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Maryland having by a scanty appropriation raised a small militia force, stationed Captain Dagworthy, with a company of thirty men, at Fort Cumberland, which stood within the boundaries of that province. Dagworthy had served in Canada in the preceding war, and had received a king's commission. This he had since commuted for half-pay, and, of course, had virtually parted with its privileges. He was nothing more, therefore, than a Maryland provincial captain, at the head of thirty men. He now, however, assumed to act under his royal commission, and refused to obey the orders of any oflicer, however high his rank, who merely held his commission from a governor. Nay, when Governor, or rather Colonel Innes, who commanded at the fort, was called away to North Carolina by his private affairs, the captain took upon himself the command, and insisted upon it as his right.
Parties instantly arose, and quarrels ensued among the inferior officers; grave questions were agitated between the Governors of Maryland and Virginia, as to the fort itself; the former claiming it as within his province, the latter insisting that as it had been built according to orders sent by the king, it was the king's fort, and could not be subject to the authority of Maryland.
Washington refrained from mingling in this dispute; but intimated that if the commander-in-chief of the forces of Virginia must yield precedence to a Maryland captain of thirty men, he should have to resign his commission, as he had been compelled to do before, by a question of military rank.
So difficult was it, however, to settle these disputes of precedence, especially where the claims of two governors came in collision, that it was determined to refer the matter to MajorGeneral Shirley, who had succeeded Braddock in the general command of the colonies. For this purpose Washington was to go to Boston, obtain a decision from Shirley of the point in dispute, and a general regulation, by which these difficulties could be prevented in future. It was thought, also, that in a conference with the commander-in-chief he might inform himself of the military measures in contemplation.
Accordingly, on the 4th of February (1756), leaving Colonel Adam Stephen in command of the troops, Washington set out on his mission, accompanied by his aide-de-camp, Captain George Mercer of Virginia, and Captain Stewart of the Virginia light horse, the officer who had taken care of General Braddock in his last moments.
In those days the conveniences of travelling, even between
our main cities, were few, and the roads execrable. The party, therefore, travelled in Virginia style, on horseback, attended by their black servants in livery. In this way they accomplished a journey of five hundred miles in the depth of winter; stopping for some days at Philadelphia and New York. Those cities were then comparatively small, and the arrival of a party of young Southern officers attracted attention. The late disastrous battle was still the theme of every tongue, and the honorable way in which these young officers had acquitted themselves in it, made them objects of universal interest. Washington's fame, especially, had gone before him; having been spread by the officers who had served with him, and by the public honors decreed him by the Virginia Legislature. "Your name," wrote his former fellow-campaigner, Gist, in a letter dated in the preceding autumn, "is more talked of in Philadelphia than that of any other person in the army, and everybody seems willing to venture under your command.'
With these prepossessions in his favor, when we consider Washington's noble person and demeanor, his consummate horsemanship, the admirable horses he was accustomed to ride, and the aristocratical style of his equipments, we may imagine the effect produced by himself and his little cavalcade, as they clattered through the streets of Philadelphia, and New York, and Boston. It is needless to say, their sojourn in each city was a continual fête.
The mission to General Shirley was entirely successful as to the question of rank. A written order from the commanderin-chief determined that Dagworthy was entitled to the rank of a provincial captain only, and, of course, must on all occasions give precedence to Colonel Washington, as a provincial field officer. The latter was disappointed, however, in the hope of getting himself and his officers put upon the regular estab lishment, with commissions from the king, and had to remain
1 We have hitherto treated of Washington in his campaigns in the wilderness, frugal and scanty in his equipments, often, very probably, in little better than hunter's garb. His present excursion through some of the Atlantic cities presents him in a different aspect. His recent intercourse with young British officers, had probably elevated his notions as to style in dress and appearance; at least we are inclined to suspect so from the following aristocratical order for clothes, sent shortly before the time in question, to his correspondent in London.
"2 complete livery suits for servants; with a spare cloak, and all other necessary trimmings for two suits more. I would have you choose the livery by our arms, only as the field of the arms is white, I think the clothes had better not be quite so, but nearly like the enclosed. The trimmings and facings of scarlet and a scarlet waistcoat. If livery lace is not quite disused, I should be glad to have the cloaks laced. I like that fashion best, and two silver-laced hats for the above servants.
"1 set of horse furniture, with livery lace, with the Washington crest on the housings, etc. The cloak to be of the same piece and color of the clothes.
"3 gold and scarlet sword-knots. 3 silver and blue do. 1 fashionable gold-laced hat."
subjected to mortifying questions of rank and etiquette, when serving in company with regular troops.
From General Shirley he learned that the main objects of the ensuing campaign would be the reduction of Fort Niagara, so as to cut off the communication between Canada and Louisiana, the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, as a measure of safety for New York, the besieging of Fort Duquesne, and the menacing of Quebec by a body of troops which were to advance by the Kennebec River.
The official career of General Shirley was drawing to a close. Though a man of good parts, he had always, until recently, acted in a civil capacity, and proved incompetent to conduct military operations. He was recalled to England, and was to be superseded by General Abercrombie, who was coming out with two regiments.
The general command in America, however, was to be held by the Earl of Loudoun, who was invested with powers almost equal to those of a viceroy, being placed above all the colonial governors. These might claim to be civil and military representatives of their sovereign within their respective colonies; but, even there, were bound to defer and yield precedence to this their official superior. This was part of a plan devised long ago, but now first brought into operation, by which the ministry hoped to unite the colonies under military rule, and oblige the Assemblies, magistrates, and people to furnish quarters and provide a general fund subject to the control of this military dictator.
Besides his general command, the Earl of Loudoun was to be governor of Virginia and colonel of a royal American regiment of four battalions, to be raised in the colonies, but furnished with officers who, like himself, had seen foreign service. The campaign would open on his arrival, which, it was expected, would be early in the spring; and brilliant results were anticipated.
Washington remained ten days in Boston, attending, with great interest, the meetings of the Massachusetts Legislature, in which the plan of military operations was ably discussed; and receiving the most hospitable attentions from the polite and intelligent society of the place, after which he returned to New York.
Tradition gives very different motives from those of business for his two sojourns in the latter city. He found there an early friend and schoolmate, Beverly Robinson, son of John Robinson, speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses.
He was living happily and prosperously with a young and wealthy bride, having married one of the nieces and heiresses of Mr. Adolphus Philipse, a rich landholder, whose manorhouse is still to be seen on the banks of the Hudson. At the house of Mr. Beverly Robinson, where Washington was an honored guest, he met Miss Mary Philipse, sister of and coheiress with Mrs. Robinson, a young lady whose personal attractions are said to have rivalled her reputed wealth.
We have already given an instance of Washington's early sensibility to female charms. A life, however, of constant activity and care, passed for the most part in the wilderness and on the frontier, far from female society, had left little mood or leisure for the indulgence of the tender sentiment; but made him more sensible, in the present brief interval of gay and social life, to the attractions of an elegant woman, brought up in the polite circle of New York.
That he was an open admirer of Miss Philipse is an historical fact; that he sought her hand, but was refused, is traditional, and not very probable. His military rank, his early laurels and distinguished presence, were all calculated to win favor in female eyes; but his sojourn in New York was brief; he may have been diffident in urging his suit with a lady accustomed to the homage of society and surrounded by admirers. The most probable version of the story is, that he was called away by his public duties before he had made sufficient approaches in his siege of the lady's heart to warrant a summons to surrender. In the latter part of March we find him at Williamsburg attending the opening of the Legislature of Virginia, eager to promote measures for the protection of the frontier and the capture of Fort Duquesne, the leading object of his ambition. Maryland and Pennsylvania were erecting forts for the defence of their own borders, but showed no disposition to co-operate with Virginia in the field; and artillery, artillerymen, and engineers were wanting for an attack on fortified places. Washington urged, therefore, an augmentation of the provincial forces, and various improvements in the militia laws.
While thus engaged, he received a letter from a friend and confidant in New York, warning him to hasten back to that city before it was too late, as Captain Morris, who had been his fellow aide-de-camp under Braddock, was laying close siege to Miss Philipse. Sterner alarms, however, summoned him in another direction. Expresses from Winchester brought word that the French had made another sortie from Fort Duquesne, accompanied by a band of savages, and were spreading terror
and desolation through the country. In this moment of exigency all softer claims were forgotten; Washington repaired in all haste to his post at Winchester, and Captain Morris was left to urge his suit unrivalled and carry off the prize.
TROUBLES IN THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY
GREENWAY COURT AND LORD FAIRFAX IN DANGER ALARMS AT WINCHESTER WASHINGTON APPEALED ΤΟ FOR PROTECTION ATTACKED BY THE VIRGINIA PRESS - HONORED BY THE PUBLIC PROJECTS FOR DEFENCE SUGGESTIONS OF WASHINGTON THE GENTLEMEN ASSOCIATORS RETREAT OF THE SAVAGES EXPEDITION AGAINST KITTANNING CAPTAIN HUGH MERCFR SECOND STRUGGLE THROUGH THE WILDERNESS.
REPORT had not exaggerated the troubles of the frontier. It was marauded by merciless bands of savages, led, in some instances, by Frenchmen. Travellers were murdered, farmhouses burned down, families butchered, and even stockaded forts, or houses of refuge, attacked in open day. The maray
ders had crossed the mountains and penetrated the valley of the Shenandoah; and several persons had fallen beneath the tomahawk in the neighborhood of Winchester.
Washington's old friend, Lord Fairfax, found himself no longer safe in his rural abode. Greenway Court was in the midst of a woodland region, affording a covert approach for the stealthy savage. His lordship was considered a great chief, whose scalp would be an inestimable trophy for an Indian warrior. Fears were entertained, therefore, by his friends, that an attempt would be made to surprise him in his greenwood castle. His nephew, Colonel Martin, of the militia, who resided with him, suggested the expediency of a removal to the lower settlements, beyond the Blue Ridge. The high-spirited old nobleman demurred; his heart cleaved to the home which he had formed for himself in the wilderness. "I am an old man," said he, "and it is of little importance whether I fall by the tomahawk or die of disease and old age; but you are young, and it is to be hoped, have many years before you, therefore decide for us both; my only fear is, that if we retire, the whole district will break up and take to flight; and this fine