George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Francis Halkett, 21 July 1758

To Francis Halkett

[Fort Cumberland, 21 July 1758]

To Francis Halkett. Esqr.—Brigade Major
Dear Halkett.

Inclosd are returns, one of the number of ⟨Troops⟩ we draw Provisions for; the other of the strength of the Regiment, made out from those lately receivd from the several Detachments.1 I hope they will please, but if any other form is requird be kind enough to advertise me of it, & I shall execute the Orders.

It is morally impossible to get, at this place, covers for our Locks, having nothing but Neats Hydes to make them of; & an insufficiency of those to answer the purpose. The Commissaries ask 18/ apiece for them—pray give me your advice in this case.

I find by the Generals Orders that a Brigade Major is appointed to the Pensylvania Troops, if any is allowd for ours, give me leave to sollicit your Interest in favour of Captn Robt Stewart (if it shoud not be found incompatable with his duty as a Horse Officer). His Military knowledge is Second to none in our Service and his assiduity I can greatly confide in. I can’t use the freedom of mentioning it to the General, nor shoud I trouble you with it at this time, were I not apprisd that applications in behalf of others either have been making, or are intended to be made.2

farewell my dear Halkett—I heartily wish you every perfect enjoyment3 your Soul can desire—and am most Affectionately Yr Obedt

Go: Washington

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

1The soldiers whom the Virginians drew “Provisions for” were the Virginia troops at Raystown under the command of Lt. Col. Adam Stephen. Stephen’s return of these troops, dated 19 July, is summarized in note 2 of the letter from Stephen to GW of that date. The return of “the strength of the Regiment” (the 1st Virginia Regiment) has not been found. In his original letter book GW erased what may be the word “Troops” and wrote “Persons” in its place.

2See Walter Steuart’s request of 20 July for GW’s support in getting this position. Halkett made it clear that the Virginians were free to appoint their own brigade major but made it equally clear that if they appointed Robert Stewart brigade major he would have to give up his command of the horse troop. See Halkett to GW, 2 August. Stewart was reluctant to give up command of his troop bestowed on him by General Forbes lest he lose his chance for the regular commission that he coveted. See Stewart to GW, 8 August. Nevertheless, GW and Byrd both recommended him to Fauquier, who wrote Byrd on 17 Aug. that it was “the Opinion of the Council that we had it not in our power to comply with your Request in relation to a Brigade-Major” because of the terms of the act of assembly for the support of the Virginia regiments (Reese, Fauquier description begins George Reese, ed. The Official Papers of Francis Fauquier, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, 1758–1768. 3 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1980–83. description ends , 1:60–62). Although the Burgesses met again from 14 Sept. to 12 Oct., they made no provision for the position of brigade major. However, a memorial was presented on 8 Mar. 1759 in the House of Burgesses, “representing that the Commanding Officer of the Virginia Troops, by the Governor’s Approbation, appointed him [Robert Stewart] Brigade-Major, which Duty he performed, but as there was no Fund to pay him, he has never received any Satisfaction for his said Service, and praying the Consideration of this House.” The following day the House resolved “that the Allegations of the said Memorial are true; and that he ought to be allowed the Sum of £68.10, for four Months and fifteen Days Pay as Brigade-Major of the said Troops” (JHB, 1758–1761 description begins H. R. McIlwaine and John Pendleton Kennedy, eds. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia. 13 vols. Richmond, 1905–15. description ends , 84, 86). This would have covered the time from 1 Aug. until mid-December, since Walter Steuart was paid as acting brigade major for almost two months preceding 1 Aug. (see Walter Steuart to GW, 20 July 1758, n.2).

3GW struck out “every perfect enjoyment” and substituted the more discreet “all” for his clerk to copy in the later letter book.

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