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Letter From Capt. Ashby About Indians Demanding the Surrender of his Fort

Captain Ashby wrote the following letter to Lt. Colonel VanMeter and Captain Waggoner at Fort Cumberland, recounting how Indians on April 15, 1756 demanded he surrender his Fort. Ashby refused, gave the Indian spokesman a dram of rum, and the Indians moved East towards Walker's plantation at the mouth of Patterson Creek. Fort Cumberland was storing supplies and flour there because they had no more room at the Fort. Ashby heard gunfire from Walker's that evening and relayed that information in his letter, but lacked the manpower to pursue the enemy.

Here is the text of Ashby's letter:

“An Extract of Capt. Ashbys Letter/ Apl 15th 1756


“This day my fort was Demanded of me by four hundred Indians and we came to a parly. I told the interpreter that I would not give up my fort untill I was killed and all my men, they first told me to make ready, I told them I was Ready, any time to give Battle & I would give them battle They also told me that there was two thousand gone to Juniata and fifteen hundred to Cumberland fort, and four hundred to Attact me, and also four hundred to attact the upper fort Cocks and that their orders was not to kill but to take all to Allegheny. I told them that I was but a Captain & I cold not give it up. nor would not. but I would send to our great man, and he might do as he pleased & they aggreed that I should send an Express.

“Test by John Ashby

“I give him a dram and so Departed without one fire of a gun & in the Evening I heard them attact the fort at the mouth of the Creek and a number of guns fired but what is done I know not. I believe Every word that they told me was a lie, I seen a vast number but not four hundred. Sir I am Your most Humble Servt

to command John Ashby

“To Colll Henry Vanmeter and so to Capt. Waggoner these”

Cite as: The Papers of George Washington Digital Edition. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, Rotunda, 2008.

Canonic URL: [accessed 24 Aug 2017]

Original source: Colonial Series (7 July 1748–15 June 1775), Volume 3 (16 April 1756–9 November 1756)

Lieutenant Stark from Fort Cumberland, relayed Captain Ashby's letter to Colonel Washington in Winchester, which is the copy seen here:

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