Washington. So great was the public confidence in the soundness of his judgment, that he was authorized to name the field-officers. His commission also designated him as commander-in-chief of all the forces raised, or to be raised, in Virginia.

In execution of the duties of his new office, Washington, after giving the necessary orders for the recruiting service, visited the frontiers. He found many posts, but few soldiers. Of these, he made the best disposition. While on his way to Williarnsburg, to arrange a plan of operations with the ieutenant-governor, he was overtaken by an express below Fredericksburg, with information that the back settlements were broken up by parties of French and Indians, who were murdering and capturing men, women, and children, burning their houses, and destroying their crops; and that the few troops stationed on the frontiers, unable to protect the country, had retreated to small stockade forts.—Washington altered his course, from Williamsburg to Winchester, and endeavoured to collect a force for the defence of the country. But this was impossible. The inhabitants, instead of assembling in arms, and facing the invaders, fled before them, and extended the general panic. While the attention of individuals was engrossed by their families and private concerns, the general safety was neglected. The alarm became universal, and the utmost confusion prevailed. Before any adequate force was collected to repel the assailants, they had safely crossed the Alleghany mountains, after having done an iminensity of mischief.--Irruptions of this kind were repeatedly made into the frontier settlements of Virginia, in 1756, and the two following years.

These were generally effected by a considerable number of French and Indians, detached from Fort Duquesne. It was their usual practice, on approaching the settlements, to divide into small parties, and, avoiding the forts, to attack solitary families in the night, as well as the day. Accustomed to live in the woods, the savages found little difficulty in concealing themselves until their fatal blow was struck.–Sundry unimportant skirmishes occurred, with various results ; but the number killed on both sides was inconsiderable, when compared with the mischief done, and the many who were put to death, otherwise than in battle. The invaders could seldom be broughi to a regular engagement. Honourable war was not in their

contemplation. Plunder, devastation, and murder, were their objects. The assembling of a respectable force to oppose them, was their signal for

retreating. Irruptions of this kind were so frequent, for three years following Braddock's defeat, that in Pennsylvania the frontier settlers were driven back as far as Carlisle ; in Maryland, to Fredericktown; and in Virginia, to the Blue Ridge.

The distresses of the inhabitants exceeded all description. If they went into stockade forts, they suffered from the want of provisions, were often surrounded, and sometimes destroyed. By fleeing, they abandoned the conveniences of home, and the means of support. If they continued on their farms, they lay down every night under apprehensions of being murdered before morning. But this was not their greatest misfortune. Captivity and torture were frequently their portion. To all these evils, women, aged persons, and children, were equally liable with men in arms; for savages make no distinction. Extermination is their object.-- To Washington, the inhabitants looked for that protection which he had not the means of giving. In a letter to the governor, he observed, “ the supplicating tears of the women, and moving petitions of the men, melt me with such deadly sorrow, that I solemnly declare, if I know my own mind, I could offer myself a willing sacrifice to the butchering enemy, provided that would contribute to the people's ease.” Virginia presented a frontier of three hundred and sixty miles, exposed to these incursions. Hard, was the lot of Washington, to whom was entrusted the defence of these extensive settlements, without means adequate to the purpose.The regiment voted by the assembly, was never filled. Its actual number was oftener below, than above seven hundred

The militia afforded a very feeble aid, on which little reliance could be placed. They were slow in collecting, and when collected, soon began to hanker after home; and while in camp could not submit to that discipline, without which an army is a mob. The militia-laws were very defective. Cowardice in time of action, and sleeping while on duty, though crimes of the most destructive nature, were very inadequately punished by the civil code, under which they took the field.--Desertion and mutiny, for some considerable time, subjected the offenders to nothing more than slight penWashington was incessant in his representations to the governor and to the assembly, that no reliance could be placed on the militia, under existing regulations; and that the inconsiderable number enlisted for regular service, together with the plans proposed for the security of the frontiers, were altogether inadequate.


As soon as the main body of the enemy had withdrawn from the settlements, a tour was made by Colonel Washington to the south-western frontier, in order to examine, in person, the state of things in that quarter. There, as well as in the north, continued incursions were made, and murders committed ; and there too, the principal defence of the country was entrusted to an ill-regulated militia. The fatal consequences of this system, are thus stated by him in a letter to the lieutenant-governor.

" 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.--The militia are in so bad order and discipline, that they will come and go when and where they please, without regarding time, their officers, or the safety of the inhabitants ; but consulting solely their own inclinations. There should be, according to your honour's orders, one third of the militia of these parts on duty, at a time. Instead of that, scarcely one-thirtieth is out. They are to be relieved every month : they are a great part of that time marching to and from their stations; and they will not wait one day longer than the limited time, whether relieved or not, however urgent may be the necessity for their continuance."

" From Fort Trial," continued he, “on Smith's river, I returned to Fort William, on the Catawba, where I met colonel Buchanpon with about thirty men, chiefly officers, to conduct me up Jackson's river, along the range of forts. 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 seven days, without meeting the enemy; otherwise we must have been sacrificed by the indiscretion of these whooping, hallooing, gentlemen soldiers.

“ This jaunt afforded me a great opportunity of seeing the bad regulation of the militia, the disorderly proceedings of the garrison, and the unhenny circumstances of the inhabit ants,


“ First, of the militia. The difficulty of collecting them, on any emergency whatever, I have spoken of as grievous ; and appeal to sad experience, both in this and other countries, to attest how great a disadvantage it is ; the enemy having

; every opportunity to plunder, kill, and escape, before they can afford any assistance; and, not to mention the general expensiveness of their services, I can instance several cases, where a captain, lieutenant, and, I may add, an ensign, with two or three sergeants, have gone upon duty with only six or eight men.

Again : the waste of provisions made by them is unaccountable. No method, or order, is observed, in serving them out, or in purchasing them at the best rates; but quite the reverse.

Allowance to each man, as to other soldiers, they look upon as the highest indignity; and would sooner starve, than carry a few days' provisions on their backs for convenience; but, upon their march, when breakfast is wanted, they knock down the first beef or other animal they meet with, and, after regaling upon it, march on until dinner, when they take the same method, and so likewise for supper, to the great oppression of the people. If they chance to impress cattle for provision, the valuation is left to neighbours, who have themselves suffered by those practices, and, despairing of their pay, exact high prices. Thus, the public is imposed upon, at all events.

“ Secondly, concerning the garrisons. I found them very weak from want of men, but more so from indolence and irregularity. I saw none in a posture of defence, and few that might not be surprised with the greatest ease. An instance of this appeared at Dickenson's fort, where the Indians ran down, caught several children that were playing under the walls, and reached the gate before they were discovered. Was not Bass's fort surprised, and a good many souls lost, in the same manner? They keep no guards, but just when the enemy is about, and they are under fearful apprehensions of them; nor ever stir out of the forts, from the time they reach them, until relieved at the expiration of their month, at which time, they march off, be the consequence what it may; so the enemy may ravage the country, and they not the wiser. Of the ammunition, they are careless as of the provisions, firing it away frequently at targets, for wagers.-On our journey, as we approached one of the forts, we heard a quick

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fire for several minutes; and concluding certainly that they were attacked, we marched, in the best manner, to their relief; but, when we came up, we found them diverting themselves at marks. These men afford no assistance to the unhappy settlers, driven from their plantations, either in securing their harvests, or gathering their corn. forts I passed by, there were but one or two where the captain was at his post. They were generally absent on their own business, and had given leave to several of their men to be absent likewise ; yet these persons, I will venture to say, will charge the country their full month's pay.”

Colonel Washington not only pointed out the defect of the systems which had been adopted, but submitted to the consideration of those in power, such measures as he thought best, and particularly recommended, in case that offensive operations were not adopted, that twenty-two forts, extending in a line of three hundred and sixty miles, should be immediately erected, and garrisoned by two thousand men, in constant pay and service; but on all occasions he gave a decided preference to the reduction of Fort Duquesne, as the only radical remedy for the evils to which the frontier settlements were exposed.-Propositions to this effect, were made and urged by him in 1756 and 1757, both to the government of Virginia, and the commanders-in-chief of the British forces in America; but a short sighted policy in the first, and a preference given by the last, to a vigorous prosecution of the war in the northern colonies, prevented their acceptance. To his inexpressible joy, the project obtained, in the year 1758, the complete approbation of general Forbes, who was charged with the defence of the middle and southern colonies. This being resolved upon, the movements of the army were directed to that point.—Part of the forces destined for this expedition, was at Philadelphia, part at Ray's Town, and part dispersed on the frontiers of Virginia. To bring all together, was a work of time and difficulty. Washington urged the necessity of an early campaign, but so many delays occurred, that he did not receive orders to assemble his regiment at Winchester until the 24th of May ; nor to proceed thence to Fort Cumberland, until the 24th of June ; nor to proceed to Ray's Town, until the 21st of September. The main body did not commence their march from Ray's Town, until the 2d of October, and it was as late as the 25th

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