George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Dinwiddie, 11 September 1754

From Robert Dinwiddie

Williamsburg Septr 11th 1754


No doubt You have heard that our Assembly is prorogu’d without granting any Supplies;1 Under this unexpected Disappointment, I fear we are not Numbers sufficient to attack the Fort taken from Us by the French: Therefore I order You to give a Detachment of Forty or Fifty Men to Capt. Lewis,2 with them he is to march immediately for Augusta County,3 in order to protect our Frontiers from the Incursions of small Parties of Indians, & I suppose some French, order him to march immediately & to apply to Colo. Patton the County Lieut.4 who will direct him where to proceed, that he may be the most usefull—With the remainder of our regiment You are to march to Wills’s Creek, to join the other Forces in executing such Orders as I may see proper to direct;5 Major Carlyle will supply Your Men with Necessaries, not doubting they will agree to have the said Supplies stop’t from their Pay; I therefore desire You will immediately march them to the Place above mentioned. You know best whether You can venture to march them from Rock Creek to Wills’s6—This late Disappointment from the Assembly has entirely defeated the Operations I had proposed; however its probable on their next Meeting they will more seriously consider the great Danger our Country is exposed to & grant proper Supplies7—I am sorry my Clerk sent Yr Commission unsigned,8 it’s a very great Omission, if You had sent it down the Date should have been alter’d, I mean a few Day’s after Colo. Fry’s Death, & I would have Signed it & returned it to You.

I have appointed Mr Peyroney Capt. agreeable to Your recommendation.9 And I now send You Commisss. agreeable to Your List, which deliver to them, & let them know, that I expect they will discharge their Duties with good Spirit, & a proper Example of Courage & good Conduct.10 I have only sent You four Commissions for Ensigns, till I have a proper Supply for their Payment. I think You may order Wm Wright to join Capt. Lewis when he goes to Augusta. As to Fraizer he is not here at present, I shall consider what You write in regard to him.11

Mr Campbell is to have 50 per Ann. from Your Salary as Adjutant, & that is what Finnie receives from Mr Muse.12 I expect You will march accordingly for Wills’s Creek, & send me an Acct of the Number of Men.13 You have not sent Acct of the Pay of Your Regiment; as the Pay was ordered for the whole Number, there must be great Saving from the Dead & Deserters.14 I have not yet been able to procure a proper Allowance for the poor Sick & Wounded, which gives me Concern; Majr Carlyle in the mean Time must maintain them till I can obtain some Allowance for their Misfortunes in the Service of their Country, & for the Future send me a Monthly Muster Roll, with the Pay due to each Company, & I doubt not I shall be enabled to pay them duely.

Let me know the Day You march, & I sincerely wish You Health & Happiness, & I remain Sr Your Friend &ca

Robt Dinwiddie

LS, DLC:GW; LB, ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers.

1See William Fairfax to GW, 5 Sept. 1754, n.2, for reference to the rejection of the House’s supply bill by the council.

2Dinwiddie ordered Capt. Andrew Lewis to Augusta County on 11 Sept. 1754, and he remained on that frontier during Braddock’s expedition.

3In 1738 Augusta County was formed out of Orange County as the more southern of Virginia’s two new frontier counties, the other being Frederick County. The two new counties were originally divided by a line running between the headsprings of the Hedgeman and Potomac rivers. Augusta County government was organized in 1745, and in 1753 its northeast boundary point was moved south from the headspring of the Hedgeman to that of the Conway River in the act that created Hampshire County as the new northern frontier county of the colony.

4James Patton was county lieutenant for Augusta. See Dinwiddie to GW, Jan. 1754, n. 15.

5See Dinwiddie to James Innes, 18 Sept. 1754, ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers, in which Dinwiddie conceded it would not be “prudent to march over the Allegany Mounts this Fall” and directed that Innes build a magazine and mount his guns for the defense of Wills Creek. See also Dinwiddie to Innes, 11 Sept. 1754, Brock, Dinwiddie Papers description begins R. Alonzo Brock, ed. The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Virginia, 1751–1758. 2 vols. Richmond, 1883–84. description ends , 1:314–15.

6The mouth of Rock Creek, which enters the Potomac River 8 miles upstream from Alexandria, became the site of Georgetown. In a letter of 5 Sept. to Gov. Horatio Sharpe of Maryland Dinwiddie remarked: “I am glad you have directed the opening the new road from Rock Creek” to the backcountry (Browne, Sharpe Correspondence description begins William Hand Browne, ed. Correspondence of Governor Horatio Sharpe. 3 vols. Archives of Maryland, vols. 6, 9, and 14. Baltimore, 1888–95. description ends , 1:97). “Wills’s” was Wills Creek where Innes was building Fort Cumberland.

7Dinwiddie prorogued the assembly to meet again on 17 Oct. See William Fairfax to GW, 5 Sept. 1754, and notes 2 and 5 of that document.

8William Withers (b. 1731) was Dinwiddie’s secretary for most of Dinwiddie’s tenure as lieutenant governor in Virginia.

10Dinwiddie’s “Commissions sent Colo. Washington for the Officers of his regimt” appears in Dinwiddie’s letter book after the entries of 11 Sept. (ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers). In addition to Lt. Col. Adam Stephen (20 July) and Maj. Robert Stobo (20 July), he listed captains Peter Hog (9 Mar.), Andrew Lewis (18 Mar.), George Mercer (4 June), Thomas Waggener (20 July), William Polson (21 July), and William La Péronie (25 Aug.); lieutenants John Savage (9 Mar.), James Towers (4 June), William Bronaugh (20 July), John Mercer (21 July), and James Craik (23 July); and ensigns William Wright (20 July), Carolus Gustavus de Spiltdorf (21 July), Thomas Bullitt (22 July), and Walter Steuart (25 July). He also listed the dates for which the ensigns were promoted to lieutenant: 28 Oct. 1754 for Wright, 29 Oct. for Spiltdorf, 30 Oct. for Bullitt, and 31 Oct. for Steuart.

12Alexander Finnie was described in 1769 as having been “for many years Adjutant to the middle district of this colony” (Virginia Gazette [Williamsburg], 4 May 1769). At this time Finnie must have been a deputy to George Muse (the adjutant of the Middle District) as Colin Campbell was deputy to GW in the Northern District.

13The letter-book copy reads “march immediately.” In a letter of 6 Sept. 1754 to James Hamilton, Dinwiddie estimated the number of men at Wills Creek: independent companies, 260; North Carolina Regiment, 40; Virginia Regiment, 100 (Brock, Dinwiddie Papers description begins R. Alonzo Brock, ed. The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Virginia, 1751–1758. 2 vols. Richmond, 1883–84. description ends , 1:309).

14After the Battle of Fort Necessity, GW’s company officers reported 13 dead and 19 missing (Company Returns, 9 July 1754, DLC:GW). For desertions subsequent to the battle, see GW to Dinwiddie, 20 Aug. 1754.

Index Entries