George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Adam Stephen, 28 December 1755

To Adam Stephen

Winchester Decr 28th 1755


Captn John Mercer only returnd last night from Williamsburg and brings no satisfactory answers to any thing I questiond the Governor upon.1 The express that was sent to Genl Shirley is returnd, without seeing him: however the Governor writes that he expects answers to his Letters by Colo. Hunter, who is now at New York and waits the arrival of the Genl at that place. The Governor is very strongly of opinion that Captn Dagworthy has no right to contend2 the Command; and in his Letter to me3 says—after mentioning the return of the express and his expectancy of satisfactory Letters—“but I am of opinion you might have obviated the inconsistent dispute with Captn Dagworthy, by asking him if he did not command a Provinl Compay by virtue of Govr Sharpes Comn 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 Comission from me is greater than what he has” and in Williamsburg when I was down there, both he and Colo. Fitzhugh4 told me, that Dagworthy could have no more pretensions to Command me or either of the Field Officers of the Virga Regt than we have to comd Genl Shirley—and further gave it as their opinion’s; that as Dagworthy’s was only a botchd up Comn at best and as he commanded a provencial Company and by virtue of a Governor’s Comn that he ought to be arrested for his presumption—they say—allowg his Comn from the King to be valid; yet as he is not there by order of his Majesty, that he can have no better pretension’s than a visiting half pay Officer who transiently passes thrô the Camp to assume the Comd—I wish you woud sound him on this hd; and hear how he will answer these things and let me know when you come down which I desire may be immediately as5 I wan’t much to consult you upon several accounts. The Paymaster, and Commissary if he is not very much engagd must accompany you[.] Desire both to have their accts settled and brought with them as that is necessary before I can give more money. Also desire all the Officer’s who have receivd money for Recruitg to make up their accts immediately and charge for no more Men than has6 actually been receivd at the severall Rendezvouses—allowance will be made for no others—the Arrears of Pay, for those Officers and Soldiers who have not recd for the Months of Jany and Feby are im[mediatel]y to be made out and sent down by you with the Rec[ruitin]g accts;7 desire them to charge for no Men but what are present, as I can pay for no others now.

I have sent you one of the Mutiny Bills which I recd from below—but I think—indeed I believe it is absolutely necessary as we still want the power—to postpone tryal till after your return8—Order Comy Walker to see that there is particular care taken of all the Bags and to send them down if more Salt is wanted—Also order him to call upon Mr McLean to render an acct of the disbursements of Sundry sums to the amount of 70£s let him have since the 17th of Septr last and bring that down with him.

Inclosd is a Commission for Captn Waggener which I have neglected giving before, so long as I have had it—desire him, as the comd will upon your leaving the place, devolve upon him to be very circumspect in his duty—and to see that the Troops are duly drawn out and traind to their exercise and practisd to bush fighting. As I expect in a very few days to have the pleasure of seeing you I shall only add that I am Yr most Obt Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, DLC: Adam Stephen Papers; LB, DLC:GW. Four minor changes in the letter book have been noted.

1John Mercer took GW’s letter of 5 Dec. to Dinwiddie and left Williamsburg on 16 Dec., probably with Dinwiddie’s letter to GW of 14 Dec. from which he quotes here.

2The word “for” is inserted in the letter book after “contend.”

3The letter book substitutes “he” for “to me.”

4William Fitzhugh, burgess from Stafford County, was a member of the committee appointed to supervise expenditure of the £40,000 appropriated for defense of the colony. See GW to Charles Dick, 6 Sept. 1755, n.2.

5The letter book has “and” instead of “as.”

6The letter book substitutes “have” for “has.”

7For the “Arrears of Pay” due for Jan. and Feb. 1755, see Peter Hog to GW, 29 Nov. 1755, n.8, and GW’s After Orders, 30 Dec. 1755.

8See GW to Dinwiddie, 5 Dec. 1755, n.5, for references to the mutiny bill passed by the Virginia Assembly in early November.

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