George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Carlyle, 17 June 1754

From John Carlyle

Alexandria June 17 1754

Dr Sir

I received your favour of the 6th1 by Mr Gist & am Very Sorrey that its not In our power to Supply you faster & better than We doe; its not for Want of Will, but for two reasons first a Scarcity of Cash, & Secondly We are Deceived by those that we depend opon. I wrote you2 that I had Agreed With Mr Croghan for 10,000 Wt of Flour to be Delivered at his risque at the Camp In 15 days from the time of his Makeing the Agreement the 31 May at Winchester, he told the Governour that he had 40,000 & by what I can Learn he had not 400 lbs. but has Sent his Bror Ward3 to Purchase, as he is With you pray oblige him to perform his Agreement. I understand he’s not a man of Truth, & therefor Not to be depended on, the Governour See into him, before he left Winchester, & Was Sorrey he put him into any Trust but as he’s to Act by your Directions, doubt not but you’l Take care of him.4

Mr Gist Tells me he has Agreed with Robt Callinder for 80 horse Load of flouer to be Deliverd Also at his risque In 30 days & We have Wheat now At the Mills to make 50,000 Wt; you cannot Immadgion, but that We do All We can, & as Soon as the New Crops Come In, you Shall have plenty.

Your People you may Ashure them from Me, Shall be paid to the last Farthing, in a few days. I have a Messinger at Williamsburg for Money, Which Shall Immediatly Send or bring up to Wills Creek,5 & have Sent up per Mr Gists what Shirts we have ready, & Shous & ⟨are⟩ Getting red Coats made for All that has not got for the 25/ Given by the Country By the order of the Governour, as the Intention of the Gift [is] to put them all In one Dress if possable—Their’s None but yr Men that Went out first have much to Settle for, they are to be paid to the 29 May—Capt. Stobo’s Men & that Devission was Settled with till the 1st May & Capt. Lewis’s Was pd to the 11th day they March’d.6

The Carradge on horses is so Expensive that Sum Method must be Thought of to mend the roads, that Waggons May pass[.] Its the Govrs directions, that You Shou’d keep Castlemans waggon,7 &c. Also Basenton & Henry Vanmeter Was to purchase Another to goe with the Oxen8 & Ill See if I Can Gett Two more & Capt. Stobo has one to Make Out 6 Waggons & they Going Constantly from Wills Creek to redstone Will Supply you but the road must be Mended for the Waggoners Will not Carry farther than Wills Creek & if our own Waggons Coud Carry from thence, we Shoud run no risque. Can not you Spare a few Men, to blow up any rocks that may be Needful &c.

As to Tools Shall gett out as many as We Can, but as Stobo has A Smith, & Tools, & you have Iron & Steall I believe you may gett troweles &c. made Easier than we Can Send them out, as they Take A Small Quantity of Iron & Steall.

Mr Gist brings you Cloath for Britches & by the first Ships Expect you May have yr Things from London that I Sent for.

I Expect my Messinger in three days With Cash & then Shall Either Come up my Self, or Send Mr Wood, to pay of your Men.9 A Little Money Will put them In high Spiritts.

I wou’d have you Caution them not to run In Debt for befor their pay becomes due Again, Il have Goods up, & Let them have Necessarys on the cheapest Terms as Cheap as Mr Croghan buys himself.

Their is plenty of powder & Lead With Coll Muse & at the New Store & Mr Gist has orders to hurrey it out as Soon as possable.

I have Given Mr Gist orders to Agree with Mr Cooper10 to Come out & take upon him Capt. Hogs11 post, & hope he may give Satisfaction, tho. desire youl take care to put no more than his duty upon him, Which is only to give to Each Company their provissions &c. the Sargints to Devide it & Not he for No One I can Employ will Undertake the Whole upon any other Terms.

I Shall write you by Mr Wood or when I Come up to Wills Creek Which I Expect to be in ten Days.

We have No Certain Acct that the New York forces are Yett In the River We dayly Expect them, & Coll Fairfax is to revew them, & to report their Condition, We are Also dayly Expecting the No. Carolina Forces & the Southrn Indians they are to Come to Winchester, & Coll Fairfax & I are Appointed Commissioners to Give them part of the Goods their & the remainder is to be Sent up to you.

Jno. West is Raising 30 Men to Compleat your regiment & Will be with You In Ten or 15 Days12—his Friends Expect he’l gett a Captain’s Comn th⟨o their is⟩ a Good many Vacanses, yett he Cannot Expect it, as he’s but third ⟨or four⟩th Lieut.—I am In hopes you’l think on Towers & that his behaviour will Deserve Yr favour.13

The Two Coll Fairfax’s are not Very Well the Old Gentlen with Sumthing of the flux the Young Gentleman with the fever & ague.14 I am In hopes they are both on the recovery.

Mrs Fairfax is still below.15 My Sally promises to write to you but know not whether She’l be So Good as her Word.16

We have no Particular News here only We have had great Rejoyceings on Yr Good Success & are Now out of fear for You As We Are Well Ashured the forces under Muse & Capt. Mackay must have joyn’d you The Latter & his Officers you must Like.17 I am Dr Sir Yr Very Aff⟨ectionet⟩ &c.

John Carlyle

PS. I have got 4 hhd of your Tobacco down & have pd of yr Carpenters yr order. the Tobacco is but Indifferent & With Sum trouble passed Inspection.18 J.C.

Copy of an agreemt with Mr Croghan May 31 1754

This day Agreed with John Carlyle Comy of Stores for to Deliver Ten thousand wt of Flour to the Comr In Chief at the English Camp at or near red Stone Creek at my risque for Which I am to receive 30s. paper per Ct In Two months paymt As Witness my hand this Day Abov

Geo: Croghan

Test Draper S. Wood  N.B. This to be Delvd In 15 Days from the Date.

Inclosed is Invoice of Sundrys Sent you 1 pattern for ⟨mutilated⟩ for yr Self. Two others may Lett any of the Officers have, the shirts are Ill made but Good Linnin & we understood Mr Pervance wanted.19

Theirs 20 cheqd Shirts which may Let those have thats In the Greatest Want & Shall send 500 more soo⟨n⟩. The other things belongs to the Country.


GW left Great Meadows presumably on 16 June with his men and provisions, leaving Capt. James Mackay and the independent company at the nearly completed fort at the Meadows. The company, carrying the nine swivel guns brought up by George Muse (see GW to Dinwiddie, 10 June 1754), intended to clear the road at Redstone Creek for the heavy artillery expected from Alexandria but, as GW noted in his journal, were “extremely perplexed, our Waggons breaking very often” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 1:202). From 18 to 21 June he began a series of unproductive conferences with the Indians which are described in detail in his journal. Unable to procure enough Indian support even to provide reliable scouts, GW was compelled to use his own relatively inexperienced men as scouts. Uncertain of the movements of the French and realizing the danger of dispersing his small force widely, on 27 June he dispatched a party under Capt. Andrew Lewis, Lt. Thomas Waggener, and Ens. John Fenton Mercer to continue work on the road and held his own troops at Gist’s Settlement to await further developments.

1Letter not found, but on 10 June GW wrote Dinwiddie that “in a late Letter to Majr Carlyle” he had complained about Carlyle’s deputies and had requested that ammunition be sent up at once.

2Carlyle’s letter has not been found, but see the “copy of an agreemt with Mr Croghan” appended to this letter to GW.

3Edward Ward was George Croghan’s half brother.

4For a description of Dinwiddie’s dealings with Croghan, see Dinwiddie to James Hamilton, 18 June 1754, ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers. On 27 June Dinwiddie wrote Carlyle, “Croghan has deceived Us” (ibid.).

5Carlyle was too optimistic, for Dinwiddie wrote Carlyle on 27 June that he did “not think the Messenger You sent, proper to carry any Money up to You” (ibid.).

6GW and his troops left Alexandria for the Forks on 2 April 1754, and not until 9 June did Lt. Col. George Muse march the remainder of the Virginia Regiment into GW’s camp at Great Meadows. The captains of the three companies that had remained behind in April were Robert Stobo, second captain, date of rank 6 Mar.; Andrew Lewis, third captain, 8 Mar.; and George Mercer, who was commissioned lieutenant on 25 Feb. and became a company commander when GW, Muse, and Adam Stephen moved up in rank in early June after Col. Joshua Fry’s death.

7The Castleman family was among the earliest families to settle in Frederick County. In GW’s military accounts for 1755–58 there are payments on 12 April, 31 Aug., and 24 Sept. 1757 to Lodowick, William, and Jacob Castleman for “horse hire after Deserters” (DLC:GW).

8Henry Van Meter (died c.1759), a member of one of the first families to settle in the Shenandoah Valley, lived on the South Branch of the Potomac River about 40 miles upriver. Basenton has not been identified.

9Draper Simon Wood was probably one of Carlyle’s six deputies. Wood served as “Deputy Commissary of Stores and Provisions for his Majestys Forces in North America” at Carlisle, Pa., during the Forbes expedition in 1758. He remarked then that he had served “in the Station that I am now in since the commencement of this War” (Henry Bouquet to James Burd et al., 6 June 1758, ViU: John Forbes Papers).

10Cooper may have been another of Carlyle’s deputies.

11Peter Hog, whose commission as captain was dated 9 Mar. 1754, was present at the capitulation at Fort Necessity. He was among the Virginia officers whom Gen. Edward Braddock used in his campaign in 1755. When GW reconstituted the Virginia Regiment in the fall after Braddock’s defeat, he assigned Hog to a post on the frontier in Augusta County, where he served until GW relieved him of his command in July 1757. For further information about Peter Hog’s military career, see GW’s first letter to Hog of 6 Sept. 1755.

12John West, Jr., a lieutenant in the Virginia Regiment, delivered at least 21 recruits to GW. Although GW later listed them as having been in service before 3 July 1754, he noted on the return of Captain West’s new recruits of June 1754 that they were “not incorporated” (DLC:GW).

13James Towers was first an ensign (25 Jan. 1754) in the Virginia Regiment and had recently (9 June) been made lieutenant. He was at Fort Necessity on 3 July and remained with the Virginia forces until December, only a short time after GW’s resignation.

14The two colonel Fairfaxes are William Fairfax and his son George William, both of Belvoir and intimate friends of GW.

15Sarah Cary Fairfax was the wife of George William Fairfax.

17Capt. James Mackay’s independent company from South Carolina was authorized to have two lieutenants and one ensign. Mackay also brought along at least one cadet. Lt. Peter Mercier of the company was killed at Fort Necessity, and Ens. John Grey was then promoted to lieutenant. The other lieutenant was probably Paul Demeré, who succeeded to Mackay’s captaincy. A cadet, Joseph Lloyd, was wounded at Fort Necessity.

18The 4 hogsheads of tobacco were brought down to the Alexandria warehouse for inspection from GW’s Bullskin Plantation in Frederick County. On 25 Nov. 1754, after returning to Mount Vernon, GW paid Simeon Rice for the “Carriage” of 10 hogsheads of tobacco delivered “to this date” (Ledger A description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 17, DLC:GW).

19“Mr Pervance” may be Samuel Purviance, merchant of Philadelphia, who advertised in the Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia) of 2 May 1754 that he had “a Large assortment of European and India goods . . . Just imported . . . from London.”

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