George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Adam Stephen, 25 July 1756

From Adam Stephen

Fort Cumberland [Md.] July 25th 1756.


Nothing Remarkable has occurred in this neighbourhood since You left us. I think we omitted, My lord, at the beginning of Our Address, you will Please to Observe before you Send it off, and likewise Write to the governor and Some of the Council to charge Mr Ludwel to support & inforce it.1 I heard once from the Branch Since, but expect you have all the reports from that Quarter before this time—Please to hurry up the officers as Several of the gentlemen are Ailing here, Mr Rutherford is now on the Recovery after a very Severe Spell, and give orders for our men to join us, as we want 30 to Complat us to the Number agreed to, and have forteen more Sick.2 This makes duty Set heavy. We catchd two in the very Act of desertion and have wheal’d them ’till they pissd themselves and the Spectators Shed tears for them—which will I hope answer the End of punishment.

The Detachmt of militia at Ashby’s, absolutely refusd to Escort the Express to this place, and am afraid never will get over the pannick which Seiz’d them under Command of Mr Rutherford.3

One of them named Croucher has always behavd well, and came up with the express in the night4—Pray Urge the necessity of having more men, the Militia will add to our disgrace but nothing to our Strength. I shall be Obligd to Recall Capt. McKenzie,5 unless we are join’d Shortly by the men Belonging to these Companies.

Send us Little Crocus, to ease my Burthen, which would have overset me by this time, but for the Assistanc[e] of Serjt Feint who Promises very well. Let the Docr Send what medicines he knows to be wanting.6

We have had Sermon these two last Sundays; The Genuine product of Fort Cumberland. Capt. Woodward Officiats. If you can come accross a Cargo of Second hand Sermons please to forward them by the first Waggons, for as we have no Books; the Art of making will soon fail us. I have the honour to be with Esteem Dr Sir, Your most Oblig’d huble Servt

Adam Stephen


To be sent per first Opportunity a map of Lake George, Crown Point &c. Advices from Majr Lewis, and an acct of Loudons arrival The number killed and wounded in the last engagemt on the Lakes.

ALS, DLC:GW. GW has docketed this letter “recd Augt 5th.”

1The copy of the address of 25 July to Loudoun (see above) does not have the salutation, “My lord.” Dinwiddie sent Councilor Philip Ludwell to New York in May with a letter of welcome to Loudoun. See Dinwiddie to GW, 27 May 1756, n.12.

2While at Fort Cumberland c.5–15 July, GW moved to tighten up the organization of the Virginia Regiment. See particularly his Orders of 12 July 1756. He also issued orders shifting about the companies of the regiment both to take up the slack caused by the imminent departure of the remaining militia detachments on the frontier and to get the men started with the building of the chain of forts mandated by the assembly. It would appear that GW indicated to Stephen while at Fort Cumberland what officers and men he would send up to Stephen at that place. See GW’s Orders, 20 July 1756, n.2, and Robert Stewart’s reference to getting his “Marching Orders” (Stewart to GW, 23 July) as well as GW’s response (27 July). Thomas Waggener was the senior officer on the South Branch.

3Thomas Rutherford, lieutenant in John Ashby’s company of rangers, was in command at Ashby’s fort of what remained of Ashby’s rangers while Ashby himself was on furlough. For a description of the “pannick,” see GW to Dinwiddie, 4 Aug. 1756. For an account of Rutherford’s military career, see GW’s Orders, 10 Oct. 1755, n.2.

4Croucher has not been identified, but it would appear that he was one of the soldiers in the party of Fairfax County militia sent up to Ashby’s fort in late May. A Charles Croucher later served in the Virginia Regiment commanded by Stephen after GW’s resignation.

5Robert McKenzie was probably at Cocks’s fort on Patterson Creek. See GW to McKenzie, 13 July 1756.

6Crocus was a nickname given to surgeons in the British army and navy in the eighteenth century; Stephen was probably referring to Dr. James Craik. Sgt. Joseph Fent of Henry Woodward’s company identified himself as a surgeon when he enlisted in May 1756. The “Docr” is certainly Craik.

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