George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Mercer, 12 July 1758

From George Mercer

Camp 6 M. from Fort Cumberland July 12th 1758


The four Days Provision We brought from Fort Cumberland, exclusive of Monday, will be exhausted to morrow Night, and as I am so little advanced and no Waggon Road to Raes Town, I find it impossible to send there for a Supply.

I have detached a Serjeant & 15 Men with three Waggons which I beg you will dispatch to Me again to Day with Provision, I imagine what those three Waggons will bring may carry Us at least so near, if not to Raes Town, that I shall not be troublesome to you again upon this Head.

The woods are open here, but as I have orders to make the Road wide I find it very difficult to clear, the Timber being all large. A Road for one Waggon might be cleared as fast as it coud drive. We only cleared half a Mile the Day before Yesterday. Yesterday We made out more than two, but We are now encamped only six Miles from you.

I had a most violent Fit of the Ague & Fever Tuesday, which confined Me all Day from 8 in the Morning to a Waggon, and did not leave Me till the same Hour next Morning.1

There were two Barrels of Powder put into the Waggons for Us, of which I informed Mr Kennedy, & he took out one in my Presence—The other the Waggoner suffered too to be taken from him, by a little Serjeant in a green Waistcoat (he says) by the Description tis our Quarter Master Serjeant, of whom I much suspect such a Thing as I know him to be very ignorant impudent & stupid.2 I beg youl order Me another Barrel, as our Men are not all fully supplied. & in Case of an Accident we have no Remedy, save two Boxes of Ball. Pray Sir dont allow the Waggons to be overloaded.

If I have my Health dont doubt but I will be very diligent in compleating this Road, but I assure you two or three more Fits will make Me incapable of any Thing. I am Sir Your most obedient humble Servt

Go: Mercer

If any of the Men of my Company or Capt. Waggoners which I left behind sick are recovered, I hope youl please to order Them to join Me with this Command, as I am very weak here.

ALS, PHi: Gratz Collection; Sprague transcript, DLC:GW.

1Mercer was ill in the fall of 1757 in Charleston, South Carolina. Perhaps he had contracted malaria there during the summer, and his present “Fit of the Ague & Fever” was a return of the disease.

2It is unclear why Quartermaster David Kennedy of the 1st Virginia Regiment took from the wagon being sent to Mercer’s work party one of two barrels of powder or why the quartermaster sergeant of the 2d Virginia Regiment took the other.

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