George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Fairfax, 3 September 1756

From William Fairfax

Alexandria. 3d Septr 1756

Dr Sir.

On Monday the 30th August past We held here a Council of War and had the single Men present drawn up in a Line and being askt if Any inclind voluntarily to enter into his Majesty’s Service, None offering We proceeded to call over the Lists given in by the respective Captains whereby above Sixty not appearing and no reasonable Excuse made for their Non attendance I have issued Warrants to have them apprehended to be deliver’d to such Officer You may appoint to receive them at Mr Wm West’s1—I hope it is more than probable that Some may be taken, Securd and carried to Mr West’s and You may think proper to Send an Officer wth in ten Days for that Purpose. I am concernd to see a great Unwillingness in our young Men to enlist, especially as most of Them appeard yesterday in the Field almost naked and in a poor Condition—For pticulars referr to Mr Kirkpatrick.2 Wishing You every Consolation I remain Yr affecte & obedt Servt

W: Fairfax


1Parties of militia from several counties, including Fairfax, remained on the frontier until early August, so that the draft in these counties was delayed until late August or early September. See Dinwiddie to GW, 1 July 1756, n.6. The law provided that any “able-bodied single men” who were eligible for the draft and failed to appear on the appointed day would be “declared to be soldiers duly inlisted in his majesty’s service” (7 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 9–25). For an example of the drafting of a man because he failed to show up, see Robert Carter Nicholas to GW, 18, 28 Aug. 1756. William West’s ordinary was in a part of Fairfax County soon to be in the new county of Loudoun at the junction of the Carolina road and the road to Colchester.

2John Kirkpatrick wrote GW from Falmouth on 25 Aug. 1756 that he was going to take “a few days recess” in Alexandria before returning to Winchester.

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