George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Stewart, 14 April 1760

From Robert Stewart

Winchester April 14th 1760

My dear Sir

Next day after parting I got here, where I found Colo. Byrd and Paddy is to join him in a few days; I hope ’ere now Bishop is with you; Colo. Byrd says you must send the General a man in his room.1 Major Lewis by Express informs the Colo. that on the 30th Ulto Capt. Gist was at Bryant’s attack’d by a Body of Cherrokees which he by the advantage of some Houses that he avail’d himself off Beat them2 off and took a Scalp; the Majr adds that 4 different Posts were attack’d in one day, at 3 of which the Enemy were repuls’d, but had not learn’t the Fate of the 4th.3 These encursions according to custom spreads much terror amongst the Inhabitants, and leaves us no room to doubt what part our old allies are determin’d to act.

I hear that Genl Mocton is appointed to Command in this Quarter,4 that a Post is to be establish’d at Presque Isle and the Conquest of Detroit undertaken; But as it’s fear’d (notwithstanding of what we hear’d) that Pensylvania will do little, if any thing, Maryland as usual nothing, and a great part of our Regiment (whose strength is vastly diminish’d by Death Desertion & Sickness) will probably be employ’d on the Fronteers I dread this Plan will be greatly obstructed if not render’d impracticable.

I’m extremely sorry to find the Regiment in so bad a situation—Step[hen]s (whose gone to Pennsylvania to Buy Land) employ’d several of the Soldiers on his own Plantation, in driving Cattle &Ca and many have had Furlough’s of whose return there’s little probability;5 Scarce a man has a Bayonet, Lock Cover, Hammer Cap, Brush or Picker; Order and Discipline much neglected, the Adjutant laid up with a broken Leg, the Serjt Majr several Serjts Corpls and many private down with the small Pox—we have only 166 fit for Duty at this place, tho’ we have 4 Compys & some from 3 more so that we must cut a very poor Figure both as to number & appearance.6 By the Colos. orders, I have since my arrival been constantly employ’d in exers[iz]ing them, seeing them Drill’d and in endeavouring to get things restor’d some Order But almost every Day adds to the disagreeable Prospect my own affairs present me with, since my arrival I had the mortification to learn that none of 8 Recruits which I enlisted at so great an Expence ever got to the Battn nor can I hear that any of the 14 I sent from Virginia is got to the Regiment, those that undertook to Recruit for me spend a great deal of my Money without doing me any Service, and I’m well assur’d that Bouquet is determin’d to make a point of my Joining him immediatly or giving up my Commission7 But for the reasons we talk’d over I will depend on my Virga Half Pay tho’ a disappointment therein and my late misfortunes would leave me quite destitude, in fine the Train of perplixing embarrassments I have long been and never more than now involv’d in would make an honble Passage to another world not disagreeable.

I beg you will be so good as to present my Complemts in the most respectfull and obliging Terms to Your Lady & allow me the pleasure of subscribing myself with unbiass’d Esteem & unalterable Regard My Dear Colo. Your Most Affecte & Ever Obliged hble Servt

Robert Stewart

Excuse haste.


1Stewart was at Mount Vernon 4–6 April (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 1:261, 263). Paddy is Maj. Andrew Lewis of the Virginia Regiment who returned to Virginia after a year of imprisonment in Quebec. For Thomas Bishop’s whereabouts, see George Mercer to GW, 17 Feb. 1760, n.5.

2Stewart partially crossed out this word.

3Word soon came that full-scale warfare had broken out between the Cherokee and the South Carolinians. Captain Gist is Nathaniel Gist. Bryant’s was William Bryan’s house at Great Spring near present Salem, Virginia.

4Gen. Robert Monckton this month replaced John Stanwix as commander of the British forces in the southern colonies of North America.

5Lt. Col. Adam Stephen owned a plantation in Frederick County.

6The act of the assembly passed in March 1760 providing for the continued support of the Virginia Regiment specified that at least three hundred men of the Regiment should be kept on Virginia’s frontier in addition to whatever number should be raised to join the British forces in Pennsylvania (7 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 347–53).

7In his letter to GW of 25 Jan. Stewart refers to his plans to go to Petersburg to recruit. On 7 April, Capt. John Joseph Schlösser, commander of the company of the Royal American Regiment in which Stewart held a lieutenancy, wrote Col. Henry Bouquet: “A convoy of recruits arrived today from Mr Stouart of Virginia. He writes me that there are 14, but there are only twelve” (Waddell, Bouquet Papers description begins Donald H. Kent et al., eds. The Papers of Henry Bouquet. 6 vols. Harrisburg, Pa., 1951-94. description ends , 4:513). Col. William Byrd wrote Col. Henry Bouquet, 10 May 1760: “I am very sorry to find that Maj. [Robert] Stewart is order’d to join the R. A. R. so soon, as my parting with him at this time will be attended with very great inconveniency. . . . I have therefore presumed so far on your friendship as to take upon me to stop him for a few days” (Tinling, Byrd Correspondence description begins Marion Tinling, ed. The Correspondence of the Three William Byrds of Westover, Virginia, 1684–1776. 2 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1977. description ends , 2:687–88). Stewart remained in the Virginia Regiment until the end of the war while retaining his lieutenancy in the Royal American Regiment.

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