George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Dinwiddie, 18 October 1755

From Robert Dinwiddie

Williamsburg Octr 18th 1755


Yours of the 8th per Colo. Stephens I recd & am heartily sorry for the Acct he brings, but am in hopes from the Assistance of the Militia, & the Recruits You will be able to drive those Banditti from our Frontiers; I wish You may get a Troop of Horse from Fairfax County, as they will be of great Service in clearing the Woods, & I shall be glad if they can send down a Number of their Scalps.1

One hundred Tents are making & shall as soon as finished be sent up to You, I refer You to Messrs Prentis & Withers, who send up many Necessaries by a Sloop.2 As I was told the Regulars cou’d not be supplied at Philadelphia I thot it needless to send there, but have sent to New York for some Camp Kettles &ca.3

There comes by the Sloop all the Small Arms fit for use in the Magazine—ten barrels of Powder & some Lead. I expect by Xmas, 1000 or 1500 Small Arms from London. I hope those now sent, & what You may have at Winchester, & Fort Cumberland, will be sufficient till that Time.

I am very sensible the Militia Law is very deficient, & several other Points proper to be adjusted; I have therefore called the Assembly to meet next Monday Week, when I expect they will pass a proper Law in regard to our Forces, & I hope You will be here by that Time, & I expect to have Your Men under the Military Law.4

I have spoke to the Treasurer & I doubt not Colo. Stephens brings You some Money & when You come here that You will have sufficient for a Military Chest to pay for Necessaries as wanted.

I think there are near 500 Beeves from No. Carolina near Winchester. give Directions about them.5 I am sorry Your Officers do not punctually obey Your Orders; Capt. Harrison (now here) says he has been laid up with the Fever & Ague for some Time.

I have nothing further to add at present, but that I am with kind Respects Sir Your most hble Servant

Robt Dinwiddie

The following Young Gentn propose joing the Forces as Volunteers. Their Friends desired me to recommend them to You for Your Countenance and Friendship agreeable to their Behaviour Sir Wm Becley Mr Wm Jones Mr Sumner.6

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

1See John Carlyle to GW, 17 Oct. 1755, and note 1, for the draft of Fairfax militia, whom he describes as “tolerable well mounted.”

2For the “Necessaries” William Prentis and William Withers sent up on 14 Oct. in the sloop Nancy, see note 1 in their letter to GW of 14 Oct.

3Dinwiddie is responding to GW’s suggestion of 11 Sept. that Dinwiddie send for these supplies in Philadelphia and to his subsequent expression of urgent need on 8 Oct. when he expressed the hope that Dinwiddie would “endeavour to get them below.”

4For the passage of the act in November to strengthen the hands of the regimental officers in imposing military discipline, see GW to Adam Stephen, 18 Nov. 1755, n.3.

5In preparation for Braddock’s expedition, Dinwiddie wrote to Gov. Arthur Dobbs of North Carolina on 30 April 1755 “for 600 good fat Cattle to be drove to W: Creek” and again on 5 May to the same effect (ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers). Five weeks later, on 13 June, Dinwiddie wrote Dobbs that he hoped “before that a number [of steers] are on their way to Wills’s Creek” (ibid.). Dinwiddie wrote Commissary Charles Dick on 11 Aug. [misdated July], after Braddock’s defeat, that he had “engag’d to pay for any [cattle] that G’r Dobbs may send to the Fort” at Wills Creek (ibid.). But see also Dinwiddie to John Campbell, 18 Sept., ibid.; Dinwiddie to GW, 17 Sept., GW to Charles Dick, 20 Oct., and the Memorandum of Agreement between Andrew Shepherd and Charles Dick, 22 Sept. 1755, all DLC:GW.

6Of the three men, it seems that only Jethro Sumner (Summer; c.1733–1785) served as an officer in GW’s regiment, although Sir William Bickley, Bart. (d. 1771), of Louisa County, recruited for Robert Stewart’s company of light horse in November and took his oath as a volunteer in Winchester on 6 Jan. 1756. Summer was made an ensign on 12 July 1756 and was assigned to Captain Bronaugh’s company in the Virginia Regiment. He became a lieutenant in Col. William Byrd’s 2d Virginia Regiment in 1758. During the Revolution he rose to the rank of brigadier general in the North Carolina forces.

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