George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Fairfax, 5 July 1754

From William Fairfax

Alexandria 5th July 1754

Dear Sir

I came hither at our Governor’s Request to view Captn Clarke’s Compa. & Captn Rutherford’s under the Care & Command of Capt. Ogilvie, who I am told have been delayd & retarded many Days, By the Muster It appeard they are not compleat.1 Colo. Innes is at Winchester, waiting for these and two Compas. of his own Men now here, the rest to march from No. Carolina by Land. It will yet require a long Time before They can join You and make You regret the Hours—till then You can do little but Guard, Look out, and now & then bring in a stragling Party of other Embassadors. Thô I sometimes Flatter my Self the brave Dinwiddie2 & Monacatoocha (whom I desire to take the Name of Washington) will exert their Power & Skill to defeat all the Wiles of the suttle French And as by our Forces not joyning Sooner, the French have gaind the more Time to augment and strengthen their Garrisons, the most effectual & least hazardous Method to regain our Fort and Lands Seems to be, a Prevention of all supply of Provisions which a good Encampment near Them and active Scouts of our brave Indian Warriors might accomplish, And I hope our Treaty at Albany has engagd the Six Nations & Allies who reside between the Ohio & Canada to intercept all Supplys intended; whereby their present Provisions must Soon be expended.3 Majr Carlyle dayly expects a £1000 from Mr Allen of Philadelphia,4 and is to be with the Governor in less than a Fortnight to receive abt £1500, the Governor having applied to the Council who have consented that the Receivr Genl should lend £2000 out of the 2s. Hhd Fund to the Public Treasurer to answer the Drafts on Him.5 In short every probable Step has been taken to purchase and send You the necessary Provisions & to assist the March of the Forces that are following. You cannot well guess at the Fatigue Mr Carlyle undergoes to acquit Himself of the various Demands, the different Corps make. It will give Me the greatest Pleasure to know from You that Colo. Innes, Captns Clarke, Mackay & Ogilvie begin and likely to hold a good Union of Friendship, Councils and joint Operations to fulfil his Majesty’s Commands and Expectations from Them—I have no doubt of your friendly Agreement with Them on their own Merit, but may be enlargd for your late Brothers Sake, formerly known to Colo. Innes & Capt. Clarke on the Carthagena Expedition.6

G. Fx has been lately visited wth the wonted Agues & Fevers, but hopes Soon to amend as Mrs Fx, Miss Bety Cary & Miss Hannah returnd to Us last Sunday, And I left them on Monday to muster the Soldiers here; have not heard from Them who know not of my present Writing. I suppose You will at least have Weekly Matter to insert in our Gazette which your Friends & Mr Hunter will be glad to Publish.7 Lt. Colo. Grainger & Capt. Woodrow8 I believe You will find worthy of yr Acquaintance. Mr Henry Vanmeter now here has engagd to Send You Beeves and wt else his Influence can get for You that’s wanting9—In short yr Friends are very anxious to have You constantly & wel supplied. As Mr Carlyle writes, I need not add more particulars, referring to Him, Majr Clarke &c. Please to make my Sincere Complements & best Wishes known to your worthy Officers, my Brethren & faithful Warriors Dinwiddie[,] Washington & Fairfax10 likewise to all other the cordial Allies of Great Britain—I remain dear Sir Yr truly affecte Friend &c.

W. Fairfax


1For the New York independent companies, see Robert Dinwiddie to GW, 25 June 1754, n.2. Sometime in July Dinwiddie wrote Thomas Clarke, captain of one of the independent companies which had arrived from New York, that he had “directed Colo. Fairfax one of His Majesty’s Council, in my Absence to review Yr two Compa’s and transmit me a perfect and exact Muster roll” (ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers). Capt. John Rutherfurd did not get to Wills Creek until late September after returning from England. In his absence, Lt. William Ogilvie, “the only Officer belonging to that Compa.” in Virginia, was therefore acting as the company commander (Dinwiddie to Henry Fox, 24 July, ibid.). See also Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia), 10 April 1755. Either Ogilvie was breveted captain, or Fairfax mistook his rank. On 31 July Dinwiddie listed 160 men fit for duty in the two New York independent companies (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 , 2:257).

2GW gave the Half-King the English name of “Dinwiddie.” See GW to Dinwiddie, 10 June 1754.

3At the direction of the Board of Trade, representatives of the northern British colonies met in Albany, N.Y., 10 June to 11 July 1754, to fix upon a mutual approach to problems arising out of their deteriorating relations with the Six Nations of Indians.

4This was probably William Allen (1704–1780), a Philadelphia merchant who was also chief justice of Pennsylvania.

5To defray the cost of colonial administration, a tax of 2s. was levied by the Virginia Assembly on each hogshead of tobacco exported from the colony. Dinwiddie explained to Thomas Robinson on 25 Oct. 1754 that it was “the only Fund I can call upon on all Emergencies for His Majesty’s Service” (ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers). Richard Corbin succeeded Philip Grymes in 1754 as the receiver general, the collector of all colonial duties. The colonial treasurer, appointed by the assembly, was John Robinson, who was also speaker of the House of Burgesses and chairman of the committee set up in February to disburse funds for this campaign. See the editorial note, Dinwiddie to GW, Jan. 1754.

6Among the several thousand colonial American troops used by the British in 1741 in the unsuccessful assault on the Spanish fort at Cartagena on the north coast of South America were four companies from Virginia.

7William Hunter (d. 1761) was the printer of the Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg) from 1751 to 1761.

8Lt. Col. Caleb Grainger was second in command, under Col. James Innes, of the North Carolina regiment, and Alexander Woodrow was captain of one of its companies.

9Henry Van Meter was to be an important supplier of provisions and transport to GW’s forces in the area of the South Branch of the Potomac in the fall of 1755 and in 1756. GW used Van Meter’s place on the South Branch as a staging point for the troops that he deployed on the frontier in the summer of 1756, and he had Capt. Thomas Waggener establish a fort there. The fort was referred to as Van Meter’s fort and as Fort Pleasant. GW was first at Van Meter’s place during his surveying expedition in 1748. See Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 1:15.

10These are the English names of the Indians.

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