George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Dinwiddie, 25 June 1754

From Robert Dinwiddie

Williamsburg June 25th 1754


This will (I hope) be deliver’d You by Colo. James Innes, who has my Commission to command in chief on the Expedition, which I dare say will be very agreeable to You,1 & am in Hopes when all the Forces are collected in a Body You will be able to turn the Tables on the French and dislodge them from the Fort, & in Time to take full Possession of the Ohio river.

As I am afraid of Disputes from the Officers of the Independt Companies to prevent that I have order’d Colo. Innes to Command in Chief & You are to be second in Comd[.] I have sent a breviate Commission of Lieutt Colo. to Capt. Clark, to be third in Command,2 & the same to Capt. Mackay to be fourth in Command on this Expedition; & have desired Colo. Innes to allow their Lieuts. to rank with our Capts. this is only Feathers in their Caps & to prevent any ill Blood in regard to rank; as Unanimity is the only step towards Success in the Expedition, & I doubt not all the Officers will perceive my meaning in this regulation.3

I have directed His Majesty’s Present to be sent out to be given among the Indians as Colo. Innes may think proper with Your Advice. I have given Orders to keep You duely supplied with Provisions, & am in great Hopes, when joined in a Body You will be a proper Match for the French, as I am in hopes You will have a good Number of our friendly Inds. to your Assistance.

I have no more to add but recommending You to the Protection of God & wishing Success to attend all Your Undertakings I remain in Truth Sr, Yr most hble Servt

Robt Dinwiddie

P.S: My Service to all Yr Brother Officers.

LS, DLC:GW; LB, ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers. The postscript is missing in the letter-book copy.

1When Dinwiddie sent GW his commission as colonel of the Virginia Regiment on 4 June 1754, he also informed GW that Colonel Innes of the North Carolina Regiment would succeed Col. Joshua Fry as commander of the entire expeditionary force; on 10 June GW expressed to Dinwiddie his approbation of Innes’s appointment.

2Thomas Clarke (Clark) was captain of one of the New York independent companies. Clarke was commissioned captain sometime before 1745. In 1746 he was appointed major for the duration of the proposed attack on Canada and, after the abortive campaign, reverted to his original rank. Capt. John Rutherfurd (1712–1758) was captain of the other New York independent company but was in England in 1754. As a result Clarke was senior commanding officer of both New York companies that arrived in Alexandria. He was also one of the New York officers who signed a letter disclaiming responsibility for GW’s defeat at Fort Necessity (Pennsylvania Gazette [Philadelphia], 10 April 1755). In order to brevet Clarke, which conferred only temporary rank and no increase in perquisites or pay, Dinwiddie had to give Clarke “my Como. . . . this Expedient was agreed to by Capt. Clark & was the only Method I cd think of to keep up Harmony amongst them” (Dinwiddie to Sharpe, 20 June 1754, ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers).

3These various arrangements for the expeditionary force were made, Dinwiddie wrote: “To quell the great Feud subsisting between the Independt Compas & our Forces in regard to rank” (ibid.).

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