George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Carlyle, 17 October 1755

From John Carlyle

At Wm Wests Fryday 17th Octr 1755

Dr Sir

This Will be deliver’d you by Capt. Elzey & our Draft from the Militia of Fairfax. We hope that they will be Approved of as they Are All Young healthy fellows tolerable well mounted & Accouterr’d.1

A Waggon woud Sett of this day from Alexandria with the Powder & Lead you desired Also the Cloaths for the Soldiers & hope they will be Up in time for you, I cou’d Nether gett Carradge horses, nor a Waggon, before this, nor did I think it Safe to Send the powder on horse back the Casks was So bad.2

Their is but about Six Recruits In Alexandria, Mr Bullet has Nine In Prince William, he & Mr Dennis McCarty3 will be able to Gett (they say) Twenty recruits.

Mr Kirkpatrick desired to Acquaint you he Waits Yr Commands to Wait on You at Winchester or Where you order. I am With Wishes for Yr Health &c. Yr Affectionat H. Sert

John Carlyle


1According to a resolution of the House of Burgesses on 21 April 1756, “at a Meeting of the Militia Officers of the said County of Fairfax on the 10th Day of October, 1755, it was ordered that Six private Men be drafted from each Troop and Company in the said County, and formed into one Company under the Command of Captain Lewis Ellzey. . . to march to Winchester as soon as possible” (JHB, 1752–1755, 1756–1758 description begins H. R. McIlwaine and John Pendleton Kennedy, eds. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia. 13 vols. Richmond, 1905–15. description ends , 374). Ellzey and his company remained on duty for nearly 2 months in Frederick and Hampshire counties before returning to Fairfax and being discharged. Lewis Ellzey, who was a member of one of the leading families of the county, was at this time a justice of the peace. On his death in 1786 he left to his heirs large tracts of land and a number of slaves.

3Denis McCarty recruited men for the Virginia Regiment in the fall of 1755 as a volunteer, without a commission. On 22 Nov. GW rebuked him for “forcibly taking, confining and torturing those, who would not enlist.” Despite this, GW sought and got Dinwiddie’s approval in Jan. 1756 to make McCarty an ensign. After serving in both William Bronaugh’s company and George Mercer’s during the next 8 months, McCarty quietly resigned in Oct. 1756. At the same time he persuaded Dinwiddie to give him a commission to recruit for the Royal American Regiment. On 4 Dec. 1756 GW denounced McCarty to Dinwiddie for having the night before “scandalously and underhandedly” persuaded 18 soldiers to desert from the Virginia Regiment with a view to signing them up for the British regiment. William Fairfax a few weeks later, on 22 Jan. 1757, wrote GW that while recruiting for the Royal American Regiment McCarty had also “committed several illegal Acts . . . at Alexandria, forcing open Doors in the Night time, taking Men out of their Beds and carrying them” off. Dinwiddie revoked McCarty’s commission to recruit, and McCarty returned to his home in Fairfax County. There, though not yet 30 years old, he made his will in March and was dead before the end of May 1757. Denis McCarty, the son of Denis and Sarah Ball McCarty, was a cousin of GW’s. Members of McCarty’s family were lifelong friends and neighbors of GW at Mount Vernon.

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