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and had been deserted by the Indians. These encouraging circumstances changed the resolution which had been taken, and determined the general to prosecute the expedition.
Colonel Washington was advanced in front, and with infinite labour superintended the opening of the way
for the main body of the army. In this manner they moved forward with slow and painful steps till they reached Fort du Quesne ; of which they took peaceable possession, the enemy having on the preceding night, after evacuating and setting it on fire, proceeded down the Ohio in their boats.
It is evident that the capture of this place, so all important to the middle and southern provinces, was entirely to be attributed to the British fleet, which had intercepted a considerable part of the reinforcements designed by France for her colonies, and to the success of the English and American arms, which rendered it impossible for the French in Canada to support it, and which very much weakened their influence over the Indians. Without the aid of these causes, the extraordinary and unaccountable delays of the campaign must have defeated its object.
The works were repaired, and the new fort was distinguished by the title of Fort Pitt, the name of the great minister who now, with so much vigour and talents, governed the nation, Colonel Washington, having furnished two hun
dred * SIR,
dred men from his regiment, as a garrison, marched to Winchester, from which place he set out soon afterwards to attend the Assembly, of which he had been elected a member by the county of Frederick, while at Fort Cumberland.
The removal of the French from the Ohio produced, in a great degree, a cessation of Indian hostility. His country was now relieved from the danger with which it had been threatened. The great object for which alone, after perceiving that he should not be placed on the permanent establishment, he had continued in the service, was now accomplished. His health was much impaired, and his domestic affairs required his attention.
Impelled by these and other motives of a private nature, he determined to withdraw from a service, which he believed he might now quit without dishonour; and, about the close of the year, he resigned his commission as colonel of the first Virginia regiment, and commander in chief of all the troops raised in the colony.
The officers whom he had commanded were greatly attached to him, and manifested their esteem for him, and their regret at parting with him, by a very affectionate address* expressive of the very
high high opinion they entertained both of his military and private character.
We, your most obedient and affectionate officers, beg leave to express our great concern at the disagreeable news we have re
ceived of your determination to resign the command of that corps in which we have under you long served.
The happiness we have enjoyed, and the honour we have acquired together, with the mutual regard that has always subsisted between you and your officers, have implanted so sensible an affection in the minds of us all, that we cannot be silent on this critical occasion.
In our carliest infancy you took us under your tuition, trained us up in the practice of that discipline which alone can constitute good troops, from the punctual observance of which you never suffered the least deviation.
Your steady adherence to impartial justice, your quick discernment and invariable regard to merit, wisely intended to inculcate those genuine sentiments of true honour and passion for glory, from which the greatest military atchievements have been derived, first heightened our natural emulation and our desire to excel. How much we improved by those regulations and your own example, with what alacrity we have hitherto discharged our duty, with what cheerfulness we have encountered the severest toils, especially while under your particular directions, we submit to yourself, and flatter ourselves that we have in a great measure answered your expectations.
Judge then how sensibly we must be affected with the loss of such an excellent commander, such a sincere friend, and so affable a companion. How rare is it to find those amiable qualifications blended together in one man! How great the loss of such a man! Adieu to that superiority which the enemy have granted us over other troops, and which even the regulars and provincials have done us the honour to acknowledge! Adieu to that strict discipline and order which you have always maintained ! Adieu to that happy union and harmony which have been our principal cement.
This opinion was not confined to the officers of his regiment; it was common to Virginia, and had
It gives us additional sorrow, when we reflect, to find our une happy country will receive a loss no less irreparable than ourselves. Where will it meet a man so experienced in military affairs ? one so renowned for patriotism, courage, and conduct ?
Who has so great a knowledge of the enemy we have to deal with? who so well acquainted with their situations and strength? who so much respected by the soldiery? who, in short, so able to support the military character of Virginia ?
Your approved love to your king and country, and your uncommon perseverance in promoting the honour and true interest of the service, convince us that the most cogent reasons only could induce you to quit it. Yet we with the greatest deference presume to entreat you to suspend those thoughts for another year, and to lead us on to assist in the glorious work of extirpating our enemies, to. wards which so considerable advances have been made. In you we place the most implicit confidence; your presence only will cause a steady firmness and vigour to act in every breast, despising the greatest dangers, and thinking light of toils and hardships while led on by the man we know and love.
But if we must be so unhappy as to part ; if the exigencies of your affairs force you to abandon us, we beg it as our last request, that you will recommend some person most capable to command, whose military knowledge, whose honour, whose conduct, and whose disinterested principles we may depend on.
Frankness, sincerity, and a certain openness of soul, are the true characteristics of an officer ; and we flatter ourselves that you
do not think us capable of saying any thing contrary to the purest dictates of our minds.
Fully persuaded of this, we beg leave to assure you, that, as you bave hitherto been the actuating soul of our whole
been adopted by the British officers with whom he served. The duties he performed, though not splendid, were arduous, and were executed with zeal and with judgment. The exact discipline he established in his regiment, when the temper of Virginia was extremely hostile to discipline, does credit to his military character ; and the gallantry they displayed whenever called into action, manifests the spirit infused into them by their commander.
The difficulties of his situation, while unable to cover the frontiers from the French and Indians, who were spreading death and desolation in every quarter, were certainly great ; and no better evidence of his exertions, under these distressing circumstances, can be given, than the undiminished confidence still placed in him by those he was unable to protect. The efforts to which he perpetually stimulated his. country for the purpose of obtaining possession of the Ohio ; the system for the conduct of the war which he continually recommended ; the vigorous and active measures always advocated by him in his opinions to those by whom he was commanded ; manifest an ardent and an enterprising mind, tempered by judgment and quickly improved by experience.
at all times pay the most invariable regard to your will and pleasure, and will always be happy to demonstrate by our actions with how much respect and esteem we are, &c.