George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Stewart, 5 August 1758

From Robert Stewart

Cresap’s [Md.] augt 5th 1758

My Dear Sir

I last night had the pleasure of receiving your very agreeable and obliging favour by Mr Gist, 15 of the men that he brought down with him Join’d to the old Guard Escorts the waggons with the Remainder of the Ball to Fort Cumberland.1

Jenkins with a Corporal & 6 Horse set out from here highly pleas’d with his Escort[.] I gave the Corporal orders to see him over Spring Gap Mountain and much farther as the old Gentn should judge necessary[.] as there’s no Signs of the Enemy lately discover’d I hope he’ll get down save.2

Last night Tom Join’d me without arms and destitude of every necessary, I have return’d McKinzie of Capt. Woodward’s Compy in his room but as McKinzie did not care to part with his Regimentals I’m at loss how to get a Coat & Jacket for Tom as many of our men must soon, one way or other be provided for I imagined a Coat and Jacket might be spar’d without any inconvenience to the Service.3

The Intelligence of our affairs you are pleas’d to favour me with gives me the deepest concern—Our once well grounded hopes will too probably be Blasted and the Glorious Prospect that once appear’d so full in view will I dread be intersepted by Clouds of Gloomy Disappointments But as Genl Renchild told Peter the Great it is our Bussiness to obey4—I wish to Heaven it was possible you cou’d have a Conference with the General—My heart Bleeds—I dare not proceed—I ever am with the most perfect & unalterable esteem & regard My Dear Colo. your mo: affecte & mo: obt hble Servt

Robert Stewart

Please offer my Complemts to Colo. Byrd &Ca.


1GW’s letter has not been found. For a discussion of the escort for the wagons carrying ammunition from Fort Frederick to Fort Cumberland, see Stewart to GW, 4 August.

2Spring Gap Mountain, between Fort Cumberland and Winchester, rises to east of Little Cacapon River just south of the Potomac.

3John McKenzie of Westmoreland County joined GW’s Virginia Regiment in October 1755. He was 24 years old. Tom has not been identified. This is a rare if not unique instance of a soldier in the Virginia Regiment being referred to in GW’s correspondence by only his first name, suggesting that he was particularly well known both to Stewart and to GW. Tom may be Thomas Burris who sometimes acted as a messenger for GW in this campaign. It is possible that Thomas Bishop, the soldier GW hired as his body servant in October 1755, received GW’s permission to join Stewart’s horse troop; Bishop did return to the British army for a time after GW left the regiment at the end of the year. But GW’s cash account shows payments to Bishop on 8 Sept. and 28 Oct. 1758, which would seem to indicate that he was still functioning as GW’s servant at this time (Ledger A description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 52).

4Field Marshal Karl Gustaf Rehnskiöld (1651–1721) of Sweden was defeated and captured by Peter the Great at Poltava in 1709.

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