George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Stewart, 10 June 1761

From Robert Stewart

Camp near Staunton June 10th 1761

My Dear Sir

I had the extreme pleasure to receive your most affectionate Letter containing the Joyous accot of the Election, than the pleasing circumstances of which nothing could have afforded more solid satisfaction[.]1 Two days preceedg the 18th the Adjutant applied to me for leave to return to Winchester which I absolutely refus’d, however in about 20 hours an Express brought me a positive Order for his immediate return2—poor Price (tho. under previous Recruiting Orders) was order’d to Join me forthwith, the Day after his Junction I was by an Express from Colo. Byrd directed to send a carefull Officer to James River and gladly embrac’d that oppy of sending Price down:3 you may be sure that Broughton shall not suffer by his Zeal for your Interest.4

After a tedious and disagreeable March of 23 Days I arriv’d here where I found Colo. Byrd to whom I gave a full State of our Regimental affairs whilst in Quarters, our Lt Colo. lately Join’d us and to my great surprize he and Hughes are of the Colo’s. Family.5 Want of Provisions and Forrage detain’d us here these 12 Days and tho’ I can’t learn that there is much of the former nor any of the latter procur’d We March to morrow morning for the Advance Post6 and after our Invalids are Discharg’d I beleive our R. & File will not exceed 700 including Batmen & Camp Colr Men this you’ll say is a small number for the execution of our intended Operations If I may be allow’d to form any Judgement of our affairs in this Quarter it is that our Fate will solely depend upon that of Lt Colo. Grants who must ere now be far advanc’d.7

By an Express from Philadelphia we have the agreeable accots of General Monckton’s promotion to the Rank of Major General on the Establishment and Governor in Cheif of New York. It’s said he is invested with the Supreme Command of N. america and General Amherst to that of the West Indies, a large Embarkation to be made from this Continent, all the Ships fit for Transports taking up & 14 Battalions Encamp’t on long Island.8 there is a Report that the French are coming up the Myssisippi with 700 Batteaux, its thought either to Join the Southern Indians or attack Pittsbg tho’ its not probable they can send so formidable an armament yet a much less considerable one will cut out hot work for us whatever happens in the course of our Campaign you may depend upon my doing myself the great pleasure of transmitting you the earliest and best Intelligence I can in the mean Time I beg my most humble Respects to your Lady and Family and that to my last Breath I shall remain with the highest and most perfect Esteem My Dear Colo. Your most Affecte most Obliged & Most Obedient hble Servt

Robert Stewart


1GW’s letter has not been found. In the burgess election held at Winchester on 18 May 601 freeholders voted. GW received the support of 505, George Mercer 400, and Adam Stephen 294. GW’s copy of the poll sheet is in DLC:GW. For references to the pattern of voting, see GW to Van Swearingen, 15 May 1761. See also the poll sheet for the burgess election in Frederick County, 24 July 1758, printed as an enclosure to Charles Smith, 26 July 1758. For GW’s election expenses, see his Cash Accounts, 1761. For GW’s illness contracted while electioneering, see GW to Andrew Burnaby, 27 July 1761, n.7.

2Adam Stephen, who was in command of the Virginia Regiment at Winchester, remained behind for the election when Stewart marched toward Staunton with a part of the regiment on about 3 May. See the source note in Stewart to GW, c.6 May 1761. Presumably the adjutant of the regiment, William Hughes, was a political supporter of Stephen and Stephen had ordered him to return to Winchester so that he could give his suffrage for Stephen. Hughes became adjutant of the Virginia Regiment on 22 June 1757 and was a lieutenant in the regiment when it was disbanded at the end of 1762. Stephen’s summons seems to have come too late, for Hughes’s name does not appear on the poll sheet.

3Leonard Price (1735–1772), an officer in the Virginia Regiment since September 1755, was promoted to lieutenant in May 1757. William Byrd went to Williamsburg on 8 April before the assembly was dissolved on 10 April, and he did not arrive in Staunton until 25 May, two days before Stewart got there with the troops from Winchester. For references to recruiting for the Virginia regiments, see Byrd’s correspondence with Gen. Jeffrey Amherst and Gov. Francis Fauquier in 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 , 2:720–36.

4Broughton is probably William Broughton (b. 1733) who served with GW at Fort Necessity and was later a sergeant in Stewart’s light horse of the Virginia Regiment. He may still have been in the regiment in May 1761. No Broughton appears on the poll sheet of 18 May.

5Stephen did not leave Winchester for Staunton until after 30 May.

6For references to the shortage of provisions, see William Byrd to Jeffrey Amherst, 30 May, 7 June 1761, ibid., 733–34, 735–36.

7On the day Stewart wrote this letter, a part of Lt. Col. James Grant’s detachment had advanced on the Cherokee from South Carolina and were under attack from the Indians. When the Cherokee were forced to withdraw, Grant’s men systematically ravaged the Middle Towns of the Cherokee. As both Stewart and Byrd foresaw, the Virginia forces would have arrived too late to be of any aid to Grant even if they had continued their march into Carolina.

8Robert Monckton, who was made a major general in the British army in February 1761, became governor and commander in chief of New York on 20 Mar. 1761. Amherst placed Monckton in command of an expedition against Martinique.

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