George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Francis Halkett, 2 August 1758

To Francis Halkett

[Fort Cumberland, 2 August 1758]

To Francis Halkett—Brigade Mr
My dear Halkett.

I am just returnd from a Conference held with Colo. Bouquet. I find him fixd—I think I may say fix’d, upon leading you a New way to the Ohio; thro. a Road, every Inch of it to cut, at this advancd Season, when we have scarce time left to tread the beaten Tract; universally confessd to be the best Passage through the Mountains.

If Colo. Bouquet succeeds in this point with the General—all is lost!—All is lost by Heavens!—our Enterprize Ruind; & We stopd at the Laurel Hill for this Winter—not to gather Laurels1 by the by, desirable in ⟨their effects⟩—The Southern Indians turn against Us—and these Colonies become desolate by such an Acquisition to the Enemy’s Strength.

These are the Consequences of a Miscarriage, and a Miscarriage the Consequence of the Attempt—I have drawn my Reason’s out at large, and now send them to Colo. Bouquet—He desird I woud do so that he might forward them to the General, shou’d this happen you may Judge of their weight.2

I am uninfluencd by Prejudice—having no hope or fears but for the Genral Good—That be assurd of—and my Sincere Sentiments are spoke on this occasion. I am Dear Halkett Most Affectionately Yr Obedt

Go: Washington

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

1When later correcting his letter book, GW struck out the words after “Laurels” before the dash and substituted “(except of the kind which cover the Mountains).”

2Nothing has been found in the correspondence of Bouquet or Forbes to indicate that Bouquet did show to Forbes GW’s letter of 2 Aug., the fullest statement of the case for the army to use the Braddock Road instead of building a new one. Whether or not Forbes got GW’s brief for the Braddock Road, he did get James Glen’s appraisal of the comparative merits of the two routes. After spending several weeks in July first with GW and William Byrd at their camp near Fort Cumberland where he heard all the arguments for Braddock’s Road and then with Bouquet at Raystown where he listened to the arguments for a new road, Governor Glen found all the advantages to lie on the side of a new road to Fort Duquesne from Raystown. In a letter written on 26 July at Raystown to Forbes, Glen pointed to the lack of pasturage on the Braddock Road, the number of streams to be forded, the dangers of the passes to be marched through, and the greater distance to Fort Duquesne from Fort Cumberland than from Raystown. He then concluded: “Weigh all these circumstances and you will find nothing in Braddocks scale, This must preponderate with every disinterested person” (ViU: Forbes Papers).

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