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1758. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. II (1758-1775) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. II (1758-1775).
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TO JOHN BLAIR, PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL.1
Fredericksburg, the 31st Jany., 1758.
I wrote to your Honor yesterday.2 Since which your favor of the 25th is come to hand, I am greatly distressed to know what conduct to observe with regard to the Indians that are coming to our assistance. I would notwithstanding the ill state of health I am in, go directly to Winchester, cou’d I flatter myself that the Service wou’d reap any real advantage from it; but as I am not entrusted with the management of Indian Affairs, farther than directing their war-route’s (and even here, they are governed by caprice and whim rather than by real design), I am of opinion, I should only share in Mr. Gist’s embarrassments, without rendering him, the desired assistance. Because, if he informs me rightly, he is in no wise prepared for the reception of such a party, either with arms, or proper goods, and how he can be timely supplied with either, I know not. But this I am certain of; that were I on the spot, all their disappointments would be attributed to me, as they look upon the commanding officer to be culpable in all those cases.
Never was any thing more unlucky, perhaps, than these Indians coming at this time, having very little to apprehend, and the season being too rigorous to admit of incursions into the Enemy’s country. If they were sent out to war, it is more than probable that they would return to their nation as soon as they came in; by which means we should need their assistance in the Spring, when they would be of infinite service in offensive or defensive measures; and to feed and clothe them thro’ the winter, if they could be prevailed with to stay, would be attended with great expence.
Upon the whole, it appears to be a very ill judged step, the sending them in at this time and an affair of so much importance, that I do not care to meddle in it, without particular instructions from your Honor.
I have dispatched a special messenger to Mr. Gist, apprizing him of this matter, and shall wait at this place for your Orders, as to my own conduct. I am, &c.1
TO COLONEL STANWIX.
Mount Vernon, 4 March, 1758.
My Dear Colonel,
Your favors of the 13th January and the 24th ultimo, with the extract of a letter from Lord Loudoun, were this day delivered to me. In the latter you condescend to ask my opinion of Major Smith. Pray, does not his plan sufficiently indicate the man? Can there be a better index to his abilities, than his scheme for reducing the enemy on the Ohio, and his expeditious march of a thousand men to Detroit? Surely, he intended to provide them with wings to facilitate their passage over so mountainous and extensive a country, or what way else could he accomplish it in?
I am unacquainted with the navigation of the rivers he proposes to traverse, and, consequently, cannot be a competent judge of his scheme in this respect; but the distance is so great, and that through an enemy’s country, that, I candidly confess, it appears to me a romantic plan, in general, that may exist in the imagination, but cannot be executed. For, if we are strong enough to attempt the reduction of the Ohio, what necessity is there for our making such a circuitous march, and leaving Fort Duquesne behind us, which is the source from whence flow all our ills? And if we are too weak to attempt this place, what have we not to dread from leaving it in our rear?
These, Sir, are my sentiments upon Major Smith’s plan. With regard to the person, if I have been rightly informed, he actually had a commission to command a ranging company, and obtained it by making promises, he never could comply with. He was adjudged, by persons better acquainted with him than I am, to be quite unfit to command even a company, and lost the Block-House, in which he commanded, by suffering his men to straggle from it at pleasure, which the Indians observing, took advantage of his weakness, and attacked him at a time when he had no men in his works. It is, nevertheless, agreed on all hands, that he made a gallant defence, but I never before heard of any capitulation that was granted to him.
I have not had the pleasure of seeing Major Smith, though I have been favored with a letter from him, in which he politely professes some concern at hearing of my indisposition, as it prevented him from seeing me at Winchester; but desires, at the same time, that I will attend him at his house in Augusta, about two hundred miles hence! or in Williamsburg by the 20th instant, when, I suppose, he intends to honor me with his orders.1
I have never been able to return to my command, since I wrote to you last, my disorder at times returning obstinately upon me, in spite of the efforts of all the sons of Æsculapius, whom I have hitherto consulted. At certain periods I have been reduced to great extremity, and have now too much reason to apprehend an approaching decay, being visited with several symptoms of such a disease.
I am now under a strict regimen, and shall set out to-morrow for Williamsburg to receive the advice of the best physicians there. My constitution is certainly greatly impaired, and as nothing can retrieve it, but the greatest care and the most circumspect conduct, as I now have no prospect left of preferment in the military way, and as I despair of rendering that immediate service, which my country may require from the person commanding their troops, I have some thoughts of quitting my command, and retiring from all public business, leaving my post to be filled by some other person more capable of the task, and who may, perhaps, have his endeavors crowned with better success than mine have been. But, wherever I go, or whatever becomes of me, I shall always possess the sincerest and most affectionate regards for you; being, dear Sir, your most obedient and obliged humble servant.1
TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL STANWIX.
Fort Loudoun, 10 April, 1758.
Permit me,—at the same time that I congratulate you, (which I most sincerely do) on your promotion, you have met with and justly merited,—to express my concern at the prospect of parting with you. I can truly say, it is a matter of no small regret to me, and that I should have thought myself happy in serving this campaign under your immediate command. But every thing, I hope, is ordered for the best, and it is our duty to submit to the will of our superior. I must, nevertheless, beg, that you will add one more kindness to the many I have experienced, and that is, to mention me in favorable terms to General Forbes,1 (if you are acquainted with that gentleman,) not as a person, who would depend upon him for further recommendation to military preferment, for I have long conquered all such inclinations, (and serve this campaign merely for the purpose of affording my best endeavors to bring matters to a conclusion), but as a person, who would gladly be distinguished in some measure from the common run of provincial officers, as I understand there will be a motley herd of us.
Nothing can contribute more to his Majesty’s interest in this quarter, than an early campaign, or a speedy junction of the troops to be employed in this service. Without this, I fear the Indians will with difficulty be restrained from returning to their nation before we assemble, and, in that event, no words can tell how much they will be missed. It is an affair of great importance, and ought to claim the closest attention of the commanding officer; for on the assistance of these people does the security of our march very much depend.
There should be great care taken, also, to lay in a supply of proper goods for them. The Indians are mercenary; every service of theirs must be purchased; and they are easy offended, being thoroughly sensible of their own importance. Upwards of five hundred are already come to this place, the greatest part of whom are gone to war. Many others are daily expected, and we have neither arms nor clothes (proper) to give them. Nor, indeed, is it reasonable to expect, that the whole expense accruing on account of these people should fall upon this government, which hath already in this as well as in many other respects, exerted her utmost abilities for his Majesty’s interest, and, in the present case, shares only an equal proportion of the advantages arising from Indian services.
These crude thoughts are hastily thrown together. If you find any thing contained in them, which may be useful, be pleased to improve them for his Majesty’s interest. The latitude which you have hitherto allowed me, joined to my zeal for the service, has encouraged me to use this freedom with you, Sir, which I should not choose to take unasked with another.
If it is not inconsistent, I should be glad before I conclude to ask what regular troops are to be employed under Brigadier-General Forbes, and when they may be expected? Also, where they are to rendezvous.
Fort Frederic, I hear, is mentioned for this purpose, and, in my humble opinion, a little improperly. In the first place, because the country people all around are fled, and the troops will, consequently, lack those refreshments so needful to soldiers. In the next place, I am fully convinced there never can be a road made between Fort Frederic and Fort Cumberland, that will admit the transportation of carriages. For I have passed it with many others, who were of the same opinion; and lastly, because this is the place [Fort Loudoun] to which all Indian parties, either going to, or returning from war, will inevitably repair.
I am with most sincere esteem, dear Sir, your most obedient and obliged humble servant.
TO MAJOR FRANCIS HALKET.
Fort Loudoun, 12 April, 1758.
My dear Halket,
Are we to have you once more among us? And shall we revisit together a hapless spot, that proved so fatal to many of our (former) brave companions? Yes; and I rejoice at it, hoping it will now be in our power to testify a just abhorrence of the cruel butcheries exercised on our friends, in the unfortunate day of General Braddock’s defeat; and, moreover, to show our enemies, that we can practise all that lenity of which they only boast, without affording any adequate proofs at all.
To cut short, I really feel a degree of satisfaction upon the prospect of meeting you again, although I have scarce time to tell you so, as the express is waiting.
I am with most sincere regard, dear Sir, yours, &c.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL.
Fort Loudoun, 17 April, 1758.
An unlucky, but unavoidable accident happened in the neighborhood of Patterson’s fort the other day.
The proceedings of an examining court of officers on that occasion (which are herewith sent) will bring your Honor acquainted with the circumstances. I caused a very strict enquiry to be made into the conduct of Mr. Chew, that equal justice might be done to the dead and to the living; and it appeared that Mr. Chew had acted with great spirit and activity in pursuing the tracks of those people; and that in shooting them (altho’ it was unlucky in the event) he had done nothing that was not strictly warrantable, Lane and Cox appearing both in dress, disguise and behavior, to be no other than Indians.
I think it incumbent on me to be informed by your Honor, how the regiment under my command is to be furnished with tents, ammunition, cartridge-paper, and many other requisites, that may be wanted in the course of the campaign. We expect it is here to be furnished with all those articles from his Majesty’s stores, but it is necessary for me to learn this from your Honor.
Captain Joshua Lewis, of the Virginia regiment has applied to me for leave to resign, urging as a reason, that his interest lies in the navy, and if longer neglected, it may be very detrimental to him. He has therefore obtained my consent to do so, and my promise of mentioning the thing to your Honor.
Captn. Thomas Bullet will in this event, by seniority, succeed to his company; which with the death of Lt. Milner, and the removal of Mr. Wm. Henry Fairfax to the northward, cause two or three vacancies (to be filled up, I hope, by the volunteers who have served for that purpose) and some promotions of Ensigns to Lieutenants, which will require at least half a dozen blank commissions. I therefore beg the favor of your Honor to send them to me; and you may depend, that in filling them, I shall have strict regard to justice, and will act conformably to the rules of the army. I have, at this time, four or five blank commissions of Govr. Dinwiddie’s signing, but they are now useless.
The last Assembly, in their Supply Bill, provided for a chaplain to our regiment, for whom I had often very unsuccessfully applied to Governor Dinwiddie. I now flatter myself, that your Honor will be pleased to appoint a sober, serious man for this duty. Common decency, Sir, in a camp calls for the services of a divine, and which ought not to be dispensed with, altho’ the world should be so uncharitable as to think us void of religion, and incapable of good instructions.
I now enclose a monthly return for March, and am, honorable Sir, your most obedient, humble servant.
TO SIR JOHN ST. CLAIR.
Fort Loudoun, the 18 April, 1758.
Your letter of the 13th addressed to Captain Bullet, came to my hands about an hour ago. I have not words to express the great pleasure I feel, at finding General Forbes and yourself so heartily disposed to please the Indians, who are our steady friends and valuable allies.1
Mr. Gist will send you a return of the number of Indians who have come to our assistance,—of what nations they are composed; how many are gone to war; and what number is yet expected in; and I shall enclose you a return of the Virginia Regiment, for the month of March last. The Indians seem hearty in our cause, and full of spirits at the prospect of an Expedition, which they have long been wishing for. But I fear the rendezvous of the troops at the mouth of Conococheague will give them some disgust; because from long use, this place is become perfectly known and familiar to them; and it is here they repair upon every occasion. Here, also all their scouting parties, that are gone to war, will return, and at this place, the earliest intelligence of occurrencies on the frontiers, will always arrive.
I have taken great pains to encourage all that have gone to war, since my return here to take each a prisoner; and if they should get more than one, to keep them asunder; which they have promised to do.1
That part of your letter relative to the building flats, I have communicated to Lt. Smith, and we shall endeavor to get plank and other materials in readiness; but at the same time I must observe, that all the men of this garrison are employed (by authority of this government) in finishing the works here; and I do not know how far my conduct may be justified in withdrawing them from them, as I have received no order from the President to regard any instructions but his own.
I now flatter myself, that this settlement will be able to furnish a pretty number of waggons, & willingly; but what quantity of forage may be had, I am unable to say. I have, however, made your desires known to the people on this occasion.
I have advice, that our Assembly have voted 2,000 men for the expedition; who are to be commanded by General Forbes, besides militia, for the security of the frontiers; and that they have also voted an additional fund of £6,000 for Indian expences.1
Your express with letters of the 7th came safe to this place, on the 12th in the Evening, and was dispatched early next morning. I am, &c.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL.
Fort Loudoun, 24 April, 1758.
Your letter of the 19th instant, intended to come by Colonel Stephen, was delivered me to-day about noon by express. As there are several matters contained in it of an interesting nature, I chose to be aided in my determinations by the advice of my officers, and have enclosed your Honor their and my opinion on the several heads.
I could by no means think of executing, (willingly,) that discretionary power, with which you were pleased to invest me, of ordring out the militia.1 It is an affair, Sir, of too important and delicate a nature for me to have the management of; for much discontent will be the inevitable consequence of this draft.
Your Honor will no longer be at a loss for a return, after you receive my letter by Jenkins; and lest any accident may have happened to that, I herewith enclose another for the same month.
When the relief of our outposts in Augusta marches, Major Lewis, who commands on that quarter, should be advised thereof, and he will order them to their stations.
That was a most extraordinary request of Colonel Mercer, concerning the exchange of officers, and calculated, it would seem, rather to breed confusion, and to gratify his own vanity, than to benefit the other regiment.2 There is not an ensign there, that would not rather quit the service, than accept of a company in the other regiment, so much do they disapprove Colonel Mercer’s proposal; and I have neither inclination nor power to force their compliance.
Captain Rutherford’s company was raised and posted on this quarter by Governor Dinwiddie’s express orders, and can be more useful here, than any other men whatever, being all sons of the neighboring farmers, men of property, young, active, and entirely acquainted with the woods on these frontiers. Whereas, if they go to the southward, they will be utter strangers to the enemy’s haunts, and of no more use there, than the militia of an adjacent county; while their places here must be supplied by militia equally ignorant of these woods as they will be of any others; besides giving them a useless march of two hundred miles, and exposing the frontiers in the mean time. Another reason may be urged; their property all lies in this county. Interested motives induced them to enlist, and to be vigilant in defending it, and, I believe, they would desert, rather than go to the southward.
Your Honor will please to remember, it was one among the last questions, I had an opportunity of asking, if I should send parties a recruiting? You replied, “that, as the Assembly was so near meeting, you would defer giving any directions on that head,” and as I had no money for the purpose, I hope it will not seem surprising, that we have recruited but a few men since, and that I have been waiting for orders to complete the regiment. I shall now use my best endeavors, with what few officers, can be spared from the garrisons, (which will be very few, indeed!) dispersed as we are. I shall also be under a necessity of sending down for money to carry on this service; and should be glad that your Honor would order it to be ready immediately to prevent delay of the officer, who will set off to-morrow, or the next day after at the farthest. I am, &c.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL.
Fort Loudoun, 4 May, 1758.
The enclosed letter from Capt. Waggener, will inform your Honor of a very unfortunate affair. From the best accounts I have yet been able to get, there are about 60 persons killed and missing. Immediately upon receiving this Intelligence, I sent out a Detachment of the Regiment, and some Indians, that were equipped for war, in hopes of their being able to intercept the Enemy in the retreat. I was fearful of this stroke, but had not time enough to avert it, as your Honor will find by the following account which came to hand just before Capt. Waggener’s letter, by Captn. McKenzie.
Lieutenant Gist with 6 soldiers and 30 Indians marched the 2d of April from the South Branch; and after a tedious march (occasioned by the deep snows on the mountains) got on the waters of the Monongahela, where Mr. Gist was lamed by a fall from a steep bank, and rendered incapable of marching. The white people and some of the Indians remained with him; and the rest of the Indians divided themselves into three parties & separated. Ucahula and two more went down the Monongahela in a bark canoe and landed near Ft. Duquesne, on the north side, where they lay concealed for two days. At length an opportunity offered of attacking a canoe, in which were two French men fishing; those they killed and scalped in sight of two other canoes with French men in them, and came off safe.
When he got about 15 miles on this side Ft. Duquesne, he came upon a large Indian Encampment, from the size of which, and the number of tracks, judged to be at least 100, making directly for the frontiers of Virginia, as they again discovered by crossing their tracks.1
At present I have nothing more to add to your Honor, having written several times lately on matters, to which I have received no answer.
I had wrote thus far, and was going to send off an Express with this melancholy account, when I received advice, that the Particulars relative to those murders had been transmitted from Augusta, to your Honor. I thereupon thought it most advisable to postpone sending ’till I should receive answer to my several letters by Jenkins and Mr. Gist; which I was accordingly honored with, the 7th and last night.
May 10th. After due deliberation on your Honor’s letter of the 2d by Gist, I am of opinion, that the number of Militia you have ordered for the defence of the Posts, to be evacuated by the regiment, will be sufficient, unless the completing the works at this place should be thought necessary.
As it can not be supposed that the Enemy will attempt any formidable incursion after the march of our army; and as to the depredations to be feared from their small scalping-parties, it would be out of the power of thrice the proposed number (or indeed of any number) effectually to prevent them. But, as you are pleased to desire my opinion—I beg leave to offer a few things relative to the disposition you propose.
I humbly conceive therefore, that it would be infinitely more for the interest of the service, to order the 100 from Prince William to the South Branch, and continuing Rutherford’s company in its present station, making this its headquarters. For, as that company is perfectly acquainted with all that range of mountains, extending from the Potomack to the Augusta Line, and thro’ which the Enemy make incursions into this settlement, they could with greater facility obstruct their inroads and assist the inhabitants of this valley (of whom they themselves form a very great part) than those who are ignorant of the ground. The militia from Prince William, equally know the Branch and this vicinity, and therefore may be supposed to do as much there, as here; whereas moving Rutherford’s there, would be stripping them of those essential advantages which they may derive from their thorough knowledge of these parts, and removing them from defending their immediate rights (the sole motive of the enlisting).
One half of this company, were it continued here, might be constantly ranging, and the other left in this fort, which is centrical to their present station.
If the works here are to be completed, which from their great importance I should think highly necessary, in that event, an additional number of 60 or 80 good men from the militia, for that particular service, would be wanted; and I do not know any person so capable of directing the works as Major Joseph Stephen, of Caroline County. He formerly had the overlooking of them, and managed with remarkable industry.
A part of the militia ordered for the Branch should take post at Edwards’s (on Cacapehon) and at Pearsalls, for the security of convoys passing from hence to Fort Cumberland.
I really do not know what method can be practised to compel the country people to deliver up the public arms, unless there could be a general search in every county.
Governor Dinwiddie, if I remember right, issued two or three proclamations ordering them in, to no purpose.
With regard to opening the roads, I think it would be most advisable to postpone all attempts, ’till Sir Jno. St. Clair’s arrival, as he is expected so soon. For Pearsalls, altho’ it is the most convenient road for the Virginia, may not be used by the northern troops; as I understand their rendezvous is ordered at Fort Frederick in Maryland. This may also (altho’ I cannot yet absolutely say) render garrisons at Edwards and Pearsalls, useless, unless it be a few to preserve the forts and the families gathered into them.
As several of our best sergeants were made officers in the Carolina Regiment (besides some other vacancies in that Rank) parting with 10 for the use of the new Regiment will be a very great hardship at this juncture.
We are likewise short of our number of Drummers, and many of those we have are raw and untutored. As the General expects not regularity from the new levies, well knowing how little any attempts towards it, in a short time, would avail; I can not help being surprized at their requesting your Honor to give directions for doing what would be of no real service to the new Regiment, and would be of vast prejudice to that I have the honor to command.
In consequence of your orders for completing the Regiment (with all possible despatch) by recruiting, I sometime ago sent all the officers I could spare to those parts of the Country where there is the greatest probability of success and furnished them with all the money I had, and directions to draw upon me for whatever sum they might want for that service. I likewise engaged some of the most popular of the country gentlemen to recruit for me, giving them the same liberty to draw upon me. Well knowing the difficulty of getting any tolerable number in a short time, I exerted myself in prosecuting every measure, that afforded a prospect of success, having then not the least reason to doubt of being duly supplied with money: But how great is my surprise at that paragraph of your Honor’s letter, that you can not send me any for that service. As I had immediate demands upon me, which I put off until Mr. Gist’s arrival, I consulted with my officers about applying the £400, sent for contingencies, towards these demands; and enclose you their opinion on that head; and I must earnestly request, that you will be pleased to fall upon some measures of sending me 800 or 1,000£ more; as your honor, the honor of the Colony, as well as mine, and the officers, together with that of those gentlemen above-mentioned, whom I have employed, is so nearly and immediately interested in the completion of those engagements, which I have, in consequence of your orders, entered into. Surely it cannot be imagined that I can pay the money (if I had it to deposit) out of my own private fortune; nor does the shortness of the time, nor the circumstances I am under, admit of any other alternative.
I will chearfully bespeak, and can easily procure, the Stage Horses you desire—when furnished with money for that purpose.
As Jno. Berry was made a soldier (how legally the Court of Officers &c, that sent him can better declare) I must think it not only repugnant to law, but to the articles of War, and the customs of the army, to allow him to enlist in any other corps; for, by this means, if there were no other bad consequences attending it, he defrauds the Country of double-bounty-money.
I shall make a prudent use of the power you have been pleased to give me, respecting the issuing orders to the parties of militia.
Your favor of the 3d by Mr. French Mason, I have just been presented with; and would gladly have appointed him Ensign in the regiment, had not the vacancies been disposed of, in the following manner, before it came to hand, vizt.:
Capt. Lt. Bullet, to Joshua Lewis’s company—Mr. Duncanson, oldest Ensign, to the Lieutenancy occasioned by this removal: and Mr. Thomas Gist and Mr. Allen, volunteers, and John McCully & John Sallard, worthy Sergeants, (all of whom had served a considerable time with credit and reputation) to be Ensigns.—I had likewise before the receipt of yours, promised Major Hite, of this County, a gentleman of good character, the Colors that would become vacant; upon the event of Colo. Mercer’s Company being filled up; as he in consideration, had engaged to recruit 50 men, for the service—which I then thought would be a vast advantage. I am, &c.
TO MAJOR FRANCIS HALKET.
Fort Loudoun, 11 May, 1758.
I am this day favored with yours of the 4th instant, and would have thought myself extremely culpable and deficient in my duty, had I delayed one moment in transmitting to the General any intelligence I could procure; much less such a material one as that he has had information of. I must, therefore, beg that you will, from me, assure the General, the Catawbas have not this year brought in one prisoner or scalp to this place, nor indeed to any other that I ever heard of. There hath been no prisoner taken by any of our friendly Indians this season, and no scalps, except the two taken near Fort Duquesne by Ucahula, of which, and all the intelligence of the enemy in that quarter, which that young warrior was able to give, I, by the last post, sent to the General a full and circumstantial account. Nor would I have failed to have kept him duly informed of every interesting occurrence, even had it not been recommended to me.
It gave me no small uneasiness when I was informed of the resolution which some of the Cherokees had made of wandering towards the Indian settlements in Maryland and Pennsylvania, clearly foreseeing the bad consequences such a peregrination would produce. I therefore represented the matter to Captain Gist in the strongest manner, and must do him the justice to say, that nothing in his power was left unessayed to prevent it. But our efforts proved ineffectual, as those two provinces last year, very impolitically I humbly conceive, made those Indians presents, and encouraged their returning thither this spring. And such is the nature of Indians, that nothing will prevent their going where they have any reason to expect presents, and their cravings are insatiable when there is any farther prospect of getting a benefit.
I and my officers constantly have, and always will pay, the strictest regard to every circumstance, that may contribute to put and keep the Indians in a good humor. But, as Governor Dinwiddie ordered me not to meddle or interfere with Indian affairs on any pretence whatever, the sole management of them being left to Mr. Atkin and his deputy Mr. Gist, and those orders having never been countermanded, neither I, nor my officers, have adventured to do any thing relative to them, but in a secondary manner through Mr. Gist.
The Raven warrior was on a scout,1 in which he was unsuccessful. On his return hither, he produced two white men’s scalps, which he brought from his own nation, and wanted to pass them for the enemy’s, taken in his unsuccessful scout. In this villany he was detected by the other warriors, who were highly offended at so base a deceit, and threatened to kill him for it. A consciousness of his guilt, and a dread of being called to a severe account by his own countrymen, were the reasons which many of them assigned for his going away in so abrupt (but by no means dissatisfactory) a manner to the English.1 As Captain Bosomworth was here transacting Indian affairs, under the immediate orders of the Commander-in-chief, when the Raven warrior returned and was detected, I only wrote in mine to General Forbes superficially on the subject, referring to Captain Bosomworth for particulars imagining it more properly belonged to him to do so.
It gives me infinite pleasure, that the General seems (by the great pains he takes) to be so well satisfied of the importance their services will be of; but cannot help being under some uneasiness that it will be almost impracticable to keep them until they will be wanted. They say that they did not leave home with an intention of staying any considerable time, that they can see no appearance of our being soon able to take the field, that staying any time for our assembling, and afterwards for our slow motions, would detain them too long from their own nation; but that they would go home and be back again by the time they are wanted. These and many things to the same purpose are used by most of the parties that come in from war, as reasons for going off; and altho’ we have (here) done every thing in our power to remove these objections and to prevent their going, yet a party of 25 Cherokees went off this morning. But on receipt of your letter I followed them, told them it was from the General, and by its assistance at last prevailed on them to return. Yet I dread that unless they see the troops assemble soon, it will be very difficult if not impossible to retain any number of the Cherokees, altho’ nothing in my power will be wanting to prevent their leaving us, which might be of the most fatal consequences to this part of the continent.
Enclosed is my return for April, but you will please to observe that Captn. Woodward’s is made out from his last, as his great distance from hence puts it out of his power to send it in due time.
I beg you will inform the General, that I shall, with great alacrity, obey all the orders, with which he may honor me. In the mean time, I am, with unfeigned regard, dear Halket, yours, &c.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL.
Williamsburg, 28 May, 1758.
I came here at this critical juncture, by the express order of Sir John St. Clair, to represent in the fullest manner the posture of our affairs at Winchester, and to obviate any doubts, that might arise from the best written narrative. I shall make use of the following method, as the most effectual I can at present suggest, to lay sundry matters before you, for your information, approbation, and direction. And I hope, when your Honor considers how we are circumstanced and how absolutely necessary [is] despatch, that you will please to give me explicit and speedy answers, on the several points which are submitted. For without the latter the service will be greatly impeded, and wanting the former, my conduct may be liable to error and to censure. To begin:
1st. Sir John St. Clair’s letter will, I apprehend, inform your Honor of our principal wants, namely, arms, tents, and other sorts of field-equipage,—articles so absolutely and obviously necessary, as to need no argument to prove, that the men will be useless without them, and that the vast sums of money which have been expended in levying and marching them to the place of rendezvous, will be entirely lost, besides impeding if not defeating the expedition, and losing every Indian now on our frontiers by delay.
2. The officers will be entirely unprovided with the means of taking the field, till they have an allowance made to them of baggage, forage, and bat-money. Governor Dinwiddie, from what cause I could never yet learn, thought proper to discontinue this allowance to the companies that remained in Virginia, at the same time that he allowed it to those who went to Carolina, although I produced evidence under General Stanwix’s hand, (the then commanding officer on this quarter) that all officers were entitled to it, and that it was indispensably necessary to equip them for, and enable them to take the field. General Forbes has obtained this allowance for the Pennsylvania troops, and desired Sir John St. Clair (who has given me a copy of it signed) to urge it strongly on this government also. See the copy.
3. The different pay of the two Virginia regiments will, I conceive, if a stop is not put to it, be productive of great discontent, and many evils. For the soldiers of the first regiment think their claim upon the country equally good, if not better than that of the second, because their services are not limited.1 They have lacked the great bounty, which the others have received, and have had no clothes for near two years, when in strictness they have an annual call for and an equal right to expect them.
4. As our regimental clothing cannot possibly last the campaign, will it not be advisable to send for a supply against next winter? I have sent to Philadelphia for one thousand pair of Indian stockings, (leggings), the better to equip my men for the woods; and should be glad to know whether I am to pay for them in behalf of the country, or deduct the cost out of their pay. As they have not received the clothing they are entitled to, they may think this latter rather hard.
5. Should not the pay of the surgeon’s mates in the first regiment be equal to that of those in the second? The latter have four and the former only three shillings per day, and should there not be the same number of surgeon’s mates allowed to the old as are to the new regiment?
6. It will cause great dissatisfaction in the regiment, if Lieutenant Baker is put over the heads of older officers. It is granted, that Mr. Baker is a very deserving officer, but there are others equally deserving, and have adventured equally to seek glory, and to merit applause. Ensign Chew, for instance, was with him when the scalps were taken; Capt. McKenzie, Lt. Gist, Mr. Woodward and many others have adventured as far into the enemy’s country, tho’ with less success. I therefore hope (to prevent the disorders consequent upon his advancement) that your Honor will suffer Colo. Mercer’s company to be given to Mr. Stewart, the oldest Lieutenant, as Captn. Lewis’ in the like case was to Mr. Bullet.
7. Sir John St. Clair directs in consequence of orders from the General, that the first Virginia regiment shall immediately be completed, and leaves the mode of doing it to your Honor. I should be glad of direction in this affair. The season, I fear, is too far advanced to attempt it now by recruiting.
8. Lt. Steenbugen, having been guilty of several irregular and ungentlemanly practices, and finding his conduct was about to be inquired into, begged leave to resign, which I granted so far as depended upon me; because the crimes he was then accused of, were not sufficient to break him, altho’ quite sufficient to give the whole corps the most indifferent opinion of his morals. This resignation, and Captn. Lt. Stewart’s promotion will cause two vacancies in the regiment; to fill up which, and to make the several promotions hereby occasioned will require five blank commissions.
9. I should be glad to know if the works at Fort Loudoun are still to go on? In what manner to be forwarded, and under whose direction? Nothing surely will contribute more to the public weal, than his fort when completed; because it will be a valuable repository for our stores, if the event of our enterprise prove successful, and an asylum for the inhabitants, (and place of retreat for our troops,) in case of a defeat.
10. Great advantages must consequently arise, by appointing Lieutenant Smith to that direction, and to the command of Fort Loudoun. First, because he has had the overlooking of the works for nearly two years, is, by that means, become perfectly well acquainted with every thing intended to be done, and is exceedingly industrious. Secondly, because there must necessarily be many sick and lame soldiers left at that garrison, who may require the eye of a diligent officer to keep them together. Thirdly, because all the regimental stores and baggage must be left at that place, and ought to be under the care of an officer, who can be made accountable for his conduct; and not left to the mercy of an ungovernable and refractory militia. And fourthly, it is necessary, if for no other reason than to preserve the materials for finishing the works that are now lying there.
11. I conceive we shall be ordered to take with us the greatest part of the ammunition now at Fort Loudoun. It will be necessary, therefore, to have a supply laid in at that place for the use of the frontier garrisons.
12. I did in a late letter endeavor to point out, in what manner the service would be benefited, by continuing Rutherford’s rangers in the parts they now are, and sending the militia of Prince William to the Branch in their stead, and I again recommend it, for the reasons then given, and for many others, which might be given.
I must now conclude, with once more begging, that your Honor will come to some speedy determination on these several matters. From what Sir John St. Clair has wrote, from my orders, and from what I have here set forth, I conceive it must sufficiently appear, that the greatest dispatch is absolutely necessary,—the success of our expedition, in a manner, depending upon the early commencement of it. Every delay, therefore, may be attended with pernicious consequences.
The Indians, glad of any pretence for returning home, will make use of delays for a handle; and a spirit of discontent and desertion may spring up among the new levies for want of employment.
These are matters obvious to me, and my duty requires, that I represent them in this free and candid manner.1
TO GENERAL FORBES.
Fort Loudoun, 19 June, 1758.
Pardon the liberty I am going to use—a liberty that nothing but the most disinterested regard for the safety and welfare of these Colonies would induce me to take. How far my Ideas on what I am about to observe are compatible with reason, and may correspond with your Sentiments on the matter, I candidly submit to your Excellency’s determination.
The unfortunate arrival of the Cherokees into these Governments so early in the Spring, and the unavoidable accidents that have hitherto prevented a junction of the Troops intended for the Western Expedition, have caused them (as they are naturally of a discontented temper) to be tired of waiting: and all except those who came last, with Colo. Byrd, and a few others that have joined since, to return home. How long these can be prevailed upon to remain with us, I will not take upon me to affirm; but I can venture to say it will not be 6 weeks if it requires that time to form our Magazines, and prepare for our march—as Colo. Bouquet seemed to think it would. Now, in this event, we shall be left to perform without them a march of more than 100 miles from our advanced Post, before we shall arrive at Fort du Quesne; a great part of which will be over mountains and Rocks, and thro’ such Defiles, as will enable the Enemy, with the assistance of their Indians, and Irregulars, and their superior knowledge of the country, to render extremely arduous, unsafe, and at best, tedious, our intended Expedition; unless we also can be assisted by a Body of Indians; who I conceive to be the best if not the only Troops fit to cope with Indians in such grounds. For, I beg leave further to add, that I do not suppose Success in such a country as I have described, is to be the consequence of numbers. On the contrary, I conceive the march of an unwieldy Body of Troops, covering their convoys, may be penetrated by a few who are light and unencumbered:—Of this, however, I am certain, they may be greatly harrassed, and their march much incommoded by the skulking Enemy we have to deal with.
From what has, and might be said on this occasion, it should appear that Indians, to us, are of the utmost importance; and as I understand your Excellency proposes to keep open the communication with the Inhabitants, and to secure a retreat, (if it should be our misfortune) by the establishment of Posts at advantageous situations and at proper distances, as the Army advances (a work truly of the greatest importance, especially as we shall but too probably begin our march with a hand-full of Indians) I think it would be practicable, during the prosecution of this plan, to get a number of the Indians to our assistance (by sending a person of abilities and address immediately for them) before we could approach Fort du Quesne: and I think it is not likely we shall meet with any formidable opposition till we get pretty near that place.
Another great advantage that might be derived from sending a person to the Cherokee nation would be to reconcile (tis to be hop’d) those differences that have lately happened between them and some of the frontier inhabitants of this colony; which, if not properly, and timously attended to may be productive of the most serious consequences to the British Interest in America, and terminate in the ruin of our Southern Settlements. The Southern Indians, of late, seem to be wavering; and have, on several occasions, discovered an inclination to break with us. I think it will admit of no doubt, that, if we should be unsuccessful in this Quarter, which Heaven avert! the united force of several powerful nations of them might be employed against us; and that such an acquisition to the Enemy would enable them to desolate our Southern Colonies, and make themselves masters of that part of the continent, is not to be questioned. Wherefore, that nothing should be omitted that might contribute to prevent so dreadful a calamity, I suggest the idea of sending a proper person immediately to the Cherokee nation; who may not only heal the differences which now subsist, but get a Body of them to join the army on their march, and no person, surely, who has the interest of our important cause at heart, wou’d hesitate a moment to engage in such a Service, on the event of which our all, in a manner, depends.
There is now a large cargoe of proper Goods for trading with them just arrived from England in this Colony. Necessary supplies might be drawn from thence and laid in at proper places, for them, which would prevent those delays and disappointments, which they have had too much cause to complain of.
It would I confess require much time before Indians (who are now to be sent for) could join us: but, as the delays are to be expected in forming our Magazines, establishing our Posts, and marching thro’ such an extent, will also require time, it may, I think be effected, and the farther the Summer is advanced, the more will our want of Indians, and our march be facilitated and secured by means of them. For, if a decisive Action should happen to the northward, and the Enemy prove victorious, they would, in that case, add strength to their Garrisons on the Ohio—by Indians at least: who would easily be induced, by the prospect of plunder, to come to their aid—But no delay, in expectation of Indians, or on any other account, ought to be admitted: because among other Evils, resulting from it, would be the expiration of the term of service of the Second Virginia Regiment, who stand engaged to the 1st of December only.1
What time the French may require to assemble a formidable Body of Indians at Fort du Quesne,—how they are provided for victualling such a Body there, and how far they may be able to prevail upon them to wait the uncertain march of our Army, when they have assembled them,—are matters I profess myself to be ignorant of.—But, if we are allowed to draw inferences from our own difficulties in these cases, we may in the first place conclude, I think, that our preparations, &c., have sufficiently alarmed them;—and that they have got together what Indians they can,—next,—that those Indians will require the same Provisions, and perhaps the same humoring that ours do; and lastly; that they may also get dissatisfied at waiting, and return home like ours have done, thinking our preparations a feint only to draw off their attention from the northward.
My solicitude on account of Indians sufficiently appears throughout all I have said.—Your Excellency is the best judge of the Plan you have to execute, and the time it will require to bring your operations to bear. You are also a proper judge of the time it will take to accomplish the Scheme I have proposed of getting Indians to our assistance, and how far it may correspond (in point of time) with other measures, and, therefore it wou’d be presuming too much after I have endeavored (tho’ a little indigestedly) to shew the necessity of Indians, and the advantages and disadvantages of a late campaign to say any thing further, unless it be to apologize once more for the freedom I have taken of mentioning matters, which I suppose you are equally (if not better) acquainted with than I am: and to assure your Excellency that I am, &c.
TO GOVERNOR FAUQUIER.
Fort Loudoun, 19th June, 1758.
The letter herewith enclosed woud have been sent according to the date, but I have been waiting ’till now for Capt. Rutherford’s pay-roll; his company being much dispersed in the Ranging Service.
This day the Prince William Militia are to march for the South-Branch, to relieve two companies of my Regiment, agreeably to orders—Enclosed is a return of their present strength. I should think myself deficient in duty, were I to pass over in silence the conduct and state of this company from their first coming out—about the 20th ultimo—until the present moment.
One hundred Militia were ordered from Prince William County, (but at what time I can not exactly say), by Mr. President Blair. Instead of that number 73 only came: and every one of them unprovided with arms and ammunition, as the Law directs; by which means they were not only useless, but really burthensome to the Country; as they were eating its Provisions and had their pay running on. This matter was represented to Colo. Henry Lee, Lieutenant of that county, by Sir John St. Clair, then commanding officer here. The consequence of this representation was, that about the 1st of this instant, near 100 arms were sent up by his order; out of which number scarce five were serviceable, and not more than 30 coud be made to fire. This was also represented to Colo: Lee, who, after expressing his concern for it, said, the County expected arms from England every day, and has taken no farther notice of the matter since, that I have yet heard. I immediately set Smiths to repairing their arms, and have, with the assistance of 35 old muskets, which I caused to be delivered out of the Store here, got this company, which ought to have consisted of 100 men (tho’ there are but 68) at last completed.
’Till this time they have been a dead expence to the Public, and of no service to the inhabitants. This, Sir, is a true statement of Facts, and really merits reprehension: for, if such Behavior is suffered to escape unnoticed, the most destructive consequences may accrue. In the present case: if the Troops had marched agreeable to the orders I at first received, the companies on the South-Branch would have been drawn off, and the inhabitants thereby left destitute of support; or must have come off with them which it seems they were determined to do. This I understand actually did happen in Augusta County, when Major Lewis came from thence, by the negligence (I suppose) of the County-Lieutenants. I am, &c.1
TO COLONEL HENRY BOUQUET, COMMANDING AT RAYSTOWN.
Camp nearFort Cumberland, 3 July, 1758.
Your favors of the 27th ulto and first inst. I have had the honour to receive.
According to order I marchd from Winchester the 24th, and arrivd at this place Yesterday in the afternoon, with five Companies of the first Virginia Regiment, and a company of Artificers of the second, as you may observe by the enclosed returns.
My March, by bad Teams and bad Roads, (notwithstanding I had sent the Artificers and a Covering Party on three days before) was much delayed.
I herewith send a return of the Provisions and Forage that came up under my Escort. We lost three Bullocks, and that in driving. I can’t absolutely say for what purpose the Forage is intended, or where to be lodged. It was engaged by Mr. Walker at Sir Jno. St. Clair’s request, and I believe for the light Horse. The principal part of it met us at Pearsalls, on the South Branch; and neither myself, nor any person else was empowered, or even desird, to receive and pay for it. I was at a loss how to act, but thought it most advisable to bring it on. If it is not intended for the light Horse, as I apprehend, I shoud be glad of your directions concerning it; for Captn. Stewart, who possibly may be Instructed for this purpose, I left equipping his Troop at Winchester, and is not yet joind me.
As I can’t suppose you intended to order any part of my men upon the Roads, till joind at this place by Colonel Byrd, I shall decline sending any upon that Service till his arrival, which I suppose may be to-morrow, as he was preparing to march the 26th after me.
I enclose you an exact return of the Maryland Troops in Garrison at this place, also of their Provisions and of the King’s stores, and shoud be glad to know what strength you woud have this Garrison consist of, how many days’ Provisions left for them, and what quantity of Ammunition. I brought one half of all that was orderd from Winchester by Sir Jno. St. Clair, and left the other half to follow with Colo. Byrd—Powder excepted. And of that Article there was only 16 barrels in the store there, besides 6 others that were made up into Cartridges—which are also brought up between us.
Mr. Walker, in consequence of Instructions from Mr. Hoops, (who I believe purposd to supply us from Rays Town), put a stop to a further purchase of Provisions. You will see by the Returns for what number of days I am supplied, and I desird Colo. Byrd to bring as much to this place as would serve his Men a fortnight at least. I am at a loss to know whether officers’ servants, that are not Soldiers, are allowd to draw Provisions, and shoud be thankfull for your directions, as I have had many applications on that head.
There are few tools1 for the Services requird; but before a supply coud be got to this place from Sir Jno. St. Clair or Governor Sharpe, the Work (with what few we have) I hope may be near finishd. Rum too, I fear, will be a scarce article with us.
Pray what will be done with the company of Byrd’s Regiment ordered to take post at Edwards’s and Pearsalls? Shall they continue there, or join their Regiment? I left, in consequence of your Orders, an Officer and thirty Men Invalids at Fort Loudoun for safety of the stores, &c., lodgd there, and also a sergeant and 12 at Pearsalls, to secure that Post and keep open the Road for Expresses (for no more can be expected from so small a Command). Byrd, I hope, will leave 6 or 8 of his invalids or bad Men at Edwards’s, for the same purpose.
There came 28 wagons to this place with me, and I believe, if they were wanted, 10 more might be had upon the South Branch, strong and good; but carrying-Horses are certainly more eligible for the service we are destind.
I have used my best endeavors to get my men equipd with Powder Horns and Shott Pouches, and have procured 330 of the former and 339 of the latter; besides the Linnen ones, with which we are compleated.
I have received a very scanty allowance of Tents for the 5 companies with me, vizt., sixty-nine only. Out of these most of the officers must be supplied, or lye uncoverd. They will readily pay for what they receive, if requird. No Bell Tents were sent to us.
My men are very bare of cloaths (Regimentals, I mean), and I have no prospect of a Supply. This want so far from my regretting during this campaign, that were I left to pursue my own Inclinations, I woud not only order the Men to adopt the Indian dress, but cause the Officers to do it also, and be the first to set the example myself. Nothing but the uncertainty of its taking with the General1 causes me to hesitate a moment at leaving my Regimentals at this place, and proceeding as light as any Indian in the Woods. ’T is an unbecoming dress, I confess, for an officer; but convenience, rather than shew, I think, shoud be consulted. The reduction of Bat Horses alone is sufficient to recommend it; for nothing is more certain than that less baggage will be requird, and that the Publick will be benefited in proportion.
I was desirous of being thus full in my Letter to you. How far it may be consistent with good Policy, as there is at least a possibility of its falling into the Enemy’s hands, I know not; but I shall be directed in these affairs by you.1
TO COLONEL BOUQUET.
Camp nearFort Cumberland, 7 July, 1758.
Colo. Byrd with eight companies of his Regt. arriv’d here yesterday. He left many sick Men behind him, as may be seen by the enclosed report; which, with the company he posted at Edward’s and Pearsalls, reduces our strength considerably.
I am a good deal at a loss, therefore, to know how to act for the best, as your last orders for joining you at Rays Town were not positive, and seemed to be given on a supposition that Mr. Walker either coud not, or was not to supply us with Provisions here. Your doubts will in some measure be obviated when you see Mr. Walker’s Letter to me on this head, and the returns of our Provisions, which I now send. If this, therefore, was your motive for desiring a Garrison to be left at this place, and for me to march on to Rays Town with the remainder of the Virginia Troops, you will, I presume, countermand our march to that place, for the following reasons: first, because 300 men may I think, open the Communication to Rays Town with safety, and with much greater ease and convenience, than if our whole Body marches on incumbered with a number of Wagons. Secondly, it will, if the army is obliged to take this route,1 as I am told from all hands it certainly must, prevent the fatigues2 of a Counter-march to Men and Horses just going upon Service. Thirdly, it will afford us an opportunity of lodging our Provisions and Stores here, while the Wagons may return for another Convoy, and save by that means the great expense of transporting them to there and back again, if we should not be able to proceed from thence.3 And fourthly, Colo. Byrd assures me that the Indians with him absolutely refuse to march any other road than this they know.4
I was advised to hint these matters5 to you and wait6 the result of your answer before I put the whole7 in motion. Whatever you direct8 under these circumstances I shall9 execute with the greatest punctuality and Expedition in my power. I enclose return of the No. of waggons now at this place, that you may be judge10 of the Expense.
Captn. Dagworthy telling me that Governor Sharpe is to open the Road to the Town Creek (which is within 15 miles of this place) and as Maryland has near 200 Men here fit for Duty, I hope you will be of opinion that they are sufficiently strong to proceed on the Fort Frederick Road without needing a reinforcement from us; especially if you will please to consider at the same time that they are in a manner coverd by the Troops at this place, and those which may be employd on the Road to Rays Town, on which I shall send a detachment to work tomorrow.1
I had wrote thus far when your Letter of yesterday came to hand. As we lye so contiguous, and can hear in so short a time from you, I shall only be preparing to obey your Orders, but shall not actually march till I hear from you again.2
A pretty good stock of Liquor came up with the last convoy. We have no Hay at this place; ’twas corn I calld forage. We shall have Tools sufficient for opening the Road to Rays Town among the artificers of Colo. Byrd’s Regiment, and I enclose a list of what is here, belonging to Maryland, that you may be able to judge of their wants.
I am sorry to hear that the Cattawbas have so egregiously misbehaved. When I write to Govr. Fauquier, which I expect may be in a few days I shall touch on this subject.1
TO COLONEL BOUQUET.
Camp atFort Cumbd. abt 92 Thursday Night July 13th, 1758.
Abt. 4 Oclock this afternoon—after I had closed my letter to you—I received information3 that two men were killed and a third taken prisoner on the Road about a mile from this place. I got the Indians to go,4 and sent a command of 50 men immediately to the spot, where they took the Track of six Indians and followed them till near dark, when the Indians returned, as did our party also.
They discovered that one of the men5 killed was a soldr. of the second regiment, and that the other two were herds6 going to our7 grass guards in the most careless,8 straggling, manner, contrary to repeated, and positive orders given to prevent small parties9 stragling from camp.10
The mischief was done abt. 8 this morning—Our discovery of it1 too late to give us a chance to overtake2 the enemy—I thought it advisable, nevertheless, to give you Intelligence3 that the enemy are about, and that I expect we shall be pester’d with their parties4 all this morn,5 haunting our camps, and watching our motions.
I have apprizd Colo. Mercer, Captn. Dagworthy and all our out parties of this murder, that they may be strictly6 upon their guard marching—and vigilant in their Camps.
The Inclosd I this instant received from Captn. Dagworthy—If it is not in your power to afford him assistance7 —tis entirely out of mine to do it.
P. S. Captn. Bosomworth &c, are safely arrivd here; he and Colo. Byrd join me in their compliments.8
TO COLONEL BOUQUET.
Camp atFort Cumberland, 13th July, 1758.
Your favor of the 11th by Doctr. Johnston, I had the pleasure to receive the same day—nothing extraordinary since my last has occurr’d.
By a party from Colo. Mercer to this place for provisions I find, they have opend the road only 6 miles; and that they proceed much slower in this service than I expected: this possibly may arise from the pains they take to make the road9 good, and from the width of it (30 feet), which I directed, that two waggons might conveniently go a brest.—If you don’t open on your side in this manner, I shoud be obligd to you to direct1 Colo.2 Mercer otherwise,3 —as it will be useless to have one part wide and the other narrow.4
It gave5 me great pleasure to find you approv’d6 of the dress I have put my men into. I have really done it from a good intention.7 Caprice and whim had no share in causing of it—on the contrary,8 ’t is evident I think, that soldiers in such a dress9 are better able to carry their provisions; are fitter for the active Service we are engaged10 in; and less liable to sink under the fatigues of a long11 march, besides the advantages of contracting, by this means, our Line of march which must extend always in proportion as we are incumber’d with carriages or horses.12
I have heard nothing from Captn. Dagworthy since he marched; but expect the waggons are at Winchester by this time that I dispatched the same day.13 —I beg pardon for the liberty I have taken in recommending a letter for Majr. Halket to your care.
TO COLONEL BOUQUET.
Camp atFort Cumberland, 16 July, 1758.
I was favored with yours of the 14th instant, at eleven o’clock last night. The express, who brought it, informs me, that he was fired at twice by six Indians, and obliged to abandon his horse.
There have three parties gone from hence towards the enemy’s country within these few days. The largest of them, (consisting of an officer and eighteen Cherokees,) marched three days ago. I always send out some white people1 with the Indians, and will, to-day or to-morrow, send an officer and some alert2 white men with another party of Cherokees, as you desire it; tho’, I must confess, that I think these scalping parties of Indians we send out will more effectually harass the enemy, (by keeping them under continual alarms,) than any parties of white people can do; as small parties of ours3 are not equal to the undertaking, (not being so dexterous at skulking as Indians;) and large ones will be discovered by their scalping parties4 early enough to give the enemy time to repel them by5 a superior force. And, at all events, a6 great probability of losing many of our best men, and fatiguing many more,7 before the most essential services are8 entered on, and am afraid, not answer the proposed end.9
You are pleased to desire my opinion with regard to1 making an irruption into the enemy’s country with a strong party. As such an enterprise, at this juncture, when we may suppose the enemy have,2 or are collecting, their principal3 force in that vicinity,4 would require a formidable party, the supplying of which with provisions, etc., immediately might be difficult and the march of such a body so considerable a distance must be discovered, as they have parties continually watching our motions, which would too probably terminate in the miscarriage of the enterprise and perhaps the destruction of our party. I should think it more eligible to defer it, till the army reaches pretty near that country.
I shall direct the officer, that marches towards the enemy, to be at particular pains in reconnoitring General Braddock’s road, tho I have had repeated accounts of it wanting such small repairs, as can with ease be done as fast as the army can march. It is impossible for me to send out any men to repair it, as Colo. Mercer and Captn. Dagworthy got every tool for that purpose I had. If we had tools, to go upon the roads, the second company of artificers would no doubt be wanted here; but, as it is, I imagine they will be better employed with you.
The malbehaviour of the Indians gives me great concern.5 If they were hearty in our interest, their services would be infinitely valuable. As I cannot conceive the best white men to be equal to them in the woods. But I fear they are too sensible of their high importance to us, to render us any very acceptable service.
As the par of exchange between Virginia and Pennsylvania is, by the laws of the two provinces, settled at twenty-five per cent in favor of the former, I apprehend we can have no right to settle on any other footing; especially as any material deviation therefrom might be productive of very bad consequences.
Since writing the above, the warriors of the party of Cherokees insisted on marching instantly, and that but one white man should go. They are gone, and I have given the white man the necessary orders relative to the roads, &c.
Inclosed is a return of our provisions; since which was made out the Marylanders drew for 200 men for ten days. I am, &c.
TO COLONEL BOUQUET.
Camp nearFort Cumberland, 19 July, 1758.
Your obliging favor of this date I just now had the pleasure of receiving. You make me quite happy by your coinciding with me, relative to the proposed expedition.
Captain Dagworthy’s party returned hither yesterday in consequence of orders from Sir John St. Clair, forwarded by the commanding officer at Fort Frederick. I have directed him to finish a bridge at this place, which I imagine he will effect by to-morrow night; with his tools I will next day send out a party on General Braddock’s road, which I shall be able to reinforce when Colonel Mercer returns.1
I am excessively obliged by the very handsome and polite manner, by which you are pleased to give me leave to attend the election at Winchester. Tho’ my being there on that occasion would, at any other time, be very agreeable to me, yet at this juncture I can hardly persuade myself to think of being absent from my more immediate duty, even for a few days. However, I will not come to any absolute determination in this matter, till I receive answers to some letters on that subject, (which I expect this night or to-morrow).2 I am, &c.
TO MRS. MARTHA CUSTIS.
July 20, 1758.
We have begun our march for the Ohio. A courier is starting for Williamsburg, and I embrace the opportunity to send a few words to one whose life is now inseparable from mine. Since that happy hour when we made our pledges to each other, my thoughts have been continually going to you as another Self. That an all-powerful Providence may keep us both in safety is the prayer of your ever faithful and affectionate friend.1
TO COLONEL BOUQUET.
Camp nearFort Cumberland, 21 July, 1758.
Before Colonel Stephen came to this place last night I had abandoned all thoughts of attending personally at the election in Winchester, determining rather to leave the management of that matter to my friends, than be absent from my regiment, when there is a probability of its being called upon. I am now much pleased, that I did do so. Colonel Byrd has given me your letter of yesterday, in consequence, I send you a return of the forage. And he writes to Mr. Gist, concerning vermilion for the Indians.
We participate in the joy felt for the success of his Majesty’s arms at Louisburg, &c, but sincerely lament the loss of that brave and active nobleman Lord Howe.
We have got the bridge finished at this place, and to-morrow Major Peachy, with three hundred men, proceed to open General Braddock’s road. I shall direct their going to George’s Creek, ten miles advanced. By that time I may possibly hear from you. If they go farther, it may be requisite to reinforce the party. But this matter, I suppose, will be ordered according to the route determined on by the General, for it will be needless to open a road that no use is made of.1
Colonel Stephen gives me some room to apprehend, that a body of light troops may soon move on. I pray your interest, most heartily, with the General, to get my regiment and myself included in the number. If there needs any argument to obtain this favor, I hope without vanity I may be allowed to say, that, from long intimacy and scouting in these woods, my men are as well acquainted with all the passes and difficulties, as any troops that will be employed, and therefore may answer any purpose intended by them, as well as any other body.
The General directs, that the troops be provided with covers to their locks. Where to get these I know not. There is but one possible way of succeeding, and that is, by taking the neat hides, and these will fall short. The commissaries ask eighteen shillings apiece for them. I should be glad of your advice in this case, as also, what will be done with the wagons expected up in our next convoy. I cannot say exactly what number there may be of them, but suppose the provisions, forage, and stores, cannot employ less than fifty.
Please to offer my compliments to Mr. Glen, & forward a letter herewith sent to Majr. Halket.
TO COLONEL BOUQUET.
Camp atFort Cumberland, 25 July, 1758.
I wrote to you by Colonel Stephen. Since which I have been favored with your kind and obliging letter of yesterday.
We have received advice, that our second convoy of seventy-odd waggons (an account of the contents of which I enclosed you yesterday,) will be at the South Branch to-day; where I expect they will be joined by some waggons with forage, the number I can not ascertain and will all proceed to this place immediately. On friday I shall look for them. I shall most chearfully work on any road, pursue any route; or enter upon any Service, that the General or yourself may think me usefully employed in, or qualified for; and shall never have a will of my own when a Duty is required of me. But since you desire me to speak my sentiments freely, permit me to observe, that, after having conversed with all the Guides, and having been informed by others who have knowledge of the country that a road to be compared with Genl. Braddocks (or indeed that will be fit for transportation even by pack horses) cannot be made, I own I have no predilection for the route which you have in contemplation for me; (not because difficulties appear therein,) but because I doubt the giving satisfaction in the execution of the plan.
I know not what reports you may have received from your reconnoitring Parties; but I have been uniformly told that if you expect a tolerable road by Rays Town you will be disappointed; for no movement can be made that way, without destroying our horses.
I should be extremely glad of one hour’s conference with you when the General arrives; I would then explain myself more fully, and I think I could demonstrate the advantages of pushing out a body of light troops on this Quarter.
I would make a trip to Rays Town with great pleasure, if my absence here could be dispensed for a day or two, of which you can best judge.
We shall want no Provisions from you. The second convoy, added to what we have, will furnish us with a tolerably good stock. If Major Livingston, or any other officer at this place, draws more than one ration, it is contrary to orders, and without my knowledge, and must be attributed to the Commissary whose fault alone it must be in delivering it. We have been obliged, for the sake of our Cattle, to move the grass guard to Cresaps, 15 miles hence. There the provision is slaughtered and served to the guard, and to the troops of light-horse (also at that place.) It is therefore necessary that Mr. Dow, or an attendant of the Commissary, should be present and see to the issuing of it.
There were two Commissaries at this place, beside a numberless train of butchers, herdsmen, &c., so immensely lazy, that I was under the necessity of ordering some of them to attend the guard; for the Commissaries looking upon cattle to be at the King’s risque, were quite indifferent what became of them, and of course gave themselves no trouble about them.
I send you a return of Colonel Byrd’s Regiment, and of the Maryland troops at this place. I should have done the same with respect to the first Regiment, had not the adjutant accompanied Colo. Stephen to Rays Town and locked it up. I can only send one for the companies here present, and this is forwarded to him, that it may be completed there for your use.
Kelly & Stalnaker (two of our guides) are on the road with Major Peachy. The rest at this place, I have directed to attend you. It would be extremely inconvenient for me at this time to Garrison the Block-house on the Rays Town road having such large detachments already out, and the camp-duty very hard upon us. I am, &c.1
TO [GABRIEL JONES]?
Camp atFort Cumberland, 29th July, 1758.
Permit me to return you my sincerest thanks for your great assistance at the late election, and to assure you that I shall ever return a lively sense of the favor. I am extreme sorry that you neglected your own election in Augusta by this means, but I hope you are secure in Hampshire.
Our expedition seems overcast with too many Ills to give you any satisfaction in a transient relation of them. God knows what’s intended; for nothing seems ripe for execution; backwardness, and I would if I dare, say more, appears in all things.
Tomorrow I am summon’d to a conference with Colonel Bouquet on the Ray’s Town Road, when I shall warmly urge the advanced Season and every other argument that the Important matter requires to hurry things forward and shall endeavor to obtain leave (if possible) to advance on with the Virginians to the crossing at least, opening the Road & constructing Posts as we go. I am, &c.
TO COLONEL JAMES WOOD.
My Dear Colonel,
If thanks flowing from a heart replete with joy and Gratitude can in any Measure compensate for the fatigue, anxiety and Pain you had at my Election, be assured you have them; ’tis a poor, but I am convinced, welcome tribute to a generous Mind. Such, I believe yours to be.
How I shall thank Mrs. Wood for her favorable Wishes, and how acknowledge my sense of obligations to the People in general for their choice of me, I am at a loss to resolve on. But why? Can I do it more effectually than by making their Interest (as it really is) my own, and doing everything that lyes in my little Power for the Honor and welfare of the Country? I think not; and my best endeavors they may always command. I promise this now, when promises may be regarded, before they might pass as words of course.
I am extreme thankful to you and my other friends for entertaining the Freeholders in my name. I hope no Exception was taken to any that voted against me, but that all were alike treated, and all had enough. It is what I much desired. My only fear is that you spent with too sparing a hand.
I don’t like to touch upon our Public Affairs. The Prospect is overspread by too many ills to give a favourable account. I will, therefore, say little, but yet say this; that backwardness appears in all things but the approach of winter—That joggs on apace.1
TO COLONEL BOUQUET.2
Monday 9 oClock P.M.
You will be surprisd (till I give you a reason for it) at receiving a letter from a person in the same camp with you, and who has free access at all times to your tent.—But when I tell you that we were interrupted while conversing on a very important matter, and that I did not certainly know whether I might have another opportunity of renewing the conversation till you had some how or other settled the point with the General, I flatter myself you will excuse the freedom I now beg leave to use with you. I don’t doubt, Sir, but you have thoroughly considered the practicability of the scheme you this night mentioned to me and the good or evil consequences to be derived there from, according to its success—It might therefore seem unreasonable to offer the following crude thoughts, did I not believe you are desirous of hearing opinions, at least on this occasion.
How far then do you believe our stock of provisions—to say nothing of other matters—will allow you to execute this plan? Will it last ’till we could reduce Fort Duquesne and march back to the inhabitants—or receive a supply elsewhere?—If it would do this, the measure may be right; but if it will not, what is the consequence? Is it not neglecting the strengthening of this place, consuming the provisions that should support a garrison here, and abandoning our artillery either to the enemy or a general destruction? It appears to me in that light.
Now suppose the enemy gives us a meeting in the field and we put them to the route, what do we gain by it? Perhaps triple their loss of men in the first place, tho’ our numbers may be greatly superior (and if I may be allowed to judge from what I have seen of late, we should not highten much that “good” opinion they seem to have of our skill in wood fighting). Therefore to risk an engagement when so much depends upon it, without having the accomplishment of the main point in view, appears in my Eye, to be a little imprudent—Could we suppose the Enemy would immediately evacuate their Fort in case of a defeat in the wood,—or, as I before observd, could we be certain of provisions in the other event, I think not a moment’s time is left for hesitation. But one or t’other of these we ought to be assurd of. You, I am sensible, stand very little in need of any of these suggestions,—which are thrown together in haste, as I waited ’till this moment almost, expecting to see you. You will at least pardon this liberty, and believe me to be, &c.
TO COLONEL BOUQUET.
Camp atFort Cumberland, 2 August, 1758.
Those matters we talked of relative to the Roads, has since our parting been the object of my closest attention; and so far am I from altering my opinion, that the more time and attention I give thereto, the more I am confirmed in it; the validity of the reasons for taking the old road appear in a stronger point of view. To enumerate the whole of these reasons would be tedious—and to you who are become so much master of that subject, unnecessary; therefore I will only briefly mention a few which I conceive so obvious in themselves, as must to any unbiassed mind effectually remove what is objected to General Braddock’s Road, and urged in favor of a road to be opened from Rays Town.—
Several years ago the Virginians and Pennsylvanians commenced a trade with the Indians settled on the Ohio, and to remove the many inconveniences a bad road subjected them to, they, after reiterated efforts to discover where a good one might be made were found ineffectual, employed several of the most intelligent Indians, who in the course of many years’ hunting acquired a perfect knowledge of these mountains to attempt it. But these Indians after having taken the greatest pains to gain the rewards then offered for this discovery declared the track leading from Wills-Creek was infinitely preferable to any that could be made at any other place. Time and experience so clearly demonstrated this truth, that the Pennsylvania traders commonly carried their goods thither by Will’s Creek. Therefore the Ohio Company in 1753, at a considerable expense opened a road thither. In 1754 the troops I then had the honor to command, greatly repaired it as far as Gist’s Plantation; and in 1755 it was widened, and completed by General Braddock within 6 miles of Fort Duquesne. Consequently, a road that has been so long opened, so well repaired,—and so often, must be much firmer, and better than a new one, allowing the ground to be originally, equally as good.
But supposing it was practicable to make a road from Rays Town quite as good as General Braddock’s, I ask if we have time to do it?—Certainly not. Surmounting the vast difficulties to be encountered, in making it over such monstrous mountains, covered with woods and rocks, would require so much time as to blast our otherwise well grounded hopes of striking the long wished for, and important stroke this season; and deferring it, to another year, would, I am morally certain be productive of the most destructive consequences to the Southern, and middle colonies; for they have to make a noble push towards ending those calamities under which they so long have groaned; granted supplies, beyond their abilities—these funds will, in a few months be exhausted, the troops of course disbanded,—their inability and discouragement from so great a disappointment, will prevent their attempting a similar effort against another season; and experience evinces that expence and numbers, must be encreased in proportion to our delays.
The Southern Indians have from our bad success and inactivity, long looked upon us in a despicable light, have already committed hostilities on our frontiers, and only wait the result of this campaign to unmask themselves; which would be such an acquisition to the enemy as might terminate in our destruction.
The favorable accounts some give, of the forage on the Rays Town road being so much better than the other, are certainly exaggerated greatly, as every unprejudiced person who is acquainted with both, agrees that the only difference between the mountains here and there is, that those are more inaccessible. And it is well known that in both, the rich valleys between the mountains abound with good food, and those that are stony and brushy are destitute. Col. Byrd and the Engineer who accompanied him confirm this truth. And surely the meadows on this road, would greatly overbalance the advantage of having grass to the foot of the ridge (on this side the mountain) on the Rays Town Road; and all agree that a more barren road is no where to be found than Rays Town to the inhabitants, which is likewise to be considered with the badness of the road.
And the principal objection made to General Braddock’s Road is that of the waters to pass. But these very rarely swell so much as to obstruct the passage. The Yaughyaughgane which is the most rapid and soonest filled, I, with a body of troops, have crossed after 30 odd days almost constant rain. In fine, any difficulties that may arise therefrom are so trivial, that they are really not worth mentioning. The Monongahela, the largest of all these rivers, may, if necessary, be easily avoided (as Mr. Frazer, the principal guide,) informed me, by passing a defile, which I cannot conceive to be so bad as commonly represented; but even that he tells me may be shunned.
It is said again, that there are many defiles on this road—I grant there are some, but know of none that cannot be traversed if found necessary; and I should be glad to know if a road can be had over these mountains not subject to this inconvenience—unless they kept the heights always,—and that is impracticable.
The shortness of the road from Rays Town to Fort Duquesne by Loyal hanny,1 is used as an argument in disfavor of this road; and bears some thing in it unaccountable to me, for I must beg leave to ask here, if it requires more time, or is it more difficult and expensive, to go 145 miles in a good road already made to our hands, or to cut a road 100 miles in length, great part of which over almost inaccessible mountains,—and,—to say, or think, we can do nothing more this fall than to fortify some post on the other side of the mountains, and prepare against another campaign—I must pray Heaven, most fervently, to avert! till we find it impracticable at least to prosecute with prudence the enterprise in hand. We have yet time enough to transport Provisions to last the siege, and to support the Troops that may Winter there, as I shall endeavor hereafter to shew,—at any rate it never can be an argument for opening the other road at this time, because supposing we are not able to do more than construct a Post on t’other side the mountains—that Post undoubtedly should be on a road that has the easiest, and nearest communication with the settlements, where supplies are to be drawn from; for to say nothing of the great advantage of water carriage this way, which certainly is immense, (as you will find by Doctr. Ross’s estimation that you shewed me) or of the infinite odds in the goodness of the Roads, which is very evident to all who have travelled both,—either from the inhabitants to the advanced posts, or from the advanced posts to Fort Duquesne,—I say, to put these reasons aside, (altho’ they ought to have their due weight,) yet this way, as being so much nearer the settlements has much advantage.—That it is nearer Winchester in Virginia, and Fort Frederick, in Maryland, by many miles, are incontestable facts: and I here shew the difference of the two roads to Carlyle; by giving you the distance of the different stages; some of which I have from information only, but believe them to be just:—
By this computation there appears to be a difference of 19 miles only. Were all the supplies obliged to come from Carlyle, it is well known that the goodness of this road is a sufficient compensation for the shortness of the other, as the wrecked and broken waggons there clearly demonstrate.
I shall next give you my Reasons against dividing the Army in the manner you propose, and after that endeavor to shew how the grass on the other Road can be made proper use of.
First then, by dividing our Army we divide our strength, and by pursuing quite distinct routes put it entirely out of the power of each division to succor the other, as the proposed new Road, has no communication with the old.
Secondly, to march in this manner will be attended with many inconveniences. As, first, if we depart from our advanced posts at the same time, and make no deposits by the way; those troops who go from Rays Town, as they will be light, having carrying horses only, will arrive at Fort Duquesne long before the others; and must, if the enemy are strong there, be expos’d possibly to many insults in their intrenchments from the cannon of the enemy, which they may draw out upon them at their pleasure: if they are not strong enough to do this to that Division, we have but little to apprehend from them, go which way, or how we will. Thirdly, if that division that escorts the convoy is permitted to march first, we risk our all in a manner, and are ruined if any accident happened to the artillery, to the stores, &c. And lastly, if we advance on both roads by deposites, we must double our number of troops over the mountains, and distress ourselves by victualling of them in these deposites: besides losing the proposed advantage, that of stealing a march. For we cannot suppose the French, who have their Scouts constantly out, can be so difficult in point of intelligence, as to be unacquainted with our motions when we are advancing by slow degrees towards them.
Now, Sir, the advantage I would propose to make of the forage along the other path is, to support all the carrying horses that can possibly be collected, and sent that way after we are fortunate enough to lie before Fort Duquesne. Here not only the carrying horses that were to be used out as such, but officers’ horses, and even the waggon horses also, may be employed in this service, if saddles or packs are provided in the meantime at Rays Town for them to return with.
Great advantages may be derived from such a measure, because as the food of the old road would be entirely eaten up going, and the horses get weak, it would be impossible that the waggons could return for another convoy: tho’ the horses might nevertheless be in a condition to come down light, along a road abounding with food, and be able to carry up another convoy, giving them two or three days rest at the most convenient feeding places. By this means the waggon horses would be eased of the fatigue of bringing down even the empty waggons, which is something along a Road stripped of the food. In the condition the horses by this time may be supposed to be, they will, I conceive, carry near or quite as much weight on their back as they could draw in a waggon.
From what has been said relative to the two roads, it appears, I think very clearly, that the old one is infinitely better than the other can be made; and, that there is no room to hesitate a moment which to take, when we consider the advanced Season, and little time left to execute our plan in. I shall therefore in the last place offer (as desired,) my sentiments on advancing by deposites; the first of which I should have been for getting at the Little Meadows, would time have permitted; but, as the case now stands, I suppose at the Great Crossing, or Great Meadows our first must be formed. The Great Crossing I esteem the most advantageous post on several accounts, especially that of water, and security of the passage; but then it does not abound in food as the Great Meadows, nor has not so much level land about it fit for culture.
To this latter place a body of 1500 men may march with 300 waggons or carrying horses (which would be much better,) equivalent. Allowing each waggon to carry 800 lbs of flour, and 400 of Salt meat, you carry 40 days’ provisions of the former, and 20 of the latter for 6000 men; besides your live Cattle, any number of which might, but ought not to be carried for these two reasons: first, they would destroy your pasturage—and next your men being employed at work, you would have none to attend or guard them. Your next convoy, which I suppose to consist of 500 provision waggons and all the Army, will, at the above rate, carry 66 days’ provisions of flour, and 33 of salt flesh, besides 6 days which the men may carry on their backs; as it is supposed the 1500 are to do also, so that you have at the Meadows according to this calculation, 113 days’ Flour, and 56 salt meat, deducting the daily consumption. Now, to accomplish this, I allow 26 days; to wit: to the Great Meadows 8, to unload and return 6; then I allow the army 12 days more to prepare and arrive in; by which I apprehend our works may be finished, and the whole ready to proceed.
Our next deposite probably will be at Salt Lick, about 35 miles from the Meadows. To this place I conceive it necessary to send 2500 men to construct some post; taking 6 days’ provisions only, which are sufficient to serve them till the convoy comes up; against which time I suppose an Intrenched camp, or some other kind of defensible work, may be effected. And from hence I conceive it highly expedient to detach 3000 or 4000 of the best troops to invest the place, and prevent if possible an ingagement in the woods, which of all things ought to be avoided. The Artillery and stores may be up from Salt Lick in four days, and from that time I will allow 18 days more for the carrying horses to perform a trip to Rays Town for provisions; passing along the old path by Loyal hanny. In this time they may do it; as the horses will go down light; but what quantity of provisions they can bring up, I cannot say, that depending upon the number of horses fitted out with saddles, &c.
From this state of the matter (which is really a candid one) and from my calculations, in which large allowances are made for the quantity of provisions, as well as for the time of transporting them; it appears, that from the time the front division begins its march from hence, till the whole army gets before Fort Duquesne, is 34 days, at which time there will be 87 days’ provisions on hand, allowing for the consumption on the march; and that 18 days added to this make 52 in all; which is required for our operations, and these ought to be finished if possible by the middle of October.
I have offered nothing, but what to me appears beyond a probability. I have nothing to fear but for the general service, and no hopes but the advantages it will derive from the success of our operations; therefore cannot be supposed to have any private interest or sinister views, by any freedom my regard for the benefit of the service on this occasion has induced me to use. I am, &c.
TO MAJOR FRANCIS HALKET, BRIGADE MAJOR.
Camp atFort Cumberland, 2 August, 1758.
My dear Halket,
I am just returned from a conference held with Colonel Bouquet. I find him fixed, I think I may say unalterably fixed, to lead you a new way to the Ohio, thro a road, every inch of which is to be cut at this advanced season, when we have scarce time left to tread the beaten track, universally confessed to be the best passage through the mountains.
If Colonel Bouquet succeeds in this point with the General, all is lost,—all is lost indeed! Our enterprise will be ruined, and we shall be stopped at the Laurel Hill this winter; but not to gather laurels, (except of the kind that covers the mountains.) The southern Indians will turn against us, and these colonies will be desolated by such an acquisition to the enemy’s strength. These must be the consequences of a miscarriage; and a miscarriage the (almost) necessary consequence of an attempt to march the army by this new route. I have given my reasons at large to Colonel Bouquet. He desired that I should do so, that he might forward them to the General. Should this happen, you will be able to judge of their weight.
I am uninfluenced by prejudice, having no hopes or fears but for the general good. Of this you may be assured, and that my sincere sentiments are spoke on this occasion. I am, dear Halket, most affectionately yours.
TO GOVERNOR FAUQUIER.
Fort CumberlandCamp, the 5th August, 1758.
Your favor of the 20th ultimo I was honored with the day before yesterday. I am sorry to find that Mr. Smith has not sent you a return of the arms, nor Mr. Ramsay a return of the Provisions. I will write to both those gentlemen to know the reason. Enclosed is a Return of the first Regiment.
I have delayed till now, purposely since my last of the 10th ultimo, to give your Honor any account of our movements, hoping to be furnished with something agreeable. Being disappointed in this, I am sorry to inform you that we are still encamped here, and have little prospect of de-camping, unless a fatal resolution takes place, of opening a new road from Rays Town to Fort du Quesne. In this event, I have no doubt that the Virginia troops will be honored with a full share of the labor as they have already been, in opening a communication from hence to Rays Town, and doing the principal part of the work at that place.
I am just returned from a conference held with Colo. Bouquet on this occasion, the General lying indisposed at Carlyle. In this conference I urged in the most forcible terms I was master of, the advanced season as an argument against new discoveries. I pressed also the difficulties attending the cutting a road over these mountains,—known to me from experience; the length of time it must require to do it; the little time left for that Service; the moral certainty of its obstructing our march, beyond what the advanced Season will admit—and the probable miscarriage of the Expedition from that cause, and lastly I endeavored to represent the distressed condition the Colonies would be reduced to consequent thereon. In fine I said every thing which the importance of the subject suggested to me, to avert a measure that seemed to forebode the manifest ruin of the Expedition.
This is the light in which it presents itself to my mind. I pray Heaven my fears may not be realized! But the thoughts of opening a Road 100 miles, over mountains almost inaccessible, at this advanced Season, when there is already a good road made,—A road universally confessed to be the best that either is or can be found anywhere thro’ these mountains, prognosticates something not quite favorable.
I have now drawn up a representation of real Facts to be presented to the General; in which I think the advantages of going the old road, and moral certainty of failing in the new are so clearly demonstrated that they must strike every unbiassed mind.
The Small-pox getting among the Troops, is another unpromising circumstance. An officer and two men of my regiment are now confined with it at Rays Town.
From this short narrative of our affairs your Honor may draw conclusions. You may depend the statement is true; free from exaggerations and flowing from a mind deeply affected at the prospect before us. I hope, as I once before said, that I see matters in too strong a point of view, and, that my apprehensions for the consequences of opening a new road, are groundless. I am, &c.
P. S. I was this moment presented with a letter from Colo. Bouquet telling me, that the General had directed the other road to be opened. I expect therefore to be ordered that way immediately.
Orders are not yet arrived.
TO COLONEL BOUQUET.
Camp atFort Cumberland, 6th August, 1758.
The General’s orders,—or the order of any Superior Officer will, when once given, be a law to me. I shall never hesitate in obeying them; but, till this order came out, I thought it incumbent upon me to say what I could to divert you (the Commanding Officer present) from a resolution of opening a new road, of which I had the most unfavorable reports, and believe from the hight of the hills,—the steepness of them, the unevenness of the ground in general,—and what above all principally weighed with me the shortness of the Season, that it was impossible to open a road in time to answer our purpose. I am still in this opinion, partly from my own observations of the country, and partly from the information of as good judges as any that will be employed.1 My duty therefore to his Majesty, and the Colony whose troops I have the honor to command, obliged me to declare my sentiments upon the occasion with that candor and freedom of which you are witness. If I am deceived in my opinion, I shall acknowledge my error as becomes a gentleman led astray from judgment, and not by prejudice, in opposing a measure so conducive to the public Weal as you seem to have conceived this to be. If I unfortunately am right, my conduct will acquit me of having discharged my duty on this important occasion; on the good success of which, our all, in a manner depends.2
I have repaired the road over the mountain at this place as Sir Jno. St. Clair desired. I had also sent the 2nd company of artificers to make bridges on the Rays Town road, according to your orders transmitted by Colo. Stephen to me.—’Twas yesterday before I could get them in, and to-day they march.
Nineteen waggons came here yesterday loaded with Ball (musket Ball), from Fort Frederick; 18 more left their loads at the Old Town, and are gone back.—The first 19 wagons and an escort are gone to bring up their load, and will be here to-day. I can’t send you a return of the contents having received none.
The waggoners are constantly applying for grain. I should be glad if you would direct how I am to act in this case.
Inclosed is a return of provisions wanting to serve us till our next convoy arrives from Winchester. We have not above 5 days flour upon hand. I shall therefore send the waggons to Rays Town to-morrow for this article, &c., after they return from the old Town.
Twelve Tents was the number I returned for, and they are arrived safe.
If you approve of it, I would send 50 men the length of the great ring to way lay the road thereabouts; I think it the most eligible method of getting a prisoner for intelligence. The enemy are watchful when they are near our garrisons, and it is too far and unsafe to bring one from their own.1
TO COLONEL BOUQUET.
Camp atFort Cumberland, 18th Augt., 1758.
I am favored with yours of yesterday, intimating the probability of my proceeding with a body of troops on General Braddock’s road, and desiring my retaining for that purpose, a month’s provisions at this place, a thing which I should be extreme fond of, but as I cannot possibly know what quantity of provisions may be necessary for that time, without knowing the number of men I may probably march with, and when it is likely we may leave this, I hope you will be pleased to give me the necessary information on this head. As also how this place is to be garrisoned, and what provisions and stores should be left.
I have talked a good deal with Kelly upon the nature of the intervening ground, from the new road to Braddock’s, and from what he says I apprehend it impracticable to effect a junction with the troops on the new Road till we advance near the Salt Lick, which is no great distance from Fort Duquesne. And how far it may be advisable to send a small body of troops so near the enemy at so great a distance from the army without any kind of tools (which is certainly our case) for repairing the roads, or throwing up any kind of defence in case of need, I shall not presume to say, but I cannot help observing, that all the guides and Indians are to be drawn from hence, and that the greatest part of my regiment is on the other road; so that I have but few remaining with me of the first regiment, and 8 companies of the second only, whose officers and men can be supposed to know little of the Service, and less of the country, and near, or I believe, quite a fifth of them sick. I thought it incumbent on me to mention these things, that you might know our condition; at the same time I beg leave to assure you that nothing will give me greater pleasure than to proceed with any number of men, that the general or yourself may think proper to Order.—
With regard to keeping out a succession of strong parties on this road from the troops here,1 I must beg leave to observe, that we have not so much as one carrying horse to take provisions out upon, being under a necessity t’other day of pressing five horses from some countrymen, (that came to Camp on business,) before I could equip Captn. McKenzie’s party for a 14 days march.2 That we have not an oz. of salt provisions of any kind here, and that it is impossible to preserve the fresh, (especially as we have no salt neither) by any other means than Barbacuring it in the Indian manner; in doing which it loses near a half; so that a party who receives 10 days provisions will be obliged to live on little better than 5 days’ allowance of meat, kind—a thing impracticable. A great many of Colo. Byrd’s men are, as I before remarkd, very sickly, the rest became low spirited and dejected. Of course the greatest share of that service must fall upon the 4 companies of the first regiment. This sickness and depression of spirits, cannot arise I conceive from the situation of our Camp, which is, undoubtedly the most healthy and best aired in this vicinity, but is caused, I apprehend, by the change in their way of living, (most of them till now having lived in ease and affluence,) and by the limestone water and air. The soldrs. of the first would be sickly, like those of the 2d Regiment, was it not owing to some such causes as these.
Captn. McKenzie’s party is not yet returned. I will advertise you of his discoveries, if any are made by him.1
We have reasons to believe that parties of the enemy are about us likewise. Yesterday afternoon a waggoner had his horse shot under him about three miles from hence.
The convoy from Winchester has been detained much longer than was expected. Mr. Walker desired a party to reinforce the escort at Pearsalls (30 miles distant), the 15th Inst., which was accordingly sent; but I have since been informed that the waggons did not leave Winchester till a few days ago.
We have no Indian goods of any kind here. It gives me great pleasure to hear that the General is getting better and expected soon at Rays Town.1 I am, &c.
TO COLONEL BOUQUET.
Camp atFort Cumberland, 21st August, 1758.
Governor Sharpe I am told will be here in a day or two—I am at a loss to know how he ranks, and whether he is entitled to the command—In the Army he ranks as Lieut. Colonel only—but what his pretentions as Governor in his own Province are, I really don’t know, or whether he has any or not. I should therefore be glad of your advice, being unwilling either to dispute the point wrongfully, or to give up the command to him if it is my right, neither of which I would do knowingly. At all events I shall keep it till I hear from you.1 I am, &c.
TO COLONEL BOUQUET.
Camp atFort Cumberland, 28th Augt., 1758.
Your favor by Mr. Hoops has in some measure revivd a hope that was almost extinguishd, of doing something this Campaign. We must doubtless expect to encounter many difficulties in opening a new road thro’ bad grounds in a woody country of which the enemy are possest, but since you hope our point may be carried I would feign expect the surmounting these obstacles.
’Tis a melancholy reflection tho’ to find there is even a doubt of success, when so much is depending, and when in all Human probability we might have been in full possession of the Ohio by now, if rather than running ourselves into difficulties and expence of cutting an entire new road the distance we have, first and last Braddock’s had been adopted.
Every one knows what could have been done [on] the old road—few can guess what will be [done on] the new, their being not only the difficulties of the Road to encounter, but the chance of a French reinforcement also, but it is useless to add on this head. I should rather apologise for what I have said.
All the waggons at this place fit for service, come to you under the escort ordered for Mr. Hoops.
Any Troops not of Virginia, shall be forwarded to you according to Order—and I could wish most sincerely that our route was fixed that we might be in motion; for we are all of us most heartily tired, and sick of inactivity. Colo. Byrd in particular is really ill.
Frazer having left this with the Convoy must be with with you e’er now. I am very glad to hear that your artillery pass the Alligany with so much ease.
A letter which Colo. Byrd recd. from the Genl. of the 19th Inst: gives room to imagine that the destination of the Virginia troops will be fixed upon so soon as he arrives at Rays Town, as he there expresses a desire of [seeing] Colo. Byrd and I there immediately.
Mr. Walker was a long time as he enformed me, under doubtful Orders in regard to his purchase of cattle, so that he was obligd at last to pick up what he coud get at a short warning; which is I believe, the real reason of the cattle not having [been] so good as they other wise might be.1 I am, etc.
TO JOHN ROBINSON.
Camp atFort Cumberland, 1 September, 1758.
My Dear Sir,
We are still encamped here, very sickly, and quite dispirited at the prospect before us.2
That appearance of glory, which we had once in view, that hope, that laudable ambition of serving our country, and meriting its applause, are now no more; but dwindled into ease, sloth, and fatal inactivity. In a word, all is lost, if the ways of men in power, like (certain) ways of Providence, are not inscrutable. But why may not? For we, who view the actions of great men at a distance, can only form conjectures agreeably to a limited perception; and, being ignorant of the comprehensive schemes, which may be in contemplation, might mistake egregiously in judging of things from appearances, or by the lump. Yet every fool will have his notions,—will prattle and talk away; and why may not I? We seem then, in my opinion, to act under an evil genii. The conduct of our leaders, (if not actuated by superior orders,) is tempered with something I do not care to give a name to. But I will say they are NA1 or something worse to P—j—v—n2 artifice, to whose selfish views I ascribe the miscarriage of this expedition; for nothing now but a miracle can bring this campaign to a happy issue.
In my last, (if I remember rightly,) I told you, that I had employed my small abilities in opposing the measures then concerting. To do this, I not only represented the advanced season, the difficulty of cutting a new road over these mountains, the little time left for that service, the moral certainty of its obstructing our march, and the miscarriage of the expedition consequent thereupon. But I endeavored to represent, also, the great struggle Virginia had made this year in raising a second regiment upon so short a notice, and the great expense of doing it, and her inability for a future exertion in case of need. I spoke my fears concerning the southern Indians, in the event of a miscarriage, and in fine I spoke all unavailingly, for the road was immediately begun, and since then from one to two thousand men have constantly wrought on it. By the last accounts I have received, they had cut it to the foot of Laurel Hill (about thirty-five miles); and I suppose by now fifteen hundred men have taken post at a place called Loyal Hanna, about ten miles further, where our next fort is intended to be constructed.
We have certain intelligence, that the French strength at Fort Duquesne, on the 13th ultimo, did not exceed eight hundred men, Indians included, of whom there appeared to be three or four hundred. This account is corroborated on all hands—two officers of the first Virginia regiment, vizt. Chew and Allen, having come from thence, since that time (both in different parties, and at different times,) after lying a day or two concealed in full view of the fort, and observing the motions and strength of the enemy. See, therefore, how our time has been misspent. Behold how the golden opportunity is lost, perhaps never more to be regained! How is it to be accounted for? Can General Forbes have orders for this? Impossible. Will, then, our injured country pass by such abuses? I hope not. Rather let a full representation of the matter go to his Majesty. Let him know how grossly his glory and interest, and the public money, have been prostituted. I wish I were sent immediately home, as an aid to some other on this errand. I think, without vanity, I could set the conduct of this expedition in its true colors, having taken some pains, perhaps more than any other man, to dive to the bottom of it. But no more.
Adieu, my dear Sir. It hath long been the luckless fate of Virginia to fall a victim to the views of her crafty neighbors, and yield her honest efforts to promote their common interests, at the expense of much blood and treasure! whilst openness and sincerity have governed her measures. We now can only bewail our prospects, and wish for happier times, but these seem to be at so remote a distance that they are indeed rather to be wished, than expected.
Colonel Byrd, (who is really unwell,) joins me in compliments to you, the Attorney-General, and the rest of our friends.1
TO GOVERNOR FAUQUIER.
CampF. Cd., 2d Sept., 1758.
Your favor of the 17th ultimo I had the honor to receive the 30th following. If you are surprized to find us still encamped at this place, I shall only remark, that your surprize can not well exceed my own.
In my last I informed your Honor that a resolution was taken to open a new road from Rays Town to Fort Duquesne—It was instantly begun, and since that time from one to two thousand men have wrought on it continually. They had, by the last accounts I received, cut it to the foot of Laurel-Hill about 35 miles, and I suppose by this time have taken posts at Loyal Hanning 10 miles farther, where I understand another fort is to be built, in which to deposit our provisions.
What time it will require to build a fort at Loyal Hanning, and after that is accomplished, what further time is necessary to cut the road thro’ very rugged grounds to Fort Duquesne (grounds of which the Enemy are actually possessed [of] and know every advantageous post to harass and dispute with us in)—I say what time is required for the completion of all this, I must leave to time, that faithful expositor of Events, to reveal, not caring even to guess at it myself.
The first division of the artillery has passed the Alleghany hill, and I suppose may by now be got up with the advanced working party. The second division, I believe may have marched by this; and they talk of putting all the troops in motion immediately. We have not in our stores at Rays Town two months’ provisions for the army; and if the best judges are to be credited, the nipping frosts will soon destroy the herbage on the mountains; and then, altho’ the communication be not quite stopped, the subsistence for horses is rendered very difficult, till snows and frosts prevent all intercourse with the Ohio; and these set in early in November. The road from Rays-town to Carlyle, whence the provisions and stores chiefly come, [is] perhaps worse than any other on the continent, infinitely worse than any part of the road from hence to Fort Duquesne, along Genl. Braddock’s road, and hath already worn out the greatest part of the horses that have been employed in transporting the provisions, the carriage of which alone, it is said (and I have it from good authority,) stands the Crown upwards of 40 / every hundred weight.
We have certain advices that the French on the 13th ult. had received no new reinforcements at Fort Duquesne, from Canada, and that their total strength at that garrison, could not exceed 800 men, Indians included.
This intelligence is brought by two officers of the first Virginia Regiment, vizt. Chew & Allen—who at different times and in different Parties since the aforesaid 13th have been to Fort Duquesne, and there lay in wait in view of the fort, observing the works and strength for several days. Their accounts exactly agree and have given great satisfaction to the commanding officer at Rays Town (from whence they were sent,) being corroborated by Indian intelligence also, a party of Cherokee’s having been out there, and some Delawares just come in. What a golden opportunity have we lost! but this is past, and I fear irretrievably gone! A party of our Troops (75 in number) is now 40 miles advanced, way-laying the road, from whom I hope a prisoner if the enemy should be passing or re-passing. I sent out also the day before yesterday, a Sergeant and 5 men to Fort Duquesne for intelligence. They will be back in fourteen days. I can give your Honor no satisfactory account of the General. He lay ill at Carlyle a long time of a flux, from thence (gathering a little strength,) he moved to Shippensburgh, where his disorder returned, and where I am told he now is. By a letter received from him the other day, he hopes soon to be at Rays-town, where he desires to see Colo. Byrd and myself. But alas, the Expedition must either stand or fall by the present plan.
In the conference which I had with Colonel Bouquet, and of which I gave your Honor an account in my last, I did, among other things, to avert the resolve of opening a new road, represent the great expence the colony of Virginia had been at to support the War; the charge of raising a second Regiment at so short notice; the time limited for the service of it; and therefore the cruelty of risquing the success of an Expedition upon such precarious measures, when so much depends on it, and our inability to do more. I then expressed my apprehensions of the southern Indians in case of a miscarriage, and the increase of French strength by new alliances; and after this I demonstrated, very clearly (or endeavored so to do,) the time it would take us to proceed on the old road; and at how much less expence, even if we were obliged to get all our provisions and stores from Pennsylvania (and surely there is no occasion for this).
In fine I urged every thing then that I now can do; and repeated it by letters, copies of which I have now to shew if required—but urged in vain! The Pennsylvanians, whose present as well as future interest it was to conduct the Expedition thro’ their Government, and along that way, because it secures at present their frontiers and the trade hereafter—a chain of Forts being erected—had prejudiced the General absolutely against this road; made him believe we were the partial people; and determined him at all events to pursue that rout. So that their sentiments are already known on this matter and to them, as instigators, may be attributed the great misfortune of this miscarriage—for I think now nothing but a miracle can procure success.
The contractor has orders to lay in, at Loyal Hanning for 4,000 men the winter. Whence it is imagined, that our expedition for this campaign will end there. Should we serve to make up the troops which garrison that place, our frontiers will thereby not only be exposed, but the soldiers, for want of clothing and proper conveniences must absolutely perish, few of them having a whole coat to their backs, and many none at all. This is a matter I have fully and repeatedly written about these 12 month’s past: I hope it will now merit the Assembly’s notice.
A major of Brigade is an officer absolutely necessary for the Virginia troops while there is more than one regiment:—The General has repeatedly urged this matter; and Colo. Byrd, who once recommended another gentleman, who is now found to be too deeply engaged in Indian Affairs, joins me in proposing Captn. Robert Stewart for this office, a gentleman, whose assiduity and military capacity are second to none in our Service. We beg the favor therefore, of a commission for him, and that your Honor would be pleased to leave the date of it, blank, in order that he may take Rank, before some other majors of Brigade, to which his longer services entitle him.
The First Virginia Regiment have August’s pay due to them, and no money in the Paymasters hands—This he will inform your Honor more particularly of, as desired.
Captains Bullen and French, two Cuttawba’s much esteemed for their bravery and steady attachment to our interest, were killed about 10 days ago, on their way from Winchester to this camp by the enemy of which we got very early notice (it happening within 3 miles,) and sent out several parties to pursue; which they did fruitlessly!
I have written to Mr. Gist; who had the direction of Indian affairs, to make out such a return as your Honor requires, and forward it to you. He is now at Rays-town. Enclosed is a return of my regiment. I believe it is exact, but as six of the companies are upon the new road I cannot absolutely say what alterations have happened therein since my last advices.
Thus, Sir, I have given your Honor a full and impartial account of the present posture of affairs here; of which any use may be made you shall think proper. I may possibly be blamed for expressing my sentiments so freely,—but never can be ashamed of urging the truth; and none but obvious facts are stated here. The General, I dare say from his good character, can account fully, and no doubt satisfactorily, for these delays, that surprize all who judge from appearances only; but I really can not.
Colo. Byrd, being very unwell, has desired me to offer his compliments to your Honor [and] an excuse (which is sickness) for his not writing.
P. S. Upon second thought, I have transmitted copies of some of the letters which I wrote to Colo. Bouquet, (who commands in the General’s absence,) upon the posture of our affairs; particularly my sentiments of the new road. It will give your Honor some trouble to peruse them; and they will at the same time shew, that nothing in my power has been wanting to bring this Expedition, to a speedy (and I hoped) to a happy conclusion. As I well foresaw that every delay still subjected us to further difficulties, and the chance of encountering a French reinforcement, which very clearly appears they had not received in the middle of August, long before which might we have been there, had the old Road been timely adopted.1
TO MRS. GEORGE WILLIAM FAIRFAX.
Camp atFort Cumberland, 12th September, 1758.
Yesterday I was honored with your short but very agreeable favor of the first inst. How joyfully I catch at the happy occasion of renewing a correspondence which I feared was disrelished on your part, I leave to time, that never failing expositor of all things, and to a monitor equally faithful in my own breast, to testify. In silence I now express my joy; silence, which in some cases, I wish the present, speaks more intelligently than the sweetest eloquence.
If you allow that any honor can be derived from my opposition to our present system of management, you destroy the merit of it entirely in me by attributing my anxiety to the animating prospect of possessing Mrs. Custis, when—I need not tell you, guess yourself. Should not my own Honor and country’s welfare be the excitement? ’Tis true, I profess myself a votary of love. I acknowledge that a lady is in the case, and further I confess that this lady is known to you. Yes, Madame, as well as she is to one who is too sensible of her charms to deny the Power whose influence he feels and must ever submit to. I feel the force of her amiable beauties in the recollection of a thousand tender passages that I could wish to obliterate, till I am bid to revive them. But experience, alas! sadly reminds me how impossible this is, and evinces an opinion which I have long entertained, that there is a Destiny which has the control of our actions, not to be resisted by the strongest efforts of Human Nature.
You have drawn me, dear Madame, or rather I have drawn myself, into an honest confession of a simple Fact. Misconstrue not my meaning; doubt it not, nor expose it. The world has no business to know the object of my Love, declared in this manner to you, when I want to conceal it. One thing above all things in this world I wish to know, and only one person of your acquaintance can solve me that, or guess my meaning. But adieu to this till happier times, if I ever shall see them. The hours at present are melancholy dull. Neither the rugged toils of war, nor the gentler conflict of A — B — s,1 is in my choice. I dare believe you are as happy as you say. I wish I was happy also. Mirth, good humor, ease of mind, and—what else?—cannot fail to render you so and consummate your wishes.
If one agreeable lady could almost wish herself a fine gentleman for the sake of another, I apprehend that many fine gentlemen will wish themselves finer e’er Mrs. Spotswood is possest. She has already become a reigning toast in this camp, and many there are in it who intend (fortune favoring) to make honorable scars speak the fullness of their merit, and be a messenger of their Love to Her.
I cannot easily forgive the unseasonable haste of my last express, if he deprived me thereby of a single word you intended to add. The time of the present messenger is, as the last might have been, entirely at your disposal. I can’t expect to hear from my friends more than this once before the fate of the expedition will some how or other be determined. I therefore beg to know when you set out for Hampton, and when you expect to return to Belvoir again. And I should be glad also to hear of your speedy departure, as I shall thereby hope for your return before I get down. The disappointment of seeing your family would give me much concern. From any thing I can yet see ’tis hardly possible to say when we shall finish. I don’t think there is a probability of it till the middle of November. Your letter to Captain Gist I forwarded by a safe hand the moment it came to me. His answer shall be carefully transmitted.
Col. Mercer, to whom I delivered your message and compliments, joins me very heartily in wishing you and the Ladies of Belvoir the perfect enjoyment of every happiness this world affords. Be assured that I am, dear Madame, with the most unfeigned regard, your most obedient and most obliged humble servant.
N.B. Many accidents happening (to use a vulgar saying) between the cup and the lip, I choose to make the exchange of carpets myself, since I find you will not do me the honor to accept mine.1
TO GOVERNOR FAUQUIER.
Camp atRaystown, the 25th Septemb., 1758.
I think it incumbent upon me to give you the following account—altho’ it is with very great concern I am furnished with the occasion.
The 12th instant Major Grant, of the Highland-battalion, with a chosen detachment of 800 men marched from our advanced post, at Loyal Hannan, for Fort Duquesne;—what to do there (unless to meet the fate he did) I can not certainly inform you. However, to get intelligence and annoy the Enemy, was the ostensible plan.
On the 13th, in the night, they arrived near that place, formed upon the hill in two columns, and sent a party to the fort to make discoveries, which they accomplished accordingly—and burned a log-house not far from the walls without interruption. Stimulated by this success, the major kept his post and disposition until day, then detached Major Lewis and part of his command 2 miles back to their baggage guard and sent an Engineer with a covering party in full view of the fort, to take a plan of the works,—at the same time causing the revilé to beat in several different places.
The enemy hereupon sallied out, and an obstinate Engagement began, for the particulars of which I beg leave to refer your Honor to the enclosed letters and return of the Regiment. Major Lewis it is said met his fate in bravely advancing to sustain Major Grant. Our officers and men have acquired very great applause for their gallant behavior during the action. I had the honor to be publickly complimented yesterday by the General on the occasion. The havock that was made of them is a demonstrable proof of their obstinate defence, having 6 officers killed, and a 7th wounded out of 8. Major Lewis who chearfully went upon this Enterprise (when he found there was no dissuading Colonel Bouquet from the attempt) frequently there and afterwards upon the march, desired his friends to remember that he had opposed the undertaking to the utmost. He is a great loss to the Regiment, and is universally lamented. Captn. Bullet’s behavior is matter of great admiration and Capt. Walter Stewart, the other surviving officer, distinguished himself greatly while he was able to act. He was left in the field, but made his escape afterwards.1
What may be the consequence of this affair, I will not take upon me to decide, but this I may venture to declare, that our affairs in general appear with a greater gloom than ever; and I see no probability of opening the road this Campaign: How then can we expect a favorable issue to the Expedition? I have used my best endeavors to supply my men with the necessaries they want.2 70 blankets I got from the General upon the promise to return them again. I therefore hope your Honor will direct that number to be sent to Winchester for his use. I must also beg the favor of having blank-commissions sent to me,—it will take near a dozen for the promotions and vacancies.—I must fill up the vacancies with the volunteers I have, and some of the best Sergeants. I marched to this Camp the 21st instant, by order of the General.
Having little else of moment to relate; I beg leave to assure your Honor that I am, &c.
TO MRS. GEORGE WM. FAIRFAX.
Camp atRays Town, 25th Sept’r. 1758.
Do we still misunderstand the true meaning of each other’s Letters? I think it must appear so, tho’ I would feign hope the contrary as I cannot speak plainer without.—But I’ll say no more and leave you to guess the rest.
I am now furnished with news of a very interesting nature. I know it will affect you, but as you must hear it from others I will state it myself. The 12th past, then Major Grant with a chosen detachment of 800 men, march’d from our advanced post at Loyal Hanna against Fort Duquesne.
On the night of the 13th he arriv’d at that place or rather upon a Hill near to it; from whence went a party and viewd the Works, made what observations they could, and burnt a Logg house not far from the Walls. Egg’d on rather than satisfied by this success, Major Grant must needs insult the Enemy next morning by beating the Reveille in different places in view. This caus’d a great body of men to Sally from the Fort, and an obstinate engagement to ensue, which was maintained on our Side with the utmost efforts that bravery could yield, till being overpowerd and quite surrounded they were obliged to retreat with the loss of 22 officers killed, and 278 men besides wounded.
This is a heavy blow to our affairs here, and a sad stroke upon my Regiment, that has lost out of 8 officers, and 168 that was in the Action, 6 of the former killd, and a 7th wounded. Among the Slain was our dear Major Lewis. This Gentleman as the other officers also did, bravely fought while they had life, tho’ wounded in different places. Your old acquaintance Captn. Bullet, who is the only officer of mine that came of untouched, has acquired immortal honor in this engagement by his gallant behavior, and long continuance in the field of Action. It might be thought vanity in me to praise the behavior of my own people were I to deviate from the report of common fame,—but when you consider the loss they have sustained, and learn that every mouth resounds their praises, you will believe me impartial.
What was the great end proposed by this attempt, or what will be the event of its failure, I can’t take upon me to determine; it appears however (from the best accounts) that the enemy lost more men then we did in the engagement. Thus it is the lives of the brave are often disposed of. But who is there that does not rather Envy than regret a death that gives birth to honor and glorious memory.
I am extremely glad to find that Mr. Fairfax has escap’d the dangers of the Seige at Louisburg. Already have we experienced greater losses than our army sustained at that place, and have gained not one obvious advantage. So miserably has this expedition been managed that I expect after a month’s further tryal, and the loss of many more men by the sword, cold and perhaps famine, we shall give the expedition over as perhaps impracticable this season, and retire to the inhabitants, condemned by the world and derided by our friends.
I should think our time more agreeably spent believe me, in playing a part in Cato, with the company you mention, and myself doubly happy in being the Juba to such a Marcia, as you must make.
Your agreeable Letter containd these words. “My Sisters and Nancy Gist who neither of them expect to be here soon after our return from Town, desire you to accept their best complimts. &c.”
Pray are these Ladies upon a Matrimonial Scheme? Is Miss Fairfax to be transformed into that charming domestick—a Martin, and Miss Cary to a Fa—? What does Miss Gist turn to — A Cocke?1 That can’t be, we have him here.
One thing more and then have done. You ask if I am not tired at the length of your letter? No Madam, I am not, nor never can be while the lines are an Inch asunder to bring you in haste to the end of the paper. You may be tird of mine by this. Adieu dear Madam, you will possibly hear something of me, or from me before we shall meet. I must beg the favor of you to make my compliments to Colo. Cary and the Ladies with you, and believe me that I am most unalterably.2
TO GOVERNOR FAUQUIER.
Camp atRaystown, the 28th September, 1758.
I forgot to notice in my last of the 25th instant that a flag of truce was sent to Fort Duquesne by Colo. Bouquet. It is now returned, and we learn with certainty (tho’ few things have yet transpired) that Major Grant with two other Highland officers, and Major Lewis, with two officers of the Royal Americans,—and one belonging to Pennsylvania, together with 2 Sergeants and 30 private men, were made prisoners in the late action, and sent immediately to Montreal. From all the accounts I have yet been able to collect, it appears very clear, that this was either a very ill-concerted or very ill-executed plan: perhaps both: but it seems to be generally acknowledged that Major Grant exceeded his orders in some particulars; and that no disposition was made for engaging.
The troops were divided:—which caused the front to give way, and put the whole into confusion, except the Virginians, commanded by Captn. Bullet, who were (in the hands of Providence) a means of preventing all of our people from sharing one common fate.
This mistake, I fear, may be productive of bad consequences to the common cause!
The promoters of opening a new road, either do believe (or would fain have it thought so,) that there is time enough to accomplish our plan this season: but others who judge freer from prejudice, are of a quite contrary opinion. As the road is not yet opened half-way, and not 20 days’ provision for the troops got the length of this place—which cannot be attributed to a juster cause than the badness of the road; altho’ many other reasons are assigned for it. We find that the frosts have already changed the face of nature among these mountains. We know there is not more than a month left for enterprize, we know also that a number of horses can not subsist after that time, on a road stripped of its herbage,—and very few there are who apprehend that our affairs can be brought to favorable issue by that period, nor do I see how it is possible, if every thing else answered, that men half-naked can live in Tents much longer. I am, &c.
TO GENERAL FORBES.
Camp, atRaystown, 8 October, 1758.
In consequence of your request of the Colonels assembled at your lodgings, the 15th instant,1 I offer the plans (on the other side) to your consideration. They express my thoughts on a line of march thro’ a country covered with woods, and how that line of march may be formed in an instant into an order of battle. The plan of the line of march and order of battle,2 on the other side, is calculated for a forced march with field-pieces only, unincumbered with wagons. It represents, first, a line of march; and, secondly, how that line of march may in an instant be thrown into an order of battle in the woods. This plan supposes four thousand privates, one thousand of whom (picked men,) are to march in the front in three divisions, each division having a field-officer to command it, besides the commander of the whole; and is always to be in readiness to oppose the enemy, whose attack, if the necessary precautions are observed, must always be in front.
The first division must, (as the second and third ought likewise to be,) subdivided for the captains; these subdivisions to be again divided for the subalterns; and the subalterns again for the sergeants and corporals. By which means every non-commissioned officer will have a party to command, under the eye of a subaltern, as the subalterns will have, under the direction of a captain, &c.
N.B. I shall, altho I believe it unnecessary, remark here, that the captains, when their subdivisions are again divided, are to take command of no particular part of it, but to attend to the whole subdivision, as the subalterns are to do with theirs, each captain and subaltern acting as commandant of the division he is appointed to, under the field-officer, visiting and encouraging all parts alike, and keeping the soldiers to their duty. This being done, the first division is, so soon as the van-guard is attacked (if that gives the first notice of the enemy’s approach), to file off to the right and left, and take to trees, gaining the enemy’s flanks, and surrounding them, as described in the second plan.1 The flank-guards on the right, which belong to the second division, are immediately to extend to the right, followed by that division, and to form, as described in the aforesaid plan. The rear-guard division is to follow the left flankers in the same manner, in order, if possible, to encompass the enemy, which being a practice different from any thing they have ever yet experienced from us, I think may be accomplished. What Indians we have, should be ordered to get round, unperceived, and fall at the same time upon the enemy’s rear. The front and rear being thus secured, there remains a body of two thousand five hundred men to form two brigades, on the flanks of which six hundred men must march for the safety of them, and in such order as to form a rank entire, by only marching the captains’ and subalterns’ guards into the intervals between the sergeants’ parties, as may be seen by plan the second. The main body will now be reduced to nineteen hundred men, which should be kept a corps de reserve to support any part, that shall be found weak or forced.2
The whole is submitted to correction with the utmost candor, by Sir, &c.
TO GOVERNOR FAUQUIER.
Camp, atLoyal Hanna, 30 October, 1758.
Colo Byrd promised to apologize to you for my not writing by Jenkins; since which I have been honored with your second favor of the 7th instant, both of which now lie before me for acknowledgement. My sudden march1 from Raystown (the intent of which I presume you are already informed of) allowed me no time to furnish Mr. Boyd with proper estimates for drawing the pay of our regiment, and I was less anxious on that head, as the officers equally with myself considered that our affairs would some how or other come to a conclusion before he could return, and that it might be difficult and very unsafe for him to follow us. I am very much obliged to your Honor for the commissions you were pleased to send. Be assured, Sir, the confidence which you have reposed in me shall never be wilfully abused. I am not less obliged to your Honor for the favor of returning so readily the blankets which I borrowed of the General. I am, however sorry to inform you, that, upon reviewing the six companies of my regiment at this place, (which had been separated from me since my last,) I found them deficient in the necessaries contained in the enclosed return, and consequently I am under an indispensable duty of providing them, or more properly of endeavoring to do so; for I doubt very much the possibility of succeeding. Your Honor, therefore, will not, I hope, be surprised, should I draw on you for the amount, in case of success.
Governor Sharpe in person commanded a garrison of militia, (from his province,) at Fort Cumberland, when the magazine was blown up, and had, I believe, his store-keeper included in the blast. * * *
My march to this post gave me an opportunity of forming a judgment of the road, and I can truly say, that it is indescribably bad. Had it not been for an accidental discovery of a new passage over the Laurel Hill, the carriages must inevitably have stopped on the other side. This is a fact nobody here takes upon him to deny. The General and great part of the troops, &c, being yet behind, and the weather growing very inclement, must I apprehend terminate our expedition for this year at this place. But as our affairs are now drawing to a crisis, and a good or bad conclusion of them will shortly ensue, I choose to suspend my judgment, as well as a further account of the matter, to a future day.1
TO GENERAL FORBES.
Camp, nearBushy Run, 17 November, 1758.
After the most constant labor from daybreak till night, we were able to open the road to this place, only about six miles from our last camp. Here it was that Captain Shelby overtook us, and presented me with yours and Colonel Bouquet’s letters, enclosing one to Colo. Armstrong; all of which were forwarded to that gentleman last night by Shelby, as soon as the last of the enclosed came to my hands. A junction with Colonel Armstrong this morning would have prevented the good effects of a fortified camp to-night, and retarded our operations a day at least; for which reason I desired him to march forward this morning at 2 o’clock, to such place as Captn. Shelby should point out (with Capt. Gordon’s approbation of the ground) and there secure himself, as you have directed. If he accomplishes that work before night, he is in that event to begin opening the road towards us. I shall struggle hard to be up with him to-night, being but two and a half miles from his last camp.
I received but thirty six of the forty two axes sent by Colo. Montgomery, and those in the very worst order. Last night was spent in doing the needful repairs to them. We have four carriages with us that follow with great ease.
If Indians ever can be of use to us, it must be now, in the front, for intelligence. I therefore beg you will order their conductors to bring them at all events, and that we may get our bullocks immediately up; otherwise, as our meat will be out to-morrow, we shall possibly be delayed the next day in serving it out, when we should be marching to the next post.
There was a sergeant (Grant) of mine, confined for insolent behavior to an officer of Pennsylvania, and tried at the last General Court-martial; but the sentence was not known when I came away, altho’ the court sat five days before. I applied (thro’ Major Halkett) to get him released, but could not. He is a very fine fellow, and I am as desirous of getting him, as he is to come. I should be glad therefore if the nature of his office will admit of it, with propriety, that he was sent on accordingly.
TO GENERAL FORBES.
Camp, (at night) 17th Novem. 1758.
Colonel Bouquet’s letter came to my hands, (just as the bearer was passing by,) from Colonel Armstrong. I shall punctually observe all the directions contained therein, altho’ I shall at the same time confess I think it much safer and more eligible to have marched briskly on to our second post, leaving the road for Colonel Montgomery to open. We should by that means have been as good as a covering party to him, while we are fortifying a camp, which may be of great importance to the army. Less time would be lost by this means, and a straggling front, (which will ever happen in expeditious cutting,) would be avoided; besides the probable advantage of (perhaps) getting into a secure camp before we might be discovered.
I have opened the road between seven and eight miles to day, and am yet three miles short of Colonel Armstrong, who marched at eight o’clock. I understand by Captain Shelby, who is just come from him, that Col. Armstrong is not yet begun entrenching his camp, which must again retard us to-morrow. Forwarding provisions is highly necessary; hard labor consumes them fast; but all the men are in high spirits, and are anxious to get on.
I shall be much pleased to see the Indians up, and am very glad to hear that Mr. Croghan is so near at hand. The number with him is not mentioned. I wish they were in our front also.
I was extremely sorry to hear of your indisposition to day, being, Sir, yours, &c.
TO GENERAL FORBES.
Armstrong’s Camp, 18 November, 1758.
I came to this camp about eleven o’clock to-day, having opened the road before me. I should immediately have proceeded on, but, as the bullocks were to [be] slaughter[ed,] and provisions to be dressed, I thought it expedient to halt here till three in the morning, when I shall begin to march with one thousand men, leaving Colonel Armstrong and five hundred more in this camp, until Colonel Montgomery joins [him.] I took care that the road should not be delayed by this halt, for I ordered out a working party, properly covered, before I came here, to cut it forward till night should fall upon them, and then return back again.
I fear we have been greatly deceived with regard to the distance from hence to Fort Duquesne. Most of the woods-men, that I have conversed with, seem to think that we are still thirty miles from it. I have sent out one party that way to ascertain the distance, and the kind of ground between; and two others to scout on the right and left, for the discovery of tracks, &c. To-morrow, Captn. Shelby and Lt. Gist of my regiment, will go off on the like service that the former of these parties has done this day, under Lt. Ryley.
I found three redoubts erecting for the defence of this camp. Mr. Gordon thinks, that it will be sufficiently secured by these means; but, for my own part, I do not look upon redoubts alone, in this close country, to be half as good as the slightest breastwork; indeed, I do not believe they are any security at all where there are no other works.
I enclose you a return of the total strength of this place, and for what time they are served with provisions, by which you will see how much a supply is needed, and I must beg, that commissaries and stilliards1 may be sent forward, otherwise a continual dissatisfaction will prevail, as well on the part of the contractors, as on that of the soldiers, who think they have injustice done them in their allowance, notwithstanding the fifteen bullocks, which were received as provisions for four days, were issued out for three only, by the judgment of an officer of each corps, as well as my own, for I took pains to examine into it myself.
I had wrote thus far, when your favor of this morning came to hand. I shall set out at three o’clock, as above, leaving the Highlanders to finish the redoubts, according to Mr. Gordon’s plan, and to secure the tools, until Colonel Montgomery comes up, leaving it then to Colonel Bouquet’s option to bring or leave them.
We shall, I am apprehensive, have a great space between this post and the next, as I have before observed, tho’ I shall be a better judge to-morrow night.
The enclosed return shows what provisions each corps ought to have upon hand; but few can make it hold out, so that I must again urge the necessity of a commissary and weights, also of provisions, for were we all completed properly to a certain day, there are yet parties and light-horsemen coming and going, who complain much on this head.
Your chimney at this place is finished. I shall take care to put up one at the next post.1
I shall use every necessary precaution to get timely notice of the enemy’s approach, so that I flatter myself you need be under no apprehensions on that head. A scouting party is just returned, and reports, that, five miles advanced of this they discovered the tracks of about forty persons making towards Kiskemanetes. The tracks appear to have been made to-day, or yesterday. I am, &c.
TO GOVERNOR FAUQUIER.
Camp, atFort Duquesne, 28 November, 1758.
I have the pleasure to inform you, that Fort Duquesne, or the ground rather on which it stood, was possessed by his Majesty’s troops on the 25th instant. The enemy, after letting us get within a day’s march of the place, burned the fort, and ran away (by the light of it,) at night, going down the Ohio by water, to the number of about five hundred men, from our best information. The possession of this fort has been matter of surprise to the whole army, and we cannot attribute it to more probable causes, than those of weakness, want of provisions, and desertion of their Indians. Of these circumstances we were luckily informed by three prisoners, who providentially fell into our hands at Loyal Hanna, at a time when we despaired of proceeding, and a council of war had determined, that it was not advisable to advance beyond the place above mentioned this season, but the information above caused us to march on without tents or baggage, and with a a light train of artillery only, with which we have happily succeeded. It would be tedious, and I think unnecessary, to relate every trivial circumstance, that has happened since my last. To do this, if needful, shall be the employment of a leisure hour, when I have the pleasure to pay my respects to your Honor.
The General purposes to wait here a few days to settle matters with the Indians, and then all the troops, (except a sufficient garrison which will I suppose be left here, to secure the possession,) will march to their respective governments. I therefore give your Honor this early notice of it, that your directions relative to those of Virginia may meet me timely on the road. I cannot help premising, in this place, the hardships the troops have undergone, and the naked condition they now are in, in order that you may judge if it is not necessary that they should have some little recess from fatigue, and time to provide themselves with necessaries, for at present they are destitute of every comfort of life. If I do not get your orders to the contrary, I shall march the troops under my command directly to Winchester; from whence they may then be disposed of, as you shall afterwards direct.
General Forbes desires me to inform you, that he is prevented, by a multiplicity of different affairs, from writing to you so fully now, as he would otherwise have done, and from enclosing you a copy of a letter which he has written to the commanding officer stationed on the communication from hence to Winchester, &c. relative to the Little Carpenter’s conduct, (a chief of the Cherokees). But that, the purport of that letter was to desire, they would deprive him of the use of arms and ammunition, and escort him from one place to another, to prevent his doing any mischief to the inhabitants, allowing him provisions only. His behavior, the General thought, rendered this measure necessary.
This fortunate, and, indeed, unexpected success of our arms will be attended with happy effects. The Delawares are suing for peace, and I doubt not that other tribes on the Ohio will follow their example. A trade, free, open, and upon equitable terms, is what they seem much to stickle for, and I do not know so effectual a way of riveting them to our interest, as sending out goods immediately to this place for that purpose. It will, at the same time, be a means of supplying the garrison with such necessaries as may be wanted; and, I think, those colonies, which are as greatly interested in the support of this place as Virginia is, should neglect no means in their power to establish and support a strong garrison here. Our business, (wanting this) will be but half finished; while, on the other hand, we obtain a firm and lasting peace, if this end is once accomplished.
General Forbes is very assiduous in getting these matters settled upon a solid basis, and has great merit (which I hope will be rewarded) for the happy issue which he has brought our affairs to, infirm and worn down as he is.1 At present I have nothing further to add, but the strongest assurances of my being your Honor’s most obedient and most humble servant.2
TO GOVERNOR FAUQUIER.
Loyal Hanna, 2 December, 1758.
The enclosed was wrote with the intention to go by an express of the General’s, but his indisposition prevented that express from setting out for three days afterwards; and then the General thought, that my waiting upon your Honor would be more eligible, as I could represent the situation of our affairs in this quarter more fully, than could well be done by letter. This I accordingly attempted; but, upon trial, found it impracticable to proceed with despatch, for want of horses, (now having near two hundred miles to march before I can get a supply,) those I at present have being entirely knocked up. I shall, notwithstanding, endeavor to comply with the General’s request, as I cannot possibly be down till towards the 1st of next month, (and the bearer may much sooner.)
The General has, in his letters, told you what garrison he proposed to leave at Fort Duquesne,1 but the want of provisions rendered it impossible to leave more than two hundred men in all there. These, without great exertions, must, I fear, abandon the place or perish. To prevent, as far as possible, either of these events happening, I have by this conveyance wrote a circular letter to the back inhabitants of Virginia, setting forth the great advantages of keeping that place, the improbability of doing it without their immediate assistance, that they may travel safely out while we hold that post, and will be allowed good prices for such species of provisions as they shall carry. Unless the most effectual measures are taken early in the spring to reinforce the garrison at Fort Duquesne the place will inevitably be lost, and then our frontiers will fall into the same distressed condition that they have been in for some time past. For I can very confidently assert, that we never can secure them properly, if we again lose our footing on the Ohio, as we consequently lose the interest of the Indians. I therefore think, that every necessary preparation should be making, not a moment should be lost in taking the most speedy and efficacious steps in securing the infinite advantages which may be derived from our regaining possession of that important country.
That the preparatory steps should immediately be taken for securing the communication from Virginia, by constructing a post at Red-stone Creek, which would greatly facilitate the supplying of our troops on the Ohio, where a formidable garrison should be sent, as soon as the season will admit of it. That a trade with the Indians should be upon such terms, and transacted by men of such principles, as would at the same time turn out to the reciprocal advantage of the colony and the Indians, and which would effectually remove those bad impressions, that the Indians received from the conduct of a set of rascally fellows, divested of all faith and honor, and give us such an early opportunity of establishing an interest with them, as would be productive of the most beneficial consequences, on getting a large share of the fur-trade, not only of the Ohio Indians, but, in time, of the numerous nations possessing the back country westward of it. And to prevent this disadvantageous commerce from suffering in its infancy, by the sinister views of designing, selfish men of the different provinces, I humbly conceive it absolutely necessary that commissioners from each of the colonies be appointed to regulate the mode of that trade, and fix it on such a basis, that all the attempts of one colony undermining another, and thereby weakening and diminishing the general system might be frustrated. To effect which the General would (I fancy) cheerfully give his aid.1
Although none can entertain a higher sense of the great importance of maintaining a post on the Ohio than myself, yet, under the present circumstances my regiment is, I would by no means have agreed to leave any part of it there, had not the General given an express order for it. I endeavored to show, that the King’s troops ought to garrison it; but he told me, as he had no instructions from the ministry relative thereto, he could not order it, and our men that are left there, are in such a miserable situation, having hardly rags to cover their nakedness, exposed to the inclemency of the weather in this rigorous season, that, unless provision is made by the country for supplying them immediately, they must inevitably perish, and if the first Virginia regiment is to be kept up any longer, or any services are expected therefrom should forthwith be clothed as they are. By their present shameful nakedness, the advanced season, and the inconceivable fatigues of an uncommonly long and laborious campaign, rendered totally incapable of any kind of service; and sickness, death, and desertion must, if not speedily supplied, greatly reduce its numbers. To replace them with equally good men will, perhaps, be found impossible. * * * With the highest respect, I am, &c.
TO GENERAL FORBES.
Williamsburg, 30 December, 1758.
The Governor’s writing fully to [you] upon the posture of affairs here, and the present system of management, leaves me no room to add. I was in hope a General Assembly would have been called immediately; but the Council were of opinion, that, as they had met so lately, and were summoned to attend some time in February, it would be inconvenient to convene them sooner; so that no measures for securing the communication between Fort Cumberland and Fort Duquesne, or, in short, any thing else, can be effected, or even attempted, until their resolutions are known thereupon.
Captain McNeill, (who commanded the first Virginia regiment in my absence,) committed an error, I am informed, at Raystown, in confining Mr. Hoops, the commissary. I am not thoroughly acquainted with the particulars of that affair, but I believe, from the accounts which I have received, that Mr. Hoops was equally culpable in detaining the provisions from half-starved men. This piece of rashness, I am told, is likely to bring McNeill into trouble. I therefore beg the favor of you, Sir, as I am well convinced McNeill had nothing in view but the welfare of his men, to interpose your kind offices to settle the difference. This will be doing a singular favor to Captain McNeill, as well as to myself.
I should be extremely glad to hear of your safe arrival at head-quarters, after a fatiguing campaign, and that a perfect return of good health has contributed to crown your successes.1
[1 ]John Blair was born in Williamsburg in 1689, and died there November 5, 1771. He was long a member of the House of Burgesses, member of the council, its president in 1757-’58 and acting governor of Virginia in 1768.
[2 ]Printed in Sparks, Writings of Washington, ii., 271.
[1 ]“I set out for Williamsburg the day after the date of my letter, but found I was unable to proceed, my fever and pain increasing upon me to a high degree; and the physicians assured me, that I might endanger my life by prosecuting the journey.
[1 ]Colonel Stanwix replied:—“I have been favored with your obliging letter, and find your judgment tallies with Lord Loudoun’s and mine, in regard to Major Smith’s wild scheme.”
[1 ]Soon after writing this letter, he went to Williamsburg. Having attended to the necessary affairs, which called him there, he returned to his command at Fort Loudoun about the 1st of April.
[1 ]“Col. John Forbes of the 17th Foot, who had been Lord Loudoun’s Adjutant-General, was commissioned a Brigadier-General, and directed to undertake a new expedition against Fort Duquesne.”—Penn. Mag. Hist., ix., 8.
[1 ]This hardly consists with Sir John’s conduct in a case that occurred at this time. Forty Cherokees had come naked and without arms to Fort Loudoun and Governor Denny asked Sir John if he would order these Indians to be supplied with guns, match coats and a little leather to make moccasins. “Sir John answered that the Assembly and people of this Province had such singular and unreasonable nations of Indians, and particularly the Cherokees, that he would not have any thing to do with them, nor order the Indians the things wanted.”—Penn. Col. Rec., viii., 77.
[1 ]“The Indians seem to anticipate our success, by joining us, thus early, with seven hundred of their warriors; of whose good inclinations to assist his Majesty’s troops, Captain Bosomworth, who held a conference with their chiefs can fully inform you and to whom I shall refer. There are two things, however, which I must beg leave to indicate, as likely to contribute greatly to their ease and contentment; to wit, an early campaign, and plenty of goods. These are matters, which they often remind us of, both in their public councils and private conferences.”—To Brigadier-General Forbes, 23 April, 1758.
[1 ]“Permit me to return you my sincere thanks for the honor you were pleased to do me, in a letter to Mr. President Blair, and to assure you, that to merit a continuance of the good opinion you have therein expressed of me, shall be among my principal studies. I have no higher ambition, than to act my part well during the campaign; and if I should thereby merit your approbation, it will be a most pleasing reward for the toils I shall undergo.
[1 ]This power of drafting the militia, with which the forts were to be garrisoned while the regular troops were employed in the expedition, was conferred equally on the President, and the Commander-in-chief; a substantial proof of the confidence reposed in the latter by the Assembly, although in this case, as in all others, he could not be prevailed upon to exercise a delegated power to any greater extent, than was absolutely necessary for a full discharge of the duties of his station.—Sparks.
[2 ]Mercer was lieutenant-colonel of the second, or new regiment. The commanding officer of this regiment was Colonel Byrd.
[1 ]“This Indian’s account of Ft. Duquesne, corresponds with most others I have heard, vizt., that it is strong on the land-side, but stockaded only where it faces the Ohio-river. It does not appear from his information that there are many men there, or that they have thrown up any new works. He saw a party on the other side of the river, which he supposed to be newly come, because there were several canoes near them; and they seemed to be busy in putting up bark huts, which however were not many—and only two tents pitched. When he had got about 15 miles on this side of Fort Duquesne he came upon a large Indian encampment and tracks, steering towards Virginia; and after the parties had joined and were marching in, Lt. Gist came upon a track of another large party, pursuing the same course. These parties have since fallen upon the back-inhabitants of Augusta County, and destroyed near 50 persons, besides an officer and 18 men, belonging to Captn. Hog’s ranging-company, who we suppose (for I have no advice from him) were sent to the country-people’s assistance. As soon as I obtained notice of this, I ordered a detachment from the Regiment, and some Indians, that were equipped for war, to march, and endeavor to intercept their retreat—if they are not too numerous.—I have also engaged Ucahula, with a small party of brisk men to go immediately for Ft. Duquesne, and try to get a prisoner. He seems confident of success, and promises to be back in 20 days at the farthest. The two Virginia Companies from Carolina came to this place yesterday.—Enclosed is a return of their strength.”—To Sir John St. Clair, 4 May, 1758.
[1 ]From Fort Frederick, in Maryland.
[1 ]To St. Clair, Washington wrote that the “Raven warrior with 30 others (some of whom afterwards returned) left this place for their nation about the 24th or 25th of last month.” It appears that the Deputy Indian Agent (Gist?) gave the Raven a present to prevent “bad talks” among his people.
[1 ]The second regiment was raised only for the campaign, and, by the terms of the act of Assembly, it was to be disbanded, and the men discharged on the first of December; whereas the soldiers of the first regiment were enlisted to serve during the war.
[1 ]As the government in England had determined to prosecute offensive operations on the southern frontiers, great preparations had been contemplated for a vigorous campaign under General Forbes against Fort Duquesne. Mr. Pitt had, on the 30th of December, written a circular to the governors of Pennsylvania and the several colonies at the south, requesting a hearty cooperation from the Assemblies in aid of General Forbes’ expedition. He stipulated, that the colonial troops raised for this purpose, should be supplied with arms, ammunition, tents, and provisions, in the same manner as the regular troops, and at the king’s expense; so that the only charge to the colonies would be that of levying, clothing, and paying the men. The governors were, also, authorized to issue commissions to provincial officers, from colonels downwards, and these officers were to hold rank in the united army according to their commissions. Had this liberal and just system been adopted at the outset, it would have put a very different face upon the military affairs of the colonies.
[1 ]This paragraph was originally written: “It woud I confess, require a considerable time before the Indians that are yet to be sent for, coud join us; but, as the inevitable obstructions to be met with in forming Magazines, erecting the Posts, and marching on, must require much time, it may be effected, and the farther the summer is advancd, the operations of the Campaign for many obvious Reasons, cou’d be executed with the greater security, unless there shoud, e’er then, happen a decisive action to the No. ward and the Enemy prove successful; in that case they woud pour in their Troops upon us to the Southward. At all events they coud easily prevail upon many of their northward Indians, by promises and the views of Plunder, to join their Troops upon the Ohio. Another Misfortune that woud arise by a late Campaign is that the limited time for the service of the 2d Virginia Regiment woud be near or perhaps quite elapsed before the Campaign coud be over.”
[1 ]“I expect to march to-morrow agreeable to my orders. Woodward’s Company of the first Regiment coverd the artificers of the 2d, and left this the 22d, to open the Road from hence to Pearsalls, which, by information, is almost impassible.”—To Sir John St. Clair, 23 June, 1758.
[1 ]There are too few tools here. Of Washington’s letters to Bouquet, the originals have been preserved and are now deposited in the British Museum. The letter-books which were prepared from Washington’s drafts are in the Department of State, Washington. It is therefore possible to compare the two series, and illustrate in what manner Washington altered his letters in later years. I have, except where otherwise stated, printed the original as published by Mr. William Henry Smith, in the Magazine of American History, February, 1888; and in the foot-notes to a few of the letters given such variations as are to be found in the letter-book.
[1 ]general approbation.
[1 ]by you in future.
[1 ]The route Genl. Braddock did.
[2 ]supersede the necessity of
[3 ]if we . . . thence, omitted.
[4 ]than this which they are acquainted with.
[5 ]I have judged it expedient to hint these things
[6 ]shall wait
[8 ]shall direct
[9 ]this information I will
[10 ]may judge
[1 ]“Captain Dagworthy and the Marylanders begin to open the road to-morrow, towards Fort Frederick, and are furnished with ten days provisions for that purpose; but an extraordinary affair has happened in regard to their provisions,—I mean that having no flour notwithstanding 6,000 weight and better was included in a return which I sent you signed by their commissary. I have been obliged already to supply them with 2000 lbs. of this article. . . . Under the circumstances they were, I was obliged to deliver out the above flour or see them starve or desert. The latter they yet seem very inclinable to do.”—Washington to Bouquet, 9 July, 1758.
[2 ]to cut in till I receive your further orders.
[1 ]Colonel Bouquet had written July 6: “The Catawbas, under the command of Captain Johne, are gone to Winchester. They have behaved in the most shameful manner, and run away like a parcel of thieves, rather than warriors, without seeing me. They have never killed even a deer, and there is the strongest reason to suspect, that the scalp, which they pretend to have taken, was an old one. I think it would be very necessary to send a message to their nation to complain of their conduct, and know at once if they are friends or enemies. If you approve of it, I shall be obliged to you to propose the thing to the Governor of Virginia.”
[2 ]of the clock
[4 ]in pursuit of the enemy
[5 ]who was killed
[8 ]a most careless
[9 ]soldiers from
[10 ]or small parties going out without orders.
[2 ]of overtaking
[6 ]strictly omitted
[7 ]he must suffer as it is
[8 ]Not as a P. S.
[1 ]for directing
[3 ]to narrow his
[4 ]if the other is narrow.
[7 ]“I am sensible that I have lessened the appearance of the First Virginia regiment; but I beg the General to think that I have rendered them more fit for the active service they are intended to be engaged in.”—To Halket, July 16th. Col. Stephen described it as an undress rather than dress. Bouquet wrote: “Major Lewis with two hundred men arrived here last night. I am extremely obliged to you for this extraordinary despatch. Their dress should be our pattern in this expedition.” And again, afterwards,—“The dress takes very well here, and, thank God, we see nothing but shirts and blankets.”
[8 ]“I have really . . . on the contrary” omitted.
[9 ]in that trim.
[10 ]must engage
[11 ]of a march
[12 ]and by this means get rid of much baggage, which would otherwise lengthen our line of march. These, and not whim or caprice were my reasons for ordering them into it.
[13 ]End of letter.
[2 ]a greater number of them
[3 ]the latter
[5 ]to have a superior force opposed to them,
[6 ]From whence indeed in either case there would bet
[7 ]wearing down the rest
[8 ]of the campaign would be
[9 ]this, I am afraid, without answering
[1 ]of the propriety of
[2 ]have collected
[4 ]at Fort Duquesne
[5 ]The Cherokees had gone away with stolen goods. Bouquet wrote: “It is a great humiliation for us to be obliged to suffer the repeated insolence of such rascals. I think it would be easier to make Indians of our white men, than to cox [coax] that damned tanny race.”
[1 ]Colonel Mercer had been employed, with a detachment of soldiers, in opening a road from Fort Cumberland to the camp at Raystown, a distance of thirty miles.
[2 ]Washington had now decided to propose himself to the electors of Frederick as a candidate for the House of Burgesses. Some little opposition was aroused that to his friends required his presence during the poll to allay, and Col. Bouquet gave him leave to attend the election, a permission of which he did not avail himself. In his absence, Col. James Wood, the founder of Winchester, represented him, being “carried round the town in the midst of a general applause and huzzaing for Colonel Washington.” “We have dull barbacues,” wrote his former secretary, Kirkpatrick, “and yet duller dances. An election causes a hubbub for a week or so, and then we are dead a while.” The vote was taken on July 24th and resulted in the election of Washington and Col. Martin, the poll standing as follows: Washington, 307; Col. Martin, 240; Captn. Swearingen, 45; and Hugh West, 199. Colonel Martin was a nephew of Lord Fairfax and afterwards agent of the Fairfax estates.
This does not appear to have been the first time Washington had offered himself, for among his papers is a poll list of voters in Frederick County with the names of the candidates voted for, each free holder being entitled to vote for two candidates. The result of that poll, of unknown date, was the defeat of Washington; Hugh West receiving 271, Thomas Swearingen, 270, and Washington only 40 of the votes.
[1 ]Written near Fort Cumberland. It is one of the few letters to Martha Custis that have escaped destruction.
[1 ]“The General has sent my brother George to Reas’ Town, with orders to take with him a hundred men, in order to find out and mark a road from Reas’ Town as near to Fort Duquesne as he can possibly go, leaving General Braddock’s road and the Yohiogaine entirely to the left.” Col. John Armstrong to Gov. Denny, 20 July, 1758.—Penn. Archives, ii., 483.
[1 ]“Forty six of Col. Byrd’s Indians left this for their nation yesterday evening, after having received their presents. I was much surprized to hear of a report spread and prevailing in your camp, that a party of Shawanese and Delawares were come into this place. There has not been the most distant cause for such a report since I came here.”—Washington to Colonel Bouquet, 28 July, 1758.
[1 ]From a draft in Washington’s MS.
[2 ]Washington and Bouquet met on July 30th, and it is probable this letter was written at that time; although it may belong to an earlier date, referring to the expedition mentioned in the letter of July 19, page 51.
[1 ]Fort Ligonier was afterwards built on this spot.
[1 ]“The road up the Allegheny Mountains so far as cleared (by information), is steep, stony, and of very difficult access, even alpine difficulties attend the lightest carriages. How the artillery, &c., will be got up this and Laurel Hill, must be left to better judges and time to determine.”—Wm. Ramsay to Washington, 17 August, 1758.
[2 ]“They flatter themselves with getting a better [road] than General Braddock’s. They may do so, and I shall believe it when I am an eye-witness thereof—not before.”—Washington to Walker, 11 August, 1758. “I offer you my sincere congratulations upon the discovery of a good road, which I hear you have made.”—Washington to St. Clair, 13 August, 1758.
[1 ]“I was this instant favored with yours per express. I am not surprised to hear the enemy are about, but have really been astonished at the calm that has prevailed so long. I shall this moment send out a party to waylay the road. I anticipated this order by requesting leave to do it in a letter I wrote to you yesterday.”—Washington to Bouquet, 7 August, 1758.
[1 ]“As it is highly necessary to keep the enemy in doubt about our roads, the General desires that you continue sending strong parties along, with orders to reconnoitre where the junction of the two roads could be made. I hear by Kelly, who is gone from Loy: H.—to the Salt Lick, that it is about 16 miles across from that post to the end of Chestnut Ridge, where this path goes; and the woods so open that without cutting, carrying horses may easily go through, all pretty level.”—Bouquet to Washington, 17 August, 1758.
[2 ]“I detached Captain McKenzie with four officers and 75 rank and file to way lay the road at the Great Crossing. From him a sergeant and four active woodsmen are to proceed to Fort Duquesne, so that I am in great hopes we shall be able to get some intelligence of the strength of the enemy at that place.”—Washington to Bouquet, 13 August, 1758.
[1 ]“This afternoon the party commanded by Capt. McKenzie returned without being able to discover any thing of the Enemy’s motions. They waylaid the road for several days near the great Crossings, and intended to have advanced quite to that post, had not their provisions entirely spoiled, notwithstanding every method and the utmost pains for its preservation was taken. Some of their advanced sentries had nearly killed a small party of 3 Cherokee Indians, returning from war. This small party went from hence upwards of six weeks ago, and this is the fourth day since they left Fort Duquesne, the environs of which they long watched. At length was obliged to cross the Ohio, where they killed two squaws, whose scalps they brought in here. They say there are a good many women and children on that side the river, but very few men, either French or Indians, at the Fort. Captn. McKenzie says there is no sign of the Enemy, having been lately on General Braddock’s road so far as he proceeded on it. Sergeant Scott and four privates of his party went on to Fort Duquesne. So soon as they return will transmit you any intelligence they may procure.”—Washington to Bouquet, 19 August, 1758.
[1 ]“I went Saturday to the top of the Allegheny Hill, where I had the satisfaction to see a very good road; 20 loaded wagons went up without doubling their teams, and proceeded as far as Edmund’s Swamp.”—Bouquet to Washington, 21 August, 1758.
[2 ]Twenty five according to the Letter-Book.
[3 ]“When the Convoy got within 6 miles of this place 3 Cuttawba men and 2 squaws contrary to the advice of the Officers set on before the Convoy for their Garrison and soon after were fired upon by 10 or 12 of the Enemy who killed Captn. Bullen and Captn. French and wounded one of the Squaws. The loss we sustain by the death of these two Indian Warriors is at this juncture very considerable as they were very remarkable for their bravery, and attachment to our interests—particularly poor Bullen, whom (and the other) we buried with Military Honors. The rest of the Cuttawbas, and what Nottaway’s and Tuscaroras that are here sets out to-morrow with the waggons for Rays-Town.
[1 ]“The Governors in America have no command of the troops even of their own Province as soon as they are joined with any other of his Majesty’s forces, unless they have a commission from the Commander-in-chief for that purpose. I have commanded the forces at Philadelphia and at Charles Town, tho’ the Governor was Captain General in his Province, and was entirely independent from them. Governor Sharpe will not expect to have the command as governor; and as Lieut. Col. he cannot, and would not, I suppose, choose to serve in that rank. Therefore, you are very right in keeping it.”—Bouquet to Washington, 23 August, 1758.
[1 ]This last paragraph is not found in the Letter-Book.
[2 ]On the next day he received orders to march by Braddock’s road, and take position at Salt Lick.
[1 ]Blank in MS.
[2 ]Probably Pennsylvanian.
[1 ]General Forbes arrived at Raystown on the 15th, and Colonel Washington was called to that place. Fort Cumberland was garrisoned by Maryland militia, under the command of Governor Sharpe.
[1 ]“The Assembly met the 12th of September, and from the long delay of the march of the forces, and the partiality they imagined shewn to Pennsylvania, were not in a very good humor; and not thinking any attempt would be made on Fort Duquesne so late in the year, they passed an act to withdraw the first regiment from the regulars after the first of December, and station them upon the frontiers of this colony for the protection of the inhabitants. But upon some letters that the Governor received about a fortnight after that Assembly broke up, assuring him that an attempt would be made, he thought it proper to call the Assembly again, and they accordingly met on Thursday last, when he laid the letters before them, which they immediately took into consideration, and that no blame might be laid to this Colony, for the failure of the expedition which they imagined some people would be glad of having an opportunity of doing, they proceeded with a despatch never before known, and in three days passed an act to empower the Governor to continue the forces in the pay of this Colony on that service till the first of January, if the expedition was not over before that time.”—Robinson to Washington, 13 Septem., 1758. Gov. Fauquier hoped that “the ardor this Colony has shewn to support the war will continue for another year, the flame being a little stifled by the inactivity of this campaign.”—To Washington, 16 September, 1758. The Speaker’s letter gives an impression that he was describing the proceedings of two assemblies, but Ramsay shows it was the same. “The 1st Virginia Regiment had like to have been broke by a vote of the House, but the old and judicious carried it against the young members by a majority of five. However, they have so far prevailed, that unless the regiment return into this Colony by the 1st of December next and guard our frontiers, they are to be no longer in the pay of this Colony. There is to be no Lieut. Colo., Quarter Master, Adjutant nor Chaplain, and the yearly allowance for your table is voted away.”—Ramsay to Washington, 17 October, 1758. The act is printed in Hening’s Statutes, vii., p. 171. “Some other saving schemes were obliged to be complied with, for fear the whole should be given up. By a letter I received from Col. Byrd I find the army will be in the heat of action, and the fate of Du Quesne depending at that time [Decem. 1.] I have therefore summoned an Assembly to meet on Thursday the tenth inst. in order to prolong the time for both the regiments to remain in the field in conjunction with the rest of his Majesty’s forces. This is the only step I could take to prevent the ruin of the whole expedition, and save this colony from the censure they would lie under as being the sole cause of the miscarriage of the whole, if the fort should not be reduced by that date.”—Fauquier to Washington, 4 Novem., 1758.
[1 ]“Assembly Balls” are probably the words intended.
[1 ]Printed in the Herald, 30 March, 1877, and in Welles’ Pedigree and History of the Washington Family. “Mrs. George William Fairfax, the object of George Washington’s early and passionate love, lived to an advanced age, in Bath, England, widowed, childless, and utterly infirm. Upon her death, at the age of eighty-one, letters (still in possession of the Fairfax family,) were found among her effects, showing that Washington had never forgotten the influence of his youthful disappointment.”—Constance Cary Harrison, in Scribner’s Monthly, July, 1876.
[1 ]“The Major [Grant] conducted the march so that the surprise was compleat, and the enterprise must have succeeded, but for an absolute disobedience of orders in a provincial officer, the night they reached the Ohio; and by this man’s quitting his post next morning, the party was in a manner cut to pieces. Major Grant, as he was unfortunate, may be blamed, but from his letter to General Forbes . . . you will not only see he was not in fault; but from the behaviour of the provincial officer, you will be satisfied that a planter is not to be taken from the plough and made an officer in a day.”—Letter from an officer who attended Brigadier General Forbes, printed in the Gentleman’s Magazine, 1759.
[2 ]Three days later General Forbes threatened to draw off the army into the more populous districts unless provisions were supplied at Rays town.—Penn. Col. Rec., viii., 167.
[1 ]Miss Fairfax married Warner Washington, and not Mr. Martin. Soon after this letter was written Elizabeth became the wife of Bryan Fairfax, subsequently the eighth Lord Fairfax. Captain Cocke was then in service.
[2 ]This letter was first published by Mr. Everett, who supposed it had been written to Mrs. Martha Custis. Dr. Neill reprints it in his Fairfaxes of England and America, but believes the recipient to have been Miss Mary Cary.
[1 ]Should be ultimo.
[2 ]See diagram.
[1 ]This paper was reproduced in fac-simile and published in Monuments of Washington’s Patriotism (1841).
[2 ]An orderly book of this date shows the following course of the advance troops, by encampments:—
Here they remained until November 15th, when they removed to Chestnut Ridge.
A skirmish had occurred on the evening of the 12th, and a force of 543 officers and men was sent on the next day to the spot. On the 14th the army was divided into three bodies, to be commanded by Colonels Bouquet, Montgomery, and Washington, acting as Brigadiers. To Washington was assigned the command of the right wing, consisting of the 1st Virginia regiment, two companies of artificers, and men from North Carolina, Maryland, and the Lower Counties. Orderly book. “Our army in its approach, was divided into three brigades, one commanded by Col. Bouquet; another by Col. Montgomery; and the third by Col. Washington. These brigades marched in columns to shorten their lines, and enable them to form expeditiously. Flanking parties of the best gunmen marched on the flanks; Indians and light horse reconnoitred the ground as we advanced; and parties had been out the night before all round; a strong guard was advanced before the army, in the rear of which the General was in his litter with an officer’s guard, a little advanced before Col. Montgomery, who commanded the center brigade. A strong rear guard was likewise ordered, as also a guard for the artillery.”—Letter from an Officer.
[1 ]Colonel Washington had now been sent forward, in advance of the main army, to take command of a division employed in opening the road.
[1 ]“The General being arrived, with most of the artillery and troops, we expect to move forward in a very few days, encountering every hardship, that an advanced season, want of clothes, and a small stock of provisions will expose us to. But it is no longer a time for pointing out difficulties, and I hope my next will run in a more agreeable strain. In the mean time, I beg leave to assure your Honor, that, with very great respect, I am, &c.”—Washington to Gov. Fauquier, November 5.
[1 ]The General had ordered a chimney to be built for his use at each of the entrenched camps.
[1 ]General Forbes died a few weeks afterwards in Philadelphia.
[2 ]The French account of the later events of this campaign may be found in the “Papers relating to the French Occupation in Western Pennsylvania,” published in the Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series, Vol. VI. Extracts from a few of the more important letters are here quoted:—“M. de Ligneris has written me from Fort Duquesne on the 30th of last month; he continues to have parties out, who brought him two prisoners on the 30th, from whom he learned that General Forbes was immediately expected at Royal Amnon; where there were more than 2,000 men, under the command of Colonel Bouquet, with 8 pieces of cannon on field carriages and several mortars; that a fort had been built there of piece upon piece, and one saw mill; as for the rest, they are ignorant whether Fort Duquesne is to be attacked this fall; that the Provincials had orders to go into winter quarters; that they had been since countermanded, but that people still spoke of dismissing them; that there are no more horned cattle at Royal Amnon, but plenty of provisions of flour and salt meats; that the English suppose us to be very numerous at Fort Duquesne. I am not sure, my Lord, whether the enemy will organize any expedition this fall, or wait until spring; the advanced season and the two advantages we have gained in succession over them, would lead me to hope that they will adopt the latter course. ’Tis much to be desired, for ’twould not be possible for M. de Ligneris to resist the superiority of the enemy’s forces. Meanwhile, he will use all means in his power to annoy them; embarrass their communications and intercept their convoys. It is a great pity that he has been absolutely obliged, by the scarcity of provisions, to reduce his garrison to 200 men; fortunately, the messages he has delivered in my name, to the Delawares and Chawenons of the Beautiful river, have confirmed these nations in their attachment to the French. The Delawares of the mountains have also favorably received the messages sent to them, and are beginning to remove their villages to our territory. I have renewed my orders to all the posts to procure for M. de Ligneris, early in spring, all the assistance in their vicinity. I beg you, my lord, to be pleased fully to assure his Majesty that I will neglect nothing to preserve for him the possession of the Beautiful river, and of this colony in general; that it will not be my fault, should our enemies make, eventually, any progress, but in fact and strict truth, the salvation of this colony will depend on the prompt arrival of the succors of every description, which I have had the honor to demand of you.”—M. de Vaudreuil to M. de Massiac, 28 November, 1759. “We obtain[ed] some new advantages on the Beautiful river, at the close of the month of October. The English repaired in force, on the 23d of November, to within three leagues of Fort Duquesne, which was abandoned after having marched out of, and burned it; the artillery has been sent to the Illinois, by descending the Beautiful river which empties into that of the Onias, the latter flowing into the Mississippi, which is ascended thirty leagues to reach the fort of the Illinois; and the garrison retreated to Fort Machault, where it still remained on the 8th of March, according to intelligence received on the day before yesterday. . . . Scarcity of provisions and the bad position of Fort Duquesne have compelled its abandonment. The consequences may become unfortunate, if the Indians pronounce in favor of the English. Although they hesitate, they appear still attached to us; ’tis to be hoped that they will remain at least neutral. M. de Ligneris, who commands at Fort Machault, writes that the English are constructing forts at Attiqué and Royal Hannon; that the Indians are become very familiar with them; he flatters himself, however, that he will induce them to strike, if he receive reinforcements capable of controlling them; the greatest part of them are on the way.”—M. Malartic to M. de Cremille, 9 April, 1759.
[1 ]General Forbes had determined to leave at Fort Duquesne two hundred of the provincial troop of Pennsylvania, with a proportionable number of Virginia and Maryland forces.
[1 ]While the capture and destruction of Fort Duquesne, and the occupation by the English removed for the time the fear of a French invasion, the western and northern tribes of Indians were still too closely bound to the French, and offered a more dangerous and insidious weapon of offense against the frontiers of the colonies than any line of French forts or number of French troops could have supplied. French influence still controlled among the Indians of the upper country, though shaken by the retreat from Fort Duquesne: French missionaries were more active in maintaining and extending French interests; French traders divided with the English the rich fur trade of the western country; and a greater liberality and a more intelligent exercise of authority gave the French a hold upon the tribes that the English in vain long sought to break. The high utility of Indian allies, and the importance of maintaining their influence over the tribes, were clearly recognized by Montcalm, de Vaudreuil, and other of the French commanders, and no effort was spared to establish that influence the more firmly. To counteract these endeavors, the colonies sought first, to so intimidate the openly hostile tribes, as to induce them to break with the French, and become allies of the English, or, at all events, neutral in case of war; and secondly, to remove all causes of complaint by prohibiting settlement on lands claimed by the Indians, and by regulating the system of conducting trade with the Indians.
[1 ]As Colonel Washington had determined at the beginning of the season to remain in the army no longer than till the conclusion of this campaign, he resigned his commission immediately after his arrival in Williamsburg. On this occasion his officers presented to him an address, deeply expressive of their affection, their respect, and their ardent wishes for his future prosperity and welfare.