Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. I (1748-1757)
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TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. I (1748-1757) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889-1893). Vol. I (1748-1757).
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TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
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
[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.