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1757. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. I (1748-1757) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889-1893). Vol. I (1748-1757).
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TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Fort Cumberland,  January, 1757.
Your letter of the 27th ultimo came to hand the 9th instant. I wrote to your Honor by Capt. Spotswood (who was charged with the care of the Catawba Indians as far as Williamsburgh,) that I had sent Colo. Stephen with a detachment to bring the mutineers on the Branch to this place in irons. They were secured before he got there and he has brought all but six, who deserted from Capt. Joshua Lewis’s company, before he reached it. We have held a General Court Martial on the Ring-leaders; flogged several severely; and have some under sentence of death. The proceedings of the Court I thought it needless to send, or ask warrants for execution, as we have no Law to inflict punishments even of the smallest kind.1
I shall keep those criminals in irons, and if possible, under apprehensions of death, until some favourable opportunity may countenance a reprieve. We have as many men at work here, preparing Timber to strengthen the works, as tools will supply: but I wish I had been ordered to build a new fort altogether, rather than attempt to repair the old one.
Your Honor thinks Mr. Walker’s discontinuing was for want of countenance—I must beg leave to answer, and I dare believe Mr. Walker will do me the justice to declare, that I have uniformly treated him with all the respect and complaisance in my power. That I did not approve of his staying is certainly true; I thought it was doing injustice to the service for him to be absent when his presence was requisite, and mentioned this circumstance to him accordingly. And since the subject hath been mentioned, I beg leave to add that if your Honor conceives Mr. Walker has been at any trouble in laying in provision, you have been exceedingly mis-informed. He left the Service the last of June or 1st of July, and has never done a day’s duty since; either in making contracts, directing the purchases, or concerning himself in any manner whatever with the business; nay, no more than a stranger wou’d do: but either declined the Service altogether at that time, or intended to throw the principal burden of his office upon me. Had Mr. Walker continued to discharge the duties of a Commissary I never shou’d have thought of any other, as there is the greatest friendship between us. The part I have acted with that Gentleman, I shou’d have acted with my brother had he been in his place. But, to acquit myself of all suspicion of this sort, I shall observe that there never was the least disagreement between Mr. Walker and myself, either in words or actions before he left the Service, (which he did with my knowledge,) since which I have never seen him at this place, until he came up in December to settle his accompts: nor did I hear from him in all that time but once, when he informed me it was his intention to resign.
If your Honor thinks it proper to send Capt. McNeill (whom I also esteem a very sensible judicious Officer) home with the Catawba Indians, you will please to send for him: He must be at Winchester by this time, Capt. Spotswood having had charge of them to Williamsburgh only. When I left Winchester, I gave directions about carrying on the works at Fort Cumberland with all possible dispatch. But a letter from Capt. Mercer which accompanied your Honor’s, informs me, that they are at a loss in respect of the manner of making the Ambrazures through the parapet; although I gave directions in person before I came away on this head; they propose a method that will spoil the whole work. And as I could not make them sensible of my plan by instruction only when present, I have little hope of accomplishing it by writing—consequently am reduced to a disagreeable dilemma!
I have directed the provision on the Branch to be smoked, if there are conveniences for doing it.
No more forts were evacuated than were requisite to reinforce this Garrison with 100 men, and to continue 100 at Fort Loudoun, according to order. The others are continued at their former posts, as may be seen by the return of our strength, which I have caused to be noted. A Return of the Indians was sent in my last. I am &c.
TO THE EARL OF LOUDOUN.
The posture of affairs in this quarter is really melancholy, and the prospect was rendered more gloomy while there appeared no hopes of amendment; but, from the presence of your Lordship at this time in the Dominion, we conceive hopes of seeing these threatening clouds dispelled.
The sums of money, my Lord, which have been granted by this colony to carry on war, have been very considerable; and to reflect to what little purpose is matter of great concern, and will seem surprising to those, who are not acquainted with the causes, and the confusion with which all our affairs have hitherto been conducted, owing to our having no fixed object, or pursuing any regular system, or plan of operation.
As I have studied with attention and care the nature of the service in which we are engaged, have been engaged therein from the beginning of the present broils, and have been an eyewitness to all the movements and various proceedings, I beg leave to offer a concise and candid account of our circumstances to your Lordship; from which many errors may be discovered, that merit redress in a very high degree.
It was not until it was too late, we discovered that the French were on the Ohio; or rather, that we could be persuaded they came there with a design to invade his Majesty’s dominions. Nay, after I was sent out in December, 1753, and brought undoubted testimony even from themselves of their avowed design, it was yet thought a fiction, and a scheme to promote the interest of a private company, even by some who had a share in the government. These unfavorable surmises caused great delay in raising the first men and money, and gave the active enemy time to take possession of the Fork of Ohio (which they now call Duquesne), before we were in sufficient strength to advance thither, which has been the chief source of all our past and present misfortunes. For by this means, (the French getting between us and our Indian allies,) they fixed those in their interests, who were wavering, and obliged the others to neutrality, ’till the unhappy defeat of his (late) Excellency General Braddock.
The troops under Colonel Dunbar going into quarters in July, and the inactivity of the neighbouring colonies, and the incapacity of this, conspired to give the French great room to exult, and the Indians little reason to expect a vigorous offensive war on our side, and induced the other, which promised the greatest show of protection. This is an undeniable fact, and that all of the Indians did not forsake the English interest, ’till three months after the battle of Monongahela, but actually waited to see what measures would be concerted to regain our losses, and afford them the protection we had but too liberally promised.
Virginia, it is true, was not inactive all this time: On the contrary, voted a handsome supply for raising men to carry on the war, or, more properly, to defend herself; matters being reduced to this extremity for want of assistance. But even in this she signally failed, arising, I apprehend, from the following causes:
The men first levied to repel the enemy marched for Ohio the beginning of April, 1754, without tents, without clothes, in short, without any conveniences to shelter them, (in that remarkably cold and wet season,) from the inclemency of the weather, or to make the service tolerably agreeable. In this state did they, notwithstanding, continue, till the battle of the Meadows, in July following, never receiving in all that space any subsistence; and were very often under the greatest straits and difficulties for want of provisions.
These things were productive of great murmurings and discontent, and rendered the service so distasteful to the men, that, not being paid immediately upon coming in, they thought themselves bubbled, and that no reward for their services was ever intended. This caused great desertion; and the deserters, spreading over the country, recounting their sufferings and want of pay, (which rags and poverty sufficiently testified,) fixed in the mind of the populace such horrid impressions of the hardships they had encountered, that no arguments could remove these prejudices, or facilitate the recruiting service.
This put the Assembly upon enacting a law to impress vagrants, which added to our difficulties, for, compelling these abandoned miscreants into the service, they embraced every opportunity to effect their escape, gave a loose to their vicious principles, and invented the most unheard-of stories to palliate desertion and gain compassion; in which they not only succeeded, but obtained protection also. So that it was next to impossible, after this, to apprehend deserters, while the civil officers rather connived at their escape, than aided in securing them.
Thus were affairs situated, when we were ordered, in September, 1755, to recruit our force to twelve hundred men. ’T is easy therefore to conceive, under these circumstances, why we did not fulfil the order, especially when the officers were not sufficiently allowed for this arduous task. We continued, however, using our endeavours until March following, without much success.
The Assembly, meeting about that time, came to a resolution of augmenting our numbers to fifteen hundred men, by drafting the militia, (who were to continue in the service until December only,) and by a clause in the act exempting all those, who should pay ten pounds, our numbers were very little increased, one part of the people paying that sum, and many of the poorer sort absconding. This was not the only pernicious clause, for the funds arising from these forfeitures were thrown into the treasury; whereas, had they been deposited in proper hands for recruiting, the money might have turned to good account. But a greater grievance than either of these was restraining the forces from marching out of the colony, or acting offensively, and ordering them to build forts, and garrison them, along our frontiers (of more than three hundred miles in extent.) How equal they or any like number are to the task, and how repugnant a defensive plan is to the true interest and welfare of the colony, I submit to any judge to determine who will consider the following particulars.
First, that erecting forts at greater distances than fifteen or eighteen miles, or a day’s march asunder, and garrisoning them with less than eighty or a hundred men, is not answering the intention; because, if they are at a greater distance from each other, it is inconvenient for the soldiers to scout between, and it gives the enemy full scope to make their incursions without being discovered, until they have fallen on the inhabitants and committed a ravage. And, after they are discovered, the time required in assembling troops from forts more distant, prevents a pursuit being made in time, and allows the enemy to escape without danger into a country so mountainous, and full of swamps [and] hollow ways covered with woods. Then, to garrison them with less than eighty or a hundred men, the number is too small to afford detachments, but what are very liable to be cut off by the enemy, whose numbers in this close country can scarcely be known till they are proved. Indian parties are generally intermixed with some Frenchmen, and are so dexterous at skulking, that their spies, lying about these small forts for some days and taking a prisoner, make certain discoveries of the strength of the garrison; and then, upon observing a scouting party coming out, will first cut it off, and afterwards attempt the fort. Instances of this have lately happened.
Secondly, our frontiers are of such extent, that if the enemy were to make a formidable attack on one side, before the troops on the other could get to their assistance, they might overrun the country; and it is not improbable, if they had a design upon one part, they would make a feint upon the other.
Thirdly, what it must cost the country to build these forts, and to remove stores and provisions into them; and
Fourthly, and lastly where and when this expense will end? For we may be assured, if we do not endeavour to remove the cause, we shall be as liable to the same incursions seven years hence as now; indeed more so. Because, if the French are allowed to possess those lands in peace, they will have the entire command of the Indians, and grow stronger in their alliance; while we, by our defensive schemes and pusillanimous behaviour, will exhaust our treasury, reduce our strength, and become the contempt of these savage nations, who are every day enriching themselves with the plunder and spoils of our people.
It will evidently appear from the whole tenor of my conduct, but more especially from reiterated representations, how strongly I have urged the Governor and Assembly to pursue different measures, and to convince them, by all the reasonings I was capable of offering, of the impossibility of covering so extensive a frontier from Indian incursions, without more force than Virginia can maintain. I have endeavoured to demonstrate, that it would require fewer men to remove the cause, than to prevent the effects, while the cause subsists. This, notwithstanding, as I before observed, was the measure adopted, and the plan under which we have acted for eight months past, with the disagreeable reflection of doing no essential service to our country, nor gaining honor to ourselves, or reputation to our regiment. However, under these disadvantageous restraints I must beg leave to say, that the regiment has not been inactive; on the contrary, it has performed a vast deal of work, and has been very alert in defending the people, which will appear by observing, that, notwithstanding we are more contiguous to the French and their Indian allies, and more exposed to their frequent incursions, than any of the neighbouring colonies, we have not lost half the inhabitants, which others have done, but considerably more soldiers in their defence. For in the course of this campaign, since March, I mean, (as we have had but one constant compaign, and continued scene of action, since we first entered the service), our troops have been engaged in upwards of twenty skirmishes, and we have had near a hundred men killed and wounded—from a small regiment dispersed over the country, and acting upon the defensive, as ours is by order. This, I conceive, will not appear inconsiderable to those, who are in the least degree acquainted with the nature of this service, and the posture of our affairs; however it may seem to chimney-corner politicians, who are thirsting for news, and expecting by every express to hear in what manner Fort Duquesne was taken, and the garrison led away captive by our small numbers; altho’ we are restrained from making the attempt, were our hopes of success ever so rational!
The next things, I shall beg leave to mention, are our military laws and regulations.
The first men raised, if I rightly remember, were under no law; if any, the military1 law, which was next of kin to it. But under this we remained a short time, and, instilling notions into the soldiers, who knew no better, that they were governed by the articles of war, we felt little inconveniences; and the next campaign we were joined by the regulars, and made subject to their laws. After the regulars left us, the Assembly, as I before mentioned, passed an act in September following to raise twelve hundred men, and, in order (I suppose) to improve upon the act of Parliament, prepared a military code of their own, but such a one as no military discipline could be preserved by while it existed. This being represented by the most pressing and repeated remonstrances, induced the Assembly to pass a bill in October following, for one year only, making mutiny and desertion death, but took no cognizance of many other crimes, equally punishable by act of Parliament. So that no officer, or soldier, accused of cowardice, holding correspondence with the enemy, quitting a post, or sleeping upon it, and many other crimes of a capital dye, or pernicious tendency, could be legally tried. Neither was there any provision made for quartering or billeting of soldiers, impressing wagons, &c., &c.
But that which contributed the most towards rendering this law inconvenient and absurd, and at the same time to demonstrate that the Assembly fully intended to prevent any enterprise of their troops out of the colony, was a clause forbidding any courtsmartial to sit out of it; by which means all proceedings held at Fort Cumberland (in Maryland) were illegal, and we were obliged to remove to Virginia for trial of offenders, or act contrary to law, and be open to prosecution. How then were we to behave upon a march perhaps fifty, eighty, or a hundred miles distant? These circumstances concurring to render the law ineffectual, induced me again to recommend an amendment, which I did with all the force and energy of argument I was master of. But no regard has hitherto been paid to my remonstrances. To what cause it is owing, I know not, unless to short sittings and hurry of business; for I can conceive of no reason upon earth, why the Assembly should be against instituting rules for the regulation of their forces, which long experience in established armies has fully evinced the necessity of. But, to cut short the account, we are under no government at all, to speak properly. Indeed, there is a jumble of laws that have little meaning or design in them, but to conspire to make the command intricate, precarious in supporting authority, and not to offend the civil powers, who, [are] tenacious of liberty, and prone to censure and condemn all proceedings not strictly lawful, not considering what cases may arise to render them necessary.
Another grievance, which this act subjects us to, is the method prescribed to pay for deserters. Many of our deserters are apprehended in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and, for the sake of reward, are brought to the regiment; instead thereof they receive certificate only, that they are entitled to two hundred weight of tobacco. This certificate is to be given into a Court of Claims, they refer it to the Assembly; and there it may lie perhaps two or three years before it is paid. This causes great dissatisfaction, and the ill-disposed to aid, rather than prevent, the escape of soldiers.
No regular provision is established for the maimed and wounded, which is a discouraging reflection, and grievously complained of. The soldiers justly observe, that the result of bravery is often a broken leg, arm, or incurable wound; and when they are disabled, and no longer fit for service, they are discharged, and reduced to the necessity of begging from door to door, or perish thro’ indigence. It is true, no instance of this kind hath yet appeared; on the contrary, the Assembly have dealt generously by those unfortunate soldiers, who have met with this fate. But then, this provision is not established, nor in any wise compulsory, and a man may suffer in the interval of their sitting.
After giving this short and genuine account of our military laws, and then observing that these laws are expired, I conceive there need but few arguments to prove the difficulty of keeping soldiers under proper discipline, who know they are not (legally) punishable for the most atrocious crimes. When this happens to be the case, as it is ours at present, how is it to be wondered at, if mutiny, desertion, and all other irregularities should creep into the camp, or garrison, more especially if we consider that hard duty, want of clothes and almost every necessary that renders a soldier’s life comfortable and easy, are strong incentives,—and, to go further, when these in themselves intolerable grievances are set to view in the most glaring point of light by a person, who, lost to all sense of honor and virtue, (and building, I am sorry to say, upon a proclamation inviting the deserters from the Virginia Regiment to enlist into the Royal American Regiment,) hath made use of every artifice to represent the fatigues and hardships of this service, and the ease and conveniences of the other, to seduce them from their duty?
Want of clothing may be esteemed another principal grievance, which our soldiers have labored under. In the first twelve months of their service they received no clothing; but in March, 1754, they were presented each with a suit made of thin, sleazy cloth without lining, and flannel waistcoats of an inferior sort. After that no others were sent for (and two pence stoppages drawn from every man’s pay, recruits not excepted,) until repeated complaints and remonstrances from me, enforced in June last by a representation of many gentlemen of the Assembly, (who had formed an association, and saw the disagreeable situation of the soldiers,) induced the Committee, to whom those addresses were presented, to send for clothing, &c. These were to have been here by the middle of October, but no advice is received of them yet, which gives the soldiers some pretence to suspect they are deceived. And it is owing to this irregular pay, and the causes aforementioned, that their late disobedience ought to be ascribed. For I can truly say, and confidently assert, that no soldiers ever were under better command than these were before.
Perhaps it may be asked, by gentlemen not thoroughly acquainted with the nature of our service, why the officers do not see that their men’s pay is more properly applied? In answer I must beg leave to observe, that, after the soldiers have appropriated a part for purchasing reasonable and fit necessaries, the remainder is barely sufficient to keep them in shoes, owing, in the first place, to the very great consumption the service occasions, and, in the next, to the exorbitant price, which this article bears. I have known a soldier go upon command with a new pair of shoes, which shoes perhaps have stood from seven shillings and sixpence to ten shillings, and return back without any; so much do they wear in wading creeks, fording rivers, clambering mountains covered with rocks, &c.
As great a grievance as any I have mentioned is yet unnoticed, i. e., the militia under their present regulation. A representation of this matter comes better and more properly from others; yet my zeal for the service and my interest in the welfare of my country, have influenced me to touch slightly on some things relative to their conduct, as I cannot enter deeply into the causes that produce them.
The difficulties and delays in collecting the militia in time of danger, are so prejudicial, that the enemy has every opportunity to plunder, kill, scalp, and escape, before they appear. The want of orders, regularity and obedience prevents any good effects which their assistance and force might otherwise have. For every petty person must assume command, direct and advise (and must be caressed) or otherwise takes huff, thinks his wisdom and merit slighted, and makes off in high indignation and contempt of the laws.
The expence of supporting them is, make the best of it, burthensome; but where there are instances of a captain, Lieutenant and ensign going upon duty (together with two or three sergeants and six or eight men) at a time, the disproportion of officers and men is so remarkable as to need no other proof of the injustice.
Their waste of provisions is unaccountable, following no method in serving a certain quota to each man. Mention a stated allowance, and you offer an affront; and they would rather starve than carry provisions on their backs as other soldiers do. But heedless and prodigal, they regale on the best, without regarding expence or the oppression they spread to gratify their humor.
When they come into service it is with the utmost difficulty they are prevailed upon to take measures for self-defence, much less for the protection of the inhabitants; But indolent and careless, and always unguarded, are liable to be surprized. By this means Voss’s fort was taken (and the garrison destroyed), and Dickinson’s was on the point of sharing the same fate!
To set forth all the reasons that can contribute to render the militia of little use, and to point out all the causes which combine to make our service infinitely hard and disagreeable, would swell these observations into a volume, and require time, and a more able pen than mine. But there are yet some things that require to be spoken of—the ill-judged economy that is shown in raising of men. We are either insensible of danger, till it breaks upon our heads, or else, thro’ mistaken notions of economy, evade the expence, till the blow is struck, and then run into an extreme of raising militia. These, after an age, as it were, is spent in assembling them, come up, make a noise for a time, oppress the inhabitants, and then return, leaving the frontiers unguarded as before. And this plan is pursued, notwithstanding former experience convinces us, if reason did not, that the French and Indians are watching their opportunity, when we are lulled into fatal security, unprepared to resist an attack, to muster their forces to invade the country, and by ravaging one part terrify another, and then retreat when our militia assemble, repeating the stroke as soon as they are dispersed, sending down parties in the intermedium to discover our motions, procure intelligence, and sometimes to divert our troops. Such an invasion we may expect in March, if measures to prevent it are neglected, as they hitherto have been.
The want of tools occasions insurmountable difficulties in carrying on our works, either offensive or defensive. Cartridge-paper is an article not to be met with in Virginia. And now, before I sum up the whole, I must beg leave to add, my unwearied endeavours are inadequately rewarded. The orders I receive are full of ambiguity. I am left, like a wanderer in a wilderness, to proceed at hazard. I am answerable for consequences, and blamed, without the privilege of defence. This, my Lord, I beg leave to declare to your Lordship, is at present my situation. Therefore, it is not to be wondered at, if, under such peculiar circumstances, I should be sicken’d in a service, which promises so little of a soldier’s reward. I have long been satisfied of the impossibility of continuing in this service, without loss of honor. Indeed, I was fully convinced of it before I accepted the command the second time, (seeing the cloudy prospect that stood before me;) and did for this reason reject the offer, (until I was ashamed any longer to refuse,) not caring to expose my character to public censure. But the solicitations of the country overcame my objections, and induced me to accept it.
Another reason of late has continued me in the service until now, and that is, the dawn of hope that arose, when I heard your Lordship was destined by his Majesty for the important command of his armies in America, and appointed to the government of his dominion of Virginia. Hence it was, that I drew my hopes, and fondly pronounced your Lordship our patron. Altho’ I had not the honor to be known to your Lordship, your Lordship’s name was familiar to my ear, on account of the important services performed to his Majesty in other parts of the world. Do not think, my Lord, that I am going to flatter; notwithstanding I have exalted sentiments of your Lordship’s character and respect your rank, it is not my intention to adulate. My nature is open and honest and free from guile!
We have, my Lord, ever since our defeat at the Meadows, and behaviour under his Excellency General Braddock, been tantalized, nay, bid to expect most sanguinely a better establishment, and have waited in tedious expectation of seeing this accomplished. The Assembly, it is true, have, I believe, done every thing in their power to bring this about; first, by soliciting his Honor, the Lieutenant-Governor, to address his Majesty; and next, by addressing his Majesty themselves in favor of their regiment. What success these addresses have met with, I am yet a stranger to.
With regard to myself, I cannot forbear adding, that, had his Excellency General Braddock survived his unfortunate defeat, I should have met with preferment agreeable to my wishes. I had his promise to that purpose, and I believe that gentleman was too sincere and generous to make unmeaning offers, where no favors were asked. General Shirley was not unkind in his promises, but he has gone to England. I do not know, my Lord, in what light this short and disinterested relation may be received by your Lordship; but with the utmost candor and submission it is offered. It contains no misrepresentations, nor aggravated relation of facts, nor unjust reflections.
Virginia is a country young in war, and, till the breaking out of these disturbances, has remained in the most profound and tranquil peace, never studying war nor warfare. It is not, therefore, to be imagined, that she can fall into proper measures at once. All that can be expected at her hands she cheerfully offers,—the sinews of war,—and these only want your Lordship’s ability and experience to be properly applied and directed.
It is for this reason I have presumed to lay this information before your Lordship, that, if there be any thing in it which appears worthy of redress, and your Lordship will condescend to point out the way it may be obtained.
And now, my Lord, how to apologize to your Lordship, for assuming a freedom, which must (at any rate) give you trouble, I know not, unless an affectionate zeal to serve my country, steady attachment to her interests, the honor of arms, and crying grievances she is struggling under, will plead an excuse, till I am so happy as to have an opportunity of testifying in person how much I admire your Lordship’s character, and with what profound respect I have the honor to be, &c.1
TO RICHARD WASHINGTON, MERCHANT, LONDON.
Fort Loudoun, 15 April, 1757.
After so long silence it may be expected, I should introduce this letter with an apology for my seeming neglect. It is necessary to urge something in my defence, I own, Sir, that I may satisfy you it proceeds from a very different cause than the want of inclination, and what can be so proper as the truth?
I have been posted, then, for twenty months past upon our cold and barren frontiers, to perform, I think I may say, impossibilities; that is, to protect from the cruel incursions of a crafty, savage enemy a line of inhabitants, of more than three hundred and fifty miles in extent, with a force inadequate to the task. By this means I am become in a manner an exile, and seldom informed of those opportunities, which I might otherwise embrace, of corresponding with my friends.
Experience has convinced every thinking man in this colony, that we must bid adieu to peace and safety whilst the French are allowed to possess the Ohio, and to practise their hellish arts among the numerous tribes of Indian nations that inhabit those regions. They are also convinced that it must be attended with an expense infinitely greater to defend our possessions, (as they ought to be defended) against the skulking enemy, than to remove the cause of our groundless fears, in the reduction of the place Fort Duquesne I mean. Yet, from what strange causes I know not, no attempt this season will be made, I fear, to destroy this hold of barbarians, for they deserve no better name, who have become a terror to three populous colonies. Virginia may justly say, that she was always willing to furnish her full proportion of men and money for this desirable end; and, I think I can venture to affirm, that there never was, and verily I believe never will be, a more favorable time than the present for an enterprise of this kind, while the enemy’s troops are doubtless drawn off to the northward, to defend themselves at home against the more formidable attacks of Lord Loudoun.
I have now to add, that I am so little acquainted with the business relative to my private affairs, that I can scarce give you any information concerning it. I know that I ought to have some tobacco, and that it ought to be shipped. I have begged the favor of Colo. Carlyle on Potomack, and Fielding Lewis, Esqr., on Rappahannock, to do this for me, and I desired them to write you in my behalf, and draw for sundry things, which I am in want of; but whether any part or all of this is done, I know not. I shall, therefore, desire these two things of you; first, that you may put yourself to no real inconvenience in providing goods to a greater amount than my remittances will fetch, because I by no means intended to be troublesome, when I solicited your correspondence; and, secondly, that whatever goods you may send me, where the prices are not absolutely limited, you will let them be fashionable, neat, and good in their several kinds. Enclosed is a list of sundries, which I should be glad to receive agreeably to those directions. I am, &c.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Fort Cumberland, 16 April, 1757.
Your letter by express, of the 5th instant, I fear has fallen into the hands of the common enemy, for I never have seen it. The other of the 7th I this day received; and being exceedingly embarrassed to come to your Honor’s intentions, and really at a loss to know in what manner to act, in such perplexed and difficult circumstances, I called a council of officers to my aid. The result of their advice you will find in the enclosed.1
It will not be in my power to be in Williamsburg by the 22d, as your Honor desires; but as soon after as I can, I certainly will. I shall leave orders with Colonel Stephen to march this garrison to Fort Loudoun, as soon as it is relieved, which cannot be before this express may return, and then your Honor’s further orders may be received. We have no advice of Dagworthy’s marching, tho orders were sent to him.
I shall order all the country’s stores to be carried to Fort Loudoun, and the two companies on Patterson’s Creek to be posted on the Branch, to complete the number that was designed for that place. I have ordered a particular return of the provisions to be made out, and Colonel Stephen to take Captain Dagworthy’s receipt for the quantity left.
We have been at a good deal of unavoidable expense and trouble to furnish the Indians with such things as they wanted. Some enemy Indians killed two Catawbas on Thursday last, at about one hundred and fifty yards from the fort, and seventy from a sentry, and made their escape, tho pursued by other Catawbas and near two hundred men.1 And the day before yesterday, two soldiers were killed and a third taken prisoner, as they were coming to this place from the fort below. The rest of the party, being ten in number, with Captain Waggener among them, made their escape.
The enclosed remonstrance I received just now and think it expedient to send it to your Honor, that you may know the temper and disposition of the troops. As I expect to be with your Honor in two or three days after the express, I think it needless to add any thing but an apology for the incoherence of this letter. The Indians are all around teazing and perplexing me for one thing or another, so that I scarce know what I write. I have the honor, &c.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Williamsburgh, Friday morning, 29th April, 1757.
I make use of this as a less troublesome, the most effectual, and (I think), most expeditious method of recommending certain matters relative to the Regiment, &c., to your Honor’s notice. And to begin:
The act of Assembly which subjected the Virginia troops to Martial law, is now expired; and when in force, was altogether ineffectual for the purpose. It is I think quite obvious, that we can prepare no Law more fit than that provided by Act of Parliament, as a military code for the government of our Troops.
We now have, and are likely to get a goodly number of Indians. I would therefore humbly recommend, that a judicious person acquainted with their customs, be appointed to the care of them: To conduct them agreeably to your Honor’s direction, or to the orders which he may receive from the Commanding Officer—To make it his business to see that they are well supplied with provisions and commit no waste of them. To provide them with such necessaries as they may stand in need of, and are allowed by the country. To keep regular accompts of all expenses occurring, &c.
It cannot be supposed that this duty (which will fully employ, to execute [as] it shou’d be, the time of any one person,) ought to fall upon the Commanding Officer; whose other engagements will render it absolutely impossible for him to pay so much attention to it, as the service requires. And if they are neglected the consequences will be bad. The paying a person for this extraordinary duty, will, in the end, be an advantage to the Country. A good many goods should be provided for this purpose, and that immediately.
There are many Masters of Servants yet unpaid, who are very anxious to receive their valuation. I shou’d be glad if there cou’d be a way pointed out to do it, as the owners look to me for the money.
The choice of good men to complete the Regiment is really a matter of great importance.
We received (because necessity obliged us) many Drafts last year, who were unfit for any sort of Duty and who were rather an expense than service to the Country. The Officers hearing that their numbers are to be reduced, are very desirous of knowing who are to go out.
Some other method to pay for Deserters besides that prescribed by act of Assembly, is absolutely necessary. It is also necessary that some expedient should be used to bring the commonalty acquainted with the consequences of harbouring and buying clothes and arms from Deserters, &c.
Not to confine the troops to our own frontiers and defensive measures only. By this means we put it into the power of the enemy, to use advantages as they offer. Last year we could not, without transgressing the Law, move out of the Colony.
Paying Soldiers in small bills is an intolerable grievance. It wou’d add to the credit of the Service and be a strong inducement for numbers to enlist—were the Assembly to make some regular provision for the maimed and wounded Soldiers, who shall be disabled in the Country service. It is an uncertain tedious and expensive way for each individual, after he is rendered unfit to serve, to come down and petition the Assembly for subsistence.
The Commissary’s Office has for a long time, been under very bad direction thro’ Mr. Walker’s uncertainty of continuing. It wants much to be regulated.
The Garrison which, by the Council at Philadelphia, is to be fixed at Enochs’s plantation, in order to secure a communication with Fort Cumberland—will be a manifest disadvantage to the Country; as it can answer no other purpose, and will be attended with the ill consequence of leaving exposed the old road to Fort Cumberland; which also is the road to our Settlers on the South-Branch, betwixt whom and the Inhabitants about Fort Loudoun, are not any persons living, save those at the Forts, which we have built, and garrisoned for securing the said communication. Were the men who are appointed to Enochs’s divided, and one part put at Edwards’s, and the other (which shou’d be the largest) at Pearsalls; it wou’d be of infinitely more service to Virginia, and still keep open a communication with Fort Cumberland: But not in so direct a course; nor could the road this way, pass by the Fort at Cresaps.
When my opinion was asked concerning a place to build on between Fort Loudoun and that at Cresaps, I was obliged to say Enochs’s, because there was no other place more suitable than Enochs’s on that road; and to that road I was confined. But, at the same time, I mentioned the other road as answering the two ends of securing the communication with Fort Cumberland and the inhabitants of the Branch. And asked Lord Loudoun in a particular manner, whether the Troops were to be confined to the places specified? His answer was “no, because” (says he) “that might defeat our intentions. The places now fixed upon are only nominated as passes which appear to be of the most importance; but the Troops will be removed to this place or that as occasion may require”—which was my motive for saying no more on the disadvantages that might arise from building a garrison at Enochs’s. A full and discretionary power being thereby left in the commanding officer to post them here or there, as the good of the service, and change of circumstances, in his judgment might require, I therefore beg leave to offer this matter to your Honor’s consideration, in time; as it may and doubtless will be attended with very bad consequences to this Colony, to secure the direct road that leads to Fort Cumberland only; and neglect the security of the other which is now become of much more comparative importance to the Settlers.
I also beg leave to observe here that the Fort at the Upper Tract, notwithstanding it is more in the Indian pass of the mountains, is too high up; since numbers of the inhabitants from those parts, if I am rightly informed, are lately down about Harness’s, and a place called Butter-Milk-Fort; which renders it necessary to place the troops—or at least a principal part of them, there also; to protect the Inhabitants in sowing and gathering their Crops, &c.
It is a hardship upon the Regiment I think, to be denied a Chaplain.
Establishing the militia upon a good footing is a matter of very great moment. Under this present regulation they are of very little Service, upon any emergency—and very expensive! The rates of Soldiers diet when marching thro’ the Country, or upon recruiting parties, ought to be settled. As also the Bounty-money allowed the Officers to recruit with; in case the Country compleats the Regiment by Enlistment. The Officers complain heavily of their losses in the recruiting service. Their allowance is much inferior to that of the British Officers; while their duty and fatigue are equally hard—if not more so.
I doubt not but your Honor will, when you settle with Governor Sharpe, about the provisions, at Fort Cumberland consider that the carriage of them up, &c., should be added to the first cost—If we only receive the like quantity at Fort Loudoun, the Country will sustain a considerable loss; as the carriage, &c., is almost if not quite as much as the first cost of the provisions.
I have, in the preceding pages mentioned every thing that occurs to me relative to the service in general—and must now beg leave to know, as there are new regulations making in respect to the strength and establishment of the Regiment, upon what terms your Honor purposes to continue me, and what may be my certain Dependence?
The Speaker informs me that the Country Committee have determined no longer to be concerned in disposing of the public money; nor have any thing more to do with settling accompts, &c., and that the House have committed or intend to commit the care of it to your Honor’s management. The Speaker farther informs me, that he has made your Honor acquainted with the allowance the country have made me, vizt., 30/ per day, pay, and two per cent commissions for examining, settling and paying off accompts; and that you seemed to think it high. I flatter myself Sir, that your Honor will not differ in opinion from the whole country in this particular. For the Committee first gave it, and the Assembly afterwards allowed it as a recompense for my services & the extraordinary trouble and confinement I shou’d meet with in the prosecution of such complicated duties, as the nature of this service wou’d oblige me to engage in. I also hope, that your Honor will not, after the repeated assurances given of your good inclination to better my Command, render it worse by taking away the only perquisite I have; and the only thing that enables me to support the expence which unavoidably attends my Table and removing about from place to place on our frontiers where every kind of necessaries is accompanied with incredible expence, from the distresses which exist there.1
TO JOHN ROBINSON, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF BURGESSES.
Fort Loudoun, 30 May, 1757.1
We receive fresh proofs every day of the bad direction of our Indian affairs. It is not easy to tell what expenses have arisen on account of these Indians, how dissatisfied they are, and how gloomy the prospect of pleasing them appears, while we pursue our present system of management.
I therefore beg leave to propose a plan, which I know is exactly agreeable to the French policy, and which may, if properly executed, be a means of retrieving our lost credit with this people, and prove of infinite advantage to the country. The French, Sir, have a proper person appointed to the direction of these affairs, who makes it his sole business to study their dispositions, and the art of pleasing them. This person is invested with power to treat with and reward them for every piece of service, and, by timely presents on suitable occasions, obtain very great advantages. There is always a store of goods committed to his care to answer these purposes, and no other person is suffered to meddle with it; by which means the whole business is thrown into one channel, and it thereby becomes easy and regular. Whereas, with us it is every body’s business, and no one’s, to supply. Every person attempts to please, and few succeed in it, because one promises this, and another that, and few can perform any thing, but are obliged to shuffle and put them off, to get rid of their importunities.
Hence they accuse us of perfidy and deceit! I could recapitulate a great number of their reproachful complaints, if I judged it necessary to confirm what I have already advanced. But I believe, Sir, you are convinced from what you have seen, that there can be no deception in my story. Therefore, I shall endeavor to remark with candor, freedom, and submission, that, unless some person is appointed to manage the Indian affairs of this colony, under the direction of the Governor, or the southern agent, a vast expense and but little advantage will accrue from the coming of those Indians among us. And I know of no person so well qualified for an undertaking of this sort as the bearer, Captain Gist.1 He has had extensive dealings with the Indians, is in great esteem among them, well acquainted with their manners and customs, is indefatigable, and patient,—most excellent qualities indeed where Indians are concerned. And for his capacity, honesty, and zeal, I dare venture to engage. If he should be appointed to this duty, or, if this plan should take effect, I dare say you will judge it advisable to send for a large assortment of those species of goods which are the most likely to carry on the abovementioned business.1
Bullen, a Catawba warrior, has been proposing a plan to Captain Gist for bringing in the Creek and Chickasaw2 Indians. If such a scheme as this can be effected by the time we shall march for Fort Duquesne, it would be a glorious undertaking, and worthy the man. I am, &c.
TO JOHN ROBINSON.
Fort Loudoun, 10 June, 1757.
A person of a readier pen, and having more time, than myself, might amuse you with the vicissitudes, which have happened in the Indian affairs since Mr. Atkin came up. I acknowledge my incompetency, and therefore shall only observe, that the Indians have been pleased and displeased oftener than they ought to have been; and that they are gone off (that party under Warhatche,1 I mean,) in different ways, and with far different views; one company southwardly to their nation; and another northwardly to treat with the Pennsylvanians, contrary to the sentiments of Mr. Atkin, who has, I believe, sent to forbid any conference to be held with them.2
Major Lewis is returned with part of the Indians, that went out with him, in consequence of their having taken only eight days’ provisions with them. He was unable to prevail with those savages to take more. One party of twenty, with ten soldiers, is gone towards Fort Duquesne, under Captain Spotswood; and another party of fifteen, with five soldiers, under Lieutenant Baker, but they course towards Logstown. God send them success and a safe return, I pray.
Unless you will interest yourself in sending money to me to discharge the public debts, I must inevitably suffer very considerably, as the country people all think me pledged to them, let what will happen. They are grown very clamorous, and will be more than ever incensed if there should come an inadequate sum, and that sum be appropriated to the payment of the soldiers.
I am convinced it would give pleasure to the Governor to hear that I was involved in trouble, however undeservedly, such are his dispositions toward me.
I should be glad to know whether Capt. Mercer received any money from the public while he was down; and if he did, on what account. If he did not, I would be glad you would pay none, until you hear further from me, altho’ he may have drawn orders. ’Tis on the account of the public I desire this.1
TO COLONEL STANWIX.1
Fort Loudoun, 15 June, 1757.
I have the pleasure to inform you that a scouting party, consisting of 5 soldiers and 15 Cherokee Indians, that were sent out the 20 ultimo towards the Ohio, under Lieutenant Baker, returned the 8th instant to Fort Cumberland with 5 scalps, and a French officer, prisoner, having killed two other officers of the same party.2 Mr. Baker met with this party vizt., ten French, three officers on the head of Turtle Creek, twenty miles distance from Fort Duquesne, (the day after they had parted with 50 Shawanese Indians returning from the war,) and would have killed and made prisoners of them all, had it not been for the death of the Indian chief, who being killed prevented his men from pursuing them. The name of the officer taken, according to his own account, is Velistre; and of those killed, Lasosais and St. Oure; all ensigns.
The commandant at Duquesne and its dependencies is Delignery, a knight of the military order of St. Louis, and captain of a company of detached troops from the marine. This officer likewise says, that the garrison at Fort Duquesne consists of six hundred French and two hundred Indians. I believe he is a Gasconian. We sustained on our side the loss of the brave Swallow warrior,1 and one other Indian was wounded, and brought in upon a bier, near 100 miles by the party, who had nothing to live upon for the four last days but wild onions. Mr. Atkin (who is now here) and I shall use our endeavours to have the French prisoner brought to this place.
Captain Spotswood, with 10 soldiers and 20 Indians, who went out at the same time with, but to a different place, from Lieut. Baker is not yet come in, nor any news of him; which makes me uneasy.
Our Assembly have granted a further sum of eighty thousand pounds for the service of the ensuing year, and have agreed, (I believe,) to complete their regiment of this colony to 1200 men, besides three companies of rangers, of 100 each. Our strength, since the detachment to Carolina has embarked, is reduced to 420 rank and file only and these much weakened, by the number of posts we hold. Governor Dinwiddie is apprehensive, that he shall not be able to provide arms for all these men, and desired me to advise with you thereupon.
If it is not too troublesome I should [be glad] to be informed what proportion of bat-men there is allowed to a company of 4 officers and 100 men, in the Royal American battalions? or rather, the allowance to each officer, beginning with the colonel? And how these bat-men are clothed, paid and victualled, and by whom? Whether the officers have any allowance made them for their servants, and if the officers in garrison receive provisions as soldiers or an allowance in lieu of it, and how much to each? Also, if the officers in their battalions provide bat-horses at their own expense, or have their baggage transported at the King’s? Whether any forage-money is allowed them, and what other allowances they have made to them? Should also be glad to know what proportion of women is allowed to a company.1
It is wrong, I must confess Sir, to trouble you in this manner; but I have particular reasons for asking these questions, and getting them answered by authority, and none unwarrantable.
Duty and inclination equally induce me to communicate all remarkable occurrences to you, and shall be punctual in doing so.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Fort Loudoun, 16 June, 1757.
This instant the enclosed letters came to my hands. I have not lost a moment’s time in transmitting them to you, as I look upon the intelligence to be of the utmost importance. If the enemy are coming down in such numbers, and with such a train of artillery, as we are bid to expect, Fort Cumberland must inevitably fall into their hands, as no timely efforts can be made to relieve the garrison. I send you a copy of a council of war held upon this occasion. The advice I intend to pursue, and until I shall receive orders how to conduct myself. It is morally certain, that the next object, which the French have in view, is Fort Loudoun, and that is yet in a very untenable posture. They have no roads for carriages into any other province, but thro’ this; and there lies a quantity of stores here, belonging to his Majesty and to this colony, very much exposed and unguarded.
I shall not take up your time, with a tedious detail. You will be a sufficient judge of the present situation of affairs, from those circumstances already related. I have written to the commanding officers of Fairfax, Prince William, and Culpeper counties, (a copy of which letters I enclose your Honor) requesting them to march part of their militia to this place immediately, that no time may be lost. I shall you may be assured, Sir, make the best defence I can, if attacked. I am, &c.
P. S. I have wrote to Colonel Stanwix an account of this affair, and enclosed him copies of the letters and council of war.1
TO COLONEL STANWIX.
Fort Loudoun, 20 June, 1757.1
Yours of the 18th from the camp at Carlisle I received about noon this day, when I was examining (in company with his Majesty’s agent for Indian affairs) the French prisoner brought to this place by Lieutenant Baker and the Cherokee Indian. A copy of this examination I herewith enclose. You will find, Sir, from the tenor of his answers, that a large body of Indians was hourly expected at Fort Duquesne, and that, altho’ there was not (if his intelligence is to be literally credited, and surely it is not) a train of artillery fit for such an expedition; yet this might have been brought by those three hundred men, who arrived there after he left the place.
It is altogether evident, (if the Indian accounts may be relied on,) that the French are bringing howitzers with them for the easier reduction of the place, if they should attack us. For, they say, your guns are but muskets, compared with those the French have with them. Theirs will admit a fawn in the muzzle, while yours will not take in a man’s fist. To any person, in the least degree acquainted with the mountainous country about our settlements, it is clear, that the French can bring artillery along no other road, than that from Fort Duquesne to Fort Cumberland, without spending immense time in mending one. Then I conceive the garrison at Fort Augusta has been very negligent and inactive, not to discover the enemy sooner. On the other hand, we all know that a blazed path in the eyes of an Indian is a large road; for he does not distinguish, between one track and another without a circumspect inquiry, i. e., between a track which will admit of carriages, and a road sufficient for them to march in.
These, Sir, are only my own sentiments, and I submit them to your better judgment for improvement. We very well know, that from Fort Duquesne to Fort Cumberland there is a plain road already made, and bridges also. I shall, however, continue to pursue every means in my power to gain the earliest and best intelligence I can of the approaches of the enemy, and shall transmit it forthwith to you. I have sent Major Lewis of the regiment fifty miles advanced from this, with orders to keep out constant spies for intelligence, and to lose no time in transmitting it to me.
We have received nothing new from Fort Cumberland since the 16th. The Indians, who brought the first news, imagine, that some of Spotswood’s party are yet skulking after and watching for the motions of the enemy. On the contrary, I apprehend they are all cut off; for a man, who left Fort Cumberland the 16th, says, that the woods appear to be quite alive with enemy Indians, who show themselves openly in the day. This is unusual for them to do, unless they are strong. We work on this Fort, both night and day, intending to make it tenable against the worst event. Mr. Croghan, &c. write to you by this express, and will no doubt be more explicit on Indian affairs, than I can pretend to be, and to them I refer.
It would have given me great pleasure, had you been pleased to signify your sentiments on the Revolution having come to this place, that I might act conformably with your orders.
TO COLONEL STANWIX.
21 June, 1757.
Since writing to you by Express, last night, I have received a letter from Capt. Dagworthy (a copy of which I enclose:) and have had an opportunity of examining the Indians, who brought him the last intelligence myself. They unanimously agree, there is a large party of French and Indians marched from Fort Duquesne; but, whether they are destined against the frontiers of Virginia, Maryland or Pennsylvania, or all of these, is yet uncertain. The enemy, however, are without carriages; and by their track (for the Indians did not see more than a party of about 100) pursued them towards Rays-Town. This they would do whether they be coming to either of the above Provinces (without artillery). It is the way they have used altogether of late, in coming to, and returning from us.
I return you my thanks, Sir, for answering my queries; as you took no notice of the arms I asked for, by the Governor’s Order.
N.B. There was a great misapprehension between Capt. Dagworthy and the Indians that first came in. They deny to me, having said that there was a body of the enemy with wheel-carriages, on their march to attack Fort Cumberland. These Indians were not within 30 miles of Fort Duquesne; but nevertheless heard the discharge of the French artillery which they conceive, was fired at the departure of a large body of troops from that place. Capt. Dagworthy might easily have misunderstood these people for want of a good interpreter.1
TO COLONEL STANWIX.
Fort Loudoun, 28 June, 1757.
I have had the pleasure of receiving your two favors both of the 22d instant. We were reinforced, upon the late alarm, by one hundred and seventy militia from the adjacent counties, one half of them unarmed, and the whole without ammunition or provisions.
Had you, Sir, in consequence of Captain Beale’s1 suggestions, ordered me to reinforce Fort Cumberland, with part of my regiment, I should have given you proof of my willingness to obey your commands, in a speedy compliance with them; but since you are so kind as to leave it discretionary in me, I freely confess that I cannot entertain any thoughts of parting with the few soldiers I have to strengthen a place that now seems to be in no actual danger. Nor can I help observing, that I think it a little odd Captain Beale, after having received subsequent notice of the first should intimate that it was reasonable to reinforce Fort Cumberland, at the expense of Virginia, which has a frontier thirty times the extent of Maryland to defend, and that frontier left solely to the protection of her few regular troops.2
I would only ask Capt. Beale which is most eligible: the militia of Maryland (who were also in motion at the same time with those of Virginia) defending whatever stores that province might hold at Ft. Frederick, while the troops in that garrison should march to the other; or, for us to leave the valuable stores which are at this place, belonging to his Majesty and the Colony in an unfinished fort, to the uncertain defence of militia, who would not be prevailed upon to give the least assistance towards the public works at this place, and march a part of the only force which we can in any wise depend upon from a much-exposed part of the country, in order to ease Maryland. If the expense of keeping her militia in arms is really the question, Capt. Beale can appear in no favorable point of light to me.
I flatter myself, the expected attack of Fort Augusta, will prove more favorable, than Colonel Weiser imagines; for I have no conception, that a road fit for the reception of carriages can be cut within ten miles of a fort, without the garrison discovering it. It was a careless mistake of my Quarter master to send you 101 barrels of gun powder.
It is quite manifest to every person who has had an opportunity of experiencing the advantages of Indian services, that the friendship and assistance of the Cherokees are well worth cultivating. For my own part, I think they are indispensably necessary in our present circumstances, and am sorry to find such unseasonable delays in bringing them amongst us. Since Captain Croghan left this place, Outassity,1 an Indian warrior of that nation, with twenty-seven followers, has arrived here. He brings an account of many more that are coming; but whether they will wait for Mr. Atkin’s passport, or will come on with their own, I know not.
I have just received a letter from Governor Dinwiddie, in which he desires me to present his compliments to you. I am, &c.2
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
[11 July, 1757.]
I had just closed mine yesterday, and was going to send off Jenkins1 with it, when yours of the 24th ultimo came to hand.
The Deserters apprehended at Maidstone, were treated with such lenity as their subsequent behaviour convinces me was misplaced: several of them having since deserted.
This infamous practice, wherein such numbers of our men have (by means of the villainy and ill-judged compassion of the country-people, who deem it a merit to assist Deserters,) has been wonderfully successful; and is now arrived at such a height, that nothing can stop its scandalous progress, but the severest punishments, and most striking examples. Since mine of yesterday, no less than 24 more of the Draughts (after having received their money and clothes) deserted: notwithstanding every precaution I cou’d suggest was taken to prevent it: among others, I had all the roads way-laid in the night.—Seven of those who went off last night, took that road that happened to be blocked up. Mr. Hughes (whom your Honor was pleased to appoint adjutant) and two Soldiers, took two of them, after exchanging some shot, and wou’d in all probability have taken them all, had he not been disabled in the right hand, & one of our Soldiers shot thro’ the leg; and, it is believed, one of the Deserters was killed in the conflict.
I must again, earnestly request, your Honor will please to send me up a copy of the mutiny and desertion bill, passed the last Session of Assembly;1 with blank warrants to execute the Sentence of the Courts martial; without which I fear we will soon lose, not only all the draughts, but, by their going off with impunity, there is such a bad example, as will render even the detention of the old Soldiers impracticable.
As the pressing exigency of this unhappy juncture demands the utmost expedition, in which the welfare of the Colony is so nearly concerned; I flatter myself your Honor will not hesitate at sending me blank-warrants.
By a course of unerring experience, I am convinced beyond any doubt, that nothing but the most rigorous measures can have the least effect.
The inconceivable trouble those discontented turbulent fellows give us, and the few Officers that now remain here, have greatly impeded the service; and laid me under the necessity of appointing the three oldest volunteers, vizt. Mess: Speake, Felt, and Wood, Ensigns, which I hope your Honor will approve of.
I am glad your Honor does not think of the additional companies, or Rangers, till the Regiment is complete. A short time has already demonstrated how justly founded your apprehensions on that head were. As I now begin to despair of seeing the 8 companies that remain in the Colony, compleated—I am convinced every day will lessen our numbers ’till some sad examples are made of the Deserters.
As the unhappy fate of poor Capt. Spotswood seems now to be ascertained, and made a vacant company in the Regiment; I beg leave to recommend Capt. M’Neill in the warmest manner to your Honor for it; not only from his undoubted title of seniority but from his great merit, hard fate, and long sufferings in his rank and pay.
Should he be again superseded, it cannot be imagined that a man of his spirit will be any longer detained in the service however prejudicial his leaving it may otherwise be to him. And I must confess it would give me pain that we should lose a good officer thro’ the default of common justice.
Your Honor seems surprized at my returning 432 men in May, and but 384 in June. It is true, there were several desertions in that interval, but if your Honor will take the trouble of looking [at] those two returns it will immediately remove your surprize: That of May was of my total effectives; and that of the 16th of June was only of the number I then had fit for Duty; designed to shew your Honor what I had actually fit for service, at a time when we were threatened with the most imminent danger.
The reason of my being so urgent for the blank warrants is that I am persuaded, that postponing the punishments ordered by the courts-martial will not only diminish the terror of delinquents, but encourage other of the Soldiers to follow their base example. And, would your Honor think proper to issue your proclamation, commanding all the officers, civil and military, to exert themselves in apprehending these Deserters, it wou’d probably have a good effect.
I have ordered a roll to be made out of the Draughts that deserted, since they were received at Fredericksburg, which I here enclose your Honor, that you have it advertised, if you shall think it proper.
Although my Brother’s affairs have been long in an unsettled state; and I am nearly interested in having them properly adjusted, and which cannot be done without my presence, being one of the Executors; yet I did not purpose when I asked leave, nor ever intended to be absent, but at some favorable time, when the Service cou’d admit of it without any detriment.
In mine of the 27th ultimo, I enclosed your Honor Doctr. Ross’s (commissary for the Maryland troops) letter, relating to the provisions at Ft. Cumberland; and desired your Honor’s instructions on that head. Since which the enclosed, on the same subject, came to my hand.
As Mr. Atkin, will not agree to part with any of the Dutch blankets which came up for the Indians, to replace those of the Regiments, which Colo. Stephen injudiciously gave away, I shall be at a great loss, not having a Blanket left. And unless they can be sent up soon from Williamsburgh, I shou’d be glad to receive orders to send for them to Pennsylvania.
I am, &c.
TO COLONEL STANWIX.
15 July, 1757.
Your obliging favor of the 11th instant I received this morning. It will seem odd to send you three letters under one cover, and those so widely differing in their dates:—But the truth only shall account for it.
Mr. Atkin has told me day after day, since the date of my first, that his Express would go off the next morning,—as he would the preceding evening be able to finish his despatches to you. This prevented my enquiring after any other conveyance, and is the cause of the delay of my letters ’till now.
Militia, you will find, Sir, will never answer your expectation—no dependence is to be placed upon them; They are obstinate and perverse,—they are often egged on by the Officers, who lead them to acts of disobedience, and, when they are ordered to certain posts for the security of stores, or the protection of the Inhabitants, will, on a sudden, resolve to leave them, and the united vigilance of their officers can not prevent them.
Instances of the above nature I have now before me, which put me to some difficulty.
No man I conceive was ever worse plagued than I have been with the Draughts that were sent from the several counties in this Government, to complete its Regiment: out of 400 that were received at Fredericksburgh, and at this place, 114 have deserted, notwithstanding every precaution, except absolute confinement has been used to prevent this infamous practice. I have used the most vigorous measures to apprehend those fellows who escaped from hence (which amounted to about 30) and have succeeded so well that they are taken with the loss of one of their men, and a Soldier wounded. I have a Gallows near 40 feet high erected (which has terrified the rest exceedingly), and I am determined if I can be justified in the proceeding, to hang two or three on it, as an example to others.
An affair has happened at this place, which may, I apprehend, be productive of very unhappy consequences; it is this: About 6 days ago, came to this town, from Chota, in the Cherokee Nation, ten Indians; some of whom call themselves Mingo’s tribe of the Six Nations; others Cherokees, &c. But as they gave no good account of their intentions, Mr. Atkin suspected their loyalty; and taking them for Spies, has caused them to be put in close confinement, in which they now remain.
This procedure greatly alarmed and at the same time exasperated about 12 Cherokees, who were at this place and knew all the prisoners: and has obliged Mr. Atkin to send an Express to the South Branch to bring Outassity down, who now lies sick there, to clear the matter up. He is not yet arrived.—Nineteen Indians and the Officers I mentioned in my last, marched from Fort Cumberland the 9th instant, for Ft. Duquesne. By their return I hope I shall receive some intelligence worth transmitting to you. At present we are pretty peaceable.
The Philadelphia post, which formerly came to this place, being stopped, prevents our hearing any foreign news; but what are transmitted in the channel of friendly Letters. We greatly regret the loss of this post, and wou’d gladly keep it up by private subscription, from this to Carlyle, if it comes that length.1
TO GOVERNOR SHARPE.
20th July, 1757.
I have undoubted intelligence that many Deserters from the Virginia Regiment are gone to, and are harbored and protected in several counties of your province, especially Baltimore County, under the specious pretext of their unjust detention, after the expiration of the time, which, the Deserters (I learn) pretend was limited when they enlisted.—And some in authority, either from an ill placed compassion, or from that spirit of opposition to the service, which is too prevalent through the Continent—have not only countenanced those Deserters, but made use of your Excellency’s name for that purpose; as you may observe by the enclosed, (a copy of the original is in my possession.)
I am quite certain, that no orders have been issued, since I have been honored with the command of this Regiment, to enlist for any limited term, and Captn. Gist (upon whom the Deserters would fix this charge) declares on his honor, that he never mentioned limiting their time of Service in any other way than this, that they should be discharged at the conclusion of the War or Expedition, which might possibly be ended in 6 or 8 months:—which could be deemed nothing more than one of those little subterfuges which, from the disagreeable nature of the Recruiting Service, has, at some junctures been considered necessary; Though I must still think, [it] would come with a better grace, from a Sergeant, than a commissioned Officer.
I am sure, from your Excellency’s good sense, experience, and knowledge in military affairs, that you have given no decision in this affair, without a proper enquiry, which cou’d not well be made without the attendance of those who recruited the Deserters; and that Magistrates have, from the report of the Deserters, afforded them this unjustifiable protection. As this is the point of view in which it appears to me; I have ordered Ensign Fell, (who assisted in recruiting them) to wait on Your Excellency; and request you wou’d be pleased to have the affair enquired into; that if the allegations of the Deserters be false, you will please to give such orders as will enable me to have them apprehended and if they are well grounded, that I may have Captn. Gist’s conduct, for disobedience of orders, enquired into.
I judge this step necessary to be taken, previously to my laying the affair before the Commander in Chief, therefore hope His Excellency will forgive this trouble from him who has the honor of being with great respect, &c.1
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS TO ALL THE CAPTAINS OF COMPANIES.
29th July, 1757.
The principal end proposed in sending you to the post to which you are ordered is to protect the Inhabitants of those parts, and to keep them if possible easy and quiet.
I injoin it upon you, therefore, to use every means which you and your officers shall judge advisable, to answer this salutary purpose—particularly by keeping out constant scouting parties; who with diligence care and precaution, are to range all those parts thro’ which the Enemy make their inroads: and, when the enemy draw near the Quarter you are in, to exert your utmost efforts in preventing the inhabitants from suffering, by giving them all the intelligence you can of their danger, and by endeavouring to cover them, by way-laying those defiles, thro’ which the enemy are most likely to pass, before they can penetrate into the Inhabitants.
These parties are to consist of such numbers as the service may require, and your circumstances with admit. But in general I wou’d have a third part of your well men and an officer (frequently, if not always to command; altho’ he may judge the party too small for his rank.)
You are by no means to impress Horses, yourself, or licence any person or persons under your command to do it—except in cases of necessity and where the Interest of the Service indispensably requires it for Expresses, &c, and then you are to be careful in seeing that, as soon as the service is performed, they be immediately returned to their proper owners in good order; paying the hire of them, or else to give a certificate, specifying for what service they were pressed, and how long employed in it.
You are not to accommodate any Indians, that may happen to pass your way, with Horses, unless it be upon extraordinary cases, nor are you to hold any Conferences with them upon Business, only on such points as relate to the Service in which you are immediately engaged. Neither are you to attempt making Treaties with them, or to make them presents, promises, &c., or any liquor, but in a very sparing manner.
If at any time or upon any occasion, you shou’d pay away money for contingent Expences, you are to take receipts for them, ascertaining the sum, & for what service paid; and keep an exact accompt thereof, in order to lay it before me, or any other person whom the Government may think proper to substitute.—And all Services done the public for which you do not pay ready money, you are to give certificates, setting forth the nature and causes thereof, as aforesaid. And all accompts relative to provisions you are to settle with the Commissary or agents whom the Governor shall appoint and all that relate to your own and company’s pay, with the pay-master.
You are to take care that only one pound of flour, and the like quantity of meat, be delivered to each man per day, and that no more women draw provisions, than in proportion as 6 to 100 men.
You must prevent any provisions issuing without a written order from yourself, or the officer commanding in your absence—To have regular returns made out for that purpose—To cause all provisions to be exactly weighed, &c.
You are to use every imaginable precaution to prevent irregular suttling, licentious swearing, and all other unbecoming irregularities—and to neglect no pains or diligence in training your men (when off duty) to the true use and exercise of their arms; and teaching them in all other respects, the duties of their profession
Be particularly careful in seeing that they take proper care of their clothes and accoutrements; which you are to do, by inspecting narrowly every Saturday at least, into their order; & by furnishing and making stoppages from those who have lost, sold, or otherwise made away with, or abused their things, till full reparation is had.
That this piece of duty may be conducted with ease; divide your men into as many squads as there are Sergeants,—and make it the duty of each Sergeant (who is to keep the Roll of their necessaries for that purpose) to see that the men of his squad have their clothes, arms, and accoutrements always together, and in good order. This method I recommend as an alleviation of but not an excuse for the officers to neglect this duty themselves.
I also desire that the greatest regularity may be constantly observed in relieving the Guards, the Sentries, and all other parts of ceremonious duty. That the men may not by neglecting this, contract bad habits, but rather thro’ a strict observance, become intimately acquainted with, and knowing in their duty. And as I wou’d have the whole regiment tho’ never so much divided at present, pursue the same system of discipline, even in the most minute punctilios, You are to send an alert Sergeant or Corporal and two or three men, fit for the Drill, to this place to be perfected therein, who, on their return, are to instruct the rest of your Command.
I recommend it to you, likewise, and in the strongest terms, that you and the officers under your command, do make yourselves master of the necessary salutes.
You are to give in an exact size, and necessary role of your company and to see that no non-commissioned Officer or Soldier is ever provided with less than 3 good shirts, two pair of good Stockings, and one pair of good Shoes, and that the initial letters of their names are marked upon their ammunition, clothes, and accoutrements, which you must cause to be entered in a Book kept for that purpose, to prevent their swapping and changing their things. You are also to be vastly careful in making them preserve their Regimentals, and to make them appear always neat and clean, and soldier-like—especially when they are upon Duty.
You are to transmit me the most exact and regular returns, made out once a month, not only of the strength of, and alterations in, your company (or command) but also of the arms, ammunition, clothes, and stores, carefully examined by yourself, to prevent such egregious mistakes as often happen thro’ the negligence of the Officers in trusting to the Sergeants, as, upon failure herein, you may depend upon being relieved and tried for disobedience of orders.
You are also to hold me duly advised of all material occurences in your Quarter. You are not to give furloughs to more than one Soldier at a time, unless some particular cause requires it, and then you are to insert the reasons and time of their absence at the foot of your return, if they should not happen to be present at the time it is made. Shou’d any of your men desert, you are to use your utmost endeavours in having them apprehended; and whatever expence you are at, over and above what the country allows, is to be deducted from the pay of such offending Soldiers, if they shou’d happen to be taken.
Each Deserter is advertised at 40s. reward, and more, when other aggravating circumstances accompany his desertion.
I expect you will take great pains to make your Soldiers good marks-men by teaching them to shoot at Targets.
I have been thus particular in my Instructions to you, because I expect the most punctual obedience will be paid to them; being determined not to overlook neglects of duty in any,—but to act with the utmost strictness (agreeably to the Instructions which I am honored with from the Governor): and therefore, in order to enable you to support a proper command:—
I hereby require, that you do put any officer under arrest whom you shall find negligent in his duty, or misbehaving as a Gentleman, and either enquire into his conduct with your own Officers (in order to a further examination at this place, or send him here, (at once) for that purpose.
And I do hereby direct you to hold courts martial for trying and punishing non-commissioned officers and soldiers (Without which the former are not to be broke, and after which, by no means to be reinstated, nor new ones appointed, without my approbation.) In all other respects you are to govern yourselves exactly agreeable to the articles of War, and the rules and customs of the Army.
Permit me before I finish (and now that the companies are formed for service, and agreeable to order) to recommend—and I do in the strongest manner I can to you and your Officers,—to devote some part of your leisure hours to the study of your profession, a knowledge in which cannot be attained without application; nor any merit or applause to be atchieved without a certain knowledge thereof. Discipline is the soul of an army.—It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all; and may, in a peculiar manner to us, who are in the way to be joined to Regulars in a very short time, and of distinguishing thro’ this means, from other Provincials.
You are to be at no expence in building or repairing old works, without first apprizing me thereof, because the money appropriated to that purpose is expended. The safety and convenience of soldiers render it a duty upon them to repair the works, and make lodgments for themselves. I wou’d therefore have you observe this, and act conformably to it.
TO COLONEL STANWIX.
Fort Loudoun, 30 July, 1757.
My former letters would inform you how little share I had in confining the Indians in the public jail at this place.
Mr. Atkin, in his Majesty’s name, applied to me as commanding officer for aid to secure these people, which I thereupon did, but not without first representing the consequences, that might and in some measure really did happen. This step was no sooner taken, than the Cherokees in town, about twenty-two in number, despatched a runner to inform their people, that the English had fallen upon their brethren, and desired that they (the Cherokees) would stand upon their defence. Another runner, you are sensible, went to Carlisle to inform the warriors there of it, who returned fully resolved to rescue the prisoners, or die in the attempt. The former they did, and were so enraged with Mr. Atkin, that they would hold no conference with him the next day, when he sent to desire it, till they had first been with me for information. I took great pains to convince them, that it was a mistake, and happily succeeded. They readily agreed to send an Indian with an express, whom I might procure, to their nation to prevent a massacre of all the traders and white people there, which they looked upon as inevitable, except timely measures were taken to prevent it.
Out of the great number of drafts that have deserted from us, we have been able to apprehend twenty-two; of whom two were hanged on Thursday last.1 The eight companies now remaining in Virginia are completed to about eighty, rank and file, four commanding officers, four sergeants, and two drummers, and are all marched to the several posts assigned them.
The commission, which I have received from Governor Dinwiddie, to hold general courts-martial, is very long, and rather a repetition of the act. I should be obliged, if you would let me know whether this be right or not. I took the liberty in a letter of the — to ask leave to be absent about twelve or fourteen days, if circumstances in this quarter would permit, but having heard nothing from you since, I am inclined to address you again on that head, because the 1st of August is the time appointed for the meeting of the executors (of which I am one) of an estate that I am much interested in a dividend of, and have suffered much already by the unsettled state it has remained in. This estate does not lie more than a day’s journey from this place, so that I could return very quickly, if occasion required it.
P. S. Since writing the above I have received the enclosed from Captn. McKenzie. Captn. Waggener just before with upwards of 100 men, had marched to the place he speaks of, to strengthen the garrisons on the Branch. I have sent him orders to select a good company (if the enemy still remain there) and use his best endeavors to fall in with their encampment; and I am certain he will neglect no means to accomplish it. I have also advice from the southern frontiers of Augusta County, that the Indians have appeared, and done some mischief. Major Lewis with a detachment of 250 men (including a company of 50 already in those parts) marched to occupy Voss’s and Dickinson’s forts, and to repel the enemy if they still continued to commit depredations.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Fort Loudoun, 27 August, 1757.
Your favor of the 13th by Mr. Boyd, I have received. The drafts from Lunenburg are arrived, to the number of sixteen, which does not replace the soldiers, that have deserted since my last, so prevalent is this infamous practice yet. The drafts, when they were divided among the eight companies in July, completed them to eighty-six rank and file; and there remained over and above forty workmen, which I detained at this place, as mentioned in a former letter.
What the strength of the companies is just at this time, I am no more able to say, (not knowing what casualties may have happened since,) than I am to send your Honor a return of the regiment, which is impossible to do till I get my returns from the several out-posts; and that, I believe your Honor must be sensible, is difficult and precarious, dispersed as the regiment is. I have given express orders, however, that those returns shall be made to me as regularly as the nature of things will admit, and I shall not be wanting in my duty to forward them, nor shall I delay to send the companies’ size-rolls, when they come to my hands, and I have directed these last also to be made out and sent to me, carefully examined.
The enclosed is a copy of a report made to me by two officers, who were instructed to inspect into the state of the provisions at Fort Cumberland. Mr. Kennedy, who was entrusted with the care of these provisions, is now there repacking and pickling them; and when he has finished, I shall endeavour to do the best I can with them, but despair of turning them to the least advantage.
A letter, which I received a few days ago from Captain Waggener advises, that the enemy appeared upon the Branch, not far from his neighbourhood, (their numbers uncertain,) and killed men, and captivated others, without his being able to meet with them. On Sunday last, a small party of five Cherokees, who came here a few days ago, set out to war.
Your Honor having asked my opinion concerning recruiting, I shall give it candidly as follows. I believe, unless we are permitted to enlist servants, we should spend much time to little purpose in this service; There is such a spirit of opposition prevailing in one sort of people, and so little spirit of any kind in another. I never thought, in the most distant degree, of recruiting for the additional companies, till the others were complete; nor should I have mentioned that but thinking it was required by act of Assembly.
As your Honor were pleased to leave to my discretion to punish or pardon the criminals, I have resolved on the latter, since I find example of so little weight, and since those poor unhappy criminals have undergone no small pain of body and mind, in a dark prison, closely ironed.
I have filled up a commission for Sergeant Feint,1 and will send it to him by the first safe conveyance. Colonel Stanwix, I am told (the truth of which I doubt), is marched to the northward. I have no account from him these four weeks.
Mr. Boyd, (whom I have spoken to on the matter,) conceives, there will be no money left for contingent expenses, when he has paid the troops. I shall do as your Honor directs, with regard to escorting Mr. Boyd to Augusta, and ordering officers to wait upon him at this place, however inconvenient it prove to the service.
Nothing remarkable has happened, for which reason I have nothing particular to add. I must beg leave, however, before I conclude, to observe in justification of my own conduct, that it is with pleasure I receive reproof, when reproof is due, because no person can be readier to accuse me, than I am to acknowledge an error, when I am guilty of one; nor more desirous for atoning for a crime, when I am sensible of having committed it. But, on the other hand, it is with concern I remark, that my best endeavors lose their reward, and that my conduct, although I have uniformly studied to make it as unexceptionable as I could, does not appear to you in a favorable point of light.1 Otherwise your Honor would not have accused me of loose behaviour and remissness of duty, in matters where, I believe, I have rather exceeded than fallen short of it. This, I think, is evidently the case in speaking of Indian Affairs at all after being instructed in very express terms, not to have any concern with or “management of Indian affairs.” This has caused me to forbear mentioning of Indians in any of my letters to your Honor of late, and to leave the misunderstanding, which you speak of, between Mr. Atkin and the Indians, to the former to relate, knowing that he maintained a correspondence with your Honor on matters relative to his office. But, with regard to the accompts, when he would have nothing to do with them, and when I was hourly importuned for the payment, and knew I had not the means to do it, what could I do less than promise the people, that I would recommend their cases to your Honor, in hopes that you would appoint a person, in whom you could confide, to take in and pay off their accompts, as I always looked upon it as a duty distinct from mine, and therefore was unwilling to intermeddle in the affair?
I really thought it unnecessary to say more, than that “the detachment destined for Augusta was marched,” because your Honor gave me a copy of the council held at Philadelphia, which directed one hundred and fifty men to be posted at Dickinson’s, and one hundred at Voss’s, which direction I observed, and thought it would be sufficiently understood when I wrote as above.
I should have acknowledged the receipt of the arms, had they come, but they were not arrived when my last was wrote; which obliged me to disarm the men that remained here, in order to supply those who marched, rather than detain them, as I had sent wagons to Falmouth to bring ’em from thence. However, if I have erred in these points, I am sorry for it, and shall endeavor for the future to be as particular and satisfactory, in my accounts of these things, as possible. I am, &c.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Fort Loudoun, 17 September, 1757.
Your favor of the 2d instant came safe to hand, and Jenkins’s sickness has prevented my answering it sooner.
I apprehend that thirteen of the twenty-nine drafts from Lunenburg have deserted, as sixteen only have arrived here, and I have no accounts of any more being upon the march. Your Honor may observe by the enclosed list of deserters, all of whom have left the regiment since the last return I sent, and after having received too their clothes, arms, and bounty money, how prevalent still is that infamous practice among the dastardly drafts, especially at this garrison, where I indulge them in every thing but idleness, and in that I cannot, the nature of the work requiring the contrary. Lenity, so far from producing its desired effects, rather emboldens them in these villainous undertakings. One of those who were condemned to be hanged, deserted immediately upon receiving his pardon. In short, they tire my patience, and almost weary me to death. The expense of pursuing them is very considerable, and to suffer them to escape, without aiming at pursuit, is but giving up the point, altho’ we have had but little success of late.
The uncertain and difficult communication with the out-posts must apologize for my not sending you a return of our strength for August. For the second month will always be far advanced, before I can get in the returns of the preceding, as the latter must be first expired, before the returns can be made out, and then some of them are to come two hundred and fifty miles, and great part of that distance thro’ an uninhabited country.
If special messengers are always sent with these returns, it will be a pretty considerable expense. I should therefore be glad if your Honor would be pleased to direct, whether they are to be sent to me by express, or to embrace the best conveyance without. In the one case, as I before said, there must be a constant expense, and in the other, great uncertainty. By the enclosed for July, your Honor will see that our total strength amounted to six hundred and ninety-nine; but, as there happened many changes and casualties in that month, by reason of the drafts joining, deserting, and the companies not being properly formed, this return will, I apprehend, appear confused and irregular. Our present strength, I guess, is about seven hundred. Major Lewis did, as he wrote your Honor, march from this place with about one hundred and forty men only; but then Captain Woodward, who also marched at the same time, with his company from the South Branch, joined him at Dickinson’s; which with the men under Captain Hog, formed a body of something more than two hundred and fifty men, agreeably to the number appointed at Philadelphia for the forts at Dickinson’s and Voss’s.
I am sorry I did not know it was necessary to give the name of each officer of the command, but shall do it now, and set them down as they are placed in companies: Major Lewis, Lt. Bullet, Lt. Fleming, Ensn. Speake, Capt. Woodward, Lt. Dangerfield, Lt. Milner, Ensn. Sumner, Capt. Spotswood, Lt. Lomax, Lt. Crawford, Ensn. Starke.
The above are the officers belonging to three companies that went to Augusta. But your Honor knows Capt. Spotswood was absent; Mr. Milner was also absent, and has been so at his father’s these ten months, in a consumption, as I am told. And I have given Sergeant a commission and appointed him to Woodward’s company, in lieu of Ensign Sumner, who is now to join Capt. McKenzie’s company.
As soon as I was informed that Colo. Reid was to supply the troops in Augusta with provisions, I acquainted Major Lewis therewith.
As there is no addition made to the drafts, no men recruited, and our numbers daily diminishing by desertion, I cannot see how you can expect that I should complete the companies that are now under 90 to 100 rank and file each, as you mention in your letter.
I never expected, nor ever desired, that there should be an addition made to the number of those persons appointed to transact public business, much less that there should be one to settle every little affair. I only humbly proposed, that, as Captain Gist was empowered with your Honor’s approbation to manage the Indian affairs here, and as he is to be paid for that duty by this colony, that he, as a more proper person than myself, should take in and adjust the accounts against the Indians (so often mentioned), as it cannot reasonably be supposed that I, who am stripped of the help I once was allowed (and told that I should be freed from these things in consequence), can turn my hands and my thoughts to such a multiplicity of business, as naturally arises out of the variety of occurrences, which are occasioned by our scattered and detached situation and the many extraneous concerns of the Indians. Every person, who sees how I am employed, will readily testify, that very little recreation falls to my lot. Nevertheless, if it is your Honor’s orders, that I shall collect these accompts, I will do it in the best manner I am able, and that with cheerfulness; but it will be some time ere it can be accomplished, as I have turned them off once.
The Indian chiefs, before they departed for their nation, warmly solicited me for some drums; and, as I had none but those belonging to the regiment, which could not be spared, I was obliged to promise them, that I would acquaint your Honor with their request, that you might, if you thought proper, provide them against their return.
Since my last, the enemy returned to the Branch, where they killed four men, wounded one, captivated a man and woman, and burned some grain, notwithstanding the utmost efforts of the troops, who are constantly scouting. The people in that quarter are terribly affrighted by this last eruption, and I fear can hardly be prevented from evacuating that valuable settlement.
Enclosed is a return of the Deputy Commissary’s return and report of the state of the provisions at Fort Cumberland and my letter to Doctr. Ross on that subject, an answer to which I hourly expect. I have heard from second-hand, that they intend to make no allowance for the fish we left there, saying they were the King’s fish, as they really were, and therefore as much theirs as ours. I should be glad to know your Honor’s sentiments on this matter. I apprehended they would claim the fish as a right, and therefore when I left Ft. Cumberland, to attend the Committee in the Spring according to order, directed Colo. Stephen to have them removed, which he neglected to do.
I have received from Mr. Boyd, notwithstanding his first declaration to me, £500. Which, with what remains of the 2000, shall be applied and accounted for as you direct.
I was obliged to detain £250 out of the first sum which came up for the companies, but can now refund it.
When your Honor is pleased to order the vacancy, which Captain Spotswood1 occasions to be filled up in the name of Captain McNeill, there will be room for a lieutenant; and then if you please to bestow it on Mr. Fairfax,2 I should take it infinitely kind, if you would oblige me so far as to send the commission immediately from yourself to that gentleman.1 For altho I esteem him greatly on account of his father, for whose memory and friendship I shall ever retain a most grateful sense, yet, making him lieutenant over many old ensigns, will occasion great confusion in the corps, and bring censure on me; for the officers will readily conceive, that my friendship and partiality for the family were the causes of it. If Mr. Fairfax would accept of an ensigncy, the matter might pretty easily be accommodated. The letter under cover to Colonel Fairfax is not yet come to hand.
I have heard nothing yet from Colonel Stanwix; but soon shall, as I wrote to him a few days ago, and expect his answer. Robert Holmes is among the deserters.
I send your Honor a size-roll of my own, Captains Stewart and Lewis’ companies. The others were sent to me, but being signed by the commanding officer only, as is usual, I was obliged to send back for the subalterns to sign also. When these come in I shall forward them.
As we have not at this time either commissary or assistant here, it is not in my power to send a return of the provisions with any tolerable exactness. But I do not doubt, that Mr. Rutherford, our acting commissary, who is now down, has satisfied your Honor fully in this particular; if he has not, I will take care to do it in my next.
The monthly return for July, mentioned in the body of this letter as sent, upon re-examination I find so unintelligible, by reason of some mistakes in Captns. Spotswood’s and Woodward’s return, that I am ashamed to sign it, ’till the mistakes are rectified, and for this end, I have ordered those companies in a peremptory manner to be careful for the future, or answer the contrary.
Your Honor in estimating our numbers at about 700, will be nearer the complement; but if I may presume to advise, the contractors should provide for companies of 100 each, as it is supposed we shall complete to that number as fast as possible.
I doubt not your Honor will see the necessity of making an agreement with the contractors, for furnishing the Indians with provisions; otherwise they will take no concern in this matter, as I conceive they are allowed so much for each soldier, that shall be returned, in which case Indians are included. If they were not, no person would supply them on the same terms they do soldiers, for Indians eat and waste triple what the latter do. I am, &c.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Fort Loudoun, 17 September, 1757.
A letter of the 22d ultimo, from Captain Peachy, came to my hands the other day, contents as follows: (here was inserted the letter).1 I should take it infinitely kind, if your Honor would please to inform me, whether a report of this nature was ever made to you; and, in that case, who was the author of it?
It is evident, from a variety of circumstances, and especially from the change in your Honor’s conduct towards me, that some person, as well inclined to detract, but better skilled in the art of detraction, than the author of the above stupid scandal, has made free with my character. For I cannot suppose, that malice so absurd, so barefaced, so diametrically opposite to truth, to common policy, and, in short, to every thing but villainy, as the above is, could impress you with so ill an opinion of my honor and honesty.
If it be possible, that Colonel Corbin—(for my belief is staggered, not being conscious of having given the least cause to any one, much less to that gentleman, to reflect so grossly,) I say, if it be possible, that Colonel Corbin could descend so low as to be the propagator of this story, he must either be vastly ignorant in the state of affairs in this county at that time, or else he must suppose, that the whole body of inhabitants had combined with me, in executing the deceitful fraud. Or why did they, almost to a man, forsake their dwellings in the greatest terror and confusion; so that, while one half of them sought shelter in paltry forts, (of their own building,) the other fled to the adjacent counties for refuge, numbers of them even to Carolina, from whence they have never returned?
These are facts well known; but not better known, than that these wretched people, while they lay pent up in forts, destitute of the common support of life (having in their precipitate flight forgotten, or were unable rather to secure, any kind of necessaries,) did dispatch messengers of their own (thinking I had not represented their miseries in the piteous manner they deserved), with addresses to your Honor and the Assembly, praying relief. And did I ever send any alarming account, without also sending the original papers, (or the copies,) which gave rise to it?
That I have foibles, and perhaps many of them, I shall not deny. I should esteem myself, as the world also would, vain and empty, were I to arrogate perfection.
Knowledge in military matters is to be acquired by practice and experience only; and, if I have erred, great allowance should be made for my errors for want of them; unless these errors should appear to be willful; and then, I conceive it would be more generous to charge me with my faults, and let me stand or fall according to evidence, than to stigmatize me behind my back.
It is uncertain in what light my services may have appeared to your Honor; but this I know, and it is the highest consolation I am capable of feeling, that no man, that ever was employed in a public capacity, has endeavoured to discharge the trust reposed in him with greater honesty, and more zeal for the country’s interest, than I have done; and if there is any person living, who can say with justice, that I have offered any intentional wrong to the public, I will cheerfully submit to the most ignominious punishment, that an injured people ought to inflict. On the other hand, it is hard to have my character arraigned, and my actions condemned, without a hearing.
I must therefore again beg in more plain, and in very earnest terms, to know, if Colonel Corbin has taken the liberty of representing my character to your Honor with such ungentlemanly freedom as the letter implies? Your condescension herein will be acknowledged, as a singular favor done your Honor’s most obedient, humble servant.1
TO CAPTAIN WILLIAM PEACHY.
Fort Loudoun, 18 September, 1757.
Your favor of the 22d ultimo came to hand about four days ago. In answer to that part, which relates to Colonel Corbin’s gross and infamous reflections on my conduct last spring, it will be needless, I dare say, to observe further at this time, than that the liberty, which he has been pleased to allow himself in sporting with my character, is little else than a comic entertainment, discovering at one view his passionate fondness for your friend, his inviolable love of truth, his unfathomable knowledge, and the masterly strokes of his wisdom in displaying it. These several talents he has, I think, exhibited in a most conspicuous manner to every person, who was in the least degree acquainted with the situation of affairs in this country at that juncture. The report of your false musters is equally absurd, and may take credit as above.
You are heartily welcome to make use of any letter, or letters, which I may at any time have written to you; for, altho’ I keep no copies of epistles to my friends, nor can remember the contents of all of them, yet, I am sensible, that the narrations are just, and that truth and honesty will appear in my writings; of which, therefore, I shall not be ashamed, though criticism may censure my style. I am, &c.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Fort Loudoun, 24 September, 1757.
Enclosed is a copy of a letter, which I received from Captain McKenzie. Since my last, the different parties I detached in quest of the enemy, (who committed the late depredations in this neighborhood,) are returned, after having prosecuted the most probable measures, and exerted their utmost efforts in vain, in endeavoring to come up with and prevent the enemy’s escape. Nor is it in any degree surprising, for when the vast extent of country, the scattered and distant manner in which the inhabitants are settled, the nature of the ground, and disposition of the enemy we have to cope with, are collectively considered, it is next to impossible, that any of our parties should ever see the enemy, except when they possess such advantages as render their victory certain.
The inhabitants of this valuable and fertile valley are terrified beyond expression. Some have abandoned their plantations, and many are packing up their most valuable effects in order to follow them. Another irruption into the heart of this settlement will, I am afraid, be of fatal consequence to it. I was always persuaded, and almost every day affords new matter for confirming me in the opinion, that the enemy can, with the utmost facility, render abortive every plan, which can be concerted upon our present system of defence; and that the only method of effectually defending such a vast extent of mountains covered with thick woods, as our frontiers, against such an enemy, is by carrying the war into their country. And I think I may, without assuming uncommon penetration, venture to affirm, that, unless an expedition is carried on against the Ohio next spring, this country will not be another year in our possession.
Sickness, and the different parties, which the distressed situation of affairs here obliged me to detach from this garrison, so greatly retard the works, that finishing even the principal parts of them, before the winter sets in, will, I am afraid, prove impracticable.
I understand there are a mortar and a number of shells at Williamsburg, which would be of infinite service here, tho’ of little or none where they are. We have a quantity of round and grape-shot for six-pounders, but no cannon to use them. A few pieces of that size would be a great addition to our strength; and, as this is the only place we have, (were it finished,) where a stand could be made, in case of any formidable attack, I conceive nothing in our power should be omitted to make it as defensible as we can.
Mr. Rutherford is not yet returned. Enclosed is a list of the killed and captured by the enemy, when last down. This is sent to Fredericksburg, in order to go by post.
TO MRS. MARY WASHINGTON.
Mount Vernon, 30 Sept., 1757.
Your letter by Mr. Smith I received on my way to Col. Fairfax’s1 funeral; in answer to that part relative to my Brother Charles’ Marriage I shall observe, that if there is no other objection than the one you mention, it may soon be removed; and that Mrs. Thornton, if she believes I am capable of taking these ungenerous advantages, knows little of the principles which govern my conduct. However I suppose Mrs. Thornton is actuated by prudent Motives and therefore would be safe.—If she will get any Instrument of writing drawn I will sign it, provided it does not effect me in other respects than her daughter’s fortune, if my brother dies under age.2
I have waited till now, expecting the arrival of my Negros’ cloaths from Great Britain; but as the season is advancing and risks attending them, I can no longer depend, and therefore beg the favor of you to choose me about 250 yds osnabrigs 200 yds of cotton 35 pair plaid hose, and as much thread as is recessary in Mr. Lewis’ Store, if he has them. If not, in Mr. Jackson’s, and send them up by John who comes down with a Tumbler3 for that purpose.
I set out this afternoon on my return to Winchester.
I offer my Love to Charles, and am Honored Madam, &c.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Fort Loudoun, 5 October, 1757.1
Both your Honor’s letters of the 24th ultimo I received by Jenkins. As I cannot now send a proper monthly return of the regiment, for want of the remarks of the officers at the out-posts, I enclose your Honor an exact return, however, of our effective strength, and how disposed of, which will at present answer the end proposed equally well. I likewise send you enclosed the return of provisions, specifying the time they will serve.
I am informed “the contractor is to lay in the provisions for the troops in New-Hampshire, at this place; that he is to have 6d a man per diem for the whole he supplies, and that he is not to pay those who must inevitably be employed in issuing out the provisions at the different garrisons.”
This information, I flatter myself, is without foundation; as it is beyond doubt that provisions could be purchased in Hampshire, where the troops are quartered for half of what the contractor has for laying them in here, and that the amount of waggon-age and other charges of transporting these provisions from hence to N. Hampshire will exceed the whole cost of the provisions, if purchased there; not to mention the great risque, trouble of escorts, &c., &c.
The assistant commissaries must still be continued, or some persons in their room, who, under the direction of a principal, would have purchased the provisions upon as good terms as any contractor. Besides, the commissary used to act as wagon-master, supply the different garrisons with candle, made from the tallow of the country’s beeves, and do many things for the good of the service, not to be expected from a contractor.
I shall take the earliest opportunity of communicating your Honor’s intentions, respecting the ranging company, to Captain Hog, who, I am informed, is lying ill, in consequence of the bite of a snake at Dickinson’s Fort, and will, I fear, be unable to raise the men. I am afraid the recruiting one hundred men will be found a very difficult task. I am quite at a loss how to act, as you did not inform me upon what terms they are to be levied and supported, what bounty-money to allow, what pay to engage the officers and men, how clothed and supported, what the officers’ pay and what kind of commissions the officers are to have.
Mr. Robert Rutherford, late deputy-commissary here, says that he could raise the men in a shorter time than any other, and from his universal acquaintance on the frontiers, and the esteem the people in general have for him, I am apt to believe he could raise them as soon as any people whatever.
If they should have the same bounty, allowed by the Assembly for recruits, I shall want money for that purpose. The £68 13s 8d I received from Colo. Fairfax of the country’s money I accounted with the committee for in April last. Enclosed is a copy of the last letter I received from Colonel Stanwix.
The enemy continue their horrid devastations in this settlement. Enclosed is a letter from Capt. Josha. Lewis. Immediately on receipt of Capt. Lewis’, Capt. McNeill, 3 subalterns, 4 sergeants, and 70 rank and file, marched up to act in conjunction with Captn. Lewis. The day before Captain Lewis was attacked, twenty Cherokees, headed by one of the principal warriors of that nation, marched from hence to the South Branch, who, with the troops under Captains Waggener and McKenzie, will, I hope, secure that quarter.
So soon as Captn. McNeill returns, I will order him up to his company to which I have by your orders appointed him; as I have Mr. Chew in room of Mr. Fell.
When Mr. Atkin went away from here he carried Mr. Gist and the Indian interpreter with him. Since several parties of Cherokees have been here, by which I and my officers were involved in inconceivable trouble, as we had neither an interpreter, nor right to hold conferences with them; nothing to satisfy their demands of things of which they were in the greatest need; nor liberty to procure them. These warlike, formidable people, altho they seem to have a natural strong attachment to our interest, will, I am afraid, be induced by such treatment to hearken to the pressing solicitations of the French, who (by the latest and best accounts, copies of which I enclose) are making them vastly advantageous offers. The Chief of the Cherokee party, who went last to the Branch, (and is said to be a man of great weight among that nation), was so incensed against what he imagined neglect and contempt, that, had we not supplied him with a few necessaries, without which he could not go to war, he threatened to return, fired with resentment, to his nation. In short, I dread that, by the present management of Indian affairs, we are losing our interest of those people, the preservation of whose friendship is of the last importance to the colonies in general, and this in particular.
I am sorry to acquaint your Honor that Hamilton, the quartermaster hath misbehaved egregiously, embezzling and disposing (in a clandestine manner) of some of the regimental stores, and afterwards running away and carrying a man of the regiment with him. He had leave to go to Alexandria, to order up some of the stores left there, and managed his affairs with such cunning, that he was gone too long to be pursued, before he was suspected.
Enclosed is a copy of the proceedings of the court of enquiry. Several things were found at many different houses, and the magistrates did not behave consistently with their duty.
I do not know, that I ever gave your Honor cause to suspect me of ingratitude, a crime I detest, and would most carefully avoid. If an open, disinterested behavior carries offence, I may have offended; because I have all along laid it down as a maxim, to represent facts freely and impartially, but no more to others, than I have to you, Sir. If instances of my ungrateful behavior had been particularized, I would have answered to them. But I have long been convinced, that my actions and their motives have been maliciously aggravated.
As your Honor proposes to leave the colony in November, I should be glad of liberty to go down to Williamsburg towards the last of this month, or first of the next, if nothing should intervene, to settle some accounts with your Honor and the Committee, which may not be done in so satisfactory a manner after you are gone.1
The last alarm occasioned a great many of the inhabitants in this county to go off, whereupon vast numbers are still moving. I fear that, in a short time, this very valuable valley will be in a great measure depopulated; and what further steps to take, and how to obviate so great a misfortune, I am quite at a loss. As I have hitherto neglected nothing in the compass of my power, it is very evident, that nothing but vigorous offensive measures, (next campaign,) can save the country, at least all west of the Blue Ridge, from inevitable desolation.
We are in great want of a Quartermaster to take care of the stores, and I really do not know of a fit person, unless your Honor will please to bestow it upon Mr. Kennedy. He acted sometimes as Quartermaster-sergeant, then as Commissary, and I believe is better acquainted with the duty than any one we can get. He bears a good character and is acquainted with figures.
The Dunkard doctor gave me notice of his intentions to wait upon your Honor again for his release, & in a late letter transmitted an information of the French deserters (who came from Fort Cumberland) against them, and think it my duty further to add, that I firmly believe they are employed as spies, and are useful to the French. Of this, all the frontier inhabitants seem convinced, and are so apprehensive of the consequences that it has caused numbers to remove, and will cause a general terror among them, if this person is suffered to return and the others to remain out there. For which reason I should really be glad to receive orders to bring the others in. ’Tis better, provided they do not assist the enemy, to bring them in, than to keep a whole country in perpetual terror on their account.
Mr. Rutherford set about making his return, the moment your Honor’s letter came to hand, and but this instant has finished it, having everything to measure and weigh, in order to be exact.
Since writing the foregoing, the express, whom I sent to Major Lewis, is come in, and brings returns of those companies; so that your Honor will now receive proper monthly returns of our strength for July and August; by which you will see, that our total strength amounts to thirty-two commissioned officers, forty-eight non-commissioned, and seven hundred and three rank and file; whereof twenty officers, thirty non-commissioned, and four hundred and sixty-four rank and file, are employed in this county and Hampshire. But there are always six women allowed to a company, who draw provisions; and the officers receive more or less according to their respective rank, as your Honor would see by the estimate I received from Colonel Stanwix, and enclosed to you some time ago; which must be allowed for in the calculation.
I have this instant received letters from Captains Waggener and McKenzie, by express. The first writes that two men were killed, captured about 2 miles from his fort. The other says that a Cherokee party just as they were setting out to go to Captn. Waggener’s heard that Pearis was at Fort Cumberland and marched to him.
TO COLONEL STANWIX.
Fort Loudoun, 8 October, 1757.
I am favored with an opportunity by Mr. Livingston, to acknowledge the receipt of your agreeable favor of the 19th ultimo; and to inform you of a very extraordinary affair, which has happened at this place, namely, the desertion of our quartermaster. This infamous fellow, as he has proved himself, after having disposed, in a clandestine manner, of many of our regimental stores, being called upon to settle his accounts (not that I, or any officer in the regiment, had the least suspicion of the scene of roguery he was carrying on), pretended, that he could not come to an exact settlement without going to Alexandria, where some of the stores yet lay. Several of our soldiers deserting at the same time, (being the time when Lt. Campbell called upon you) he was sent in pursuit of them, which (for we had no doubt of his honest intentions) afforded him the desired opportunity of making his escape. He was ordered too to take Alexandria in his return. His villainy was not laid open, before his departure, and was at last accidentally discovered. This person John Hamilton had been several years a sergeant in one of his Majesty’s regiments, in which character he served three years under me. During that time he gave such signal proofs of his bravery and good behavior, as bound me, in honor and gratitude, to do something for him. And I therefore got him promoted to be quartermaster, as he was acquainted with the duty, and capable, (I thought,) of discharging it.
We have had several visitations from the enemy, and much mischief done, since my last to you. About the 17th ultimo there were upwards of twenty persons killed only twelve miles from this garrison, and notwithstanding I sent a strong detachment from hence to pursue them, and ordered the passes of the mountains to be waylaid by commands from other places, yet we were not able to meet with these savages.
On Friday se’nnight, a body of near or quite a hundred fell upon the inhabitants along the great road between this place and Pennsylvania, got fifteen more. The mischief would have been much greater, had not an officer and twenty men of the regiment, who were then out, fallen in with and engaged the enemy. Finding, however, that his party was overpowered, and like to be surrounded, he retreated to a stockade, not far distant, in which they were besieged for three hours; but the firing communicated an alarm from one habitation to another, by which means most of the families were timely apprised of their danger, and happily got safe off. Our party killed one Indian, (whose scalp they obtained,) and wounded several others.
I exert every means in my power to protect a much distressed country, but it is a task too arduous. To think of defending a frontier as ours is, of more than three hundred and fifty miles’ extent, with only seven hundred men, is vain and idle, especially when that frontier lies more contiguous to the enemy than any other. I am, and have for a long time been, fully convinced, that, if we continue to pursue a defensive plan, the country must be inevitably lost.1
You will be kind enough, Sir, to excuse the freedom with which I deliver my sentiments, and believe me to be, (for I really am,) with unfeigned truth and regard, your most obedient, humble servant.
N. B. These constant alarms and perpetual movements of the soldiers of this garrison, have almost put a stop to the progress of the public works at this place.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
9th October, 1757.
As I wrote to your Honor fully by Jenkins, have little more to add, than the affair hinted at in my last, on the conduct of the magistrates here, which (from what I can collect) appears to me to be of a most extraordinary nature and whose substance is, or nearly, as follows, vizt.:—
From the Court of Enquiry upon the Quartermaster’s affairs, and from the credit which the tippling house keepers (with which Winchester abounds) gave to many of the Soldiers, we had reason strongly to suspect, that some there had received and concealed some of the Stores, arms, &c., belonging to the Regiment: and upon application, Justice Speake issued his search-warrants. But Thomas Wood, Constable, refused to execute them, from various frivolous pretences: nor was there one in the town who wou’d act even pro tempore: So that affair must have been dropped, had not Mr. Alexander Wood, now a merchant here, genteelly offered his service, and executed the Warrants with indefatigable assiduity. Enclosed is a copy of his return. The goods, and the people at whose houses they were found, were brought before Mr. Speake, who, being a young Justice, desired the assistance of Captn. Thomas Swearingen, one of the representatives of the County, and a man of great weight among the meaner class of people, and supposed by them to possess extensive knowledge.
Mr. John Lindsay, another Justice, likewise sat on this affair; and after having examined the goods and people brought before them, Mr. Swearingen sagaciously determined that the affair must be further tried at Court; the other two Justices readily coincided in opinion with him; and accordingly, without giving any other judgment or taking any security for the appearance of the delinquents, tho’ many of them have few obligations to common fame for their character, they dismissed them by telling them they must appear at the next Court. When that period arrived, I ordered Captn. Stewart to apply to Mr. Gabriel Jones for his advice and assistance, as I conceived that procedure of the Magistrates not only to be absurd and irregular but expressly illegal. Enclosed is a copy of what he did, and advised, taken in writing and signed by himself.
Mr. Jones further advised me, to transmit to your Honor an account of the whole; and observed, that you no doubt wou’d direct the Attorney General to prosecute the Magistrates,—as bringing a suit against them in this court wou’d not avail for this end.
I have taken every precaution I cou’d possibly suggest, to prevent the Soldiers of this Garrison from having any dealings whatever with the inhabitants of the town; and have issued the strictest orders against their parting with any of their clothes, arms, &c.; and moreover several severe examples have been made of those detected in the breach of those orders. But from the all alluring temptations of liquor, &c., many ventured to transgress, and the fear of consequent punishment, induced them to desert.
Were it not too tedious, I cou’d give your Honor such instances of the villainous Behavior of those Tippling-House-keepers, as wou’d astonish any person; but the little I have already said, will suffice to convince your Honor, that it is impossible to maintain that discipline and do that Service with a Garrison thus corrupted by a set of people, whose conduct looks like the effect of a combination to obstruct the Service, and frustrate the methods pointed out for their own preservation. And when some of those practises were at length proved, the laws made for the punishment of such gross offences, trifled with by the Magistrates, in the manner the above fact and the enclosed will render conspicuous: I could [not] believe did I not see it, that these are the people of a country whose bowels are at this juncture torn by the most horrid devastations of the most cruel and barbarous enemy.
But enormities of this kind have got to such a height, that nothing, I fear, but your Honor’s interposition in ordering those Magistrates to be brought to Justice, and appointing others from whom more may be hoped, can prevent the worst of consequences to a (seemingly) infatuated people.
The enemy did not so much mischief in their last irruption as was at first apprehended. Ten of those who were missing, and supposed to be killed or captivated, have since appeared.
The party of the regiment that was out with Captain Lewis suffered greatly in point of clothes and necessaries. From the first intelligence Captain Lewis received of them he imagined the enemy’s numbers trifling and inconsiderable; and, in order to better his chance of coming up with them, stripped and ordered his men to follow his example. In that condition he soon overtook them, but was obliged to make a very precipitate retreat—the enemy getting near the fort almost as soon as he did. He has applied to me in behalf of his men, to get them supplied out of the public stores, for what they lost; but as I had no directions in such case, cou’d not let them have any thing, altho’ I thought they deserved it. They have likewise applied for the reward of the scalp they took,—which I have sent your Honor, and hope they will by Mr. Byrd’s return receive it which will greatly encourage them. Enclosed is a copy of Doctr. Ross’s Letter respecting the provisions at Fort Cumberland. I am, Sir, &c.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
24 October, 1757.
Your favour of the 19th instant was delivered to me this evening.
The raising a company of Rangers, or augmenting our strength in some other manner, is so far necessary, that without it, the remaining inhabitants of this (once fertile and populous) valley will scarcely be detained at their dwellings ’till the Spring. And, if there is no Expedition to the westward then,—nor a force more considerable than Virginia can support, posted on our frontiers (if we still adhere to our destructive, defensive schemes,) there will not, next campaign I dare affirm, be one soul living on this side the Blue Ridge the ensuing autumn; unless it be the Troops in Garrison, and a few inhabitants of this town, who may shelter themselves under the protection of this fort.—This I know to be the immovable determination of all the settlers of this County; which to give a more succinct account of than I cou’d in writing, was the principal among many other reasons that induced me to ask leave to come down. It was not to enjoy a party of pleasure I wanted leave of absence; I have been indulged with few of those, winter or summer! I must here add, that an incredible number of Inhabitants has fled in consequence of the two last incursions of the Enemy, of which your Honor has already been advertised. And that I have taken indefatigable pains, and found it no easy task to prevail on the bulk of the country to wait the consultations of this winter, and the event of this Spring. I do not know on whom this miserable and undone people are to rely for redress. If the Assembly are to give it to them, it is time that measures were concerting; if we are to seek it of the Commander-in-chief, it is time our grievances were made known to him: for as I before said, another campaign, such as was the last, will depopulate this country. Then let the consequences be considered,—where are we to get supplies of provisions for our armies, when this valley which is the only support of them, is entirely abandoned to an Enemy, which by that means will be entirely possessed of every thing necessary to pursue their conquest; and that the adjacent counties will fly much faster than this, not being half so well settled, is a fact indisputable.
I shall also add, what I did not in my last (lest it shou’d be thought I spoke from prejudice) that Captain Hog is the most unfit person in the world, to raise and command a company of Rangers.—He in the first place is generally disliked,—were he not, he has neither activity, spirit or knowledge enough of the woods, to answer this end. And again, the men most proper for such an undertaking would be backward to enlist under him, fearing his discipline; whereas, I conceive, a person in some degree upon a level with themselves wou’d have it in his power to engage for the good pay which is offered, huntsmen, who have been used to arms from their childhood, and in a particular manner acquainted with the country from which many have been drove.
These are my reasons against Capt. Hog, and in behalf of some such person as Mr. Rutherford—to whom I have no particular attachment, or desire to serve. He refuses to accept of the second command.
I have expressed my sentiments upon this latter, as well as the first affair, with the utmost candor and sincerity; in doing which I conceive I have done no more than my duty.—The whole is submitted to your Honor’s better judgment.
Yesterday arrived here the Indians spoken of in the enclosed (copies of letters which came with them to me) I purchased four Horses, bridles, and saddles, for £14., and send them off to-day, escorted by an officer who is charged with the care of conducting them thro’ this Colony. The Cherokees that were on the Branch, are on their return to their nation, having left this for that purpose several days ago. They met (about 8 miles beyond Fort Cumberland) a party of Indians under command of a French cadet, whom they engaged. The French cadet was killed and scalped,—his orders found, which Captain Dagworthy detained, without even sending me a copy of them. I understand, however he was ordered to take a view of Fort Cumberland and then proceed into the Inhabitants, to kill, captivate, and lay waste the country.
Mr. Kennedy I shall appoint in the place of Mr. Hamilton. I am, &c.
P. S. Your Honor has not mentioned what pay the officers commissioned and non-commission’d, are to have.
I cou’d settle the provisions in dispute at Fort Cumberland, with Doctor Ross upon no other terms than these;—He is to replace the flour and so much of the beef as the Marylanders used at this place, and to pay for the flour and beans,—The remainder of the beef I must have transported to the Branch.
TO JOHN ROBINSON, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF BURGESSES.
Fort Loudoun, 25 October, 1757.
I applied to the Governor for leave to come down in order to settle my accounts before he left the country, and to represent the melancholy situation of our distressed frontiers, which no written narrative can so well describe, as a verbal account to a judicious person inclined to hear. In a verbal account, the questions resulting from one relation beget others, ’till matters are perfectly understood; whereas the most explicit writing will be found deficient. But his Honor was pleased to deny his leave, thinking my request unreasonable, and that I had some party of pleasure in view.
I have, in a letter by this conveyance, endeavored to set in as clear a point of light as I am able, the situation of our frontiers, and the disposition of the inhabitants, to the governor; and shall endeavor also, in as succinct a manner as possible, to make you sensible of both.
In doing which it will be necessary to observe to you that the inhabitants of this fertile, and (once) populous valley, are now become our most western settlers, save the few families that are forted on the Branch; that the enemy have, in great measure, ceased committing hostilities on the Branch, and fallen upon the people of this valley; and that a considerable part of them have already removed. This, by persons unacquainted with the country, and the enemy we have to deal with, may be attributed to the cowardice of the inhabitants, or inactivity of the soldiers, but by others it will be imputed to neither. No troops in the universe can guard against the cunning and wiles of Indians. No one can tell where they will fall, till the mischief is done, and then ’t is in vain to pursue. The inhabitants see, and are convinced of this, which makes each family afraid of standing in the gap of danger; and by retreating, one behind another, they depopulate the country, and leave it to the enemy, who subsist upon the plunder. This, Sir, is a matter of fact which you may depend on from me; and further, if we pursue a defensive plan next campaign, there will not, by the autumn, be one soul living on this side of the Blue Ridge, except the soldiers in garrison, and such of the inhabitants as may seek shelter therein. This, Sir, I know to be the immovable determination of the people; and, believe me, when I tell you, that I have been at great pains, before I could prevail on them to wait the consultations of this winter, and the event of spring.
I do not know on whom those miserable, undone people are to rely for redress. If the Assembly are to give it to them, it is time that measures at least were concerting, and not when they should be going into execution, as has always been the case. If they are to seek it from the Commander-in-chief, it is time our grievances were made known to him; for I cannot forbear repeating again, that while we pursue defensive measures we pursue inevitable ruin, the loss of the country being the inevitable and fatal consequence. There will be no end to our troubles, while we follow this plan, and every year will increase our expense. This, my dear Mr. Speaker, I urge not only as an officer, but as a friend, who has property in the country and is unwilling to lose it. This it is, also, that makes me anxious for doing more than barely represent, which is all that is expected of an officer commanding.
It is not possible for me to convey a just sense of the posture of our affairs. It would be vanity to attempt it. I, therefore, content myself with entreating you to use your influence to prevent such delays, as we have hitherto met with, if you think this affair depends upon the Assembly. If you think the Assembly have done what they are able, and that recourse must be had elsewhere, I am determined, as I will neither spare cost nor pains, to apply to Colonel Stanwix (who commands on this quarter, with whom I am acquainted, and from whom I have received several kind and affectionate letters,) for leave to wait on him with an account of our circumstances.
Through these means, perhaps, we may be able to draw a little of Lord Loudoun’s attention to the preservation of these colonies.
Pray let me have your sentiments1 in respect to these affairs. I have not time to put my thoughts on these matters in a proper dress. The bearer is in waiting, and I am in other respects hurried. But the truth of what I have asserted, believe me, is unquestionable; as well as that I am, with the most affectionate regards, your most obedient servant and friend.
TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Fort Loudoun, 5 November, 1757.
Duty to my country, and his Majesty’s interest, indispensably require, that I again trouble your Honor on the subject of Indian affairs here, which have been impeded and embarrassed by such a train of mismanagement, as a continuance of which must inevitably produce melancholy consequences.
The sincere disposition the Cherokees have betrayed to espouse our cause heartily has been demonstrated beyond the most distant doubt; and, if rewarded in the manner in which that laudable and meritorious disposition entitles them to, would, in all human probability, soon effect a favorable change in the present (apparently) desperate situation of this poor unhappy part of his Majesty’s dominions.
But, in the stead of meeting with that great encouragement, which the essential services of that brave people undoubtedly merit, several of them, after having undergone the rudest toils and fatigues of an excessively long march, destitute of the conveniences and almost necessaries of life, and, (to give us still more convincing proofs of their strong attachment to our interest) in that very situation went to war, and in the way behaved nobly (from which we have reaped a signal advantage,) and when they returned here, with an enemy’s scalp, baggage and other trophies of honor, they must have gone home without any kind of reward or thanks, or even provisions to support them on their march, justly fired with the highest resentment for their mal-treatment, had not I and my officers strained a point, procured them some things, of which they were in absolute want, and made it the object of our care, in various respects, to please them.1
Another party of those Indians since opportunely arrived to our assistance, at the very juncture the enemy made an irruption into this settlement, pursued their tracks, came up with three of them, two of whom they scalped, and wounded the third. They are now returned from this pursuit, and are nearly in the same situation with those abovementioned. I applied to Captain Gist in their behalf, and told him I must represent the matter to your Honor. But he assures me, he has neither goods to reward them, money to procure them, or even an interpreter, which totally incapacitates him for doing any kind of service. If so (which I have no reason to doubt) it is surprising, that any man should be entrusted with the negotiating such important affairs, and not be possessed of the means to accomplish the undertaking. By which he, and several others, who received high pay from Virginia, are not only rendered useless, but our interests with those Indians is at the brink of destruction. Whenever a party of them arrive here, they immediately apply to me; but I have neither any thing to give them, nor any right to do it. Nor is there anybody to inform them to what these and their other disappointments are owing; which reduces me to a dilemma, as I would most gladly be extricated from.
I must likewise beg leave to mention to your Honor once more the vast hardships, many of the people groan under here, having been so long kept out of the money, that the country owes them on account of the Indians.
When I proposed going down to Williamsburg, many of them brought their accounts to me, which I intended, (had your Honor given me liberty,) to lay before your Honor. I mention this circumstance, not with any view of being employed in examining and paying off those accounts, (which for many reasons I can by no means undertake,) but in hope that your Honor will be pleased to give directions to and denominate some person for that purpose, for the neglect of which so many poor people greatly suffer.1 I am, &c.
end of vol. i.
[1 ]“As your people are enlisted with the money raised for his Majesty’s service, and paid with the same, and incorporated into a regiment in his pay, I conceive they are subject to the articles of war, and all other regulations as his Majesty’s more immediate regular forces. In this opinion, the Attorney-General agrees with me.”—Dinwiddie to Washington, 26 January, 1757.
[1 ]Sparks very properly suggests that this word should be militia.
[1 ]Mr. Cunningham, aid-de-camp to Lord Loudoun, acknowledged the receipt of this letter on the 27th of February, and added: “His Lordship seems very much pleased with the accounts you have given him of the situation of affairs to the southward.”
[1 ]In a letter, dated on the 5th of April, Governor Dinwiddie, believing that Gov. Sharpe had already directed Fort Cumberland to be garrisoned by Maryland troops, had ordered the immediate evacuation of the place by the Virginia troops; and also, that two hundred men should be forthwith despatched to Fredericksburg, under Colonel Stephen, destined by direction of Lord Loudoun for South Carolina, where an attack from the enemy was apprehended, both by sea and on the frontiers. In another letter dated on the 7th, the Governor had reiterated his orders. In this dilemma a council of war was called, who decided that the fort ought not to be evacuated, till the Maryland forces under Captain Dagworthy should arrive.
[1 ]One hundred and twenty-four Catawbas had arrived, without notice, at Fort Cumberland on the 8th. The two Catawbas were killed while “pleasuring in a canoe some distance from the fort.”—Penn. Col. Records, vii., 502. The Catawbas and Cherokees were to go on an expedition against the Shawnees.
[1 ]The governor discontinued the two per cent commission, but allowed Washington an additional sum of £200 a year for his table and expenses.
[1 ]The Assembly, “having considered the great expense the Virginia regiment has cost the country from the number of companies it has consisted of, and those companies not half complete in proportion to the vast charge of officers,” remodelled its form, and made it consist of ten companies of 100 men each, reducing all Captains but seven. The force was distributed as follows:—
Washington was to remain at Winchester, and was deprived of all “concern with or management of Indian affairs,” Mr. Atkin being appointed the King’s agent to take charge of all affairs relating to the Indians, who inhabited the country between Pennsylvania and Georgia.
[1 ]“When I proceed to the southward, I shall appoint some person to act for me in this colony according to my instructions during my absence, who I believe will be Capt. Gist, who resigns his post in the Virginia regiment. He is so well recommended to me, and does I believe understand the Indian affairs so much better than any man else I can find or hear of in this colony, that I hope he will give satisfaction to all that will be interested in his behaviour.”—Atkin to Gov. Sharpe, 30 June, 1757.
[1 ]Washington’s experience with Indian allies was not such as to give him great confidence in them. “The Catawbas have been of little use, but a great expence to this Colony, and are now gone home. The Cherokees, I apprehend, will follow their example. There is a party of 70 or 80 of them, with some soldiers, now out commanded by Major Lewis of the regiment; but I expect very little from them, as I conceive it will scarcely be in the power of the officers to carry them far enough to do much service.”—To Col. Stanwix, 28 May, 1757.
[2 ]In his letter to Dinwiddie he says Cherokee.
[1 ]Warhatche (spelt also Wawhatchee, and probably the Wahawtehew mentioned by Dinwiddie) was chief of all the Southern Cherokee towns. Atkin described him as the “greatest rogue among them, most certainly of unbounded avarice, well and long known to me in particular, and not having the least regard for the English, further than he can get presents from them.” The cause of the separation mentioned by Washington is fully described in a letter from Atkin to Croghan in Penn. Archives, iii., 175.
[2 ]“I fear that the different colonies’ struggling with each other for their assistance, will be productive of very great evils; and, in the end, introduce insupportable expence to these governments or to the crown. Maryland hath already held treaties with, and given presents to them. Pennsylvania hath sent speeches to them and offers presents (and to the latter a great part is now gone). The consequence is that these savages look upon themselves in a more important light than ever, and have behaved very insolently thereupon.”—To Dinwiddie, 10 June, 1757.
[1 ]“That matter which I hinted to you about Mercer is since cleared up. He borrowed £250 by my order, and for the use of the public, while he remained at this place & was ordered to Fort Cumberland, and went off from here without rendering me any account of it, so that I was liable for payment and unacquainted with the disbursement.”—To Robinson, 10 July, 1757.
[1 ]Colonel Stanwix was stationed by the Earl of Loudoun on the frontiers of Pennsylvania, with the command of five companies of the Royal American Regiment, and such troops as Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia might raise. He was now at Lancaster, but his head-quarters were afterwards at Carlisle.
[2 ]These officers were wounded, but the Indians killed them in “revenge for the death of the truly brave Swallow warrior.”
[1 ]“The Swallow fired first, knocked down an officer, and on springing up to scalp him, was unfortunately shot through the head.”—Armstrong to Gov. Denny, 19 June, 1757.
[1 ]Washington had recently been taken to task by the Governor for asking allowance for a greater number of batmen than Col. Stanwix had. “Surely Colo. Washington wont expect more than Colo. Stanwix, and surely it was your duty to inform me of this and conform your regiment to the allowance given the [Royal] Americans; and pray, how shall I appear to Lord Loudoun on my report of our regiment, when so widely different from that he commands. . . . You know the clamor of the people in regard to the vast expense, and it’s your duty as well as mine to make all prudent savings.”—Dinwiddie to Washington, 1 June, 1757.
[1 ]Six Cherokee Indians came to Fort Cumberland, and told Captain Dagworthy, that they saw the French near Fort Duquesne coming in that direction with wagons and great guns. “Three Indians,” wrote Washington to County Lieutenants, “are come in wounded, and saw the French army this side of Monongahela, near the place of Gen’l Braddock’s defeat, so that the truth of this report is I believe, unquestionable.” An attack was apprehended, the country alarmed, the militia called out, and Colonel Stanwix’s regulars were put in motion; but it proved to be a false report.
[1 ]The Assembly had voted to increase the regiment to 1,200 men, and three companies of rangers of 100 men each, appropriating £80,000 for the establishment.
[1 ]“The storm which threatened us with such formidable appearances is, in a manner, blown over. It arose in a great measure from a misunderstanding (in Captn. Dagworthy) of the Indians for want of a proper interpreter. The Indians are nevertheless unanimous in asserting that a large body of French and Indians have marched from Fort Duquesne, but without artillery, and that they pursued the Rays Town road, which leads very conveniently to the three colonies of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.”—To Colo. Fairfax, 25 June, 1757. “I have since received various intelligence of their appearing at many different parts, widely distant from each other, at the same time, which inclines me to think that they have detached their principal force into many scalping parties.”—To Dinwiddie, 27 June, 1757.
[1 ]Commandant of the garrison at Fort Frederick in Maryland.
[2 ]Colonel Washington was in some sort under the command of Colonel Stanwix, but to what extent he did not know, as he had received no instructions on that head, and the Governor continued to issue his orders as formerly. At length the Governor wrote as follows:—“Colonel Stanwix being appointed commander-in-chief [of the middle and southern provinces], you must submit to his orders, without regard to any you have from me; he, being near the place, can direct affairs better than I can.”
[1 ]Also spelled Outacita. He was one of the most noted Cherokee chiefs of the day, and as early as 1721 was known as King of the Lower and Middle Cherokee settlements. In 1730 he visited England with Sir Alexander Cumming and entered into a treaty with George II. His name occurs frequently in connection with Indian affairs in the colonial records, and as late as July 1777 he signed the treaty of Holston.—Maxwell, Virginia Historical Register, v., 74.
[2 ]“If there should be any thing done in it [purchase of clothing], I hope, as it is a perquisite inseparable from the Colonel, that the country will allow it to me, especially since the Governor has stripped me of the only one that was allowed, and substituted a very inadequate reward in its room.”—To Robinson, 10 July, 1757.
[1 ]A person employed to ride express between Williamsburg and the army.
[1 ]“Our printing office is so closely engaged in printing the paper currency that I could not get the mutiny and desertion act in print.”—Dinwiddie to Washington, 18 July, 1757.
[1 ]The Post-office of the Colonies was at this time under the management of Franklin and Colonel John Hunter, and its service extended from Georgia to New Hampshire. The Assembly of Pennsylvania, when Braddock marched west, had established a special post from Winchester to Philadelphia, “for the accommodation of the army chiefly”; but as early as August, 1756, Franklin had given notice that it must be discontinued unless supported by grants from Maryland and Virginia.—Franklin, Works, ii., 470. Governor Denny of Pennsylvania, asserted that Franklin took advantage of his official position to circulate his newspaper and receive intelligence free, “which he may make the best or worst use of in the present situation of affairs.”—Penn. Colonial Records, vii., 447.
[1 ]Upon the receipt of this letter Governor Sharpe at once issued circular instructions calling upon “all and every of the officers, both civil and military in Baltimore County” to use their best endeavors in securing the deserters.
[1 ]“Your Honor will, I hope, excuse my hanging instead of shooting them. It conveyed much more terror to others, and it was for example sake that we did it.”—To Dinwiddie, 3 Aug., 1757.
[1 ]Sergeant Fent, who had recently escaped from Fort Du Quesne. The Governor described him as “a well-behaved man.”
[1 ]In the letter to which this was an answer, the Governor had used much freedom of complaint and censure. “You have sent a detachment from the regiment to Augusta,” he observed, “but you do not mention the number; nor do you mention the receipt of the small arms sent from this; nor any account of the misunderstanding with the Indians at Winchester. You must allow this is a loose way of writing, and it is your duty to be more particular to me.”
[1 ]Captain Spotswood, with a party under him, had been cut off by the Indians.
[2 ]William Henry, the son of Col. Fairfax.
[1 ]The commission had not been solicited by Colonel Washington, nor was the application of Mr. Fairfax’s friends made through him, but directly to the Governor.
[1 ]The letter begins by detailing a conversation, which the writer had lately held with Mr. Charles Carter, of Shirley, respecting a transaction in which Captain Peachy had been concerned some months before, on a mission to Williamsburgh, when the frontiers were in great alarm from the incursions of the enemy; and then proceeds:—
[1 ]To this request, Governor Dinwiddie replied, in a letter dated September 24th:—
[1 ]Bryan Fairfax died 3 Sept., 1757.
[2 ]Charles Washington married Mildred, daughter of Col. Francis Thornton of Spotswood County. He laid out the town of Charlestown in Jefferson Co., W. Va.
[3 ]Tumbler is a provincialism for tumbrel.
[1 ]Acknowledged by Dinwiddie as written on the 3d.
[1 ]“I cannot agree to allow you leave to come down at this time. You have been frequently indulged with leave of absence. You know the fort is to be finished, and I fear when you are away little will be done; and surely the commanding officer should not be absent when daily alarmed with the enemy’s intentions to invade our frontiers, and I think you were wrong in asking it. You have no accounts that I know of to settle with me; and what accounts you have to settle with the country may be done at a more proper time.”—Dinwiddie to Washington, 19 October, 1757.
[1 ]From the time that the Virginia regiment was organized, it had been Colonel Washington’s opinion, that an offensive war should be kept up against the enemy. In this sentiment Governor Dinwiddie agreed with him, and he urged upon Lord Loudoun the advantage of an expedition against Fort Duquesne. But the great operations at the north absorbed his Lordship’s attention, and he placed the whole southern frontier upon the defensive. Hence the enemy made perpetual inroads, committing murders and ravages. Considering the weak state of the garrison at Fort Duquesne, a large portion of which had been withdrawn to defend the Canada borders, it was deemed an object of easy attainment, as no doubt it was, for Colonel Stanwix, with his five hundred Royal Americans, in conjunction with the Virginia and Maryland troops, to seize that Fort. This would have effectually put a stop to all the savage depredations. But such were not his orders, and nothing was done. The Indians were emboldened by this inactivity, and the frontier inhabitants were molested in every quarter.—Sparks.
[1 ]The Speaker, at the conclusion of his answer to this letter, after mentioning the Governor’s intended departure, writes:—
[1 ]It will be remembered, that Colonel Washington was not now charged with Indian affairs, nor furnished with any instructions on that head. An agent had been appointed for the purpose.
[1 ]This was his last letter to Governor Dinwiddie. It was duly answered, and further provisions were made for the Indians.