George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Fielding Lewis, 6 March 1776

From Fielding Lewis

[Fredericksburg, Va.] March 6th 1776

Dear Sir

In my last I informed you that I could give you no information relating to your demand against Baraud indeed I fear most of that Money will be lost as I have no Opinion of the Man who I suspect will take advantage of the times and not pay alltho’ it may be in his power; I can get no information about his circumstances he’s now living at Suffolk, or at Smithfield as I am informed I shall be at Wmsburg next Month when I shall do everything I can to secure the Money.1

Our nine Regements are nearly compleat and our people seem to be fond of entring into the service Colo. Henry has resigned his Commisn which I beleive most people are well pleased with as his acquaintance in the Military service was little,2 Clinton has been here with his Men stay’d a few Days & is gone it’s said to So. Carolina & taken some of the Kings Ships that were here with him;3 We expect Lord Dunmore is recalled as he has offer’d his service and requests to be sent home as a mediator. Our Committee of Safety are too well acquainted with his Lordships abilitys and friendship for this Colony to intrust a matter of so much importance to one of his insignificancy, nor would they were his Abilitys ever so great take a step of that sort without the sanction of Congress;4 Norfolk is totally distroyed not one House remaining Gosport Mr Sprowls seat has shared the same fate5 Portsmouth is safe, we have men at the great Bridge & Kemps Landing, little for them to do. The opinion for independentcy seems to be gaining ground. indeed most of those who have read the Pamphlet Common Sence say it’s unanswerable. Our Manufactory has not yet made one Musquet the Hands have been imployed in reparing the Old Gunns from the Magazeen which Ld Dunmore took the Locks from, and reparing the Gunns belonging to the several Companys that have passed th[r]o’ this Town, we have a great many Barrells ready forged which we are now preparing for the Stockers, our Men had the business to learn, begin to be expert at Lock making, about Thirty of which per week we now make that are equal to the English and what Barrells are ready I think are better.

The Tory Factors are leaving of us daily few will remain in a Month, or two, Mrs Lewis joins me in our Love to Mrs Washington & the Family I am Dear Sir your most Affectionate Humble Servant

Fielding Lewis

In my last I requested You would furnish George with any Cloths &ca he may have occasion for and yr Order should be paid for the amount on sight.

ALS, PPRF.

2On 28 Feb. 1776 Patrick Henry appeared before the Virginia committee of safety and refused to accept his commission from the Continental Congress as colonel of the 1st Virginia Regiment. Although Henry gave no reason to the committee for his action, it is almost certain that he resigned because Congress did not make him a general and give him command of the Continental forces in Virginia. Henry’s resignation gave rise to protests from officers and men in the Virginia regiments and to spirited exchanges in the Williamsburg gazettes for several weeks. See Scribner and Tarter, Revolutionary Virginia description begins William J. Van Schreeven et al., eds. Revolutionary Virginia: The Road to Independence. A Documentary Record. 7 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1973–83. description ends , 6:5–7, 148–49.

3Gen. Henry Clinton arrived at Hampton Roads on 17 Feb. and sailed for Cape Fear nine days later. For a discussion of Clinton’s southern expedition, see GW to Charles Lee, 23 Jan. 1776 n.8.

4On 27 Jan. 1776, while aboard the Dunmore in the Elizabeth River at Portsmouth, Va., Lord Dunmore wrote the Virginia official Richard Corbin offering “every Execution of my poor Abilities, to procure by any means, That shall be thought most adviseable, an honourable, Permanent, Speedy and happy Reconciliation, between this Colony and its Parent state” (Scribner and Tarter, Revolutionary Virginia description begins William J. Van Schreeven et al., eds. Revolutionary Virginia: The Road to Independence. A Documentary Record. 7 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1973–83. description ends , 6:29–30).

5Gosport, out from Portsmouth across the Elizabeth River from Norfolk, was the site of the establishment of one of the wealthiest merchants in Virginia, a Scot named Andrew Sprowle (b. 1710) who had spent most of his life in Virginia.

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