Maryland Governor Horatio Sharpe to the Lords of Trade
Correspondence of Governor Horatio Sharpe, Volume I, 1753-1757, edited by William Hand Browne
(Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1888).
[Sharpe to Lords of Trade.]
Copy of a Lettr to the Lds of Trade that was writ the 8th Feby not sent till now.
In Obedience to yr Ldp’s Commands signified to me in a Lettr dated the 19th of Septr which I lately recd I am to acquaint your Ldps that there are in & belonging to this Province 19 Carriage Guns all Iron but very good 4 of them are 6 pounders & 15 four pounders the last not mounted. In the Magazine is 16 lb weight of 6 lb shot & 24 half Barrels of Powder; of musquet Ball & Bar Lead we have a considerable quantity & there were last Spring about 500 stand of small Arms belonging to the Publick most of which are in the hands of the men that have been raised for the protection of the Frontiers & some were lost at the Action of the Monongahela. The Militia of this Colony are near 16500, One third of whom at least are entirely destitute of Arms & many of the Guns that are the property of the Rest are very bad & scarcely fit for use. For want of a proper Militia Law (which the assembly has been frequently in vain sollicited to make) the people are undiciplined as well as badly armed & cannot be compelled to serve in Defence of the Country. The white Inhabitants in Maryland are 107,963, the Black 46225. I apprehend about 26000 of the former are able to bear Arms, but all Civil Officers & persons of particular Trades or Callings being exempted by Law, convicted servants incapacitated & Roman Catholicks excluded or excused by Custom the Militia does not exceed the number abovementioned.
There are no works in this Province that deserve the name of Fortifications; just behind & among our most western Settlements are some small Stoccado or Palisadoe Forts to which the Inhabitants may carry their wives & Children for Protection in Case of Alarms, while themselves unite & endeavour to prevent any small Parties of Indians making Incursions & destroying their stock & Habitations; beside these there is one larger tho in my Opinion not much more capable of Defence, on potowmack about 46 miles beyond our Settlements, it has been distinguished by the Appellation of Fort Cumberland & is at present garrisoned by 400 men from Virga & this Govt Ten of the Carriage Guns that His Majesty was graciously pleased to order to Virga two years since are mounted in this Fort which is made with Stoccadoes & commanded almost on every side by circumjacent Hills. About 16 Miles on this side thereof is an Eminence situated just at the Conflux of the two streams called the North & South Branches of Potowmack & almost as far up as that River is Navigable for the smallest Craft, which might be easily fortified & I think rendered very strong at a small Expence. Should any more Troops be marched thro Virga to the westward a place of Arms thereabouts would be absolutely necessary & I beleive nothing would contribute more effectually to the security of this & the contiguous parts of the two neighbouring Colonies than the Constructing a strong Fort there & garrisoning it with a sufficient number of men. This in Obedience to the Orders that I had the honour to receive I humbly submit to Yr Ldps & am Rt Honble &c
French and Indian War Documents