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Letter from Robert Dinwiddie to William Shirley
Dinwiddie, Robert, 1693-1770
September 20, 1755
Volume 05, Pages 429-431

[Reprinted from Dinwiddie Papers. Vol. 2. P. 208.]
Governor Dinwiddie to General Shirley.


Sept'r 20th, 1755.

Sir:

I had the Favo. of Y'rs of the 13th Ulto., with Copy of Y'r Orders to Co. D—r. He chose rather to go to the No'w'd y'n execute Y'r Orders in mak'g a sec'd Attack on the Fr. F't on the Ohio. There seems to be an Infatuat'n attend'g our Operat's as to the March, Attack and Defeat of G'l Braddock, w'ch no doubt You have particular Acc'ts of; but I shall follow him on his Retreat. At Co. D——r's Camp, w'ch was upwards of 40 miles from the place of Act'n, there they destroy'd all the Amunit'n and Provis's, by whose Orders I know not, for surely Gen'l Braddock was not in a Condition to give Orders, being ill of his Wounds, w'ch no doubt affected his Senses; however y's was done. If Co. D——r, who succeeded in Com'd, had entrench'd himself and built a F't, the Fr. w'd never have disturb'd him. He then had upw'ds of 2,000 Men fit for Duty, and if he had sent out to me and the other Gov'ts he w'd have been reinforced with Men and supplies, with Provis's from F't Cumb'l'd, where there was plenty of all kinds. Y's Step w'd have kept the Fr. in awe, prevented their sending the Men from the F't

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to the Aid of Niagara, and if he had built a F't and left 500 Men in it w'd have been of great Use on any Operat'ns y't may be next Year. But he began his March over the Mount's and had destroy'd the Prov's so near y't he was oblig'd to send in for 30 Horse Loads for the Use of his Men on their March. When I heard he was at the F't I wrote him the L'r, Copy of w'ch I sent You, and he wrote me an Answer the 1st of Aug., (Copy thereof You have enclos'd), and began his March next Day for Winter Q'rs at Philad'a. He march'd all the regular Forces to the Amo. of upwards of 1,600, among whom were the three Independ't Compa's order'd here by H. M'y to be under my Com'd. He carried with him four six-Pounders and four Coehorns. The last were absolutely necessary at the Fort. His march'g from the F't with't Y'r Orders is w't lies with You to enquire ab't; but I have a right to complain of his carry'g the three Independ't Compa's with him y't were order'd here for Protect'n of our frontiers. He also order'd the Light Horse rais'd here, to march with him to Winchester. By his L'r You may observe he propos'd leaving the So. Ca. Comp'y at Winchester, but afterwards carried them also with him. By his Conduct it w'd appear he intended to leave our Frontiers in as much Distress as possible. G'r Innes, who Com'd the F't, wrote him, before he march'd to Shippensburg, y't he had sent out a party to see w't the Enemy was do'g, and they reported y't a great No. of Fr. and Ind's were at the Meadows, and was affraid they intended to attack the F't, and desired him to lend some Assistance. He advised him to send to me for some Men, and so continued his March for Philad'a. As You have order'd him to Albany, I wish he may be in Time to join You. Some of his F'ds have put in the Pennsylva'a Gazette y't his men were almost naked, wanted Stock'gs Shoes, &c. If so, c'd he not [have] supplied them at the F't by writ'g to Philad'a, at w'ch place he c'd have had all Necessaries y't were want'g? The Consequ'ce of his sudden March was y't the Provincial Troops deserted daily in great Numb'rs, w'ch, before his March very few had deserted; and many flying Parties of the Enemy have come in among our Inhabitants, robbed and murder'd many of our Peple, w'ch, I think, w'd, in some measure, have been prevented, if he had rem'd till he had rec'd Y'r Com'ds. On y's dismal Situat'n of our affairs I immediately order'd out four Compa's of Rangers to our Frontiers; and the Assembly hav'g voted £40,000, by the Strength thereof I am rais'g 1,000 Men to guard and defend the Co'try from the Insults and Invasions of the Enemy, and to have them in readiness, if any further Operat's may be propos'd next Year. I tho't it necessary to acqu't You of Co. D——r's Managem't and the Situat'n of our affairs at pres't. I
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pray God grant You and G'l Johnson success in Y'r Attempts ag'st Crown Point and Niagara, and I rem'n, with very great Respect and Esteem,

Y'r Ex's most obed't humble serv't.

P. S.—We have two Hostages in Canada, and I have one, La Force, in Gaol here. He wants to be enlarg'd, and think the G'r of Canada will send those Hostages if I will relieve him from Gaol, and according writes the enclos'd Let'r, w'ch You may forw'd, or not, as you see proper.