George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Ramsay, 29 August 1758

From William Ramsay

Camp near Rays Town Augt 29th 58.

Dr Sir

Inclos’d I send you the best intelligence I cou’d get & tho. not precisely to a day, I fancy near the truth; tho. the publick papers will give a better Accot. The Accot of Cape Breton, Hawk, and St Maloes, I beleive may be depended on1—I shall continue to keep a journel of ev’ry occurrence while I stay here,2 but my dear friend I’m heartily tir’d, & my business calls me home. I wish you ev’ry happiness & am Dr Sr Yr Affect. H. Servt

Wm Ramsay


1In April 1758 Vice Admiral Sir Edward Hawke intercepted in Basque Roads a flotilla of French transports loaded with supplies for Louisburg, which they had to jettison in order to escape the British. In June a large British force landed on the French coast for the purpose of capturing Saint-Malo, but after burning ships and supplies in the harbor the British returned to Spithead in July. The British also landed on Cape Breton Island in America in June, and the siege of Louisburg came to an end on 26 July when the French surrendered the fortress to Jeffrey Amherst. See note 2.

2Ramsay’s enclosed “journal” (DLC:GW) seems to have been designed to intensify GW’s distrust of the Pennsylvanians: “4th or 6th June The Highlanders landed at Philadelphia[;] abt the 25th or 28 July, part came to the Camp near Rays Town[;] abt the 10th June, The Train arriv’d at Philadelphia[;] abt the 1st Augt At the Camp near Rays Town.

“The Virginians open’d the road from abt 10 Miles this side of Shippys Town to Rays Town, 70 Miles.

“N. B. The Pensylvanians clear’d part of the road the Virginians were on, but it cost the Virginians three days labor to make the same passable.

“N. B. By Persons of undoubted veracity & in the imploy of Pensylvania, do publickly assert, that the new road from Shippys Town to the Camp, is worse than any part of the old road from Fort Cumberland to Fort Du Quesne.

“The Crown pays carriage of Provisions from Philadelpa & I dare say costs Forty Shillings per hundred.

“Augt 23d. Highlanders, Royal Americans & second Batalion of Pensylvanians March’d, & escorted 2.12 pounders, 2 Sixpounders & sundry Provisions towards Loyal Hannan.

“[Aug.] 26th. 5 or 6 Waggons sent from the Camp near Rays Town to Loyal Hannan with Shingles, quere is not this imprudt when they have plenty of fine Timber & Workmen On the Spot.

“Soldiers here very sickly & die fast.

“[Aug.] 27th[.] The General suppos’d to be yet at Shippy’s Town The old Camp broke up & remov’d near the Fort where I am inform’d a breast Work is to be thrown up.

“Augt 22d. Provisions in store. Vizt at Carlisle, Shippys Town Fort Loudoun & Littleton & Rays Town & with the advanc’d Troops are as follows Vizt

“54 days Flour, 32 days Salt Provisions, & 21 days R⟨ice⟩ no dependence on Salt Provisions.

“N. B. I heard some persons of Credt publickly declare that the Waggons imploy’d in the King’s service in Pensylvania were Apprais’d upon an Average to £20 above the intrinsic worth.

“They further said they knew Horses bought a few days or hours before Appraisment, valued by the Appraisers to £9 & £15 wch only cost 50/ & 60/—honest Appraisers & a dissinterested Colony.

“[Aug.] 28th[.] Louisburg surrender’d the 26th July the Garrison Prisoners of War.

“Six French Ships of War taken by Hawk & 100 ⟨Transs⟩[.] St Maloes in France said to be destroy’d with all their Privateers, Docks yards &c.

“The Genl at Shippys Town [Shippensburg].

“Note St Maloes if distroy’d, is the fruits of our secret expedition, & indeed the first fruits.”

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