Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GENERAL FORBES. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. II (1758-1775)
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TO GENERAL FORBES. - 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 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.
[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.”