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and that colonel Dunbar had withdrawn all the regular forces from Virginia, arrived while the assemby of that colony. was in session. Impressed with the necessity of protecting their exposed frontier settlements, they determined to raise a regiment of sixteen companies. The command of this was given to Washington. So

great was the public confidence in the soundness of his judgement, that he was authorised to name the field officers. His commission also designated him as mander in chief of all the forces raised, or to be raised in Virginia.

In execution of the duties of his new office, Washington, after giving the necessary orders for the recruiting service, visited the frontiers. He found many posts, but few soldiers. Of these the best disposition was made.

While on his way to Williamsburgh, to arrange a plan of operations with the lieutenant

governor, he was overtaken by an express below Fredericksburg, with information, ibat the back settlements were broken up by parties of French and Indians, who were murdering and capturing men, women, and children, burning their houses, and destroying their crops; and that the few troops stationed on the frontiers, unable to protect


the country, had retreated to small stockade forts. Washington altered his course from Williamsburgh to Winchester, and made every exertion to collect a force for the defence of the country. But this was impossible; the inhabitants, instead of assembling in

arms, and facing the invaders, fled before them, and extended the general panic. While the attention of individuals was engrossed by their families and private concerns, the general safety was neglected; the alarm became universal, and the utmost confusion

prevailed. Before any adequate force was collected to repel the assailants, they had safely crossed the Alleghany mountains, after having done an infinity of mischief. Irruptions of this kind were repeatedly made into the frontier settlements of Virginia ; these generally consisted of a considerable number of French and Indians, who were detached from fort Duquesne. It was their usual practice, on their approaching the settlements, to divide into small parties, and, avoiding the forts, to attack solitary families in the night as well as the day. The savages, accustomed to live in the woods, found little difficulty in concealing themselves till their fatal blow was struck. Sundry unimportant skirmishes took place, with various results, but the number



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killed on both sides was inconsiderable, when compared with the mischief done, and the many who were put to death otherwise than in battle. The invaders could seldom be brought to a regular engagement. Honorable war was not in their contemplationplunder, devastation, and murder, were their objects. The assemblage of a respectable force to oppose them, was their signal for retreating. Irruptions of this kind were so frequent for three years following Braddock's defeat, that in Pennsylvania, the frontier settlers were driven back as far as Carlisle, and in Maryland to Frederictown, and in Virginia to the Blue Ridge.

The distresses of the inhabitants exceeded all description. If they went into stockade forts, they suffered from the want of provisions--were often surrounded, and sometimes cut off. By fleeing, they abandoned the conveniencies of home, and the means of support; if they continued on their farms, they lay down every night under apprehensions of being murdered before morning. But this was not the worst ; captivity and torture were frequently their portion. To all these evils, women, aged persons, and children, were equally liable with men in arms: for savages make no distinction-extermination is their.



object. To Washingion, the inhabitants looked for that protection he bad not the means of giving. In a letter to the

governor, he observed, “ the supplicating tears of the women, and moving petitions of the men, melt me with such deadly sorrow, that I solemnly declare, if I know my own mind, I could offer myself a willing sacrifice to the butchering enemy, provided that would contribute to the peoples ease.” Virginia presented a frontier of 360 miles, exposed to these incursions. Hard was the lot of Washington, to whom was intrusted the defence of these extensive settlements, without means adequate to the


The regiment. voted by the assembly was never filled ; its actual number was oftener below than above 700 men.

The militia afforded a very feeble aid, on which little reliance could be placed ; they were slow in collecting, and when collected, began to hanker after home, and, while in


would not 'submit to that discipline, without which, an army is a mob. -The militia laws were very defective. Cowardice in time of action, and sleeping while on duty, though crimes of the most destructive nature, were very inadequately punished by the civil code, under which they took the field. Desertion and mutiny for



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some considerable time subjected the offender to nothing more than slight penalties.

Washington was incessant in his representations to the governor and to the assembly, that no reliance could be placed on the militia, under existing regulations, and that the inconsiderable number enlisted for regular service, together with the plans proposed for the security of the frontiers, were altogether inadequate. He not only pointed out the defect of the system which had been adopted, but submitted to the consideration of those in power, such measures as he thought best, and particularly recommended, in case offensive operations were not adopted, that twentytwo forts, extending in a line of 360) miles, should be immediately erected and garrisoned by 2,000 men in constant pay and service; but on all occasions gave a decided preference to the reduction of fort Duquesne, as the only radical remedy for the evils to which the frontier settlements were exposed.

Propositions to this effect were made and 1756. urged by him in 1756 and 1757, both to the 1757

government of Virginia and the commanders in chief of the British forces in America'; but a short-sighted policy in the first, and a preference given by the last to a vigorous prosecution of the war in the northern colonies, pre

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