George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Dinwiddie, 2 April 1757

To Robert Dinwiddie

[Alexandria, 2 April] 1757.

To Governor Dinwiddie
Honble Sir,

A letter which I received from Capt. Mercer, upon my return to Alexandria, informs me, that 95 Cutawba’s, beside 25 that are gone to Williamsburgh, are now in Winchester, waiting orders how to conduct themselves1—That, according to custom they are in want of matchcoats, shirts, leggings, and all other necessaries. I shou’d be glad to receive your Honors particular directions with respect to providing them with those things, and in what manner they are to be employed: as I understand they intend to accompany (in a body) any Troops of ours that may march towards Du Quisne: Or, if no Expedition of that kind is intended, then to go out in small scalping parties against the Enemy.

As your Honor gave me no particular directions concerning withdrawing the Troops from Fort Cumberland, or how they are to be employed & posted when relieved by the Marylanders; I shou’d be glad of orders now also, whether I am to bring off all the Virginia Stores (Provisions excepted) at the same time that the Indian Goods are removed.2

If your Honor does not choose to give particular directions concerning the disposition of the Troops, but leave it to me; I shall endeavour to post them in the most advantageous manner I can, until I have the pleasure of seeing you; when this and many other affairs may be fully settled. And I hope you will not think it advisable to order any part of our small Regiment to march for Carolina, ’till the Assembly meet and come to some determination about raising more, as the consequences might be bad.3

Notwithstanding I know it was determined that only [ ]4 Forts shou’d be retained and that these were fixed on; I shall not evacuate the others without orders as I know it wou’d be attended with very ill effects. Nor do I think it advisable that they should be dismantled just at this time. However, in this as in all other points I only wait your Honors determinations, to carry them into execution.

I set out immediately for Fort Loudoun, and from thence to Fort Cumberland, if time will admit of it. I have ordered this Express to proceed as soon as he receives your Honors Despatches to the former. Governor Sharpe did not incline to give Captain Dagworthy orders to march to Fort Cumberland, until you shall have given particular Orders about withdrawing our Garrison5—Therefore the sooner I receive them the better. I shall be down by the 28th if possible, & remain Your Honors, &c.


LB, DLC:GW. It was presumably the copyist who misdated this letter 5 April 1757. See Dinwiddie to GW, 7 April 1757.

1The letter from George Mercer at Fort Loudoun to GW has not been found. For the Catawba’s passage to Winchester, see Clement Read to GW, 15 Mar. 1757, William Fairfax to GW, 22 Mar. 1757, and the notes to both letters.

2After consulting with the governors in attendance at the conference in Philadelphia and with GW as well, Loudoun decided on 22 Mar. 1757 that the Virginia troops should be disposed of in the following way: 400 in South Carolina, 50 at a fort at Enoch’s, 100 on “the Frontier of Augusta County,” 100 on “the Upper Track,” 150 at Dickinson’s fort, 100 at Vause’s fort, and 100 at the Cherokee fort. It had already been decided that Capt. John Dagworthy should take command at Fort Cumberland with a force of 300 Maryland men (Loudoun’s diary, CSmH). The minutes of the meeting, noting this disposition of troops, is in DLC:GW (March 1757).

In Loudoun’s papers (CSmH) there is this memorandum in GW’s hand giving the location of troops in the Virginia Regiment before the new disposition:

“At Fort Cumberland 244 Rank & File
Fort Loudoun 106 Ditto
Maidstone 88
Stephen 33
Cocks’s 41
Pleasant 46
Dinwiddie 50
Pearsalls 47”

4See note 2.

5In a letter dated 30 Mar. 1757 and delivered “the next Morning to Colo. Washington,” Lt. Gov. Horatio Sharpe ordered John Dagworthy “as soon as possible after you receive this to march to Fort Cumberland” with 150 men. On Dagworthy’s arrival there, Lt. Col. Adam Stephen of the Virginia Regiment “will deliver up the Fort with its Artillery & all the Kings Stores.” As Sharpe later, on 16 April, explained to Loudoun, Dagworthy was to march to Fort Cumberland “as soon as Colo Washington should deliver my Letter which I desired him to do upon his receiving Instructions from Goverr Dinwiddie to draw the Virga Troops from that place” (Browne, Sharpe Correspondence description begins William Hand Browne, ed. Correspondence of Governor Horatio Sharpe. 3 vols. Archives of Maryland, vols. 6, 9, and 14. Baltimore, 1888–95. description ends , 1:536–37, 542–43). GW had delivered Sharpe’s orders to Dagworthy by 16 April, and Dagworthy had taken over the fort with 150 Maryland troops before 5 May.

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