George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 13 November 1774]

13. Went up to Alexandria Church. In the Evening Colo. Blackburn Mr. Lee, & Mr. Richd. Graham came here as a Committee from the Prince Wm. Independ. Compy.

Mr. Lee was Philip Richard Francis Lee (died c.1834), son of Squire Richard Lee of Blenheim, Charles County, Md. Philip Richard, a merchant in Dumfries, was a captain in the Prince William Independent Company, which was absorbed into the 3d Virginia Regiment early in 1776 (VSP description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds. Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts. 11 vols. Richmond, 1875–93. description ends , 8:216; LEE [1] description begins Cazenove Gardner Lee, Jr. Lee Chronicle: Studies of the Early Generations of the Lees of Virginia. Edited by Dorothy Mills Parker. New York, 1957. description ends , 347).

prince wm. independ. compy.: On 21 Sept. 1774 a meeting of local men in Alexandria formed an agreement to organize the Fairfax Independent Company of Volunteers, which was probably the first “Independent Company” so organized in a Virginia county (MASON [2] description begins Robert A. Rutland, ed. The Papers of George Mason, 1725–1792. 3 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1970. description ends , 1:210–11). On 11 Nov. 1774 the Independent Company of Cadets of Prince William County appointed the three men who appeared here today as a delegation to “wait upon Collonel George Washington, and request of him to take the command of this Company as their Field Officer, and that he will be pleas’d to direct the fashion of their uniform,” which request GW accepted (HAMILTON [1] description begins Stanislaus Murray Hamilton, ed. Letters to Washington and Accompanying Papers. 5 vols. Boston and New York, 1898–1902. description ends , 5:68–69). By the late spring of 1775 GW had also accepted the commands of the independent companies of Fairfax, Fauquier, Richmond, and Spotsylvania counties (photostat, Vi). In contemporary military terminology an independent company was a company unattached to any regiment. These independent companies were also independent of the militia system, and were usually founded independently of the county committees of inspection, although some men were members of both organizations.

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