George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Peter Hog, 29 November 1755

From Peter Hog

Fort Dinwiddie 29th Novr 1755

Sir

Since mine of the 26th Inclosing the returns which I imagine Lt. McNeil has carried to Winchester where he is gone to Meet with Comisy Walker to gett the money for the Beeves as the people are terribly harrassed for Cash and Complain greatly on the Disapointment which I could not prevent as I was Ignorant of Mr Dicks being out of place1 Mr Gordon has arrived with the pay of the Company for two Months till 1st Decr[.]2 I mentd to the Soldrs when drawn up the Deduction of 2d. per Month with the Reduction of the Drumrs pay to 8 per day neither of which they seem Satisfied with3 I have two Negos & 2 Mullatoes in the Company the 2 last are Butchers and really Usefull as well as Likely, But if I can Compleat the Company should be glad to have your Instructions what to doe with the Negos[.]4 I have the 4 Deserters still prisoners besides Jno. Johnson & Arthur Watts[.] I formerly mentd Johnson’s plea to you,5 and Expect you will Let me know how I am to proceed with the others as I have not Officers for a Court Martial, and if any New Law is made respecting the Virga forces to transmit it to me to make the Men acquainted with it. I also desire that money may be sent up by the pay master for the 14 recruits wanted to Compleat the Company6 after deducting the 4 brot by Mr Fleming, I hope the pay also of the Men deserted the 21st Aug. will be remited from 1st July to that date Collo. Stevens has the Accot the Men are very Clamorous abt the 2 Months pay from 29th Decr Last to the 1st March and Expected it now as Swiney7 says you made such a promise at Winchester.8 Let me know also the Allowance for Carpenters & Smiths when they are Employed at their Trades.

There is nothing Extraordinary happened in these parts since the Burning of the fort on Green Briar.9 I intend to Send a party there next Week, tho we have still a great deal of Work in Cutting the Covert Way to the Spring building a Magazine & Clearing the Woods, for we have but two Axes and cannot gett Iron to make more or any other tool as they wrote me there was none at Fredericksburg Let me know where or how I am to be Supplied I am with Respect Sir Your Very hum. Servt

Petr Hog

P.S. I did not gett any kettles at Fredericksburg and the Men suffer prodigiously for Want of them as the Large kettle is now useless on their smal Barrack fire places I hope you will order 2 doz. first Oppy. P:H:

ALS, DLC:GW.

1For the shift of the office of commissary of stores and provisions from Charles Dick to Thomas Walker, see GW to Walker, 11 Nov. 1755, and notes.

2When Boyd fell ill, Col. Adam Stephen sent Ens. George Gordon, who was with Paymaster Alexander Boyd and Stephen at Winchester on 21 Nov., to Hog with the money.

3For the deductions from the pay, see GW to Boyd, 1 Nov. 1755.

4In “An Act for raising levies and recruits to serve in the present expedition against the French, on the Ohio,” the Virginia Assembly in its Oct. 1754 session forbade “the taking or levying any person to serve as a soldier . . . who is, or shall be an indented or bought servant” (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 438–40). The act of the Aug. 1755 session raising £40,000 for the Virginia Regiment provided for the drafting of men from the militia for military service (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 521–30). The militia act passed in the same session included the clause: “That all such free mulattoes, negroes, and Indians, as are or shall be listed [in the militia], as aforesaid, shall appear without arms, and may be employed as drummers, trumpeters or pioneers, or in such other servile labor, as they shall be directed to perform” (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 530–44). During GW’s tenure as colonel of the regiment, there are frequent references in his correspondence to disagreements and uncertainties about enlisting servants.

5In the weekly return for his company, dated 13 Oct. 1755 (DLC:GW), Hog reported that four men had deserted at Fort Dinwiddie on 8 Oct. and were being pursued “towards Carolina.” See Hog to GW, 13 Oct., n.1. On 3 Nov., in his monthly return (ibid.), Hog gave the names of six men missing who had deserted in October. He noted that the “Old Deserters Jno. Johnson & Arthur Watts” had been “taken up.” There is no other mention of “Johnson’s plea” in Hog’s earlier correspondence, as GW himself noted in writing to Hog on 27 Dec. In his letter to GW of 17 Dec., however, Hog refers to “Johnsons Claim to a discharge” and explains how four of the other six were caught. Johnson claimed to have been promised his release by Captain La Péronie (Hog to GW, 27 Jan. 1756). Both Johnson and Watts seem to have been back on duty in the company by 1 Jan. (Hog’s company payroll, 3 Feb. 1756, DLC:GW).

6In his company returns of 26 Nov. and 29 Nov., Hog indicated that only three men were needed to complete the company.

7Terence Sweeney (Swiney), a middle-aged Irishman, had been an Indian trader before he joined Capt. Andrew Lewis’s company in Mar. 1754. He was enlisted in Augusta County by Col. James Patton, the county lieutenant.

8GW’s response to this was to write Hog, on 27 Dec., that Maj. Andrew Lewis “will also settle with them [the men of the company] and pay off their arrears”; but on 30 Dec. 1755 GW ordered the “settling the arrears of the mens pay for the months of December, January and February last” and gave detailed instructions how this was to be done.

9Hog may be referring to the raid in September when a number of houses in Greenbrier settlements were burned and about 15 people were killed or wounded. The survivors fled to a small fort, sometimes called Fort Greenbrier, at what is now Marlinton, W.Va., which probably had been built by Capt. Andrew Lewis during the previous summer. The Indians besieged the fort for 4 days before Captain Lewis arrived with aid, but the fort was not captured or burned.

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