To Robert Orme
[Claiborne’s Ferry, 22 May 1755]
To Robt Orme Esqr. Aid de Camp
In pursuance of His Excellencys Commands,1 I proceeded to this place with all convenient dispatch; But, as I apprehd, and
very justly , that the getting and posting Horses at proper Stages, in order to expedate my return, woud occasion some delay I dispatchd an express from Winchester to Hampton advising Colo. Hunter of my business, and desiring him to meet me in Williamsburg with the money:2 which sd express I this day met on his return from there, with a verbal message from Govr Dinwiddie informing me that Colo. Hunter set out to the Northward last Week for money, and wo n’t be returnd in 14 or 15 Days;3 & that my journey will prove abortive: however this may happen , I shall Continue down till I have information;4 but thought it first expedient (as I compleatly believe the report myself ) to give you th is earl y intelligence that the Genl may determine accordingly.
As I am fatiegued and a good deal disordered by constant riding (in a droughth that has almost destroyd this part of the Country)5 I shall proceed more slowly back, unless I am fortunate enough, contrary to expectation, to receive the money,
and in that case I shall hurry back with the utmost dispatch.
If His Excellency finds it necessary that the money
must be had, he has nothing more to do than intimate the same to me; when I shall return back from any place that an express can meet me with his Orders. My Compts attds Morris,6 Shirley and other Friends of our Party in Camp. I am Dr Sir Yrs &ca
LB (original), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.
3. John Hunter returned on 14 June.
4. At Claiborne’s ferry GW was about 27 miles from Williamsburg.
5. Drought conditions at this time extended throughout much of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. The Maryland Gazette (Annapolis) of 5 June 1755 reported: “We hear from most all Parts of the Province, that the great Drought has already entirely burnt up the Flax and Oats,” and in Pennsylvania on 6 June the governor and council proclaimed a day of fasting and prayer, “there having been no Rain for two or three Months, and all Sorts of Grain near perishing” (Pa. Arch., Col. Rec. description begins Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. 16 vols. Harrisburg, 1840–53. description ends , 6:422–23). An anticipated shortage of corn “occasioned by the long drought” induced the Virginia General Assembly in August to fix the price of corn temporarily and to authorize the governor and council to prohibit the exportation of all grain until the situation improved (6 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 553–54). See also GW to John Augustine Washington, 28 May 1755 and 28 June–2 July 1755. The parentheses were added later by GW.
6. Capt. Roger Morris (1727–1794) of the 48th Regiment was appointed Braddock’s second aide-de-camp at Alexandria on 27 Mar. 1755. The third son of a Yorkshire gentleman, he had been a captain in the 48th Regiment since Sept. 1745 and became lieutenant colonel of the 47th Regiment before resigning from the army in 1764. He had a reputation as “a Ladys man, always something to say.” In Jan. 1758 he married Mary Philipse, a wealthy New York heiress for whose hand several young men, including GW, had vied (Joseph Chew to GW, 13 July 1757). Morris resided for many years in a fine house on the Hudson River. During the Revolution, despite his initial efforts to remain neutral in the struggle, he was condemned as a loyalist and his property was confiscated. He left America with his family at the end of the war and returned to Yorkshire.