George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 19 October 1794]

19th. In company with Genl. Lee, who I requested to attend me, that all the arrangements necessary for the Army’s crossing the Mountns. in two columns might be made; Their routs, & days Marches fixed, that the whole might move in Unison—and accompanied by the Adjutant General and my own family we set out, abt. eight oclock, for Bedford, and making one halt at the distance of 12 Miles, reached it a little after 4 oclock in the afternoon being met a little out of the Encampment by Govr. Mifflin—Govr. Howell—& several other Officers of distinction.

Quarters were provided for me at the House of a Mr. Espy. Prothonotary of the County of Bedford—to which I was carried & lodged very comfortably.

The Road from Cumberld. to this place is, in places, stoney but in other respects not bad. It passes through a Valley the whole way; and was opened by Troops under my command in the Autumn of 1758. The whole Valley consists of good farming land, & part of it—next Cumberland—is tolerably well improved in its culture but not much so in Houses.

On 19 Oct., Dr. Wellford noted in his diary that “this morning the President of the United States set out for Bedford on his return to the right wing of the Army, & from there to the seat of Government. . . . The Cavalry this morning escorted the President about five miles from (camp), when he requested the Troops to return, & taking leave spoke to Major George Lewis as follows: ‘George, You are the eldest of five nephews that I have in this Army, let your conduct be an example to them, and do not turn your back until you are ordered.’ Major Lewis made a suitable reply, but from this address of the President it was conjectured that the Troops would not be entirely disbanded at the end of the three months’ service.

“Mem: The President’s five nephews are Major George Lewis, Commandant of the Cavalry. Major Laurence Lewis, Aid de Camp to Major Genl. Morgan. Mr. Howell Lewis, in Capt. Mercer’s troop. and Mr. Saml. Washington (son of Col. Ch’s Washington), and Mr. Laurence Washington (son of Col. Saml. Washington), both of whom are light horsemen in the troop lately commanded by Capt. Lewis” (WELLFORD description begins “A Diary Kept by Dr. Robert Wellford, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, during the March of the Virginia Troops to Fort Pitt (Pittsburg) to Suppress the Whiskey Insurrection in 1794.” William and Mary Quarterly, 1st ser., 11 (1902–3): 1–19. description ends , 8–9). At this time Bedford, some 110 miles west of Philadelphia, contained 41 log and 9 stone dwellings, a brick market house, a stone jail, a courthouse, and a brick building for keeping the records of the county (SCOTT [2] description begins Joseph Scott. The United States Gazetteer: Containing an Authentic description of the Several States, Their Situation, Extent, Boundaries, Soil, Produce, Climate, Population, Trade and Manufactures. Together with the Extent, Boundaries and Population of their Respective Counties . . .. Philadelphia, 1795. description ends ). “The President’s reception at Bedford on his return to the seat of Government was affectionate and interesting,” Dr. Wellford continued. “When it was announced that He was approaching, the troops & the artillery paraded, the Cavalry marched down the road two miles, & drew up on the right of the road. As General Washington passed he pulled off his hat, &, in the most respectful manner, bowed to the officers & men, and in this manner passed the line, who were affected by the sight of their Chief, for whom each individual seemed to show the affectionate regard that would have been to an honoured Parent. As soon as the President passed, his escort followed the Troops, joined the train, & entered the town, whose inhabitants seemed anxious to see this very great and good Man. Crowds were assembled in the streets, but their admiration was silent. In this manner the President passed in front of the Camp, where the troops were assembled in front of the Tents. the line of Artillery Horse & Infantry appeared in the most perfect order, the greatest silence was observed. Genl. Washington approached the right uncovered, passed along the line bowing in the most respectful & affectionate manner to the officers—he appeared pleased” (WELLFORD description begins “A Diary Kept by Dr. Robert Wellford, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, during the March of the Virginia Troops to Fort Pitt (Pittsburg) to Suppress the Whiskey Insurrection in 1794.” William and Mary Quarterly, 1st ser., 11 (1902–3): 1–19. description ends , 9–10).

David Espy was one of Bedford’s first settlers. His house was “a two-story stone structure with three windows across the front and a high hipped roof giving almost a full floor in the attic.” The house had been used by Arthur St. Clair when he was prothonotary of Bedford County (MULKEARN AND PUGH description begins Lois Mulkearn and Edwin V. Pugh. A Traveler’s Guide to Historic Western Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh, 1954. description ends , 130, 139). road: For GW’s route to join Gen. John Forbes for the march on Fort Duquesne in 1758, see FREEMAN description begins Douglas Southall Freeman. George Washington: A Biography. 7 vols. New York, 1948–57. description ends , 2:324–33.

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