From Adam Stephen
Camp at Raystown July 6th 1758
I congratulate You on Your Arrival at Fort Cumberland; It would have saved Us a deal of trouble to have taken the Same Route. From 800, which is about our Number here, besides Capt. Field’s Company There is about 200 on Guard & 150 at the different Works every day.1 The Engineers have made Choice of a piece of Ground very much resembling that on which F. Cumberland Stands, only not So strong. A Detachment of the pennsylvanians went towards Laurel-Hill in order to discover a Road that way, but returnd without any Satisfactory Account.2
There has been no Sign of the Enemy about Us since we incamped at this place.
The first week we were at Raystown our men were so dispersed in Scouting parties, Commands and work; that Col. Bouquet did not receive a Return of Troops under his Command at this Place before last Sunday—I am with respect Sir, Your most Obt huble Sert
1. Stephen may have enclosed or sent later “A Daily Return of the Virginia Companys in Camp at Raystown July the 6th 1758” (DLC:GW). The five companies listed are Stephen’s, GW’s, Capt. Robert Stewart’s, Capt. Thomas Bullitt’s, and Capt. Walter Steuart’s. Two companies are listed as having 88 men, two as having 87, and one as having 85, for a total of 435 “Effective Rank & File.” Also reported were 1 lieutenant colonel, 3 captains, 9 lieutenants, 3 ensigns, 20 sergeants, 4 fifers, and 9 drummers.
2. Forbes wrote Bouquet at Raystown from Carlyle on 6 July: “Pray examine the Country tother side of the Allegany particularly the Laurell Ridge that he [St. Clair] says its impossible wee can pass, without going into Braddocks old 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 , 2:163–65). Bouquet responded on 11 July: “All the letters I receive from Virginia are filled with nothing but the impossibility of finding a passage across Lawrell Hill, and the ease of going by Braddock’s road. This is a matter of politics between one province and another, in which we have no part; and I have always avoided saying a word on this subject, as I am certain that we shall find a passage, and that—in that case—we should for many reasons prefer this route, if not for the whole army, at least for a large detachment.
“I am sorry that I cannot assure you positively of the possibility of this passage, as the Indian rascals I had sent to explore it with 4 officers and 30 of our men deserted them under the pretext that their omens were bad, which forced them for lack of provisions to return without doing anything.
“I have sent back a party of 100 men with only 4 Indians and provisions for 10 days on pack horses, as I no longer wished to leave it in their power to disrupt our plans. I expect them in 3 days” (ibid., 179–83).
A road of sorts was cut in August across Laurel Ridge, the first high ridge or mountain to the west of the Alleghany, to Loyalhanna (later Fort Ligonier), but a new and better route over the ridge was found and another road cut in September and October. For a report of the return of the 100–man party sent out by Forbes, see Bouquet to GW, 8 July, n.2.