George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Adam Stephen, 19 May 1756

From Adam Stephen

Fort Cumberland [Md.] May 19th 1756.


I reced yours of the twelveth—I am sorry that I did not receive yours from Quantico dated March 25th untill my Boy Came Up1—I would have turned the Table directly, to the great Confusion of a cringing Tatling Set, whom I cannot easily forgive. However I gave up nothing; I had my own guard, my Own report, I orderd Out all detachmt and gave them all their Instructions.

The Old Gentleman meddles with nothing; not even the Parole; desird that we Would look on him as a mere pasenger—a transient person willing to give advice if necessary.2

I think you should be very Cautious in discharging the militia—Expence is not to be Considered at this juncture—It would have been a Saving to the Colony that an Equal number had been kept in pay Since Christmas last. What Assurance have you, that 2000 of the Enemy are not Settled at the great Crossing?3 Get proper intelligence before you dismiss any. Consider if any thing happened to Scare off two or three thousand more inhabitants, would not your Country justly upbraid you for dismissing the men Sent out for a Barrier? Youll easily pardon me this freedom, when I assure you that it proceeds from the regard I have for your interest, without any arrogance, or inclination to direct. I should be extreamly glad to see you here, with a sufficient number of men to bring intelligence from Gists plantation4—you could then judge better what was to be done.

If the Malitia cannot be orderd out that far—you will find Volunteers enough for that purpose.

This juncture may afford hopes to some gentlemen that do not well deserve—if things are not taken notice of in a proper manner, Expectations will never be answerd.5 At meeting, I shall represent Several things to you, in the most disinterested manner, and you can do as you think proper; and after doing So, I shall have discharged my Duty.

There are signs of more Indians come down—I am with Respect, Sir, your most obt huble Sert

Adam Stephen


1Neither letter has been found. The one “from Quantico” of 25 Mar. was written when GW was on his way from Boston to Williamsburg. The only letters found from GW to Adam Stephen written after GW left Virginia for Boston in February 1756 and before his letter of 18 May are two short ones, the first dated 7 April and the other 26 April.

2Stephen was referring to James Innes, governor of Fort Cumberland, who had recently returned after being at home in North Carolina for eight months.

3The Great Crossing of the Youghiogheny River was a few miles north of the Maryland-Pennsylvania border.

4It was at Christopher Gist’s plantation that Gen. Edward Braddock’s army encamped on 27 June 1755, near present-day Mount Braddock, Pennsylvania.

5The “juncture” referred to was probably the expected arrival of Lord Loudoun to assume command of the troops in America, and the “Expectations” probably related to the efforts to secure brevet commissions in the British army for the officers in the Virginia Regiment. For Loudoun’s arrival in America, see Dinwiddie to GW, 23 April 1756; for the brevet commissions, see John Robinson to GW, 17 April 1756, n.4.

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