George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Forbes, 17 November 1758

To John Forbes

Camp near bushy run 17th Novr 1758


After the most constant labour from light till light,1 we were able to open the Road to this place only; about 6 Miles from our last Camp.2 Here it was Captn Shelby overtook Us and presented me with yours and Colo. Bouquets favours, inclosing one also to Colo. Armstrong,3 all of which were forwarded to that Gentleman last Night by Captn Shelby, so soon as the last of the letters I Now Inclose,4 came to my hands.

A Junction with Colo. Armstrong this Morning woud have prevented the good effects of a fortified Camp to Night, and retarded Our Operations a day; for which reason I desird him to March forwards at 2 Oclock this Morning to such a place as Captn Shelby shoud point out with Mr Gordons approbation of the Ground, and there secure himself as you have directed. If he shoud accomplish that Work before Night, he is in that event to begin cutting the Road on his side to meet Us. I shall struggle hard to be with him to Night being but 2½ Miles short of his last Camp.5

I receivd but 36 of the 42 Axes sent by Colo. Montgomery & those in the very worst Order6—last Night was employd in doing the needful to them—We have four Carriages with Us that pass the Road we have made with great ease.

If Indians ever can be usefully employd it must be in getting Intelligence to Our Front, I therefore beg you will Order their Conductors (or Managers) to bring them on at all Events7—and that we have Our Bullocks also sent on immediately—otherwise our meat being out to Morrow we shall possibly be delayd the next day in serving it out when we ought to be Marching on the next Post.

There was a Serjeant Grant of my Regiment confind for Insolent behaviour to an Officer of Pensylvania and tryd at the last Genl Court Martial, but the Sentence not known when I came away, altho. the Court had sat 5 days before—I applied thrô Majr Halket to get him releasd (but coud not) as he is a very fine fellow, and as desirous of coming on as I am to have him do so—I shoud be obligd by your taking the matter into enquiry, & forward him if it is found consistent.8 I have nothing to add further at present than that I am Sir Yr Most Obedt & Most Hble Servt9

Go: Washington

ALS, Scottish Record Office: John Forbes Papers; LB (recopied), DLC:GW. The changes appearing in the letter book which tend to clarify the meaning of a passage in the original letter have been noted.

1In the letter-book copy this is “from day-break till night,” and it refers to the labors of his brigade of the day before, 16 November. GW wrote this letter before leaving camp on the morning of 17 November.

3After indicating here on the morning of 17 Nov. that he had received a letter from Bouquet the night before, GW notes in a letter he wrote to Forbes at night on 17 Nov. that he had received another letter from Bouquet, but only one of these letters from Bouquet has been found, dated 16 November. The contents of this letter that GW wrote to Forbes in the morning indicate that he wrote it in response to the surviving letter from Bouquet.

4For “letters I now Inclose” the letter book substitutes “enclosed.”

5GW had to stop for the night 3 miles short of John Armstrong’s new encampment and did not reach it until late morning on 18 November. For the location of Armstrong’s New Camp, or Three Redoubts Camp, see Orderly Book, 17 November.

8This may be the John Grant who was recruited by Capt. Robert Stewart at Williamsburg in December 1754 when Grant was about eighteen years old. A John Grant was listed in Thomas Cocke’s company of the Virginia Regiment in July 1756 and in Capt. Joshua Lewis’s company in 1757.

9The letter-book copy of this paragraph indicates that GW extensively revised it for his copyist but without materially either altering or clarifying its meaning.

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