George Washington Papers

From George Washington to David Bell, 25 April 1756

To David Bell

[Winchester, 25 April 1756]

To Captain David Bell commanding at Conogogee.

As the roads at present are so much infested, I do not think it safe to send the things you wrote for1 until another opportunity. I must desire that you will be very diligent, and guard against a Surprize from the Enemy, as they will certainly attact you, if they find it possible to surprize you.

You are to detach Ensign Crawford2 with twenty men, to reconnoitre the Country towards Hites, on Opekon; and towards Bullskin, or wherever he finds these Inhabitants have retired to:3 He is to act rather as a reconnoitring party, than as an Offensive one. Yours &c.



1Bell’s letter has not been found.

2William Crawford of the Bullskin area in Frederick County was an ensign in Gist’s company of scouts. William Crawford, his brother Valentine, his half-brothers Hugh, Richard, John, and Marcus Stephenson, and his step-father Richard Stephenson all became acquaintances of GW after GW in 1750 surveyed two plots of land on Bullskin Run for the elder Stephenson.

3Bullskin Run, or Creek, empties into the Shenandoah River almost directly east of Winchester. Jost Hite (d. 1760) in 1731 bought a large tract of land from John and Isaac Van Meter in what was to be Frederick County. He moved to the land with sixteen other families in 1732 and became one of the leading land speculators and developers in the county. Jost Hite’s house on Opequon Creek was about six miles south of Winchester. His eldest son, John, in 1753 built his own home on the same tract.

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