George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Dinwiddie, 1 July 1756

From Robert Dinwiddie

Williamsburg July 1st 1756


Last Night I recd Yrs of the 25th Ulto1—I am sorry for the Delay of the Waggon with the Tools, probably occasion’d by the badness of the Horses, but I hope e’er this they are with You.

I approve of Your consulting at a Council of War in regard to building of Forts, which I fear will be attended with very great Delays from the small number of Men You have, & I think it will not be proper to divide Yr Men at too great Distances, therefore You must build them one after another, so that on occasion You may collect a proper number to repell any Forces that may appear against You. As the Six Nations have summon’d the Delaw⟨ares⟩ & Shawness to Onondago, I hope they will comply therewith & in course be ordered to live peaceably with us.2

Inclos’d You have a Letr to Capt. Hogg & another to the Commanding Officer of the Militia in Augusta, & I desire You will give Ct. Hogg Your Opinion & Direction in regard to building of Forts on their Frontiers, which I hope will answer the Intent of protecting our Frontiers by Forts.3 I very much approve of the Field Officers having each a Company, which You may now put in execution tho’ I am sorry to think we have so many Officers & so few Rank & File.

I am surpriz’d there are no more than 246 draughted Men & so bad as three to be discharg’d, send me an Acct of the Number from each County—If the six Quakers will not fight You must compell them to work on the Forts, to carry Timber4 &ca if this will not do confine them with a short Allowance of Bread & Water till You bring them to reason or provide others in their room.

I am glad Gov. Sharpe is building a Fort which will be so useful, but the Assembly of Maryland allow no more than 1100 to enlist & maintain 200 Men build a Fort & three Block Houses, & I dare say the Gov. will not exceed the Vote of Assembly.5

I consulted the Treasurer, now here, about the Militia, & he is of Opinion they will all desert therefore he & I agree that those that will not remain shd be return’d to their Counties, & that You write to the Lieuts. of Those Counties to make Draughts from their Militia agreeable to the Act of Assembly & send them up to You by the Major of each County but if You can prevail on any of them to remain till Decr let them know they will be paid as Militia to that Time6—I recomend to You to perswade those that are Tradesmen & can handle the Ax &ca to remain in building of Forts, & You may augmt their Pay as You & they can agree—I am fully convinc’d the few Men You will have remaing are not sufficient for Defence & building the Forts, or can I at present propose any Method to augmt Your Regimt. I am really ashamed of the dastardly pusillanimous Spirit of the People in general at this time of Danger & we must depend much more on the Protection of Heaven, than on the second Means expected from us by God. I recomend You to his guidance, & wishing You Health I remain Sir Your most humble Servt

Robt Dinwiddie

I hope You will send me a proper Roll of all our Men by this Express—We have no Acct of Ld Loudon’s arrival.

LS, DLC:GW; LB, ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers.

1Dinwiddie had certainly received the first of GW’s two letters of 25 June and probably the second one as well.

2Sir William Johnson, again appointed superintendent of Indian affairs in the north, went in June from Fort Johnson on the Mohawk River to Onandaga, site of present-day Syracuse, N.Y., to meet with the Six Nations and their dependencies. He wrote Peter Wraxall on 2 July 1756: “Last Night I finished all matters with the Six Nations to my great Satisfaction, I have a number of the Shawenese and Delawares with me whom I intend to take down to my House, and settle all Affairs there with them, as I could not here” (Sullivan, William Johnson Papers description begins Milton W. Hamilton et al., eds. The Papers of Sir William Johnson. 14 vols. Albany, 1921–65. description ends , 2:496). Johnson’s meetings with these Indians and other Delaware who arrived late from the west were completed by mid-July. It was parties of the Shawnee and Delaware that had been making raids on the Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania frontiers.

3Dinwiddie’s letter to Peter Hog has not been found, but see GW to Dinwiddie, 25 June 1756 (first letter), and its note 4. Maj. Andrew Lewis of the Virginia Regiment was also colonel of the Augusta County militia and the senior militia officer in the county. At this time Lewis was away in the Cherokee country, and so responsibility for the defense of the county fell on Col. John Buchanan, next in seniority. No letter to Buchanan has been found.

4The word “Morter” was struck out after “Timber.” For references to GW’s difficulties with the Quakers, see GW to Dinwiddie, 25 June 1756 (first letter), n.8.

5The Maryland legislature appropriated £11,000 current money for Fort Frederick and provided that it would be manned by 100 men. See Robert Stewart to GW, 20 June 1756, n.6.

6The recent assembly provided that the militia draft would be held in those counties that had been ordered out by Dinwiddie on 27 April after the militiamen’s “return from service.” GW sent most of the remaining parties of militia on the frontier back home in August. See Orders, 5–9 Aug. 1756. The delayed draft held in Fairfax County on 30 Aug. met with little success, and those held in the four other affected counties were equally disappointing. In September ten recruits were brought in from Prince William County, seven from King George County, six from Stafford County, twelve from Culpeper County, and nine from Fairfax County. Only two of these recruits were among those released on 1 Dec. 1756 when all the draftees from the militia still on duty were sent home.

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