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