George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Stewart, 6 April 1761

From Robert Stewart

Winchester 6th April 1761

My Dear Colo.

I have just had the great pleasure of receiving your agreeable Favour of the 27th Ulto1 and am glad that there is some prospect of the Regiment’s being supplied with these necessaries.

Capt. McKenzie to the great Joy of the Corps has just rejoin’d us,2 by him we learn that Colo. Byrd is appointed to Command the Expedition against the Cherokees, and that a Demand of a thousd more Men is made upon Virga3 if complied with, it will cause several changes in our Military Affairs and as no doubt but Colo. Byrd will have a Staff, a hint from you in my favr might of great Service to me, I do not mean as to B. Majr as Paddy4 will have that, and I not envy it, but as the Gross of his army will consist of raw Troops and adjutant Genl or an Officer to do that Duty will become the more necessary, and tho’ the Colony will make no Provision for any thing kind5 yet as all Contingencies are to be paid by the Crown the Officer Commanding in Chief could without any inconveniency make that matter easy—I have given the Colo. a distant hint—he has been very kind by applying (unask’d) to Genl Amherst for my remaining with him and succeeded.6

There is vast uneasiness and heart burnings amongst our Officers on accot of a Report (which gains Credit) that Capt. Van Braham is to have Rank as oldest Capt. in the Regiment notwithstanding that no Vacancy has been kept for him and that no mention was made of him, much less any exception made in his favour in any one of the many Promotions that were made since he left the Corps (if it can with propriety be call’d the same Corps[)] some of the Officers seem determin’d to leave no Stone unturn’d to retain their present Rank and it’s too probable the consequences of his coming will prove fatal to some7—I am vastly hurried & must beg youll forgive the inaccuracy &Ca of the above—I ever am wt. the most perfect Deference & regard My Dear Colo. Your Most Affecte & mo: Obliged Servt

Robert Stewart

N.B. I would not have anything said abt V. Brams affair till it comes from Colo. Byrd who will be applied to on the Subject.


1Letter not found.

2Capt. Robert McKenzie of the Virginia Regiment, who was second in command to Robert Stewart at Venango in 1760 (see Stewart to GW, 15 Feb. 1761, n.1), probably was only now returning from the Pennsylvania frontier.

3For the campaign being mounted against the Cherokee, Gen. Jeffrey Amherst requested without success that Virginia raise 700 men in addition to the 1,000 authorized in March (see William Byrd to Francis Fauquier, 6 Feb. 1761, and Amherst to Fauquier, 15 Mar. 1761, in Exec. Journals of Virginia Council description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia. 6 vols. Richmond, 1925–66. description ends , 6:181–82; 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 , 2:491–93; for the burgesses’ act of March regarding the regiment, see Stewart to GW, 12 Mar. 1761 [second letter], n.3).

4Maj. Andrew Lewis was often called “Paddy.”

5The word “thing” is the last word on one page and “kind” is the first on the next.

6Colonel Byrd had requested that Stewart and Capt. Robert McKenzie be allowed to remain with the Virginia Regiment instead of being forced to return to the British regiments in which the one held the rank of lieutenant and the other that of ensign. See Stewart to GW, 14 April 1760, n.7, and McKenzie to GW, 12 Aug. 1760, source note.

7Capt. Jacob Van Braam, one of the two hostages taken by the French at GW’s surrender of Fort Necessity in 1754, was released from prison in Montreal in September 1760. Although at the time he was left out of the Virginia burgesses’ vote of thanks to the officers of GW’s old command because he was blamed for mistranslating for GW the articles of capitulation (see The Capitulation of Fort Necessity, in Papers, Colonial Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series. 10 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1983–95. description ends , 1:157–73), the House of Burgesses not only allowed him in March 1760 £828.11 as his salary from the beginning of his captivity but also in March 1761 an additional £500 “as a Compensation for his Sufferings during a long and painful Confinement as a Hostage in the Enemy’s Country.” The burgesses also asked the governor to recommend Van Braam “for Promotion in his Majesty’s Service,” which Fauquier agreed to do (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 , 166, 227, 238, 245–46). Stewart’s fears that Van Braam would be given rank as the oldest captain in the regiment proved to be groundless; Van Braam was not interested in returning to the Virginia Regiment. Fauquier wrote William Pitt on 3 April 1761 that Van Braam was “desirous of returning to Europe where he apprehends he may have a better prospect of advancing himself in the profession he is engaged in, than on this Continent” (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 , 2:502–3).

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