French and Indian War

Maryland Governor Horatio Sharpe to Fox, May 3, 1756

extracted from

Correspondence of Governor Horatio Sharpe, Volume I, 1753-1757, edited by William Hand Browne
(Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1888), pages 404-406.

[Sharpe to Fox.]
3d of May 1756

Rt Honble

In Obedience to your Commands signified in a Lettr which I did myself the honour to acknowledge my Receipt of the 8th of March I am now to inform you that soon after my Return from N York where I had been attending General Shirley last Novr & Decemr I convened the Assembly of this Province & laying before them the General's Plan of Operations exhorted & pressed them to contribute as much as was in their power towards carrying it into Execution, & to provide for the Defence & Security of the Frontiers of this Province on which some parties of Indians had begun to make Incursions. After having sat some weeks they voted about 25,000 Stg for His Majesty's Service & have been since preparing a Bill for that purpose. They intend to appropriate part of the Money for building a Fort on the Frontiers of this Province & garrisoning it with 200 Men, but as the Fort is to be 60 Miles on this Side Fort Cumberland & the Men to be all disbanded next Winter, I am afraid the Money will be expended without contributing much to the Security of the Inhabitants of this Province or promoting the Common Cause. I have endeavoured to convince the Assembly of this & to persuade them to let the Money be disposed of in such a manner as would most effectually preserve their Country & offend the Enemy, & in Order to this I have recommended the building a strong Fort on an Eminence at the Conflux of the North & South Branches of the Potowmack (on the Expediency of which I took the Liberty in Feby last to communicate my Sentiments to the Rt Honble the Lords of Trade) which with a small Fort between that place & that where our People intend to build one would always keep open the Communication between the Inhabitants & Fort Cumberland, & would be very convenient or rather absolutely necessary as a place of Arms in any future Expeditions to the westward a Body of 500 or 600 Men which had I wherewith to support them I could easily raise from among our Inhabitants, posted in those Forts with Orders to be constantly patrolling or ranging on the Frontiers would effectually prevent any Incursions of Indians & be always ready to act in Conjuction with any Troops that should be raised in the Neighbouring Colonies, or able of themselves to send Detachments to annoy the Indians in their own Country, but as our Assembly imagine such measures would involve them in greater Expences than they think their Constituents can well bear & oblige them to keep up a Body of Troops much longer than they propose by the Bill that is now under their Consideration, I am afraid it will be impossible for me as I have already hinted to prevail with them to do what the Safety of the Back Inhabitants requires & without which they may expend considerable Sums of Money to very little purpose. I have been advised that a Captain of the Virginia Regiment, which consists of about 500 Men with a Detachment of Sixty fell in lately with a party of Indians by whom they were entirely defeated; the Captain, Lieutenant, & 15 Men being killed the Rest retired to a little Sort of a Fort that was near the place where the Action happened. Another Party of Indians have been attacked in Virginia with better Success & a French Ensign that led them being killed, there was found in a little Bag tied about his Neck Instructions from Dumas the Commandant at Fort Du Quesne ordering him to make an Incursion with a party of 50 Savages to Conegochiegh (a place about 70 Miles on this Side Fort Cumberland) & destroy the Magazine of Stores & Provisions that has been left there ever since last Summer. This inclines me to think that the French do not expect any Expedition will be carried on by us to the westward this Season & that they are so anxious to prevent a possibility of it by destroying the Ammunition & Stores that they may detach as many of their Garrison as they can possibly spare to the Northward where they cannot be ignorant that large preparations are making against them. Some of the back-Inhabitants who have escaped from the Ohio whither they had been carried by the Savages report that the Artillery which fell into the Enemy's hands last Summer have been carried up that River & that the French purchase the Men which the Indians have taken from the Frontiers of these Colonies & keep them constantly employed in building Barracks for the Reception & Convenience of the Indian Tribes that have lately come into the Alliance & are to be employed this Summer in harrassing & depopulating these provinces. The Cherokees or Carolina Indians have I hear made great professions of Friendship to the Commissioners that were sent from Virga to make a Treaty & enter into a League with them but they will not declare openly in our Favour, or commence hostilities against the French or their Allies till we have an Army able to act offensively & till we have constructed a strong Fort in their Country for the Security of their wives & Children while their young Men act in Conjunction with our Troops, in this the Commissioners promised to gratify them, & Governor Dinwiddie has ordered a Detachment from the Virga Regiment on that Service.

I am &c.

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