George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Ashby, 28 December 1755

To John Ashby

[Winchester, 28 December 1755]

To Captain John Ashby of the second Company of Rangers

I am very much surprized to hear of the great irregularities which were allowed of in your camp. The Rum, although sold by Joseph Coombs, I am credibly informed, is your property. There are continual complaints to me of the misbehaviour of your Wife; who I am told sows sedition among the men, and is chief of every mutiny. If she is not immediately sent from the camp, or I hear any more complaints of such irregular Behaviour upon my arrival there; I shall take care to drive her out myself, and suspend you.1

It is impossible to get clothing here for your men—I think none so proper for Rangers as Match-coats; therefore would advise you to procure them. Those who have not received clothing, for the future will receive their full pay without stoppages; and those already made, will be repaid them.

Those who have been clothed, must either return them or allow stoppages. I would have you consult your men, and fall upon some method to supply them immediately. I have heard very great complaints about the mens pay; and that it has been misapplied: to prevent any for the future—I Order, that you have your accompts with the men properly stated against I come up. And always after you make payments hereafter, to take two receipts from each man: one of which you are to have entered in a Book kept for that purpose, for your own use; the other must be taken upon a sheet of paper, and transmitted to me monthly.

I have sent you one of the mutiny Bills which you are (as far as it relates to the men) to have frequently read to them. Further; acquaint them, that if any Soldier deserts, altho’ he return himself, he shall be hanged. Given &c. at Winchester: December 28th 1755.



1Mrs. Ashby had been married to John Ashby since 1741. She was Jean (Jane) Combs Ashby, the daughter of Joseph Combs. The Joseph Combs selling rum at Ashby’s fort may have been her brother rather than her father. In any case, by 1757 Joseph Combs had taken over the ferry on the Shenandoah River near Ashby’s home, and in 1759 Ashby posted bond in Frederick County for his wife’s relative to get a license to operate an ordinary at his ferry.

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