George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Grayson, 27 December 1774

From William Grayson

Dumfries December 27th 1774

Dear Sir

I had the honor of your favor of the 12th of this instant, soon after it was wrote;1 which I should have immediately answered; but never had it in my power to convene the independant Company, till yesterday when it appear’d that several of the soldiers had purchas’d muskets in the Country, and that some others had imploy’d our own gunsmiths to make them proper arms.

The gentlemen of the company return their thanks to you for your kind offer, and will be much oblig’d to you, to write to Philada for forty muskets with bayonets, Cartouch boxes, or Pouches, and slings, to be made in such a manner, as you shall think proper to direct; I have not sent the subscription paper, but think I can venture to assure you, that the gunsmith who undertakes the business, will be paid on demand, as the subscribers are jointly & severally responsible for the whole, among whom there are a number of respectable gentlemen: Mr Robert Graham, who conveys this to you has promis’d to lodge yr letter in the Post Ofice in Colchester this evening, that no time may be lost.2 I am with great respect Yr Most Obedt Servt

Willm Grayson

N.B. Yr Letter to Mr Bullett I sent on the Saturday preceeding Fairfax Court.3 W.G.

ALS, DLC:GW. The letter was sent “Per favr Mr Robt Graham.”

1The letter has not been found.

2Grayson, or someone else in the Prince William Independent Company, evidently had requested earlier that GW order some items from Philadelphia. See William Milnor to GW, 27 Dec. 1774. See also Milnor to GW, 3 Jan. 1775 and 21 Feb. 1775, GW to Milnor, 23 Jan. 1775, and Grayson to GW, 8 Feb. 1775. GW had been chosen field officer of the company. In DLC:GW is a document entitled: “Extracts from the Minutes of the independant Company of Cadets of the 11th Novr 1774. William Grayson Gentleman Chairman” which sets forth the following resolutions: “Resolved that the Motto of this Company shall be Aut liber, aut nullus.

“Resolved unanimously that Thomas Blackburn, Richard Graham and Philip Richard Francis Lee Gentlemen, do wait upon Collonel George Washington, and request of him to take the command of this Company as their Field Officer, and that he will be pleas’d to direct the fashion of their uniform; that they also acquaint him with the Motto of the Company which is to be fixed on their Colours. per Order Evan Williams Clerk.” Blackburn, Graham, and Lee visited GW “as a Committee” on 13 Nov. (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 3:291). Robert Graham (1751–1821), son of John Graham of Graham Park near Dumfries in Prince William County, in 1777 succeeded his father as clerk of Prince William County. Young Graham arrived at Mount Vernon on 28 Dec. and stayed overnight (ibid., 298).

3Fairfax court met on the third Monday of the month, in this case on the nineteenth. GW’s letter to Cuthbert Bullitt has not been found. In his account with John David Wilper GW has written: “1774 Septr 25. By Mr Cuthbert Bullets Bond—put into my hands to receive. the money to be accounted for to Mr Wilper when paid to me by Mr Bullet but not otherwise” (Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 122). This was probably for the land Wilper got under the 1754 proclamation. See Wilper to GW, 23 Mar. 1774. See also Cash Accounts, September 1774, n.6, GW to William Milnor, 23 Jan. 1775, and GW to Wilper, 30 Nov. 1773.

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