George Washington Papers

George Mercer to Robert Johnston, 26 December 1755

George Mercer to Robert Johnston

[26 December 1755]

To Mr Johnston, Surgeons Mate of the Virginia Regiment.

It is Colonel Washingtons Orders, that you examine into the case of William Mitcalfe, and report if you think he is subject to Fits: Mr Roy will assist you.1

It is the opinion of Messieurs Johnston and Roy, that he is not addicted to Fits; and fit enough for Duty.


Mr. Johnston was probably the Robert Johnston (d. 1763) who appeared before the Frederick County court on 6 Jan. 1756 to take his oath along with Surgeon James Roy, also a volunteer, and a number of other officers of the Virginia Regiment. Robert Johnston was later a surgeon in the Virginia Regiment under Col. William Byrd III.

1James Roy (d.1779) served as a volunteer apparently in GW’s company of the Virginia Regiment in the fall of 1756 (GW to Adam Stephen, 6 Sept. 1756). GW sent him an ensign’s commission in Feb. 1756 and in September ordered Ensign Roy’s transfer from Stephen’s 2d company to GW’s own 1st company as he had promised. When GW left the regiment at the end of 1758, Roy, by then a lieutenant, was one of the officers who signed the address to the departing commander. As this letter from Mercer would suggest, James Roy seems to have had some medical training. GW referred to him as “Doctor Roy” on one occasion (GW to Stephen, 1 Feb. 1756), and Roy’s father, Dr. Mungo Roy of Essex County, at his death in 1758 left his medical equipment and books to his son James.

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