George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Gage, 10 May 1756

From Thomas Gage

Schenectady [N.Y.] May 10th 1756.

Dear Colonel,

I received your obliging Favor of The 14th of April, a few Days ago;1 & return you many Thanks for the good News you Sent me, of The Defeat of a Body of Indians, by one of your Partys; which tho’ no decisive Affair, nor attended with great Slaughter; may produce very good Effects, & I make no Doubt but it will give new Life & Courage to your People:2 The many Defeats we have had, & The Terrors communicated to The Troops, by the frightened Inhabitants; have all contributed to depress the Spirits of The Soldiery; any little advantage will raise Them, & shew Them they have not to deal with an Enemy that is invincible, & that a proper Conduct in those that lead Them, joined to their own good Behaviour & Courage will procure Victory.

It’s not at all Surprizing you should be disgusted at The Service, when a Command you was so justly entitled to, was given another; and your continuing to head The Virginia Troops after Such a Disappointment, is no small Instance of your Zeal for the Publick Service, for which you have been ever remarkable.3

Affairs in this part of The World are at present at a Stand; Genl Shirley is at Albany, waiting The Arrival of Colonel Webb & The two Regts from Ireland, which are hourly expected at New York: It’s thought Colonel Webb, who it’s reported, is made a Major Genl in America, will bring over Instructions for The Operations of the Campain,4 & I hope to see The Kings Troops & Provincials & Indians, acting together; I expect little from their acting separately; notwithstanding The ridiculous Gasconades of The New Englanders, who I believe to be The greatest Boasters & worst Soldiers on The Continent; We have inlisted Soldiers from all the Provinces, & I never saw any in my Life So infamously bad, as those that come from New England. I hear they are very averse to such a Junction, fearing, I suppose, to have Witnesses to their Behaviour.

Lord Loudoun, & Major Genl Abercrombie, are also very soon expected; and it’s said for certain that there is a Scheme to raise a German Regiment in Pensylvania of four Battalions, each to contain one Thousand Men. There was certainly People in England, well enough acquainted with America, to inform Them that Such a Scheme was impractible: I know not indeed, whether they design falling upon some new Method to engage The Germans to inlist, but I am certain by The ordinary Methods of Inlistment, They will never be able to inlist one Battalion of Germans in a twelve Month. I don’t believe we could muster two Hundred Germans out of all The Forces now on Foot. Our Officers who recruited in Pensylvania, tell me they are the last People in The Province that are willing to turn Soldiers.

I wish you Joy of your new Governor, & that I may soon hear of your further Success against The Enemy; & dont doubt as soon as The Indians join you, but you will very soon clear The Frontiers & oblige The Enemy to defend their own habitations. All success attend your undertakings whatever they are & believe me Dear Colonel Your faithful & obedient Servt

Thos Gage

P.S. I should be obliged to you if you would desire Capt. Steuart to order The Soldier he had from us to return to his Regt with all Expedition.5


Thomas Gage, lieutenant colonel of the 44th Regiment, became a friend of GW’s during their service in the Braddock campaign. See GW to John Augustine Washington, 28 June–2 July 1755, n.12.

1The letter from GW has not been found, but GW enclosed in his letter to Robert Hunter Morris, 9 April 1756, a letter to be forwarded to Gage.

2Gage was undoubtedly referring to the death of Douville and defeat of his party early in April. See GW to Dinwiddie, 7 April 1756, especially notes 1 and 6.

3GW must have complained in his letter to Gage about William Shirley’s appointment of Horatio Sharpe to the command of the forces in the southern colonies in March. See Adam Stephen to GW, 29 Mar. 1756 (first letter), n.6.

4Although William Shirley did not receive until June the letter of 13 Mar. from Henry Fox recalling Shirley to London, it was generally known in America by this time that Lord Loudoun was to replace him as commander in chief. Daniel Webb (c.1700–1773), colonel of the 48th Regiment of Foot (Thomas Dunbar’s old regiment), landed in New York on 7 June 1756. On 15 June Gen. James Abercromby came into the harbor with the 35th Regiment of Foot and the 42d Highlanders. Both regiments had been taken off the Irish establishment and placed on the British before sailing from Plymouth in April. Loudoun did not get to New York until 23 July. For the arrival of these officers and the two regiments in New York, see Beverley Robinson to GW, 23 July 1756, and notes.

5In a letter to GW, 23 June 1756, Robert Stewart identifies the soldier as Cpl. John Winterbottom, “who I had from his Regimt to Train the Troop Horses.” See note 6 of that letter.

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