George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Fielding Lewis, 4 February 1776

From Fielding Lewis

[Fredericksburg] February the 4th 1776

Dear Sir

Your favour of the 25th Decr I have recd with one from George by Mr Matthews,1 I approve much of your caution in bestowing Commissions, more especially on a Relation, I hope George may be servicible to you in some other way, as you must have occasion for some person to do some little things that you can confide inn, George writes me that he shall have occasion for some necessarys, anything he may want please to furnish, and your Order for the amount shall be paid on sight. we are making preperation to receive the Enemy should any appear in the Spring in the whole we have & are raising nine Regiments which are expected to be ready by the last of March our Convention have at last appointed some of your Old Officers to the Command of the Regiments Vizt2

Colo. L. C. Majr
1 st Regimt Patrick Henry Christian
2 d Wm Woodford Scott A. Spotswood
3 Hugh Mercer Go: Weedon Marshall
4 Mor: Buckner Wm Elliott Hendricks
5 Wm Dangerfield Geo: Matthew McClanahan
6 A. Stephens Fleming
7 Wm Peachey
8 Eastern
9 German
German officers

I do not recollect the other Officers nor have I placed them according to seniority.3

One Company of Artillery:4 the Minute Men are continued but expect they never will be compleat as the Regiments may be recruted out of the Minute Men, we are also preparing a Naval force Two Row Gallys one to carry one 18 pounder & the other a 12 pounder Mann Page Esqr. & myself are to build immediately at this place, and I expect other Vessels are preparing in the different parts of the Country,5 many attempts are making to procure Powder from abroad, and numbers are now making Salt Petre which succeeds beyond expectation, my Son John brings this as far as Philadelphia where he is procuring persons to build a Powder Mill & a Powder maker Sulpher we have abundance of;6 I expected the Parliament would have repealed the American oppressive Acts; as persevering must I think ruin England, which I hoped they would have been sensible off, and had it been so, we should have had peace by the Month of March as I mentioned to you;7 we have just heard that our Ships of Warr are arrived from Philadelphia, and that an engagement must have hapned before this, we are impatiently expecting some Acct of the matter God send us success & that our most inveterate enemy Dunmore may be among the first slain8 Our little Manufactory improves daily I expect by the last of March we shall be able to make Ten Muskets compleat per Day, we have been mostly imploy’d in reparing Old Gunns since we began and had only one Gunn Lock maker who has instructed many others who begin to be very expert we make now 35 per week and increasing, most of the Locks which Ld Dunmore stole away from the musquets in the Magazeen are now replaced by our Workmen: I propose making a Rifle next week to carry a quarter of pound Ball. if it answers my expectation a few of them will keep off Ships of Warr from our narrow Rivers, and will be usefull in the beginning of an engagemt by Land.9

I have not heard anything of Barron lately, expect he will take advantage of the times nor has Mr Newton wrote me a line about it, I beleive he has to Mr Lund Washington; Mr Ben: Harrison is now in this neighbourhood expect to get some information by him as his Relation is in the same situation with you having sold Belfour a quantity of Flower at the same time,10 no money is paid among us only by those who have been able to supply provisions, to the Country, I have got clear of some of my Flower that way and am sending a venture to procure Powder & Arms.

we have been much dejected here at the misfortune of loosing Genl Montgomery & our miscarriage agst Quebeck. yet are hopefull that our Army will yet get the place before Carlton can receive any assistance I wish you success Health & Happiness and am Dr Sir with my respects to Mrs Washington Mr & Mrs Custis Your most Affectionate Humble Servant

Fielding Lewis

ALS (photocopy), DLC:GW.

1Letter not found. Lewis’s son George accompanied Martha Washington to Cambridge in December 1775.

2Lewis’s list of field officers for the nine Virginia regiments is incomplete and inaccurate. In August 1775 the third Virginia convention made Patrick Henry colonel of the 1st Virginia Regiment, his brother-in-law William Christian its lieutenant colonel, and Francis Eppes its major. For the 2d Virginia Regiment that convention elected William Woodford colonel, Charles Scott lieutenant colonel, and Alexander Spotswood major. For the seven new regiments to be raised in 1776, the fourth Virginia convention on 11 and 12 Jan. 1776 elected the following officers: 3d regiment, Col. Hugh Mercer, Lt. Col. George Weedon, and Maj. Thomas Marshall; 4th regiment, Col. Adam Stephen, Lt. Col. Isaac Read, and Maj. Robert Lawson; 5th regiment, Col. William Peachey, Lt. Col. William Crawford, and Maj. Josiah Parker; 6th regiment, Col. Mordecai Buckner, Lt. Col. Thomas Elliott, and Maj. James Hendricks; 7th regiment, Col. William Daingerfield, Lt. Col. Alexander McClenachan, and Maj. William Nelson; 8th (or German) regiment, Col. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, Lt. Col. Abraham Bowman, and Maj. Peter Helphinstine; and 9th regiment, Col. Thomas Fleming, Lt. Col. George Mathews, and Maj. Matthew Donavan (Scribner and Tarter, Revolutionary Virginia description begins William J. Van Schreeven et al., eds. Revolutionary Virginia: The Road to Independence. A Documentary Record. 7 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1973–83. description ends , 3:400–401, 457–59, 5:383, 390–93).

3This sentence is written in the margin of the manuscript. The context suggests its position here.

4The fourth Virginia convention established an artillery company consisting “of one captain, three lieutenants, one serjeant, four bombardiers, eight gunners, and forty eight matrosses” (9 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 83).

5For the convention’s authorization of armed vessels for the defense of the colony, see Lund Washington to GW, 3 Dec. 1775, n.5. Mann Page, Jr. (d. 1803), who was one of Spotsylvania County’s two delegates to the fourth Virginia convention, lived at Mannsfield near Fredericksburg.

6John Lewis (1747–1825), Fielding Lewis’s only son by his first wife Catherine Washington Lewis, lived in Fredericksburg.

8The Continental fleet had not yet sailed from the Delaware River. See GW to Joseph Reed, 4 Jan. 1776, n.6.

9For an earlier reference to the arms manufactory near Fredericksburg, see Fielding Lewis to GW, 14 Nov. 1775.

10For references to GW’s dealings with Balfour & Barraud, see Lund Washington to GW, 17 Jan. 1776, n.8. “Barron” is Daniel Barraud, the firm’s surviving partner. Benjamin Harrison, Jr. (1742–1799), was the eldest son of Benjamin Harrison (c.1726–1791) of Berkeley, who at this time was one of the Virginia delegates attending the Continental Congress. On 13 Feb. the Secret Committee of Congress gave the younger Harrison a permit to export produce from Virginia presumably for the purpose of obtaining military supplies, and two days later Congress appointed him paymaster of the troops in Virginia, a position that he held for several years (Scribner and Tarter, Revolutionary Virginia description begins William J. Van Schreeven et al., eds. Revolutionary Virginia: The Road to Independence. A Documentary Record. 7 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1973–83. description ends , 6:90, 97; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 4:151).

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