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TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL. - 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 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
[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.