George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Blair, 9 April 1758

To John Blair

To The President[Fort Loudoun, 9 April 1758]

Honble Sir,

Since my last of the 2d instant, nothing remarkable has occurred: But, having an opportunity, by the Sheriff of this County, I enclose your Honor returns of the Regiment for the months of January and February.1 Those for March, are not yet come to hand from the several out-posts; for want of which a general return can not be made. About 400 Indians had come to this place before I arrived, and the most of them (accompanied by some Officers and Soldiers) are gone out to war. One hundred and forty more are expected in to-day; and numerous other parties we hear are upon their march to join us: So that Colo. Byrd will, in a manner, find the Business done to his hands, when he gets to their nation—if he proceeds that length.2

I wish we may be able to detain those People still: but I fear it will be a difficult matter, without an early campaign, of which I am sorry to see so little prospect. I shall impatiently expect your Honors’ Instructions about assembling the Regiment; as it will be of great service to have them rendezvous some short time before they enter upon the campaign;3 many things being requisite to prepare, which can not be so well accomplished whilst we remain in the present dispersed situation. Indeed it is necessary for the ease of the Troops; some of them having a march to perform of more than 2,00 miles before they join the main Body of the Army, if it shou’d even happen at this place. I am with great Respect, Your Honors most obedient Hble Servant,


P.S. I have written to Major Lewis concerning Captn Hogg, as your Honor desired.4


1The returns of the Virginia Regiment for January and February 1758 are dated 1 Feb. and 1 Mar. 1758 (DLC:GW). In both months 30 officers including 1 colonel, 1 major, 6 captains, 14 lieutenants, 8 ensigns, and 30 sergeants are returned. The companies of Lt. Col. Adam Stephen and George Mercer, which did not get back to Winchester from South Carolina until the beginning of April, are not included in the return. A total of 678 men are reported for January and 675 for February. Both returns indicate where all detached parties were stationed. Three deserters and eight recruits are named in the January return, and during February three men deserted and two were recruited. There is another return dated 1 Mar. 1758 in the Scottish Record Office, Edinburgh.

John Hardin became sheriff of Frederick County in December 1757.

2Loudoun sent William Byrd to South Carolina to persuade a party of Cherokee to march to Winchester with him in order to participate in an expedition against Fort Duquesne (see Beverley Robinson to GW, 1 Mar. 1758, n.4). Byrd arrived in Charleston by sea from New York on 11 Mar. and left for Keowee in the Cherokee country on 24 March. He took with him letters from the Superintendent of Indian Affairs Edmond Atkin who did not get to Charleston until shortly before Byrd left and was too unwell to accompany him to Keowee. See William Byrd to John Forbes, 21 Mar., to Loudoun, c.21 Mar., to William H. Lyttelton, 21 Mar., Edmond Atkin to the Cherokee Chiefs, 24 Mar., and to Byrd, 24 Mar. 1758, all in the John Forbes Papers, ViU. Byrd wrote to Gen. John Forbes from Keowee on 30 April 1758: “I got here on the 7th of Apriel, in the way I join’d a Party of fifty six Indians & brought them with me. I found on my arrival many of the Cherokees had gone out of the Lower Towns to Virginia in small Parties to the amount of two hundred & fifty, & I am credibly informed one hundred & fifty more are gone there from Over the Hills. The Messenger who went to bring the Warriors down here to a meeting with me return’d without a single Man, they reported all the over Hills Indians were gone either down the Tanasy or to Winchester, & that all the Inhabitants of the Mountain Settlements were at home & refused to come. I went immediately there, & prevail’d on them at last to take up the Hatchet, & they have faithfully promis’d to send off one hundred Men in a very few Days who are to meet me on the Path. There are above one hundred more who were intirely at the Disposal of the Little Carpenter, who have given me their Word to be at Winchester by the first of June. I march tomorrow with near a hundred more to join the Army by the last of May. . . .” In a postscript Byrd wrote: “Several of my Warriors choose to go to Virginia with the over-Hills People, so that my Party will not exceed sixty Men” (ibid.). Byrd arrived in Winchester on 27 May with fifty-seven warriors, and few of those he expected to follow ever came.

3When John Blair informed the council on 21 Mar. of a letter from William Pitt, 30 Dec. 1757, calling for the colony to raise “as large a Body of Men” as possible to march with the British forces under Brig. Gen. John Forbes in a campaign against the French and Indians, the council decided that the Virginia Assembly should be convened on 30 March (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 , 6:81–82). The assembly met from 30 Mar. to 12 April and passed “An Act for augmenting the forces in the pay of this Colony to two thousand men . . .” (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 163–69). The act provided, among other things, for the forming of a second Virginia Regiment of ten companies to serve until 1 Dec. 1758 and for drafting men from the county militias to man the frontier garrisons in the absence of the two colonial regiments during the proposed campaign. GW received on 24 April the (now missing) letter of 19 April 1758 from John Blair instructing him to complete his regiment by recruiting. It may also have been in this missing letter that Blair spelled out the plan to have the companies of the Virginia Regiment in Augusta County to march to Winchester as soon as they were relieved by militiamen (see GW to Andrew Lewis, 21 May 1758).

4GW’s letter to Andrew Lewis has not been found, and what he wrote Major Lewis about Peter Hog is not known. Dinwiddie made Hog commander of one of the ranger companies on the southern frontier in the fall of 1757, to GW’s open disapproval, and Andrew Lewis was supposed to be overall commander of the ranger companies there (see Blair to GW, 5 Feb. 1758, n.5). In writing to John St. Clair, 4 May 1758, GW referred to the killing of “an Officer & 18 Men of Captn Hogs Rangg Company” in a recent Indian raid.

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