George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Andrew Lewis, 1 September 1757

From Andrew Lewis

Augusta Court house Sept. the 1st 1757

Last Night I arrived here in Order to fall upon sume Method to Ingage provitions for the troop Stationed in this County—his honr the governor has ordred me to Regulate the Militia of this County. & as there is a General Muster here this Day it is part of my Business.1

As soon as Capt. Woodward arived at Fort Lyttelton Lt Bullat Marched & Joined me at Dickensons Fort Sume Days Before I left that.2 Inclosed you have returns According to my Instructions with Size & Necessary Rolls3—my old Company had not thire hats.4 Nither were they Sint from Winchester the men is Very unasey about the want of them as they are in a manner Barehedad—I send Mr Allan5 with sume Assistance afture the men which Deserted from me at this place on my March out. they had not the Fortun to take Either of them. but hering of Sume Others took 2 who Deserted from Lt Bucknar on his march from Fredericksburg.6 these 2 with one Inlisted which you may see by my Return want thire Cloaths & Inlisting money.7 as you will have frequant opertunitys of sending Necessarys which we are in want of as you will see by the Necessary Rolls, by waggons or Carts Coming to this place I hop⟨e⟩ you will Send them—In Answer to a Letter I sent to his honr the governor he writs me to Abandon Fort Lyttelton or Continue the troop as I think propar. As that Fort in time may be of Sume Service I think it Best to Continue one officer with 20 Men at it. Capt. Woodward with 50 at Campbels the Remainder of the Detachment under Capt. Woodward which will be Neare 30 at old Cloyds.8 Capt. Dickenson with his Company I have ordred to the mouth of Crags Crek, by which Means I Beleve the people will Return to thire habitations.9 before my arrivel here with the troops, there was not a Soule Between the N[ort]h R[ive]r & Vauses. but Since most of the fork people has Returned10—I shall Send a Small part of my Company to Fort Dinwiddie I have Stationed Capt. Preston in the Bull-pasture.11 There is tow Companys of the Militia Now on Duty which I know not how to Dispose of. tho. I wrot to the governor in a partickular Manner about them he wrot me he knew of none but Preston & Dickenson, not withstanding the others ⟨were⟩ Stationed by his & the Counsels Order.12 there is one place yt Vacant which if not garesoned the Consequences may be bad. that is the So. Branch or So. fork Betwen Capt. Woodwards old Station & Prestons.13 as the governor has not given me a Derict Answer nor I Believe wont, I am afread that place must be Destetutt.

His honr wrot me Colo. Reed was apointed to Suply the troops under my Command with provitions. I havt as yt heard from Reed. nor Cant larn that he has provided one Mouth foull which has layd me under an Obligation to provid. I supose I shall ly out of my money Sume years, perhaps afture taking as many jurneys to Wmsburg as will ocation the spending the hole I may Receive it. I am Sir your most Obedeant & very Humble Servant.

Andw Lewis

P.S. few days since a Serjt of the Militia was kiled by the Enemy Near Fort Dinwiddie which is all the Damage done in this Country Since my arivel.14


1These instructions from Dinwiddie and others referred to throughout this letter were contained in a letter written to Andrew Lewis by Dinwiddie’s secretary William Withers for the governor on 15 Aug. 1757: “Yr Letter from Augusta Coty of the 8th the Govr received this Day, & as his Honr is so much indispos’d that he can’t answer it himself, by his Order I write Yo.—That Colo. Clemt Read is the Person Yo. are to apply to for Provisions to whom Yo. must write: but before yr Arrival, it was impossible for him to know at what Place to store ’em the most convenient—The Purchases Yo. have made for your Companies will be pd for on sending down a proper Account—As to the Militia on Duty that Yo. mention, the Govr says he knows Nothing of, further than [John] Dickinson’s & [William] Preston’s Companies which he wd have Yo. dispose of to the best Advantage for Protection of the poor Inhabitants—The Govr leaves it to your own Prudence whether, or not to abandon Vauss’s Fort as Yo. are on the spot he says Yo. must be the best Judge—Before the Govr went to Philada Yo. was desired to regulate the Militia Officers in Augusta, wch Yo. then promis’d to do, but as yet have not perform’d—From good Information, Colo. [David] Stewart has lately behav’d very ill, by raising false Alarms, terrifying the People & refusing to act as becomes an Officer of his Rank, but when apply’d to, will tell ’em not to trouble him, but go to some other Person, for which Reason the Govr thinks him unworthy of any Commo. & directs that you superceed him by appointing another more deserving” (ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers). For Dinwiddie’s earlier instructions to Lewis about the Augusta County militia, see Dinwiddie to Andrew Lewis, 17 Dec. 175, in 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 , 2:566–67.

2Fort Lyttelton, more often called Vause’s fort, was on the South Fork of the Roanoke River. Lt. Thomas Bullitt had been there building the fort on 24 July when GW ordered him to replace Peter Hog as commander of the company pending Major Lewis’s arrival. Dickinson’s fort was on Jackson River about thirty miles from Fort Dinwiddie.

3Lewis’s necessary roll in DLC:GW is dated 29 Aug. 1757 and his size roll is undated (see GW’s Instructions to Company Captains, 29 July 1757, n.2). GW received rolls from Lewis in early October (see GW to Dinwiddie, 5 Oct. 1757).

4Lewis’s old company was the 1st company of the Virginia Regiment. Capt. Peter Hog had been its commander in Augusta County since the regiment was reorganized in September 1755 with GW as its colonel and Lewis its major. For a listing of the men who had been in Hog’s company, see “A Necessary Roll of Cloths Wanting to Compleat that part of Majr Lewis Compy Late Capt. Hogs,” 27 Oct. 1757 (DLC:GW).

5John Allen, whom Lewis had sent with messages to the Cherokee in October 1756 (see Lewis to GW, 28 Oct. 1756, n.2), was now a volunteer in Lewis’s company. GW made him an ensign in May 1758, and he was killed near Fort Duquesne the following September.

6In early July 1757 Lewis was in Fredericksburg receiving the men drafted in the different counties. Several junior officers were with him there to conduct the new recruits to Winchester. A sizable number of the recruits deserted en route. See GW to Lewis, 1 July, and, for instance, GW to Dinwiddie, 10 July 1757.

7The return Lewis is enclosing may be the “Necessary Roll for Majr Andrew Lewiss Compy” dated 29 Aug. 1757 in DLC:GW. The list contains eighty-seven names in addition to two drummers. The last three names—William McHenry, Charles Williams, and Henry Thompson—have no necessaries checked off and are declared to be “Left at Win⟨c⟩hester.”

8Capt. James Campbell of the Augusta militia owned land on the north bank of Roanoke River to the west of Neely’s, or Mason, Creek. The council of war held on 27 July 1756 in Augusta County (see GW to Dinwiddie, 4 Aug. 1756, n.32) called for a fort to be built on Campbell’s land, 12 miles from Vause’s and 13 miles from Neal McNeal’s plantation on Carvin Creek. This fort was built to the east of Campbell’s house and was called Fort Lewis. It became a principal supply depot for the southern frontier. “Old Cloyds” probably refers to the house of David Cloyd, who lived near the head of Rentfroe Creek, a branch of Tinker, or Buffalo, Creek. Cloyd’s house may have been the residence of Capt. William Preston during this period, and Preston’s fort, or Fort William, was only a few miles west of Cloyd’s.

9This was Capt. John Dickinson (1731–1799) of the Augusta County militia. Craig Creek flows north into the James River a few miles above the mouth of Catawba Creek. The fort on Craig Creek was to be built at the mouth of Johns Creek, according to the recommendations of both GW and the council of war held 27 July in Augusta County. See GW to Robert Dinwiddie, 4 Aug. 1756, n.32, and Proposal for Frontier Forts, c.9 Nov. 1756, enclosed in GW to Dinwiddie, 9 Nov. 1756. It would be, according to GW’s proposal, 18 miles from Dickinson’s fort on Jackson River and 15 miles from Fort William in the Catawba Valley. In 1758 the legislature ordered that Capt. John Dickinson be paid for “sundry persons employed in building a fort at Craig’s creek” (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 182).

10During the war William Preston (1729–1783) was active as a militia officer and a ranger captain on the Augusta County frontier. The North River is probably what is now called the Maury River. It flows southward into the James River where it forms the Forks of the James. There was a sizable settlement in that area by 1757. The region suffered a devastating raid in late July in which two men were killed near Purgatory Mountain and nine women and children captured (Preston Register).

11William Preston seems to have been stationed at this time at Fort George on the west bank of Bullpasture River. Earlier in the year Preston built the fort on the orders of Andrew Lewis. The fort, located on the land of Capt. Wallas Estill (Astin) of the Augusta militia, was 80 feet square. For a description of the fort, see Preston to Lewis, 7 April 1757, WHi: Draper Collection, IQQ, 152–53.

12See note 1 above. A few weeks later Lewis received a letter from Dinwiddie complaining that he remembered ordering “three Comps. of 60 Men each, but till now I knew neither the Officers Names or their Stations, only Dickeson & Preston” (Dinwiddie to Lewis, 19 Sept. 1757, ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers). One of the other two companies of militia which Lewis reports here as still on duty was probably that of a Captain Smith who was stationed on the South Branch of Potomac.

13Henry Woodward was stationed somewhere on the South Branch until he was ordered in July 1757 to Vause’s fort.

14The militia sergeant may have been a Sergeant Henry who was listed in the Preston Register as having been killed at Fort Dinwiddie in September.

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