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From George Washington to Henry Bouquet, 21 July 1758

To Henry Bouquet

Camp at Fort Cumberland 21st July 1758.

Dr Sir

Before Colo. Stephen came to this place last Night, I had abandond all thoughts of attending Personally at the Election in Winchester—determining rather to leave the management of that matter to my friends, than be absent from my Regiment when there is a probability of its being calld upon. I am now much pleasd that I did do so.1

Colo. Byrd has given me your Letter of Yesterday, in consequence I send you a return of the Forage. and he writes to Mr Gist concerning Virmilion for the Indians.2

We participate in the joy felt for the Success of his Majesty’s Arms at Louisburg &ca and sincerely lament the loss of that brave, & active Nobleman, Lord How.

We have got the bridge finishd at this place, and to morrow Major Peachy with three hundred Men proceed to open General Braddock’s Road. I shall direct their going to George’s Creek 10 Miles advancd.3 by that time I may possibly hear from you, if they go further, it may be requisite to reinforce the Party; but this matter I suppose will be orderd according to the Rout determind on by the General: for it will be needless to open a Road that no use is made of.

Colo. Stephen gives me some room to apprehend that a body of light Troops may soon move on. I pray your Interest most heartily, with the General, to get my Regiment and self included in the Number.4 If there needs any Arguments to obtain this favour, I hope without vanity I may be allowd to say, that from long Intimacy, and scouting in these Woods my Men are as well acquainted with all the Passes and difficulties as any Troops that will be employd, and therefore may answer any purpose intended by them, as well as any other Body.5

The General directs, that the Troops be provided with Covers to their Locks. Where to get these I know not—there is but one possible way of succeeding, and that is by taking the Neats Hydes, and these will fall short. the Commissaries ask 18/ apiece for them. I shoud be glad of your advice in this case, as also what will [be] done with the Waggons expected up in our next Convoy. I can’t say exactly what number their may be of them, but suppose the Provisions, Forage, and Stores, cant employ less than 50.6 I am Sir, with great sincerity Yr most Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

Please to offer my Compts to Mr Glen—& forward a Letter herewith sent to Majr Halkett.

ALS, British Museum: Add. MSS 21641 (Bouquet Papers); LB (original), DLC:GW; LB (recopied), DLC:GW.

1GW wrote Bouquet on 19 July thanking him for permission to go to Winchester for the election on 24 July, and Adam Stephen wrote to GW on that same day affirming that Bouquet had given his permission. GW makes it clear here that he decided on his own not to go to Winchester, but this paragraph also suggests the possibility that Bouquet sent word by Stephen that GW should after all not go to Winchester. Another possible interpretation of this paragraph is that GW was “pleased” that he had decided to remain at his camp not because Bouquet had in the end ordered it but because had he gone to Winchester he might have missed out on a movement of “light Troops” which Stephen had brought rumors of (see paragraph 5 of this letter). A third explanation seems least likely: that Bouquet’s missing letter to GW of 20 July (see note 2) contained something to suggest “a probability” of GW’s regiment “being calld upon” in the next few days. The next day Bouquet made it clear to Forbes that he was still in the process of searching for the best route to follow from Raystown: not until a party of 100 men under Maj. George Armstrong could go out and blaze a road over Laurel Ridge would he be able to send 600 men to build the road over the ridge to Loyalhanna. If it could be shown that GW on 20 July briefly did believe that his regiment might soon be “calld upon” to march to the Ohio, the case for the genuineness of the letter to Martha Custis on that date would be greatly strengthened.

3See Bouquet to GW, 14 July, n.4, and GW to Bouquet, 19 July. Georges Creek flowed into the North Branch of the Potomac from the Maryland side about nineteen overland miles from the mouth of Wills Creek where Fort Cumberland was located. GW was giving the distance to where Braddock’s Road crossed the creek.

4See note 1.

5When correcting the original letter book, GW underlined “as well” and inserted “at least” after it.

6Writing the day before at Winchester, Christopher Gist refers to “50 Waggons” going from there to the South Branch on their way up to Fort Cumberland; and by 25 July GW had got word that “Seventy odd” wagons were ready to leave the South Branch (GW to Bouquet, 25 July).

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