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Washington himself thought so when more experienced in warfare. Being asked, many years afterwards, whether be really had made such a speech about the whistling of bullets, "If I said so," replied he quietly, “it was when I was young.”* He was, indeed, but twenty-two years old when he said it; it was just after his first battle; he was flushed with success, and was writing to a brother.
ington, whom he pronounces a “brave braggart.” As no despatch of Washington contains any rodomontade of the kind; as it is quite at variance with the general tenor of his character; and as Horace Walpole is well known to have been a "great gossip dealer,” apt to catch up any idle rumor that would give piquancy to a paragraph, the story has been held in great distrust. We met with the letter recently, however, in a column of the London Magazine for 1754, page 370, into which it must have found its way not long after it was written.
* Gordon, Hist. Am. War, vol. ii.. p. 208.
BCARCITY IN THE CAMP-DEATH OF COLONEL FRY-PROMOTIONS MACKAY AND HIS
INDEPENDENT COMPANY-MAJOR MUSE-INDIAN CEREMONIALS-PUBLIC PRAYERS IX CAYPALABUS-INDEPENDENCE OF AN INDEPENDENT COMPANY--AFFAIRS AT THE GREAT MEADOWS-DESERTION OF THE INDIAN ALLIES-CAPITULATION OF FORT NECESSITY_VAN BRAAM AS AN INTERPRETER-INDIAN PLUNDERERS-RETURN TO WILLIAMSBURG-VOTE OF THANKS OF THE HOUSE OF BURGESSES -SUBSEQUENT FORTUNES OF THE HALF-KING-COMMENTS ON THE AFFAIR OF JUMONVILLE AND THE CONDUCT OF VAN BRAAM.
SCARCITY began to prevail in the camp. Contracts had been made with George Croghan for flour, of which he had large quantities at his frontier establishment; for he was now trading with the army as well as with the Indians. None, however, made its appeararce. There was mismanagement in the commissariat. At one time the troops were six days without flour; and even then had only a casual supply from an Ohio trader. In this time of scarcity the half-king, his fellow sachem, Scarooyadi, and thirty or forty warriors, arrived, bringing with them their wives and children-so many more hungry mouths to be supplied. Wash. ington wrote urgently to Croghan to send forward all the flour he could furnish.
News came of the death of Colonel Fry at Wills' Creek, and
that he was to be succeeded in the command of the expedition by Colonel Inues of North Carolina, who was actually at Winchester with three hundred and fifty North Carolina troops. Washington, who felt the increasing responsibilities and difficulties of his situation, rejoiced at the prospect of being under the command of an experienced officer, who had served in company with his brother Lawrence at the siege of Carthagena. The colonel, however, never came to the camp, nor did the North Carolina troops render any service in the campaign—the fortunes of which might otherwise have been very different.
By the death of Fry, the command of the regiment devolved on Washington. Finding a blank major's commission among Fry's papers, he gave it to Captain Adam Stephen, who had conducted bimself with spirit. As there would necessarily be other changes, he wrote to Governor Dinwiddie in behalf of Jacob Van Braam. “He has acted as captain ever since we left Alexandria. He is an experienced officer, and worthy of the command he has enjoyed."
The palisaded fort was now completed, and was named Fort Necessity, from the pinching famine that had prevailed during its construction. The scanty force in camp was augmented to three hundred, by the arrival from Wills' Creek of the men who had been under Colonel Fry. With them came the surgeon of the regiment, Dr. James Craik, a Scotchman by birth, and one destined to become a faithful and confidential friend of Washington for the remainder of his life.
A letter from Governor Dinwiddie announced, however, that Captain Mackay would soon arrive with an independent company of one hundred men, from South Carolina.
The title of independent company had a sound ominous of
trouble. Troops of the kind, raised in the colonies, under direction of the governors, were paid by the Crown, and the officers had king's commissions; such, doubtless, had Captain Mackay. “ I should have been particularly obliged," writes Washington to Governor Dinwiddie, “if you bad declared whether he was under my command, or independent of it. I hope he will have more sense than to insist upon any unreasonable distinction, because he and his officers have commissions from his majesty. Let him consider, though we are greatly inferior in respect to advantages of profit, yet we have the same spirit to serve our gracious king as they have, and are as ready and willing to sacrifice our lives for our country's good. And here, once more, and for the last time, I must say, that it will be a circumstance which will act upon some officers of this regiment, above all measure, to be obliged to serve upon such different terms, when their lives, their fortunes, and their operations are equally, and, I dare say, as effectually exposed as those of others, who are happy enough to have the king's commission."
On the 9th arrived Washington's early instructor in military tactics, Adjutant Muse, recently appointed a major in the regiment. He was accompanied by Montour, the Indian interpreter, now a provincial captain, and brought with him nine swivels, and a small supply of powder and ball. Fifty or sixty horses were forthwith sent to Wills' Creek, to bring on further supplies, and Mr. Gist was urged to hasten forward the artillery.
Major Muse was likewise the bearer of a belt of wampum and a speech, from Governor Dinwiddie to the half king; with medals for the chiefs, and goods for presents among the friendly Indians, a measure which had been suggested by Washington. They were distributed with that grand ceremonial so dear to the red
man. The chiefs assembled, painted and decorated in all their savage finery; Washington wore a medal sent to him by the gov. ernor for such occasions. The wampum and speech having been delivered, be advanced, and with all due solemnity, decorated the chiefs and warriors with the medals, which they were to wear in remembrance of their father the King of England.
Among the warriors thus decorated was a son of Queen Aliquippa, the savage princess whose good graces Washington had secured in the preceding year, by the present of an old watchcoat, and whose friendship was important, her town being at no great distance from the French fort. She had requested that her son might be admitted into the war councils of the camp, and receive an English name. The name of Fairfax was accordingly given to him, in the customary Indian form; the half-king being desirous of like distinction, received the name of Dinwiddic. The sachems returned the compliment in kind, by giving Washington the name of Connotaucarius; the meaning of which is not explained.
William Fairfax, Washington's paternal adviser, had recently counselled him by letter, to have public prayers in his camp; cspecially when there were Indian families there ; this was accordingly done at the encampment in the Great Meadows, and it certainly was not one of the least striking pictures presented in this wild campaign—the youthful commander, presiding with calm seriousness over a motley assemblage of half-equipped soldiery, leathern-clad hunters and woodsmen, and painted savages with their wives and children, and uniting them all in solemn devotion by his own example and demeanor.
On the 10th there was agitation in the camp. Scouts hurried in with word, as Washington understood them, that a party of