George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John St. Clair, 13 June 1758

From John St. Clair

[Conococheague, Md., 13 June 1758]

Orders, for Colonel Washington commanding the Troops of the Colony of Virginia.1

As you will receive near 700 arms for the 2d Virginia Regiment from Williamsburg, you are to take into your Store at Winchester the Maryland Arms which were deliverd to the 2d Regiment, these Arms are to be deliverd to Govr Sharpe on his Order.2

The same proportion of Tools that the 1st Company of Artificers had, to be deliverd to the 2d Company, with an addition of 12 Pick Axe’s and 12 Spades or Shovels. The half of the Sand Bags at Winchester to be sent to Connogochieg, and the other half will serve to carry up to Fort Cumberland the Corn that may be got about Winchester and the South Branch.

Five Companies of the first Virginia Regiment to begin their March for Fort Cumberland the 24th of June, with the 2d Company of Artificers of the 2d Regiment.3 Colo. Byrd with as many Companies as are ready of his Regiment to March the 26th and the rest of that Regiment to follow with Lieutt Colo. Mercer so soon as they can be got ready.

One Company of the 2d Regiment to be station’d at Job Pearsalls4 on the South Branch & Edwards’s till all the Convoys of Provision’s have passd and then to Join[.] Whatever Escorts are requird by Mr Commissary Walker are to be furnishd to him; he is to lay in Provisions for 1800 Men for Six Weeks at Fort Cumberland from the day of their arrival, and victual them on their March. The officers are only to draw single Ration’s of Provisions for themselves as the Genl has no more.

Captn Stewarts Troop of Light Horse are to March up to Fort Cumberland.5 30 Barrels of Powder and 100 Boxes of Shott to be carried from Fort Loudoun with 8 Whip Saws to Fort Cumberland. Given under my Hand at Conegocheague this 13th day of June 1758.

John St clair.

DS, DLC:GW. The heading and body of the document is in GW’s hand. St. Clair, or GW, altered “Fort Loudoun” in the fourth paragraph to read “Fort Cumberland”; and St. Clair appended the words “Given under my Hand at Conegocheague this 13th day of June 1758,” and then wrote his name.

1See GW to Henry Bouquet, and Bouquet to GW, both this date, for the genesis of these orders.

2St. Clair wrote John Blair on 19 May and again on 23 May about the urgent need for arms for William Byrd’s 2d Virginia Regiment. In his letter of 19 May St. Clair suggested that there were enough “Arms at the Governors House” at Williamsburg to arm Byrd’s regiment and expressed the conviction that they never could “be put to a better Use” (ViU: Forbes Papers). Before receiving St. Clair’s letter of 23 May, Blair wrote St. Clair and rejected his suggestion about sending the arms that were at the governor’s house, citing the “Duty incumbent upon us to preserve and defend our People now greatly distress’d and terribly threatened” (25 May 1758, ibid.). On 2 June Blair and the council considered St. Clair’s two letters as well as a letter from Lt. Col. George Mercer of the 2d Virginia Regiment about its need for arms. Blair told the council that “he had sent away all the Arms in the Magazine, and all those in the Governor’s House, being near 700, to York, to be transported from thence to Falmouth, with 25 Barrels of Powder, a Quantity of Shot and Flints, and 8 Drums, being all we had, with a Chest of Medicines and Instruments, and what Blankets could be got here, and had given Orders to Gentlemen in Fredericksburg and Falmouth to provide Waggons to be in Readiness on the Arrival of the Vessel to carry the Cargo immediately to Winchester” (Exec. Journals of Virginia Council description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia. 6 vols. Richmond, 1925–66. description ends , 6:96–99). Blair then wrote to St. Clair on 3 June that the arms were being sent (ViU: Forbes Papers). See also GW to Blair, 28 May 1758, n.11. In the meantime St. Clair had written to Gov. Horatio Sharpe on 30 May: “I must beg the favour of you to send me up from Frederick Town 400 of your musketts and the Carbines &c. you may have received from Annapolis, so soon as I get these arms Colo. Byrd shall march to Colo. Bouquet to strengthen him wt. 4 Compys of his Regt”; and on 1 June Sharpe replied: “As soon as the Waggons that are gone to Annapolis return hither I shall send some of them to Winchester with 400 of the Musketts” (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 , 2:192, 194). For the opinion expressed by Byrd and GW of the muskets from Williamsburg and Byrd’s decision to keep the arms from Maryland, see GW to St. Clair, 14, 23 June, and particularly note 3 in the second letter.

3Five of the ten companies in GW’s regiment had already gone to Pennsylvania. See GW to Adam Stephen, 24 May, n.3. For the timing of GW’s and William Byrd’s march from Winchester to Fort Cumberland, see St. Clair to GW, 24 May, n.2.

4After “Pearsalls” GW wrote “and Edwards,” which he underlined perhaps intending to cross out the words.

5For the formation of Capt. Robert Stewart’s company of light horse, see St. Clair to GW, 24 May, and GW to St. Clair, 23 June, n.2.

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