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, 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.
[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.