George Washington Letters document,



Great Meadows, 27 May, 1754.


On the 25th ultimo, by an express from Colonel Fry, I received the news of your arrival at Winchester, and desire of seeing the Half-King and other chiefs of the Six Nations. I have by sundry speeches and messages invited him, Monacawacha, and others, to meet me, and have reason to expect the Half-King is on his way, as he only designed to settle his people to planting, at a place up the Monongahela chosen for that purpose. But fearing something might have retarded his march, I immediately, upon the arrival of the express, despatched a messenger with a speech. He is not yet returned. About four days ago I received a message from the Half- King to the following purport ;

" To the first of his Majesty's officers, whom this may concern.

" It is reported, that the French army is coming to meet Major George Washington. I exhort you, therefore, my brethren, to be on your guard against them, for they 'intend to strike the first English, whom they shall see. They have been on their march two days. I know not their number. The Half-King and the rest of the Chiefs will be with you in five days to hold a council. No more at present, but my remembrance to my brothers the English."

His account was strengthened in the evening by another, that the French were at the Crossing of Youghiogany about eighteen miles distant. I hereupon hurried to this place as a convenient spot. We have, with nature's assistance, made a good entrenchment, and, by clearing the bushes out of these meadows, prepared a charming field for an encounter. I detached, immediately upon my arrival here, a small light party of horse (wagon horses) to reconnoitre the enemy, and discover their strength and motion. They returned yesterday without having seen any thing of them; nevertheless, we were alarmed in the night, and remained under arms from two o'clock till near sunrise. We conceived them to be our own men, as six of them deserted, but cannot be certain whether it was they or our enemies. Be it as it will, they were fired at by my sentries, but I believe without damage.

This morning Mr. Gist arrived from his place, where a detachment of fifty men was seen yesterday at noon, commanded by M. La Force. He afterwards saw their tracks within five miles of our camp. I immediately detached seventy-five men in pursuit of them, who, I hope, will overtake them before they get to Red-stone, where their canoes lie. As Mr. Gist has been an eyewitness of our proceedings, and is waiting for this without my knowing till just now that he intends to visit you, I refer you to him for particulars. I expect my messenger in to-night from the Half-King, and shall write more fully to-morrow by the express that came from Colonel Fry.

The numbers of the French have been greatly magnified, as your Honor may see by a copy of the enclosed journal of a person, whom I sent out to gain intelligence. I have received letters from the Governors of Pennsylvania and Maryland, copies of which I also enclose. I am, &,c.

George Washington