George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Dinwiddie, 19 April 1756

To Robert Dinwiddie

Winchester April 19th 1756

Honble Sir

Since writing my Letter of Yesterday’s date the inclosd1 came to hand by which your honr will be informd of a very unlucky affair.

I immediately consulted Colo.2 Innis and such Officers of my own Regiment as were at this place on the necessary steps to be taken: they unanimously advisd that I shoud remain here with the 50 Recruits that are in Town for the defence of the place till the Militia are raisd that we may thereby compose a Formidable body and march out against the Enemy.3

This engagemt happend within 20 Miles of Winchester; and the Sergeant4 who brought the account assures me that they have Reason to imagine that their numbers are greater than the Letter informs. he says that there were many French amongst them & that the chief part of the whole were mounted on Horses; so that there is great probability that they may have a design upon this place.

I have sent an express to Lord Fairfax with a copy of Starkes Letter;5 and wrote to him as your honour will see by the inclosd, to raise the Militia with all expedition: but alass! that is a poor resource, a very unhappy dependance! Tho. our only one at present. I have not time to add more than that I shall endeavour to do the best I can till we have assistance, & that I am Yr Honours most Obt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers; LB, DLC:GW. Several rather substantial differences between the two copies are noted below.

2The letter book calls him “Governour Innis.”

3See GW’s memorandum of a Council of War, dated 21 April 1756, which confirmed this advice. The letter book has it “be enabled to compose” for “compose.”

5See GW to Thomas, Lord Fairfax, 19 April 1756. The rest of the text as it appears in the letter book is: “and have desired in the most earnest manner, that he will be expeditious in calling the militia.

“But alas! that is an unhappy dependance—yet the only one we have at present.”

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