George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Waggener, 13 July 1756

To Thomas Waggener

[Fort Cumberland, Md., 13 July 1756]

To Captain Thomas Waggener, of the Virginia Regiment.

The companies of the Virginia Regiment are completed to an equal number, except yours, which, through mistake of the Returns, is not. But as I expect more men every minute, you shall be immediately completed.1

As you have on command with you several men of other companies; the officers have received orders to apply to you for them; and you must deliver them up. I desire you will send James Campbell the Drummer, by the first Escort that comes to Winchester.2

From the great confidence I repose in your Diligence, I have appointed you to a command, on which much depends:3 and I doubt not you will see the work carried on with Expedition: and I must particularly recommend it to you to keep up a strict command, both over Officers and men, as you will be answerable for any delays or neglect which may happen for want of due Discipline—and I would not wish your good-nature should occasion you to over-look a Fault in an officer, who may be your best friend.

As I am informed by the people who met me at Pearsalls, that there is a Fort now kept by the country people, about twenty miles from your upper one, in a proper place4—If, upon arriving there, you find it will do with a little alteration or amendment; I would have you take it in behalf of the country; leave men to garrison it, and so proceed on to the next place. When you arrive there, you may get all the timbers ready, and by that time I shall send you a plan of the kind of Forts I would have you build.5

The people whom I have conversed with on the subject, seem to think there will be no difficulty in providing provisions for the men. I would have you provide for these in the same manner you have hitherto done for your own company; and whatever orders you give on that account, shall be duly honoured. I would have you from time to time, transmit me an account of all occurrencies.

The Governor has ordered the Militia to be discharged as soon as Harvest is over, since they are so unwilling to continue until December. And shou’d you march on with all the men to building these Forts, it might give the Inhabitants uneasiness, and raise complaints to be left unguarded.

I would therefore desire you to leave small parties at proper places to keep them quiet and easy, in case you see occasion for it.

I[f] you have occasion for more ammunition, you must send to Fort Cumberland for what you want. I am &c.



1The various company size rolls (DLC:GW) of 13 July 1756 reported 39 men in William Bronaugh’s company, 40 in Thomas Cocke’s, 42 in Henry Harrison’s, 39 in Charles Lewis’s, 36 in Joshua Lewis’s, 39 in Robert McKenzie’s, 40 in William Peachey’s, 39 in Robert Spotswood’s, 39 in Adam Stephen’s, 41 in Henry Woodward’s, but 52 in David Bell’s and 68 in Christopher Gist’s. On his payroll of 30 July Robert Stewart listed 35 men in his troop; Lt. John McNeill listed 26 in GW’s company on the size roll of 1 Aug.; and on 2 Aug. George Mercer named 76 men in his company size roll. In his weekly return of 10 Aug., Waggener reported 46 men in his company on the South Branch; in his size roll of 19 Sept. he listed 47 men.

2The name of the drummer James Campbell, who enlisted in Stafford County in December 1754, appears in the size roll of GW’s company for 1 Aug. 1756.

3GW was putting Waggener in charge of building the forts along the South Branch of the Potomac down to Fort Dinwiddie on Jackson River. See GW’s instructions to Waggener of this date.

4GW had probably stopped at Pearsal’s on his way to Fort Cumberland in late June. The fort referred to here is undoubtedly that at the Upper Tract. See Council of War, 10 July 1756, especially note 4.

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