George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Fairfax, 19 June 1757

From William Fairfax

Alexandria 19. June 1757

Dr Sr

This is intended to be delivered You by Bryan Fx who is appointed by Commission Captain of one of the two detacht Companys of our Militia which its hopd will amount to the Number of fifty private Men each, and Sufficient at this Time to answer yr Expectation from Us.1 I sent immediate Notice to Colo. Hy Lee to act the needful with the Pce Wm Malitia, and Yrs for Govr Sharpe Sent over to Mr Marshals directly.2 As no doubt Govr Dagworthy3 Sent an Express to Colo. Stanwix He may expect a Reinforcement of the Regulars & some Provincials by Order of Govr Sharpe, so that probably the Enemy will be prevented marching towards your Fortress—We have given Orders to have our whole Militia in a Readiness to march on a Sudden Notice and further Advices of your needing any certain Number. What are now orderd to attend yr Commands[,] as They are at Some Distance from each Other, may Want Amunition and Provisions but suppose will be supplied & victualled as the Detachments were last Year4—which being an additional Expence to the Country You will please to return to Us as soon as the public Weal & Service can Spare them.

In the Extract of an Act of the last Assembly

A clause inserted

“That every able bodied Person willing to enlist to serve in the Regiment shall be entitled to Five Pounds, And if no Person present will advance the sd Reward, then the Person so inlisting shall be paid the same within three Days after his Arrival at the Place of General Rendezvous, by the Commanding Officer of the Forces in the Service of this Colony.”5

As it is very unlikely that any such Sums will be advancd by private Persons, so You may expect a direct Application will be made to You by the Persons So enlisting, therefore You will think it necessary to be furnishd with a Sufficient Sum of Money from the Treasurer to answer the Demands aforesaid.6

For pticulars referr to Bryan Fx and Him to your friendly Advice &c. Lodgd at yr Mother’s the 12th inst. then left Her &c. well.7 Yr very affecte & assurd Friend &c.

W: Fairfax


1Bryan Fairfax listed seventy men in his company, seventeen of whom he indicated had been discharged for lack of arms and one of whom he indicated had deserted (June 1757, DLC:GW).

2Henry Lee (1729–1787) of Leesylvania was the county lieutenant of Prince William County as William Fairfax was of Fairfax County. A ferry crossed the Potomac to the Maryland home of Thomas Hanson Marshall (1731–1801). The letter from GW to Horatio Sharpe which was taken over on the ferry was undoubtedly the one dated 16 June conveying John Dagworthy’s report of an impending French and Indian attack.

3Fairfax is referring to Dagworthy by the title of governor of Fort Cumberland, a post which Col. James Innes had previously held.

4See particularly the series of memoranda respecting the militia in May 1756, printed in volume 3 of Papers, Colonial Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series. 10 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1983–95. description ends .

5This is an abbreviated version of article VI of the act as it appears in 7 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 69–87.

6In DLC:GW dated between 24 and 30 June 1757 there are twenty-four applications for the “Reward” signed by the clerk of the court in ten different counties. Other applications are dated later. The phrase “from the Treasurer” is inserted below this line.

7GW’s mother Mary Ball Washington (c.1708–1789) was living on the Ferry Farm, just across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg.

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