DINWIDDIE, Robert (1693-1770), Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. Letter signed ("Rob/st. Dinwiddie") to Governor Sharpe, Williamsburg, 1 March 1755. 1 page, 4to, integral blank, fine.
PREPARATIONS FOR BRADDOCK'S EXPEDITION. A fine letter from this important colonial governor and early patron of George Washington. Three years before, he had dispatched George Washington into the Pennsylvania wilderness to deliver a message to the French at Fort Le Boeuf. Dinwiddie was extremely concerned about French encroachments in the Ohio Valley and elated at news that General Edward Braddock had been sent with two regiments of specially picked troops. Here, he reports on early organizational phases of Braddock's impending campaign: "Last Sunday General Braddock came to my House, & says we may very soon expect the Forces [additional regiments] from Ireland." He apologizes for not contacting the governor immediately since he wanted to wait to converse with the general on his plans: "After the Troops arrive he proposes going for Alexandria, from thence will send you an Express...The General has desired [Massachusetts] Governor [William] Shirley at Annapolis to discuss military operations." (Braddock met at Alexandria in April with five colonial Governors to propose his strategy for the coming campaigns.) Dinwiddie adds that "Sir John is gone to Wills's Creek [the gateway to the Allegheny passes] to review the Independents & the Recruits raised from this Province & to form them into Companies," probably referring to the Virginia provincial troops, commanded by George Washington, raised for the defence of the colony. Washington himself went to Alexandria, where he met Braddock and was offered the post of aide-de-camp; the Irish transports arrived, and in June Braddock's army embarked from Wills' Creek, Pennsylvania in an attempt to drive the French from Fort Duquesne (later Fort Pitt). The tragic end of that campaign, and Braddock's death, 9 July 1755, is one of the critical moments in the Seven Years War in North America. Braddock's letter to Gov. Morris of New York, calling him to Annapolis, was sold here 8 October 1996, lot 183, $8,500.