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Oct
22

Southern Tour by GW

By
When:
October 21, 2018 @ 1:52 am – 2:52 am
2018-10-21T01:52:00-04:00
2018-10-21T02:52:00-04:00
Where:
Dinwiddie
VA 23841
USA

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Compiled by Jim Moyer  in March 2019, last update 4/9/2019

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September  29 to October 22   

George Washington tours the Southern Virginia Defenses

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After The End of the Southern Tour


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We will start at the end.

Colonel George Washington, having completed his southern tour, is back in Winchester 23 October 1756. 

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He writes very little about his southern tour of Virginia to Lt Col Adam Stephen who is in Fort Cumberland.

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Last night I returned from a very long and troublesome jaunt on the Frontiers, as far as Mayo; where affairs seem to be in a dangerous situation: and to add to our misfortunes, I find our neighbourhood here on the wing—you and your Garrison, in great distress & danger.1

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Picture found on Michigan Toy Soldier Company Blog

Michigan Toy Soldier Company

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The Enemy ravaging the country about Conogochieg, stony-run, and South-Branch—Loud and general complaints for protection—few or no men to send abroad for any Service. In short, so melancholy a scene, without the power of changing it to our satisfaction and interest, fills me with the greatest anxiety & uneasiness. I shall recite you all the Governors last letter to me relative to Fort Cumberland as I had written for his positive directions—vizt.2

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Although Colonel George Washington has just finished an unhappy tour of the southern Virginia frontier, he turns his concern towards whether Fort Cumberland should be garrisoned by the Virginia Regiment in this letter to Lt Col Adam Stephen:

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“You have frequently complained to me of the situation, &c. of Fort Cumberland; and I have wrote you how disagreeable it was to me to give up any place of strength, as it wou’d raise the spirits of the enemy, at the same time they wou’d suspect us to be in fear of them: and therefore if that place could be stationed with safety, until Lord Loudon gives orders thereon, I should be glad.

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Washington wants a Council to decide the fate of Fort Cumberland:

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But as you are upon the spot, and think it very prejudicial to the Service to keep that Fortress; I desire you may call a council of Officers, and consult whether it is most advisable to keep it or demolish it: if the last, you must take care to have all the ammunition, &c. brought to Winchester; and destroy every thing which you conceive may be of service to the enemy.

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This affair is now left to the determination of a Council of Officers; and I desire you to be very explicit in your arguments on the head; as they must be laid before Lord Loudon.

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Washington’s arguments against too many small forts with small garrisons, but the House of Burgesses passed a law to build those forts and man them.

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I was always averse to smal Garrisons on our frontiers, as they in course divided our men into small parties: but you know the Assembly were so fond of them, that they passed a Law for that purpose—and I can not at present alter that determination[”]—Thus far his Honor.

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As it appears to be an affair of much importance, I can not pretend to offer my advice; but would desire you and the Officers there, to deliberate seriously in council, what you think most proper to be done;3 and send me immediate notice, that I may come up with a sufficient number of Waggons (if to be abandoned) to remove the Stores—and likewise to hold a General Court martial on the matter, to avoid future reflection.

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Washington’s argues against staying in Fort Cumberland and against defending too many small forts.

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I have frequently mentioned my dislike to the place, for these reasons

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—First,

Its insufficiency for any tolerable defence

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—Secondly

its distance from the inhabitants—difficulty of communication—and answering no other purpose than burying the Service of 170 men, in guarding the Stores, which might be more conveniently done in other forts.

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Indeed,had we men enough to afford constant scouting parties from that place, and cou’d defend the country hereabouts—I shou’d approve its being supported and improved in strength, on account of the advantages we might expect from it—but as this is not the case, I look upon it as rather prejudicial to the Country.

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No reason to add or strengthen Fort Cumberland:

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The additional works you mention,

as necessary to strengthen the fort,

I can not consent to without positive orders from the Governor; as I shou’d become answerable from my own Estate for such expences, unless commanded by the Governor or Assembly.

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The Assembly is prorogu’d to the second Thursday of next month;4 when we may depend upon some alterations in our present constitution: and if you think, after the removal of part of the Stores, it can be mentioned,5 til we have their determination—probably may be more advisable; as His Excellency Lord Loudon is then expected.

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But upon the whole—as you must be a better judge of your own situation & danger; and the Governor leaving the affair to a council of officers: I refer the case entirely to your discretion; hoping you will observe the greatest circumspection & prudence in all your measures; so that we may be liable to no blame for any future consequences.

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Offense is better than the Defense the Assembly wanted.  Washington intends to present to the House of Burgesses an offensive plan against Fort Duquesne and stop the plan of small defensive forts.

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Enclosed is a scheme I intend to offer the Assembly, if they can not be perswaded off their defensive notions.6 although I am determined to urge my utmost, to evince the advantages and necessity of an Offensive campaign:

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as you & every body else must allow that carrying the war into the Enemys country, is the surest method of peace at home & success abroad, and until an attempt is formed against Du Quesne, so as to remove the fountain of all our disturbance and trouble—we never may expect a peaceable day.

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The policy of the French is so subtle, that not a friendly Indian will we have on the continent, if we do not soon dislodge them from the Ohio.

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I shall exert every power to make this plan go down with the Assembly, and press them to vigorous measures for the safety and interest of the Country, preferably to the Defensive; and remonstrate fully to them every thing I think demands their concern, as to the Frontiers. I also would have you collect whatever comes under your observation in these respects; that we may omit nothing requisite for the Assemblys regard.

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THE 2 RANGER COMPANIES

As the fund for support of the Rangers, is long since exhausted, the Governor orders them to be discharged. You will therefore acquaint the officers and men of these Companies that they are discharged; accordingly—&c. &c. I am &c.

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G:W.

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1According to the Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia), 23 Oct. 1756, a man who had deserted from Capt. William Polson’s company—William La Péronie’s, according to the Maryland Gazette (Annapolis), 4 Nov. 1756—three days before the battle on the Monongahela in July 1755 was brought into Fort Cumberland earlier in the month. The man reported that “he left a Party of 300 French and Indians at the Little Meadows, on their March to attack Fort Cumberland, and had sent him before to view the Country.” The French and Indians, however, never launched a large-scale attack on the fort.

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2. See Dinwiddie to GW, 30 Sept. 1756. The quotation that follows in the body of the letter is substantially correct, though GW several times succumbed to the temptation to improve or clarify Dinwiddie’s language.

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4The assembly did not meet until 14 April 1757.

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5. This is probably a misreading by the clerk of “maintained.”

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6See Proposal for Frontier Forts enclosed in GW to Dinwiddie, 9 Nov. 1756.

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Source of letter and footnotes:

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-03-02-0373

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Chronology of the Southern Tour


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28 September 1756

Letter from Col GW to Lt Gov Dinwiddie:

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I arrived here last night, and find things in the peaceable state I left them on this Quarter;1 and therefore set out tomorrow for Augusta.

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29–30 September 1756

Orders

GW left Winchester for Augusta County on 29 Sept. 1756 and did not return until 22 October. As was the case during his absence in September, the orders issued at Winchester and entered in GW’s letter book until 10 Oct. were given presumably by the aide-de-camp George Mercer. Mercer left Winchester on 10 Oct. to go to Williamsburg, and no further orders appear in GW’s letter book until 24 Oct. after GW’s return to Winchester.

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Founders Online Footnote.

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30 September 1756

Letter To George Washington from Robert Dinwiddie in Williamsburg

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1 – 9 October 1756

Orders

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6 October 1756

Officers of the Virginia Regiment sign a complaint to Adam Stephen.

This is the Centinel X issue, where the Officers threaten to quit.

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9 October 1756

Return of the Virginia Regiment

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10 October 1756

Letter From George Washington  to Robert Dinwiddie

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Colonel George Washington writes his first letter at the southern most destination on his trip.  He is in old Halifax County, nowadays Patrick County. So his letter states he writes from the Fort in Halifax. This fort is known as Mayo Fort, Captained by Samuel Harris.

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Honble Sir,

This day, within five miles of the Carolina line, as I was proceeding to the southermost Fort in . . .

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10 October 1756

Memorandum

N.B. This day Captain Mercer set out for Williamsburgh.1 Colonel Washington has now been on his journey to Augusta &c. since the 29th September.

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1. Mercer was going down to the general court to give evidence in the case against the counterfeiter James Knap and to testify in James Lemen’s trial. See GW to Dinwiddie, 4 Aug. 1756, n.23, and Orders, 22, 23 Aug. 1756.

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16 October 1756

Letter To George Washington from Augustine Washington in Williamsburg VA

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https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-03-02-0370

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18 October 1756

On the way back to Winchester, George Washington writes  letter from Fort Dinwiddie To Major David Lewis. of the Albemarle Militia, at Miller’s Fort.

Sir,

Lieutenant Bullet, who commands at this place in the absence of Captain Hogg, tells me, that he applied to you for a few men to join such parties as this Garrison can afford, to range the woods, and assist the inhabitants in securing their Grain, gathering their Corn, &c. and that you have refused to aid him. I conceive if you did so, it must have proceeded from a misapprehension of his meaning—Therefore I apply to you myself on this head; and desire your compliance, or reasons for refusing.

I presume, Sir, it will be needless to acquaint you, your own good sense will doubtless evince it; that the intent of sending men hither was to protect the frontier inhabitants; and offer them comfort, by relieving their distresses, and wants; which [will] not in any wise be accomplished, while you remain in a body at a certain place, forted in, as if to defend yourselves were the sole end of your coming.

You will I hope excuse the liberty I have taken in mentioning this affair, when I tell you I am in a very great measure authorized by the Governor to direct in these matters. I am &c.

G:W.

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David Lewis, Jr. (died c.1794), was the son of one of the early settlers of Albemarle County. He lived near Charlottesville and became a prosperous merchant in the county before moving to North Carolina shortly before the Revolution. Miller’s fort was on Jackson River not far from Fort Dinwiddie.

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https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-03-02-0371

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19 October to 22 October 1756

No letters from GW from October 19, 1756 until October 22, 1756, until GW arrrives in Winchester VA October 23, 1756

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30 October 1756

Council of War at Fort Cumberland

And what was on Colonel George Washington’s mind while he was on his Southern Tour?

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Two  problems:

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His officers threaten to leave the service 5 October 1756.

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A huge invasion heading towards Fort Cumberland Maryland reported

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9 November 1756

From George Washington in Winchester VA writes a letter of more detail about his southern tour to Robert Dinwiddie.

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Research Notes


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Lots of information on Halifax County history  and Indians in Halifax County

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Washington and Greene crossing the River Dan in Halifax County 1781 twice?

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Halifax in North Carolina

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Virginia Memory

https://www.virginiamemory.com/about/site_index#D

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Pdf file ctrl F to find Dinwiddie and Halifax Counties created in 1752

http://www.virginiahistoryseries.org/linked/unit%206.%20life.growth.development%20of%20va%20colony.slides.pdf

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Frontier Forts in VA

http://www.virginiahistoryseries.org/linked/unit%206.%20life.growth.development%20of%20va%20colony.slides.pdf

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Virginia Forts

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Forts_in_Virginia

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Virginia Historical Landmarks

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_National_Historic_Landmarks_in_Virginia

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October 10, 1756 letter

from Colonel George Washington

to Lt Gov Dinwiddie


 

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To The Honble Robert Dinwiddie, Esquire; Governor of Virginia.
Honble Sir,

This day, within five miles of the Carolina line,

as I was proceeding to the southermost Fort in Halifax;1

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Colonel George Washington has reached his southern most destination on his trip. He left Winchester VA September 27, 1756 and wrote a letter to Lt Gov Dinwiddie October 19, 1756 having reached Fort Mayo. He is in old Halifax County, nowadays just inside the Patrick County line. So his letter states he writes from the Fort in Halifax. This fort is known as Mayo Fort, Captained by Samuel Harris.

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Major Andrew Lewis coming back

I met Major Lewis on his return from the Cherokees, with seven men, and three women only of that nation. The causes of this unhappy disappointment, I have desired him to communicate, that your Honor may take measures accordingly. This account is sent by Express, to give the earliest notice, while the Assembly are sitting.2

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Defer on Frontier situation in Winchester

I shall defer giving a particular detail of my remarks and observations on the situation of our Frontiers, until I return to Winchester, as I expect by that time to be more intimately acquainted with the unhappy circumstances of the people: Yet I shall not omit mentioning some occurrences which have happened in my Tour to this place.

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Met Captain McNeil at Augusta Courthouse

I wrote your Honor from Winchester, that I should set out the next day for Augusta;3 I accordingly did with Captain McNeil; and hearing at the Courthouse, that the Indians still continue their depredations [(]although not so openly as at first)—

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Asked men of Colonel Stewart (not our Captain Robert Stewart)

I applied to Colonel Stewart, then present, to raise a party of the militia, and said I would head them, and march to Jackson’s River, to try to scour the woods, and if possible fall in with the Enemy. He gave me very little encouragement to expect any men, yet desired I would wait 4 days, until monday, and he would use his endeavours to collect a body: until Tuesday I waited, and only 9 men appeared. This being too inconsiderable a number to expose to a triumphant enemy;

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I was advised to apply to Colonel Buchanan for men, between whom and Colo: Stewart there was contention about command.4 As Col. Buchanan lived at Luneys ferry, on James River, 60 miles along the road to Vass’s, on Roanoak, where Captain Hogg was building a fort; to which place I did intend, if I could have got men to range along the Frontiers with me.

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Captain Preston

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I set out immediately for his house, attended by Captain Preston; who was kind enough to conduct me along, and acquainted the Colonel with the motives that brought me thither. He told me with very great concern, it was not in his power to raise men; for that three days before, some of the militia in a fort, about 15 miles above his house, at the head of Cattawba, commanded by one Colonel Nash, was attacked by the Indians which occasioned all that Settlement to break up totally, even to the ferry at Luneys:5 That he had ordered three companies to repair thither, to march against the enemy, and not one man came, except a Captain, Lieutenant, &c. and 7 or 8 men from Bedford.

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No Men to Join vs Going Back

Finding then that it was impossible to get a party to range and scour the frontiers, it remained only to proceed without men to see the situation of the Forts, or to return back again: the latter I was loth to do, as I had got this far; and was anxious to see what posture of defence they were in. I therefore determined to come forward, at least to Vass’s; and accordingly set out in company with Colonel Buchanan, who being desirous that I might see and relate their unhappy circumstances, undertook to accompany me.

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Fort Vauss

We got safe to Vass’s, where Captain Hogg, with only 18 of his company, were building a fort which must employ him ’til Christmas, without more assistance. One Captain Hunt from Lunenburg, was there with 30 men; but none of them wou’d strike a stroke, unless I would engage to see them paid 40 lb’s. Tobacco per day, which is provided by act of Assembly for militia Carpenters.6 This I certainly could not do; as your Honor (who I thought had ordered them purposely out for this Duty) had given no directions in the affair. Whatever expectations your Honor may have had from the militia assistance; I am told they never lent a hand, save a few, that first came out with Captain Hoy;7 who he has paid after the same rates with our men, at 6d. per diem.

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Fort Vauss

Vass’s place is a pass of very great importance, being a very great inroad of the enemy, and secure, if it was strongly garrisoned. All Bedford, and the greatest part of this County, notwithstanding they have built three forts here, and one of them, if no more, erected in my opinion in a very out-of-the-way place—This they call Fort Trial.8

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From Vass’s I came off with a Servant and a Guide, to visit the range of forts in this county; and in less than two hours after, two men were killed along the same road; as will appear by Captain McNiel’s letter, which I have just received, & herewith send, to let your Honor see by the account of Captain Hunts behaviour what dependance may be put in the militia.9

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Militia leaving their post

The Inhabitants are so sensible of their danger, if left to the protection of these people, that not a man will stay at his place—This I have from their own mouths, and the principal persons of Augusta-County. The militia are under such bad order and discipline, that they will go and come when and where they please; without regarding time, their officers, or the safety of the Inhabitants; but consulting solely their own inclinations. There shou’d be, according to your Honors orders, one-third of the militia of these parts, now on Duty at once; instead of that, I believe scarce 1/13 th is out. They are to be relieved every month—they are more than that time marching to & from their stations, and will not wait one day longer than the limited time, whether they are relieved or not, let the necessity for it be never so urgent.

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Example

An instance of this happened in my presence about 4 days ago, in the case of Captain Daniel from Albemarle; who was entreated by Colonel Buchanan to stay, at the time he was gathering, or attempting to gather men, upon that alarm of the Catawba Settlement, before mentioned—but his month was out, and go he must and did: nay I believe I may venture to say, that whether his month had been out or not, this wou’d have induced him to go: for this Gentlemen went away from Vass’s, because he thought it was a dangerous post, giving that for his reason—and left Captain Hogg with 18 men, exposed to the insults of the enemy.10

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Not because Centinel X denigrated the VA Regiment

Perhaps it may be thought I am partial in my relation, and reflect unjustly; I really do not, Sir; I scorn to make unjust remarks on the behaviour of the militia, as much as I despise and contemn the persons who detract from mine, and the character of the Regiment.

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Were it not that I consulted the good of the public, and thought these Garrisons merited redress I should not think it worth my mention—I only want to make the Country sensible, how ardently I have studied to promote her cause; & wish very sincerely my Successor may fill my place, more to their satisfaction in every respect than I have been able to do.

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2000 needed – “for real”

I mentioned in my last to your Honor, that I did not think a less number than 2,000 men wou’d be sufficient to defend our extensive and much exposed Frontiers, from the ravages of the enemy—I have not had one reason yet to alter my opinion, but many to strengthen and confirm it. and I flatter myself the Country will, when they know my determinations, be convinced that I have no sinister views, no vain motives of commanding a number of men—that urge me to recommend this number to your Honor; but that it proceeds from the knowledge I have acquired of the country, people, &c. to be defended.

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Your Honor I hope will give directions about laying in provisions on our southern frontiers; it is not in my power to do it, as I know not what Troops can or will be put there; for the Regiment is at present too weak to allow any men to march from the Quarter on which they are now stationed.11 I set out this day on my return to the Fort, on the head of Catawba, where Colonel Buchanan promised to meet me with a party to conduct me along our Frontiers, up Jackson’s-River to Fort-Dinwiddie, and higher if needful. If he does not meet me, I shall immediately proceed to Winchester, as it will be impossible to do any thing without men. If your Honor thinks proper to advance the pay of the militia, in order to engage them to work, please to acquaint Captain Hogg therewith, and send him money for that purpose: and were there more men ordered to cover his party, and assist in the work, it wou’d be highly advisable; for he lies greatly exposed. Major Lewis is extremely unwell—This Express is refered to your Honor for pay—I have not money to do it. I am hurried a good deal; but have given a plain account of all those several matters, mentioned in the foregoing Sheet. I am &c.

G:W.

LB, DLC:GW.

1. This was Capt. Samuel Harris’s fort on the Mayo River. See GW’s Proposal for Frontier Forts, enclosed in GW to Dinwiddie, 9 Nov. 1756.

2. For Andrew Lewis’s sojourn in the Cherokee country to build a fort and recruit warriors, see Dinwiddie to GW, 23 April 1756, n.6, and 20 Aug. 1756, n.1.

3GW wrote to Dinwiddie from Winchester on 9 Nov. 1756 giving further details of his journey. It was on 28 Sept. that GW wrote Dinwiddie of his planned departure.

4. John Buchanan (d. 1769), partner and son-in-law of the late Augusta county lieutenant James Patton, had led a company of rangers on the ill-fated Sandy Creek expedition earlier in the year. David Stewart (died c.1758), who had served as commissary in the Sandy Creek expedition, was a cousin of the influential Augusta pioneer John Lewis and his son Maj. Andrew Lewis. Thus the two contenders for the chief military command in the county were representatives of its two powerful opposing factions. Dinwiddie had already chosen to treat Col. John Buchanan and not Col. David Stewart (misspelled “Stwewart”) as chief militia officer in Augusta County. He wrote Peter Hog on 23 Aug. 1756: “I have recommended Colo. Buchanan to him [Clement Read] for Augusta Coty. I have a bad Opinion of Colo. Stewarts Conduct, & before he receives any Mony, I shall make a Strict Scrutiny into his Demands, & think it must go through Buchanan’s Hands” (ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers). See also Dinwiddie to Buchanan, 1 Nov. 1756, in Brock, Dinwiddie Papers description begins R. Alonzo Brock, ed. The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Virginia, 1751–1758. 2 vols. Richmond, 1883–84. description ends , 2:530–31.

5. Looney’s (Luney’s) ferry crossed the James River at the present town of Buchanan, near the mouth of Looney’s Mill Creek (now Looney Creek). Col. John Buchanan had just recently moved to this area. The ferry, formerly belonging to James Patton, was on the main Indian road from the south to Philadelphia.

William Preston (1729–1783), another participant in the Sandy Creek campaign, was the nephew and close associate of James Patton. At various times during the French and Indian War, Preston was given a commission by the governor to raise men for a ranger company to serve on the frontier. He was serving under one of these commissions, dated July 1755, when he built the fort on Catawba Creek variously called the Catawba fort, Preston’s fort, and Fort William. He completed the fort in the early fall of 1755, a few weeks after James Patton’s slaying and Braddock’s defeat. This fort covered the well-settled Catawba Valley and one of the principal Indian roads through the mountains.

In June 1757 a committee of the House of Burgesses declared that an “Account of Col. John Nash, for the Pay of a Company of Militia of Prince-Edward County, amounting to £.207 18. is just” (JHB description begins H. R. McIlwaine and John Pendleton Kennedy, eds. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia. 13 vols. Richmond, 1905–15. description ends , 1752–1755, 1756–1758, 484).

6. Captain Hunt may be Memican Hunt, who in 1759 “gave a treat on Behalf of Mr Read to a Company of Militia he formerly had commanded” (JHB description begins H. R. McIlwaine and John Pendleton Kennedy, eds. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia. 13 vols. Richmond, 1905–15. description ends , 1758–1761, 83). Lunenburg, formed in 1746, was one of the frontier counties that lay south and east of Augusta.

“An act for amending an act, intituled, An act for making provision against invasions and insurrections,” passed in August 1755, provided for the payment of 40 pounds of tobacco per day for all carpenters or other artificers (6 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 544–50). However, a more recent act entitled: “An Act for amending the several acts, for making provision against invasions and insurrections” was passed in the spring of 1756 putting the compensation at 3 shillings per day (7 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 26–33). The disgruntled militiamen had evidently not heard of the recent change in the law.

7. The name is clearly “Hoy” on the manuscript, but this is almost certainly an error by the letter-book copyist for “Hog.”

8. Bedford and Halifax counties were both formed from Lunenburg County in 1753 and 1752, respectively. Both counties lie to the south of Augusta County. The three forts in Halifax were built by Capt. Nathaniel Terry who held a commission dated 13 Aug. 1755 to raise a company of rangers in Lunenburg County. According to GW, Terry himself was in command of the fort on Blackwater River; a Captain Galloway commanded Fort Trial on Smith River (often mislabeled Irvine River on early maps); and Capt. Samuel Harris held the most southern in the chain of forts located on Mayo River. Since there were two Calloway brothers, William and Richard, who were captains in the Bedford County militia and a third Calloway brother, Thomas, who was a captain in the Halifax militia, “Galloway” was possibly GW’s or his copyist’s misspelling of Calloway.

9. The Preston Register description begins “A Register of the Persons who have been either Killed, Wounded or taken Prisoners by the Enemy in Augusta County, as also of such as have made their Escape.” William Preston Papers in Draper Collection, Wisconsin Historical Society. description ends reports John Robinson killed and John Walker captured, both on 12 Oct. near Vause’s fort.

10. James Daniel (died c.1761) of the Albemarle County militia lived a few miles below Scottsville on the James River.

11. Except for Capt. Peter Hog’s 1st company, the companies of the Virginia Regiment were stationed at Fort Cumberland or in Frederick and Hampshire counties.

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https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-03-02-0369

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Regarding the Fort in Halifax

known as Fort Mayo on North Mayo river emptying into the Dan River

or aka Samuel Harris’ Fort

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Patrick County was formed in 1791, when Patrick Henry County was divided into Patrick County and Henry County. Patrick Henry County was named for Patrick Henry, and was formed in 1777.

Prior to the formation of Patrick County, one of the Virginia colony’s first frontier forts lay within the boundaries of what was then Halifax County on the banks of the North Mayo River. The location of Fort Mayo, now marked by a Virginia state historic marker, lies within present-day Patrick County. One of a number of such forts built by Virginia colonists from the Potomac River south to North Carolina, it was commanded by Captain Samuel Harris in 1756, the year in which George Washington made a tour of Fort Mayo and several other forts on the Virginia frontier. Fort Mayo was the southernmost of the Virginia frontier forts and saw action during the French and Indian War (1754-1763) between the English and French and associated Native American allies.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_County%2C_Virginia#History

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https://books.google.com/books?id=3x4SAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA133&lpg=PA133&dq=Samuel+Harris%E2%80%99s+fort+on+the+Mayo+River&source=bl&ots=zkqG71Czvq&sig=ACfU3U0426B0diQsthR8f1Hw1Kg4qlDSSQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjzk9ns1pXhAhUFx1kKHb6GBQYQ6AEwDXoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=Samuel%20Harris%E2%80%99s%20fort%20on%20the%20Mayo%20River&f=false

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The claim of George Boyd for work done on Fort Mayo under Capt. Samuel Harris, 6 June 1770 ?

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https://books.google.com/books?id=0RpcjJQBm6AC&pg=PA196&lpg=PA196&dq=Samuel+Harris%E2%80%99s+fort+on+the+Mayo+River&source=bl&ots=aVZ9E0jlg1&sig=ACfU3U2T1cOjJROt5kLJLjzMJbHiplT4Fg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjzk9ns1pXhAhUFx1kKHb6GBQYQ6AEwC3oECAQQAQ#v=onepage&q=Samuel%20Harris%E2%80%99s%20fort%20on%20the%20Mayo%20River&f=false

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Historical Marker

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About three miles north stood Fort Mayo, commanded by Captain Samuel Harris in 1756 and visited in that year by Washington. This fort was the southernmost of the line of stockade forts built from the Potomac River to North Carolina as a frontier defense in the French and Indian War.

Erected 1939 by Virginia Conservation Commission. (Marker Number U-32.)

Location. 36° 36.206′ N, 80° 3.257′ W. Marker is near Spencer, Virginia, in Patrick County. Marker is at the intersection of Jeb Stuart Highway (U.S. 58) and Penn Store Road (County Route 629), on the right when traveling east on Jeb Stuart Highway. Touch for map. It is just west of the county line with Henry County. Marker is in this post office area: Spencer VA 24165, United States of America.

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https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=104593

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36° 36.206′ N, 80° 3.257′ W

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Google Car

https://goo.gl/maps/apF4TK85oS52

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http://www.markerhistory.com/frontier-fort-marker-u-32/

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https://books.google.com/books?id=Ek75KZ26-zwC&pg=PA165&lpg=PA165&dq=Samuel+Harris%E2%80%99s+fort+on+the+Mayo+River&source=bl&ots=IFtgUMNItT&sig=ACfU3U2GkU-gbeHq3NiYGvviQ0rdKCO0rw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjzk9ns1pXhAhUFx1kKHb6GBQYQ6AEwCXoECAUQAQ#v=onepage&q=Samuel%20Harris%E2%80%99s%20fort%20on%20the%20Mayo%20River&f=false

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[PDF]

Samuel Harris: Apostle of Virginia

libjournal.uncg.edu/jbc/article/download/20/9
by SD Bailess – ‎2010 – ‎Cited by 1 – ‎Related articles

Samuel Harris was a prominent member of society in Halifax, and later … preacher who deserves to take his place in Great Awakening history. …. founding, and became the minister to the first Separate Baptist church in Virginia, the Dan River … Burgess of Halifax County, colonel of the Virginia militia, captain of Fort Mayo, …

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Samuel Harris is distinctive because he was one of the earliest Baptist converts in

Virginia of education and high social status. The denomination had primarily appealed to the

common person’s desire for community based on equality, but as the revival spread, many of the

rural gentry began to embrace the new faith. Born on a Pamunkey River plantation in Hanover

County on January 12, 1724, Harris migrated to the portion of Lunenburg County that later

became Halifax County and in 1767 formed part of Pittsylvania County. Semple named him a

man of respectable parentage and considerable education, who became a respected member of

the community while still in his twenties. In 1748, he patented land on Sandy River at the

headwaters of Strawberry Creek. In the course of his life, his plantation grew to nearly five

thousand acres. In 1752, when Halifax County formed from Lunenburg County, Harris was

appointed justice of the peace and sheriff. It was the practice of the colonial government to form

new parishes under the Church of England as the established religion when new counties were

constituted. Antrim Parish was formed in conjunction with Halifax County and Harris took the

oath as one of its first vestryman with the attendant responsibilities of caring for the poor of the

parish and marking the boundaries of the county. In addition to these titles, Harris also served as

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Burgess of Halifax County, colonel of the Virginia militia, captain of Fort Mayo, and

commissary for the forts on the Virginia frontier in the French and Indian War. 10

As an Anglican, Harris developed a seriousness for the study of the Bible, and became

convicted of his sinful nature. In 1758 and 1759, the militia staffed the frontier forts of Mayo,

Trial, and Hickey’s with Harris serving as captain of Fort Mayo and commissary to all three. In

the course of his duties, he took the opportunity to attend Baptist preaching being held in a small

house in his search to find internal peace. Early Baptist historian, Robert Semple, recorded

Harris’ conversion experience:

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Page 23 Fort Mayo with 3 other forts mentioned

During the French and Indian War, which began in 1752, forts were built in what was then the western part of the county: Fort Trial at Reed Creek (west of Martinsville), Fort Mayo and Fort Hickey. The Indian tribes that had once occupied the area had retreated from Halifax County prior to the formation of the county.

https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/pdf_files/SpecialCollections/HA-064_HalifaxCountySurvey_2008_HSPC_report.pdf

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From George Washington

to Robert Dinwiddie,

9 November 1756


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To Robert Dinwiddie

[Winchester, 9 November 1756]

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To The Honble Robert Dinwiddie Esquire Governor of Virginia.
Honble Sir,

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Route taken

In mine from Hallifax I promised your Honour a particular detail of my remarks and observations, upon the situation of our Frontiers, when I arrived at this place.1 Altho’ I was pretty explicit in my former, I can not avoid recapitulating part of the subject now: as my duty, and its importance for redress, are strong motives. From Fort-Trial, on Smith’s river, I returned to Fort-William, on Cuttawba,2 where I met Colonel Buchanan with about 30 men (chiefly officers) to conduct me up Jackson’s-river, along the range of forts.3

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Noisy Militia

With this small company of Irregulars; with whom order, regularity, circumspection and vigilance were matters of derision and contempt, we set out; and by the protection of Providence, reached Augusta Court-house in 7 days, without meeting the enemy;4 otherwise we must have fallen a Sacrifice, thro’ the indiscretion of these hooping, hallooing, Gentlemen-Soldiers!

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3 Observations

This Jaunt afforded me great opportunity  of seeing the

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bad regulation of the militia;

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the disorderly proceedings of the Garrisons;

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and the unhappy circumstances of the Inhabitants

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Militia Discipline

—First,

of the militia: The difficulty of collecting them upon any emergency whatever, I have often spoken of as grievous; and appeal to sad experience, both in this & other counties, how great a disadvantage it is: the enemy having every opportunity to plunder, kill & escape, before they can afford any assistance. And not to mention the expensiveness of their service in general, I can instance several cases, where a Captain, Lieutenant, and I may add an Ensign, with two or three Sergeants, and six or eight men, will go upon duty at a time. The proportion of expence, in this case, is so unjust & obvious, your Honor wants not to be proved.

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Time and Money spent on marching to and from Duty

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Then these men when raised, are to be continued only one month on duty, half of which time is lost in their marching out and home (especially those from the adjacent counties) who must be on duty sometime before they reach their Stations; by which means double sets of men are in pay at the same time and for the same Service.

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Again, the waste of provision they make is unaccountable; no method or order, in being served, or purchasing at the best rates; but quite the reverse. Allowance for each man as other Soldiers do, they look upon as the highest indignity; and wou’d sooner starve, than carry a few days provision on their backs for conveniency. But upon their march when breakfast is wanted, knock down the first Beef, &c. they meet with, and after regaling, march on until Dinner—then take the same method; and so for supper likewise, to the great oppression of the people.

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Or if they chance to impress cattle for provision, the valuation is left to ignorant and indifferent neighbours who have suffered by those practises, and, despairing of their pay, exact high prices—and thus the public is imposed on at all events.

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I might add I believe that, for the want of proper Laws to govern the militia by (for I can not ascribe it to any other cause;) they are obstinate, self-willed, perverse; of little or no service to the people, and very burthensome to the Country: Every mean individual has his own crude notion of things, and must undertake to direct.

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If his advice is neglected, he thinks himself slighted, abased and injured; and, to redress his wrongs, will depart for his home. These, Sir, are literally matters of fact; partly from persons of undoubted veracity, but chiefly from my own observations.

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Garrisons in the Fort

Secondly;

Concerning the Garrisons—I found them very weak for want of men; but more so by indolence and irregularity. None I saw in a posture of defence, and few that might not be surprized with the greatest ease.

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Fort Dickinson

An instance of this appeared at Dickinson’s Fort, where the Indians ran down, caught several children playing under the walls, and had got to the gate, before they were discovered.

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Fort Vauss

Was not Vass’s fort surprized, and a good many souls lost, in the same manner?5

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No Guard

They keep no Guard but just when the enemy is about; and are under fearful apprehensions of them. Nor ever stir out of the forts from the time they reach them, ’till relieved on their month being expired: at which time they march off, be the event as it will. So that the neighbourhood may be ravaged by the Enemy, and they not the wiser.

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Of the ammunition

they are as careless as of the provision, firing it away frequently at Targets for wagers. On our journey, as we approached one of their forts, we heard a quick fire for several minutes, and concluded for certain, that they were attacked, so marched in the best manner to their relief; but when we came up, found they were diverting at marks.

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These men afford no assistance to the unhappy Settlers,

who are drove from their plantations either in securing their Harvests, or gathering in their corn.

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Lt Bullet and Andrew? Lewis

Lt Bullet, commanding at Fort Cumberland,6 sent to Major Lewis of Albermarle, who commanded a party of 60 militia at Millers, about 15 miles above him, where were also 30 men of Augusta, for some men to join his small parties to gather the corn. Major Lewis refused assistance, and wou’d not divide his men. I wrote to him, but got no answer.7 Mr Bullet has done what he cou’d with his few; not quite 30. Of the many forts I passed by, I saw but one or two that had their captains present—they being absent chiefly on their own business; and had given leave to several of the men to do the same: yet these persons, I will venture to say, will charge the country their full months pay.

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Back Country Inhabitants Wretched, Afraid

3ly—

The wretched and unhappy situation of the inhabitants needs few words, after a slight reflection the preceding circumstances; which must certainly draw after them very melancholy consequences without speedy redress. They are truly sensible of their misery.

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They feel their insecurity from militia preservation, who are slow in coming to their assistance; indifferent about their preservation; unwilling to continue, and regardless of every thing but their own ease.

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In short they are so affected with approaching ruin, that the whole back-country is in a general motion towards the Southern colonies—and I expect that scarce a family will inhabit Frederick, Hamp[s]hire or Augusta, in a little time.8

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They petitioned me in the most earnest manner for companies of the Regiment—But alas! it is not in my power to assist them with any, except I leave this dangerous Quarter more exposed than they are.

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I promised at their particular request, to address your Honor and the Assembly in their behalf; and that a regular force may be established in lieu of the militia and Ranging Companies; which are of much less service, and infinitely more cost to the Country. Were this done, the whole would be under one direction, and any misbehaviour could never pass with impunity.

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Whereas the others are Soldiers at will; and in fact will go & come when and where they please, without regarding the orders or directions of any.

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And indeed the manner in which some of the Ranging Captains have obtained their commissions, if I am rightly informed, is by imposture and artifice. They produ[c]e a list, I am told, to your Honor, of sundry persons who are willing to serve under them, one part of those, it is said, are fictitious names another, the names of persons who never saw the list and the remainder are persons drawn into it by fallacious promises, that can not be complied with without detriment to the Service9

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—But were it otherwise; surely any person who considers the pay of the Soldiers and that of the militia, will find a considerable difference, tho’ both under the best regulations.10 As defensive measures are evidently insufficient for the security and safety of the country;

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Offense is the Better Solution

I hope no arguments are requisite to convince of the necessity of altering them to a vigorous offensive war, in order to remove the cause.

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The Defensive Plan

But, shou’d the Assembly still indulge that favourite scheme of protecting the Inhabitants by Forts along the Frontiers in which many of them too put their dependance—and as the building of these forts has been encouraged and confirmed by an act of assembly—I take the liberty to present your Honor with a plan of the number of Forts, and strength necessary to each, reaching entirely across our frontiers from north to south. This plan is calculated upon the most moderate & easy terms for sparing the Country expences, and I believe with tolerable propriety to answer the wished-for design of protecting the Settlers. Besides, most of the forts are already built by the country people or Soldiers, and require but little improvement—save one or two, as Dickinsons and Cockes’s. Your Honor will see Fort Cumberland excluded here.11

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The advantage of having the militia in Augusta &c. under one command, I have already hinted, and I think Major Lewis should have your Honor’s orders to take that duty in hand; with directions and orders to secure those important passes of Dickinson and Vass’s, by building a Fort in the neighbourhood of Dickinsons—or by other means—and were it practicable to get the people to assemble in little towns contiguous to these Forts; it would contribute much to their mutual peace and safety, during the continuance of the Indian War.12

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The Augusta people complain greatly for want of money.

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The other day eleven Indians of the Catawba tribe came here:13 and we undoubtedly might have had more of them, had the proper means been used, to send trusty guides to invite & conduct them to us; but this is neglected.

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One Matthew Tool makes his boast of stopping them, until he shall be handsomely rewarded for bringing them: and Major Lewis can inform your Honor, of one Bemer, who uses every method to hinder the Cherokees from coming to our assistance—Complaint shou’d be made to Governor Littleton of these persons.14

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Indian Goods are much wanted to reward the Catawba’s, and encourage them to our Service. In what manner are they to be paid for scalps? Are our Soldiers entitled to the reward like indifferent people? It is a tedious & expensive way to defer payment, until proved & sent to your Honor.15

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Your Honor and the Assembly should determine these points, and many others very essential—Vizt A Proper method of paying rewards for taking up Deserters; the present being much discouraging in delaying payment until Courts of claims, &c.—Means to replace the Drafts that must be discharged in December16—ascertaining the pay of workmen employed on all public works—or empowering the commanding Officer to agree on the cheapest terms with them—How the Servants enlisted for the Virginia Regiment, are to be paid for? We have already recruited fifty odd, and are daily dunned for payment by the masters.

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A Report prevails to my great surprize tho’ disbelief—that your Honor had told some persons who applied to you for satisfaction for their Servants, that I had no orders to enlist any. This false rumour occasions very strange reflections—and must make me appear in a very unjust light to the world. I have therefore desisted from recruiting, until your Honor directs me in what manner those already got, are to be satisfied: and I beg your Honor wou’d give me immediate advice on the affair: as the people are impatient, and threaten us with prosecutions from all Quarters.17

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Your Honor has herewith a copy of the council of war, held in behalf of Fort Cumberland; in which the arguments are justly & fully laid down both with regard to Virginia in particular, and in general, as to the three Colonies: whose mutual interest highly concerns, and shou’d be by them equitably supported. On the back of the copy are my sentiments on the matter, candidly offered your Honor—and to your Honor I leave the determination of this important affair with the officers of the council.18

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Get rid of Dr Thomas Walker as Commissary

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I have frequently wrote your Honor, desiring you would appoint a Commissary in lieu of Mr Walker, who has declined acting and been absent for many months: but as I never had your Honors answer, I have in consequence of your first & since repeated instructions, made choice of a person, who I believe will do that duty with every necessary diligence and care; & hope your Honor will approve my proceeding.19

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The £100 paid Colonel Stephen of the Rangers money (by Colonel Fairfax) have already been accounted for to the committee. I have since received from Colo. Fairfax £68.13.9 on the countrys credit, and to be settled with my other accompts.20

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Chaplain

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As touching a Chaplain—If the Government will grant a subsistance we can readily get a person of merit to accept of the place, without giving the Commissary any trouble on that point: as it is highly necessary we shou’d be reformed from those crimes and enormities we are so universally accused of.21

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Your Honour has had advice of two Spies that were taken at Fort Cumberland; one of whom they quickly hung up as his just reward, being a Deserter; the other was sent to Governor Sharpe, to give information of the infernal practices followed by some of the Priests of that province, in holding correspondence with our Enemy.22 I am Honble Sir, &c.

G:W.

Winchester, Novr 9th 1756.

N.B. I am just setting out for Fort Cumberland.

LBDLC:GW.

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1GW wrote from Halifax County on the North Carolina border on 10 Oct. 1756 a long letter in which he gave Dinwiddie an account of his tour of the frontier up to that point, eleven days after leaving Winchester.

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Fort Trial

2. Smith River runs south through present-day Martinsville into the Dan River below the North Carolina line. On 10 Oct. 1756 GW described (to Dinwiddie) Fort Trial as being “in a very out-of-the-way place,” and in his Proposal for Frontier Forts, enclosed in this letter, he indicates that it was commanded by a Captain Galloway. For the possibility that this may be Calloway, see GW to Robert Dinwiddie, 10 Oct. 1756, n.8. Catawba Creek flows north into the James River in then Bedford (now Botetourt) County.

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Fort William,

often called Preston’s fort or the Catawba fort,

was designed to protect the well-settled Catawba Valley and was on one of the principal Indian roads through the mountains. It was probably located east of the creek shortly after the road from North Carolina crossed the Catawba. According to a council of war held in Augusta County on 27 July 1756, Fort William was adequate to guard the important pass where it stood (see GW to Dinwiddie, 4 Aug. 1756, n.32).

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3. For the four forts on Jackson River,

see GW’s Proposal for Frontier Forts enclosed in this letter. John Buchanan, who lived on the James River in Augusta County at Looney’s ferry, was acting as chief military officer in the county. See GW to Dinwiddie, 10 Oct. 1756.

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4. GW seems not to have left Augusta Court House (Staunton) until 5 Oct., and he probably got back from his tour to the south not long before 20 Oct. 1756.

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5. For this incident, see Dinwiddie to GW, 12 July 1756, n.2.

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6. Either GW or the person who copied his corrected letter books (see the Preface in volume 1 of the Colonial Series in this edition of GW’s Papers) mistakenly wrote Cumberland for Dinwiddie.

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Thomas Bullitt, who was promoted from ensign to lieutenant when Dinwiddie and GW organized the new Virginia Regiment in September 1755, replaced John McNeill as lieutenant in Capt. Peter Hog’s company at Fort Dinwiddie on Jackson River in late summer 1756.

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Bullitt served as lieutenant in the company until GW relieved Hog of his command in the summer of 1757, when Bullitt assumed command pending the arrival of Maj. Andrew Lewis to whom GW assigned the 1st company. See GW to Hog and GW to Thomas Bullitt, both 24 July 1757. When GW was at Fort Dinwiddie in October, Captain Hog was away supervising the rebuilding of Vause’s fort to the south on the South Fork of the Roanoke River.

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7. See GW to David Lewis, Jr., 18 Oct. 1756. Capt. John Miller’s fort was on Jackson River (see Hog to GW, 14 May 1756, n.3).

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8. Frederick and Hampshire were the two frontier counties to the north of Augusta County. Fort Loudoun at Winchester, which was still under construction, was in Frederick County. Many of the settlers, especially the Germans, fled south into the German settlements in North Carolina.

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9. For the actions Dinwiddie took to put a stop to these alleged abuses by the frontier militia officers, see Dinwiddie to Andrew Lewis, 15 [13] Nov., 17 Dec., 23 Dec. 1756, and to Clement Read, 24 Nov. 1756, all in Brock, Dinwiddie Papers, 2:551, 566–67, 569, 557–58.

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The Military Pay

10. The pay of a private soldier in the Virginia Regiment was 8d. per day; that of a private in the militia on active duty, 1s. For the pay scale of the Virginia Regiment, see Present Establishment of the Virginia Regiment with the Pay of Each Officer &c., Enclosure II, in GW to Dinwiddie, 16 April 1756; for militia pay, see “An Act for amending the several acts, for making provision against invasions and insurrections . . .” (7 Hening 26–33).

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11. GW began agitating for the withdrawal of Virginia troops from Fort Cumberland at Wills Creek on the Potomac in Maryland soon after he took command of the new Virginia Regiment in September 1755 following Braddock’s defeat. For the latest development in GW’s ultimately successful campaign to turn responsibility for the fort over to the colony of Maryland, see the references in n.18. The largest single concentration of soldiers in the Virginia Regiment were still being stationed at Fort Cumberland, and GW’s second in command, Lt. Col. Adam Stephen, who had been at Fort Cumberland almost continuously since the Braddock campaign, was the senior officer at the fort.

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12. Dinwiddie moved promptly to have Maj. Andrew Lewis, third in command in the Virginia Regiment, to take over the direction of the Augusta militia. See note 9.

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Capt Johnny of the Catawba

13. The party of Catawba Indians under Captain Johnny were in Winchester by 28 Oct. (see Orders, 27, 28 Oct. 1756) and were on a scouting expedition near Fort Duquesne in November (see Dinwiddie to GW, 27 Dec. 1756, n.5, and GW to Dinwiddie, 24 May 1757, n.1). The Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia), 6 Jan. 1757, printed an extract of a letter from Lancaster, Pa., 1 Jan. 1757, “with an Account that eight Catawba’s and five white Men, had been . . . about a Mile from Fort Du Quesne, where they attacked an Indian Cabbin, and killed and scalped four Indians. . . . they crossed Monongahela, and went down towards the Fort, near which they fell in with about a Hundred Shawanese and Delawares, with whom they engaged some Time, but were at last oblidged to run off. They left three white Men and two Indians, dead.” The surviving Catawba left Fort Cumberland near the end of December for Williamsburg and then home (Pennsylvania Gazette [Philadelphia], 10 Mar. 1757).

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14. Capt. Raymond Demeré of one of the independent companies stationed in South Carolina wrote to the new governor, William Henry Lyttelton, on 11 April 1757:

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“There was some Suspicion that [James] Beamer endeavoured to prevent the Indians going to Virginia with Major [Andrew] Lewis while we were at Keowee, and at the Time that Major Lewis was there, Major Lewis and Lieut. [Robert] Wall upbraided him concerning the same which is the first I ever heard of it. Beamer denyed to those Gentlemen that he had ever spoken Words tending to prevent the Indians going to Virginia, but I believe there was some Thing in it, as his Son-in-Law, a young Indian Warriour was a going and mentioned Beamer’s Disapprobation” (McDowell, S.C. Indian Affairs, 1754–1765, 365–67).

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James Beamer was an important South Carolina Indian trader and interpreter. Matthew Toole, another South Carolinian, was used as an interpreter for the Catawba. For Andrew Lewis’s trip to the Cherokee country in the summer of 1756 to build a fort there and to recruit a party of Indians to join GW, see particularly Dinwiddie to GW, 20 Aug. 1756, n.1, and GW to Adam Stephen, 6 Sept. 1756, n.4.

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15. The assembly in April 1757 increased the reward for taking the scalp of any hostile male Indian over the age of twelve from £10 to £15 but failed to simplify the procedure for submitting claims for the reward to the governor in Williamsburg (6 Hening 550–52; 7 Hening 121–23).

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16. See Memorandum, 4 Dec. 1756, for the release of the men drafted, and note 1 of that document for reference to the draft held in May 1756.

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17. For references to the drafting of servants, see especially John McNeill to GW, 31 Oct. 1756, and GW to McNeill, 7 Dec. 1756.

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19. Dr. Thomas Walker (1715–1794),

noted land speculator and explorer, of Castle Hill in Albemarle County, became commissary for the Virginia Regiment in October 1755 but had “declined” serving any longer as early as 28 Sept. 1756 (see GW to Dinwiddie, that date). For Dinwiddie’s rejection of GW’s choice to succeed Walker, William Ramsay of Alexandria (with perhaps John Carlyle), see Dinwiddie to GW, 15 Dec. 1756.

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20. The Virginia Regimental Accounts 1755–58 (DLC:GW) contain the following entries under Adam Stephen’s name: “Feby 28 [1756] To Money Sent you by Coll Geo. W. Fairfax to pay the 2 Compas. of Rangers—[£]100,” and “July 12 [1756] By Amount of your Accot paid the two Companies Rangers and for Sundrie other disbursements for the use of the Country from Jany 1st to this date . . . [£]133.11.7½.” On 20 Oct. 1756 the accounts also show a payment of £68 13s. 9d. to GW from Col. George William Fairfax of “Rangers money.” For more on the pay and disbandment of Ashby’s and Cocks’s ranger companies, see GW to Dinwiddie, 4 Aug. 1756, n.20.

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Chaplain

21GW wrote to Dinwiddie, 23 Sept. 1756, of the desirability of having a chaplain for the Virginia Regiment. Thomas Dawson as commissary in Virginia acted for the bishop of London in the colony. The accusations of “crimes and enormities” were made by the Virginia-Centinel No. X published in the Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg) in September (see especially John Kirkpatrick to GW, 22 Sept. 1756, n.2).

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Irish Papist Deserter

22. Adam Stephen reported to Gov. Horatio Sharpe on 25 Oct. 1756 that on 19 Oct. a party of soldiers from Fort Cumberland “took Prisoner an Irish Papist that had deserted thence to the Enemy about 3 Weeks before & was now come back as a Guide to a party that was advancing towards our Settlements” (Sharpe to Baltimore, 1 Nov. 1756, in Browne, Sharpe Correspondence, 1:501–505).

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At about the same time a young man calling himself William Johnson came into the fort and explained that he “had been taken Prisoner by a party of Indians some time before and carried off by them from the Frontiers as other poor Wretches had been.” After Johnson was allowed to leave Fort Cumberland with a party of soldiers going down the Potomac to Thomas Cresap’s place, the “Irish Papist” prisoner was hanged.

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Before he was hanged,

however, he identified Johnson as another guide for the party coming to attack the English settlements. Johnson told his traveling companions and repeated to Capt. John Dagworthy that he had gone over to the French in 1754 at the urging of a Roman Catholic priest in Baltimore County. He repeated this in a statement that he made before Justice of the Peace Thomas Cresap and in a statement he made before Governor Sharpe and two councilors at Annapolis. Johnson’s testimony implicated not only the priest but also a number of Marylanders, and in a hearing held by the Maryland council on 29 Nov. 1756, these men refuted Johnson’s tale and established that “Johnson” was in fact an itinerant farm worker named William Marshall who had no connection with Catholics or Catholicism.

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Johnson is really Marshall

Marshall then confessed that he had deserted from Fort Cumberland in January 1756. He claimed that after leaving the fort he was forced to work as a servant first by an Indian and then by the French at Fort Duquesne until his escape nine days before his arrival atFort Cumberland. For the testimony of Johnson (Marshall) and those he accused of complicity in his defection, see 13, 29 Nov. 1756 in Browne, Proceedings of Md. Council, 1753–1761, 161–79.

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https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-04-02-0001-0001

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Fort Trial


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Google car goes by the Fort Trial historical marker

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https://goo.gl/maps/rpVMsf8VnEP2

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Longitude Latitude

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36.74313, -79.93688

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Colonel George Washington on October 10, 1756 writes from Fort Mayo to Lt Gov Dinwiddie, mentioning Fort Trial being unnecessarily located in a non-strategic place.

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Link to letter

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https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-04-02-0001-0001

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“In mine from Hallifax (This is Fort Mayo in old Halifax County) writes Washington in a county formed May 1752.

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See date and map of old Halifax County here.

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https://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/map/map.html#VA

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To see Fort Mayo historical marker near where GW wrote the letter:

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https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1trymtX5rGYDjQ_tYJUvv63wqc1M&ll=36.603433333333356%2C-80.05428333333333&z=18

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To see Fort Trial  historical marker nearby:

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https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1trymtX5rGYDjQ_tYJUvv63wqc1M&ll=36.743133333333354%2C-79.9368833333333&z=18

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Back to the letter  Colonel George Washington on October 10, 1756 writes from Fort Mayo to Lt Gov Dinwiddie, mentioning Fort Trial being unnecessarily located in a non-strategic place.

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Link to letter

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https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-04-02-0001-0001

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“In mine from Hallifax (This is Fort Mayo in old Halifax County) I promised your Honour a particular detail of my remarks and observations, upon the situation of our Frontiers, when I arrived at this place.1 Altho’ I was pretty explicit in my former, I can not avoid recapitulating part of the subject now: as my duty, and its importance for redress, are strong motives. From Fort-Trial, on Smith’s river, I returned to Fort-William, on Cuttawba,2 where I met Colonel Buchanan with about 30 men (chiefly officers) to conduct me up Jackson’s-river, along the range of forts.3

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“Vass’s place is a pass of very great importance, being a very great inroad of the enemy, and secure, if it was strongly garrisoned. All Bedford, and the greatest part of this County, notwithstanding they have built three forts here, and one of them, if no more, erected in my opinion in a very out-of-the-way place—This they call Fort Trial”

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Founders online footnotes:

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Fort Trial

2. Smith River runs south through present-day Martinsville into the Dan River below the North Carolina line. On 10 Oct. 1756 GW described (to Dinwiddie) Fort Trial as being “in a very out-of-the-way place,” and in his Proposal for Frontier Forts, enclosed in this letter, he indicates that it was commanded by a Captain Galloway. For the possibility that this may be Calloway, see GW to Robert Dinwiddie, 10 Oct. 1756, n.8. Catawba Creek flows north into the James River in then Bedford (now Botetourt) County.

.

Fort William,

often called Preston’s fort or the Catawba fort,

was designed to protect the well-settled Catawba Valley and was on one of the principal Indian roads through the mountains. It was probably located east of the creek shortly after the road from North Carolina crossed the Catawba. According to a council of war held in Augusta County on 27 July 1756, Fort William was adequate to guard the important pass where it stood (see GW to Dinwiddie, 4 Aug. 1756, n.32).

.

3. For the four forts on Jackson River,

see GW’s Proposal for Frontier Forts enclosed in this letter. John Buchanan, who lived on the James River in Augusta County at Looney’s ferry, was acting as chief military officer in the county. See GW to Dinwiddie, 10 Oct. 1756.

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The link to the footnotes and the letter

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https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-04-02-0001-0001

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Historical Marker

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Inscription. 
Fort Trial, constructed in 1756, once stood nearby overlooking the Smith River. It was one in a series of forts authorized by the General Assembly to be built on the frontier to protect settlers from Indians during the French and Indian War. The square fort was made of twenty-foot split timbers erected close together. Four feet of timber were buried in the earth and the walls were about sixteen feet high. George Washington visited Fort Trial in 1756. It was abandoned near the end of the eighteenth century when hostilities between colonists and Indians had subsided.

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Erected 2000 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number A-54.)

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Location. 36° 44.588′ N, 79° 56.213′ W. Marker is in Stanleytown, Virginia, in Henry County. Marker is on Virginia Avenue (U.S. 220) north of Fairystone Park Hwy (Virginia Route 57), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Stanleytown VA 24168, United States of America.

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https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=63197

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.

.

 

I promised your Honour a particular detail of my remarks and observations, upon the situation of our Frontiers, when I arrived at this place.1 Altho’ I was pretty explicit in my former, I can not avoid recapitulating part of the subject now: as my duty, and its importance for redress, are strong motives. From Fort-Trial, on Smith’s river, I returned to Fort-William, on Cuttawba,2 where I met Colonel Buchanan with about 30 men (chiefly officers) to conduct me up Jackson’s-river, along the range of forts.3

.

“Vass’s place is a pass of very great importance, being a very great inroad of the enemy, and secure, if it was strongly garrisoned. All Bedford, and the greatest part of this County, notwithstanding they have built three forts here, and one of them, if no more, erected in my opinion in a very out-of-the-way place—This they call Fort Trial”

.

Founders online footnotes:

.

Fort Trial

2. Smith River runs south through present-day Martinsville into the Dan River below the North Carolina line. On 10 Oct. 1756 GW described (to Dinwiddie) Fort Trial as being “in a very out-of-the-way place,” and in his Proposal for Frontier Forts, enclosed in this letter, he indicates that it was commanded by a Captain Galloway. For the possibility that this may be Calloway, see GW to Robert Dinwiddie, 10 Oct. 1756, n.8. Catawba Creek flows north into the James River in then Bedford (now Botetourt) County.

.

Fort William,

often called Preston’s fort or the Catawba fort,

was designed to protect the well-settled Catawba Valley and was on one of the principal Indian roads through the mountains. It was probably located east of the creek shortly after the road from North Carolina crossed the Catawba. According to a council of war held in Augusta County on 27 July 1756, Fort William was adequate to guard the important pass where it stood (see GW to Dinwiddie, 4 Aug. 1756, n.32).

.

3. For the four forts on Jackson River,

see GW’s Proposal for Frontier Forts enclosed in this letter. John Buchanan, who lived on the James River in Augusta County at Looney’s ferry, was acting as chief military officer in the county. See GW to Dinwiddie, 10 Oct. 1756.

.

The link to the footnotes and the letter

.

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-04-02-0001-0001

.

.

Historical Marker

.

Inscription. 
Fort Trial, constructed in 1756, once stood nearby overlooking the Smith River. It was one in a series of forts authorized by the General Assembly to be built on the frontier to protect settlers from Indians during the French and Indian War. The square fort was made of twenty-foot split timbers erected close together. Four feet of timber were buried in the earth and the walls were about sixteen feet high. George Washington visited Fort Trial in 1756. It was abandoned near the end of the eighteenth century when hostilities between colonists and Indians had subsided.

.
Erected 2000 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number A-54.)

.
Location. 36° 44.588′ N, 79° 56.213′ W. Marker is in Stanleytown, Virginia, in Henry County. Marker is on Virginia Avenue (U.S. 220) north of Fairystone Park Hwy (Virginia Route 57), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Stanleytown VA 24168, United States of America.

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https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=63197

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Captain John Miller fort


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https://www.ancestry.com/boards/localities.northam.usa.states.virginia.counties.bath/792/mb.ashx

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https://www.ancestry.com/boards/SearchResults.aspx?dir=forward&sortKey=CIAAIf0AFWSq&pOff=3&gskw=USA%20Va%20Dinwiddie&ti=0&ti.si=0&rank=0&gss=mb&db=mb&application=public&filter=0&utype=Admin&hc=50

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page 82

A council of war held at Staunton, July 27, 1756, decided in fa-
vor of placing a garrison of 30 men at Miller’s Fort, and 60 at Fort
Dinwiddie. Miller’s Fort stood 15 miles up Jackson’s River from
Fort Dinwiddie. Forts Breckenridge and Dinwiddie, the former 13
miles from Dinwiddie and 13 from Dickenson, were deemed properly
protected by the men already there.

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Of the Indian raids into Bath, the earliest we can locate took
place near the middle of September, 1756. Within or very near the
present county limits, and mainly along Jackson’s River, nine men,
one woman, and three children were killed, and two men were
wounded. Among the slain were Ensign Humphrey Madison, John
Byrd, Nicholas Carpenter, James Mayse, and James Montgomery.
Joseph Carpenter, David Galloway, and a Mrs. McConnell were
captured, but got away. Mrs. Byrd, Mrs. George Kincaid, Mrs.
Persinger, and 25 boys and girls were taken to the Indian towns in
Ohio. Among the children were six Byrds, five Carpenters, and two
Persingers.

.

During this raid occurred the first attack on Fort Dickenson.
Captain Dickenson was absent at a general muster. When Wash-
ington came along, about seven weeks later, he remarks that the
stockade was in need of improvement. He also remarks that at the
time of the attack, the Indians crept close to the enclosure without
being discovered and captured several children.

.

A council of war the same year advised stationing 250 men at
Fort Dickenson, 100 at Fort Dinwiddie, and 40 at each of the other
forts, Breckenridge and Christian. The only way to have secured
garrisons of such strength was to bring soldiers from east of the Blue
Ridge.

.

In the summer of 1757 Fort Dickenson was invested a second
time. Again Dickenson was absent, and again there was negligence
on the part of the defenders. The approach of the Indians was first
known by seeing the cattle of John McClung running toward the
fort with arrows sticking in their backs. Several boys had gone out-
side the stockade to gather wild plums and they were captured. Among
them was Arthur Campbell, a militiaman of 15 years who later on
became prominent in the annals of southwest Virginia. A girl named
Krwin moulded bullets for the men in the fort. Governor Dinwid-
die, always swift to find fault, scolded Dickenson for being away and
ordered Major Andrew Lewis to garrison the post with 70 men.

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https://archive.org/stream/annalsofbathcoun00mort/annalsofbathcoun00mort_djvu.txt

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https://www.northamericanforts.com/East/vanorwest.html#high

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_forts_in_Washington_County,_Pennsylvania#Miller’s_Blockhouse

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https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1EKKP_enUS791US791&ei=EmCZXKZhqK3nAsuampAG&q=Miller%27s+Fort+in+Virginia+historical+marker&oq=Miller%27s+Fort+in+Virginia+historical+marker&gs_l=psy-ab.3..33i299l2.25372.29710..30020…0.0..0.249.2047.6j11j1……0….1..gws-wiz…….0i71j35i39j33i22i29i30j33i10j33i160.3LN8wkwfdWo

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http://rhodesfamily.org/getperson.php?personID=I6165&tree=carls

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https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/4242885.pdf

.

.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Lewis,_Virginia

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FORT DICKENSON


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Google Car To Fort Dickinson Historical Sign

Rte. 42, 900 feet north of intersection with Boones

https://goo.gl/maps/c7CwXictXKv

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Bath County about all the forts

https://archive.org/stream/annalsofbathcoun00mort/annalsofbathcoun00mort_djvu.txt

.

Fort Dickinson. . The site was about one-half mile north of the river. This was one of a chain of frontier forts ordered erected by the Virginia legislature early in 1756. The chain extended from Hampshire County (now West Virginia) to Patrick County on the North Carolina Border. These forts were established under the supervision of Colonel George Washington, who made an inspection tour of the chain. This fort was attacked by Indians at least once in 1756 and again the next year. . This historical marker was erected in 1951 by Virginia State Library. It is Near Millboro Springs in Bath County Virginia

 The site was about one-half mile north of the river. This was one of a chain of frontier forts ordered erected by the Virginia legislature early in 1756. The chain extended from Hampshire County (now West Virginia) to Patrick County on the North Carolina Border. These forts were established under the supervision of Colonel George Washington, who made an inspection tour of the chain. This fort was attacked by Indians at least once in 1756 and again the next year.

Erected 1951 by Virginia State Library. (Marker Number KB-75.)

Location. 37° 58.342′ N, 79° 39.695′ W. Marker is near Millboro Springs, Virginia, in Bath County. Marker is on Cowpasture River Highway (Virginia Route 42) south of Mountain Valley Road (Virginia Route 39), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Millboro VA 24460, United States of America

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https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=77510

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From 1753 until 1758 when the British established control over Indian attacks, George Washington was responsible for the protection of hundreds of miles of Virginia frontier settlements of which Bath County was included. Washington visited Bath County in 1755-56 in order to tour the fortified homes and forts that had been built to offer settlers protection from Indians defending their hunting lands.

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An historical mile marker identifies the presumed location of Ft. Dickinson on the Cowpasture as archeological evidence does not exist. One can only stand on the road overlooking the valley and guess as to which knoll would have provided a defensible position against attack.

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Begin this drive in Millboro Springs at the intersection of Routes 39 and 42. Go south on Rt.42 to the historical marker for the fort.

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Adam Dickson came to the river valley in 1744 taking up 1,000 acres on the Cowpasture. His son John was an Indian fighter for 25 years, his family lands lying on the Shawnee path back to the Ohio.

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The Fort also became a meeting point for settlers and travelers heading west and a trading post for hunters and trappers coming from the Indian territory.

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NIMROD HALL

Continuing driving south on Route 42 where just beyond the Ft. Dickinson marker is Nimrod Hall, one of the few remaining buildings in Bath County with an 18th century log portion.

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Continue on Rt 42 into Alleghany County, west on 64/Rt60; exit Rt.629 north to Douthat State Park which is located in both Alleghany and Bath Counties. Developed in the 1930’s as a Civilian Conservation Corps project, Douthat has a lovely lake with a sand beach, hiking trails and eating facilities. Take Route 629 out of the park which will return you through bucolic farmland and national forest to Rt. 39.

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https://www.virginia.org/listings/SuggestedItinerary/TheCowpastureFtDickinsonandDouthatStateParkTour/

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Fort Dickinson historical marker

http://photos.historical-markers.org/Virginia/Bath-County/VA-KB75-Fort-Dickinson

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https://vcris.dhr.virginia.gov/HistoricMarkers/#GoToMap

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37.97236667, -79.66158333

https://www.historicalmarkerproject.com/markers/view.php?marker_id=HM1GWK

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https://www.stoppingpoints.com/va/Bath/Fort+Dickinson.html

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MORE FORTS


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81

The leading stronghold on the Cowpasture was Fort Dickenson.
It stood in the midst of the river-bottom, a half mile north of Nim-
rod Hall and to the west of the stream.

There is nothing to mark
the exact site. Close to where is now an ancient brick house, a mile
north of Fassifern on Jackson’s River, was Fort Dinwiddie, the south-
ern limit of Washington’s tour of observation in the fall of 1755.
Like Fort Dickenson, it stood on the second bottom and near a water
supply. Near the Clover Creek mill on the Bullpasture stood Fort
George, in the midst of a meadow that has never been plowed, and
hence the lines of stockade and covered way may easily be traced.
Near the site of the iron furnace at Covington was Fort Young,
built in 1756 according to specifications given by Washington. A
council of war held in the same year speaks of Fort Breckenridge
and Fort Christian, the former 16 miles from Fort Dickenson, and
the latter 15 miles from Fort Dinwiddie. They were small stock-
ades and both stood on Jackson’s River. It is probable that Fort
Christian was but another name for Fort Mann, which stood at the
mouth of Falling Springs Run.

At a Council of War held at Augusta Court House (in obedience to his honr. the governors orders) by the under named officers

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Augusta County, Virginia, War Council, July 27, 1756, Proceedings

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At a Council of War held at Augusta Court House (in obedience to his honr. the governors orders) by the under named officers

Present

Colo. JOHN BUCHANAN

DAVID STEWART

Major JOHN BROWN

Captains JOSEPH CULTIN

ROBERT SCOT

PATRICK MARTIN

WILLIAM CHRISTIAN1

ROBERT BRECKINRIDGE

JAMES LOCKART

ISRAEL CHRISTIAN

SAMUEL STALNAKER

THOMAS ARMSTRONG

Who having taken their Seats proceeded to Business Whereas his honour the governor has Sent Repeated orders to the officers of the militia of this County to meet and consult on the most proper places to build forts along the fronteers for the protection of the inhabitants. It is therefore unanimously agreed by the said council that a fort be built at Petersons on the south branch of Potowmack nigh mill Creek at Some Convenient Spot of ground for a fort, which is left to the Direction of the officers appointed for that Service, also another fort to be built at Hughmans mill on Sheltons track—And Another fort to be Constructed at the most Convenient place and the pass of the Greatest Importance between the above said track and the house of Mathew harper on Bull pasture which is to be built at the Discretion: of the officer appointed for that purpose Also a fort to be Constructed: at Mathew harpers on some Convenient Spot there, and as fort to be Erected at Capt. John millers on Jacksons river, and as the fronteers are properly protected by the forts of Capt. Hog, Breckinridge, & Dickinson, There is no want of a fort unto the mouth of Johns Creek, a Branch of Craigs Creek, at which place a fort is to be Erected and as Fort William is Sufficient to guard that Important pass the next Convenient Place South West of fort William is at Neal M.Neals where a fort is ordered to Be Built at or night that plantation, and the next fort to be Built at Capt. James Campbles and a fort is to be Built at Capt. Vanses where a Large Body of men is to be kept as it is a Very Important pass also a fort to be Constructed at John masons on the South Side of Rounoak

It is Agreed that the Following number of Men is necessary to be placed at Each fort

Men

At masons fort30

At Vanses70

At Campbles fort50

At Mo.Neals fort30

At fort William50

At Johns Creek50

At Capt. Dickinsons40

At Capt. Breckinridge fort50

At Capt. millers fort50

At harpers fort50

At Trout Rock fort50

At Hughmans fort50

At Lestersons50

Dinwiddie60

680 men in all to protect the fronteers

It is agreed that the Commanding officers give Orders that Fort Vans be made at least one hundred feet Square in the Clear and that the Stockades be at least 14 feet Long that all the other forts be made 60 feet Square with Two Bastions in each fort provided the Same Be agreeable to Capt. Peter Hog who is Supposed to have his honr. the governors orders to oversee the Constructing of the said Chain of forts The Distance Between Each fort above mentioned or the places agreed for them to be Built are as follows (Viz)

Miles

From the County Line to Petersons 2

From Petersons to Hughmans mill18

From thence to Trout Rock17

From Trout Rock to Mathew harpers20

From Thence to Capt. Millers18

From Thence to fort Dinwiddie15

From Thence to Capt. Breckinridges fort13

From Thence to Fort Dickinson13

From Thence to Johns Creek25

From Thence to Fort William20

From fort William to Neal Mc.Neals13

From Thence to Capt. Campbles13

From Thence to Capt. Vanses12

From Thence to John Masons25

From Thence to the first Inhabitants in halifax County South Side of Ye Ridge20

By which we find our fronteers Extends250 Miles in all2

The afored. Resolves are Signed by All the officers Present the 27th. of July 1756 Test JOHN BUCHANAN WM PRESTON CR. County DAVID STEWART JOHN BROWN JOSEPH CULTAN ROBT. SCOTT JAMES LOCKART ISRAEL CHRISTIAN WM. CHRISTIAN JAMES MITCHELL ROBERT BRECKINRIDGE THOMAS ARMSTRONG PATRICK MARTIN STALNAKER

1 The William Christian mentioned could not have been Captain Israel Christian’s son of the same name, who twenty years after was a prominent man, unless he was a wonderfully precocious boy in 1756.—WADDELL.

2 Of these forts but one or two were built before the project was abandoned.

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