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TO COLONEL STANWIX. - 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 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.
[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.