George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Stewart, 23 June 1756

From Robert Stewart

Maidstone June 23rd 1756


I just recd yours of yesterday1 by Rollines and upon Examination it appears that what he complain’d off to you are literally as follows Vizt.

Amongst the other precautions I had taken to prevent Drunkeness and Irregularity which by Rollines’s means then became prevalent amongst the Soldiers here, I order’d the Officer of the Guard to visit the Tippling House every Night sometime after Tatoo Beating, and to confine any of the Soldiers that might then be found Drinking there—Lieut. Campbell happen’d Officer of the Guard the night Rollines complains off, and went into his House at a Door that was quite open but that he did not abuse Rollines nor even speak to him he and those who went the Rounds with him are willing to swear—One Day Rollines who was much insens’d at a stop’s being put to his selling Liquor to the Soldiers was cursing all the Officers in the grosset terms and said many audacious provoking things, upon which Serjeant Hughes told him that if were not for the Law he would whip him, Rollines replied that he would take no advantage of the Law desir’d one of the Inhabitants here to be his second & strip’t, then he & Hughes went at it and Hughes gave him a most sincere Drubbing—Rollines never complaind to me nor did he apply to you till after he found that Govr Sharp would not hear his Scandulous falsehoods against the Virga Officers2—he has since had the assurance to tell my Servant that unless I gave him Liberty to Sell Liquor to the Soldiers that you would send me from here—I hop’d you would have mention’d something of Caton’s affair and his as I conceive that by it the Country has been defrauded and Laws trappl’d upon—The Deserters will be tried agreeable to your orders But any Punishmt a regimental Court martial can order will am afraid have little weight with some of them—Governor Sharp is Building his Fort 14 Miles from the Mouth of the Creek at Johnson’s Plantation on Potomack River3—Inclos’d is a Return of the Detachmt and the Provisions on hand, and doubts not but you will order us a supply of Flower before what is on hand is exausted4—Last night I was oblig’d to put a Soldier (one of Rollines’s Custommers) in Irons for Mutiny.

I was yesterday favour’d with a Letter from Majr Halkett Dated at Albany May 26th. He informs me that there was then a Total Stagnation in the Affairs of the Regulars till the arrival of orders from home—That General Windslow was forwarding every thing from thence with the greatest Expedition that he expected to be able to Encamp at Fort Willm Hendry on the Lakes in 3 weeks from that time and wou’d proceed towards Crown Point without waiting for further orders5—Colo. Gage desires I would send back Winterbottom one of my Corporals who I had from his Regimt to Train the Troop Horses[.] What I’m I to do in this Affair?6 Your answer by the return of the Bearer will oblige him who is with respect Sir Your Most Obt hble Servt

Robert Stewart

Majr Halkett desires me to present his Complemts to you.


1The letter has not been found, but see Robert Stewart to GW, 20 June 1756.

2For Gov. Horatio Sharpe’s visit to Maidstone, see ibid.

3See ibid., n.6. Sharpe’s fort was built on the part of Thomas Cresap’s Skie Thorn tract that he sold to Peter Johnson in two tracts in 1742 and 1743.

4Stewart reported 5 officers, 4 sergeants, 2 drummers, and 101 men in 3 companies at Maidstone (23 June 1756, DLC:GW). For his return of 20 June, see his letter to GW, 20 June 1756, n.5. The return of the provisions at Maidstone has not been found.

5William Shirley chose John Winslow (1703–1774) to lead the provincial troops in a renewed attempt against Crown Point in the summer of 1756. It was also decided that the 44th Regiment of Foot, in which Thomas Gage was lieutenant colonel and Francis Halkett was major, should march with the provincial army. Fort William Henry was at the head of Lake George. For further information on the summer compaign in the north, see Beverley Robinson to GW, 23 July 1756.

6According to Stewart’s company size roll of 11 May 1756, Cpl. John Winterbottom enlisted in the Virginia forces on 13 May 1755 as the Braddock expedition got underway. He was English, 27 years old, and a farmer. GW apparently advised or instructed Stewart to comply with Gage’s wishes, for on 3 July Stewart reported that he had “sent off” Winterbottom.

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