Letter from Robert Dinwiddie to Thomas Dunbar
Dinwiddie, Robert, 1693-1770
Volume 05, Pages 410-412
[Reprinted from Dinwiddie Papers. Vol. 2. P. 118.]
Governor Dinwiddie to Colonel Dunbar.
July 26th, 1755.
The melancholy Acc't of the Defeat of our Forces under the Com'd of Gen'l Braddock gave me a sensible and real Concern, and I was the more astonish'd w'n I am inform'd y't 300 Fr'h and Ind's have defeated 1,300 British Forces. The officers behav'd like Britons, with Valour and Spirit, and sorry I am for the death of the Gen'l and the other brave Officers y't were left to be sacrific'd by the dastardly Timidity of the Private Men. The Panick they were seiz'd with made them forget their Duty and the Com'd of their Officers. The consequ'ce was the loss of the Battle, the Lives of many brave Men, and the Loss of the Train of Artillery. Such advantages by so few Men is not to be met with in History, and surely must raise a just resentm't in the Heart of every British Subject. Dear Colo., is there no Method left to retrieve the Dishon'r done to the British Arms? As You now Com'd all the Forces y't rem'n, are You not able, after a proper Refreshm't of Y'r Men, to make a second Attempt to recover the Loss we have Sustain'd? You must still have remain'g upwards of 1,600 Men, and I have call'd the Assembly of this Dom'n to meet next Tuesday next come Week, w'n I think
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I can promise You a Reinforcement of at least 400 Men. Provis's You cannot want, as Colo. Innes has a large qu'ty of Flour. There is 8 or 9,000 b'ls Pork and Beef at Alexa'a, and Beeves can be procur'd and sent You. You may probably say y't You want Artillery; there are at Winchester four 12-Pounders w'th all the necessary Appurtenances, and the Guns on F't Cumb'l'd may be made Field Pieces; but why cannot we recover the Train in the same Manner as the Enemy took them? You have four Mo's now to come of the best Weather in the Year for such an Expedit'n. As our Forces under Gen'l Shirley are march'd and before y's I suppose attack'd Niagara, and Colo. Johnston, I believe, has prevail'd with the Six Nat's to take up the Hatchet ag'st the Fr., and I suppose y't Gent. is gone ag'st Crown Point, w'ch no doubt the Forces at F't Duquesne are appris'd of and naturally will go up the River Ohio to the Assist'ce of these Places, and will rem'n satisfied and secure y't no Attempt y's Year will be made on the Ohio, under y's, y'r Security, w't may You not do if You march over the Mount's the Beginnin'g of Sept'r? Y'r People by y't Time will be well refresh'd, and I hope in high Spirits if You can dispell the Panick they were at first seiz'd with. W't a fine Field for Hon'r will Colo. Dunbar have to confirm and establish his Character as a brave Officer, and w't will he have in View to retrieve the Loss we sustained the 9th of y's Mo.! Recover the Train of Artillery and the Hon'r of the British Forces. If You cannot attack their Fort in form You may be able to besiege them, and by prevent'g any Supplies of Provis's starve them out; for I cannot see where they can be supplied. They have none in Canada, and the Embargo laid on the British Colonies will effectually prevent their Supplies. Add to y's the Ships taken by Adm'l Boscawen y't were loaded w'th all sorts of Necessaries, must, in my Opinion, reduce all the Fr. on y's Cont't to great Wants. It's my duty to H. M'y, as G'r of y's Dom'n, to make the above Proposal to You, w'ch, if it meets w'th Y'r Approbat'n or y't of a Council of War, will give me much pleasure. I must entreat You to give me imediate Notice of Y'r Inclinat's, and if You think it elligible to put the above in Execut'n, y't I may accordingly apply strongly to our Assembly for their Concurrence and Assist'ce. No doubt You will see the Necessity of Keep'g Y'r Resolut'ns entirely secret, and I shall wait with great Impatience for Y'r Answer. I rec'd Y'r Let'r of the 1st. Y'r Deserters and one of S'r Peter Halket's are in proper Confinem't, but cannot be maintain'd at the Price You propose, but they are allow'd the same as the lowest Prisoners, and I wait Y'r further Orders w't to do w'th them. It gives me great Pleasure y't under our great Loss and Misfortunes y't the Com'd devolves on an Officer of so great
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Military Judgem't and establish'd Character. Pray, good S'r, consider seriously the above Plan of Operat's, or any other, to protect H. M'y's Colonies, defeat the View of the Fr. and to retrieve the Hon'r of the British Arms. I rem'n w'th very sincere Respect and hearty Wishes for Success to all Y'r Proceedings, and am,
Worthy S'r, Y'r most ob'd't h'ble serv't.