To John Forbes
Camp, on Chesnut-Ridge (11 o’clock at night)
Sir,the 15th November, 1758.
An Express from Colo. Armstrong, affords me an opportunity of informing you that we marched hither about 4 o’clock this afternoon1—and that I found Mr Bassett and 30 men here late as it was—Immediately ordered working parties on the road, that no time might be lost in opening it; but apprehend I shall not proceed so fast as you could wish, since after all my delays, and waiting for Tools to-day, Capt. Fields was able to get only 42 falling axes—These however, added to 30 others now here with Mr Basset shall be employed to-morrow at day-light, to the best advantage. I understand that Captn Shelby was to have accompanied Mr Gordon to-day; but upon examining the Bearer, I find he did not; and that the road (intended) is but very slightly blaz’d.2 It may be necessary, therefore to send Capt. Shelby, to prevent mistakes3—This camp (I ought before to have said) is about 6 miles from Loyal-hannon, and where the new road strikes out.
I shall write again in the morning, enclosing Returns of my Brigade;4 in the mean time permit me to add that I am Sir, &c. &c.
To Genl Forbes.
LB (recopied), DLC:GW.
1. For the initial orders to GW to march on the morning of 15 Nov., see Orderly Book, 14 November. Col. John Armstrong was up ahead building a camp. See Orderly Book, 13 Nov., and Bouquet to GW, 16 Nov., n.2.
2. Capt. Harry Gordon, like Lt. Thomas Basset, was an engineer with the Royal American Regiment. He was a veteran of the Braddock campaign, and it was he who later directed the building of Fort Pitt at the Forks of the Ohio after the French evacuated and burned Fort Duquesne at the approach of Forbes’s army. In his letter to Forbes on 16 Nov. GW attempts to clarify what he has to say here about the activities of Gordon and Basset.
3. Capt. Evan Shelby, at this time of the Maryland forces, had been on several reconnoitering missions to Fort Duquesne and was looked upon as one of the men most familiar with the country to be traversed by the army. See, for instance, Bouquet to GW, 16 Nov. 1758.