George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Bouquet, 7 July 1758

To Henry Bouquet

Camp near Fort Cumberland 7th July 1758.


Colo. Byrd with 8 Companies of his Regiment arrivd here Yesterday. He left many Sick Men behind him as may be seen by the Inclosd return1—this diminution, together with the Company Posted at Edwards’s & Pearsalls reduces our strength considerably.

I am a good deal at a loss therefore to know how to Act for the best, since your last Orders for joining you at Rays Town were not positive, and seemd to be given on a Supposition that Mr Walker either coud not, or was not to supply us with Provisions here.2 your doubts on this head will in some measure be obviated when you see Mr Walkers Letter to me, and the returns of our Provisions which I now send.3 If this therefore was your motive for desiring a Garrison to be left at this place and for me to March on to Rays Town with the remainder of the Virginia Troops You will I presume countermand our March to that place for the following Reason’s—first because 300 Men may I think open the Communication to Rays Town with safety (and with much greater ease and Convenience than if our whole Body Marches on incumberd with a number of Waggons[)]—Secondly it will if the Army is oblig’d to take this Rout4 as I am told from all hands it inevitably must, prevent the fatigues of a Counter March to Men & Horses Just going upon Service; thirdly it will afford us an oppertunity of lodging our Provisions and Stores here while the Waggon’s may return for another Convoy, & by that means save the great expence of transporting them to Rays Town and back again if we shoud not be able to proceed on from thence—and fourthly Colo. Byrd assures me that the Indians with him absolutely refuse to March any other Road than this they know.

I was advisd to hint these matters to you, & wait the result of your answer before I put the whole in Motion—whatever you direct under these Circumstances I shall execute with as much punctuallity & expedition as in my power. I enclose a return of the No. of Waggons now at this place that you may be a judge of the Expence.5

Captn Dagworthy telling me that Govr Sharpe is to open the Road to the Town Creek, which is within 15 Miles of this place and as Maryland has near 200 Men here fit for Duty I hope you will be of opinion that they are sufficiently strong to proceed on the Fort Frederick Road without a Reinforcement from us,6 especially if you will please to consider that they are in a manner coverd by the Troops at this place and those which may be employd on the Road to Rays Town ⟨on⟩ which I shall send a Detachment tomorrow to cut till I receive your further Orders.7

A Pretty good stock of liquor came up with the last Convoy. We have no Hay at this place—twas Corn I calld forage.8 We shall have Tools sufficient for opening the Road to Rays Town among the Artificers of Byrds Regiment and I enclose a list of what is here belonging to Maryland that you may be able to judge of our wants.9

I am sorry to hear that the Cuttawbas have so egregiously misbehavd themselves—when I write to the Govr of Virginia which I expect may be in a few days I shall touch on this Subject.10 I am Sir Yr most Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. Please to excuse my Blotting—my Paper is wet.

ALS, British Museum: Add. MSS 21641 (Bouquet Papers); LB (original), DLC:GW; LB (recopied), DLC:GW. Internal evidence indicates that GW first wrote this letter for his letter book and used that copy to compose the letter he actually sent to Bouquet. See note 7.

1The return of William Byrd’s 2d Virginia Regiment has not been found, but the weekly return of the regiment dated July 10, in DLC:GW, reports 858 effective rank and file in ten companies with a regimental staff of five. Company commanders were Byrd himself, Lt. Col. George Mercer, Maj. William Peachey, and captains Thomas Cocke, Hancock Eustace, John Field, John Posey, Thomas Fleming, John Rootes, and Samuel Meredith. (Peachey, Cocke, and Eustace in addition to George Mercer had been officers in GW’s Virginia Regiment.) Reported also were 1 captain-lieutenant, 19 lieutenants, 8 ensigns, 40 sergeants, and 12 drummers. There were 119 sick soldiers, of whom 31 were at Winchester, 17 at Edwards’s fort, 23 at Pearsal’s, and 48 at the camp near Fort Cumberland.

2GW acknowledged on 3 July having received Bouquet’s letters of 27 June and 1 July; it was in the letter of 27 June that Bouquet indicated that GW’s forces would be ordered to Raystown as soon as possible.

3Thomas Walker’s letter has not been found, but in DLC:GW there is a document headed “A Return of Provisions in Camp for the use of the Troops Under Command of the Honble Col. George Washington Esqr. of the 1st Virgina Regimt & Commanding the Forces at Fort Cumberland” (DLC:GW), dated 6 July and signed by Joseph Galbraith, “Commissary.” The provisions at GW’s camp included 10,400 pounds of flour, 1,000 pounds of bacon, 88 head of beef cattle at 350 pounds a head, 39 sheep at 30 pounds a head, and 3 hogs at 90 pounds each. Peter Stalker, assistant commissary for the Maryland forces in Fort Cumberland, made a return, also on 6 July, of 2,700 pounds of salt beef and 4,000 pounds of flour (DLC:GW). See also Bouquet to GW, 8 July. Bouquet reported to Forbes on 11 July: “The Virginia troops are at Cumberland with provisions for three weeks” (Stevens, Bouquet Papers description begins Donald H. Kent et al., eds. The Papers of Henry Bouquet. 6 vols. Harrisburg, Pa., 1951-94. description ends , 2:179–83).

4When revising his original letter book, GW changed this to read: “the Rout Genl Braddock did.”

5GW’s return of the number of wagons on hand has not been found, but he wrote Bouquet on 3 July that twenty-eight had come to Fort Cumberland with him. On 8 July Bouquet ordered GW to send them all back to Virginia for more supplies. On 25 July GW wrote Bouquet that he was anticipating the arrival on 28 July of “our Second Convoy of Seventy odd Waggons” augmented by an undetermined number from the South Branch.

6For references to cutting a road in Maryland between Fort Cumberland and Fort Frederick, see Bouquet to GW, 1 July, especially note 1. Capt. John Dagworthy and his Maryland soldiers began cutting the road from Cumberland toward Conococheague and continued for about one week. Town Creek flows into the Potomac River at Old Town, Maryland.

7In his original letter book GW ends this paragraph: “I shall send a detachment to Work tomorrow,” and then he writes the following paragraph not in the letter he sent to Bouquet: “I had wrote thus far when your Letter of Yesterday came to hand—as we lye so contiguous—and can hear in so short a time from you, I shall only be preparing to obey your Orders; but shall not actually March till I hear from you again.” GW quotes Bouquet’s letter of “Yesterday,” of 6 July, in a letter to Fauquier on 10 July; but Bouquet’s letter has not been found.

9The list of Maryland tools has not been found.

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