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French and Indian War

Maryland Governor Horatio Sharpe to Lord Baltimore, August 1755

extracted from

Correspondence of Governor Horatio Sharpe, Volume I, 1753-1757, edited by William Hand Browne
(Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1888).


[Sharpe to Baltimore.]

[Augt. 1755.]

M Lord

In my Lettr dated the 23d of July I gave your Ldp an Accot of General Braddock’s Misfortune near the Banks of the Monongahela & acquainted your Ldp that I was then proceeding towards Wills-Creek principally with a view of Encouraging the distant Inhabitants to remain on their Plantations which the Terror of the Indian’s Incursions & the alarming News of the General’s ill Success inclined them to relinquish & desert. those that I met flying from the Frontiers I prevailed on to return back & by ordering some small Forts to be built at proper Distances from each other in the Western Part of Frederick County whereunto the People may resort in case of Alarms, I hope I have made & left them pretty well satisfied & contented. Each of those Forts I have garrisoned with a few men who have my Orders to patroll from one to the other & keep the Communication free & open. These Men I am enabled to support by a subscription that has been made by the Gentlemen of this & some of the other Counties & from the same Fund I subsist the Maryland Company commanded by Capt Dagworthy that marched with the General but which is now left with the Virga & N Carolina Troops at Fort Cumberland under the Command of Governor Innes. Colo Dunbar with the Remains of the two Regiments & the 3 Independent Companies is on his march to Phila where I suppose he will receive some Lettrs from general Shirley & Instructions for the Disposition of the Troops. The Loss of the greatest part of the Artillery Ammunition & Camp Equipage which cannot be replaced but from Europe the Death of the General & Loss of all his Papers & Instructions together with the want of Officers for the Regiments & the weakness & Terror of the Men that survive have determined Colonel Dunbar against attempting any thing till he can receive Instructions & Directions for his Conduct, indeed I believe ‘twould be impossible to prevail on the Troops at present to advance towards the Enemy or their Fort, was the Colonel supplied with every thing necessary for pursuing the General’s plan. I see by the Pensila Gazette that Governor Morris has convened the Assembly of that Province on this unhappy turn of our Affairs & that by their Address they give him room to expect £ 50000 for his Majesty’s Service but I am told that they propose to raise the money by a Land Tax to which all the Proprietarys Mannours & even unappropriated unsettled & uncultivated Lands are to be subjected if such be their Views I presume the Issue of their present Meeting will be pretty similar to that of their last but if they prepare such a Bill as will be agreeable to the Governor I shall also meet our Assembly on the same Occasion in hopes that they may notwithstanding their late Resolves by persuaded to wave the Points they have contended for & imitate the Quakers Example. Inclosed your Ldp has a Regimental Return of the Officers & private Men that were killed or wounded in the Battle of the Monongahela, a particular Account of what was left to the Enemy & destroyed by Colonel Dunbar in Obedience to General Braddock’s Order I have not been able to procure; but I have in general learnt that the Enemy have taken 52 Carriages including the Train, 18 Waggon Loads of Ammunition & 90 fat Oxen that were drove up two Days before the Engagement. We cannot yet learn how great was the Number of the Enemy that opposed the English but it is beleived twas pretty considerable tho no Body will assert that he saw a hundred during the Action wch continued more than 3 hours. but it is not difficult to account for this when they inform us that the Attack was made principally by Indians & that they divided & posted themselves behind the Trees which grew on the Eminencies that were on the Right Flank & in the Front of our Men. Our Troops fired away all their Ammunition before they left the field, but they did it (it is said) in a good deal of Confusion & fear so that many were destroyed by the hands of their Friends, about 800 or 900 Stand of Arms are supposed to have fallen into the Enemy’s hands with every individual thing that had been carried over the Monongahela River three quarters of a Mile from the Western Bank of which the Action happened. I have not lately received any Lettr from the Northwd but the Gazettes inform us that the Troops in Nova Scotia have succeeded to their wishes having dispossessed the French of all the Forts that they had built in that part of the Continent, & I entertain hopes that Colonel Johnson will reduce Crown Point, but indeed I am not without some Apprehensions on Governor Shirley’s Account. The possession of the Lakes is of the greatest Importance to the French, the Well Being of their more Southern & Inland Settlements depends entirely thereon therefore I doubt not they will leave nothing unattempted to interrupt his Opperations & if possible make themselves Masters of Oswego Fort: We are told that a great number of the Indians & French Troops that were at Fort Du Quesne are gone upward with that Design & the probability thereof inclines us to beleive the report. The Ships of war that were at the Capes under the Command of Commodore Kepple are sailed to join Admiral Boscawen on the Coast of Nova Scotia. Our not receiving any farther Advices from that Quarter makes us fear that the Rest of the French Fleet have passed him & are gone up St Lawrence River. As soon as I receive any farther Intelligence I shall take the Liberty of addressing myself again to your Ldp & I hope I shall by the next opportunity have better news to communicate than what has been the Subject of this & my last Lettr. I am &c.


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