George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert McKenzie, 11 November 1755

To Robert McKenzie

[11 November 1755]

To Captain Robert McKenzie

You are hereby ordered to proceed immediately to Norfolk; where you are to use your utmost endeavours to enlist what able-bodied Men you can: You are to be at Alexandria the 25th of December, without fail.


Robert McKenzie remained captain of his company until early fall 1761 when William Byrd III, GW’s successor as colonel of the Virginia Regiment, ordered him to report to the British 58th Regiment of Foot, in which General Amherst had commissioned him ensign. As did the military careers of most of the young officers in GW’s regiment, McKenzie’s began in the fall of 1755 with a search for soldiers to complete his company. He brought his recruits by boat from Norfolk to Alexandria before the end of Jan. 1756 and then joined the Virginia Regiment at Fort Cumberland. For over a year beginning in Aug. 1756 McKenzie was in command of Pearsal’s fort on the South Branch of the Potomac. He and his company also took part in Gen. John Forbes’s successful expedition against Fort Duquesne in 1758. Robert McKenzie was the British army officer who wrote the letter to GW in 1774 denouncing the people of Massachusetts and thereby provoked GW’s most heated revolutionary rhetoric (McKenzie to GW, 13 Sept. 1774, and GW to McKenzie, 9 Oct. 1774).

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