George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Francis Fauquier, 19 June 1758

To Francis Fauquier

[Fort Loudoun, 19 June 1758]

To the Honble Governor Farquier
Honble Sir

The Letter herewith Inclosd, woud have been sent according to the date,1 but I have been waiting till now for Captn Rutherfords Pay Roll, his Company being much dispersd in the Ranging Service.

This day the Prince William Militia are to March for the South Branch, to relieve two Companies of my Regiment, agreable to Orders.2 Inclosd is a return of their present Strength.3 I shoud think myself difficient in my duty were I to pass over in Silence the transactions of and State of this Company from their first coming out—about the 20th Ulto.

One hundred Militia then, were Orderd from Prince William County (but what time I cant exactly say) by Mr President Blair.4 instead of that number they sent 73 and not one of them was provided with either Arms or ammunition, as the Law directs, by which means they were useless, but became instead a ⟨illegible⟩ burthen to the Country, as they receivd their Allowance of Provisions & had their Pay running on.5 This matter was represented to Colo. Henry Lee, Lieutt of that County, by Sir Jno. St Clair then Commanding Officer here.6 The Consequence of this representation was—that about the first of this Instt near 100 Arms were sent up, out of which number Scarce 5 were Serviceable; and not more than 30 coud possibly be made to Fire. This was also represented to Colo. Lee, who after confessing a Concern for it, said, they expect Arms from England, (I think) every day, and takes no further Acct of the matter that I have yet heard of. I immediately set Smiths to repairing their arms, and have at last, with the Assistance of 35 old Muskets which I causd to be deliverd out of the Store here, got this Company, which shoud consist of 100 Men (thô there is but 68) at last compleated.

Till this time, they have been a dead expence to the Publick, and no Service to the Inhabitants—This Sir, ⟨illegible⟩ Facts, and really merit repr⟨illegible⟩,7 for if such behaviour is sufferd to escape unnoticed, the most destructive Consequences may accrue to the Country, in the present case for Instance, if the Troops had Marchd agreeable to Orders at first Orders, the Companies on the South Branch woud have been drawn off, and the Inhabitants left either destitute of relief, or have come of with them, which they were determined to do—This I understand actually happend in Augusta County when Majr Lewis came from thence, by the negligence, I suppose, of the County Lieutenants—I am with due respect Yr Honrs Most Obedt Hble S⟨ervt⟩

Go: Washington

LB (original), DLC:GW; LB (recopied), DLC:GW.

3The return has not been found.

4On 2 May 1758 the council advised Pres. John Blair to “order out half the Number of the Militia from the adjacent Counties to garrison the Forts, which the Virginia Forces there station’d consisted of” (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 , 6:88–89). Blair’s orders to Henry Lee, the county lieutenant of Prince William, were dated 4 May (see Lee to GW, 16 May 1758, n.1.).

5On 16 May Henry Lee wrote GW that he had “directed” the Prince William militia officers “to Apply to you for Arms & Ammunition.”

6Shortly after his arrival at Fort Loudoun St. Clair issued a proclamation dated 16 May with this heading: “By Sir John St Clair Bart Commanding at Winchester and Depy Qr Mr Genl to His Majesty’s Forces In North America” (ViU: Forbes Papers). GW was away from Winchester, during St. Clair’s residency, from about 24 May to 9 June, when he went to Williamsburg. St. Clair and GW left Winchester together on 11 June to go to Conococheague (see GW to Bouquet, 13 June 1758, n.1).

7The recopied letter book has it: “This, Sir, is a true Statement of Facts; and really merits reprehension.”

Index Entries