Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO MRS. GEORGE WM. FAIRFAX. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. II (1758-1775)
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TO MRS. GEORGE WM. FAIRFAX. - 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 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
[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.