George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Dinwiddie, 8 October 1755

To Robert Dinwiddie

Fredericksburg Octr 8th 1755

Honble Sir

I arrived at this place in less than three hour’s after I wrote you from Colo. Baylors, and some small time after the arrival of Colo. Stephen who brings a worse acct than he related in his Letter; but as he is the bearer I shall be less prolix refering to him for paticular’s.1

I shall set out this Evening for Winchester where I expect to be join’d by the Recruits from Alexandria and this place (as soon as they can possibly march that distance) also by one hundd Men from Prince Willm and Frederik,2 and I have wrote to Fairfax Coty desiring that a Troop of Horse may hold themselves in readiness to March at an hour’s warning,3 so that I doubt not but with the assistance of these I shall be able to repulse the Enemy if they are still committing their outrages on the Inhabitants.

We are at a loss for want of almost every necessary—Tents, Kettles, Arms, Ammunition, Cartridge Paper &ca &ca we are distress’d for, therefore I hope as your honour did not send to Philadelphia for them,4 you will if possible endeavour to get them below, and send them by the first oppertunity to this place or Alexandria with order’s that they may be forwarded immediately to Winchester.

I must again take the Liberty of mentioning to your honour the necessity there is of putting the Militia (when they are drawn out into actual Service) under better Regulation’s than they are at present; as well as there is of putting us under Military Law, otherwise we shall only be a burthensome charge to the Country, and the others will prove its Ruin5—That this may not appear to be an unmeaning expression I shall refer your Honour to Lt Colo. Stephen who can give some late proofs of their disobedience, and inconsistent behaviour.6

I find I cannot possibly be in Williamsburg (as these affairs will engage me some time) till abt the 6th 7th or 8th of Novr when I shoud be glad to meet a Committee in order to settle with yr Honour & them some points that are very necessary for the good of the Expedn[.] Colo. Stephen has order’s to receive (if he can) some money below that we may be enabled to pay the Troops & keep up their Spirits, and to answer such immediate charges as cannot be dispensd with till I come down; and I shoud be glad if your honour woud order him to repair therewith (so soon as his business is done with the Committee)7 to Winchester, and from thence with a proper Guard to Fort Cumberland.

I hope the Treasury will have a sufficient sum of money prepard against I come down, that I may make no great delay—I shoud be glad if your honour woud give Colo. Stephen all the assistance you can in gettg the money, and forwarding this to me that I may be the sooner down.

There are abt 70 Recruits at this place, & I left 25 at Belhaven,8 which I suppose are augmented before this by Officer’s who I am sorry to say have paid slight regard to Orders in not being to their places of Rendezvous according to appointment: which was the first Instant, the most flagrant proof of this appears in Captn Harrison who I have heard nothing of since he recd his Instructions. I am Yr Honrs most Obt Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, NNPM; LB, DLC:GW. The letter-book copy includes a number of changes in punctuation and wording, the most substantial of which are: in paragraph one, for “and some . . . acct” is substituted “and some small time after, arrived also Colonel Steven, who gives a worse account”; last line, paragraph five, “and forwarding . . . down” is omitted; at end of last paragraph, for “in not being . . . Instructions” is substituted “not being in according to time appointed—(1st of October) The most flagrant proof of this is Captain Harrison, who I have heard nothing of tho’ he had positive Orders to be here at the aforesaid time.”

1GW’s letter written at John Baylor’s has not been found, but see GW’s Memorandum, 8 Oct. 1755, n.2.

2For references to Lord Fairfax’s call for militia, see Adam Stephen to GW, 4 Oct., and GW to Henry Lee, 8 Oct. 1755.

4GW suggested to Dinwiddie on 11 Sept. that he send to Philadelphia for these goods. On 18 Oct. Dinwiddie wrote GW that he had sent to New York instead.

5For a discussion of GW’s role in securing the passage of the military or mutiny act (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 559–64) for tightening military discipline, see especially GW to Adam Stephen, 18 Nov. 1755, n.3.

7The committee GW refers to here and above was made up of 16 members named in the act passed by the Virginia Assembly in Aug. 1755 to raise £40,000 for the defense of the colony. The committee was enjoined by the act to supervise the expenditures of these funds.

8By this time, the question whether the growing town at Hunting Creek on the Potomac should be called Belhaven or Alexandria had been pretty well settled in favor of the latter.

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