George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Stewart, 2 June 1756

To Robert Stewart

[Winchester, 2 June 1756]

To Captain Robert Stewart. of the Light-Horse, at Conogochieg.

I received yours, and observe the contents:1 The Bearer added, that seven other Indians were seen. This I gave no credit to, as it was not certified in the Letter.

The Assembly have resolved that their Troops shall not march out of the Colony: whether this is binding on the whole, or only the Draughts, I know not; therefore I would not advise your going into Maryland, unless it be to procure some manifest advantage to Virginia; in keeping the Enemy out of it &c. To range for and search them in another province, I can not think consistent with the intention of the Assembly. Nor is it the design of the Assembly or Governor—as the men are raised solely for the Defence of the Colony, and not acting in conjunction with other Corps; that Governor Sharpe, or his Officers, shou’d have any connection with them. You are therefore to pay no regard to any orders that you may ⟨r⟩eceive from him or any other than the Governor of Virginia, myself, or your Superior officers in the Virginia Regiment.2 The instant this comes to hand dispatch Captain Gist to this place, that he may settle his recruiting accompt before I go to Williamsburgh. I only wait his arrival, and shall do it impatiently, unless he is expeditious3—His stay here may be long: Perhaps he may be ordered to accompany the Associators4—therefore he should order his things to follow him.

Captain Bell, with all his men that are here, sets out to-day to join you—Let Sergeant Hughes’s Recruits be sent to this place in their room.

The Pay master attends Captain Bell and will pay off all the Recruits to the first of May5—He will also pay Sergeant Hughes’s recruiting accompt: and from thence will proceed to Williamsburgh to meet me. Yours &c.



1The letter has not been found.

2On 27 May Dinwiddie raised the question with GW whether the 1 Dec. 1756 limit on time of service applied to the volunteer substitutes for the draftees as well as to those drafted and decided it did not. See Dinwiddie to GW, 27 May 1756, n.8. The question of Horatio Sharpe’s jurisdiction over the new draftees arises because William Shirley had given him command of the forces recruited in the southern colonies. See Shirley to GW, 5 Mar. 1756, n.1. Charles Carter suggested on 22 April that the ban on taking the new recruits outside the colony was instituted to prevent anyone other than GW from assuming command of them. For terms of the draft, see Dinwiddie to GW, 8 May 1756, n.4.

3Christopher Gist did not come to settle his recruiting account until 27 June, after GW had returned from Williamsburg. See Va. Regimental Receipt Book, 1755–58, DLC:GW.

4The Gentlemen Associators marched from Fredericksburg for Winchester on Sunday, 23 May, and on 26 May arrived “all in good Health and high Spirits, and encamped at Col. Wood’s Fort, about half a Mile from Town” (Maryland Gazette [Annapolis], 1 July 1756). Here the associators intended to stay for a few days before marching to Fort Cumberland, but they seem to have returned home after a short time without going to Fort Cumberland. For other information on the associators, see Dinwiddie to GW, 3, 27 May, 12 June; Peyton Randolph to GW, John Robinson to GW, both 3 May; William Fairfax to GW, 4, 9 May; GW to Adam Stephen, 18 May; John Tayloe to GW, 22 May, and Landon Carter to GW, May 1756.

5GW ordered Stewart to send David Bell down from Conococheague to Winchester on 26 May, presumably to pick up recruits for his company, which numbered only eighteen rank and file. The payroll for the new recruits for the month of May listed eighteen men, doubling the size of his company. Sgt. William Hughes of Stewart’s company of light horse, who became adjutant of the regiment in June 1757 and left the regiment in 1762 with the rank of lieutenant, had eleven recruits at Conococheague. See Stewart’s returns, 7, 9 April 1756 (DLC:GW). The April payroll for Bell’s old company and the one for his recruits are both in DLC:GW.

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