George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George William Fairfax, 9 May 1756

From George William Fairfax

Alexandria May 9th 1756

Dear Sir

Upon hearing the many Alarming Accots at Williamsburg, I hasten’d away as soon as possible, tho. there was some particur Acts I should have been glad to have seen pass’d, as they were Relative to our Militia, But upon my arrival, I found the Militia ordered out by Colo. Carlyle, whove Marched many days before; otherwise I believe I should have Accompanied them.1 Your letter dated at Winchester Sunday Evening my Father received at Williamsburg after I left it, and Yesterday put it into my hand, by which I am sensible of the distressed condition poor Frederick must have been in,2 but by late Letters from Capt. Dalton and others, I am pleased to hear that the causes are greatly Removed. But if those cruel Savages should hereafter return or while you are up I beg that you’l freely Command me, being willing and always desirous of serving my Country under so experienced a Commander. My Father writes you the Running News therefore shall only add that your continued favour will greatly oblige your Affecte and very humble Servt

Go: Wm Fairfax

I am extreamly sorry to hear that our People have misbehaved, and I hope my Father and the Officers under him will punish them as they deserve, and those sent back will I dare say meet with their Reward.3 Remember me to Capt. Mercer &ca.


1John Carlyle was colonel of the Fairfax County militia. For the movements at this time of George William Fairfax and the Fairfax militia, see William Fairfax to GW, 4 May, n.5, and GW to John Dalton, 4 May 1756, n.1. Although George William Fairfax never served in the Virginia Regiment with GW, he wrote to Dinwiddie on 4 Sept. 1755, upon learning that GW had been made colonel of the regiment: “I can’t help expressing my intention, and great desire of serving my Country at this juncture, if you should be at a loss for officers, not sembling in the least to serve under my valuable friend [GW]. Had I the least reason to expect this when I last saw him, I should have mentioned it and wrote to your Honour, but I hope I am not too late in my application, and must beg the favour of you to postpone any office you may incline to favour me with till I consult my good and indulgent Parent, and my worthy Patron L’d Fairfax who I am in hopes will spare me from his office. Wives, good Sir, are not to be consulted upon these occasions, but I make no doubt but mine would consent upon so laudable a call” (Neill, Fairfaxes of England and America description begins Edward D. Neill. The Fairfaxes of England and America in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, Including Letters from and to Hon. William Fairfax, President of Council of Virginia, and His Sons Col. George William Fairfax and Rev. Bryan, Eighth Lord Fairfax, the Neighbors and Friends of George Washington. Albany, 1868. description ends , 80–83).

2GW must have written to George William Fairfax on Sunday, 2 May or possibly 25 April. See William Fairfax to GW, 9 May 1756. The letter has not been found.

3William Fairfax, George William Fairfax’s father, was the county lieutenant of Fairfax County. On 1 May, shortly after the Fairfax County militia arrived in Winchester, GW issued orders relating to fighting between soldiers of the Virginia Regiment and militiamen, which may have been what Fairfax was alluding to here.

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