Skip to content

Journal of Captain Charles Lewis

Journal of Captain Charles Lewis

October to December 10, 1755.[1]

This text is offered on Jeffrey’s Store on Lulu. Jeff’s Store has some of the texts offered on this website, and several other historic texts, not on the website. They are offered as reprints.

October 10th, 1755-Left Fredericksburg under the command of Major Andrew Lewis,[2] with eighty men. Crossed the Rappahannock at the falls. The men being most of them drunk. We marched but seven miles to Pickets; very bad entertainment; no water to be had for the soldiers. This night two of my company deserted. The expenses, 4s. 5 1/2d. Seven miles.

October 11th-This day I was ordered to march before the company to one Martin Hardin’s, to provide provisions. I shot a bullock and provided a plenty of bread in the evening. The company came up in high spirits. Here we had good entertainment, a merry landlady and daughter. Expenses, 6/25. Eighteen miles.

October 12th-This day Major Lewis and Captain H. Woodward,[3] went before to provide for the company and left me the command of the men. Took on the march a deserter and a drunken school-master. Arrived in the evening at Nevils.[4] Bread very scarce. Lieutenant Lowry sent out to purchase meal and potatoes. We made a good shift. Eighteen miles.

October 13th-Marched from Nevil’s, and crossed the Ridge at Ashby’s Gap. I was this day sent forward to provide for the men. Provision plenty. This day’s march was very tedious, being cold and rainy, and the men very ill-clothed. They came up with me about 8 o’clock at night very much fatigued, having marched this day twenty-five miles.

October 14/h-This day we marched cheerfully, having but eighteen miles to Winchester. We arrived about 3 o’clock, and joined the Hon’ble George Washington, Commander of the Virginia Regiment, and Captain George Mercer, A. D. C., with other officers and about forty men. Eighteen miles.

From Fredericksburg 7 miles to Picket’s.
Picket’s, 18 miles to Hardin’s.
Hardin’s, 18 miles to Nevil’s.
Nevil’s, 25 miles to Woods’.
Wood’s 18 miles to Winchester.

86 miles from Fred’b’rg to Winchester.

October 15th-Viewed the town.
October 16th-Rested.
October 17th-Rainy, and very unpleasant weather.
October 18th-Orders to make ready for marching to Fort Cumberland.
October 19th-Made ready. This day we had a remarkable battle between two of our servants.
October 20th-We left Winchester under the command of Major Andrew Lewis, and marched ten miles to Captain Smith’s, a very remarkable man. I was this day appointed captain over forty-one men of different companies. A remarkable dispute between Lieutenant Steenberger and an Irish woman. Ten miles.

October 21st-Marched from Captain Smith’s, and crossed great Cape Capon. A beautiful prospect, and the best land I ever yet saw. We encamped this night on the top of a mountain. The roads were by far the worst this day, and our march was for that reason but thirteen miles. Our men, nevertheless, were in high spirits. About 8 o’clock this night a soldier’s musket went off in the middle of our encampment without any damage. I think I saw this day some of the most delightful prospects I ever did. Thirteen miles.

October 22d-This day we marched from Sandy Top Mountain to little Cape Capon. The land very good. We encamped this night at a poor man’s house, entirely forsaken, and the people driven off by the Indians. We found here a plenty of corn, oats, and stock of all kinds ; even the goods and furniture of the house were left behind. This night about 9 o’clock we were joined by the Hon’ble Colonel George Washington and Captain George Mercer, A. D. C. Fifteen miles.

October 23d-Very bad weather snow and rain. We marched very slow today, and arrived at the South Branch, where we encamped at a house on the branch, having come up with Colonel George Washington and Captain Mercer, A. D. C. Nine miles. Very ill-natured people here.

October 24th-A very wet day. We marched to Patterson’s Creek, on which we encamped, in a house deserted. We found here good corn, wheat, and pasturage. Before we marched we discharged our pieces, being wet, and charged them, in expectation of seeing the enemy. Colonel Washington marched before with Captain Ashby’s company of Rangers. Fourteen miles.

October 25th-Marched from Patterson’s Creek. Passed many deserted houses. I was this day very curious in the examination of the mischief done in the houses, and was much shocked at the havoc made by the barbarous, cruel Indians at one Mecraggin’s. I found the master of the family, who had been buried but slightly by his friends after his assassination, half out of the grave, and eaten by the wolves; the house burnt, the corn-field laid waste, and an entire ruin made. At half-past 6 we arrived at Fort Cumberland, cold and hungry. We had this day, by Major Lewis’s order, two women ducked for robbing the deserted houses. Twenty miles.


From Winchester, 81 miles to Fort Cumberland.
” Fred’b’rg, 86 miles to Winchester.
167 Fort Cumberland.

October 26th-This day Lieutenant Walter Stewart[5] showed me the fort.

‘Tis a Quadr fort, with four Bast”‘; about one hundred feet in the square; has eleven four pounders and two smaller, mounted. ‘Tis situated on the north side of the Potomack, in Maryland, on a hill; very pleasant more so, I think, than advantageous has a romantick prospect from the mountains, and is very healthy. I was this day ordered to return to Fredericksburg, but my horses being tired, I was excused.

October 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th-Nothing remarkable.

October 31st-An Irishman arrived at the fort with two scalps. It seems he was the Sunday before taken prisoner by a party of fifty-two Indians, and being left in custody of two while the party proceeded towards the inhabitants, he with his guard arrived at the Shenandoah camp, and encamped in a house deserted. About 11 o’clock he was ordered to make up the fire, but denying to do so was threatened the tomahawk; but accidentally casting his eyes on an axe in the house very convenient to him, he, with it, beat out the brains of the Indian next to him, and with his gun, shot the other through the body. Having scalped them, he made the best of his way to Fort Cumberland with their scalps, guns and horses, &c.

I bought one of the guns for fifty shillings, Maryland currency, being a French piece, very handsome and equally good. This same day a party of volunteers was detached, consisting of one hundred men, rank and file and officers.

The Indians having discovered their designs, * * *

‘Tis not doubted the party will cut them off.

November 1, 2, 3-Nothing remarkable.

November 4th-The volunteers returned without success, the Indians being supposed to be returned.

November 13th-Colonel Stevens[6] arrived this day-evening with about one hundred recruits, with their proper officers-Captain Robert Spotswood,[7] Captain William Peachy,[8] Lieutenant John Hall, Lieutenant King, and two volunteers.

November 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19-Nothing remarkable.

November 20th-Ensign Bacon arrived at the fort from Patterson’s Creek, where he had been to erect a fort. On his way he heard the Indian Hallow, and saw many tracks of Indians in the woods. This alarmed the fort, but being late ’twas not possible to send out a party; but orders were given for a hundred men to parade in the morning under Captain Waggoner.

November 21st-A very bad morning, wet and continuing to rain. A party of one hundred men paraded under Captain Waggoner,[9] to search for the Indians on Patterson’s Creek, according to Ensign Bacon’s information of the day before. Major Andrew Lewis and myself went as volunteers on this command. We returned the same day with the party. No Indians or tracks of Indians to be seen.

November 22d-A very cold day and windy.

November 23, 24, 25-Nothing remarkable.

November 26th-I went out this day in company with Major James Livingston, Lieutenant Stark, one sergeant, a corporal and three privates to Nicholas’ Fort on a party of pleasure. ‘Tis about five miles from Fort Cumberland, well built, with four bastions. About i o’clock we left this fort and marched one mile below, where we crossed the Potomack river in a canoe. I went on the south side of the river into a house, where was a weaver’s loom, and a small quantity of shavings of a wood the people in these parts dye with. Some distance from this house we found in the Indian path about two pounds of swan shot, supposed by our guide to be dropped there by the Indians in some hurry when they massacred the inhabitants about these plantations. We crossed a small mountain not far from this, on whose top you might drop a stone four hundred feet into the Potomack river. We passed another mountain something higher; had much the same prospect, a fine landscape. From the top of this mountain you might drop a stone above five hundred feet perpendicular into the Potomack river. We found here an Indian cap made of bear skin, and then we proceeded on our march to the new store, built by the Ohio Company, from whence we crossed the Potomack river, and before night got into Fort Cumberland. This march fatigued me very much, being above fifteen miles, and a great part of it over the mountains.

November 27th–A very fine warm day.

An exact list of officers and their ranks, belonging to the Virginia regiment, commanded by the Hon’ ble George Washington:

The Hon’ ble George Washington Lieutenant-Colonel Adam Stevens
Major Andrew Lewis

Captains Peter Hogg,[10]– 1

George Mercer, – 2 Thomas Waggoner, – 3

Captains Robert Stewart,[11] – 4

Thomas Cock,[12] – 5

John Savage,[13] – 6

William Branough,[14] – 7

John Mercer,[15] – 8

Joshua Lewis, – 9
Henry Woodward, – 10 Robert Spotswood, – 11

Carter Harrison,[16] – 12

Charles Lewis, – 13
William Peachy, – 14 Captains David Bell, – 15
Robert McKenzie, – 16 Lieutenants John McNiel, – 1
William Stark, – 2

Thomas Bullet,[17] – 3

Walter Stewart, – 4

John Blagg,[18] – 5

Hancock Eustice,[19] – 6

George Frazer – 7
John Edward Lomax – 8 Peter Steenburger – 9
John Williams – 10

Augustine Brockenbrough,[20] – 11

John Campbell, – 12 John Hall, – 13
John Lowry, – 14 John King, – 15
James Baker, – 16 Ensigns Mordecai Buckner, – 1

John Polson,[21] – 2

William Dangerfield, – 3
Edward Hubbard, – 4 John Dean, – 5
Nathaniel Milner, – 6

Ensigns William Fleming,[22] – 7

Leonard Price, – 8 Nathaniel Thompson, – 9
Thomas Carter, – 10 Charles Smith, – 11

Lee Hussis Dekizer,[23]-12

George Gordon, – 13

George Weeden,[24] – 14

______ ______ – 15
______ ______ – 16  

November 30th-This day a man unfortunately falling down the bank of Potomack, opposite to ye Fort, his gun fired and shot a soldier thro’ the leg, who was crossing the river in a canoe.

December 2nd-Captain Spotswood and self went volunteers with a party, commanded by Bnsign Walter Lowne, to gather corn from the deserted fields. We arrived about 2 o’clock at a plantation of one Cussips, most delightfully situated on land that gave me great pleasure. ‘Twas a piece of low ground entirely surrounded by the mountains, the prospects very romantic; high rocks on the sides of the mountains, some hundred feet perpendicular to the River Potomack. Here we lodged this night in a comfortable house.

December 3d-This morning we took our guns, and after directing our men (in number thirty) to gather the corn, we took different courses to bunt for deer and such game as the place afforded. This evening Captain Spotswood went with a soldier to the plantation of one Williams, where the houses were burnt by the savages. The body of a woman layed near one of the houses, her head being scalped, and also a small boy and a young man. This horrid scene gave us a terrible shock, but I hope, with the leave of God, we shall still overcome the cruel, barbarous, and inhuman enemy.

December 4th-This morning we intended to hunt again, but soon after day we heard three distinct guns under the Alleghany mountains, wherefore we were particularly cautious not to venture too far to hunt, lest we should be outwitted by our ever cautious enemy.
December 5th-This morning we marched for Fort Cumberland, and met about five miles from Cussips a relief; commanded by Lieutenant Lynn, of twelve men. We accepted of his relief, and gave up our command to Mr. Lynn, according to order.

December 6th-Five deserters were this day punished, each receiving one thousand lashes. In this last command I may, with the greatest truth, aver that I saw the most horrid, shocking sight I ever yet beheld. At a house adjoining to the cornfield, in which our soldiers were employed in gathering corn, we saw the bodies of three different people who were first massacred, then scalped, and after thrown into a fire. These bodies were not yet quite consumed, but the flesh on many parts of them. We saw the clothes of these people yet bloody, and the stakes, the instruments of their death, still bloody and their brains sticking on them, the orchards cut down, the mills destroyed, and a waste of all manner of household goods. These people were, in my opinion, very industrious, having the best corn I ever saw, and their plantations well calculated for produce and every other conveniency, suitable to the station of a farmer.

December 24th-Being Christmas, we were invited to spend the evening with Colonel Stephen, where we spent the time in drinking loyal healths and dancing ’till 11 o’ clock, and then parted in the most amicable manner.

December 25th-Were invited to dine with Colonel Stephens, where we had the most sumptuous entertainment. After dinner drank the Royal Healths and sung some entertaining songs with 3 Huzzas and rolls of Drums to every health and song. Then took partners and spent the evening in dancing, about 12 o’clock broke up well pleased with our generous entertainment.

December 26th-Sociably spent.

December 27th-I was ordered to march with one lieutenant, one sergeant, one corporal and twenty men to take the command of Ashby’s Fort; arrived about 5 o’clock, met Captain Ashby near the barracks, inquired his number of men and desired to see his list. He informed me he did not know the number, and that his lieutenant had the list and was absent. I ordered the drum to beat to arms, when with much difficulty we got together twenty-one men. I appointed Lieutenant John Bacon adjutant, had the articles of war read to the men, and let them know I was to command them. Mr. Bacon made a most affectionate speech to them and then discharged them for this night. They seemed to be mutinous, but were soon convinced after reading orders from Colonel Adam Stephen that I was their commander. I gave orders for a parade.

December 27, 1755.

A copy of the original Journal.


University of Virginia, April 29, 1891.


The following paper in the possession of the editor, and labelled “For Mr. James Cocke, An Account of the Year’s Pay paid the Officers of the Virginia regiment, 1762,” is appended to the Journal of Captain Charles Lewis, for the further information it presents:

“A Account of Cash paid the Officers of the Virginia Regiment for their presents, allowed by Act of Assembly, Disbanded March 1, 1762.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Adam Stephen, L319 7 6
Major Andrew Lewis, 273 15 0
Captains Robert Stewart, 182 10 0
Mordecai Buckner 182 10 0
Thomas Bullitt 182 10 0

Nathaniel Gist,[25]

182 10 0
John Blagg 182 10 0
Lieutenants John Lawson 91 05 0
John Cameron, 91 05 0
Thomas Gist, 91 05 0
Reuben Voss 91 05 0
George Weedon 91 05 0
Walter Cunningham 91 05 0
Alexander Minzie 91 05 0
David Kennedy 91 05 0
Joseph Fent 91 05 0
Jethro Sumner 91 05 0
William Daingerfield 91 05 0
Robert Johnston 91 05 0
Larkin Chew 91 05 0
William Hughes 91 05 0
Alexander Boyd 91 05 0
William Fleming 91 05 0
William Cocke 91 05 0
Ensigns Barton Lucas, 73 00 0
Alexander McClannahan, 73 00 0
George McKnight, 73 00 0
David Long 73 00 0
John Seayers, 73 00 0
Henry Timberlake, 73 00 0
Surgeon John Stuart 182 10 0
Captain John McNeill 182 10 0
[Total] L3,951 02 6

Colo Wm. Byrd, Credit given him in his Acet, Virginia Ledger, L547 00.

Capt. Henry Woodward, Paid by the Treasurer, L182, 10.
Lieut. Leonard Price, Credit given him in his Acct, Virginia Ledger, L91, 05.
Lieutenant Charles Smith, paid by the Treasurer, L91, 05.

1762, Sept.-Lieut. William Woodford, Paid by Alexr Boyd, Pay Mr, after deducting his account with the Country-Balance, L84, 8, 11.


  1. The original of the “Journal “is in the possession of Thomas Waring Lewis, Esq., of ‘ Mansfield,” Essex county, Virginia, who thus states his descent from its writer, Captain (subsequently known as Colonel) Charles Lewis: “Jam a great-grandson of Colonel Charles Lewis, of ‘Cedar Creek,’ Caroline county, Virginia, who was the brother of Colonel Fielding Lewis, of Fredericksburg, and the son of John Lewis, of ‘Warner Hall,’ Gloucester county, and of Frances flee Fielding, and who was a grandson of John Lewis and Elizabeth, his wife, a daughter of the Hon. Augustine Warner. of Gloucester county, who was a Member of the Council and Speaker of the House of Burgesses. His daughter, Mildred Warner, was the wife of Lawrence Washington, and General George Washington was thus the cousin of Fielding, Colonel Charles, and Warner Lewis, of ‘Warner Hall.’ Colonel Charles Lewis was a vestryman of St Mary’s parish. a justice of the peace, and a Burgess for Caroline county. He was with Washington at Braddock’s defeat. He died just before ‘the glorious Revolution of 1776.'”

    A copy of the original was kindly made for the editor in April, 1891, by Mr. William L. Lewis, a son of its present owner. The original commander of the Virginia forces in the expedition against the French in 1754 was Colonel Joshua Fry, who, dying May 31st, whilst conducting it to the Ohio river, was succeeded in the command by the Lieutenant-Colonel George Washington.

    A special value of the paper is in the list given of the officers of the Virginia regiment, for which there has been repeated inquiry by historical students. If in print, the publication containing it seems not to be known.

  2. Andrew Lewis, son of John and Margaret (Lynn) Lewis, pioneer settlers of Augusta county, Virginia, was born in Ulster, Ireland, in 1720; with Washington at the surrender of Fort Necessity. July 3, 1754; in the company of his brother, Samuel, at Braddock’s defeat; commanded the Sandy Creek Expedition in 1756, and in the unfortunate expedition of Major Grant in 1758, was made prisoner and taken to Montreal. In the same year he was a commissioner to treat with the Six Nations at Fort Stanwix; made a brigadier-general in 1774, and commanded the Virginia troops at the battle of Point Pleasant, October 10th, gaining a victory over the most formidable Indian force which ever opposed the whites in Virginia; a representative of Botetourt county in the Virginia Assembly, and a member of the Conventions of March and June, 1775; commissioned colonel and promoted brigadier-general, but declined April 5,1777. He drove Lord Dunmore from Gwynn’s Island, and was on duty in the lower part of the State, where he contracted a fever of which he died September 25, 1781, at the residence of Captain Talbott, in Bedford’ county, and was interred on Thursday following, the 27th instant, ” beside his younger brother, Charles,” in the burial-ground on his farm, “Dropmore,” on Roanoke river near Salem, Roanoke county.

    Samuel, Thomas, and Charles, brothers of General Andrew Lewis, were severally distinguished in the annals of Virginia, and have been worthily represented in succeeding generations.

  3. Henry Woodward, was an Englishman, who was first appointed lieutenant upon the recommendation of James Abercromby, and subsequently promoted. He was voted thanks and a gratuity of L30 by the Assembly for gallantry at Fort Necessity. He was present at the defeat of Braddock.
  4. Neville’s.
  5. Lieutenant Walter Stewart was voted by the Virginia Assembly, August, 1755, thanks and a gratuity of L30, for his gallant conduct in the action on the Monongahela. He was wounded at the defeat of Braddock.
  6. Lieutenant-Colonel Adam Stephen-Ed.
  7. The younger son of Governor Alexander Spotswood. He is supposed to have been slain by the Indians near Fort Duquesne in 1757-ED.
  8. Subsequently promoted to Major of the Second Virginia Regiment, Colonel William Byrd, and was in the campaign under Forbes in 1758-ED.
  9. Thomas Waggener was at the defeat and death of Jamonville, May 28, 1754, and was slightly wounded. He had previously served under Governor William Shirley of Massachusetts, in the projected Canada expedition of 1746. He received the thanks of the House of Burgesses for his gallantry at Fort Necessity. Others of the name also served during this period. Ensign Edward Waggener was killed at the defeat of Braddock, and Captain Andrew Waggener received lands under the proclamation of Governor Dinwiddie of 1754-ED.
  10. Peter Hog (as he spelled his name) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1703, and immigrated to Virginia with his brothers, James and Thomas, about 1745, and located in Augusta county; Virginia, where he married Elizabeth Taylor; was commissioned captain March 9, 1754; delegated July 21, 1756, to contract a line of frontier forts; served also in Sandy Creek Expedition in the same year; licensed to practice law May 10, 1759; appointed by Lord Dunmore April 10, 1772, deputy to the Attorney-General for the county of Dunmore (formed February, 1772, from Frederick, and re-named Shenandoah county by act of October, 1777, Hening, VIII, pp.597-579). He died April 20, 1782. Under the proclamation of Governor Dinwiddie he received 2347 acres of land. His descendants in the names of Hoge, Hogg, Hall, Blair, Blackley. Hawkins, McPherson, Ott, and others, are held in high social esteem.
  11. Subsequently promoted major; was engaged in the action on the Monongahela, and in August, 1755, was voted by the Virginia Assembly thanks and a gratuity of L100 for gallantry.
  12. Thomas Cocke, commissioned captain December 83, 1754. He appears to have been on terms of intimacy with the family of Colonel George William Fairfax.
  13. Served through the French and Indian war, receiving, in 1771, his allotment of lands under the proclamation of Governor Dinwiddie.
  14. Captain William Bronaugh received 6,ooo acres of land in 1771 for his services.
  15. His full name was John Fenton Mercer, a younger brother of Captain George Mercer. He was born August 31, 1735 ; was killed and scalped by the Indians April iS, 1756, at Edwards’s Fort, on the Warm Springs mountains whilst in command of a scouting party of one hundred men.
  16. Carter Henry Harrison, second son of Benjamin and Anne (daughter of Robert “King” Carter) Harrison (the second of the name in Virginia), of ” Berkeley,” James river; brother of Benjamin “the Signer,” and uncle of President Will;am Henry Harrison. He resigned his commission (probably because of ill-health) in favor of his brother, Charles, subsequently colonel in the Revolution and commissioned Brigadier.General United States Army, December 24, 1794, but who was found murdered in bed soon after. He married, in 1763, Mary, daughter of Colonel Augustine and Mary (Herbert) Claiborne, who was fourth in descent from Colonel William Claiborne, “the rebel.”
  17. Thomas Bullett received lands in 1771 under the proclamation of 1754; was appointed lieutenant-colonel and deputy adjutant-general February 22, 1777, and died in service during the Revolution.
  18. Lieutenant John Blagge was present as a member of a court-martial held at Winchester, Virginia, May 2, 1756.
  19. Hancock Eustace was subsequently promoted captain.
  20. Augustine, or Austin, Brockenbrough, eldest son of Colonel William Brockenbrough, from England, who settled in Richmond county, Virginia, early in the eighteenth century; was present at Braddock’s defeat; remained in London neutral during the Revolution; returned to Virginia after peace was declared and married a daughter of Colonel Champe, of King George, and had issue.
  21. John Poulson was probably a younger brother of Captain William Poulson.
  22. William Fleming migrated to Virginia in early manhood. He is said to have been of noble lineage. He was a physician, and with the rank of lieutenant subsequently acted as surgeon. He served in the Sandy Creek Expedition of 2756. He was one of the first justices of the peace for Botetourt county in 1769. In 1774 he raised a regiment which he commanded at the battle of Point Pleasant. He was long a member of the Virginia Assembly, and in June, 1781, as the only member of the Council at Richmond, the remaining members with Governor Jefferson and the Legislature having fled before the invading traitor Arnold, he was for a time the acting Governor of Virginia. His acts were subsequently legalized by the Assembly. He married a daughter of Israel Christian, and one of his daughters was the wife of Rev. George A. Baxter, D. D.
  23. In the Dinwiddie Papers the name is spelled De Keyser.
  24. George Weedon, subsequently brigadier-general in the Revolution.
  25. Subsequently served in the Revolution as Colonel of the Second Virginia regiment.