George Washington Papers

From George Washington to David Bell, 28 October 1755

To David Bell

[Winchester, 28 October 1755]

To Captain Bell, of the Virginia Regiment.

I have Ordered Ensign Fleming to Repair to Captain Hoggs Company with eight good men; which I expect you will see immediately complied with. He is to account with you for his recruiting money before he leaves you.

You are hereby ordered, peremptorily, to be at this place with what men you have, or can enlist by the 1st of December. Your late disobedience of Orders has greatly displeased me—It is impossible to carry on affairs as they ought to be, when you pay so little regard to the Force of a Military Order—You must be conscious within yourself (or at least ought to be) that your crime is sufficient to Break the best Officer that ever bore a Commission.1


1GW, who was just back at Winchester from Fort Cumberland, had on 3 Oct. ordered Captain Bell to march “immediately” to Fort Cumberland with his recruits and put himself under the command of Lt. Col. Adam Stephen. In his letter to Dinwiddie of 11–14 Oct., GW referred to “22 Men of Captn Bells” being in Winchester. On 26 Nov., after arriving at Fort Dinwiddie where he joined Hog’s company, William Fleming wrote to GW: “Before this no doubt you have heard of Capt. Bells Misfortune.” Captain Bell was back on duty before the end of the year, and on 10 Jan. 1756 GW sent him on an independent mission in search of deserters on the North Carolina border. On 21 July 1756 GW wrote Fleming that the six captains of the Virginia Regiment whom GW had appointed to settle the disputed accounts of Fleming and Bell had awarded Bell £15. “The reason of this award,” he wrote, “was your not complying with Captain Bells orders, to be at Albemarle-Court-House on the day appointed: by which neglect, Captain Bell was hindered from ordering you elsewhere by the Instructions he had received from me, to be at the place of Rendezvous precisely—and was obliged to send Mr Campbell off without you—consequently your stay there gave occasion for so much Desertion, to Captain Bells and the Countrys loss.”

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