George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Fenton Mercer, 17 April 1756

From John Fenton Mercer

Joseph Edwards’s on Great Cacapon April 17th 1756


Yesterday about seven O’Clock in the Evening the Waggons arrived here by which I received my Instructions to march to the Warm Spring Mountain, but finding it impracticable to attempt crossing the N. River between this an Enochs’s Fort, have, by the Approbation of the Officers here halted till the Waters shall fall, Great Cacapon having raised 8 Feet perpendicular since last Night & is still rising very fast.1 Yesterday Morning one of Captn Ashby’s Men, who has been on Forlow some Time, with one Hintch who came down with Us as a Pilot, were in their Return to Ashby’s Fort & were fired on by seven Indians, Hintch killed dead on the Spot and the other returned here wounded in the Neck, but no ways dangerous2—This happen’d about fourteen Miles from hence in the Road to Parker’s Fort,3 I have engaged one of the Country Men to go as a Pilot to the warm Spring Mountain, & coud engage two or three more, to go as Spies who are entirely acquainted with the Woods but seem scrupu⟨l⟩ous in Crediting the Country, so that an Assumpsit4 from you for their Payment wou’d make Matters go on chearfully. I am Sir Your very humble Servant

John Mercer


1On 15 April George Mercer ordered Sgt. Reuben Vass to escort a wagon with provisions up to Edwards’s and sent orders to Capt. John Fenton Mercer to go by way of Enoch’s fort to Warm Spring Mountain in search of Indians.

2The fort of ranger captain John Ashby was on Patterson Creek, about four miles upstream from the Potomac River.

3Mercer probably was referring to the fort of the other ranger captain, William Cocks, on Patterson Creek, which was built on George Parker’s land.

4“Scrupulous” is used here in the obsolete sense meaning distrustful or suspicious. An assumpsit, a legal term, is a formal promise.

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