George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Fairfax Independent Company, 8 July 1775

From the Fairfax Independent Company

Alexandria July 8. 1775

May it please your Excellency.

Your favor of the 20 Ulo notifying your Intended departure for the Camp, we Received; and after transmitting copies to the different officers, to whom it was directed,1 we laid it before a full meeting of your Company this day—At the same time that they deplore the unfortunate occasion, that calls you, their patron, friend & worthy citizen from them, & your more tender connections, they beg your acceptance of their most hearty congratulations upon your appointment to the supreme military command of the American confederated forces.

Firmly convinced Sir, of your zealous attachment to the rights of your Country & those of mankind, and of your earnest desire that harmony & Good will should again take place between us & our parent state, we well know that your every exertion will be invariably employed, to preserve the one & effect the other.

Your kind recommendation, that a strict attention be had, to disciplining the Company, shall be complied with, & every possible method used for procuring arms & ammunition.

We are to inform you Sir, by desire of the Company, that if at any ⟨ti⟩me you shall judge it expedient for them to join the Troops at Cambridge, or to march elsewhere, they will cheerfully do it.

As the success of our arms, during the unhappy contest for our liberties, will ever afford us the highest satisfaction, and as reports heretofore have been various & unauthentic, we Intreat your Excellency, should there be any future Engagement & your leisure permit, to favour us with an Account. Let our concerns for the cause we are Imbarked in, claim your excuse for this freedom.

We now Recommend you to the favor of him, by whom Kings Reign & Princes decree justice, and wishing all your councils & operations to be directed by his gracious providence to an happy and lasting union between us & Great Britain We are with great regard for selves & the Company Your Excellency’s most Obedt & Humble servants

James Hendricks

Geo. Gilpin

Rob. H. Harrison

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW. Each officer signed his own name.

James Hendricks of Alexandria was captain of the Fairfax Independent Company. He became major of the 6th Virginia Regiment in February 1776, lieutenant colonel of that regiment the following August, and colonel of the 1st Virginia Regiment in September 1777. Hendricks resigned his commission in March 1778. George Gilpin (1740–1813) and Robert Hanson Harrison (1745–1790) were lieutenants in the Fairfax Independent Company. Both men were natives of Maryland who moved to Alexandria in the late 1760s. Gilpin, a wheat merchant and flour inspector, served as major of the Fairfax County militia from 1777 to 1778 and apparently became colonel of the militia before the end of the war. In the 1780s he was closely associated with GW as one of the directors of the Potowmack Company. Harrison, a lawyer whose services GW used on several occasions before the Revolution, served as clerk of the Fairfax County committee of safety from 1774 to 1775. He was appointed one of GW’s aides-de-camp on 6 Nov. 1775, and on 16 May 1776 he became GW’s military secretary. He held the latter position until March 1781, when he resigned to become chief justice of the Maryland general court.

1GW’s letter of 20 June 1775 was addressed to the officers of the independent companies in the five Virginia counties of Fairfax, Prince William, Fauquier, Spotsylvania, and Richmond.

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