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Colonel Adam Stephen to R. H. Lee



February 1, 1775.

Mr˙ DEAR COLONEL: A grateful remembrance of old friendship will, I hope, apologize for my troubling you so often without hearing the least whisper from you, since I came from the Shawanese expedition.

The important session of Assembly, big with matters of great moment, is now at hand. I wish that a firm and dispassionate conduct may shine through the whole, and all our passions may be soothed by agreeable accounts from the new Parliament. I must acknowledge my dread to hear from them. Several sensible men, lately from England, inform us the people there seem but little affected with our dispute; and that they, without thought or consideration, declare that America ought to be taxed.

In these troublesome times it is absolutely necessary that you pay the men employed in the late expedition; they have done honour to our country. The Indians are daily delivering up prisoners and horses, and do really stand in awe of us. Unless the men are paid off directly, their certificates will be sold for a fourth part of their value to Pedlars and Storekeepers, and the brave men who did the service, be nothing the better of their pay. Appoint Commissioners from below to settle the accounts; let no interested persons, or their connections, be concerned in the affair; send the Squire up again, Tom Marshall, and Frank Peyton, and as many more as you think proper. By this means the people will have justice done them, and, at the same time, many thousands will be saved to the country. The House must settle what pay they are to get per day, and from what time they are to be paid, as they were raised and detained some considerable time for want of Arms and Ammunition; this time was employed in disciplining them for the service; but, without the consideration and sanction of the House, the Commissioners may think it matter of altercation. With the greatest economy matters on this quarter were managed; but the expense of Fort Pitt must be kept apart by itself, as I am afraid the reverse of economy will appear there; it has no connection with the rest of the campaign. I would have you discharge that Garrison immediately; but, then, I desire you may keep my opinion to yourself. In renewing the Militia Law, let there be one hundred well appointed horse disciplined in every County; to be superiour in horse, commands the field, and no enemy can safely show himself out of sight of their camp; we are immediately apprised of the strength of their escorts, and of every motion they make, and can act accordingly. At the Courts Martial, let a majority present determine any matter; and during an attack, or in battle, let the men be subject to the Articles of War, with what alteration the House thinks proper. Until the men who want Fire-Arms can be provided, let them be furnished with Spears and Tomahawks; the iron of the Spear to be made in shape of a triangular bayonet, only broader at the shoulder, to go on the staff with a large socket, and thin plates of iron reaching up the staff about two, feet to stiffen it, and guard it against any cutting instrument, the plates being part of the socket; the Spear of the men in front to be six inches larger than the Musket with fixed bayonet; those of the second rank eighteen inches longer than the Spears in front; and those in the third rank eighteen inches longer than the second, that three Spears may reach the breast of the enemy at once, before our men could be touched with the first Bayonet.

This moment I am informed that the Assembly is prorogued till May, — confusion worse confounded; I wish, for the encouragement of the Soldiers, that you would meet, in Provincial Congress, and order an emission of Bills of Credit for their payment. I am sorry that, Lord Dunmore may depend on it, the Militia will never obey his orders again. If the country has a mind to secure useful men, it is absolutely necessary to contrive some method to pay the common men, if the Officers and Provisions should lie over; let us be firm, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against us. A handfull of men in Canada, six broken Regiments from France, withstood, for five years, all the force of British Fleets and Armies from home, and fifteen or twenty thousand Americans, every campaign. They gained several victories over us, and chance had a great hand in their reduction at last. What can we do, if united?


We only want a Navy to give law to the world, and we have it it in our power to get it. I am, dear sir, firmly yours,