George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edward Braddock, 15 May 1755

From Edward Braddock

Camp at Fort Cumberland [Md.] May 15. 1755

Instructions to George Washington Esq.

1. You will repair to Hampton in Virginia with as much expedition as may be; and ⟨immedi⟩ately upon your Arrivel there you will apply ⟨to⟩ John Hunter Esqr.1 for the Sum of Four tho⟨usand⟩ pounds Sterling, for which you will receive ⟨mutilated2 from Mr Johnston, Deputy paymaster,3 paya⟨ble⟩ to yourself.

2. You will acquaint Mr Hunter from me that His Majesty’s Service under my direction, requires the further Sum of ten thousand pounds Sterling, to be sent to Fort Cumberland at this place, within the Space of two Months at farthest from this day, to be entrusted to the Care of such person as he shall choose for that purpose, who upon his a⟨rrival⟩ at the Fort with it, shall have a proper ⟨mutilated4 appointed him for the safe Custody of it.

3. You will also acquaint Mr Hunter that ⟨mutilated5 he shall Send with the said Money shall ⟨mutilated6 reasonable Allowance for his Trouble; and that ⟨the⟩ Expence of Insurance and all other Charges t⟨hat⟩ may necessarily attend the Sending it shall be allow’d.

⟨4.⟩ You will continue at Hampton no longer than two7 Day’s at the farthest, and if you cannot in that time get the whole Sum of four thousand pounds from Mr Hunter, you will return to me as speedily as may be with such part of it as you shall be able to receive.

5. You will take care to bring me a positive Answer from Mr Hunter, whether I may depend upon ten thousand Pounds being sent to Fort Cumberland by the time mention’d in these Instructions.

E. Braddock

DS, DLC:GW. This document is written in the hand of Robert Orme except for the signature and the word “two” noted below, which are in Braddock’s hand. The manuscript is mutilated along much of the right-hand side of the first page and part of the left-hand side of the second page. The words and portions of words that appear in angle brackets are taken from Hamilton, Letters to Washington description begins Stanislaus Murray Hamilton, ed. Letters to Washington and Accompanying Papers. 5 vols. Boston and New York, 1898–1902. description ends , 1:60–61.

1John Hunter, a justice of the Elizabeth City County court and colonel of the county’s militia, lived near Hampton on a plantation called Little England. As agent for Thomlinson & Hanbury, the London trading firm through which the British government transferred funds to its military forces in North America, he was responsible for negotiating bills of exchange and dispensing specie to the army’s deputy paymaster general as ordered by the commander in chief. GW’s role here was simply to act as a trusted courier between the agent and the deputy paymaster general. Hunter sold out his considerable business and land interests in Virginia in 1766 and went to England to live.

2GW wrote John Hunter on 16 May 1755: “I have . . . Instructions from Mr Johnston.” This mutilated word, however, is probably “Warrants,” “Vouchers,” or “Bills.”

3William Johnston, Braddock’s deputy paymaster general, arrived in Virginia from England during the latter part of Mar. 1755. On the day of Braddock’s defeat he was with the second division of the army far from the action. “It was a great happiness I was not with the general,” he wrote later; “if I had, the military chest, vouchers, and all my baggage would have been lost, and myself perhaps knocked on the head” (William Johnston to Frank —, 23 Sept. 1755, in Wilson, “Campaign of General Braddock,” description begins J. Cook Wilson. “The Campaign of General Braddock.” English Historical Review 1 (1886): 149–52. description ends 149–52). Johnston served the next year as a deputy paymaster general for Lord Loudoun, stationed for the most part at Albany, N.Y.

4A guard would be needed to protect the courier from French and Indian raiding parties as he traveled from Fort Cumberland to wherever the army’s camp might be west of the mountains. See GW to John Augustine Washington, 28 June–2 July 1755, n.6. GW insisted on having an escort between Winchester and Fort Cumberland later this month when he brought the £4,000 to Braddock. See GW Memorandum, 15–30 May 1755, and GW to John Augustine Washington, 28 May 1755.

5The words missing may be “the person.”

6The missing portion may read “be given a” or “have a.”

7The word “two” is in Braddock’s hand.

Index Entries