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CHAP. I. can bring this campaign to a happy issue.” He 1755. then recapitulated the arguments he had urged
against attempting a new road, and added, “but I spoke all unavailingly. The road was immediately begun, and since then, from one to two thousand men have constantly wrought on it. By the last accounts I have received, they had cut it to the foot of the Laurel hill, about thirty five miles, and I suppose by this time, fifteen hundred men have taken post about ten miles further, at a place called Loyal Hanna, where our next fort is to be constructed.
“We have certain intelligence that the French strength at fort du Quesne did not exceed eight hundred men, the thirteenth ultimo, including about three or four hundred Indians. See how our time has been mispent .....behold how the golden opportunity is lost.... perhaps, never more to be regained! how is it to be accounted for ? can general Forbes have orders for this ? impossible. Will then our injured country pass by such abuses ? I hope not: rather let a full representation of the matter go to his majesty: let him know how grossly his glory and interests, and the public money have been prostituted.”
Colonel Washington was soon afterwards ordered to Raystown, before which time, major Grant had been detached from the advanced post at Royal Hanna, with a select corps of eight hundred men, to reconnoitre the
country about fort du Quesne. In the night CHAP. I. he reached a hill near the fort, where he posted 1758. his men in different columns, and sent forward a party for the purpose of discovery. They burnt a log house near the walls and returned. Next morning, major Grant detached major Lewis of colonel Washington's regiment, with a baggage guard, two miles into his rear; and sent an engineer with a covering party, within full view of the fort, to take a plan of the works. In the mean time, he ordered the reveille to be beaten in different places. This parade drew out the enemy in great force, and an obstinate engagement ensued. As soon as the action commenced, major Lewis left captain Bullett of colonel Washington's regiment, with about fifty Virginians to guard the baggage, and advanced with the utmost speed to support: major Grant. The English were defeated with Defeat of considerable loss, and both major Grant and" major Lewis taken prisoners. In this action the Virginians behaved most gallantly, and evidenced the spirit with which they had been trained. Out of eight officers, five were killed, a sixth wounded, and a seventh taken prisoner. Captain Bullett, who defended the baggage with great resolution, and contributed to save the remnant of the detachment, was the only officer who escaped unhurt. Out of one hundred and sixty-six men, sixty-two were killed on the spot, and two wounded. This conduct on the
Defeat of major Grant.
CHAP. I. part of his regiment reflected high honour on 1758. their commander as well as on themselves, and
he received on the occasion, the compliments of the general. The total loss in this action was two hundred and seventy-three killed, and
forty-two wounded. October 8. It was at length determined that the main
body of the army should move from Raystown, and the general called on the colonels of regi. ments, each, to submit to his consideration, a plan for his march. That proposed by colonel Washington has been preserved, and appears to have been judiciously formed.
They reached the camp at Loyal Hanna, through a road said to be indescribably bad, about the fifth of November, where, as had been predicted, a council of war determined, that it was unadvisable to proceed further this campaign. It would have been almost impossi. ble to have wintered an army in that position. They must have retreated from the cold inhospitable wilderness into which they had penetrated, or have suffered immensely; perhaps have perished. Fortunately, some prisoners were taken, who informed them of the extreme distress of the fort. The garrison deriving no support from Canada was weak; was in great want of provision, 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.
the French, and taken
of by the
Colonel Washington was advanced in front, CHAP. I. and with infinite labour, superintended the 1758. opening the way for the main body of the army. In this manner they moved forward with slow Fort du and painful steps, until they reached fort du wachated by Quesne, of which they took peaceable posses- possession sion, the enemy having on the preceding night, English. after evacuating and setting it on fire, pro. Novem. 25. ceeded 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 re-enforcements designed by France for her colonies, and to the success of the English and American arms to the north, 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 hundred 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.
CHAP. I. The removal of the French from the Ohio, 1758. 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 Resignation year, he resigned his commission as colonel of of colonel 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 opinion they entertained both of his military and private character.
This opinion was not confined to the officers of his regiment. It was common to Virginia, and had 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 judg
* See Note, No. III. at the end of the volume.