George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Adam Stephen, 5 August 1756

To Adam Stephen

[Winchester, 5 August 1756]

To Lieutenant-Colonel Adam Stephen, at Fort Cumberland.

Yours of the 20th1 ultimo and 1st instant, I have just received. I am sorry to hear you even mention recalling Captain McKenzie from his Post. It must have been an extraordinary occasion that would have reconciled me to that proceeding; which wou’d have left Cox’s, Pearsalls and Kirkendalls Forts quite defenceless—to strengthen a Garrison which was only intended to defend the Stores, and might be protected by 100 against musquetry as well as by more; and all the men we have could not save it against any thing else. I have in order to strengthen the several Garrisons, that maintain the communication with Fort Cumberland, ordered Captain Bell to march to Cox’s, and there remain with twenty men; while the rest of his company is equally divided, one part to strengthen Ashby’s; the other, to protect the Inhabitants at Kirkendalls:2 By this means McKenzie’s Company will be kept ent[i]re at Pearsalls, and enable him to furnish the stronger Escorts. I hope you will mention that matter to Rutherford, which we talked of at Fort-Cumberland, about recruiting the Rangers:3 The Militia now can neither serve nor disserve us; for they are by the Governors directions, all called in. The views of the Enemy are designed against the lower Inhabitants—They have laid maryland and pennsylvania waste, as low as Carlyle; the inhabitants of which place we are told, are flying with the utmost consternation: They have made an attempt on the virginia side; killed one, and captivated another on the Conogochieg road, four miles hitherwards; but retreated back, for how long a time, God knows.4 I communicated the contents of yours to the Doctor, concerning the medicines; and he will send them up so soon as procured—at present he has none of them.

Having occasion to write to Captain Waggener, I have ordered him to despatch the men belonging to your Garrison, immediately. Yesterday I wrote you,5 and desired that all the Captains would be punctual in making me weekly returns, signed by themselves and Officers; signifying the state & strength of their companies; and shall here repeat these orders; because I am fully resolved to suspend the first Captain (or commander of a Company) that fails in this point; or that is negligent and incorrect in making them out, tho’ they may err but in one man.

By my Returns of the Regiment including Drafts, Scouts and Rangers, I can only make 926 men; while Mr Boyd, exclusive of Captain Hoggs company, has issued pay for 1080. What am I, or what are the Governor and Committee, before whom all those widely different returns must be laid for examination, to think of them?

Sure the least they can say is, that is unhappy for the Country to have officers so little acquainted with the management of their companies, as to make returns to me for 926 men only—and others to the Paymaster for 1080. You desire to have a map sent you of the lakes, &c. I have none but Evans’s, which you have also:6 nor have I heard a Syllable from Major Lewis, altho’ Mr Jones is now here from Augusta;7 nor any thing about an Engagement on the Lakes. I am &c.



1No letter from Stephen of 20 July has been found, but the contents of this letter suggest that GW was referring to Stephen’s letter of 25 July 1756.

2See GW to Thomas Waggener, and GW to Robert McKenzie, both 5 Aug., for GW’s instructions to David Bell and to McKenzie.

3Thomas Rutherford was lieutenant in Ashby’s ranger company. For the attempts to recruit the rangers for the Virginia Regiment, see GW to Dinwiddie, 4 Aug. 1756, nn.20 and 26.

4For an account of this Indian raid near Maidstone, see Robert Stewart to GW, 31 July 1756.

5No letter from GW to Stephen of 4 Aug. has been found.

6GW was referring to the 1755 edition of Lewis Evans’s map of the middle colonies. See GW to John Robinson, 24 April 1756, n.9, for full identification of the map. GW had purchased the map in October 1755, shortly after it was issued (Ledger A, 24).

7Maj. Andrew Lewis was supervising the building of the Virginia fort in the Cherokee country. See Dinwiddie to GW, 23 April 1756, n.6, and 20 Aug. 1756, n.1. Mr. Jones was Gabriel Jones. See GW to Peter Hog, 2 June 1756, n.1.

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