, 1756.
Herewith I enclose you two plans of the kind of Forts that are intended to be built—One of the ground-work, the other of the houses and all conveniences,—with such directions that I think it impossible for you to err if you will attend thereto. Enclosed you will also receive a list of such tools as I have been able to procure, with which and such as you may get of the inhabitants by borrowing, hiring and buying, you must be content. These must be put in the hands of the best tradesmen, and most laborious workmen; who will receive six-pence extra ordinary pay for every day they work, an account whereof must be kept (exactly) by yourself and officers. The men that remain after the workers are draughted, must act as covering parties, to prevent surprizes, against which you must carefully guard. It is impossible for me to fix upon the identical piece of ground to erect this fort on. Therefore, I shall confine you to the most convenient spot, between the mouth of Sleepy Creek and Barracks, which you will make choice of, with the approbation of your officers. There is a hill which overlooks Boyle’s field and extensive country round that may be made infinitely strong, and will answer the purpose well, if it is not too high and inaccessible. This you must examine into.
I have too great an opinion of your good sense and discretion to think you need any admonition to induce you to a diligent discharge of your duty. You see our situation, know our danger, and bear witness of the people’s sufferings, which are sufficient excitements to a generous mind.
As many things will occur that I cannot possibly direct in, let the interest of the service and your own prudence, assisted by the advice of the officers under your command, be your direction. This instant I received yours of yesterday’s date, and am extremely sorry that the Indians have visited us at this critical juncture of harvesting, especially as it will prevent your proceedings in the operations ordered. As your conduct must be guided by the movements and numbers of the enemy, I will not take upon me to order positively at this distance, but recommend it to you to consult your officers on all occasions, and act by their advice. If you can learn from good intelligence, that their numbers are great and motions designed for Virginia, endeavor to give the inhabitants notice that they may lodge their women and children, and assist against the enemy.
If you find they are only flying parties of the Indians, I would advise the settlers by no means to neglect their harvest, as their whole support depends upon it, and your assistance to get it in.
I must order above all things that you will send out small parties, or rather single persons, as spies every day, up and down the river for a number of miles, to see if they can make any discovery of the enemy’s crossing. I have sent you two barrels of powder, and four boxes of ball. As to cartridge paper, I neither have nor can get any upon no terms. You must get horns and pouches, if you send over the neighborhood for them. Transmit me constant accounts of the enemy, if they continue in your neighborhood.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Winchester, 4 August, 1756.
Giving the necessary orders and directions, about the chain of forts to be built on the frontiers, has kept me so closely employed, that I could not write fully to your Honor until this. But I have got that trouble now pretty well off my hands, as I have despatched orders, plans, and tools to all the officers appointed to that duty.
By the enclosed proceedings of a council held at Fort Cumberland, you will see our determination, there and where it is necessary to erect the forts. Although we have not kept strictly to the act of Assembly, I hope it will be overlooked, as I am sensible that this will be the best chain that can possibly be erected for the defence of the people, and that the Assembly aimed at that, but, being unacquainted with the situation of the country, had fallen into an error.1 Agreeable to this council the chain is ordered to be built.
Your Honor, by the enclosed rolls of the companies, may see their present establishment; and I send you a copy of their former one, agreeable to your orders, together with the number of drafts from each county delivered at Fredericksburg. But many of them deserted on their march to this place, and after their arrival here; so we are short of that number now. What remain, are divided among the companies, to make them equal.
Captains Hog and Waggener’s rolls I cannot yet send, as they are not come to hand.
The two vacant companies, Captain Savage’s and the late John Mercer’s, as I had your Honor’s approbation for the field officers having companies, are disposed of to Colonel Stephen and myself. The next vacancy the Major must fill.
I am very glad your Honor intends to order the drafts now to be made to be sent here. Prince William, Fairfax and Culpeper, are more convenient to this place than Fredericksburg. Then their being ordered here saves a ninety miles march.
I make no doubt, that your Honor has ere this heard of the defeat of Lieutenant Rutherford1 of the Rangers, escorting an express to me at Fort Cumberland, and of the dastardly behaviour of the militia, who ran off without one half of them having discharged their pieces, altho they were apprised of the ambuscade by one of the flanking partys, before the Indians fired upon them; and ran back to Ashby’s Fort, contrary to orders, persuasions, threats, &c. They are all ordered in, as soon as the people have secured their harvest. Those of King George and Caroline counties are already here. The rest I expect shortly. Through the passive behaviour of their officers they have been very refractory.
Captain Stewart’s troop has for these twelve months past, and must still continue to do duty on foot. Their pay is very great. I should be glad of your Honor’s orders in regard to them, whether they are to be continued. I think with the number of men we have, there is but a poor prospect of finishing our forts in time, and a much worse of defending our frontiers properly, and I would be glad some expedient could be fallen upon to augment it.
There is an act of Parliament to allow all servants to enlist, and the owners to be paid a reasonable allowance for them. If we had this privilege, we could soon complete the regiment; and I doubt not but his Majesty would order them to be paid for, if we enlisted, as soon as for the regulars; nay, should he not, the ten pounds’ fine through the country would go a considerable way towards it.1 And this we may depend upon, if we have not this liberty granted us, the servants will all run off to the regular officers, who are recruiting about us; and that would be to weaken our colony much, when it could receive no immediate benefit from it, but only be benefited in a general way. For my part, I see no other expedient.2
Now your Honor sees plainly the effect the act of Assembly, in regard to the drafts, has had, and how little our strength has been augmented by that scheme, and in three or four months we shall not be the better for them. Then they are to be discharged.
I am confident, if we had authority to enlist servants, the regiment would have been complete ere this, and with little trouble, for many have offered, and many have been discharged after enlisting. Mr. Kirkpatrick will deliver your Honor a list of the preferments in my Regiment, with the dates of the officers commissions. There are five or six more still waiting. Lieutenant Stark has followed Frazier’s example, upon the like occasion, being appointed to Captain Hog’s company.
I have sent Lieutenant Bullet to relieve Lieutenant McNeill, whose seniority entitles him to Captain Lieutenancy, and he has my promise when a vacancy happens to have his commission antedated, and to take his proper rank in the regiment, as I take him to be a very diligent good officer, and as he was overlooked in the promotions, this indulgence has been promised him.
I could wish we were clear of Fort Cumberland. It takes a great part of our small force to garrison it, and I see no service that it is to our colony; for since the Indians have drove the inhabitants so low down, they do not hesitate to follow them as far as Conococheague and this place. There have been several families murdered within two miles of the mouth of Conococheague, on the Maryland side, this week; and Fort Cumberland is now so much out of the way, that they seldom hear of those things within a month after they are done. Our men want many necessaries, until the arrival of their regimentals, which cannot be had without sending to Philadelphia; and the great loss, we shall suffer by sending them our paper money, has prevented my purchasing these things, until the men are almost naked.
I should be glad your Honor would send me a letter of credit to Mr. Allen, or some person there; or gold or bills, for we cannot afford to put up with the loss of sending paper money, which I am credibly informed, may be bought up in Philadelphia for fifteen per cent their currency; so that the least we would lose by that traffic would be ten per cent.
We are in great want of drums here, and none can be bought. We now have many young drummers learning here, so I must beg you will please to order some immediately from Williamsburg to us, for we cannot do without them.
The rangers are still paid out of the money in my hands. I never received but one hundred pounds from Lord Fairfax, or Colonel George.
Captain Gist has some accompts against the Country for necessary services. I doubt not your Honor will consider the justice of them, and assist the poor man in the affair, as he is put to great inconveniences for want of the money, has been obliged to advance his own, as far as it would go, and people to whom he owes balances upon that account are daily threatening him with suits.
Captain McNeill writes me that out of the three companies of rangers on the frontiers of Augusta, which ought to be one hundred and twenty men, there are not thirty. I hope your Honor will have that affair inquired into.
I am to be summoned against one Napp for making counterfeit paper money here. I desire your directions, whether I must appear or not. It may, perhaps, be at a time when I am much wanted here.
I could by no means bring the Quakers to any terms. They chose rather to be whipped to death than bear arms, or lend us any assistance whatever upon the fort, or any thing of self-defence. Some of their friends have been security for their appearance, when they are called for; and I have released them from the guard-house until I receive further orders from your Honour, which they have agreed to apply for.1
I am informed there has been application made to your Honor, for the discharge of some of the militia who enlisted here. As the case may have been represented to your Honor in a wrong light by prejudiced persons, I shall give you a true state of it, from my own knowledge.
After the militia were fixed on to march to their different posts, it was common for twenty or more to desert of a night. In consequence of which I despatched the militia officers with what remained, and some of my own officers in pursuit of these deserters, who apprehended seventeen or eighteen of them and brought them to town. The militia had then marched. To send these men after them I was certain would not answer; to avoid that, was the cause of their desertion. And I could not spare men to send an escort with them to their different parties; and if I had let them pass unpunished, it would have occasioned all the militia at work on the fort to desert. So I thought it most advisable to punish them, to deter the rest, and prevent a second fault in them, and accordingly ordered them twenty lashes each, and then intended to have set them to work on the fort.
When they had marched from the guard-house (where several had enlisted before any punishment was ordered them) some of the officers applied for money, and said all the militia would enlist; which I gave them, and at the same time a charge, to use no unfair means or threats, which they engaged.
In order to prevent any, I sent out Captain Mercer to acquaint them with my charge to the officers, and to tell them, that if any unfair means had been made use of to engage them to take the money, to declare it, and they should be allowed to return it, and further be acquainted with the indulgence allowed them by Act of Parliament; and that they had a right to return the money within twenty four hours, if they should repent of what they had done in that time. They all declared their willingness to enlist, said no unfair means had been made use of, and that it was better to enlist at once than to be subject to be draughted every week. When they were soldiers they knew what to depend upon, which they could not before, as their being draughted at an unreasonable time might ruin them. They used the same arguments again to Captain Mercer, when he read the Articles of War to them; and he again repeated what he had told them before in the morning, as I have been assured by several of the officers then present.
The men have always appeared well satisfied, and never have made the least complaint; nor will not, I am sensible, if they are not persuaded to it by the people below. They have now been enlisted upwards of ten weeks, and are very good men, upon the whole.
I dare say your Honor will judge the men to be fairly enlisted, and that they are no ways entitled to a discharge, which will be applied for by some gentlemen below. But I shall take your Honor’s directions on that point.
In obedience to your Honor’s commands to incorporate the rangers into the regiment, I gave furloughs to the Captains (who both desired it) knowing they would oppose any measures to enlist the men; and then sent some of my officers to use their influence to engage the men. Their success I have not yet heard of, but should be glad to know if you approve of this method, or will direct any other. As rangers under the present establishment, they are of no use or benefit to the country. This, I believe, your Honor, as well as the country, have long since been convinced of.
I have supplied the Nottoway Indians with some necessaries, and have allowed them to take their arms with them; but they have received no pay, and say they were promised a bit1 per day. Captain Tom has promised to go to the Tusks with a speech and wampum, which I have given them. He says they have an hundred fighting-men to spare. They would be a great assistance to us, if they could be engaged to come.2
Besides the men on the rolls sent your Honor, there are about one hundred drafts, not disposed of in the different companies which are at work on the fort, and garrisoning some of the country forts.
I have just received your Honor’s letter of the 12th ultimo. If Mr. Timberlake will enter as a volunteer in the regiment, and wait, as others have done, his turn, I shall be glad to serve him. But I cannot pretend to put him over young gentlemen who have served some months at their own expense, waiting preferment, without orders from your Honor; as such things have caused the greatest discontent and confusion in the regiment already.
I observe your Honor’s proposal to Lord Loudoun1 of carrying on an expedition against the Ohio. I have always thought it the best and only method to put a stop to the incursions of the enemy, as they would then be obliged to stay at home to defend their own possessions. But we are quite unprepared for such an undertaking. If it is fixed upon, now is the time for buying up provisions, and laying them in at the most convenient place. The Pennsylvania butchers are buying quantities of beef here, which should be put a stop to, if we are to march towards the Ohio. If we are still to remain on the defensive, and garrison the chain of forts, provisions must be laid in at each of them; and I much fear, if we march from the frontiers, all the inhabitants will quit their plantations. Your Honor’s sentiments and orders on this head will be very agreeable to me, and shall be punctually complied with. By the latest advices from Augusta, it is thought that these outrages were committed by the Cherokees. There have been no accounts of any thing since the first attempt; but still, I think it would not be improper to keep the militia on the frontiers to oppose a second; and if your Honor should think it proper to order them to assist on the forts to be built in Augusta, I think they could not better employ their time.
TO JOHN ROBINSON.
Winchester, 5 August, 1756.
I hope you will not be surprized at my sudden demands for money, nor at the uncommon length of this epistle.
The five thousand pounds last received went chiefly in paying arrears which were due the soldiers for two months before; discharging sundry accompts for necessaries for the regiment; with many other things, as will appear per accompts. And the disappointments I have so often met with in settling my accompts with the gentlemen of the Committee, and laying sundry matters before them for their approbation, oblige me to be more particular and prolix in this letter.
I flatter myself that my accompts will appear in so clear a light that there can arise no scruple in the settlement, and that they may be adjusted in as full and distinct a manner by Mr. Kirkpatrick, as if I were present myself. There were some objections made to a few trifling articles before (none of which I believe exceeded twenty shillings) for want of receipts. In this I own I was a little remiss, sometimes paying horse hire for a day or two, and such like incidental charges for the use of the public, without thinking it very material to draw receipts. Indeed, I have often made these payments at times when I had no opportunity of being thus particular. But I believe the whole amount of these does not exceed five pounds, and since that time I have not parted with a sixpence without. The paymaster I have sent down to evince any doubt that may arise in his accompts. I believe they are strictly just, tho’ a little broken and irregular, representing our disjointed service in a true state. This was impossible to be avoided; tho’ if you will consider, Sir, the disagreeable services we have been engaged in, the extent of ground and people to be defended, and the division of our force in recruiting, marching, counter-marching, and garrisoning of forts, guarding stores, &c, which rendered them so extremely difficult to pay, as well as to supply with such necessaries and conveniences, as to render the service tolerably supportable. Mr. Boyd was obliged to pay the men when and where he could meet with them, without adhering to that regular form which ought to be observed. The Commissary stands charged with £—, which I have not had an opportunity to settle. Upon my return from Fort Cumberland a few days ago, I found him retired at his own house, indisposed; but received a letter informing that the money was just expended. This I have no doubt of, knowing the demands he has had on account of provisions for the drafts and militia (occasioned by our whole stock being laid in at Fort Cumberland by the Governor’s orders; which renders it useless to all the forces on this side); wagonage of all the flour and stores from Conococheague, to secure them here; purchasing of tools, &c; for erecting the public works, ordered by Act of Assembly, &c.
All accompts that appeared extravagant or not clear in other respects, or that I conceived I had no power to settle, I have referred them to the gentlemen of the Committee. Among these is Finnie’s, for money advanced the soldiers while he was recruiting. This accompt may be, and doubtless is just; yet as it happened at a time when I had no concern with the forces, it is not to be expected I can have any knowledge of the matter. Therefore, unless it was to meet with your, or the concurrence of the Committee, I should not care to pay it. Moses Quales, who gives Mr. Finnie an order upon you for five pounds eighteen shillings, was among those who escaped from the overthrow of General Braddock, but was slain in Captain Mercer’s defeat.
Captain McKenzie’s accompt for the hire of a vessel to transport his recruits to Alexandria, I did not care to allow without directions; tho’ several officers have petitioned in the same manner, because they were to receive two pistoles a man, and eight pence per day subsistence, as a full allowance (tho’ too small) until they came to the rendezvous.
The article of rugs, he should be allowed. Doctor Shepherd also prefers an account for attending and administering to sundry recruits, while they lay at Alexandria: as also Dr. Halkerson, for those at Fredericksburg. These accompts you will please to have examined, and deliver your statements thereon.
Ensign Fleming has, at my request, acted as surgeon to Captain Hog’s company. He encloses an accompt. Pray order what you think sufficient for his trouble. Lieutenant Baker’s accompt is also among these for twenty-three pounds, nine shillings and eleven pence—expences in going for and bringing the Nottaway Indians. In this I must crave directions. I could not get a more particular accompt than the one now sent, he being on command. Captain Gist also has at divers times entreated me, in the most interesting manner, to intercede in his behalf, that he may get the balance of his accompt, his distresses calling aloud for all the assistance that all these sums can contribute. I do not know really, who to apply to for this purpose, or whose right it is to pay the accompt, but it is certainly wrong not to pay him at all. If a hearty zeal for the interest of this colony, many losses in serving it and true distress, can recommend him to any favor, he certainly merits indulgence. When he offers his accompts to the Governor, his Honor bids him go to the committee; and the gentlemen of the committee think the Governor should pay it. So that the poor man suffers greatly and would be glad to know his doom at once, as it has been so long depending. Many applications have been made to me for the ferriages of the forces in passing Shenandoah, Capecapon, the South Branch &c. I should be glad to know whether they are to be paid, and at what rates. I could heartily wish the governor and Committee would resolve me, whether Fort Cumberland is to be garrisoned with any of the Virginia forces or not. It lies in a most defenceless posture, and I do not care to be at expence in erecting new, or repairing the old works, until I am satisfied in this point.
This place at present contains all our provisions and valuable stores, and is not capable of an hour’s defence, if the enemy were to bring only one single half-pounder against it; which they might do with great ease on horseback. Besides, it lies so remote now from this, as well as the neighbouring inhabitants, and at the same time is not a whit more convenient than Cocke’s Fort, on Patterson’s Creek, to the enemy, which is twenty five miles nigher this way, that it requires as much force to keep the communication open to it, as a fort at the Meadows would do, and employs 150 men, who are a dead charge to the country, as they can be of no other use than just to protect and guard the stores, which might as well be lodged at Cox’s;1 indeed better, for these reasons it would then be more contiguous to this, to the inhabitants, and to the enemy, if we should ever carry an expedition over the mountains, by opening a road the way the Indians have blazed.1 A strong garrison there would not only protect the stores, but also the few remaining inhabitants on the Branch,2 and at the same time waylay and annoy the enemy, as they pass and repass the mountains. Whereas, those at Fort Cumberland, lying out in a corner, quite remote from the inhabitants, to where the Indians always repair to do their murders, can have no intelligence of any thing that is doing, but remain in total ignorance of all transactions. When I was down, I applied to the Governor for his particular and positive directions in this affair. The following is an exact copy of his answer.—“Fort Cumberland is a King’s fort, and built chiefly at the charge of the colony, therefore properly under our direction, until a governor is appointed.”3 Now whether I am to understand this ay or no, to the plain, simple question asked, vizt.—“Is the fort to be continued or removed?”—I know not. But in all important matters I am directed in this ambiguous and uncertain way.4
Great and inconceivable difficulties arise in the execution of my commands, as well as infinite loss and disrepute to the service, by my not having power to pay for deserters. I would, therefore, humbly recommend it to the consideration of the Committee, whether it would not be more for the interest of the country, (I am sure it would be of the service,) were I allowed to pay these demands, rather than have them levied in the public claims. Many of our deserters are apprehended in Maryland, and some in Pennsylvania, and, for the sake of a reward, are brought hither. But when they are to receive certificates only, that they are entitled to two hundred pounds of tobacco, and those certificates are to be given in to a court of claims, there to lie perhaps till they are quite forgot, gives so much dissatisfaction, that many, I believe, rather than apprehend one, would aid fifty to escape, and this, too, among our own people. By this means the country loses numbers of men: consequently the sums of money which each man costs, besides many incident charges, such as horse hire, expenses in sending after and advertising them.
Another thing, which I should be glad to know, and that is, whether the act of Assembly prohibits the whole forces, or only the drafts, from marching out of Virginia, and whether it is contrary to law, even to take the drafts out, provided it is done with their own will. If we cannot take any of the forces out of the colony, the disadvantages, the country may labor under, are not to be described; for the enemy, in that case, may commit the most unheard-of cruelties, and, by stepping across the Potomac, evade the pursuit, and mock our best endeavors to scourge them.
The inconveniences that arise from paying the soldiers in large bills, are not to be conceived. We are obliged afterwards to give the pay of two or three soldiers to one man. He, ten to one, drinks, games, or pays it away; by which means the parties are all dissatisfied, and perpetually complaining for want of their pay. It also prevents them from laying out their pay for absolute necessaries, and obliges them many times to drink it out; for they put it into the tavern-keeper’s hands, who will give no change, unless they consent to take the greatest part in liquor. In short, for five shillings cash you may at any time purchase a month’s pay from the soldiers; in such contempt do they hold the currency. Besides small bills, (if the thing is practicable,) I should be extremely glad to receive some part of the money in Spanish and Portugal gold and silver. There are many things wanted for the use of the regiment, which cannot be had here, and may [be obtained] at Philadelphia; but their undervaluing of our money, has prevented my sending thither.
When I went to Fort Cumberland I left fifty pounds with Capt. Peachy, to pay the workmen once a week, as I had usually done, which money, with some of his own, he was robbed of, and the most diligent search has not been successful in getting the least intelligence of it. I should be glad to know whether I am to suffer this loss, or whether I may with propriety charge it to the country?
At the repeated instances of the soldiers, I must pay so much regard to their representations, as to transmit their complaints. They think it extremely hard, as it is indeed, Sir, that they, who perhaps do more duty, and undergo more fatigue and hardship, from the nature of the service and situation of the country, than any troops upon the continent, should be allowed the least pay, and smallest encouragements in other respects. The Carolinians received British pay; the Marylanders, I believe, do the same; Pennsylvania is exorbitant in rewarding their soldiers1 ; the Jerseys and New Yorkers, I do not remember what it is they give; but the New England governments give more than a shilling per day, our money, besides an allowance of rum, peas, tobacco, ginger, vinegar, &c, &c.
Our soldiers complain, that their pay is insufficient, even to furnish shoes, shirts, stockings, &c, which their officers, in order to keep them fit for duty, oblige them to provide. This, they say, deprives them of the means of purchasing any of the conveniences or necessaries of life, and obliges them to drag through a disagreeable service, in the most disagreeable manner. That their pay will not afford more than enough (if that) to keep them in clothes, I should be convinced of for these reasons, if experience had not taught me. The British soldiers are allowed eight pence sterling per day, with many necessaries that ours are not, and can buy what is requisite upon the cheapest terms; and lie one half the year in camp, or garrison, when they cannot consume the fifth part of what ours do in continual marches over mountains, rocks, rivers, &c, [who are] computed to receive only—per day. Then, Sir, is it possible that our men, who receive a fourth less, have two pence per day stoppages for their regimental clothing, and all other stoppages made that British soldiers have, and are obliged, by being in continual action, to lay in triple the quantity of ammunition and clothes, and at double the price, should be able to clear quarters? It is not to be done, and this is the reason why the men have always been so naked and bare of clothes.
And I dare say you will be candid enough to allow, that there are few men who would choose to have their lives exposed, without some view or hope of a reward, to the incessant insults of a merciless enemy. Another thing there is which gives them great uneasiness, and that is, seeing no regular provision made for the maimed and wounded. They acknowledge the generosity of the Assembly, and have the highest veneration for that respectable House; they look with gratitude on the care, that has been taken of their brother soldiers; but say, this is only an act of will, and another Assembly may be much less liberal. We have no certainty, that this generosity may continue, consequently can have nothing in view but the most gloomy prospects, and no encouragement to be bold and active; and the probable effects of which are wounds, which no sooner happen and they unfit for service than they are discharged, and turned upon an uncharitable world to beg, steal, or starve! In short, they have a true sense of all that can happen, and do not think slightly of the fatigues they encounter, in scouring these mountains with their provisions on their backs, lying out and watching for the enemy, with no other covering or conveniency to shelter them from the inclemency of the weather, than trees and rocks! The old soldiers are affected, and complain of their hardships and little encouragement in piteous terms; and they give these as reasons for so much desertion. The money that is given in paying for deserters, expresses, horse-hire, losses and abuse of horses, would go a great length toward advancing their pay, which I hope would contribute not a little to remove the cause of this expense. I would not have it here understood, tho’, that I mean to recommend any thing extraordinary; no, I would give them British pay, and entitle them to the same privileges during their stay in the service, and as a reward or compliment for their toil, rather than a matter of right. Were the country to give them one suit of regimental clothes a year, without receiving the two pence stoppage, it would be a full allowance, and give great content and satisfaction. All they want (they say) is to be entitled to the privileges and immunities of soldiers, of which they are well informed, by some who have been a number of years in the army, then they should think it no hardship to be subject to the punishments and fatigues. Were this done, and an order given by the Committee empowering me to provide for them, according to the rules and customs of the army, I then should know what I was about, and I could do it without hesitation or fear, and, am convinced, to the satisfaction and interest of the country. As the case now stands, we are upon such odd establishment, under such uncertain regulations, and subject to so much inconvenience, that I am wandering in a wilderness of difficulties, and am ignorant of the ways to extricate myself, and to steer for the satisfaction of the country, the soldiers, or myself. Having no certain rules for the direction of my conduct, I am afraid to turn to this hand or to that, lest it should be censured. If such an order, as I before spoke of, was to issue from your Board, I would then immediately provide upon the best terms a quantity of all kinds of ammunition, clothes, &c. for the use of the regiment, and deliver them out to each company, as their wants required, taking care to deduct the value of all such things from their pay. By this means the soldiers would be always provided and fit for duty, and do it cheerfully, and the country sustains no other loss, than advancing and lying out of the money for a few months to lay in those stores, as this money is always restored by the soldiers again.1
I have hitherto been afraid to advance any sums of money for this salutary purpose, and always bought at extravagant prices, and have been obliged to send to different parts, ere they could be had, which has also contributed to the cause of their nakedness. The officers are almost as uneasy and dispirited as the men, doing every part of duty with languor and indifference. When they are ordered to provide themselves with suitable necessaries, they complain of an uncertain establishment, and the probability of being disbanded, and so, things rendered useless. So that I really most heartily wish for a change. The surgeon has entreated me to mention his case, which I shall do by enclosing his letters. He has behaved extremely well, and discharged his duty, in every capacity, since he came to the regiment. He has long discovered an inclination to quit the service, the encouragement being so small; and I believe would have done it, had not the officers, to show their regard and willingness to detain him, subscribed each one day’s pay in every month. This, as they are likely to be so much dispersed, and can receive no benefit from him, they intend to withdraw, (he says) and therefore begs me to solicit the gentlemen of the Committee in his behalf; otherwise he shall be obliged to seek some other method of getting his livelihood.
If it is thought necessary to establish an hospital, I believe there can scarcely be a doubt but that this is the place; and then I hope he will be appointed director, with advanced pay. Whether or not, I could really wish his pay or perquisites was increased, for the reasons he gives.
I beg, Sir, with very great earnestness, that the gentlemen of the Committee will communicate their sentiments fully upon all these several matters, and approve or disapprove of every thing therein. I only wait to know their intention, and then act in strict conformity thereto.
Since writing the preceding pages, I find on examining Mr. Boyd’s accompts that he has unadvisably paid Mr. Finnie what arrears were due Quales. But having already appealed for approbation of the Committee in this and other accompts, which I had no distinct knowledge of, or concern in, I yet submit to your determination, and Mr. Finnie must abide by your judgment, and refund if found reasonable.
If the Committee find my account satisfactory and distinct, as I have no doubt of it, it would be a great obligation, if they would make a final settlement to that date, and begin a new account, as it would be the means of keeping matters more clear and intelligible hereafter. For long accounts and references to doubtful points, instead of gaining any light, are but darkened and confused by procrastination. The late regulation of our companies will occasion more regularity in the paymaster’s account, and be more satisfactory in every shape, for the future. Besides, the gentlemen of the Committee will find little trouble, or difficulty, in overhauling short accounts, kept in a regular method, plain and perspicuous, which is the very life of business.
I would again entreat your regard to my request, for these and many other reasons.
TO CAPTAIN WAGGENER.
Winchester, 5 August, 1756.
I have so many places and people to defend; so great calls from every quarter for men, and so little prospects for getting any, that I find it impossible to comply with the act of Assembly, and opinion of the Council of War, in building the chain of forts on the frontiers. You must therefore, notwithstanding all the orders which have heretofore been given, immediately despatch Captain Bell, with his whole company to Captain Cox’s fort; where he is to remain himself with twenty men, taking command of said fort, and escorting all Expresses, wagons, &c, to and from Fort Cumberland, as far as Ashby’s and Pearsalls. The rest of his men he is to divide into two equal parts; one of which, with his Ensign, is to march to, and be stationed at Kirkendalls, for the protection of the people there. The other party, with a trusty sergeant is to march to, and put themselves under the direction of the officer commanding at Ashby’s, in order to strengthen that garrison and enable them to afford escorts with the greater safety. Your own and the two remaining companies, you are to dispose of in the most eligible manner for the protection of the inhabitants above the Trough; and I could most earnestly wish that you would, if the thing is practicable, erect a fort in that settlement, twenty miles above your upper fort, that the people in those parts may be sheltered from the enemy, and that we may so far as is possible, shew our willingness to comply with the laws of our country that direct this chain.
I wrote you yesterday, desiring that all the captains would be punctual in making me exact weekly returns, to be signed by themselves and officers, of the state and strength of their companies, and must repeat those orders, as I am fully resolved to suspend the first captain or commander of a company that neglects in sending me them; or that is careless in correcting or returning them exact, tho’ they may vary but a man.
All the militia that are not already marched, must be immediately ordered down, to call at this place to lodge their arms.
TO COLONEL STEPHEN.
Winchester, 5 August, 1756.
Yours of the 20th ultimo and 1st inst. I have just received. I am sorry to hear you even mention recalling Capt. McKenzie from his post. It must have been an extraordinary occasion that would have reconciled me to that proceeding, which would have left Cox’s, Pearsalls, and Kirkendalls forts quite defenceless, to strengthen a garrison which was only intended to defend the stores, and might be protected by 100 against musketry, as well as by more; and all the men we have could not save it against any thing else. I have, in order to strengthen the several garrisons that maintain the communications with Fort Cumberland, ordered Captain Bell to march to Cox’s, and there remain with twenty men, while the rest of his company is equally divided, one part to strengthen Ashby’s, the other to protect the inhabitants at Kirkendalls. By this means McKenzie’s company will be kept entire at Pearsalls, and enable him to furnish the stronger escorts. I hope you will mention that matter to Rutherford, which we talked of at Fort Cumberland, about recruiting the rangers. The militia now can neither serve nor disserve us, for, they are by the Governor’s directions, all called in. The views of the enemy are designed against the lower inhabitants. They have laid Maryland and Pennsylvania waste, as low as Carlisle, the inhabitants of which place we are told are flying with the utmost consternation. They have made an attempt on the Virginia side, killed one and captivated another on the Conococheague road, four miles hitherwards, but retreated back, for how long a time, God knows. I communicated the contents of yours to the Doctor concerning medicines, and he will send them up so soon as procured. At present he has none of them.
Having occasion to write to Captain Waggener, I have ordered him to despatch the men belonging to your garrison immediately. Yesterday I wrote you, and desired that all the Captains would be punctual in making me weekly returns, signed by themselves and officers, signifying the state and strength of their companies, and shall here repeat these orders, because I am fully resolved to suspend the first Captain (or commander of a company) that fails in this point, or that is negligent and incorrect in making them out, tho’ they may err but in one man.
By my returns of the regiment including drafts, scouts and rangers, I can only make 926 men; while Mr. Boyd, exclusive of Captain Hog’s company, has issued pay for 1080. What am I, or what are the Governor and Committee, before whom all these widely different returns must be laid for examination, to think of them? Sure the least they can say is, that it is unhappy for the country to have officers so little acquainted with the management of their companies as to make returns to me for 926 men only, and others to the Paymaster for 1080. You desire to have a map sent you of the lakes, &c. I have none but Evans’s, which you have also: nor have I heard a syllable from Major Lewis, altho’ Mr. Jones is now here from Augusta; nor any thing about an engagement on the Lakes.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Winchester, 14 August, 1756.
The return of the express, that came with La Force’s escape, (for which accident I am extremely concerned, and fear its productions if he is not retaken,) affords me an opportunity to inform your Honor of some occurrences, which have happened since my last.1
Repeated complaints and applications from all quarters for men, but more especially from the garrisons which secure the communication with Fort Cumberland, (a place very useless in itself, and expensive to the country; containing an hundred and fifty men solely employed in guarding the stores, which could be better defended at any other place) obliged me to order a company from Captain Waggener’s detachment (for none else could spare a man) to reinforce and enable those garrisons to send escorts with wagons and expresses, going to and returning from Cumberland Fort. This reduced Captain Waggener’s command to a number insufficient to disperse parties among the settlers, and retain a strength to conduct the buildings. Therefore, the grand point then turned on this: whether he was to neglect the inhabitants and build the forts, or neglect the forts and mind the inhabitants.
His council were of the latter opinion unanimously, and sent to know my sentiments, which I own corresponded with theirs, for these reasons. First, I look upon it, that the protection of the inhabitants was the motive for ordering these forts; and to lose them, while we are at work, is perverting the intention. Secondly, we have built some and altered other forts, as far south on the Potomac waters as any settlers have been molested; and there only remains one body of inhabitants, at a place called the Upper Tract, which needs a guard upon these waters, and thither I have ordered a party. After this, if I am not misinformed, there is nothing but a continued series of mountains uninhabited, until we get over on James river waters, not far from that fort, which takes its name from your Honor; down which to Mayo River, Captain Hog, by your Honor’s orders, is to have the direction of. If I have done amiss, in not adhering to the letter of the law, I hope your Honor will intimate the same, and give directions how I am to proceed.
There have been two or three men killed and scalped at different places, since my last, though every precaution has been taken to prevent it. The fatiguing service, low pay, and great hardships in which our men have been engaged, cause, notwithstanding the greatest care and vigilance to the contrary, great and scandalous desertions. Yesterday I received an account from Captain Stewart, of sixteen men deserting in a party. Frequently two or three went off before, as they have done from this place. We never fail to pursue, and use all possible means to apprehend them; but seldom with success, as they are generally aided and assisted off by the inhabitants. There are now two parties in pursuit of these fellows, who have made towards the northward to enlist with the recruiting officers in Pennsylvania, &c. I fear without a stop can be put to it we shall lose numbers of our men.1 A report prevailed in town yesterday, said to come from a man, who had it from a person who was at Governor Morris’s treaty with the Indians, and heard them say, that a large body composed of different nations, and headed by some French, intended to attack Fort Cumberland this fall. Reports of this kind often take rise without good foundation; yet, as this is an affair of great importance, the slightest intelligence ought not to be discountenanced, especially when we consider that our provision, and, what is still more valuable, all our ammunition and stores, are lodged in that defenceless place. The consequence of a successful enterprise of this sort, and the absolute impossibility (considering the weakness of the place, badness of situation, and division of our force) of preventing its falling, are, without previous notice, motives sufficient to apprehend the worst. Therefore, notwithstanding I enlarged on this subject in a former letter, think it my duty to hint this again, and to get directions how I am to proceed.
It is true, I give no credit to this intelligence, because I flatter myself such important information as this would be communicated, in the most distinct and expeditious manner, by Governor Morris; yet, as I before said, it being an expedition they cannot fail of succeeding in, what should deter them from attempting it? We have certain advice, that two of our deserters have reached Fort Duquesne, and were heard to speak in high terms, before they went off (but this was not known till after they were gone) of the reward that would be got for communicating the weakness of the works and garrison at Fort Cumberland. All the militia are returned save thirty from Culpeper, who stay willingly with Captain Fields.
As a general meeting of all the persons concerned in the estate of my deceased brother1 is appointed to be held at Alexandria, about the middle of September next, for making a final settlement of all his affairs; and as I am very deeply interested, not only as an executor and heir to part of his estate, but also in a very important dispute, subsisting between Colonel Lee,2 who married the widow, and my brothers and self, concerning advice3 in the will, which brings the whole personal estate in question,—I say, as this is a matter of very great moment to me, I hope your Honor will readily consent to my attending this meeting, provided no disadvantage is likely to arise during my absence; in which case, I shall not offer to quit my command.
If war is to be declared at this place, I should be glad if your Honor would direct the manner. I know there is ceremony required, but the order I am ignorant of.4 I am, &c.
ADDRESS TO HIS COMMAND.
You see, gentlemen soldiers, that it hath pleased our most gracious sovereign to declare war in form against the French King, and (for divers good causes, but more particularly for their ambitious usurpations and encroachments on his American dominions) to pronounce all the said French King’s subjects and vassals to be enemies to his crown and dignity; and hath willed and required all his subjects and people, and in a more especial manner commanded his captain-general of his forces, his governors, and all other his commanders and officers, to do and execute all acts of hostility in the prosecution of this just and honorable war. And though our utmost endeavors can contribute but little to the advancement of his Majesty’s honor and the interest of his governments, yet let us show our willing obedience to the best of kings, and, by a strict attachment to his royal commands, demonstrate the love and loyalty we bear to his sacred person; let us, by rules of unerring bravery, strive to merit his royal favor, and a better establishment as reward for our services.1
TO LORD FAIRFAX.2
Winchester, 29 August, 1756.
It is with infinite concern, I see the distresses of the people, and hear their complaints, without being able to afford them relief. I have so often troubled your Honor for aid from the militia, that I am almost ashamed to repeat my demands; nor should mention them again, did I not think it absolutely necessary at this time to save the most valuable and flourishing part of this county from immediate desertion. And how soon the remainder part, as well as the adjacent counties, may share the same fate, is too obvious to reason, and to your Lordship’s good sense for me to demonstrate. The whole settlement of Conococheague in Maryland is fled, and there now remain only two families from thence to Fredericktown, which is several miles below the Blue Ridge. By which means we are quite exposed, and have no better security on that side, than the Potomac River, for many miles below the Shenandoah; and how great security that is to us, may easily be discerned, when we consider, with what facility the enemy have passed and repassed it already. That the Maryland settlements are all abandoned is certainly fact, as I have had the accounts transmitted to me by several hands, and confirmed yesterday by Henry Brinker, who left Monocacy the day before, and also affirms, that three hundred and fifty wagons had passed that place to avoid the enemy, within the space of three days.
I thought it expedient to communicate the above in order to inform your Lordship of the reasons for asking succours for these unhappy people, and how absolutely necessary it is to use, (without delay,) such vigorous measures as will save that settlement from total desolation.
We see, my Lord, the absurdity of the people’s arguments, and the consequences of leaving one county, nay, one part of the county, or, to go still farther, a single company, that is more exposed than another, to defend itself and the parts in danger. When Hampshire was invaded, and called on Frederick for assistance, the people of the latter refused their aid, answering, “Let them defend themselves, as we shall do if they come to us.” Now the enemy have forced through that county, and begin to infest this, those a little removed from danger are equally infatuated; and will be, I fear, until all in turn fall a sacrifice to an insulting and merciless enemy.
These observations may be improperly offered to your Lordship, but they occur in so refulgent a light to me, that I could not resist the impulse of dictating them. I am so weak-handed here, that I could not, without stagnating the public works, spare a man to these people’s assistance. Yet I look upon the retaining of them to be so essential to the well-being of the county in general, that I have ordered all the men, that can possibly be spared, to march thitherwards; and they accordingly set out to-morrow morning, to remain there until your Lordship can relieve them, that they may return to these works, which in my opinion are of no little importance to the safety of the county, if we should be attacked by numbers, as we have reason to apprehend. I hope your Lordship will exert your authority in raising men for this salutary end, and that you will think it advisable to make every company furnish their quota. This will redress the complaints of the people below, who say they cannot leave their families to the mercy of the enemy, while they are scouring the woods.
This is the reason given by some why Caton’s party consists but of ten men, while others say it proceeds from dislike to the man. I acquainted his Honor the Governor with your Lordship’s order for raising fifty men for this service, who approved thereof, and has been pleased to direct me to continue them there so long as I see cause.
I cannot conclude without again mentioning how agreeable it would be, if your Lordship would order a party immediately to these parts, that I may withdraw my men to their duty at this place. I am, my Lord, &c.
TO COLONEL STEPHEN.
Winchester, 6 September, 1756.
Yours of the 17th & 23d August I received. Mr. Boyd is just returned from Williamsburg, settling his accompts and getting a supply of cash. He will be with you to pay you off.
I am in hopes our men for the future will be better satisfied, as the Committee have allowed them 8d per day and their clothes without any stoppages or deductions. The Governor expects this encouragement will engage the Rangers to enlist.
I wrote him about Fort Cumberland being put down; but he says, as it is a King’s fort he cannot venture to abandon it, without further orders from a higher power. He says, Lord Loudoun will be at Williamsburg about the 20th November, and then the affair may be properly represented to him. He has however sent me orders to draw from thence a sufficient quantity of stores for this and the other forts, and I have accordingly sent wagons to be loaded with ammunition, &c. for that purpose.
The Governor informs me too, that he just received an express from Major Lewis, acquainting him that he might expect 150 Cherokees to be at this place in a fortnight; that the Catawba King was gone to South Carolina, and had engaged to send 50 warriors to our assistance, on his return from thence. This will be a considerable help to us, as we shall be able to carry the war into their own country, and use them in the same manner they have us for 12 months past. He adds, that the Catawbas and Cherokees are very firmly attached to our interest, and will still furnish us with more assistance when the fort in that country is completed. ’T is already in great forwardness. I have wrote to Captain Waggener of this, and ordered him to keep up a correspondence with yours and the other forts, that you may hear from each other every week. I beg you will see to have every man at the fort supplied with a powder-horn and shot-bag.
The Governor has sued Hedgman for scandal and has ordered Lieutenant Hall to attend the General Court, the 14th of October, as an evidence. Acquaint Mr. Hall of this, and send him down. I have got orders from the Governor to enlist servants, the masters to be paid a reasonable price upon the first purchase, deducting for the time they have served. You will observe this, if any should fall in with you. Complaint has been made that the officers and soldiers upon party, take up the strays they find in the woods. Let these practices be discouraged. Ensign Roy had my promise to be appointed to my company, as it is the company he before belonged to, in case my brother did not accept, and he has declined it. I desire you will send Mr. Roy down immediately to this place. I have received no monthly returns, which I expected regularly, besides weekly ones.
Let all your leisure hours be employed in disciplining the men; for as Lord Loudoun is to be here, and will probably see them, I would willingly have them make the best appearance possible.
The wagons must be despatched as soon as possible, loaded with powder chiefly, the rest with grenades, musket-ball and a quantity of flints, with some 12 lb. & 4 lb. grape-shot.
The powder is the most material, so let the greater proportion of that be sent. The men returned by the officers above-mentioned, at this place, are employed on the public works, but they must still continue them on their rolls and returns, and shall have them returned to their companies, as soon as they have done here, if they belong properly to them.
Waters and Burrass behaved extremely ill when they were sent down last. If I could lay my hands on them, I would try the effect of 1000 lashes on the former, and whether a general court-martial would not condemn the latter to a life eternal! I shall not at this time enumerate the different kinds of charges laid to both, but desire you will enquire minutely of Mr. Burrass what he did with the mare he brought from Fort Cumberland. She was a creature belonging to the heirs of Theobald, caught by Captain Ashby for me. I intended to have had her appraised, and allowed the heirs her full value. She was first carried to Fort Cumberland, then brought down by that villain Burrass, and here sold or swapped, I want to know to whom, that I may get her and do as I first intended. Captain Peachy applied to me for leave to take up strays, &c. and said it was practised by the Marylanders & Pennsylvanians. If the people of those provinces are guilty of unlawful practices, I cannot think it should be any excitement to us to follow their example: for under that pretence of getting strays in the mountains, is carried on a scene of the greatest iniquity that can be imagined. The horses on Pattersons Creek, South Branch, and other of our deserted settlements hitherwards, are taken up, sold and made away with, to the infinite detriment and oppression of the people who complain of these grievances in the most sensible manner, and urge that they are more oppressed by their own people, than by the enemy. Were there a limitation given, the officers might, but the soldiers would not observe any, and all strays whatever got, would be said to come within limited bounds. However, if you think you can put the garrison of Fort Cumberland under proper restraints in this particular, I would rather that they be benefited by any advantages of this kind than the enemy, or those who have no pretence should take them off. Therefore suffer no horses to be deemed strays, or taken up as such, which run anywhere below the Flats, either on the Virginia or Maryland side; and if any are caught above, if it is not known to whom they belong, let them be appraised by indifferent officers, upon their honor; and the valuation, with the marks and brand, be registered in a book for that purpose. Then let the person who takes such horses up, and claims them by this right, deliver to the owner, if any should come, the valuation, if such horses should be sold, or in his use and service, or else to deliver up the horse. But if the horse should die, be killed, or stray away from the Fort, in what case the person who takes him up, not to be answerable for the horse or valuation. No person tho’ is under any pretence to take up with a view of keeping and detaining as his property, horses where the owner is known. I will by no means consent that any horse below the Flats shall be taken upon the above terms, lest the property of the people be affected, when they may have better chances of securing their own. In the above I have given you my sentiments, which you may in a court of officers put under proper articles and heads, and made publick to, and strictly practised in the garrison, under very severe penalties on officers, and heavy corporal punishments on the soldiers.
One thing more I think necessary, before any officer or soldier can pretend to lay just claim under the aforesaid articles: that it, to advertise in the nearest publick places in Maryland and Virginia, such as Winchester & Frederick-Town, any horses so taken, that the real owners upon procuring attested proof, may receive their creatures by coming or sending for them. You will receive herewith a cask of shoes, containing 14 dozen pairs, which are to be distributed among the needy of the soldiers, taking care that account is kept to whom they are delivered, so that the price may be stopped from their pay, at the usual rates of 7/6 per pair, and let me be immediately advised of their delivery and payment. You will order as strong an escort with the wagons as you can, as far as Pearsalls; and should any of the wagoners want provisions, let them be served, ordering your commissary to remit an account of it to the commissary here, that it may be deducted from their wages.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Winchester, 8 September, 1756.
I received your favours of the 19th, 20th, and 21st ultimo, and wrote immediately to the commanding officers of the counties of Prince William, Culpeper, and Fairfax, to march their drafts to this place. There are none of them yet arrived, nor do I know whether they are made.
Your Honor’s letter of the 19th mentions that I may enlist servants agreeable to the act of Parliament; but as I have not yet seen that, am at a loss how to proceed, until I receive your further orders or a copy of the act.1 It will occasion great murmuring and discontent to the masters, if they are not paid immediately for their servants; so I hope your Honor will order them to make application to you for the money. When these points are settled, and I have received your Honor’s farther orders, I shall send out some officers to recruit. It is the best, most expeditious, nay, only method, I know of now to recruit the forces, as I doubt not we shall meet with as good success as our neighborhood. And I am credibly informed, an officer of the regulars enlisted 30 in one day in Maryland. I shall in the meantime recruit all that offer, to prevent their leaving the Colony, but shall be glad of farther instructions. A copy of the act I ought to have above all things. The men are much satisfied with the augmentation of their pay, but nothing will prevent their desertion while they are kindly received and entertained thro’ the Colony, and even under the eye of the civil magistrate. Perhaps a proclamation of pardon to all who would surrender themselves and return to their duty might be of service. Those delivered to the constables are always suffered to escape, and no notice taken of it. All the necessaries I can get in the Colony, the men do not want for; but others indispensably necessary cannot be had. We are in great want of drums. I got one from Colonel Randolph. We have got no conveniences to mend old drums, tho’ we do the best with what we have, which I believe is scarcely more than four very bad ones to the whole regiment: and we have drummers for all the companies learning.
I shall be down at the time your Honor directs to wait upon the Earl of Loudoun. I am in hopes they can do without me in Napp’s affair. I have ordered Lieutenant Hall down to the day you appointed.1 The Quakers still remain here, and shall until the other drafts are discharged. Thro’ the means of their officers chiefly, I believe, the Rangers are quite adverse to enlisting into the regiment. Cockes tells them they are obliged to serve no longer than he commands them, and it was upon these terms they say, they enlisted, and that they will serve if they can continue under the command of their own Captains. So they must be discharged, as the fund is exhausted. They are acquainted with the late encouragement, but nothing will engage them to enlist. I should be glad of express orders in this affair. It may be of service in engaging the Tusks to assist us, if the Nottaways are paid; and I refer them to your Honor for a consideration. The Indians are a very covetous people, and expect to be well rewarded for the least service.
I am afraid military threats will not deter the Pennsylvanian butchers from driving away the cattle. I would have been glad to have received particular directions concerning the provisions, as to the quantity, and where it must be deposited. I fear it is scarcely practicable to get Indians to go now to the Twightwees; I doubt not it would be of service, but how it is to be effected I know not, as we have no Indians in our assistance, but those expected from the Southward. People here in general are very selfish; every person expects forces at his own door, and is angry to see them at his neighbours. I imagine they are much of the same stamp in Augusta.
I wish the new commission for this county may have the intended effect. The number of tippling houses kept here is a great grievance.
All the efforts which have been made here to raise the militia have proved ineffectual.
War having been proclaimed here and at Fort Cumberland, and the guns from Rock Creek brought up some time ago, Ensign Fleming, in Captain Hog’s absence, will be wanted at his post. But your Honor will be pleased to do as you like in the affair. I am glad the Cherokees have determined to come to our assistance, and to hear of the firm attachment of them and the Catawbas to our interest. They will be of particular service—more than twice their number of white men. When they arrive, which I pray may be soon, we may deal with the French in their own way; and, by visiting their country, will keep their Indians at home. I sent off expresses to enquire for fuzees for them. Have not yet heard from Colonel Mason. In Fredricksburg, I am informed, there are about 29. Mr. Hunter of that place informs me that Mr. George Braxton has at least 500 very good, light and fit for Indians. I shall send immediately to Fort Cumberland for a sufficient quantity of the stores. Our men are very much harassed in endeavoring to protect the frontiers, which the great extent of territory renders impossible to be done properly with our small numbers. But we have been happy in being tolerably peaceable and holding our own of late, while Maryland and Pennsylvania fly in the utmost consternation. The frontiers of Maryland are abandoned for many miles below the Blue Ridge, as low as Frederick-Town, thro’ which place I am credibly informed no less than 350 wagons, transporting the affrighted families, passed in the space of three days. By which means, Potowmack River, which is now our frontier, is deserted on the Maryland side 40 miles below Conococheague, and as much in a parellel below Winchester, and is now more than any the theater of bloodshed and cruelty.
Those Indians who are now coming should be shewed all possible respect, and the greatest care taken of them, as upon them much depends. ’T is a critical time, they are very humoursome, and their assistance very necessary! One false step might not only lose us that, but even turn them against us. All kinds of necessary goods, &c, should be got for them.
If your Honor does not care to trouble yourself about it, and please to give me orders, and furnish me with money or letters of credit (for our paper money passes to great disadvantage, and the Committee will not agree to provide those necessaries as they expect Indian affairs come more properly under your regard) I will get them immediately from Philadelphia, which is the only place that I know of that we can possibly be supplied from.
Sometime ago I wrote to your Honor about Jenkins’ pay, which you then ordered me to advance. But as the Committee have ordered that £6 10, which I paid him, should be got back, I thought proper to acquaint your Honor with it, as I must bring it in now as a private charge against your Honor—it being disallowed in my accompt. I have also paid the expresses with the declaration of war and the proclamation concerning La Force, which I shall include in the same accompt, and settle with your Honor at meeting. Your Honor mentions that when the drafts are discharged, the number of officers must be reduced. It is true we have a greater number than is necessary for that of the men, at present; but as it is absolutely necessary to keep the forces, and a larger number than we now have, I think some means should be fallen upon to augment them. And altho’ the officers have not complied with their promises, I will venture to say they did it as well as any after appointed will do, unless some scheme is fallen upon, and a better foundation for recruiting. And as the most of our present corps are gentlemen of family, and have now been sometime in the service, I fear we should exchange for the worse, if we aim at a change.
I think it highly necessary some vigorous measures should be taken to engage or compel the deserters to return to their duty. It certainly would be of service were the King’s attorneys in the several counties, ordered to prosecute all who harbour them, without respect of persons. The immediate loss we suffer for want of their services is greater than the prejudice they do the service in general thro’ the country, by asserting falsehoods of the ill-treatment they received from their officers, and the great want of every thing in the regiment except bad usage. This they do, in order to gain the compassion of credulous people, who immediately receive them with open arms, listen to their complaints, and industriously propagate them thro’ the country, and screen the offenders from justice! There is one Crisp here, a ship-carpenter, who says he was enlisted by your Honor at 2/ per day. He is of no service to us now, and I should be glad to know what must be done with him, and who is to pay his wages? For the Committee I know will grudge him 2/ per day, for which we received no equivalent service of any kind.
As it seems uncertain when the Assembly will meet, I think it my indispensable duty to observe to your Honor the bad consequences that may arise from want of proper measures to reinforce the requirement, or to keep up a sufficient strength for the protection of the frontiers, when the drafts are to be discharged in December.1 The timorous disposition of the inhabitants occasions much confusion and trouble; and constantly are for flying off on the least noise or report of danger. And if they are lessened in their sense of security by a reduction of our forces, what must then be the event?
The only body of inhabitants is now, and has for some time past been settled on the South Branch; and it is with the greatest difficulty they can be prevailed upon to stay. Should they once give way, we shall not have a soul betwixt this and Fort Du Quesne, except what few soldiers are contained in the little forts on Pattersons Creek.
At present, affairs are still and peaceable, but how long they will remain so is uncertain. The French, flushed with so much success in all their attempts hitherto, may have some grand scheme in view, and surprize us, as in that most unlucky affair of Oswego, which I heartily wish may be yet groundless.
These letters enclosed will show your Honor what obstacles we meet with in enlisting servants; and as I expect opposition will be made in every place I send to recruit at, I beg your Honor would be peremptory and particular in your instructions relative to this affair, both as to masters and magistrates.
Mr. Jones is just came to town from Augusta, who informs me no account of the Cherokees is yet known of in that county; so that we need not look for them these two or three weeks yet.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Mount Vernon, 23 September, 1756.
Under your kind indulgence I came to this place a few days ago, expecting to meet the executors of my deceased brother, in order to make a final settlement of his affairs. I was disappointed tho’ in this design, by the Assembly having called away the principal persons concerned, which I was unacquainted with until Jenkins’ return, about the same time that I got down. I shall remark, in obedience to your Honor’s request, such things relating to the Virginia regiment as occur to me now, requiring the Assembly’s attention;1 and if any thing further presents itself, I shall communicate it from Winchester, for which place I shall set out this afternoon. I have often urged, for one thing, the necessity of enforcing the articles of war in all their parts, where it is not incompatible with the nature of this service. I have been surprised, as often as I have reflected, and really cannot devise any reason, why the Assembly should be so much averse to established rules for the regulation of their forces, which long experience in established armies fully evinces the necessity of. And my surprise is yet increased, when I consider how cautiously worded the act of Parliament is, to preserve the rights and liberties of the people against the arbitrary proceedings of the military officers.
We are under a kind of regulation at present, that renders command extremely difficult and precarious, as no crimes, I believe, are particularly notified but mutiny and desertion in the act of Assembly, notwithstanding there are many others equally punishable by act of Parliament.
One thing more, which particularly requires attention, is the billeting, quartering, and dieting of soldiers upon the inhabitants, which in many cases cannot be avoided.
I have, in several letters to your Honor, expressed my opinion with candor and freedom, about the situation, works, and garrison at Fort Cumberland. I shall, nevertheless (as you command me to lay before your Honor such things as require the Assembly’s notice,) repeat on this occasion my apprehensive fears once more for that place, to avoid, if any accident should happen to it, the malicious reflections, which inseparably attend misfortunes of the kind. I have upon all occasions said, that Fort Cumberland is a place of no strength, and never can be tenable from the badness of the ground. It is far remote from any of our inhabitants, exposed to the insults of the enemy, renders the communication between that and the inhabitants difficult, and it is not the more convenient for annoying the enemy; contains all our valuable stores (save what I have removed to Winchester), and a garrison of one hundred and seventy, which are too many a number to be spared from other places, just to defend the stores at this, and not enough to afford detachments to waylay and surprise the enemy. I shall, therefore, beg leave to observe, in regard to Fort Cumberland, that if it is continued, we [must be] confined to act defensively, and keep our forces dispersed as they now are. The place must be fortified with strong works, or else inevitably fall, garrison and stores, into the enemy’s hands. How fatal a stroke! And what noise this will make, the censure of mankind will speedily declare.
I enclose your Honor Colonel Stephen’s letter on this head, in answer to one I wrote to him on the subject.
I did, from the beginning, express my sentiments against having small garrisons in a chain of forts along our frontiers—garrisons not sufficient to defend the walls (how then the inhabitants when the enemy are about?) and shall now give a few reasons upon which this opinion was grounded. We have a frontier of such immense extent, that to build forts at convenient distances would employ such numbers of men, or divide our troops into such trifling [parties,] that no one part could defend itself, much less the inhabitants, were the country invaded.
The most effectual way that I can see, though none can answer while we act defensively, is to have no more than three or four large, strong forts, built at convenient distances, upon our frontiers; in which strong garrisons must be maintained, that parties able to cope with when they hear of or do meet the enemy may be sent out, and these parties in constant succession to be ranging and scouring the country. Here a difficulty will arise, as others will in every defensive plan that can be offered. How are these ranging parties, sent out in this manner, and probably remaining on the scout from ten to fourteen days, to be supplied with provisions, the inhabitants being so thinly settled, and the forts so far extended? The difficulty is great, yet not sufficient to render this plan inferior to the former. For in the other case, when the enemy is heard of, the garrison can only send out parties, more fit to reconnoiter than oppose. These parties, if they prove too small (which in all probability they may), are certain of falling a prey to the enemy, whose numbers cannot be known until thus proved. I could urge many things more on this head, but believe it useless. What I have already said, I hope, is sufficient to give your Honor a hint of the matter, and that is all I aimed at. We may form many schemes to defend ourselves, but experience will show, that none but removing the cause will prove effectual. Unless the Assembly concerts some measures to augment their force, the country, I fear, must inevitably fall. The frontiers, since this time a twelve month, are totally deserted for fifty miles and upwards quite from north to south, and all below that greatly thinned by the removal of numbers; occasioned in some measure by Maryland and Pennsylvania giving ground so much faster than we do, which exposes a very fine country of ours on that side, as low as Monocacy in Maryland, several miles on this side the Blue Ridge.
I believe I might also add, that no person, who regards his character, will undertake a command without the means of preserving it; since his conduct is culpable for all misfortunes, and never right but when successful.
I cannot think any number under two thousand men sufficient to cover our extensive frontiers, and with them it is impossible to prevent misfortunes, however easy the world may think it. What means can be used to raise these men, I know not, unless the listing servants is thought expedient; and that (alone) will prove ineffectual. Some resolve should be come to about the ranging companies. Under what regulations those are in Augusta, and what service they have done the country, I know not. Those on this quarter have done little service, and amount (both companies) to about thirty men only at this time. I apprehend it will be thought advisable to keep a garrison always at Fort Loudoun; for which reason I would beg leave to represent the great nuisance the number of tippling-houses in Winchester are of to the soldiers, who, by this means, in despite of the utmost care and vigilance, are, so long as their pay holds good, incessantly drunk, and unfit for service.
The rates of their liquor are immoderately high, and the publicans throughout the country charge one shilling per meal, currency, for soldier’s diet; and the country only allows the recruiting officer eight pence per day for the maintenance of a soldier, by which means he loses in proportion as he gets men, which is much complained of, and is in reality a discouraging circumstance meriting redress. The want of a chaplain does, I humbly conceive, reflect dishonor upon the regiment, as all other officers are allowed. The gentlemen of the corps are sensible of this, and did propose to support one at their private expense. But I think it would have a more graceful appearance were he appointed as others are. I could wish some method were practised to bring the commonalty acquainted with the laws against entertaining of deserters, and to enforce those laws more effectually than they ever have been. The number of cattle that has been drove, and now is continually driving to Pennsylvania, may be thought worth noticing.
I informed your Honor immediately after my accompts were cursorily examined in April last, that the Committee objected to the money advanced Jenkins; and you ordered me to pay him as the money became due, which you would see me paid. In August last, when my accompts were again examined, and the same charge still remaining, the Committee resolved that I should get it back from Jenkins; which cannot be done, unless your Honor will please to do it. As they have absolutely refused to allow this charge, I should be glad to receive directions how to act with Jenkins; and to know whether you would have him continued any longer as a rider.
There is an officer of the American Regiment recruiting at Alexandria, and purposes to go thro’ the country, and pass into Carolina. He has enlisted some servants, and purposes to take all he can meet with. This, I believe, may evince the necessity of our following his example, otherwise we suffer our country to be weakened by those and receive no immediate advantage from it; tho’ I imagine the expense will be near the same to the country, their being in the King’s or country’s service.1
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Winchester, 28 September, 1756.
I arrived here last night, and find things in the peaceable state I left them on this Quarter; and therefore set out to-morrow for Augusta. As Mr. Walker has declined, it is absolutely necessary to have a Commissary immediately appointed, who should have express orders where, and for what number of men to lay in Provisions; and should be furnished with cash before he sets out, as every thing will be got with less trouble & cheaper by that means. The time for buying provisions will soon be elapsed. I have ordered the Assistant Commissary here, that time may not be lost, to lay in twelve months provision for a thousand men. To have at each fort as much provision as will maintain the Garrison until the 1st May—and the rest to be lodged at this place of safety; so that in case an Expedition should be determined upon in the Spring, it may be in readiness, and the several Garrisons rendezvous’d, without the incumbrances of transporting stores & Provisions. These orders I have given, not knowing what else would be satisfactory; being ignorant of the plans, &c concerted, and acting entirely like a Wanderer in unknown paths! If it should not corroborate with your Honor’s sentiments & with those of the Assembly, it is not too late to alter the directions, and give any others. It is for this purpose I mention it now that your Honor may, as Assembly are sitting, appoint the Commissary, and give me directions what quantity of provision to provide and in what magazines to lodge them; and then I will take the blame if it is not done, late as the season is.
The number of little paultry forts along the frontiers, render the forces very difficult & expensive to be supplied with provision. If the Assembly should continue determined to act defensively and should come into a Resolve of building a few Forts instead of the many intended, I would recommend only one at the most convenient place in each frontier county, vizt., Hampshire, Augusta, & Bedford, and that the one in Hampshire be built on a line betwixt this & Fort Du Quesne, and made cannon-proof; as it lies most exposed and has a free communication for carriages from the Enemy. As to the others—there being no possibility, without first opening the roads, to approach them with Artillery I conceive if they are built large, regular and defensible against musketry it is sufficient—for others will be very expensive.
I desired to know in my last what should be done with the Ranging Companies, since that, I am told they have all deserted to a few. Their posts must be filled with a Company of the Regiment from the Branch; which will occasion fresh uneasiness to the Inhabitants, as they are continually pestered by the enemy; a party of whom was defeated the other day by Ensign Smith & 12 men of the Regiment, who killed one man, took a number of — moccasins, scalping knives, and 4 neat french Fuzees.
As Captain Mercer is summoned and must appear against Napp (as I do not) at the 6th day of the court, I expect he will get a supply of cash from the Treasurer, the last being all gone.
Blankets, Shirts & Cartridge-paper are much wanted for immediate use; and must if possible be soon provided, as we cannot do without them. They have had information on the Branch, that the Dunkers (who are all Doctors) entertain the Indians who are wounded here, and that there were several there with them. Captain Spotswood marched out with 80 men to their Houses, to bring in all he finds there.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Halifax, 10 October, 1756.
This day within five miles of the Carolina line, as I was proceeding to the southernmost fort in Halifax, I met Major Lewis on his return from the Cherokees, with seven men and three women only of that nation. The causes of this unhappy disappointment I have desired him to communicate, that your Honor may take measures accordingly.1 This account is sent by express, to give the earliest notice while the Assembly is sitting. I shall defer giving a particular detail of my remarks and observations on the situation of our frontiers, until I return to Winchester, as I expect by that time to be more intimately acquainted with the unhappy circumstances of the people. Yet I shall not omit mentioning some occurrences, which have happened in my tour to this place. I wrote your Honor from Winchester, that I should set out the next day for Augusta. I accordingly did, with Captain McNeill; and hearing at the Court-House, that the Indians still continue their depredations, although not so openly as at first, I applied to Colonel Stewart, then present, to raise a party of the militia, and said I would head them, and march to Jackson’s River, to try to scour the woods, and, if possible, fall in with the enemy. He gave me very little encouragement to expect any men, yet desired I would wait four days, until Monday, and he would use his endeavours to collect a body. Until Tuesday I waited, and only five men appeared. This being too inconsiderable a number to expose to a triumphant enemy, I was advised to apply to Colonel Buchanan for men, between whom and Colonel Stewart there was contention about command. As Colonel Buchanan lived at Luney’s Ferry, on James River, sixty miles along the road to Voss’s, on the Roanoke, where Captain Hog was building a fort, to which place I did intend [to proceed,] if I could have got men to range along the frontiers with me. I set out immediately for his house, attended by Captain Preston, who was kind enough to conduct me along, and acquainted the Colonel with the motives that brought me thither. He told me with very great concern, it was not in his power to raise men; for that, three days before, some of the militia in a fort, about fifteen miles above his house, at the head of Catawba Creek, commanded by one Colonel Nash, was attacked by the Indians, which occasioned all that settlement to break up totally, even to the ferry at Luney’s; that he had ordered three companies to repair thither, to march against the enemy, and not one man came, except a captain, lieutenant, &c, and seven or eight men from Bedford. Finding then that it was impossible to get a party to range and scour the frontiers, it remained only to proceed without men to see the situation of the forts, or to return back again. The latter I was loath to do, as I had got thus far, and was anxious to see what posture of defence they were in. I therefore determined to come forward, at least to Voss’s, and accordingly set out in company with Colonel Buchanan, who, being desirous that I might see and relate their unhappy circumstances, undertook to accompany me. We got safely to Voss’s, where Captain Hog, with only eighteen of his company, was building a fort, which must employ him till Christmas without more assistance. One Captain Hunt from Lunenburg, was there with thirty men; but none of them would strike a stroke, unless I would engage to see them paid forty pounds of tobacco per day, which is provided by act of Assembly for militia carpenters. This I certainly could not do, as your Honor, (who I thought had ordered them purposely out for this duty,) had given no directions in the affair. Whatever expectations your Honor may have had from the militia assistance, I am told they never lent a hand, save a few, that first came out with Captain Hog, whom he has paid after the same rates with our men, at sixpence per diem. Voss’s place is a pass of very great importance, being a very great inroad of the enemy, and [would] secure, if it was strongly garrisoned, all Bedford and the greatest part of this county, notwithstanding they have built three forts here, and one of them, if no more, erected in my opinion in a very out-of-the-way place. This they call Fort Trial.
From Voss’s I came off with a servant and a guide, to visit the range of forts in this country; and in less than two hours after, two men were killed along the same road, as will appear by Captain McNeill’s letter, which I have just received, and herewith send, to let your Honor see, by the account of Captain Hunt’s behaviour, what dependence may be put in the militia. The inhabitants are so sensible of their danger, if left to the protection of these people, that not a man will stay at his place. This I have from their own mouths, and the principal persons of Augusta county. The militia are under such bad order and discipline, that they will go and come when and where they please, without regarding time, their officers, or the safety of the inhabitants, but consulting solely their own inclinations. There should be, according to your Honor’s orders, one third of the militia of these parts now on duty at once; instead of that, I believe scarce one-thirteenth is out. They are to be relieved every month; they are more than that time marching to and from their stations, and will not wait one day longer than the limited time, whether they are relieved or not, let the necessity for it be ever so urgent. An instance of this kind happened in my presence about four days ago, in the case of Captain Daniel from Albemarle, who was intreated by Colonel Buchanan to stay, at the time he was gathering or attempting to gather men, upon that alarm at the Catawba settlement before mentioned. But his month was out, and go he must and did. Nay, I believe I may venture to say, that, whether his month had been out or not, this would have induced him to go; for this gentleman went away from Voss’s, because he thought it a dangerous post, giving that for his reason, and left Captain Hog with eighteen men, exposed to the insults of the enemy.
Perhaps it may be thought I am partial in my relation, and reflect unjustly. I really do not, Sir. I scorn to make unjust remarks on the behaviour of the militia, as much as I despise and contemn the persons, who detract from mine and the character of the regiment. Were it not, that I consulted the good of the public, and thought these garrisons merited redress, I should not think it worth my mention. I only want to make the country sensible, how ardently I have studied to promote her cause, and wish very sincerely, my successor may fill my place more to their satisfaction in every respect, than I have been able to do. I mentioned in my last to your Honor, that I did not think a less number than two thousand men would be sufficient to defend our extensive and much exposed frontiers from the ravages of the enemy. I have not had one reason to alter my opinion, but many to strengthen and confirm it. And I flatter myself, the country will, when they know my determinations, be convinced that I have no sinister views, no vain motives of commanding a number of men, that urge me to recommend this number to your Honor, but that it proceeds from the knowledge I have acquired of the country, people, &c, to be defended.
Your Honor, I hope, will give directions about laying in provisions on our southern frontiers. It is not in my power to do it, as I know not what troops can or will be put there; for the regiment is at present too weak to allow any men to march from the quarter in which they are now stationed. I set out this day on my return to the fort, at the head of Catawba, where Colonel Buchanan promised to meet me with a party to conduct me along our frontiers, up Jackson’s River to Fort Dinwiddie, and higher if needful. If he does not meet me, I shall immediately proceed to Winchester, as it will be impossible to do any thing without men.
If your Honor think proper to advance the pay of the militia, in order to engage them to work, please to acquaint Captain Hog therewith, and send him money for that purpose, and were there more men ordered to cover his party, and assist in the work, it would be highly advisable, for he is greatly exposed. Major Lewis is extremely unwell. This express is referred to your Honor for pay. I have not money to do it. I am hurried a good deal, but have given a plain account of all those several matters mentioned in the foregoing sheet. I am, &c.
TO MAJOR DAVID LEWIS.1
Fort Dinwiddie, 18 October, 1756.
Lieutenant Bullet, who commands at this place, in the absence of Captain Hog, tells me that he applied to you for a few men to join such parties as this Garrison can afford—to range the woods, and assist the inhabitants in securing their Grain, gathering their Corn, &c, and that you have refused to aid him. I conceive if you did so, it must have proceeded from a misapprehension of his meaning. Therefore I apply to you myself on this head; and desire your compliance, or reasons for refusing.
I presume, Sir, it will be needless to acquaint you—your own good sense will doubtless evince it, that the intent of sending men hither was to protect the frontier inhabitants, and offer them comfort by relieving their distresses, and wants; which [will] not in any wise be accomplished, while you remain in a body at a certain place, forted in, as if to defend yourselves were the sole end of your coming.
You will I hope excuse the liberty I have taken in mentioning this affair, when I tell you I am in a great measure authorized by the Governor to direct in these matters.
TO LIEUTENANT-COLONEL STEPHEN.
Winchester, 23 October, 1756.
Last night I returned from a very long and troublesome jaunt on the Frontiers, as far as Mayo; where affairs seem to be in a dangerous situation: and to add to our misfortunes, I find our neighbourhood here on the wing, you and your Garrison in great distress & danger; the Enemy ravaging the country about Conogochieg, Stony-Run, and South Branch; loud and general complaints for protection; few or no men to send abroad for any Service.—In short, so melancholy a scene, without the power of changing it to our satisfaction and interest, fills me with the greatest anxiety & uneasiness. I shall recite you all the Governor’s last letter to me relative to Fort Cumberland as I had written for his positive directions, vizt.:
You have frequently complained to me of the situation, &c, of Fort Cumberland, and I have wrote you how disagreeable it was to me to give up any place of strength, as it wou’d raise the spirits of the enemy, at the same time they wou’d suspect us to be in fear of them: and therefore if that place could be stationed1 with safety, until Lord Loudoun gives orders thereon, I should be glad. But as you are upon the spot, and think it very prejudicial to the Service to keep that Fortress; I desire you may call a council of officers and consult, whether it is most advisable to keep it or to demolish it, if the last, you must take care to have all the ammunition, &c. brought to Winchester; and destory every thing which you conceive may be of service to the enemy. This affair is now left to the determination of a Council of Officers; and I desire you to be very explicit in your arguments on this head, as they must be laid before Lord Loudoun. I was always averse to small garrisons on our frontiers, as they in course divided our men into small parties, but you know the Assembly were so fond of them, that they passed a Law for that purpose—and I cannot at present alter that determination.2
Thus far his Honor. As it appears to be an affair of much importance, I cannot pretend to offer my advice, but would desire you and the officers there to deliberate seriously in Council, what you think most proper, to be done; and send me immediate notice that I may come up with a sufficient number of waggons, (if to be abandoned) to remove the Stores, and likewise to hold a General Court Martial on the matter, to avoid future reflection. I have frequently mentioned my dislike to the place, for these Reasons:—First, Its insufficiency for any tolerable defence—Secondly, its distance from the inhabitants—difficulty of communication—and answering no other purpose than burying the service of 170 Men, in guarding the Stores, which might be more conveniently done in other forts. Indeed, had we men enough to afford constant scouting parties from that place and cou’d defend the country hereabouts, I shou’d approve its being supported and improved in strength on account of the advantages we might expect from it—but as this is not the case, I look upon it as rather prejudicial to the country. The additional works you mention as necessary to strengthen the fort, I cannot consent to without positive orders from the Governor; as I shou’d become answerable from my own Estate for such expenses; unless commanded by the Governor or Assembly. The Assembly is prorogu’d to the second Thursday of next month, when we may depend upon some alterations in our present constitution: and if you think, after the removal of part of the Stores, it can be maintained, till we have their determination—it probably may be more advisable, as His Excellency Lord Loudoun is then expected. But upon the whole—as you must be a better judge of your own situation & danger, and the Governor leaving the affair to a council of Officers, I refer the case entirely to your discretion; hoping you will observe the greatest circumspection & prudence in all your measures; so that we may be liable to no blame for any future consequences. Enclosed is a scheme I intend to offer the Assembly, if they cannot be persuaded off their defensive notions, although I am determined to urge my utmost to evince the advantages and necessity of an offensive campaign; as you & every body else must allow that carrying the war into the enemy’s country is the surest method of peace at home & success abroad. And until an attempt is formed against Duquesne, so as to remove the fountain of all our distrubance and trouble, we never may expect a peaceable day. The policy of the French is so subtle that not a friendly Indian will we have on the continent, if we do not soon dislodge them from the Ohio.
I shall exert every power to make this plan go down with the Assembly, and press them to vigorous measures for the safety and interest of the Country, preferably to the Defensive, and demonstrate fully to them every thing I think demands their concern, as to the Frontiers. I also would have you collect whatever comes under your own observation in these respects, that we may omit nothing requisite for the Assembly’s regard. As the fund for support of the Rangers is long since exhausted, the Governor avers them to be discharged. You will therefore acquaint the officers and men of these Companies, that they are discharged accordingly, &c, &c.1
COUNCIL OF WAR ON FORT CUMBERLAND.
A Council of War, held at Fort Cumberland, October 30th, 1756, in pursuance of an Order received from Colonel George Washington, agreeable to an order from Governor Dinwiddie to consult whether it is most for the advantage of His Majesty’s Service, to keep or demolish Fort Cumberland.
Lieut. Colo: Adam Stephen, President.
In the first place, the particular situation and structure of the Fort was considered, namely,—Its being built of stockades about nine feet high above ground and never intended for defence against artillery.—That it is commanded by a rising ground about 150 yards N. W. of the stockades, and overlooked by several Hills within cannon shot; so that no person can move about the place without being seen. This is verified in the instance of a French spy lately taken; who gave an account exactly of the number of Sergeants and Soldiers in the Garrison.—That the Barracks are without the Fort; ill-built, & easily set on fire by the enemy; as any number of men can come under the banks of Potomac and Will’s Creek, within pistol shot of the Barracks, and fort itself, without being exposed to a shot from cannon or small arms—That notwithstanding its small strength & situation, it is the only place to the southward of Albany exposed, to an attack from cannon, as there is no other road for carriages of any kind, leading thro’ any pass of the Alleghany Mountains.—That there is no water to be had except from the river or creek—to the latter of which there is a subterraneous passage opened lately, but not to be depended upon, without a strong Garrison to defend it. Secondly; As to the situation of Fort Cumberland respecting Virginia in particular, it was considered—That it was a great distance from the inhabitants, and consequently the more difficult to be supplied with provisions, &c.—That a strong Fortress with a numerous garrison, situated somewhere toward the head of the waters of Patterson’s creek, wou’d contribute more to the immediate protection of the Frontiers, as that wou’d be nearer the inhabitants, and as near the enemy and warriors’ path, much frequented by scalping parties of them designed against the Virginia frontiers.—Thirdly—Upon consideration of the situation of Fort Cumberland, as it regards His Majesty’s service, and Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania in general.—It appears, that a strong Fortress near that place, or more advanced towards the enemy, well garrisoned, is absolutely necessary, and wou’d be of the greatest service for the protection of the Frontiers of the three colonies for the following reasons. 1st. The nearer we are to enemy well supported, the more will they dread our incursions; and we the more easily command the passes of the Alleghany mountains. 2ly.—It appears to us the most imprudent step, to leave the only road fit for wheel-carriages, in the power of the enemy. 3ly. The command of the River Potomack, being one of the principal objects which the enemy has in view on this quarter is by all means to be guarded. Their being masters of it wou’d forward their designs & help them to penetrate more readily into the Heart of the Country. It is to be observed, that it is only about 70 miles land-carriage, from the river of Monongahela to this place, & that the advantageous navigation by small craft and battoes, is well known to the French.
4ly. That Fort Cumberland is about 30 miles from Rays-town, on the Frontiers of Pennsylvania, thro’ which passes an Indian road, much frequented by the enemy marching against that province, and the Frontiers of Maryland. That it is not much farther from the waters of a creek called the Loyal Hanan, alias, Camihony;1 upon which lies the common hunting ground of the Indians as they march to and return from War—That the infesting these roads and interrupting them thereabouts wou’d contribute most of all to the protection of the three provinces, next to making incursions into the enemy’s country, and going against their Towns.
It has likewise been considered that the moving the Guns, &c, from Fort Cumberland to Winchester would raise the spirits of the Enemy, and encourage them to make a vigorous attack upon some of the small Forts and the Inhabitants of the Branch. That it wou’d be leaving every thing to chance and running the greatest risque of losing all, to move them to any other place on the frontiers, before provision is made for reception of the Stores, and mounting of the cannon.—In case they are removed to Winchester there is the greatest reason to think, that the whole South Branch Settlement will break up, and that the neighbourhood of Winchester, nay, even to the Blue Ridge of mountains, will in a short time be as much depopulated, as the neighbourhood of Fort Cumberland is at present. After a deliberation of two days on the above circumstances—the Question being proposed—What was most advisable to be done?—it was unanimously agreed as follows; vizt.: That being sensible of the great advantages of a strong Garrison in Fort Cumberland,—or at a place further to the westward, to His Majesty’s Service—that Garrison with equity to be supported and maintained by the three provinces as it would contribute equally to the protection of all, and be of the greatest service, in case of an expedition carried on from Potomack to Ohio in the Spring. Fort Cumberland and the Store-houses there wou’d be particularly useful; but in the mean time, to pretend to maintain a Fort most exposed to an attack of any on the continent, with a Garrison of 160 men, and the place not proof against cannon, would be ridiculous & absurd.
The matter being of so great importance, it is possible, that on a just representation of circumstances, His Excellency, The Right Honble. the Earl of Loudoun, will give orders about strengthening His Majesty’s Fort at Will’s Creek and reinforcing the Garrison, so as to make it useful in covering the frontiers of the three provinces. We also are of opinion, that as the designs of the Enemy against this place may be retarded for some time, by the late capture of a couple of their Spies; and that their intelligence received from Deserters will be rendered of less effect, from the pulling down the Redoubt, and erecting a sort of — — in another place—That it is most advisable to apply to Colonel Washington for an immediate reinforcement to the Garrison—That some of the most valuable Stores—not immediately useful for the defence of the Fort, be removed to Winchester. That the works begun for the strengthening of the Fort, by orders of the Commandant, upon hearing the Enemy were on their march against it, be continued, and that we defer giving our judgment with respect to keeping or demolishing Fort Cumberland, the only fort belonging to His Majesty on this Quarter—and desire that our consideration of the case, and narration of circumstances, be transmitted to Governor Dinwiddie, to whom, or to His Excellency, the Right Honble. the Earl of Loudoun, we leave the decision of the fate of Fort Cumberland.—Resolving in the mean time to maintain it as far as lies in our power, until we receive Orders on that head—begging that we may do so as soon as possible, having certain intelligence of the enemy’s designs against us, as soon as it shall be in their power to attack us.
REMARKS ON THE COUNCIL OF WAR.
Upon receiving orders from His Honor Governor Dinwiddie to hold a Council of War upon the necessity of continuing or discontinuing Fort Cumberland—I immediately directed Lt. Col. Stephen (it being impracticable to attend myself, while absent on a tour reviewing the southern frontiers) to summon the officers of that Fort and the neighboring Garrisons to take the affair into their serious consideration. Their sentiments in my opinion are fully & impartially delivered on the other side, both in respect of its condition, situation & importance, as respecting Virginia, and the provinces of Pennsylvania & Maryland in general. The situation of Fort Cumberland is extremely unsuitable for defence, and in no ways fit for fortification—and a fort some-where in that neighbourhood rather more advanced to the westward, well-fortified and strongly garrisoned wou’d contribute much to the mutual safety & interest of these three Colonies.
Because it secures the only gap of the Alleghany at present made passable for wheel-carriages and which wou’d forward an Expedition to the Ohio. Now wou’d the three Colonies consent to furnish proportionable supplies for so beneficial and salutary a design—I shou’d think it highly expedient to maintain that pass by erecting a Fortress of strength towards the Little Meadows, in advance to the Enemy, which wou’d give us yet more advantages and Fort Cumberland wou’d still answer its present purposes without attempting its improvement while covered by the other. Or should Virginia herself take the weight of this Enterprize—or could it be accomplished by any means whatever,—I shou’d be extremely fond of the expedient. But to view Fort Cumberland in its present defenceless posture, relative to Virginia in particular,—and at this gloomy juncture of affairs—I can not entertain very favourable sentiments of supporting it, for these reasons, vizt.
1st. ’Tis evident the Maryland Assembly have given up, all their lands above the Tonollaways, by building Fort Frederick below—ordering in the Inhabitants above—and withdrawing their Troops from Fort Cumberland.—From them we may expect small succours—and what hope we may have of Pennsylvanias aid towards this salutary purpose, I am yet to learn. They have large and extensive frontiers, and have hitherto acted on the Defensive.
2ly. Fort Cumberland lying in the province of Maryland & remote from our Settlements, can of course contribute little to their protection, without a numerous garrison is kept therein to detach strong parties to reconnoiter at a distance, and waylay the enemy almost at their own homes; as there are various paths that lead to the inhabitants, without coming near Fort Cumberland.
3ly. Fort Cumberland being in Maryland, it prevents a great part of our Force from acting there; in consequence of an Act of Assembly, prohibiting those Troops to march out of the Colony. These forces, thus restricted are to be discharged the 1st December; by which means not only Fort Cumberland, but many other places will be rendered so weak (without immediate supplies; and how easily these are obtained, I appeal to sad experience) that their conquest wou’d be easy, if attempted. Lastly.—As to the works—they are already well described, as quite insufficient to resist a common swivel; and must require new improvement, if continued which wou’d be better be bestowed on a new and more suitable situation; and without the conjunction of the two provinces to carry on this proposal, it wou’d be next to impossible for Virginia (which has hitherto defrayed the charge and refuses any further supplies for that purpose) to maintain and support His Majesty’s fort under their present feeble force. For by putting a Garrison there of strength requisite to defend it, and keep up the difficult communication with the inhabitants at so great a distance wou’d employ more than half our men, and of consequence unguard the rest of our frontiers.—
As to the Address of the Council to me for reinforcement—they must have known that it was out of my power to grant it. The Garrison at that place was appointed in consequence of a former council of war; and a large proportion of our force alloted to act on the defensive there. Whilst the remainder were divided for the protection of other places; which wou’d be equally unadvisable to leave open and exposed.
Upon the whole, were it at any other time than this—knowing the weakness of our strength doubting the assistance of our neighbours, and dreading the consequence of leaving the place longer exposed, altho’ great part of the Stores is already removed—I shou’d vote for demolishing it. But the affair being of great importance, I only offer my sentiments; and submit to his Honor the Governor and the approaching Assembly, for a determination of the case.1
LOCATION OF THE FORTS.
A Plan of the Number of Forts, and strength necessary to each extending entirely across our Frontiers, from South to North.—
This plan is calculated upon the most moderate and easy terms for sparing the country expences, and I believe with tolerable justness may answer the design of protecting the inhabitants. It may be objected, that the distance between some of the forts is too small; in answer to which I must observe they are generally fixed upon the heads of creeks, &c, extending towards the Alleghany mountains with almost inaccessible mountains between them, and are placed in the most commodious manner for securing the inhabitants of such waters. Some Garrisons are larger than others, according as they cover a thick or thin settlement. The fort at Voss’s (which Capt. Hog is now building) is in a much exposed gap; subject to the inroads of the Southern Indians, and in a manner covers the greatest part of Bedford & Halifax.
Dickinsons is situated for the defence of a once numerous & fertile settlement, on the Bull Cow & Calf pastures; and lies directly in the Shawnese path to Ohio, and must be a place of rendezvous, if an Expedition is conducted against the Ohio Indians below Duquesne.
The Garrisons on the Potomack waters, are yet larger than any; because an invasion is most to be dreaded on this Quarter.
It will be seen Fort Cumberland is not mentioned in this plan. If we act only on the defensive (a system on which this plan is founded) I think it employs a large garrison to very little advantage to Virginia. If we act offensively, it may be of infinite use, if properly fortified; and the Garrison at Cockes’s will then only consist of about 50 or 60, as the rest may be removed to Fort Cumberland.1
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Winchester, 9 November, 1756.
In mine from Halifax I promised your Honor a particular detail of my remarks and observations upon the situation of our frontiers, when I arrived at this place. Although I was pretty explicit in my former, I cannot avoid recapitulating part of the subject now, as my duty, and its importance for redress are strong motives.
From Fort Trial on Smith’s River, I returned to Fort William on the Catawba, where I met Colonel Buchanan with about thirty men, (chiefly officers,) to conduct me up Jackson’s River, along the range of forts. With this small company of irregulars, with whom order, regularity, circumspection, and vigilance were matters of derision and contempt, we set out, and, by the protection of Providence, reached Augusta Court-House in seven days, without meeting the enemy; otherwise we must have fallen a sacrifice, through the indiscretion of these whooping, hallooing gentlemen soldiers!
This jaunt afforded me an opportunity of seeing the bad regulation of the militia, the disorderly proceedings of the garrisons, and the unhappy circumstances of the inhabitants.
First, of the militia. The difficulty of collecting them on any emergency whatever, I have often spoken of as grievous; and I appeal to sad experience, both in this and other counties, how great a disadvantage it is; the enemy having every opportunity to plunder, kill, and escape, before they can afford any assistance. And not to mention the expensiveness of their service in general, I can instance several cases, where a captain, lieutenant, and, I may add, an ensign, with two or three sergeants, and six or eight men, will go upon duty at a time. The proportion of expense in this case is so unjust and obvious, your Honor wants not to be proved.
Then these men, when raised, are to be continued only one month on duty, half of which time is lost in their marching out and home, (especially those from the adjacent counties,) who must be on duty some time before they reach their stations; by which means double sets of men are in pay at the same time, and for the same service. Again, the waste of provision they make is unaccountable; no method or order in being served or purchasing at the best rates, but quite the reverse. Allowance for each man, as other soldiers do, they look upon as the highest indignity, and would sooner starve, than carry a few days’ provision on their backs for conveniency. But upon their march, when breakfast is wanted, knock down the first beef, &c, they meet with, and, after regaling themselves, march on until dinner, when they take the same method, and so for supper likewise, to the great oppression of the people. Or, if they chance to impress cattle for provision, the valuation is left to ignorant and indifferent neighbours, who have suffered by those practices, and, despairing of their pay, exact high prices, and thus the public is imposed on at all events. I might add, I believe, that, for the want of proper laws to govern the militia by (for I cannot ascribe it to any other cause), they are obstinate, self-willed, perverse, of little or no service to the people, and very burthensome to the country. Every mean individual has his own crude notions of things, and must undertake to direct. If his advice is neglected, he thinks himself slighted, abused, and injured; and, to redress his wrongs, will depart for his home. These, Sir, are literally matters of fact, partly from persons of undoubted veracity, but chiefly from my own observations.
Secondly, concerning the garrisons. I found them very weak for want of men; but more so by indolence and irregularity. None I saw in a posture of defence, and few that might not be surprised with the greatest ease. An instance of this appeared at Dickinson’s Fort, where the Indians ran down, caught several children playing under the walls, and had got to the gate before they were discovered. Was not Voss’s Fort surprised, and a good many souls lost, in the same manner? They keep no guard, but just when the enemy is about; and are under fearful apprehensions of them; nor ever stir out of the forts, from the time they reach them, till relieved on their month being expired; at which time they march off, be the event what it will. So that the neighborhood may be ravaged by the enemy, and they not the wiser. Of the ammunition they are as careless as of the provisions, firing it away frequently at targets for wagers. On our journey, as we approached one of their forts, we heard a quick fire for several minutes, and concluded for certain that they were attacked; so we marched in the best manner to their relief; but when we came up, we found they were diverting at marks. These men afford no assistance to the unhappy settlers, who are drove from their plantations, either in securing their harvests, or gathering in their corn. Lieutenant Bullet, commanding at Fort Cumberland, sent to Major Lewis of Albemarle, who commanded a party of sixty militia at Miller’s, about fifteen miles above him, where were also thirty men of Augusta, for some men to join his small parties to gather the corn. Major Lewis refused assistance, and would not divide his men. I wrote to him, but got no answer. Mr. Bullet has done what he could with his few men, not quite thirty. Of the many forts, which I passed by, I saw but one or two that had their captains present, they being absent chiefly on their own business, and had given leave to several of the men to do the same. Yet these persons, I will venture to say, will charge the country their full month’s pay.1
Thirdly, the wretched and unhappy situation of the inhabitants needs few words, after a slight reflection on the preceding circumstances, which must certainly draw after them very melancholy consequences without speedy redress. They are truly sensible of their misery; they feel their insecurity from militia preservation, who are slow in coming to their assistance, indifferent about their preservation, unwilling to continue, and regardless of every thing but their own ease. In short, they are so affected with approaching ruin, that the whole back country is in a general motion towards the southern colonies; and I expect that scarce a family will inhabit Frederick, Hampshire, or Augusta, in a little time. They petitioned me in the most earnest manner for companies of the regiment. But alas! it is not in my power to assist them with any, except I leave this dangerous quarter more exposed than they are. I promised, at their particular request, to address your Honor and the Assembly in their behalf, and that a regular force may be established in lieu of the militia and ranging companies, which are of much less service, and infinitely more cost to the country. Were this done, the whole would be under one direction, and any misbehaviour could never pass with impunity. Whereas the others are soldiers at will, and in fact will go and come when and where they please, without regarding the orders or directions of any. And, indeed, the manner in which some of the ranging captains have obtained their commissions, if I am rightly informed, is by imposture and artifice. They produce a list, I am told, to your Honor, of sundry persons, who are willing to serve under them. One part, it is said, are of fictitious names; another, the names of persons who never saw the list; and the remainder are persons drawn into it by fallacious promises, that cannot be complied with without detriment to the service. But were it otherwise, surely any person, who considers the pay of the soldiers and that of the militia, will find a considerable difference, tho’ both under the best regulations.
As defensive measures are evidently insufficient for the security and safety of the country, I hope no arguments are requisite to convince of the necessity of altering them to a vigorous offensive war, in order to remove the cause.1 But, should the Assembly still indulge that favorite scheme of protecting the inhabitants by forts along the frontiers, in which many of them too put their dependence, and as the building of these forts has been encouraged and confirmed by an act of the Assembly, I take the liberty to present your Honor with a plan of the number of forts, and strength necessary to each, reaching entirely across our frontiers from north to south. This plan is calculated upon the most moderate and easy terms for sparing the country’s expense, and, I believe, with tolerable propriety to answer the wished-for design of protecting the settlers. Besides, most of the forts are already built by the country-people or soldiers, and require but little improvement, save one or two, as Dickinson’s and Cox’s. Your Honor will see Fort Cumberland excluded in this list.
The advantage of having the militia in Augusta, &c, under one command, I have already hinted at; and I think Major Lewis should have your Honor’s orders to take that duty in hand, with directions and orders to secure those important passes of Dickinson’s and Voss’s, by building a fort in the neighbourhood of Dickinson’s, or by other means. And were it practicable to get the people to assemble in little towns contiguous to these forts, it would contribute much to their mutual peace and safety, during the continuance of the Indian war.1 The Augusta people complain greatly for want of money.
The other day eleven Indians of the Catawba tribe came here, and we undoubtedly might have had more of them, had the proper means been used to send trusty guides to invite and conduct them to us; but this is neglected. One Matthew Tool makes his boast of stopping them until he shall be handsomely rewarded for bringing them; and Major Lewis can inform your Honor of one Bemer, who uses every method to hinder the Cherokees from coming to our assistance. Complaint should be made to Governor Littleton of these persons. Indian goods are much wanted to reward the Catawbas, and encourage them to engage in our service. In what manner are they to be paid for scalps? Are our soldiers entitled to the reward like indifferent people? It is a tedious and expensive way to defer payment until proved and sent to your Honor.
Your Honor and the Assembly should determine these points and many others very essential, vizt., a proper method of paying rewards for taking up deserters, the present being very discouraging, in delaying payment until Courts of Claims, &c.; means to replace the drafts, that must be discharged in December; ascertaining the pay of workmen employed on all public works, or empowering the commanding officer to agree on the cheapest terms with them; how the servants enlisted for the Virginia regiment are to be paid for. We have already recruited fifty odd and are daily dunned for payment by the masters. A report prevails, to my great surprise, tho’ disbelief, that your Honor had told some persons, who applied to you for satisfaction for their servants, that I had no orders to enlist any. This false rumor occasions very strange reflections, and must make me appear in a very unjust light to the world. I have, therefore, desisted from recruiting until your Honor directs me in what manner those already obtained are to be satisfied; and I beg your Honor will give me immediate advice on the affair, as the people are impatient, and threaten us with prosecutions from all quarters.
Your Honor has herewith a copy of the council of war, held in behalf of Fort Cumberland, in which the arguments are justly and fully laid down, both with regard to Virginia in particular, and in general, as to the three colonies whose mutual interest highly concerns, and should be by them equitably supported. On the back of the copy are my sentiments on the matter candidly offered your Honor, and to your Honor I leave the determination of this important affair, with the officers of the council. I have frequently wrote your Honor, desiring you would appoint a commissary in lieu of Mr. Walker, who has declined acting, and been absent for many months; but as I never had your Honor’s answer, I have in consequence of your first and since repeated instructions made choice of a person, who I believe will do that duty with every necessary diligence and care; and hope your Honor will approve my proceeding. The £100 paid Colo. Stephen of the Ranger’s money (by Colonel Fairfax) have already been accounted for to the Committee. I have since received from Colo. Fairfax £68.13.9 on the country’s credit, and to be settled with my other accompts.
As touching a chaplain, if the government will grant a subsistence, we can readily get a person of merit to accept of the place, without giving the commissary any trouble on that point, as it is highly necessary we should be reformed from those crimes and enormities we are so universally accused of.1
Your Honor has had advice of two spies, that were taken at Fort Cumberland; one of whom they quickly hung up as his just reward, being a deserter; the other was sent to Governor Sharpe, to give information of the infernal practices followed by some of the priests of that province, in holding correspondence with our enemy.2 I am, &c.
N. B. I am just setting out for Fort Cumberland.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Alexandria, 24 November, 1756.
At this place, on my way to Williamsburg, I received your Honor’s letter of the 18th instant,3 and shall take care to pay the strictest obedience to your orders, and the opinion, so far as I can. The detachment ordered from Winchester exceeds, I believe, the number of enlisted men we have there; and the drafts, which made our strength at that place to consist of about one hundred and sixty men, will leave us in seven days. I have no hope of enlisting any, nor prolonging their stay, as we have heretofore engaged those, who were willing to serve. However my true endeavors shall be strictly aiding for this (more than ever) necessary purpose.
I am very sorry any expression in my letter should be deemed unmannerly. I never intended insults to any; on the contrary, have endeavoured to demean myself in that proper respect due to superiors. In the instance mentioned, I can truly say, so far from intending a charge or affront of any kind, it was distant from my thoughts; and I meant no more than to show what strange, what unaccountable infatuation prevailed among the magistrates, &c., of the back parts of Carolina; who were so regardless of the common cause, as to allow fifty Catawbas to return, when they had proceeded near seventy miles on their march, for want of provisions and a conductor to entice them along. This was a fact I did not suppose your Honor was uninformed of, knowing Colonel Cobb had wrote you on the subject. I therefore thought I might be less explicit, and not have incurred this censure by that means.
I seem also to be reprimanded for giving a vague account of my tour to the southward. I was rather fearful of blame for prolixity and impertinence, in meddling with matters I had no immediate concern with; and related them rather as hints, to set you upon inquiring, than as a circumstantial account of the facts. And this I chose more especially to do, as Colonels Lewis and Buchanan, from whom, being heads of the militia, these representations, fully authenticated, more properly came. And they were represented, at least by the latter, then on his road to do so; and had as he told me, taken the testimony and depositions of several persons for this purpose, in order to demonstrate the thing more clearly and to show who had and who had not done their duty. When I went to Augusta, it was with a good design,—to relieve, if possible, a much distressed settlement; but, finding this impracticable without men, and hearing some complaints of Captain Hog, and at the same time being desirous of seeing in what manner he proceeded, I continued on in no small danger; yet pleased with reflecting on this extraordinary duty, and of bringing myself more intimately acquainted with the situation of our frontiers, which, Sir, I related as well as I was capable, with a design, from which I have never intentionally swerved, to serve my country. And am sorry to find, that this, and my best endeavours of late, meet with unfavorable constructions. What it proceeds from, I know not. If my open and disinterested way of writing and speaking has the air of pertness and freedom, I shall correct my error by acting reservedly, and shall take care to obey my orders without offering any thing more. I should not have presumed to have appointed a commissary, had not your first instructions been plain and explicit on this point, and reiterated letters since that invested me with power. The omission of the name was a neglect indeed accidental, not designed. The gentleman intended was Mr. Ramsay of this place, well-known, well-esteemed, and of unblemished good character, practised in business and comes now properly recommended. I should not have appointed this gentleman or any other to serve as commissary, had not Mr. Walker in repeated letters desired it, and his absence from and neglect of duty rendered another highly necessary. This, I presume, you were unacquainted with, when you desired his continuance. Nor may you know that Mr. Walker intends to reside at home and act by a deputy, which, if I may be allowed to say, is equally inconsistent, as if I were to do it. This it is that encourages Mr. Ramsay to wait upon your Honor to be thoroughly informed. As the duty now will become more divided between Fort Cumberland and the lower forts, it may not be thought amiss if Mr. Ramsay is appointed to join a second in the commission. The business by this means must be conducted infinitely better, and in that case I would beg leave to mention Mr. Carlyle, who is willing to act, and whose knowledge and experience in this business are so well known, and need no recapitulation. They are both agreed to hold it in conjunction upon the same terms that Mr. Walker now has it.
When I spoke of a chaplain, it was in answer to yours. I had no person in view, tho’ many have offered; and only said, if the country would provide subsistence, we could procure a chaplain, without thinking there was offence in the expression.
Because I was told the commissary had endeavored, but could get no one to accept of it. When I spoke about scalps, I had the Indians chiefly, indeed solely, in my view, knowing their jealous, suspicious natures are apt to entertain doubts of the least delay and a suspension of rewards causes a dissatisfaction and murmuring among them, which might be productive of bad events at this critical juncture.1 So soon as I march from Winchester, which will immediately happen, as I am setting out thence, and sent orders by Jenkins to have the troops paid and in readiness to march, I shall write your Honor a more distinct account of the situation of that place, which will be left entirely destitute of all protection, notwithstanding it now contains all the public stores of any importance, as they were removed from Fort Cumberland, and in the most dangerous part of our frontiers, at least in a part that has suffered this summer more than any (which has been so well secured) by the ravages of the enemy. The works, which have been constructed and conducted on with infinite pains and labor, will be unfinished and exposed; and the materials for completing the building, which have been collected with unspeakable difficulty and expense, left to be pillaged and destroyed by the inhabitants of the town; because, as I before observed, one hundred men will exceed the number, I am pretty confident, which we have there, when the drafts go off. So, to comply with my orders, (which I shall literally do, if I can,) not a man will be left there to secure the works, or defend the King’s stores, which are almost wholly removed to that place.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Fort Loudoun, 2 December, 1756.
When I wrote your Honor from Alexandria, I expected to have been at or near Fort Cumberland by this; but, upon coming here, and expecting wagons and provisions in readiness to go up with this escort, I received the enclosed from the commissary, which I send to evince that no delays or protracting of orders proceed from me. The return of our strength, which I called in so soon as I arrived, is herewith sent, signed by the adjutant, amounting, exclusive of the drafts, to eighty-one effectives, including the sick, and young drummers, who were sent here to learn.
When Captain Mercer went down, our strength consisted of about twenty-five more, including drafts, which have been sent ever since the middle of October, to Conococheague, Swearingen’s Ferry, &c, to encourage that body of inhabitants to stay at their places, who otherwise were determined to forsake them. Your Honor’s late and unexpected order has caused the utmost terror and consternation in the people, and will, I fear, be productive of numberless evils, not only to this place, and the public works erecting here, but to the country in general, who seem to be in the greatest dread for the consequences. The stores of every kind have all been brought from Fort Cumberland, save those indispensably necessary there, at a very great expense, and lie in the courthouse and other public buildings, to the no small inconvenience and detriment of the county. I have frequently been importuned by the members of the court, and other public officers, to remove them, and have as often by gentle persuasives protracted the time; which was the more cheerfully granted, as it was evident that there were no other places to receive them, and that I strove with the utmost diligence to prepare the proper receptacles. What course to take with them now, I know not, and hope you will direct.
I am convinced, were your Honor informed how much this place (which is in every degree our utmost and most exposed frontier, there being no inhabitants between this and the Branch, and none there but what are forted in,)—I say, I am convinced, if your Honor were truly informed of the situation of this place, of its importance and danger, you would not think it prudent to leave such a quantity of valuable stores exposed to the insults of a few; for a very few indeed might reduce them and the town too, to ashes. In the next place, as I observed in my last letter, the works, which have been begun and continued with labor and hardship, lie open, untenable, and exposed to the weather, to say no more; and the materials, which have been collected with cost and infinite difficulty, to the mercy of every pillager; our timber and scantling, used and burnt by the town’s people; our plank, which has been brought from far, stolen and destroyed; and the lime, if not stolen, left to be wasted, &c., &c. And this is not the worst. A building, which in time might and would have been very strong and defensible, and an asylum in the greatest danger, in a manner totally abandoned. As the case now stands, we have no place tenable, no place of safety; all is exposed and open to attacks; and by not having a garrison kept at this place, no convoys can get up to us, and the communication with the inhabitants entirely cut off, so that soldiers and inhabitants cannot be assisting each other.
In regard to myself residing at Fort Cumberland, I shall lay before your Honor such inconveniences as must unavoidably arise, while we pursue these defensive measures; in doing which, I think I only do my duty. First, as Fort Cumberland lying more advanced, and wide of all other forts, will prevent me from having the immediate direction of any but that. Secondly, the stores being at this place, and I at that, will render it impossible to deliver them regularly. I either must trust to a subaltern officer to order them discretionally, or else an express must be first sent to me, and then I must send to the storekeeper to deliver the necessaries wanting to each garrison. How inconsistent this is for many reasons, your Honor may judge; but more especially, when it is known that there is no travelling to Fort Cumberland but endangering of life, without a pretty strong escort. Thirdly, by being at Fort Cumberland a total stagnation of business must ensue, because money is lodged with me for discharging all contingent expenses arising in the service, and no persons will, or can, come to me there. In course they will be slack in furnishing us with wagons and necessaries of every kind, which now by due payment may be had at call. And lastly, Winchester is in the center, as it were, of all the forts, is convenient for receiving intelligence and distributing orders; and notwithstanding any thing to the contrary, lies in a vale of land, that has suffered more than any other from the incursions of the enemy. I hope, after receiving a peremptory order, the mentioning of these things will not appear presuming or odd. I do not hesitate a moment to obey; on the contrary, shall comply the minute I can. I mean nothing more than to point out the consequences, that must necessarily attend, as I apprehend your Honor was not thoroughly apprised of our situation. Some, Sir, who are inclined to put an unfavorable construction upon this generous recital, may say, that I am loath to leave this. I declare, upon my honor, I am not, but had rather be at Fort Cumberland, (if I could do my duty there,) a thousand times over: for I am tired of the place, the inhabitants, and the life I lead here; and if, after what I have said, you should think it necessary that I reside at that place, I shall acquiesce with pleasure and cheerfulness, and be freed from much anxiety, plague, and business. To be at Fort Cumberland sometimes, I think highly expedient, and have hitherto done it. Three weeks ago I came from that place.
I have used every endeavour to detain the drafts, but all in vain. They are home-sick and tired of work. They all declare, if an expedition is conducted in the spring, they will serve two, three, or four months; these tho’ are words of course. The Catawbas are out on the scout with an officer and some men of ours. They proposed, when I was at Fort Cumberland, to stay only one moon, and then to set out for their nation, with a report of the country and its conveniences to the enemy, (but rather with a report of our usage, I believe.) It therefore behooves us to reward them well, and keep them in temper. They applied to me for several necessaries, such as each a suit of clothes, wampum, pipe, tomahawks, and silver trinkets for the wrists and arms, &c. The wampum and tomahawks I have purchased. The want of the others may occasion some murmuring, and there are very few things suitable at Fort Cumberland. They seemed very desirous, that an officer should return with them, and gave strong assurances of his bringing in a number. If your Honor approves it, I shall endeavour to fix upon some officer, that falls most in with their customs, and send him upon this duty. The Indians expect to be sent back upon horses. Does your Honor approve that they should? I will not take upon me to buy horses without your orders. The Cherokees are not yet arrived, nor the arms from Augusta. I am, &c.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Fort Loudoun, 4 December, 1756.
Since writing to your Honor yesterday, a very base and villainous scheme has been discovered; which has been I believe, the sole cause of 18 Soldiers deserting from us last night. The Gentleman concerned is our (late Ensign) Denis McCarty; of whose Character and practises, the enclosed Depositions will afford your Honor a Specimen, and with whom all his ties of honor and morality are of no force. By virtue of your Honor’s Commission to recruit for the Royal American Regiments, and under the specious pretence of immunity, offered in a late proclamation, he boasts the power & authority of enlisting Deserters and Delinquents of any kind whatever. With these pretences & his ungenerous principles, he scandalously & under-handedly seduced these, and I am afraid many more to abandon their duty and desert the Service. The Behaviour of Mr. McCarty while in our Regiment was not so becoming and genteel as it ought: and had he not apprehended the danger of a Court Martial with disgrace, he would not have resigned to your Honor with so much privacy. I hope this flagrant instance of his unnatural, unjust and dishonorable proceedings will prompt your Honor to punish such pernicious practises so destructive in their consequences, and so fatal in their effects. I have despatched a party of 25 men under Capt. Mercer with orders that every endeavour and all possible diligence be made use of to apprehend those Deserters, who I imagine are gone to McCarty and should be glad your Honor wou’d direct what punishment shou’d be inflicted; as the act for that purpose is sometime ago expired. The loss of the Drafts and those desertions, render us unable to manage such heavy timber as is required about the Fort; or even sufficient to do other necessary work there. These misfortunes and the want of flour with the Commissary, conspire to retard my march longer than I had expected.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Fort Loudoun, 10 December, 1756.
Capt. Mercer returned the 7th with sixteen of the Deserters; the other two escaped his diligence. They confirm the suspicion of Mr. McCarty’s villany, by confessing he had inveigled them with promises of protection, rewards, and good usage! and a deep-laid plan was concerted for accomplishing his base designs,—binding each individual with an oath to follow him; to stand true to each other in case of being pursued; to kill the officer who attempted the command; and in case of a separation, private instructions to repair to McCarty, or some of his friends who were to receive and entertain them. These proceedings and the within depositions must convince your Honor, how dangerous a person of Mr. McCarty’s principles must be to the peace and quiet of Society.
The Soldiers surrendered to Capt. Mercer upon promise of pardon; and as they seem sorry for their Behaviour, assuring all duty and obedience for the future, I thought it most expedient to forgive them knowing we have no law at present to punish them, and believing the poor ignorant fellows less culpable than their Seducer.
I hope your Honor will therefore approve of my measures in this matter.
Before this reaches your Honor I imagine you will have received Capt. John McNeill’s relative to the Servants recruited in Augusta—I desired him to transmit the valuation of them, according to your Honor’s directions fully authenticated, in order to receive the money. Capt. McNeill’s distance from me deprived me of the opportunity of certifying the accompts; and to prevent loss of time, expence and trouble, I ordered him to take this method, which I hope will not be disagreeable to your Honor.
Upon receiving your Honor’s and the Council’s resolve to make Fort Cumberland tenable, I wrote to Lt. Colonel Stephen to set immediately about it, but the want of tools for three parts of the men there will prevent its progress.
At Alexandria I gave orders to purchase a quantity; and Colonel Carlyle had gone to Annapolis for that purpose; so I look daily for the tools. The demand upon us at this time for money is very great, buying provision, &c. We have almost exhausted the last sum received, and must be under the necessity of applying to your Honor for another supply in a little time. We long much for the arrival of the soldiers Clothing. The weather very severe, the Service hard, and men naked—are motives too strong for their accepting the specious promises of McCarty and others.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Fort Loudoun, 19 December, 1756.
Your letter of the 10th came to hand the 15th; in consequence of which I despatched orders immediately to all the garrisons on the Branch to evacuate their forts, and repair to Pearsall’s, where they would meet the flour, &c. from this place, and to escort it to Fort Cumberland. I expect the provisions purchased for the support of these forts, and now lying in bulk, will be wasted and destroyed, notwithstanding I have given directions to the assistant commissary on the Branch, and to Waggener’s company, to use their utmost diligence in collecting the whole, and securing them where his company is posted. An escort, with all the flour we have been able to procure (which amounts to an insufficient quantity for want of water), sets out from this on Tuesday next. I expect to depart sooner myself, after leaving directions with Captain Mercer, whom I have appointed to command here, and shall repair as expeditiously as possible to Fort Cumberland.
I am a little at loss to understand the meaning of your Honor’s orders, and the opinion of the Council, when I am directed to evacuate all the stockade forts, and at the same time to march only one hundred men to Fort Cumberland, and to continue the like number here to garrison Fort Loudoun. If the stockade forts are all abandoned, there will be more men than are required for these two purposes, and the communication between them, of near eighty miles, will be left without a settler, unguarded and exposed.1 But I mean nothing by asking this question, than to know your Honor’s intentions, which I would willingly pay strict obedience to.
Mr. Walker has been here, settled his accompts, and gone home again, fully resolved no longer to continue commissary. I acquainted him with the contents of your Honor’s letters of November, and he has wrote you (he tells me) his reasons for resigning. What Indian goods were left by Colo. Innes I know not; no return was ever given to me, nor to the commanding officer, when he went away, if I am rightly informed.
I shall when I arrive at Fort Cumberland get a return of them, and transmit to your Honor.
A return of the stores at this place is enclosed. I should have sent it before, but waited to add those at Fort Cumberland, of which there are none yet come down.
If Captain McNeill goes to the Cherokee nation, it would be well for him to conduct the Catawbas home. But when I recommended an officer’s going with them, it was with a view of engaging a body of their men to come to our assistance in the spring, and to march in with their warriors, not choosing to trust altogether to their unmeaning promises and capricious humors. But your Honor will be pleased to direct as you see proper in this affair. I have advanced very little money hitherto to the masters of servants, because I waited your directions on this head. I received forty-one last night from Captain McNeill, who desires leave to continue recruiting. I do not consent to it, until I know whether it is agreeable to your Honor, and whether I may send out as many other officers as can be spared for the same service. If this is approved of I should be glad that your Honor would send me general instructions, that I may know how to give mine, and to act consistently with the rules for recruiting servants for his Majesty’s regiments. I should have been exceedingly glad, if your Honor and the Council had directed in what manner Fort Cumberland is to be strengthened; i. e., whether it is to be made cannon-proof or not; and that you would fix the sum beyond which we shall not go, for I must look to you for the expense, knowing that the country has already rejected some articles of this. Immediately upon receiving your Honor’s letter to McCarty, I enclosed it to Colonel Fairfax (as directed), and desired him to do what is needful in regard to the commission, as it was not in my power to deal with him as he deserved: first, because he has left this service; and next, because if he was still in it, we have no martial law to punish him, the mutiny and desertion act having expired in October last. The same with respect to the soldiers, but their penitent behavior induced me to pass by their faults. I have read that paragraph in Lord Loudoun’s letter, (which your Honor was pleased to send me,) over and over again, but am unable to comprehend the meaning of it. What scheme it is, I was carrying into execution without waiting advice, I am at a loss to know, unless it was building the chain of forts along our frontiers, which I not only undertook conformably to an act of Assembly, and by your own orders, but, with respect to the places, in pursuance of a council of war. If, under these circumstances, my “conduct is responsible for the fate of Fort Cumberland,” it must be confessed, that I stand upon a tottering foundation indeed. I cannot charge my memory with either proposing, or intending, to draw the forts nearer to Winchester. The garrison of Fort Cumberland, it is true, I did wish to have removed to Cox’s, which is nearer to Winchester by twenty-five miles; but not further from the enemy than where it now is, if a road from thence to the Little Meadows, which is about twenty miles distant, and the same from that place (i. e. Fort Cumberland,) and more in the warriors’ path, was opened. However, I see with much regret, that His Excellency Lord Loudoun seems to have prejudged my proceedings, without being thoroughly informed what were springs and motives, that have actuated my conduct. How far I have mistaken the means to recommend my services, I know not, but I am certain of this, that no man ever intended better, or studied the interest of his country with more affectionate zeal, than I have done; and nothing gives me greater uneasiness and concern, than that his Lordship should have imbibed prejudices so unfavorable to my character, as to excite his belief that I was capable of doing any thing, “that will have a bad effect as to the Dominion, and no good appearance at home.”
As I had your Honor’s permission to be down when his Lordship shall favor us with a visit, I desired Colonel Carlyle to inform me when he should pass thro’ Alexandria, and I will set out accordingly. I hope nothing has intervened to alter this indulgence. It is a favor I should not have thought of asking, had I believed the service would suffer in my absence; but I am convinced it will not. And I cannot help saying, I believe we are the only troops upon the continent, that are kept summer and winter to the severest duty, with the least respite or indulgence.
Captn. Pearis came to town the other day with six Cherokees and two squaws. He brought no orders from your Honor, and applies to me for direction of his services. I have desired him to carry the Indians to Fort Cumberland—as we can make nothing of them without an interpreter—and there wait the return of your Honor’s instructions. Lt. Baker has leave of absence upon very urgent business, relative to an estate left him. He applied to your Honor and, having received no answer, I made free to grant this indulgence in so material a point. Lt. Lowry has applied for permission to quit the service; I referred him to your Honor, and he now waits your answer in a state of much anxiety and sickness. His resignation I apprehend will occasion no void or any loss to the service. I have therefore allowed him to go down, in order to support his spirits and comply with your Honor’s pleasure, whatever that be. While Lt. Baker is absent, I would offer it to your Honor as expedient, he should make interest among the Tusks and Nottoways. His intimacy with these nations may be of service in engaging some assistance from them, and I think him very capable of the undertaking. He might also recruit, if your Honor approves of the proposal I have already offered.
The delay of the soldiers’ clothes occasions unaccountable murmurs and complaints, and I am very much afraid we shall have few men left, if they arrive not in a week or two. Your Honor would be astonished to see the naked condition of the poor wretches. And how they possibly can subsist, much less work, in such severe weather, [is not easy to conceive.] Had we but blankets to give them, or any thing to defend them from the cold, they might perhaps be easy.
I have formerly hinted to your Honor our necessity for a speedy supply of cash, and have advised with the Speaker likewise, that he might not be unprepared. I purpose to send down by the 10th of next month or sooner if I could be served. The men are quite impatient, and the want of small bills is very prejudicial to their peace. I should be glad your Honor would advise per return of Jenkins how soon I may send down. I cannot supply your Honor with a return of our strength as yet, because our scattered disposition hinders a regular discharge of the adjutant’s duty. I am, &c.
TO JOHN ROBINSON.
Winchester, 19 December, 1756.
You are no stranger, I presume, to the late resolutions of the Governor and Council, the consequence of which I meditate with great concern. We are ordered to reinforce Fort Cumberland with one hundred men, and, to enable me to carry that number thither, all the stockade forts on the Branch are to be evacuated, and in course all the settlements abandoned, except what lie under the immediate protection of Captain Waggener’s fort, the only place exempted in their resolve. Surely his Honor and the Council are not fully acquainted with the situation and circumstances of the unhappy frontiers, thus to expose so valuable a tract as the Branch, in order to support a fortification, in itself (considering our present feebleness) of very little importance to the inhabitants or the colony. The former order of Council would have endangered not only the loss of Fort Loudoun, the stores, and Winchester, but a general removal of the settlers of this vale, even to the Blue Ridge. This last hath the same object in view, vizt., Fort Cumberland, and, to maintain it, the best lands in Virginia are laid open to the mercy of a cruel and inhuman enemy. These people have long struggled with the dangers of savage incursions, daily soliciting defence, and willing to keep their ground. To encourage them, all my little help has been administered, and they seemed satisfied with my intentions, resolving to continue while any probability of support remained. The disposition I had made of our small regiment gave general satisfaction to the settlements, and content began to appear everywhere. The necessary measures for provisions and stores were agreeably concerted, and every regulation established for the season. But the late command reverses, confuses, and incommodes every thing; to say nothing of the extraordinary expense of carriage, disappointments, losses, and alterations, which must fall heavy on the country. Whence it arises, or why, I am truly ignorant; but my strongest representations of matters relative to the peace of the frontiers are disregarded as idle and frivolous; my propositions and measures, as partial and selfish; and all my sincerest endeavours for the service of my country perverted to the worst purposes. My orders are dark, doubtful, and uncertain; to-day approved, to-morrow condemned. Left to act and proceed at hazard, accountable for the consequences, and blamed without the benefit of defence, if you can think my situation capable to excite the smallest degree of envy, or afford the least satisfaction, the truth is yet hid from you, and you entertain notions very different from the reality of the case. However, I am determined to bear up under all these embarrassments some time longer, in hope of better regulation on the arrival of Lord Loudoun, to whom I look for the future fate of Virginia.
His Lordship, I think, has received impressions tending to prejudice, by false representations of facts, if I may judge from a paragraph of one of his letters to the Governor, and on which is founded the resolve to support Fort Cumberland at all events. The severity of the season, and nakedness of the soldiers, are matters of much compassion, and give rise to infinite complaints. Nor is it possible to obvitate them, unless their clothing come in immediately. You would be surprised how the poor creatures live, much more how they can do duty. Had we but blankets, they might be appeased for a little time; and as we have not, I fear many will desert.
I advised you formerly of our necessity for cash, and would earnestly desire it soon. I think of sending down by the 10th of next month, or sooner if agreeable. Please to inform me, by Jenkins, what I may depend upon on that head, as our men are impatient, and with some reason, when without both money and clothes. I need not urge the comparative advantage of small bills; as you are truly sensible how disadvantageous large ones are in paying individuals and occasioning many other inconveniences. We shall have occasion for at least six thousand pounds to clear us to the 1st of January. The commissary wants above half that sum to furnish his stocks of provisions, &c; the other will be exhausted in paying the troops. We ought always to have money in hand, as we are often reduced to many inconveniences on account of waiting for it, not to mention the expense and trouble.1
Mr. Kirkpatrick will have my accompts to lay before the Committee, and will shew how the money has been applied.
TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF BURGESSES.
It gave me infinite concern to hear by several letters, that the Assembly are incensed against the Virginia Regiment; and think they have cause to accuse the officers of all inordinate vices; but more especially of drunkenness and profanity! How far any one individual may have subjected himself to such reflections, I will not pretend to determine, but this I am certain of; and can with the highest safety call my conscience, my God! and (what I suppose will still be a more demonstrable proof, at least in the eye of the World) the Orders and Instructions which I have given, to evince the purity of my own intentions and to shew on the one hand, that my incessant endeavours have been directed to discountenance Gaming, drinking, swearing, and other vices, with which all camps too much abound: while on the other, I have used every expedient to inspire a laudable emulation in the officers, and an unerring exercise of Duty in the Soldiers. How far I may have mistaken the means to attain so salutary an end behooves not me to determine: But this I presume to say, that a man’s intentions should be allowed in some respects to plead for his actions. I have been more explicit Sir, on this head than I otherwise shou’d, because I find that my own character must of necessity be involved in the general censure, for which reason I can not help observing, that if the country think they have cause to condemn my conduct, and have a person in view that will act; that he may do. But who will endeavour to act more for her Interests than I have done? It will give me the greatest pleasure to resign a command which I solemnly declare I accepted against my will.
I know, Sir, that my inexperience may have led me into innumerable errors. For which reason, I shou’d think myself an unworthy member of the community and greatly deficient in the love I owe my country which has ever been the first principle of my actions, were I to require more than a distant hint of its dissatisfaction to resign a commission which I confess to you I am no ways fond of keeping.
These sentiments I communicate to you, Sir, not only as to a Gentleman for whom I entertain the highest respect, and greatest friendship; but also as a member of the Assembly—that the contents, if you think proper, may be communicated to the whole. For, be assured, I shall never wish to hold a Commission, when it ceases to be by unanimous consent.
The unhappy differences which subsisted so long about command did, I own, prevent me from going to Fort Cumberland, to enforce those orders, which I never failed to send there; and caused, I dare say, many gross irregularities to creep into that Garrison (which you know is in another Colony). But whose fault was that? Ought it not to have been attributed to the officer commanding there (Capt. Dagworthy); whose business it was to suppress vice in every shape? Surely it was.
However, I am far from attempting to vindicate the characters of all the officers: For that I am sensible would be a task too arduous. There are some who have the seeds of Idleness too strongly instilled into their constitution, either to be serviceable to themselves, or beneficial to the Country. Yet even those have not missed my best advice: nor have my unwearied endeavours ever been wanting to serve my country with the highest integrity. For which reasons I shou’d ever be content in retirement, and reflect with no little pleasure, that no sordid views have influenced my conduct, nor have the hopes of unlawful gains swerved me in any measure from the strictest dictates of Honor! I have diligently sought the public welfare; and have endeavoured to inculcate the same principles on all that are under me. These reflections will be a cordial to my mind so long as I am able to distinguish between Good & Evil.
TO THE WORSHIPFUL THE SPEAKER AND GENTLEMEN OF THE HOUSE OF BURGESSES.
The act being expired which rendered your Forces subject to military discipline has made us with some impatience wait for the time of this present Session of Assembly: For, as from experience, we are become very sensible, that our vigilant and active Enemy have usually made their horrid incursions early in the Spring. But, a little time will remain to put our Regiment into such a fitness as may be capable of defending our Frontiers, and acting offensively, when supported by a renewal of the Act and proper Orders to execute in our future marches: and we being now reminded that in a late Virginia Gazette, a narrative was published, under the title of “The Centinels, No. X.” wherein the Officers of our Regiment were particularly charged with many immoral practises, which Gazette is dispersed throughout His Majesty’s Dominions; and as the said unjust aspersions therein contained may obtain too easy credit—not being in a like public manner gainsaid or answered—We humbly entreat that you will kindly take into consideration,—and agreeably to the hopes assured us by Colo. Washington, give us public testimony, that in your esteem we have not deserved the obloquoy complained of.
We can not omit mentioning that notwithstanding our early entrance into the Service of our Country; the many attacks and skirmishes had with several of the French parties and their Indians, wherein great slaughter on both sides hath been effected: and when the approaching Winter has necessitated Regular Troops to retreat into Winter quarters, the Officers and Soldiers of our Regiment, have been constantly and fully employed in building a new Fort at Winchester; and by adding new works to Fort Cumberland thereby endeavouring to make it defensible: Likewise erecting other Fortresses, and transporting Stores & provisions which have proved very laborious and fatiguing: also the workmen’s wages too low and discouraging. Under this head, we further take the humble liberty to remonstrate the little or no notice taken of our Address at Home, setting forth the frequent trials of our Loyalty, courage and activity to do His Majesty’s good & faithful service; not without presuming we might be thought of, and put on the Honorable Establishment, among the many Battalions raised and lately sent over to assist and strengthen our operations against the common Enemy. As we have on many occasions been convinced of your friendly thoughts and dispositions toward us, which we shall desire no longer than our merit may claim; So we with grateful hearts present ourselves, and refer all our interest and concerns to your Wisdom and Judgment; subscribing ourselves as we truly are your most faithful and obedient Servants—
[1 ]The warm contest between the Governor and Assembly of Pennsylvania, respecting the mode of raising money, had hitherto prevented any efficient aid being rendered by that colony for the public service. As the Proprietaries owned large estates in the province, the Assembly insisted that these estates should be taxed for the common defence, in the same proportion as the estates of the inhabitants, and reported all their bills accordingly. Prohibited by his instructions, the Governor had no power to sanction such bills. In a case so manifestly just, and involving a principle of great importance, the Assembly would not yield, and no money was granted.
[1 ]An officer had been tried by a court-martial, and suspended. In communicating this sentence, the commander addressed to the officers generally the above remarks and admonition.
[1 ]“The Cherokees have taken up the Hatchet against the Shawanese and French, and have sent 130 of their warriors into New River, and propose to march immediately to attack and cut off the Shawanese in their towns. I design they shall be joined with three companies of rangers and Capt. Hogg’s company, and I propose Colo. Stephens or Major Lewis to be commander of the party on this expedition.”—Dinwiddie to Washington, 14 Dec., 1755. Known as the Sandy Creek Expedition.
[1 ]See above, the letter to Colonel Stephen, dated December 28th.
[2 ]At Winchester.
[3 ]Thus in Dinwiddie Papers, ii., 319; Sparks prints it 20th.
[1 ]Lehaynsius Dekeyser was tried by court-martial on a charge of conduct “unbecoming of a gentleman and an officer,” and found guilty. It was his case that occasioned the remarks printed on p. 219.
[1 ]Colonel Washington left Alexandria, on his journey to Boston, February 4th, with his aid-de-camp, Captain Mercer. He returned on the 23d of March. In his route he passed through Philadelphia, New York, New London, Newport, and Providence, visited the governors of Pennsylvania and New York, and spent several days in each of the principal cities. He was well received, and much noticed, by General Shirley, with whom he continued ten days, mixing constantly in the society of the town, and attending with interest to the proceedings of the legislature of Massachusetts, then engaged in affairs of great moment respecting the requisite aids for promoting the grand scheme of military operations, recently agreed upon by a council of several governors assembled at New York. He also visited Castle William.
“Boston, 5 March, 1756.
“Governor Dinwiddie, at the instance of Colonel Washington, having referred to me concerning the right of command between him and Captain Dagworthy, and desiring that I should determine it, I do therefore give it as my opinion, that Captain Dagworthy, who now acts under a commission from the Governor of Maryland, and where there are no regular troops joined, can only take rank as a provincial captain, and of course is under the command of all provincial field-officers; and, in case it should happen, that Colonel Washington and Captain Dagworthy should join at Fort Cumberland, it is my order that Colonel Washington shall take the command.
“W. Shirley.”As soon as he returned from this tour, he proceeded onward to Williamsburg. He had been there but a short time, when an express arrived with intelligence, that the French and Indians had broken into the frontier settlements, murdered several of the inhabitants, and excited great alarm in all that region. Upon hearing this news, he hastened back to his headquarters at Winchester.—Sparks.
[1 ]The New York Mercury (February 16th) showed that Washington reached New York on the 15th.
[2 ]Dinwiddie had given Washington a letter of introduction to Oliver De Lancey.
[3 ]“When Washington visited Boston in February 1756, to consult General Shirley, he stopped at Cromwell’s Head Tavern, on School Street, just above the old corner. During his visit of ten days he attended the sessions of the Legislature, and accepted the hospitality of several prominent citizens.”—Porter, Rambles in Old Boston, 384.
[1 ]To the Speaker he wrote in a similar strain: “If the fears of the people do not magnify numbers, those of the enemy are not inconsiderable. They have made many ineffectual attempts upon several of our forts, destroyed cattle, burned plantations, and this in defiance of our smaller parties, while they dexterously avoid the larger. Our detachments, by what I can learn, have sought them diligently, but the cunning and vigilance of Indians in the woods are no more to be conceived, than they are to be equalled by our people. Indians are only match for Indians; and without these, we shall ever fight upon unequal terms. I hope the Assembly since they see the difficulty of getting men by enlistment, will no longer depend upon that uncertain way of raising them, but make each of the lower Counties furnish its full proportion.” The recruiting officers had been out all winter, and had secured only 600 men.
[2 ]In the March session the Assembly had voted to erect a chain of forts, “to begin at Harry Enochs, on Great-Cape-Capon, in the county of Hampshire, and to extend to the South-Fork of Mayo-River, in the county of Halifax, to consist of such a number, and at such distance from each other, as shall be thought necessary and directed by the governor, or commander in chief of this colony.”—Hening’s Statutes, vii., 18.
[1 ]Major Lewis’s party suffered greatly on this expedition. The rivers were so much swollen by the rains and melting snow, that they were unable to reach the Shawanese Town; and after being six weeks in the woods, having lost several canoes with provisions and ammunition, they were reduced nearly to a state of starvation, and obliged to kill their horses for food. A full account of this expedition is given by L. C. Draper in Virginia Historical Register, 1852; also in Waddell, Annals of Augusta County, 81.
[1 ]In August, 1755, the Assembly offered a reward of £10 for every scalp of a male Indian above the age of twelve years.—Hening’s Statutes, vi., 551, 565. In April, 1757, the reward was increased to £15, and a further sum of £30 for each scalp taken within the next two years. vii., 122, 123. The increase was probably due to the higher reward of £50 for each scalp offered by Maryland.—Acts of Maryland Assembly, September, 1756.
[2 ]Dumas had succeeded Contrecœur in the command of Fort Duquesne. The following is a translation of the orders found on Douville, which, at least, give a favorable indication of the commandant’s humanity.
“Fort Duquesne, 23 March, 1756.
“The Sieur Douville, at the head of a detachment of fifty savages, is ordered to go and observe the motions of the enemy in the neighbourhood of Fort Cumberland. He will endeavour to harass their convoys, and burn their magazines at Conococheague, should this be practicable. He must use every effort to take prisoners, who may confirm what we already know of the enemy’s designs. The Sieur Douville will employ all his talents, and all his credit, to prevent the savages from committing any cruelties upon those, who may fall into their hands. Honor and humanity ought, in this respect, to serve as our guide.
Dumas.”This is doubtless the same officer, who commanded the French and Indians at Braddock’s defeat, after the death of M. de Beaujeu.
[1 ]Great Cacapehon. Fort Edwards lay between Winchester and Romney.
[2 ]“I think it not amiss, that they should serve only eighteen or twenty months, and then be discharged. Twenty months will embrace two full campaigns, which will, I apprehend, bring matters to a crisis one way or another.”—To the Speaker.
[1 ]“The enclosed letter I am desired to forward to your Excellency from Colo. Washington, and to request you to commissionate and appoint him second in command, in case these colonies shall raise a sufficient number of troops for carrying on an expedition or making a diversion to the westward this summer. As Mr. Washington is much esteemed in Virginia, and really seems a gentleman of merit, I should be exceedingly glad to learn that your Excellency is not averse to favoring his application and request.” Govr. Sharpe to Govr. Shirley. April 10, 1756.—Penna. Archives, ii., 620.
[1 ]“The roads being so infested, that none but hunters who travel the woods by night, can pass in safety.”—To Dinwiddie.
[2 ]“The express, whom I sent to Colonel Stephen, notwithstanding he was an excellent woodsman, and a very active fellow, was fired upon five times at a place called the Flats, within six miles of Fort Cumberland. He had several bullets through, and his horse shot under him, yet made his escape from them.”—To Dinwiddie.
[3 ]John Mercer.
[1 ]“And I humbly conceive, where we can pattern after our Mother country upon as easy terms as pursuing plans of our own, that we should at least pay that deference to her judgment and experience.”—To Dinwiddie.
[1 ]“I have a brother that has long discovered an inclination to enter the service, but has till this been dissuaded from it by my mother, who now, I believe, will give consent. I must, therefore, beg that if your Honor should issue any new commissions before I come down, that you will think of him and reserve a Lieutenancy. I flatter myself that he will endeavor to deserve it as well as some that have, and others that may get [them].”—To Dinwiddie.
[2 ]Dinwiddie had reported that “the Assembly were greatly inflamed, being told that the greatest immoralities and drunkenness have been much countenanced and proper discipline neglected.”
[1 ]A skirmish with the Indians at Edwards’s Fort, in which Captain John Mercer and several of his party were killed.
[1 ]“Unless I can throw some ammunition into Edwards’s Fort to night, the remainder of our party, and the inhabitants that are there, will more than probably fall a sacrifice to the Indians, as the bearer, who came off with the enclosed, assures me that the fort was surrounded, and that an assault was expected to day.”—To Lord Fairfax, 19th April.
[2 ]The question before the council was whether to march against the enemy with the small force at Winchester and Fort Edwards, or to remain at Winchester. The unanimous opinion was in favor of remaining.
[1 ]Ashby wrote that four hundred Indians had demanded the surrender of his fort, 1,500 had gone to Fort Cumberland and 2,000 to the Juniata.
[1 ]The Governor, on receiving this letter, immediately ordered out one half of the militia in ten of the upper counties. Colonel Fairfax, one of the Council, wrote at the same time to Colonel Washington;
[1 ]The council of war determined that Enoch’s Fort should be abandoned and destroyed, and that all of the garrison that could be spared from Fort Edwards should march to Winchester.
[1 ]His orders for preserving discipline must be allowed to have been sufficiently rigid. The following is a specimen:—
[1 ]Governor Dinwiddie had formed a project of a much more extensive chain of forts, embracing the whole line of frontier from Crown Point to the country of the Creek Indians. This project he communicated to the Board of Trade on the 23d of February.
[1 ]A fort was ordered to be built at Winchester.
[1 ]These memoranda cover a few pages of note book, and were made from day to day as the events noted occurred. They are curious as giving a very good picture of the little reliance that could be put in the colonial militia.
[2 ]Error for April.
[1 ]Probably Cacapehon.
[1 ]The soldiers were paid eight pence a day. Out of this amount two pence a day were reserved for supplying them with clothes. The system of stoppages may be best illustrated by the orders that Washington gave to the paymaster in November, 1775: two pence per month was to be deducted from “each non-commissioned officer and soldier for purchasing medicines. This is to be paid to the surgeon quarterly. There is also six-pence per month to be stopped from the drummers, to be paid to the Drum major for teaching them and repairing the drums. . . . If any non-commissioned officer or soldier should happen to die, he is to be continued on the pay-roll as an effective man for twenty eight days, to pay for his coffin, &c.”
[1 ]Nathan Lewis, who had shown his cowardice in the affair at Edwards’ Fort in which John Mercer was killed.
[2 ]The militia, who had assembled at Winchester upon the recent alarm, had given the commander infinite trouble and anxiety. On this subject Colonel William Fairfax wrote to him:—
[1 ]This company appears to have originated among the lawyers and the association was entered into on May 3d. On the 8th the governor wrote that “these gentlemen will march from north to south, with your advice, to propose the proper places to erect these forts.” They then numbered about one hundred men with the attorney general, Peyton Randolph, at their head. Being volunteers, serving at their own cost, the Governor gave them no orders. They marched towards Winchester, but the alarm subsided before they had an opportunity of putting their martial spirit to the test.
[1 ]This fort, built at Winchester, was called Fort Loudoun.
[1 ]“The Assembly have resolved that their troops shall not march out of the colony. Whether this is binding on the whole, or only the drafts, I know not, and therefore I would not advise your going into Maryland, unless it be to procure some manifest advantage to Virginia, in keeping the enemy out of it, &c. To range for and search them in another province I cannot think consistent with the intention of the Assembly. Nor is it the design of the Assembly or Governor, as the men are raised solely for the defence of the Colony, and not acting in conjunction with other corps, that Governor Sharpe, or his officers, shou’d have any connection with them. You are therefore to pay no regard to any orders that you may receive from him, or any other than the governor of Virginia, myself, or your superior officers in the Virginia Regiment.”—To Captain Robert Stewart, 2 June, 1756.
[1 ]“If the six Quakers will not fight you must compel them to work on the forts, to carry timber, &c.; if they will not do [so] confine them with a short allowance of bread and water, till you bring them to reason.”—Dinwiddie to Washington, June, 1756.
[2 ]On the same day he wrote the Governor:—“I was in hope that by garrisoning the forts with part of the militia, we should have been able to have mustered a greater number of soldiers to work upon the forts that are to be built. But I am under the greatest apprehensions that all who are now up will desert. They go off in twenties, and all threaten to return, if they are not relieved in a very short time or discharged. . . . If they should go, as I suppose they will, we shall again be much exposed to all excursions, and cannot defend so extensive a frontier.” The Governor replied: “I am really ashamed of the dastardly pusillanimous spirits of the people in general in this time of danger, and we must depend much more on the protection of Heaven than the second means expected from us by God.”
[3 ]The Governor and Assembly of Maryland had come at last to a temporary reconciliation of their differences, so far as to agree in a bill for raising forty thousand pounds for his Majesty’s service. Of this sum eleven thousand pounds were to be appropriated to building a fort on the frontiers, near but not beyond the North Mountain; and twenty-five thousand for carrying on any expedition for the public service, in which the other colonies might join. By the same act the Governor was authorized to raise two hundred men, to be employed in constructing the fort.—Acts of Assembly passed in May, 1756.—McMahon’s History of Maryland, vol. i., p. 305.—The fort was called Fort Frederic. It was a work of considerable magnitude, situated on an eminence about five hundred yards from the Potomac River, of a quadrangular form, and constructed of durable materials.
[1 ]“There is a part of your recruiting accompt which much astonishes me, and I thought you nor no officer, who valued his character, would have presumed to have done such a thing, as he must be certain it would appear as a palpable fraud in him. Three men were enlisted here by Sergeant Wilper; he received both money and provision from me for carrying them up to you, and as that afterwards appeared insufficient, had a further allowance made. And will you after that presume to charge eight pence per diem for their subsistence ’till they were delivered to you? Did you pay a farthing on that account? And do you not know the eight pennies were allowed the officers for the expence of maintaining and marching their recruits to the rendezvous? You have been paid these ten months for a full company, and by your returns, have never been complete. I have instructions to allow for no men but those present. Therefore, I hope you will account for all the non-effective money you have received, by the next opportunity, agreeable to your returns.”—To Captain Hog, 21 July, 1756.
[1 ]The following extract from the Orderly Book, issued in general orders by the Commander two days after he reached Fort Cumberland, will show that he enforced rigid rules of discipline:—
[1 ]John Rutherford, of prominence in New York where he had been a member of the Council, had come to Virginia with the Independent company in 1754. He was afterwards a major in the Royal American regiment and was killed before Ticonderoga in 1758.
[1 ]The act of Assembly allowed a person drafted to pay £10 and escape service. The result was that most of the drafts paid the fine and the companies remained unfilled.
[2 ]This question of enlisting indented servants, that is immigrants who had hired themselves out for a term of years to repay the money that had been advanced for their passage, proved a knotty problem to the Colonies. When completing the regiments after Braddock’s defeat, the recruiting officers did not hesitate to take such servants, often secretly and generally without making recompense to the masters. In Maryland the planters of the Eastern shore were so incensed by such acts that they attacked the recruiting officers and “some blood was spilt.” Shirley, who became commander-in-chief after Braddock’s death, though he could cite the example of Massachusetts, where indented servants had been impressed for garrisoning the frontier forts, was convinced of its impolicy when applied to the Middle Colonies. The Assembly of Pennsylvania earnestly protested against the practice.—Penn. Col. Records, vii., 37. And Franklin in his draft of instructions for the agents of the Colonies, instanced it as one of the grievances of which the Province had cause to complain.—Works, ii., 491, 492, and 513. “You must know that most of the servants in this country are more particularly their masters’ property, than they are in any other parts of his Majesty’s dominions, and that masters of such servants will easily resign their interest in them cannot, I think, be expected.”—J. Ridout, 29 July, 1756. Penn. Archives, ii., 734. In Virginia such servants were expressly exempted from military duty, but slaves appear to have been taken. “I think it will be advisable to detain both mulattoes and negroes in your company, and employ them as Pioneers or Hatchetmen.”—Washington to Hog, 27 December, 1755.
[1 ]“A great body of Quakers waited on me, in regard to their friends with you, praying they may not be whipped. Use them with lenity, but as they are at their own expense I would have them remain as long as the other Draughts.”—Dinwiddie, 19 Aug., 1756.
[1 ]A small piece of silver, probably the Spanish eighth of a dollar, or twelve cents and a half.
[2 ]The Tuscaroras were a tribe of Indians originally settled in the eastern part of North Carolina. In 1700 they had fifteen towns, containing a population of about 4,000 souls. Ten years later, in retaliation for some injuries, they made a savage attack upon the whites, which was severely punished, many of the Indians being sold as slaves, even in the northern colonies. Broken in power, they allied themselves with the Five Nations, making the sixth nation. In 1736, according to a French estimate, they numbered 250 warriors, or 1,250 souls; and in 1763 Sir William Johnson placed the population at only 700.
[1 ]“The events of the ensuing campaign, in which the interest, honour, and safety of His Majesty’s American Dominions are so deeply concerned are in the hands of Providence; but his Majesty as far as he has been able to provide for the success of arms by the choice of a general, seems to have done it in the appointment of the Earl of Loudoun.”—Dunk Halifax to the Governor of Pennsylvania, 11 May, 1756. The Earl was distinguished by his incompetency and was recalled when Pitt came into power.
[1 ]This fort was on Patterson’s Creek, twenty-five miles from Fort Cumberland.
[1 ]The Indians and first settlers mark a path through the wood by cutting the bark from the trees. This is called blazing.
[2 ]The South Branch of the Potomac.
[3 ]This is not strictly what the Governor wrote. “As to Fort Cumbld, it’s a King’s Fort, & a Magazine for stores. Its not in my power to order it to be deserted. . . . at present it must be properly supported with men.”
[4 ]On this head Mr. Speaker Robinson replied:—“The Committee were all of opinion with you, that the keeping Fort Cumberland was an unnecessary expense; but upon my mentioning their opinion to the Governor, he appeared very warm, and said my Lord Loudoun might do what he pleased, but for his part he would not remove the garrison, or order the fort to be demolished for his right hand.”
[1 ]Pennsylvania was paying its soldiers 18d. a day and subsistence.
[1 ]These requests, in regard to the soldiers, were so far complied with, that they afterwards received full pay without any stoppage for their clothing.
[1 ]La Force, it will be remembered, was one of the prisoners taken in the skirmish with Jumonville’s party. He was capable, enterprising, active, and had been instrumental, before his capture, in exciting the Indians to commit depredations on the frontiers. He was thrown into the jail at Williamsburg. From this abode, after more than two years’ confinement, he had the address to escape, but was seized before he had advanced far into the country, remanded to prison, and loaded with irons.
[1 ]“The many desertions from your corps and our militia give me much concern, as it must be known to the enemy, and encourage their so-frequent invasions and hostilities. Our several captains were ordered out last Sunday, to enquire after, search for, and apprehend the deserters from Captain Minor and Captain Hamilton, but without success, which denotes a too-great pusillanimity or want of consideration on our country’s lying naked and almost defenceless against an implacable and bloodthirsty crew of savages. None can wonder if Colonel Washington is uneasy at the backwardness of the Lower Country’s not sending their drafted men to complete his regiment. He has great reason to repeat and often enforce his representations. It is on record, you know, that a certain widow gained her suit by much importunity and teasing.”—W. Fairfax to Bryan Fairfax, 1 August, 1756.
[1 ]Lawrence Washington.
[2 ]George Lee, an uncle of Arthur and Richard Henry Lee.
[3 ]Sparks suggests “a devise.”
[4 ]War against France had been formally declared by the King on May 17th. It was published in Williamsburg August 7th. Governor Dinwiddie answered:—“The method, that you are to declare war, is at the head of your companies, with three volleys of small arms for his Majesty’s health and a successful war.”
[1 ]Printed in the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, xiv., p. 264. I am unable to trace it in the gazettes of that time.
[2 ]Thomas, the sixth Lord Fairfax, possessed by inheritance a large tract of land in what was called the Northern Neck of Virginia, between the Potomac and Rappahannoc Rivers, estimated to contain five millions two hundred thousand acres. For a time he employed his cousin, William Fairfax, as agent to manage these lands, and, about the year 1739, he came himself over to Virginia. He stayed a year, and went back to England. Four years afterwards, that is, in 1745, he returned to Virginia, where he passed the remainder of his days. He resided a year in the family of Mr. William Fairfax, at Belvoir. At length he determined to establish himself on the western side of the Blue Ridge, where he built a hunting lodge, called Greenway Court, a few miles from Winchester, laid out a beautiful farm, and put it under high cultivation. Here he lived in the exercise of a plain but generous and elegant hospitality till his death, which happened December 7, 1781, in his ninety-second year.
[1 ]The Governor had merely copied the words from one of Washington’s letters, and was ignorant of any act of Parliament authorizing the enlistment of servants. When the General Assembly met towards the end of September the Governor stated that he had been “ordered to recommend” a proper provision for paying the masters of servants as should enlist, and the Assembly so provided.
[1 ]“I desire you will order Lieut. Hall down here till the 14th of Octi., to be evidence against Mr. Hedgeman, who has treated my character in a villainous manner and with great injustice, and I am determined to make an example of him.”—Dinwiddie to Washington, 19 Aug., 1756.
[1 ]The Assembly convened September 23. Eight thousand pounds were appropriated to raise Virginia’s proportion of the Royal American Regiment.—Hening, vii., p. 61.
[1 ]This letter, through the delay of the messenger, did not reach Dinwiddie until the Assembly had been prorogued.
[1 ]For some time complaints were freely made of the misbehavior of the officers in the Virginia regiment. In May both the Governor and the Speaker had written to Washington of the reported immoralities and drunkenness among his force, and the gross neglect of duty that prevailed, but his friends were agreed that no charge had been made against him personally. In the fall the attacks came to a head and a series of crimes and misdeeds of which the Virginia regiment had been guilty was published in the Virginia Gazette, the official paper of the colony, over the signature “Centinel X.” This scurrilous writing angered Washington, and in spite of the advice of his brother, of the Speaker, and other intimate friends to take no notice of it, he determined to resign or to obtain such a vindication as would prove the falsity of the charges. The principal officers under his command threatened to throw up their commissions, and appealed to the Governor and the Assembly for redress, and satisfaction equivalent to the injury, that is, a public declaration of confidence in them. In his cash book is an entry of 10s., sent to Augustine Washington, for “publishing an answer to the 10th centinel,” but no such answer appeared in print.
[1 ]There had been sanguine expectations that four hundred Cherokee Indians would join the Virginia forces; and it was supposed that Major Lewis would return with that number.
[1 ]Of the Albemarle Militia, at Miller’s Fort.
[1 ]Dinwiddie wrote sustained.
[2 ]Washington has made a few verbal changes. The original may be found in Dinwiddie Papers, ii., p. 522.
[1 ]Winchester, Thursday, 28th October, 1756. Parole Blackney. As Colonel Washington is to hold conference with the Calawba Indians, betwixt eleven & twelve o’clock—He desires all the Officers in town to attend at that time; and during the time of conference, he orders a Sergeant & Drummer to beat through the Town, ordering all Soldiers & Towns people to use the Indians civilly and kindly, to avoid giving them liquor, and to be cautious what they speak before them, as all of them understand English, and ought not to be affronted.—Orderly Book.
[1 ]This place is variously spelled in the colonial records, the more frequent forms being Loyal Hanning, Loyal Hening, and Loyal Hanna or Hanny.
[1 ]On September 22d Lord Loudoun wrote from Albany: “And do hope and trust that the Government of Virginia will not suffer the post of Fort Cumberberland to be wrested from them.” Dinwiddie instructed Washington to maintain the fort if possible.
[1 ]“As to the affair of Fort Cumberland, I own it gives me great uneasiness; and I am of the same opinion with you, that it was very material to have supported that fort this winter, and after that we could easily have made it a better post than ever it has been, from what I hear of it. I can’t agree with Co. Washington in not drawing into him the posts from the stockade forts in order to defend the advanced one; and I should imagine much more of the frontier will be exposed by retiring their advanced post near Winchester, where I understand he is retired; for, from your letter, I take it for granted he has before this executed his plan without waiting for any advice. If he leaves any of the great quantity of stores behind, it will be very unfortunate, and he ought to consider it must lie at his own door. This proceeding, I am afraid, will have a bad effect as to the Dominion, and will not have a good appearance at home.”—Loudoun to Dinwiddie, November or December, 1756.
[1 ]“Their diligence and resolution in pursuing the enemy are exemplified in Capt. Hunt of Lunenburgh, who was persuaded by Capt. McNeill, on seeing a poor man inhumanly massacred on the road close by where I came, to go in search of the savages. They followed the tracks, and came to a run, thro’ which they had just passed, it being muddy and the stones yet wet. The number of the enemy was supposed to be about 20, by all the signs that appeared. Here the captain stopped, and finding he came fast up with them, thought proper to desist his pursuit, and after some consultation with his men, contrary to the advice and entreaties of Capt. McNeill, &c., &c., did retreat, as appears by the dispositions of Capt. McNeill and Colo. Buchanan on this occasion. Nor is this the only instance. Some militia of this county under Capt. Riddle, upon a late alarm, refused to proceed, on coming to fires from which the Indians had just fled—all owing to want of due command and obedience.”—To Robinson, 9 Nov., 1756.
[1 ]“The certainty of advantage by an offensive scheme of action, is beyond any doubt much preferable to our defensive measures, and requires no arguments with you, Sir, I presume for proof. Our scattered force avails little to stop the secret incursions of the savages, so separated and dispersed into weak parties; and can only perhaps put them to flight, or ’fright them to another part of the country, which answers not the end proposed. Whereas, had we strength enough to invade their lands, and assault their towns, we should then restrain them from coming abroad, and leave their families exposed. We should then remove the principal cause, and have stronger probability of success. We should then be free from the many alarms, mischiefs and murders that now attend us. We should then inspirit up the hearts of our few Indian friends, and gain more esteem with them. In short could Pennsylvania and Maryland be induced to join us in an expedition of this nature, and to petition his Excellency Lord Loudoun for a small train of artillery, with some engineers, we should then be able in all human probability to subdue the terror of Fort Duquesne, retrieve our character with the Indians, and restore peace to our unhappy frontiers. I wish sincerely the three colonies could be brought to act in conjunction, as our frontiers are so contiguous, and our mutual interest so closely connected.”—To Robinson, 9 Nov., 1756.
[1 ]“And indeed the most probable method to render this plan efficacious, would be to induce the inhabitants to assemble in townships, contiguous to these forts, as many of them seem agreeable to the proposal, and would be more encouraged by the sanction of the Assembly. Then they could cultivate their lands, preserve their stocks, and contribute to their mutual security. Thus did the New Englanders settle when infested as we are now, and answers well in either case, offensive and defensive.”—To Robinson, 9 Nov., 1756.
[1 ]In reply to a request for the appointment of a chaplain to the regiment, Governor Dinwiddie had written to him:—“I have recommended to the commissary to get a chaplain, but he cannot prevail with any person to accept of it. I shall again press it to him.”
[2 ]One of these priests was William Johnston or Johnson, who had lived among the French and their allies for two years. Govr. Sharpe suspected that he had been engaged in the attacks on the frontier settlements, and had surrendered to the English when found on a reconnoiter to discover the expediency of attacking Fort Cumberland.—Penn. Colonial Records, vii., 341.
[3 ]Dinwiddie had written:—
[1 ]Atkin disapproved of offering high rewards to Indians for scalps, as it encouraged “private scalping, whereby the most innocent and helpless persons, even women and children” were murdered for their scalps. He instanced also some case where the Indians picked quarrel among themselves that the scalp of the killed might be sold. Further the high rewards sharpened the ingenuity of the Indians; “for the Cherokees in particular have got the art of making four scalps out of one man killed.” Atkin asserted that he was “well assured Lord Loudoun detests that practice [of purchasing scalps], and that the French general Montcalm in Canadas does the same. Sir Wm. Johnson gives no reward at all in particular for scalps by name.”—Penn. Archives, iii., 199.
[1 ]“I heartily commiserate the poor, unhappy inhabitants, left by this means exposed to every incursion of a merciless enemy, and wish it were in my power to offer them better support, than good wishes (merely) will afford. You may assure the settlement, that this unexpected, and, if I may be allowed to say, unavoidable step was taken without my concurrence and knowledge; that it is an express order from the Governor, and can neither be evaded nor delayed. Therefore, any representations to me of their danger, and the necessity of continuing troops among them, will be fruitless; for, as I before observed, I have inclination, but no power left, to serve them. It is also the Governor’s order, that the forts be left standing for the inhabitants to possess if they think proper.”—To Captain William Bronaugh, 17 Dec., 1756. A similar order was sent to the commanders of other forts on the South Branch.
[1 ]In reply to this letter Mr. Speaker Robinson wrote:—