George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Dinwiddie, 10 June 1757

To Robert Dinwiddie

[Fort Loudoun, 10 June 1757]

To The Honble Robert Dinwiddie, Governor.
Honble Sir,

Your letters of the 23d ultimo and 2d [1st] instant are received.

Mr Atkin will write your Honor by this opportunity; therefore my observations shall be principally confined to Indian Affairs. In the first place, I fear that, the different colonies struggling with each other for their assistance, will be productive of very great Evils; and, in the end, introduce insupportable expence to these Governments, or to the Crown.

Maryland hath already held treaties with, and given presents to them.

Pennsylvania hath sent speeches to them, and offers presents (and to the latter, a great part is now gone)—The consequence is, those Savages look upon themselves in a more important light than ever, and have behaved very insolently thereupon; as Mr Atkin can inform you.1

Part of the Cherokees is returned to their nation. I have sent, agreeably to your Honors order, a person with them, to procure provisions along the road; and a small Detachment (a large one we cou’d not afford, as we are greatly straitned for want of men every where, especially at this place, to carry on the works) to escort them to Vauses Fort.2

I have in late letters mentioned some of the inconveniences which arise for want of money: and must now add, that unless there is a good deal sent up in a very short time, I must inevitably suffer, as well as the Service, in a very great degree: As all the country people who have any demands upon the public, think I am liable, and look to me for payment. Mr Atkin has received the Indian Goods which were at this place, brought from Fort Cumberland and elsewhere; the enclosed is a copy of the return of them: a return of our strength is also enclosed, as the Companys stood after the Draughts were taken for South-Carolina—and, at the reduction of the Captains, the reason why my company appears so much larger than the others, is because all the workmen that have been taken out of other companies for this employment, have been returned in it.3

That Capt. Paris has misbehaved, I verily believe: He has a Commission in the maryland Forces which I think pretty extraordinary on every account. However, as your Honor empower’d Mr Atkin to enquire into his behaviour, I did not interfere, or concern myself in any shape with him.4

Colo. Bouquets information after what I was told to the northward; after what I know was established under General Braddock (from whom, if I am rightly informed, proceeded the allowance of Bat-men, to the Virginia officers;) and, after giving in, at His Excellency Lord Loudouns own request (and to his satisfaction, as far as I cou’d learn) the quantity of provision, number of Batmen, &c. allowed each Officer. And, that I did this, Capt. Stewart knows to be fact (for he himself made a fair copy of the return for me:)—I say, after all this, Colo. Bouquet’s information is matter of surprize to me.5

However, if this is the practice of the Army by any late regulations, I dare say every officer here will chearfully acquiesce in it: and wou’d wish from their very heart, that every other regulation that is dispensed to the Regular Officers, was extended equally to them.

The wampum which Capt. McNeil lost, is since found and delivered to Mr Atkin. I shall order Capt. Woodward to march his company to Vauses and relieve Capt. Hogg, whose company will be given to Major Lewis; as it formerly belonged to him.6

I am importuned by the country people inhabiting the small Forts, for supplies of ammunition. I have refused them all, until I know your sentiments. Ammunition is not to be purchased, and indeed some of them are too poor to buy, if it was: Therefore they apply to me.

If your Honor thinks proper to order me to deliver it out to such people as I conceive will appropriate it to a good use, and in such quantities as we may be able to spare, I will do it; but not without.

I have found it expedient to relieve the Detachment at Maidstone, commanded by Captain Stewart, and bring them to this place: There were several material reasons which urged me to this step; but the two following will, I hope, meet with your approbation. I have found by experience, that it is impossible to work Soldiers, and train them to the use of their arms at the same time: and that, if both are attempted, both will be more or less neglected. For which reason it appeared to me evidently for the Interest of the Service, that the men at this place (except the necessary tradesmen) shou’d be removed to some other post; where they might be regularly execised, when they are not upon the scout.7 Then there was no company so proper to relieve them as Capt. Stewarts, who having had and improved the opportunity of disciplining his men, was desirous of coming hither, as they have been a long time detached from the body of the Regiment. The other reason is, half the men at Maidstone being enlisted by Capt. Gist, in maryland, and so contiguous to, and under the immediate influence and perswasion of their friends (who encourage them to desert:8 and not only do so, but protect them openly in it, under the eye and authority of their Majistrates, if we are rightly informed,) that in a little time, not one wou’d have been left. Eleven are at this time under confinement for desertion from this company—I hope your Honor will direct me in what points and how far I am to pay regard to Colo. Stanwix’s orders: If I shou’d meet with any thing from him at any time that may clash with your instructions to me, how I am to conduct myself in the affair. A case of this kind happened in maryland, as I am told; and Colo. Stanwix sent o[r]ders to the Officer under [ ] to disobey his (Stanwixes) orders at his peril.

Major Lewis cou’d not prevail with the Cherokee Indians to take out with them more than 8 days provisions, the consequence of which is that he is come in with a part of them. There are yet out two parties; one of which consisting of 20 Indians and 10 Soldiers, under Capt. Spotswood, and are gone toward Fort Du Quesne: while the other amounts to 15 Indians and 5 Soldiers, under Lt Baker, bent their course for Log’s-Town.9

I wrote your Honor in my last, that Colo. Stephen did, whilst I was in Williamsburgh, give out many of the Regimental Stores for the use of the Indians; among which were 122 Blankets. There are at this place, come up for the Indians, several pieces of dutch blanketing—I shou’d be glad to know whether we may not take out of them (if there is a sufficiency to replace our loss) as the Indians have all been supplied?

I doubt not that your Honor has been informed of the state of our Beef at Fort Cumberland: I was all along apprehensive that this wou’d be the consequence of Mr Walkers absence. And as soon as I heard the account, I desired Mr Rutherford to go up and overhale the casks and see what cou’d be saved. His answer was, that he was employed by Mr Walker to transact the business at this place, and did not care to undertake it without his instructions. I thereupon desired he wou’d communicate the affair to Mr Walker, and receive his directions; as I apprehended the Country wou’d look to him for the damage. What notice Mr Walker has taken of it I know not. But since I have heard they have destroyed the provisions in an unwarrantable manner Indeed I shou’d be glad if your Honor wou’d direct what is to be done in this affair.10

Capt. Bell waits upon your Honor in hopes he may be able to obtain one of the additional compys which we hear are to be raised. I have been greatly importuned by his friends to speak in his favor, or say what I know of him. All that I can say is, that, so far as I have had an opportunity of judging, he appears to be a good-natur’d honest man, and willing to do his duty. He has had no opportunity of proving his Bravery, that I know of, nor do I remember ever to have heard it called in question.

As to his abilities in other respects, and his bodily activity, your Honor can judge of them better than I, being more acquainted with him.11

I must once more presume to ask your Honor leave to attend the settlement of my (deceased) Brothers Estate (when the Executors and Colo. Lee will fix upon a time:) You were so indulgent on a former occasion as to consent to my being absent for this purpose. But the Assembly called off my Brother, and several others who were principally concerned, and prevented the completion of this affair since.12 Altho’ it is matter of great moment to have this business finished, it yet lies open. I am &c.



The copyist wrote “Ft Cumberland” in the heading of the letter but neither GW nor Dinwiddie was at that place.

1Richard Pearis wrote Col. John Armstrong of the Pennsylvania forces on 13 May 1757 “that on the 1st of this Instant I came into this Province [Pennsylvania] with a Party of Cherokees [headed by Wawhatchee and Youghtanno], in pursuit of some French Indians that had committed some Murders on Potomack, wch Enemies I pursued for several Days, but not having the fortune to come up with that Party, fell in with another Party, as I suppose about 20, out of which we killed 4 and took Two Prisoners, which Prisoners I have here now. I intend tomorrow to march to Fort Frederick, where I expect to meet Governor Sharp, who is to treat with the Cherokees; I wou’d be glad to meet you there” (Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , Col. Rec., 7:528–29). Armstrong with others from Pennsylvania arrived at Fort Frederick in Maryland on 17 May and on 18–19 May held a conference with the two Cherokee leaders, Wawhatchee and Youghtanno, and with the Marylanders sent by Gov. Horatio Sharpe. Richard Pearis acted as interpreter at the conference. The Cherokee accepted presents from the Marylanders and gave a list of things that they wished to receive from Gov. William Denny of Pennsylvania. They then returned to Winchester to await the arrival of Edmond Atkin with the presents from Dinwiddie.

Atkin got to Winchester on 3 June and as he was preparing to give presents to Wawhatchee and Youghtanno on 5 June (see GW to Dinwiddie, 30 May 1757, n.2), Pearis got a letter from George Croghan asking him to bring the Cherokee back to Pennsylvania to receive presents there. On 8 June Youghtanno and thirteen of his warriors headed home, and forty of Wawhatchee’s party left Winchester without Wawhatchee to revisit Maryland and Pennsylvania. Atkin as superintendent of Indian affairs in the southern colonies immediately wrote to Croghan objecting to his dealings with Pearis and the Cherokee and urging him to come to Winchester for consultation. On 12 June he also wrote to Governor Sharpe to complain of Pearis’s activities. See also Sharpe to Atkin, 1 June 1757, in Browne, Sharpe Correspondence description begins William Hand Browne, ed. Correspondence of Governor Horatio Sharpe. 3 vols. Archives of Maryland, vols. 6, 9, and 14. Baltimore, 1888–95. description ends , 2:12. The forty Cherokee who had gone into Maryland on 8 June returned empty-handed on 13 June and Wawhatchee came to Atkin on 14 June to make his peace with the Indian agent before returning home. For Croghan’s visit to Winchester, see John Stanwix to GW, 18 June 1757, n.3. For the correspondence between Sharpe and these Cherokee, see Browne, Letters to Sharpe description begins William Hand Browne, ed. “Correspondence of Gov. Horatio Sharpe, 1754–1765.” In Archives of Maryland, vol. 31 (Baltimore, 1911): 469-572. description ends , 193–203. Dinwiddie wrote Atkin on 16 June (Brock, Dinwiddie Papers description begins R. Alonzo Brock, ed. The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Virginia, 1751–1758. 2 vols. Richmond, 1883–84. description ends , 2:640) supporting him in his dispute with Croghan and saying that Ostenaco with thirty Cherokee were in Williamsburg and would come up to Winchester.

3Regimental Quartermaster John Hamilton’s return of Indian goods delivered to Atkin is dated 5 May 1757 and is endorsed by Atkin on 5 June (DLC:GW). In the “Return of the Virginia Regiment Commanded by Geo. Washington Esqr. For the Month of May” GW inserted above the line after “Esqr.”: “exclusive of the Detachment sent to Carolina.” It reported 423 “Effective Rank & File” (ibid.).

4Richard Pearis, who seems to have misbehaved at every point in his long career on the frontier, left the service of Virginia after having held a captain’s commission from Governor Dinwiddie for more than a year. See Adam Stephen to GW, 7 Nov. 1755. He remained in command of the 5th Maryland Company for about one year, until May 1758 when Governor Sharpe removed him because of complaints. Shortly thereafter Gen. John Forbes gave Pearis command of Fort Cumberland. On 3 May 1759 Pearis secured a captain’s commission in the Pennsylvania Regiment. After the war Pearis pursued a successful career among the Cherokee in South Carolina as a land-hungry trader, but he chose the losing side in the Revolution when he fought for the British in Carolina and Georgia. He died in the Bahamas in 1794.

5See Dinwiddie’s charges in his letter of 1 June 1757 that GW had too many batmen in the Virginia Regiment. In the Loudoun papers at CSmH is this undated return in Robert Stewart’s hand, entitled “Pay of Each Officer in the Virginia Regiment per Day.” The pay of the colonel was £1 10. per day; the lieutenant colonel, 17s. 6d.; the major, 15s.; captains, 10s.; lieutenants, 5s.; ensigns, 4s.; paymaster, 10s.; surgeon, 10s.; surgeon’s mate, 3s.; adjutant, 4s.; quartermaster, 4s.; “Commissary & his several Assistants £600—per ann.”; sergeants, 1s. 6d.; corporals, 1s.; drummers, 1s.; privates, 8d. Three batmen were allowed the lieutenant colonel, three to the major, two to each captain, and one for the subalterns of each company, each at an allowance of 8d. per day. The number of batmen allowed the colonel of the regiment was left blank on the document. Each officer was to draw “the same qty and kind of Provisions with a Private man.” The allowance of provisions per day is given as “one lr. [libra] Flower and 1 lr. Salt Meat or 1¼ lr. Fresh Meat and when at Work 1½ lr. of Fresh Meat and nothing else.” The return concludes with the notation that “we seldom had any kind of Meat but Beeff.”

6For GW’s decision to delay sending Henry Woodward to Vause’s fort, see GW’s Memoranda, 8 June 1757, n.5; for a discussion of Andrew Lewis’s replacing Peter Hog, see GW’s Memoranda, 7 June 1757, notes 1 and 3.

8See the size roll of Christopher Gist’s company of scouts, 13 July 1757 (DLC:GW).

9Andrew Lewis left Winchester with a party of Cherokee for Fort Cumberland around 1 May. For references to this, see GW to John Stanwix, 28 May 1757, and GW to Andrew Lewis, 3 June 1757. James Baker wrote to GW from Fort Cumberland on this date telling of his party’s skirmish with a party of Frenchmen, but GW heard of Baker’s exploits before receiving Baker’s letter. See GW to Baker, 12 June 1757. GW had given up hope for Robert Spotswood’s return by 11 July 1757 when he wrote Dinwiddie suggesting John McNeill to replace him as a captain in the Virginia Regiment. Logstown was an Indian village and trading center on the Ohio about eighteen miles below its confluence with the Monongahela.

10On 5 May 1757 Horatio Sharpe wrote Dinwiddie that Capt. John Dagworthy with 150 men of the Maryland forces had taken possession of Fort Cumberland and of the provisions and stores turned over to him by Adam Stephen and the departing Virginia forces. “He informs me,” Sharpe wrote, “that the Beef [left by the Virginia forces] is so very bad that the Men will not touch it & that he is obliged to victual them entirely with Fish till a fress Supply of Provisions can be sent him from Fort Frederick. You will be pleased to write to Colo Washington & to give him orders to remove or destroy the Beef as you shall think proper” (Browne, Sharpe Correspondence description begins William Hand Browne, ed. Correspondence of Governor Horatio Sharpe. 3 vols. Archives of Maryland, vols. 6, 9, and 14. Baltimore, 1888–95. description ends , 1:548–49). Dinwiddie did not get Sharpe’s letter until 29 May and on 1 June replied that Adam Stephen “assures me there was no Complaints of the Provisions, but 2 small Cask of Beef that had lost the Pickle, I, therefore can give no Orders to destroy the Beef, our People liv’d upon it & look’d healthy & well” (ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers). Sharpe insisted to Dinwiddie on 3 and 12 June that the beef was bad, and Dinwiddie wrote Sharpe on 14 June that “our People eat it with Pleasure” (ibid.). Then, on 28 June, Dinwiddie ended his own dispute with Sharpe in the following terms: “As to the Beef d[elivere]d to Capt. Dagworthy at ft Cumberland, I desire to say no more abt wt I wrote in my former Letters was from the Information of Colo. Stephens, & on the Application of the People here I cd not say less, or shall I insist on the Beef’s being eatable, it was salted last Fall, & our forces had no other Meat. All Yo. agreed to wth Me was to replace the same Qty of Provisions &ca at Ft Loudoun that was d[elivere]d to Yr People at Ft Cumberland, and if any of it was useless I shd think it wrong to desire good in its Place. And I think Yo. or myself act in this only for the Service of our different Governments, & wt I’ve been press’d to do, but laying aside the Beef ’till its more explain’d, I presume there is no Dispute in replacing at fort Loudoun the other Species not complain’d of, which I shall be glad was soon done to Stop the Clamour of our People” (ibid.). Dinwiddie explained much of this to GW in his letter of 24 June 1757. See also GW to David Ross, 25 June 1757, in which GW informs the commissary of the Maryland forces that he finds his offer to settle for the provisions at Fort Cumberland “equitable” and GW to Dinwiddie, 27 June 1757, in which he encloses Ross’s letter and asks for instructions. Correspondence about the beef continued into the fall with it being agreed that the Virginia Regiment would take back the refused beef and other unused provisions, but it was not until 24 Oct. 1757 that GW reported to Dinwiddie the terms of his final settlement with Ross.

For the controversy between GW and Dinwiddie over the failure of Thomas Walker to fulfill his duties as commissary for the Virginia Regiment, see especially GW to Dinwiddie, 24 Nov. 1756.

11David Bell had been captain of one of the companies of the Virginia Regiment on the frontier since the regiment was organized in September 1755.

12For the aborted meeting of George Lee and the heirs and executors of Lawrence Washington’s estate at Alexandria in September 1756, see GW to Dinwiddie, 14 Aug., 23 Sept. 1756. On 24 June 1757 Dinwiddie wrote GW that he would have to defer the settlement of his brother’s estate “till our Affrs gives a better prospect.”

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