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To George Washington from Joseph Ball, 5 September 1755

From Joseph Ball

Stratford [“by Bow nigh London”]
5th of Septr 1755.

Good Couz.

It is a Sensible Pleasure to me to hear that you have behaved yourself with such a Martial Spirit in all your Engagements with the French Nigh Ohio. Go on as you have begun; and God prosper you.

We have heard of General Bradock’s Defeat. Every Body Blames his Rash Conduct.

Every body Commends the Courage of the Virginians and Carolina men: which is very Agreable to me.1

I desire you, as you may from time to time have opportunity, to give me a Short Account how you proceed. As I am your Mother’s Brother, I hope you Can’t deny my Request.

There is Little News here. One of our Men of War has taken in our Channell a French Ship of 16. Guns, 2. Brigs, and a Schooner, ⟨bound⟩2 for Martinico, and brought them in. And there were 11. more in the Fleet; after which another Man of War is gone out in Chace.

What will be done with them 4. that are taken I Can’t tell.

There is no war Declared yet Either by the French or us; though it is expected there Soon will.

The King is not Returned from Hanover yet; but is lookt for very soon: The yachts are gone for him. I heartily wish you Good Success, and am Yr Loving Uncle

Jos. Ball

Please to direct to me at Stratford by Bow nigh London. Since the writing the Letter above, there are 6. more French vessels brought in. Though they pret⟨ended to be⟩ bound to the west Indias, they were ⟨Really⟩ bound w⟨e found⟩ to Louisburgh. Please ⟨deliver the⟩ Inclosed to your Mother.3

ALS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC: Joseph Ball Papers.

Joseph Ball (1689–1760) was GW’s half uncle. Born in Lancaster County, Va., Ball migrated to London in 1709; he was trained in law at Gray’s Inn, called to the bar in 1725, and became a bencher in 1743. During the 1730s he spent most of his time in Virginia. After 1743 he resided permanently in England but maintained careful supervision of his Virginia property. He addressed the letter “to Major George Washington at the Falls of Rappk River or Elsewhere in Virginia By favour of Mr Butler.”

1In its Aug. 1755 number, the Gentleman’s Magazine (London) reported, in part, that when Braddock’s regulars “fled with the utmost terror and precipitation . . . the Virginians who formed the rear still stood unbroken, and continued the engagement on very unequal terms near 3 hours” (pp. 379–80). Other similar accounts appeared in the British press.

2The word in angle brackets is illegible in the manuscript and is taken from the copy of the letter in the Joseph Ball Papers, DLC.

3The postscript, which does not appear in the copy in Joseph Ball’s Papers, is mutilated, and the portions in angle brackets are taken from Hamilton, Letters to Washington description begins Stanislaus Murray Hamilton, ed. Letters to Washington and Accompanying Papers. 5 vols. Boston and New York, 1898–1902. description ends , 1:86.

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