George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John St. Clair, 23 June 1758

To John St. Clair

[Fort Loudoun, 23 June 1758]

To Sir Jno. St clair—Baronet.

I have receivd your favours of the 18th & 20th Instt,1 and beg leave to refer you to Captn Stewarts Letter, knowing he writes fully, on matters relative to the light Horse.2

I expect to March tomorrow agreeable to my Orders. Woodwards Company of the first Regiment, coverd the Artificers of the 2d and left this the 22d to open the Road from hence to Pearsalls; which, by information, is almost impassable.

Colo. Byrd will be sadly distressd for Arms when those from Maryland are deliverd up. The Arms from Williamsburg came here in such bad Order, that they cannot possibly be repaird in time—Colo. Byrd writes to you on this subject himself, it will therefore be needless for me to enlarge upon or repeat his complaints.3

I have receivd no Hatchets from Connegocheague;4 the Canteens came up according to expectation;5 and I have written to the Commanding Officer there, desiring to know why and of the former, the following contains his answer. “I have made Inquiry concerning the 200 Hatchets mentiond in yours, but have got no information concerning them”—Sign’d Jno. Kidd—dated 21st Instt. I am with very great regard Dr Sir Yr Most Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

LB (original), DLC:GW; LB (recopied), DLC:GW.

1Presumably GW was referring to the letter James Sinclair wrote to GW on 20 June at the behest of John St. Clair as well as to the letter from St. Clair himself of 18 June.

2Capt. Robert Stewart’s letter to St. Clair about his company of light horse in the 1st Virginia Regiment has not been found, but Stewart’s troop was not ready to march from Winchester to Fort Cumberland with GW on 24 June. See GW to Bouquet, 3 July (first letter). When Stewart was in New York in February seeking to advance his military career, he gave Forbes an “estimate of the expence of some light Horse men” (Forbes to Loudoun, 14 Feb. 1758, in James, Writings of Forbes description begins Alfred Procter James, ed. Writings of General John Forbes Relating to His Service in North America. Menasha, Wis., 1938. description ends , 42–43). The minutes of the Virginia council for 5 April 1758 noted that General Forbes had ordered the colony to provide “Fifty Men mounted upon tight serviceable Horses and every Way accoutred to serve in Conjunction with those to be furnished by the other Provinces as a Body of Light-Horse” (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 , 6:85–86). By May 1758 St. Clair and Forbes were corresponding about “Capt. Stewart’s Troops” in the 1st Virginia Regiment (St. Clair to Forbes, 10, 21, 24 May, Forbes to St. Clair, 23, 25 May, ViU: Forbes Papers). On 25 May Forbes wrote St. Clair: “As to the Light troop—I have never been able to beat it out of Mr Stewart’s Head, that they were not to be cloathed like the troops of Kings Guards—but provided for as the time and circumstances will allow off. So in the first place they ought to be included into the pay of the provincialls and what they have extraordinary, either I or the province must make it up. . . . but to comply with all Mr Stewarts demands, they would not be fitted out till next spring. So he must forego his immaginary finery for what may be of real service, and soon got ready.” Forbes did agree, however, to send “Carbines[,] Pistols & swords” as well as saddles, tents, and “Haversacks[,] Cantines & Camp Kettles” (ibid.). It was on 24 May that St. Clair gave GW instructions for forming a troop of forty men under Stewart, and it was on 13 June that Bouquet and GW at Conococheague agreed that Stewart and his troop would march with GW to Fort Cumberland (see GW to Bouquet, 13 June, n.4). After Stewart became the commander of the horse troop he continued to hold the position of captain of one of the companies in the 1st Virginia Regiment.

3For a discussion of the arms recently sent to Winchester both from Williamsburg and from Maryland, see St. Clair to GW, 13 June, n.2. William Byrd wrote Forbes on this day, 23 June: “I have been a good deal puzzled about arming my Men, but have at last done it compleatly by picking the Muskets &c. which came from Williamsburgh & Maryland. Sr John St Clair has orderd me to return the Maryland arms & to take the remainder of the Williamsburgh arms in the room of them; I have consulted the Armorer [William Henry] who says he does not think the old Guns, (about 320) are fit for Service, for they have been in the Magazeen below ever since the Reign of King William. I hope Sir you will not think I do amiss in not returning all the Maryland Arms, as in that case I shoud either be obliged to march to Fort Cumberland without that number of Guns, or dissobey Colo. Boquets orders [to march to Fort Cumberland] & wait till I coud get those you mention’d from Carlisle, which woud take up a fortnight. I think it best to replace Ld Baltimores Arms out of those at Carlisle” (ViU: Forbes Papers).

4For references to the lost hatchets, see St. Clair to GW, 22 June, particularly note 2.

5On the sheet of the letter from John Kidd, 21 June, GW wrote: “List of Sundry’s from Carlyle

Kettles 171 
Canteens 465 
Barrels of Powder Horns 3 
Saddles 18 
Box of Furniture for Ditto 1 
Spades 12 
Picks 12.”

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