George Washington: The Forge of Experience, 1732-1775

By James Thomas Flexner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
9
In and Out of the Army

WHEN WASHINGTON reached Williamsburg on July 17, 1754, Dinwiddie received the vanquished warrior with that bland, impersonal courtesy which in an aristocratic society signaled the decline of interest. The Governor had, indeed, decided that the energetic stripling who had twice got him into hot water was a liability. "The late action with the French," he wrote his government, "gave me much concern. My orders to the commanding officer were by no means to attack the enemy till all the forces were joined." Complaining of a lack of good officers, Dinwiddie hinted that he himself should be given the military command. 1

Washington was ordered to rejoin the remains of his regiment at Alexandria. He had hardly done so when the Governor and Council sent further orders: he was to march across the Blue Ridge for a junction with Colonel Innes, who was then to lead the combined forces over the Alleghenies.

This indicated a replay of the Fort Necessity campaign. On that venture, Washington had engaged eagerly, but he was a quick learner from experience. Now he protested that the Virginia army was too small compared to the French, that it was not supplied or equipped, and that there was not sixpence in the military chest. Assurances of food from traders were not to be

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