From Robert Dinwiddie
Winchester June 1st 1754
Mr Gist brot Yr Letter & the very agreeable Acct of Yr Killing & taking Monsr Le Force & his whole Party of 35 Men1 on which Success I heartily congratulate You, as it may give a Testimony to the Inds. that the French are not invincible wn fairly engagd with the English; but hope the good Spirits of Yr Soldiers will not tempt You to make any hazardous Attempts agst a too numerous Enemy. When Colo. Fry’s Corps & Capt. McKay’s Compa. join You, You will be enabled to act with better Vigour. I am in daily Expectatn of seeing or hearing from Colo. Innes, & a Body of Cherokee Inds. which I shall direct to march with all Diligence. I have sent Colo. Cresap to bring away Monsr Le Force & the other Prisoners, which You will deliver him, & be thereby reliev’d from the Anxiety of guarding so many Prisoners with Yr small Number.2 I have caus’d an Assortmt of Indn Goods to be packt up in order to be sent You immediately; & have engag’d Mr Croghan as an Interpreter to attend the Commander in Chief, assist in delivering the several Presents, & advise You in all matters You may have occasion to consult him about, hoping his faithful demeanour will merit Yr & the Officers kind reception & Entertainmt3—I have also sent out of my private Store some rum, which will be sent You with the Goods from this on Monday next—I wait with Impatience the return of Burney to know whether the Half King comes here.
Pray God preserve You in all Yr proceedings & grant Success to our Arms. I remain with great Esteem Sr Yr most humble Servt
LB, ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers.
1. It was apparently assumed at first by the Virginians that La Force rather than Jumonville was in command of the French force. See Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg), 19 July 1754, and Dinwiddie to Thomas Cresap, 1 June 1754, in Brock, Dinwiddie Papers description begins R. Alonzo Brock, ed. The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Virginia, 1751–1758. 2 vols. Richmond, 1883–84. description ends , 1 : 185–86.
2. See GW’s three letters of 29 May 1754 to Dinwiddie [letter 1, letter 2, letter 3]. Soon after GW’s prisoners arrived in Williamsburg they were moved first to Winchester and then to Alexandria where the private soldiers were kept in confinement and Drouillon and the two cadets were given private lodgings, clothing, and a stipend by Dinwiddie, in spite of his annoyance with what he deemed their insolent behavior. After Edward Braddock’s arrival in Alexandria in 1755 Dinwiddie arranged for the prisoners’ passage to England. Despite numerous attempts to escape, La Force, whom Dinwiddie considered “a most wicked Fellow,” remained a prisoner in Virginia until 1760 (Dinwiddie to Sir Thomas Robinson, 1 Oct. 1755, ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers).
3. At the time he was appointed, Croghan was carrying on unofficial negotiations for Pennsylvania with the Indians and was in possession of a considerable amount of goods destined for the Ohio tribes. Croghan was pressing Pennsylvania to purchase the supplies for distribution to the Indians since, he contended, if Virginia acted alone in the distribution of Indian gifts “the Indians will Suspectt ye Virginians as only atacking ye French, on Account of Setling ye Lands” (Croghan to Richard Peters, 14 May 1754, Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 2 : 144–45). By the end of May Croghan had supplies worth approximately £500 awaiting distribution on the Ohio. He left his establishment at Aughwick in the latter part of May to visit the Indians near the Forks and by the end of the month met Dinwiddie at Winchester where he received the appointment as interpreter (Dinwiddie to James Hamilton, 18 June 1754, in Brock, Dinwiddie Papers description begins R. Alonzo Brock, ed. The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Virginia, 1751–1758. 2 vols. Richmond, 1883–84. description ends , 1 : 214–15).