George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Orme, 15 March 1755

To Robert Orme

[Mount Vernon, 15 March 1755]

To Robert Orme Esqr. aid de Camp to the His Exy GeneralB. Williamsburgh In answer to the foregoing—

I was not favourd with your agreeable polite Letter (of the Ins⟨t⟩ un 2d) till Yesterday; acquainting me with the notice his Excellency Genl is pleased Braddoc⟨k⟩ to honour me with, by kindly desireing my Company in inviting me to become one of his Family. the ensuing campayn Its is true Sir that I have, ever since I declind a my late command in this Service, expressd an Inclination to serveerasuret the1 Ensueing Campaigne as a Volunteer;2 and this inclination believe me, Sir, is not a little encreasd since its is likely to be conducted by a Gentleman of the Generals great, good Character Experien⟨ce.⟩:

But, besides this, and the laudable desire I may have to serve (with my poor best abilitys) my King & Country, I must be ingenuou⟨s⟩ enough to confess , that I am not a little biassd by selfish, and siniste⟨r⟩ views considerat⟨ns.⟩t To be ex plain, Sir, I wish for nothing more earnestly, than to attain a small degree of some knowledge i on the Military Art Profession: and, believeing a more favourable oppertunity cannot be wishd offer, than to serving e under a Gentleman of his Excellencys known Generl Braddock⟨’s⟩ ability ies and experience, it does as you may reaerasure ⟩sonably3 imagine suppose, not a little contribute to influence me in my choice.

But Sir, as I have taken the liberty so far, to discourse thus to express my sentimts so freely, I shall beg your Indulgence yet a little longer, while I say add, that the only bar that which can check me in the pursuit of these my desires is object, is the inconveniences that must necessarily arise, as result from, some proceedings in a late space—(I mean wch happen’d a little befor⟨e⟩ the the Generals arrival) had & wch, in some measure had abated the edge ardou⟨r⟩ of my Intentions desires and determined me to lead a life of greater inactivity, and retirement into which I was just entering at no small expence; the business whereof must greatly suffer in my absence when your favor was presented to me.4 But, as I shall do myself the pleasure honor of waiting upon his Excellency so as soon as I hear of his arrival at Alexandria5 (and woud sooner, was I certain where to find him,) till which, I shall decline saying any thing further on this head till then; begging you’ll be kind enough will be pleased to assure himerasure⟩ that I shall always retain a grateful Sense of the favour he was kindly with which he is pleasd to offer me honor me;, and that I shoud have embraced this oppertunity of writing to him, had I not some little time ago wrote recently addressed a congratulatory Letter to him on his safe arrival in this Country I &ca, and as I flatter myself you will favour me in making a communicating my on of these Sentiments herein, it will need no other mentn or repetition.6

You do me a singular favour in proposing an acquaintance, which It cannot but be attended with the most agreeable Intimacy on my side flattering prospect of intimacy on my part; as you may already experience perceive by the familiarity and freedom with which I now assume to treat you enter upon this corrispondence; a freedom, which, even if it is disagreeable you musterasure7 excuse, as I shall may lay the whole blame of it at your door for encourageing me to throw of the formality that restraint which otherwise might have appeard been more obvious in my deportmt on this such an occasion. The hope of shortly seeing you will be an ex[c]use for my not adding more than that I shall endeavour to approve myself worthy of your friendship, and that I beg to be esteemd Your most Obedient Servant

Go: Washington

LB (original), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1The erased word may be “attend.”

2For GW’s earlier professed desire to serve voluntarily rather than to submit to what he conceived to be humiliating conditions attached to a commission, see GW to Robert Dinwiddie, second letter, 18 May 1754.

3The erased portion may read “will, you must rea.”

4GW’s affairs at Mount Vernon, where he was still in the process of establishing his household and preparing for his first spring planting, were to be of great concern to him throughout the ensuing campaign.

5Alexandria was designated the initial staging area for Braddock’s army. It lay near the head of navigation on the Potomac River, up which Braddock had been instructed by his superiors in England to move his men for an early spring offensive against Fort Duquesne. Provincial recruits for the two Irish regiments were directed to rendezvous at Alexandria, and as the troop transports and ordnance store ships from Ireland arrived in Hampton Roads during the first 3 weeks of March, they were ordered to sail on to the Potomac after securing fresh provisions. Braddock intended to set out from Williamsburg for Alexandria on 19 Mar. but did not leave until 3 days later. Accompanied by Dinwiddie and Commodore Augustus Keppel of the Royal Navy, he reached Alexandria on 26 Mar. There he found his troops encamped in tents on the outskirts of the little town.

6The letter has not been found. GW probably learned of Braddock’s arrival in Virginia about 5 days thereafter, on 25 Feb., when news of it reached Annapolis.

7The erased phrase may be “even if disagreeable, you’ll” (Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799. 39 vols. Washington, D.C., 1931–44. description ends , 1:108).

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