George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Bouquet, 3 July 1758

To Henry Bouquet

Camp near Fort Cumberland [Md.] 3d July 1758


Your favours of the 27th Ulto and first Inst. I have had the Honour to receive.

According to Order I Marchd from Winchester the 24th and arrivd at this place Yesterday in the Afternoon with five Companies of the first Virginia Regiment and a Company of Artificers of the Second, as you may observe by the Inclosd return.1

My March by bad Teams, and bad Roads (notwithstanding I had sent the Artificers and a covering Party on three days before me) was much delayd. I herewith send a return of the Provisions and Forage that came up under my Escort we lost three of the Bullocks, and that in driving. I cant absolutely say for what purpose the Forage is intended, or where to be lodgd—It was engagd by Mr Walker at Sir Jno. St clairs request and I believe for the light Horse. The principal part of it met us at Pearsalls on the South Branch; and neither myself, nor any Person else was empowerd, or even desird to receive and pay for it: I was at a loss how to act but thought it most advisable to bring it on—if it is not intended for the light Horse as I apprehend, I shoud be glad of your directions concerning it:2 for Captn Stewart who possibly may be Instructed for this purpose I left equipping his Troop at Winchester and is not yet joind me.

As I cant suppose you intended to order any part of my Men upon the Roads, till joind at this place by Colo. Byrd; I shall decline sending any upon that Service till his arrival; which I suppose may be to morrow as he was preparing to March the 26th after me.

I enclose you an exact return of the Maryland Troops in Garrison at this place—also of their Provisions, and of the Kings Stores and shoud be glad to know what strength you woud have this Garrison consist of[,] how many days Provisions left for them and what quantity of Ammunition3—I brought one half of all that was orderd from Winchester by Sir Jno. St [Clair] and left the other half to follow with Colo. Byrd. Powder excepted, & of that Article there was only 16 Barrels in the Stores there, besides 6 others that were made up into Cartridges—which are also brought up between Us.

Mr Walker in consequence of Instructions from Mr Hoops (who I believe purposd to supply us from Rays Town) put a stop to a further purchase of Provisions: you will see by the returns for what number of days I am supplied, and I desird Colo. Byrd to bring as much to this place as woud serve his Men a fortnight at least. I am at a loss to know whether Officers Servants that are not Soldiers, are allowd to draw Provisions and shoud be thankful for your direction’s as I have had many applications on that head.

There are few Tools for the Services requird—but before a Supply coud be got to this place from Sir Jno. St Clair or Governor Sharpe the Work (with what few we have) I hope may be near done—Rum too, I fear, will be a scarce Article with us.

Pray what will be done with that Company of Byrds Regimtt Orderd to take Post at Edwards’s and Pearsalls—shall they continue there, or join their Regiment—I left in consequence of yr Orders an Officer & 30 Men (Invalids) at Fort Loudoun for safety of the Stores &ca lodgd there, and also a Sergeant and 12 at Pearsalls to secure that Post, & keep open that Road for Expresses (for no more can be expected from so small a Command)4—Byrd I hope will leave 6 or 8 of his Invalids or bad Men at Edwards’s for the same purpose.

There came 28 Waggons to this place with me, and I believe if they were wanted, 10 more might be had upon the South Branch strong and good: but Carrying Horses are certainly more eligable for the Service we are destind.

I have usd my best endeavours to get my Men equipd with powder Horns and Shott Pouches and have procurd 330 of the former and 339 of the latter, besides the Linnen ones with which we are compleat.

I have receivd a very Scanty allowance of Tents to the 5 Companies with me, viz. Sixty nine only, out of these most of the Officers must be supplied, or lye uncoverd—they will readily pay for what they receive if requird. No Bell Tents were sent to us.5

My Men are very bare of Cloaths (Regimentals I mean) and I have no prospect of a Supply—this want, so far from regrettg during this Campaigne, that were I left to pursue my own Inclinations I woud not only cause the Men to adopt the Indian dress but Officers also, and set the example myself:6 nothing but the uncertainty of its taking with the General causes me to hesitate a moment at leaving my Regimentals at this place, and proceeding as light as any Indian in the Woods.7 Tis an unbecoming dress I confess for an Officer, but convenience rather than shew I think shoud be consulted—the reduction of Bat-horses alone is sufficient to recommend it, for nothing is more certain than that less Baggage will be requird. and that the Publick will be benifitted in Proportion.

I was desirous of being thus full in my letter to you, how far it may be consistent with good Policy, as there is at least a possibility of its falling into the Enemy’s hands I know not, but I shall be directed in these Affairs by you. With very great regard I am Sir, Yr Most Obedt and Most Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, British Museum: Add. MSS 21641 (Bouquet Papers); LB (original), DLC:GW; LB (recopied), DLC:GW. The letters that GW wrote to Henry Bouquet between 3 July and 17 Nov. 1758, deposited in the British Museum, form the largest single batch of surviving letters written by GW to an individual before the American Revolution. There are twenty-six of them (one of these is in the hand of a clerk). Twenty-three are also in GW’s original letter book, 14 June–17 Sept. 1758 (see the note in GW to St. Clair, 14 June 1758), of which nineteen are in his own hand. A comparison of the two copies of each letter in his hand sometimes indicates that GW probably first drafted the letter in the letter book or, conversely, that he copied the completed letter into his letter book.

1“A Return of the 5 Companies of the 1st Virga Regt & the Company of Artificers of the 2d Virga Regt at Pearsalls Fort June the 28th 1758” (DLC:GW) reports the companies of Maj. Andrew Lewis, Capt. Thomas Waggener, Capt. John McNeill, Capt. Henry Woodward, Capt. Robert McKenzie, and, in the 2d Virginia Regiment, Capt. John Posey. No lieutenant is reported in Waggener’s company, only one in McNeill’s, and two each in the others. The staff of the regiment was composed of a chaplain, an adjutant, a quartermaster, and a surgeon. There were 496 rank and file present in the six companies, of whom 25 were sick.

2The return of provisions has not been found. Forbes wrote Bouquet, 14 July: “As I presume you may want Forrage, and as Sir John [St. Clair] has at last confessed that he had provided none but at Fort Cumberland (I suppose on purpose to drive me into that road, for what purpose I know not) If you therefore think it necessary, send Waggone to Fort Cumberland for part of it” (James, Writings of Forbes description begins Alfred Procter James, ed. Writings of General John Forbes Relating to His Service in North America. Menasha, Wis., 1938. description ends , 145–48). Forbes credited St. Clair with having persuaded him in the first place to proceed with his army through Raystown (see GW to John Stanwix, 10 April 1758, n.4), but by 11 June St. Clair was recommending to Bouquet that the army march through Fort Cumberland and up Braddock’s Road (Stevens, Bouquet Papers description begins Donald H. Kent et al., eds. The Papers of Henry Bouquet. 6 vols. Harrisburg, Pa., 1951-94. description ends , 2:76–78). According to John Kirkpatrick on 21 July, St. Clair had again changed his position and was by then favoring the Raystown approach to Fort Duquesne once more.

3These returns dated 2 July are in DLC:GW. Peter Stalker, assistant commissary for the Maryland forces, reported 8,600 pounds of “Salt Beef” and 6,061 pounds of “Flower” on hand at Fort Cumberland (DLC:GW). (GW wrote Bouquet on 9 July that he had discovered there was in fact no flour at all at Fort Cumberland.) In the king’s stores at the fort were arms, ammunition, saddles, wagons, and other miscellaneous items. The garrison of Marylanders included 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 1 ensign, 1 surgeon, 8 noncommissioned officers, 1 drummer, and 200 soldiers of whom 43 were “On Party” (DLC:GW).

6There was a good deal of correspondence among the leaders of the Forbes expedition about adopting “Indian dress” for the troops. On 11 July Bouquet wrote GW that the “dress” worn by Maj. Andrew Lewis and the 200 men who had just arrived at Raystown from GW’s camp at Fort Cumberland “should be our pattern in this expedition.” GW clearly assumed that it was his letter to Bouquet and his decision to send Lewis and his men to Raystown in hunting shirts and leggings which persuaded General Forbes to adopt this dress for the expedition (see GW to Bouquet, 13 July, and GW to Adam Stephen, 16 July). But as early as 29 May William Byrd wrote Forbes that he intended to dress the men of his 2d Virginia Regiment “after the Indian Fashion” (ViU: Forbes Papers), and on 27 June General Forbes wrote Bouquet: “I have been long in your opinion of equiping Numbers of our men like the Saveges and I fancy Col: Byrd of Virginia has most of his best people equipt in that manner, I could not so well send orders to others to do the same as they had gott provinciall Cloathing, but I was resolved upon getting some of the best people in every Corps to go out a Scouting in that stile for as you justly observe, the Shadow may be often taken for the reality, And I must confess in this country, wee must comply and learn the Art of Warr, from Ennemy Indians or anything else who have seen the Country and Warr carried on in itt” (James, Writings of Forbes description begins Alfred Procter James, ed. Writings of General John Forbes Relating to His Service in North America. Menasha, Wis., 1938. description ends , 124–26). See also GW’s letter to Francis Fauquier, 17 June, about clothing for his and Byrd’s men, and see Fauquier’s response, 25 June.

7GW made insertions and deletions in this clause in his original letter book (which was exactly as it is here in the receiver’s copy) so that it read: “nothing but the uncertainty of its obtaining the Generals approbation causes me to hesitate a moment to leave my Regimentals at this place, and to proceed as light as any Indian in the Woods.” The copyist made it: “Nothing but the uncertainty of obtaining the general approbation causes me to hesitate a moment to leave my Regimentals at this place, and to proceed as light as any indian in the woods.” If only the recopied letter-book version of this document had survived, as is the case with most of GW’s letters and orders during the French and Indian War, biographers could have taken the passage as pointed evidence of GW’s early sensitivity to public opinion.

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