George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Stewart, 3 June 1760

From Robert Stewart

Winchester, June 3rd 1760.

My Dear Sir

In my last by Colo. Martin I inform’d you that I had Inlisted a Man to Serve in Allen’s room, but that the extreme unreasonable Terms which Allen insisted on prevented my applying for his Discharge till I hear’d from you, I have since wrote to Capt. McKinzie to see if he could possibly procure a good man for your purpose upon reasonable Terms.1

It was with great concern I was inform’d that you did not get timeous notice of the sitting of last Assembly as I am convinc’d beyond any doubt, how much the General Service and the Interest of this Colony in particular suffer’d in being thereby depriv’d of that salutary Advice which must naturally result from your Military knowledge and great experience which probably would have prevented the Planning of an Expedition that a thousand Circumstances concurr in rendering impracticable, and tho’ it does not become a person so shortsighted and ignorant of Politicks to discant upon the proceeding of so august a Body yet as a Soldier I think, I may presume to say, that to attempt with a handfull of raw undisciplin’d (I don’t know what to call them) Men to carry on so long an Expedition and penetrate into the Country of so warlike and formidable a people who from the Nature of the Ground in general, their numbers & mode of warfare have so vast a superiority, and push headlong without establishing Posts, forming Magazines & no chance of securing a Retreat is contrary to all Military Rules & carries no probability of Success, tho’ its miscarriage would be productive of the most alarming & fatal consequences2—Colo. Byrd has prudently refus’d the Command of it and told Ste[phen]s as he was 2d in Command he might wait on the Governor about it, what his going down will produce I know not and as you so well know the man will not trouble you with any of my conjectures yet I cannot help fearing much for its consequences, for if they go on I think there’s a moral certainty of their failing, and if they do not an immense Sum will be sunk without deriving any honor or advantage from it.3

Another of our Companies Marches to morrow for augusta, with the remainder which will not exceed 150 fit for Duty Camp. Col[o]rs Hatchet and Batmen included we March the Day followg for Pittsbg with this trifling Party which is not a sufficient Guard for our Colrs & Baggage[.] we are to Escort a large Convoy and repair General Braddocks Road4—General Mockton is to be at Carlisle on the 5th Inst. and it’s said he proposes to push the Expedition against Detroit with great viguor But I wish his operations may not be obstructed by the Ohio & Lake Indians for our last accots from Pittsbg say that an Indian alarm’d that Garrison with an accot that a very considerable Force would soon Attack that place and our Freindly Indians (as they call them) to man slip’d off without giving Crochan or any other the least previous notice of it—and a few Days ago an Express was Kill’d & Scalp’d between Legonier & Pittsbg.5

I shall with great pleasure embrace every oppy of transmitting you the earliest and best Intelligence I can procure of our proceedgs Operations and Intentions and need not inform you how happy I should be by hearing often from you, I beg you will be so good as present my most hble respects to your Lady in the warmest & most obliging manner, that every requisite may concurr in forming your lasting and mutual Felicity are the most ardent wishes of him who entertains the most entire regard for you & is with unalterable Esteem My Dear Colonel Your ever Affecte Gratefull & obliged hble Servt

Robert Stewart


1Stewart is referring to his letter of 14 May, which he probably sent down by Thomas Bryan Martin, GW’s fellow burgess from Frederick County. See note 1 of that document for references to GW’s search for a gardener, to which Stewart is here referring.

2Stewart is referring to the act for raising troops to mount an expedition for the relief of Fort Loudoun, the South Carolina fort on the Little Tennessee River, in Cherokee country. See Stewart to GW, 14 May 1760, n.2, and also note 4 below. GW did not receive notice of the meeting of the assembly on 19 May until 17 May. He set out for Williamsburg on 18 May but turned back the next day (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 1:280–81). The assembly adjourned on 24 May.

3When ordered in late May to assume command of the expedition to relieve Fort Loudoun in the Cherokee country, William Byrd wrote to Governor Fauquier on 29 May asking to be relieved of that duty. On the advice of the council, Fauquier responded that Byrd was “indispensably obliged” to obey the Governor’s orders. See Francis Fauquier to Gen. Robert Monckton, 24 May, in Reese, Fauquier description begins George Reese, ed. The Official Papers of Francis Fauquier, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, 1758–1768. 3 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1980–83. description ends , 1:366–67; and 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 , 6:161, from which the quotation is taken. Byrd reached the expedition’s main camp on the Roanoke River in mid-July at James Campbell’s, on whose land Fort Lewis was built. Fort Loudoun capitulated on 7 Aug. 1760 while Byrd’s expedition was still at Reed Creek in Virginia (see Stewart to GW, 2 Oct. 1760, n.4).

4In March 1760 the assembly provided for the addition of 300 men to the Virginia Regiment to serve exclusively on the southwestern frontier while the rest of the Regiment was to serve “in conjunction with his Majesty’s forces, and be employed in such manner as the commander in chief shall appoint and direct” (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 346–53). In May with the outbreak of the Cherokee War the assembly voted to add another 700 men to the forces on the southwest frontier (ibid., 357–63). When Col. William Byrd went to join the expedition against the Cherokee (see note 3), Lt. Col. Adam Stephen became the senior officer of that part of the Virginia Regiment left to the disposal of General Monckton in Pennsylvania, but Monckton put Stewart in command of a small force made up of men from the Virginia Regiment and of Pennsylvania soldiers which he sent up to refortify Venango above Pittsburgh in the summer of 1760 (see Col. Henry Bouquet to Maj. William Walters, 11 Aug., and Stewart to Bouquet, 28 Aug. 1760, in Waddell, Bouquet Papers description begins Donald H. Kent et al., eds. The Papers of Henry Bouquet. 6 vols. Harrisburg, Pa., 1951-94. description ends , 4:687–88, 709–10).

5The main British military effort in North America in the summer of 1760 was directed toward Montreal. General Monckton’s assignment was to secure communications between Fort Pitt and the Ohio River and Fort Niagara on Lake Ontario. Venango, Le Boeuf, and Presque Isle were points to be fortified in the line of communication. “Crochan” is George Croghan.

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