George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Bouquet, 17 August 1758

From Henry Bouquet

Reas Town Camp 17th Augt 1758

Dr Sir

The Waggons are arrived safe to this Place, and the Detachmt of Light Horse.1

As it is not impossible (between us) that a Body of Troops under your Command Should march by B——Route, you will Keep at Cumberland a stock of Provisions for one Month when your convoy joins, and the Rest is to be forwarded to Reas Town.

As it is highly necessary to keep the Enemy in doubt about our Roads, The General desires that you continue sending Strong Partys along, with orders to reconoiter where the Junction of the two Roads could be made.2 I hear by Kelly who is gone from Loy: H——to the Salt Lick that it is about 16 miles a cross from that Post to the end of Chestnut Ridge where this Path goes: and the Woods So open that without cutting, Carrying horses may easily go thro’, all pretty level.3

Every one of your Partys, (who are to succeed one another constantly) are to detach small Partys to reconnoitre the Enemys, take if possible a View of their Works, and if they could get a Prisoner, know What Reinforcements they either have seccured, or do expect.

I am impatient to know what Success your first Party has met with as I can hear nothing from the Indians and all the Partys I have continually Sent out.

The Woods about us are full of little Partys of Indians and I Know that they have discovered our New Road, which go on pretty well—To morrow or next day, The Waggons will be at Edmunds Swamp 32 miles from here, and I hope the worst Part of the Route. The rest to L——H——will not take 8 days and I Keep all our Carrying horses and Waggons constantly employed in Sending Provisions forward We have 1600 Men over the Mountains and Several Partys out, besides one of 100 Men that Set out to morrow.

If the french have received their Reinforcements as I Suspect, they will not fail to Send white Men out, and we shall soon hear of Some Skirmishes.

The accounts of Louisburg are very good, and I make no doubt, that the Place is actually or will fall very Shortly in our hands.

It Seems that the operations to the Nordward are turned upon the defensive, a very bad circumsta⟨nce⟩ for us, as the Ennemy can Send any Number of Troops this way.4

All the Vacancies at Louisburg and at Lake George are immediatly filled up.

Capt. Graham is made Major to the Highlanders.

Beckwith Major to the 46.

Eyres Lieut. Col. and West major to the 55.

Munster—Major to Royal Amer:5 The General is at Shippensburg, and on his way to join us, but is Still So weak that he can not travel very fast.

I hear that your Camp is very Sickly and I think it would be proper to move to another Ground, wherever you find convenient, without going to far from the Fort.6 I am Dr Sr your most obedt hble Servent

H. Bouquet

Pay my compliments to Col. Byrd.

P.S. As Soon as the Catawbe &ca joins you Let them be forwarded here.7 If by chance your Indians had lefft any Stores, Please to Send them to us as we have little or nothing and chieffly no Blanketts to give them.


2On 8 Aug. Bouquet wrote Forbes: “I should not wish to strip the post at Cumberland entirely, or at least leave the tents up there (if they happen to have them), in order to keep the enemy in suspense as to your designs; and it would not be useless to continue to repair Braddock’s road, which has already been extended 16 miles” (Stevens, Bouquet Papers description begins Donald H. Kent et al., eds. The Papers of Henry Bouquet. 6 vols. Harrisburg, Pa., 1951-94. description ends , 2:335–39). Forbes replied from Shippensburg on 15 Aug.: “As it will be necessary very soon now to make a disposition of our Small Army, . . . at present I think the greatest part ought to be assembled at Raestown to make our main push by that road, while Colo. Washington or some other Officer might push along the other road, and might join us if a Communication can be found when called upon” (ibid., 366–68). The day after writing to GW on 17 Aug., Bouquet wrote Forbes: “I have conveyed your orders to Colonel Washington to push on his route with large parties, taking turns, and trying to reconnoiter the place where the junction could be made” (ibid., 379–82). For GW’s vehement response to these instructions, see his letter of 18 August.

3Bouquet’s meaning is clearer in the letter he wrote to Forbes the next day: “A guide went with an officer from Loyal Hannon to the Salt Lick on Braddock’s Road, and he reports that the two roads are sixteen miles apart, across open woods where, without cutting a road, pack horses could go without difficulty” (ibid.). The second of the “two Roads” was the path used by Indians and traders between Loyalhanna and the Forks of the Ohio, along which the new road for the army would be built. Maj. George Armstrong of the Pennsylvania Regiment wrote Bouquet on 8 Aug. that he had “sent off . . . Mr [William] Reynolds with 2 Soldiers and [James] Kelly the Guid to reconitre the road from Loyalhanen to the Salt Lick upon General Braddocks road” (ibid., 340–41). The Salt Lick, just to the south of present New Stanton, was about fifteen miles beyond the crest of Chestnut Ridge, the next ridge after the road crossed Laurel Hill.

4For the taking of the fortress at Louisburg, see William Ramsay to GW, 29 Aug. 1758, n.1; for the defeat of Gen. James Abercromby at Fort Ticonderoga, see Joseph Chew to GW, 17 July 1758.

5Capt. Gordon Graham was promoted to major in the 42d Regiment; Capt. John Beckwith, to major in the 44th; Maj. William Eyre of the 44th, to lieutenant colonel in the 55th; Capt. George West, to major in the 55th; and Capt. Herbert Munster, to major in the 60th.

6On 18 Aug. GW denied that his camp was in a sickly location.

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