George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Preston, 10 May 1792

From William Preston

Virginia, Montgomery County, May 10th 1792


Some Gentlemen who have been honored with the appointment of Captains of Volunteer Companies of Rifflemen not accepting their appointments, leaves a vacancy now to be filled.

Though I have not the smallest acquaintance with your Excellency yet I hope soliciting an appointment of this nature will not be taken amiss.

I am the third Son of the late Colo. William Preston, with whom you formerly had an acquaintance from which acquaintance he formed an attachment for you worthy an honest mind;1 by whose industry with a small addition of my own, my circumstances are not only comfortable but easy, yet I have from my infancy felt a fondness for a military life, in which I have some little experience in the Indian mode of Warfare living on the Frontiers, and only lament that my youth prevented my bearing a part with your Excellency in the late glorious Revolution between England and America.

Your Excellency I hope will pardon me for the Liberty I now take in Soliciting this appointment and at the same time referring you to the Honble John Brown and Andrew Moore Esquires for information of my abilities and integrity, and should I meet your approbation I hope I shall prove myself worthy the Appointment. I have the Honor to be Sir with Esteem your Mo. Obt Sert

William Preston


GW apparently appointed Preston to command one of the four rifle companies being raised on the southwestern frontier of Virginia (see Henry Knox to GW, 21 July 1792).

1William Preston, Sr. (1729–1783), who had been a militia officer and a ranger captain on the Augusta County frontier during the French and Indian War, first met GW in 1756. In his capacity as surveyor of Fincastle County, Va., Preston had corresponded with GW in 1774–75.

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