George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Stark, 18 April 1756

From William Stark

[Edwards’s Fort, 18 April 1756]


The purport of this is to acquaint you of an Engagemt we had with the Indians late this Evening—Three of our Men going out on pretence of looking after some Horses met with a party of Indians within sight of the Fort two of which escaped and alarm’d us, we immediatly pursued them with a party of between fourty & fifty Men undr Command of Capt: Mercer Lieut: Williams, Ensn Carter Ensign McCarty Lt Lemen & myself1—after following them abot a Mile & an half, on rising a Mountain we were fired on very smartly which we warmly return’d for half an hor then finding ourselves almost surrounded we retreated in the best manner We could to the Fort we unhappily lost Capt. Jno. Mercer Ensign Carter and fifteen Soldiers & had two wounded, we imagined the Number of the Enemy to be upwds of an hundred. I am Sr &c.

William Stark

ALS, DLC:GW. ADfS, Richard Maass Collection, White Plains, N.Y.

1Further details of what happened near Joseph Edwards’s fort on the Cacapon late on 18 April are to be found in the testimony taken at the trials of Lt. John Edward Lomax, who remained in the fort during the engagement on the orders of Capt. John Fenton Mercer, and of Sgt. Nathan Lewis, who was accused of acting the coward’s part in the skirmish and was sentenced to death (Court-Martial, 2, 3 May 1756). See also Maryland Gazette (Annapolis), 6 May 1756. The other officer at Edwards’s besides Lomax not mentioned by Stark was Lt. John Blagg, who was asleep when Mercer and his party went out. Of the three lieutenants named here, John Williams of Richmond County was in William Peachey’s company in the Virginia Regiment, William Stark probably of Prince George County was in Thomas Cocke’s company, and Thomas Lemen of Frederick County was in William Cocks’s 1st company of rangers. Denis McCarty was recently commissioned an ensign in the regiment after serving as a volunteer. The slain Thomas Carter, ensign of Robert Spotswood’s company, had been in the regiment since the preceding fall. John Fenton Mercer had been with GW at Fort Necessity and was captain of the 8th company of the Virginia Regiment.

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