George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Dinwiddie, 14 December 1755

From Robert Dinwiddie

Williamsburg Decr 14th 1755


Your Letter by Capt. Mercer I receiv’d.1 I hope the Treasurer will send You the Money to make up 10,000 which I have desired him. If You find it for the good of the Service to remain below I have no Objection to it; but I hope the Men are duly exercised & taught the Indian Method of fighting, that they may be prepard for Action in the Spring. I am surpriz’d the Vessell with Arms &ca is not arrived, if she had gone for Fredericksburg she woud have been there Weeks ago.

The Express is returnd from N. York, but the General was not come to that City; but Colo. Hunter,2 who is now there, & soon expected here, has Orders to bring answer to my Letters, & hope they will be satisfactory; but I am of Opinion You might have obviated the inconsistent Dispute with Capt. Dagworthy, by asking him if he did not Command by virtue of Governor Sharpe’s Commission as that he had formerly from His Majesty now ceases, as he is not on the Half-Pay List; if so, the Method You are to take is very obvious, as Your Commission from me is greater than what he has.

I expected You woud have appointed a Commissary pro tempore to prevent any Inconveniencies from the Delay of the former at Williamsburg. The Printer has been so engag’d in printing Bills for Money, he has not been able to print off the Acts; but I shall soon send You a number of the Mutiny Bills, & shall consult with the Attoy Genl in regard to granting blank Warrants for trying of Delinquents.

I hope by this You have more Camp Kettles &ca from N. York, which were forwarded from Hampton ten Days ago. I cannot say what can be done for Cloathing, am Sorry Messrs Carlyle & Dalton disappointed You, & I expected You woud have sent me a particular Acct of the Cloathing You had belonging to me from Majr Carlyle & at Winchester.3 The Treasurer complains for want of Gold & Silver, & I thot our Paper woud have passd in the neighbouring Provinces as they bear Interest. You cannot expect Success in recruiting in Pensylvania as that Province has voted 60000 for raising Forces &ca & Carolina are raising three Companies that I was in hopes of Success in our own Colony.

As to the Quantity of Provisions You are to lay in must be left to Your Care what You can,4 & endeavour to send the rest of the Beeves to grazing for the Winter, to be ready in the Spring to fatten. As You have appointed Mr Livingston to be Adjutant, I agree to it, tho’ there is one Mr Gordon, Brother to Capt. Gordon that commanded the Station Ship here, strongly recommended to me & was in Flanders all the last War: him I thought of for Adjutant; but he must remain till something falls.5

As before, its the first Colo. of a Regiment that ever had an Aid de Camp, but as You have appointed him, five Shillings per Day is sufficient.6 Capt. Stewart of the Light Horse fifteen Shillings per Day; but I see no Necessity to augment the Pay of the others, as I observe there are more Officers to be had than Men in proportion. Capt. Carter Harrison, by perswasion of his Friends & to serve his Brother, who was with Genl Braddock, resignd his Commission in his Favo. he has my Approbation, & the Brother is to wait on You with the Brother’s Commission, & to have Your Consent to the Change. I fancy he will make as good if not a better Officer than the other; the Date of the new Commission I leave to You.7

The Cherokees have taken up the Hatchet against the French & Shawnesse, & have sent 130 of their Warriors to New River, & propose to march immediately to attack & cut off the Shawnesse, in their Towns. I design they shall be joind with three Companies of Rangers & Capt. Hoggs Company, & I propose Colo. Stephens or Majr Lewis to be the Commander of the Party on this Expedition: I therefore desire You will order one of these Gentlemen to proceed immediately to join those Forces, & take the Command upon them by Derections from me. I am extremely hurried in sending Ammunitn &ca up to them, & if we have Success in this Attempt it will probably reclaim some of our friendly Indians that have joind the French, & keep others of them in Awe: but be sure send away one of those Officers immediately, that there may be no Delay, & to encourage the Indians, who they say, are very fond of this Attempt.8

Colo. Peter Randolph & Colo. Byrd are going Commissioners to the Catawbas & Cherokees, with a handsom Present to confirm them to our Interest & to prevail with them to send a Number of their Warriors to our Assistance in the Spring, & I hope they will succeed.9

You may believe I am very much hurried. I wish You Health & am Sir Your Friend & hble Servant

Robt Dinwiddie

P.S. Communicate the Contents of this Letter to my Friend Colo. Fairfax, for I cannot write him now.

P.S. Capt. Hogg sent a Messenger here for Money to pay for Provisions for his Co[mpan]y the Quantity he mention’d I think was sufficient for twenty Months, & charg’d 10£ for a Trough to salt the Meat in, besides the Barrells. I hope You will look into the Acct as I orderd him to apply to You or the Commissary for Money10—It’s proper all Accts shoud be examind & Calculations made on each Supply.

I send You twenty of the Acts against Mutiny &ca.11

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

1In this letter of 14 Dec. Dinwiddie responds point by point to GW’s letter to him of 5 Dec.

2He is referring to Col. John Hunter of Elizabeth City County.

3One of Dinwiddie’s instructions to GW at the time he assumed command of the new Virginia Regiment was for him to “take a particular Acct of the Clothing at Majr Carlyles & those at Winchester & send me an acct of the Whole” (Document III in GW’s “Appointment as Colonel of the Virginia Regiment,” 14 Aug. 1755). In response to this letter of 14 Dec., GW wrote on 13 Jan. 1756 that he had left “an exact acct of the Cloathing at every place” when he was in Williamsburg in November.

4The language of the preceding portion of this sentence is repeated in the letter-book copy.

5“Mr Gordon” may have been Harry Gordon (d. 1787), a Scot and veteran of the Flanders campaigns of the 1740s who participated as an engineer in the building of Braddock’s Road in the summer of 1755 and was wounded at the battle on the Monongahela. In Feb. 1756 he was attached to the Royal American Regiment in the British army, and by 1762 he had become captain of one of its companies. His postwar career as soldier and engineer, mostly in the West Indies, was a distinguished one.

6In his memorandum to GW when GW took commmand of the Virginia Regiment in Sept., Dinwiddie stated: “You have a Power to appoint an Aid de Camp & Secretary. Write me their names that they may be on the List with the other Officers, & that their Pay may be settled” (Document III in GW’s “Appointment as Colonel of the Virginia Regiment,” 14 Aug. 1755). See also Document II, 14 Aug. GW first wrote Dinwiddie about George Mercer’s appointment as aide on 11–14 Oct. and again on 5 Dec. 1755.

7Capt. Carter Henry Harrison, who was among those named in early September to be captain in the newly formed Virginia Regiment, was ill during the fall. Apparently GW was still waiting for him to show up at Winchester when he got this word that Carter Henry Harrison had resigned in favor of his brother Henry Harrison. Capt. Henry Harrison (d. 1772) was in Winchester by late spring. He remained in the regiment, mostly at Fort Cumberland, Md., until Dinwiddie reduced its size from 16 companies to 10 in the summer of 1757.

8GW chose Andrew Lewis rather than Adam Stephen to head what became known as the Sandy Creek expedition of 1756. A force of about 350 rangers, volunteers, and soldiers in addition to the party of Cherokees had assembled at Fort Frederick on New River when Lewis arrived in mid-February. The expedition set out through the mountains for the Shawnee towns on the Ohio River and reached the headwaters of Sandy Creek by the end of the month. Lewis and his party struggled for 2 more weeks to follow the creek bed to the Ohio. In mid-March, their supplies exhausted, dogged by ill luck and dissension, the expedition turned back after the rangers refused to move forward.

9See GW to Adam Stephen, 18 Nov. 1755, n.9, for a description of this mission.

10On 27 Dec. 1755 GW asked Hog about the need for provisions for as long as 20 months and about the £10 “Trough,” and Hog gave his explanation in a letter of 27 Jan. 1756.

11This was the mutiny or military act passed in November amending the amendment to “An Act for making provision against invasions and insurrections” (6 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 559–64).

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