George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Dinwiddie, 19 October 1757

From Robert Dinwiddie

19th Octr 1757


Yours of the 3d1 by Jenkins I rec’d as Capt. Hogg is to be here Soon I Shall talk with him Abt the ranging Co[mpan]ys tho’ I fear he will not be able to raise the men, If they Should be rais’d they are to have 12d. per day no recruiting money or Cloaths & are to be rais’d protempore, So they are rais’d in Augusta,2 write me if you think it absolutely necessarie to have Such a compay if rais’d they must be Victualed by the Contractors, I have a good Opinion of Mr Rutherfor’d if he would Accept to be Second in Comd of that Coy if rais’d,3 I am Sorry the Enemy Continues their horrid devastations & I wish the Parties you Send out could come up with them to give them a brush, I am Surpriz’d the people shd move Off, Surely the forces with you, those of MaryLand & the regulars under Collo. Stanwix’s immediate directions I think Should be Sufficient to protect the frontiers of both Collonies, tho. I am convinc’d the Secret Method the Enemy comes to Attack us, is of great disadvantage, & very difficult to ferret them out of their Lurking places, I always have been of Opinion that unless an Offensive Scheme, is undertaken we Shall always be Expos’d to their villanous Encroachments, I Approve of your Appointing Capt. McNeil & Mr Chew. It was wrong in Mr Atkin to take Capt. Gist & the Indian Interpreter from Winchestr that Gentleman has renderd a monstrous Accot of Expences, wc. is Laid before the Council to Examine, Capt. Gist will be confirm’d in his Appointt and he must take care to See the goods for the Indins properly dispos’d off as Mr Atkin did,4 it is Absoly Necessary to keep well with them & keep them in good temper, I Shall Endeavour to send Some more Goods for that purpose, the french doubt not is endeavouring to Get the Cherokees to their Interest but I believe they want goods to Supply them, Mr Atken writes to Capt. Gist to take care of the Cherokees now at the branch & I was in hopes Mr Atkin would have put the Indian Affairs in a good posture wc. he Affirms he has done. I am Surpriz’d Hamilton the Quarter Master Should have continued So Long in his Villanies witht detection, the Magistts have behav’d most unworthily the Affair I Laid before the Attorney Genl who now writes on that Subject,5 I have no Objection to Mr Kennedys Suceeding the Quartr Master if You think him a deserving & honest Man, in that case you may Appoint him. The dunker is to be Examind before the Council, when I Shall take notice what You write of him, & then I shall write You what is thot necessary to be done,6 As to the Officers receiving more or Less provision’s According to their rank, the Officers of the regulars when in Britain receive no provisions & the Officers of the Regt are to receive no more than the private men, a Capt. of a kings Ship receiv’s no more allowance than his Cabbin boy, & Surely our Officers having more pay than any provincials in America, cannot think of making a perquisite on the provision’s or will I allow it as for yourself you are not to have any provisns as you are allowed £200 per Anm for your Table.

I cannot Agree to allow you Leave to come down here at this time you have been frequently indulg’d with Leave of Absence, You know the Fort is to be finish’d & I fear in Your Absence Little will be done & Surely the Commanding Officer Should not be Absent when daily Alarm’d with the Enemys Intents. to invade our frontiers, I think you are in the wrong to ask it, You have no Accots as I know of to Settle with me & what Accots you have to Settle with the Comittee may be done in a more proper time, I wish you well & am. Sr Yr hum. servt

P:S: I think the poor men that Lost their Cloaths in pursuit of the Indians under the Command of Capt. Lewis Should & I hereby Order you to Supply them from the CLoathing you have at Winchester, Settle with doctor Ross for the provisions the best Method you can.

You have inclos’d a Letter to Capt. Swearingen from the Attorney wc. deliver Yourself.7

LB, ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers.

1This is the letter that GW’s copyist dated 5 Oct., and it is published above under that date.

2Dinwiddie wrote Andrew Lewis on 19 Sept.: “The Ho: of Burgesses voted 300 Rangers. 200 thereof I propose for yr Frontrs, which Yo. are to station in such Places as Yo. may think proper, but take Care the Officers don’t make Sine Cures of em” (ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers). See 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. See also Dinwiddie to Andrew Lewis, October 1757, 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 , 2:710–11. Dinwiddie had made Peter Hog a ranger captain over GW’s objections. On 19 Nov. 1757 Andrew Lewis instructed militia captain William Preston to engage as many of his militiamen as he could to serve as rangers under his command in Augusta County. He was to have sixty-five rangers in his company to serve until 1 Aug. 1758. Lewis also told Preston that he could assure those who would become rangers that they would “be paid at the End of every Two Months at the Rate of One Shill. pr Day; that they are to serve in this Country only, not to be ⟨in⟩corporated in the Virginia Regiment or detain’d in the Country’s Service beyond the above mention’d Time” (WHi: Draper Collection, IQQ, 164). See also Lewis to Preston, 28 Oct. 1757, ibid., 162, for Lewis’s initial decision to continue Preston and his militia company as rangers. Lewis asked militia captain John Dickinson to raise a third ranger company, and so apparently Augusta County ended up with three ranger companies of sixty-five men, more or less, in each, instead of with two companies of one hundred men each as was initially intended.

3GW wrote Dinwiddie on 24 Oct. that Peter Hog was a bad choice to be a ranger captain and that Robert Rutherford would not accept the position of second in command. Dinwiddie agreed, 2 Nov. 1757, that Rutherford should raise and command the ranger company on the northern frontiers. See Rutherford to GW, 22 Nov. 1757.

4On 18 Oct. 1757 the council examined Edmond Atkin’s account and confirmed his appointments, including that of Christopher Gist as deputy superintendent of Indian affairs which Atkin had made on 5 July 1757. The councilors who examined Atkin’s accounts “were of Opinion that his Disbursements on Account of the Indians, and for Major [Alexander] Finnie’s Expences, who attended him to Winchester, amounting to Three hundred and nine pounds, fifteen Shillings, and seven pence farthing, ou[gh]t to be paid by his Honor’s Warrant on the Treasury; but that the Article of his own travelling Charges, and that of his Secretary with his Pay, amounting to Two hundred and ninety eight Pounds two shillings and three pence, tho’ reasonable in themselves, he ought to apply to Lord Loudoun for Payment of” (Exec. Journals of Virginia Council description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia. 6 vols. Richmond, 1925–66. description ends , 6:66–68). The council accepted the recommendations on 20 October.

When confirming Gist’s appointment as Atkin’s deputy, the council agreed that Gist should “take Charge of the Indian Presents” for the colony of Virginia. For the exchange between GW and Dinwiddie on this point, see GW to Dinwiddie, 27 Aug., 17 Sept. 1757 (first letter), and Dinwiddie to GW, 24 September (first letter).

5This may be the letter to “Capt. Swearingen” which Dinwiddie refers to in the postscript to this letter. Peyton Randolph was the attorney general, and Thomas Swearingen was the senior of the three justices of the Frederick County court who were involved in the proceedings regarding Quartermaster John Hamilton’s sale of regimental supplies to people in Winchester (see particularly Gabriel Jones to GW, 6 Oct. 1757).

6For the action the council took on 20 Oct. 1757 with regard to the petition of the Dunker Samuel Eckerlin, see Dinwiddie to GW, 24 Oct. 1757.

7See note 5. The letter has not been found.

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