The Virginia Ranger Companies, 1755- 1763


  During this period, the western settlements of the colony of Virginia were subject to Native American raids, initially as part of the French and Indian War, then Pontiac Rebellion and finally war with the Cherokees. The colony of Virginia raised companies of Rangers to assist in the defense of its vast western territories. The Virginia Regiment and Militia were the other military organizations participating in the defense of western Virginia.
  The Ranger Companies were raised on an annual basis and subject to disbandment or continuation, situation and budget dependent. They were typically raised in specific counties for service in that county. There are at least two exceptions to this, however, the expedition to the Ohio River and the expedition to the Cherokees, both in 1756 and both conducted in whole or part with Ranger Companies. Raising men for local service meant that they probably had some familiarity with settlements, forts and terrain in their area of operations. Their degree of familiarity would have been far greater than that of militia sent into western counties for brief periods of service and the Virginia Regiment which was raised from all the counties of Virginia.
  The men were paid a daily rate with arms provided by the colony, if required. There was clothing provided to at least two of the Companies in 1755, with consequent stoppages or deductions in pay. Clothing was apparently provided by Lord Fairfax on one occasion in 1756 as well. There is no reason to believe the clothing provided was the blue uniform with red facings worn by the Virginia Regiment. There is no record of any attempt on the part of the Colony of Virginia or of the Ranger Company Commanders to provide any sort of distinctive uniform or insignia to the Ranger Companies. There was an active market for used clothing in Britain and her Colonies in the 18th century and that is the likely sources for clothing provided to the Ranger Companies in 1755. After 1755, it was specifically stated that the men were responsible for providing their own clothing. This being the case, men of the Ranger Companies would have worn the civilian clothing of the period.
  The planned strength for the Ranger Companies was 100. Actual Company strength, based on existing accounts, ranged from as many as 60 men to as few as 10. There is no way of knowing the company strengths when raised to see if any of them actually enlisted 100 men and no way to determine losses over time to illness, death and desertion. All we are left with is numerical snap shots and the occasional disparaging remarks from Governor Dinwiddie and Colonel Washington about absence and desertion.
   There was a failed attempt to incorporate the Ranger Companies into the Virginia Regiment in 1756. It seems the terms of service, and very likely the discipline, were the reason the Ranger Companies declined the request. It was not until 1757 and the ‘Act for Preventing Mutiny and Desertion’ that the Ranger Companies and the Virginia Regiment were subject to the same military law. This did not seem to prevent the raising of Ranger Companies and there is no way of knowing if it had an effect on recruitment for those companies raised.
   Like all military organizations of the 18th century, women had a critical logistical role. Women would have been present on forts, blockhouses and settlements across western Virginia. The women in those settlements would have repaired and altered clothing as necessary, cooked meals and provided medical care to the sick and wounded. They were even known to have participated in the defense of their homes. There would have no doubt been children present as well.


Periods of Service and County

14 July 1755 – 4 May 1759 CPT William Preston’s (Augusta County)
14 July 1755 - 1758 CPT John Ashby’s (Frederick County)
14 July 1755 - 24 June 1756 CPT William Cock’s (Frederick County).
14 August 1755- ? 1755 CPT Nathaniel Terry’s (Amelia County)
14 August 1755- September 1756 CPT Samuel Overton's (Hannover County).
20 August 1755 -? 1755 CPT John Phelps’ (Bedford County)

September 1755- March 1756 CPT John Smith’s (Augusta County)

September 1755- ? 1755 CPT Henry Anderson’s (Amelia County)

August 1756 CPT George Wilson’s (?)
8 September 1756-December 1756 CPT Samuel Stahlnaker’s (?)

24 November 1754 - 1758 CPT Peter Hogg’s (Augusta County)

24 November 1756 - 1759 CPT John Dickenson (Augusta County)

1757 CPT William Goodrich’s (?)

1758-59 CPT Robert Rutherford’s (Frederick County)

1758 CPT John Dunlop’s (?)

1758 (3 months) CPT Alexander Sayer’s (?)

February 1759-February 1760 LTC William Peachy’s Frontier Battalion

1760-64 CPT William Christian’s (?)

1763 CPT William Phillip’s (?)


Chronology and References


14 February 1755 – 1757 CPT William Preston commands a Company of Rangers in Augusta County


“ A sum of money not to exceed two thousand pounds, to be laid out for and in the raising and maintaining three companies of men, consisting of fifty men each, with their officers, to be employed as rangers, for the protection of the subjects in the frontiers of this colony, as the governor shall direct from time to time, and shall not be sent out of this colony, nor incorporated with the soldiers now in his majesty’s service, or made subject to martial law. And in case the said number of men, cannot be raised, by such as will voluntarily enlist in the said service, it shall and may be lawful for the county lieutenant or chief officer of the militia of each of the counties of Frederick, Hampshire, and Augusta, by direction from the governor to draft out to the militia, of the said counties, respectively such and so many young men of their militia who have not wives or children, as will make up the said number.” 
 
Laws of Virginia, May 1755

In July of 1755, GOV Dinwiddie called up 3 Ranger Companies that remained in service from 14 July 1755 to 24 June 1756. They were CPT John Ashby’s Company of Rangers (Hampshire County), CPT William Preston’s Company of Rangers (Augusta County) and CPT William Cocks Company of Rangers (Frederick County). On 30 July CPT Andrew Lewis was appointed as replacement for COL James Patton, County Lieutenant of Augusta County and remained in command of an “independent company” of the Virginia Regiment until 1756.

14 August 1755 The number of Ranger Companies was increased with CPT Nathaniel Terry’s Company of Rangers (Amelia County) and CPT Samuel Overton's Ranger Company (Hannover County). The literature indicates that CPT Overton’s Company remained in service until 25 October 1755. CPT John Phelps’ Company of Rangers (Bedford County) and CPT Nathaniel Terry (Halifax County) entered service on 20 August 1755.

September 1755 Ranger Companies in service on the frontier:
CPT John Smith’s (40 men) (Augusta County)
CPT William Preston’s (40 men) (Augusta County)
CPT Henry Anderson (Amelia County)
CPT John Ashby’s (30 men) (Hampshire County)
CPT Samuel Overton’s (14 men) (Hannover County)
CPT William Cocks (30 men) (Frederick County)
CPT John Phelps (Bedford County)
CPT Nathaniel Terry (Halifax County)

“I received your letter of the 9th and I approve of your intentions to range the woods with the detachments from three companies and by no means continue in one place, but to proceed wherever you think the Indians may come to annoy our back settlements and I expect a number of the Cherokees will be with you this winter; if they do come, give orders that they may be kindly used. I have now sent up to COL Steuart 200 L for the use of the Rangers. And I think your country should do as some others have done to contribute to get your men some clothing. Your Rangers are to be paid 8 d. per day, you may make a stoppage of 2d. per day for their clothing.”
LT GOV Dinwiddie to CPT William Preston, 15 September 1755


“Whereas it has been represented to me, that many of the inhabitants of the County of Augusta, have most shamefully deserted their plantations for fear of an enemy, which a small number of them, with a proper spirit, might easily have destroyed, and that they are still so afraid, as to think of leaving everything that they have, and seek for settlements in some other country; I thought it might not be amiss to inform them, in this public manner, that they may return to their estates with the utmost security; that the five Companies of Rangers, and an independent company, consisting of such as have voluntarily offered to assist in defending the frontiers, are stationed in the best manner to provide for their security; and that the men under Col. Washington, will all be disposed of, so as to answer the same purpose.”
LT GOV Robert Dinwiddie, Virginia Gazette, 26 September 1755

“The Indians discover our parties by the track of their shoes. It would be a good thing to have shoe-packs or moccasins for the scouts.”
COL Adam Stephen to COL Washington, 27 September 1755

October 1755 Fort William/Fort Preston (Haymakertown, VA built by CPT William Preston and Ranger Company (16 men).

“From Augusta we learn that a party of the militia, under the command of one Captain Dickenson, met with and attacked a party of northern Indians, of whom one was killed and several wounded. Two Indian boys, of the Catawba Nation, whom the northern Indians had taken prisoner, were retaken by our people. Captain Dickenson had one man killed.”
Virginia Gazette, 3 October 1755


“I doubt not you will be encouraged by this to make a stand, in case you are attacked or besieged; as I hope very quickly to relieve you, and make the Savages and French (who are no better) pay for their presumption. If their numbers are not large, from many concurring accounts, you ought to send out Parties to stop their progress, which the timidity of the Inhabitants has been the cause of. If it should so happen, that you are obliged to quit your Fort for want of provisions, &c. you are hereby positively Ordered, to retreat no farther than Joseph Edwards on Cacapehon:
COL George Washington at Winchester to CPTs William Cocke and
John Ashby (Ranger Company Commanders), October 10, 1755

“It is my express Orders, that you do not presume to March your Company down on any pretence whatsoever, unless compelled by the Enemy. Clothes will be sent up immediately to you, which you may distribute to the most needy of your Company; and Money I shall bring up to pay them off, if wanted.”
COL Washington to CPT John Ashby at Winchester, 14 October, 1755

“ The money you had before is to be entirely applied for the Rangers, and if you have supplied them with any clothes please stop out of their pay 50s. for each suit.”
GOV Dinwiddie to COL George Fairfax, 18 October 1755


On 21 Oct 1755 CPT John Ashby’s 2nd Company of Rangers reported strength was 33 men. CPT William Cock’s 1st Company of Rangers reported strength was 24 Men

“ You are hereby ordered, to remain with your Companies at George Parkers' Plantation, where you are to erect a Stockade Fort; in building of which, you are to follow Lieutenant Bacons Instructions; he being sent to direct and plan the same: As this is intended for the protection of the Country People, there is no doubt but they will assist all in their power, especially in providing Tools which, without, you may meet with some difficulty. If Lieutenant Bacon should apply for an Escort to conduct him to Captain Ashby's Company, or to any other place, to which it may be dangerous travelling without; you are to see that he is allowed it: You are to send a trusty Sergeant with proper powers &c. for Recruiting, in order to complete your Company.
COL George Washington to Ranger Company Commanders,
Captains William Cocke and John Ashby, October 27, 1755.

“ You are hereby ordered, to remain with your Companies at George Parkers' Plantation, where you are to erect a Stockade Fort; in building of which, you are to follow Lieutenant Bacons Instructions; he being sent to direct and plan the same: As this is intended for the protection of the Country People, there is no doubt but they will assist all in their power, especially in providing Tools which, without, you may meet with some difficulty. If Lieutenant Bacon should apply for an Escort to conduct him to Captain Ashby's Company, or to any other place, to which it may be dangerous travelling without; you are to see that he is allowed it: You are to send a trusty Sergeant with proper powers &c. for Recruiting, in order to complete your Company.
COL George Washington to Ranger Company Commanders,
Captains William Cocke and John Ashby, October 27, 1755.

December 1755 Ft. Ashby constructed on Patterson’s Creek (Fort Ashby, WV) and garrisoned by CTP Ashby’s Company of Rangers

“In pursuance of Commands from the Governor to me, you are hereby ordered to proceed to Augusta, and there to take upon you the command of Captain Hogg's Company; three Companies of Rangers, and such Cherokee Indians as you shall find there; and march them to such place or places, and obey such order or orders, as the Governor shall direct.”
COL Washington at Winchester to MAJ Andrew Lewis, 27 December, 1755.

“ You are hereby ordered to repair to your Company with all possible dispatch. I have found it impracticable to procure Clothes for your men. I think none so proper for Rangers as matchcoats; therefore would advise you to procure them. Those who have not received Clothing; for the future will have their full pay, without stoppages; and those already made, will be repaid to them. Those who have been clothed, must either return them, or allow stoppages. I would have you consult your men, and fall upon some method to supply them immediately. You will receive a Bill against Mutiny and Desertion, which you must have often read to the men. And further assure them that if any Soldier deserts, although he return himself, he shall be hanged.”
COL Washington to CPT William Cocke at Winchester, 28 December, 1755

“I am very much surprised to hear the great irregularities which were allowed of in your Camp. The Rum, although sold by Joseph Coombs, I am credibly informed, is your property. There are continual complaints to me of the misbehavior of your Wife; who I am told sows sedition among the men, and is chief of every mutiny. If she is not immediately sent from the Camp, or I hear any more complaints of such irregular behavior upon my arrival there; I shall take care to drive her out myself, and suspend you. It is impossible to get clothing here for your men. I think none so proper for Rangers as Match-coats; therefore would advise you to procure them. Those who have not received clothing, for the future will receive their full pay without stoppages; and those already made, will be repaid them. Those who have been clothed must either return them or allow stoppages. “
COL Washington to CPT John Ashby at Winchester, 28 December, 1755.

“You are hereby ordered to repair to the company immediately and use your utmost endeavors to keep due regulation, until the return of Captain Ashby. So soon as you arrive there you are to acquaint Captain Lewis it is my Orders that he with his party return to Fort Cumberland.”
COL Washington to Lieutenant Thomas Rutherford, Second Company of Rangers, 29
December 1755

29 December 1755 Returns for CPT Thomas Cock’s Company at Parkers Plantation: I CPT, I LT, 25 men present, 1 absent, and 1 sick

As to those fifty suits delivered Colonel Fairfax for the Rangers I have no cognizance of them; they were delivered by himself, Colonel Martin, Lord Fairfax, and the Officers of the said Rangers with the greatest irregularity; as indeed some other of the public Stores have been by their order's; such as ammunition &c.
COL Washington to LT GOV Dinwiddie at Alexandria, 2 February, 1756.

18 February -13 March 1756. After her return from captivity, in November of 1755, Mary Ingles provided her husband, CPT William Ingles, with intelligence about Shawnee villages along the Ohio. In December of 1755, CPT Ingles approached GOV Dinwiddie about conducting a raid against two of these villages near present day Portsmouth, OH. MAJ Andrew Lewis was designated to lead the expedition of approximately 200-300 men from the Virginia Regiment and Militia Rangers along with approximately 80-130 Cherokees. Captain Hogg was ordered to provide and lead forty men from his Company. A draft of sixty men from Captain William Preston’s and Captain John Smith’s Company, to be commanded by Captain Smith was ordered to participate. Captain Overton and Captain Obadiah Woodson were to provide forty men each and serve as Company Commanders. Captain Pearis commanded the Cherokee’s. Captain Robert Breckinridge, was ordered to take his companies as well. Captain’s Archibald Alexander, John Montgomery and Dunlap commanded volunteer companies of indeterminate size. Captain David Stuart served as commissary. CPT William Ingles, the instigator if not, perhaps, the planner of the mission, joined the expedition as well. The main body of the expedition departed Fort Frederick (vicinity Salem, VA) on 18 February 1756. The expedition with the exception of CPT Hogg’s men who were behind the main body, reached the north Fork of the Holston River by 23 February. By 26 February the expedition was at the head of the Clinch River and at the head of Sandy Creek by the 28th which they followed towards the Ohio River until desertion and insubordination caused the expedition to turn around on 13 March.

Spring 1756 Attack on Neally’s Fort (on the Opequon River). All occupants killed.

Spring 1756 Battle of the Trough at Fort Pleasant/Fort Henry Van Meter. Party of 16 men departs Ft Pleasant in pursuit of Indian Party. Seven KIA and 4 WIA.

29 March 1756 LTC Stephen reports to COL Washington that CPT Cox’ Company of Rangers has 38 men and CPT Ashby’s Company of Rangers has 40 men.

April 1756 Battle of Lost Spring (vicinity head of the Capon River). CPT Jeremiah Smith and 23 Frederick County Militiamen defeat 50 French and Indians who disperse and flee. 2 militia KIA 1 Frenchman and 5 Indian KIA. Plan discovered for link up with party of 50 to attack Ft. Frederick

18 April, 1756 The Battle of Great Cacapon. CPT John Mercer and 60 men garrisoning Fort Edward ambushed while in pursuit of hostile Indians near Fort Edward. CPT Mercer and 54 men KIA.

“Sir: You are hereby Ordered to repair to Joseph Edward's Fort, and there to take upon you the command of all those different parties that are at that place. You are to use your utmost endeavors to protect the people, and be very circumspect in your conduct; taking care to do nothing without first advising with your Officers, and receiving their Counsel. You are to be very careful that you are not decoyed into any snares of the Enemy: And if you ever detach any parties from the Fort, be sure to cover their retreat; and, if possible, draw them between your Fires, by advancing a Body of men before your main Body; with Orders to retreat gradually between your parties, which you must have posted securely for that purpose. You must be very careful that no waste is made of the Ammunition; and that the men are not allowed to make random shot; but watch their opportunities to fire sure. You are to be careful in transmitting me constant reports of the occurrences that may attend while there: and are to endeavor to keep a communication with the Detachment at Enoch's.
You are also, by any opportunities that shall offer, to send word to all such places as have men stationed; and to warn the Inhabitants to be on their Guard.”
COL George Washington at Winchester to CPT Henry Harrison, April 19, 1756.

“ I can scarcely give credit to any part of the Report you transmitted to me, from Captain Ashby. If Captain Harrison can, by good woods-men, get intelligence of the number of the Enemy, and their place of Rendezvous, if near your Station. I would have them endeavor to surprise them in the night, by failing upon them at their sleeping places”
COL Washington to LT William Stark 20 April, 1756.


“ Gentlemen: I have just now received several Expresses who bring the most shocking accounts of the distressed condition, not only of the few poor families that yet remain back of this place; but of the Rangers that Garrison the small Forts: as nothing but a large and speedy reinforcement can save them from utter destruction! I must desire that you will not lose one moment in drawing together all the men you can provide with Arms, Ammunition, and Provision, in the best manner the time will admit of; and join me with all imaginable expedition..”
COL Washington to the Commanding Officers of Prince William and Fairfax
Militia, April 21, 1756.


“A small fort which we have at the mouth of Patterson’s Creek, containing an officer and thirty men now guarding stores, was attacked suddenly by French and Indians; they were warmly received, upon which they retired.”
COL Washington to LT GOV Dinwiddie, 22 April 1756
CPT John Ashby wrote from his fort (April 15) that 400
Indians had demanded surrender of his fort; 1,500 had
gone to Fort Cumberland and 2,000 to the Juniata

“ I do promise and engage to all good Woodsmen, &c. who will enter into the Service of their Country now, for a month or longer; if they will subject themselves to Military discipline, for the time they engage and undertake to do Soldiers Duty, and obey my Orders; That they shall receive Soldiers' pay, ammunition and Provision; and be discharged at the time agreed on.”
Winchester Advertisement, 22 April, 1756.

23 April 1756 Battle of the Trough. Militia from Ft Hopewell looking for Indians is ambushed while traversing the low ground in “The Trough”


“Three families were murdered the night before last, at the distance of less than twelve miles from this place; and every day we have accounts of such cruelties and barbarities as are shocking to human nature. It is not possible to conceive the situation and danger of this miserable country. Such numbers of French and Indians are all around, that no road is safe; and here we know not the hour when we may be attacked.”
COL Washington at Winchester to LT GOV Dinwiddie, 24 April 1756


24 April 1756 MAJ Andrew Lewis and CPT Overton’s Ranger Company of 60 men proceed to the Cherokee country to construct what was to become Fort Loudon at the junction of the Tellico and Little Tennessee Rivers.

24 April 1756 LT GOV Dinwiddie orders CPT William Preston to draft 1/3 of the Augusta County Militia into service to replace CPT Overton’s Company

“Captain Baylis, of the Prince William Militia, will give you this; and leave you a reinforcement of twenty men; with these, and the Detachment of your own Company, which has now certainly rejoined you; you will be sufficiently able to send out several scouting parties: And it is my desire, you do your utmost to scour these parts, and protect the people. You will deliver Mr. Baylis what Carpenters tools you have in the Fort: as he has Orders to build a small Fort at the mouth of Little Capecapon. Take Receipts for the several Tools you deliver the Officers. I am, &c.”
COL Washington to CPT William Cocke, (1st Company of Rangers), 12 May, 1756.

August 1756 LT Thomas Rutherford of Ashby’s Company and his Rangers supported by militia escorting supplies from Winchester, VA to Ft. Cumberland were forced to return to Winchester after the attached militia fled when alerted to a possible Indian attack.

“I make no doubt, that your Honor has ere heard of the defeat of Lieutenant Rutherford of the Rangers, escorting an express to me at Fort Cumberland, and of the dastardly behavior of the militia, who ran off without one half of them having discharged their pieces, although they were appraised of the ambuscade by one of the flanking parties, before the Indians fired upon them; and ran back to Ashby’s Fort, contrary to orders, persuasions, threats, &.”
COL Washington to LT GOV Dinwiddie, 4 August 1756

August 1756 CPT George Wilson’s Ranger Company reported strength of 50 men.

“The incorporating of the Rangers in the Regiment will be very agreeable, if done with their consent, and I hope by arguments you may prevail on them, for the fund appropriated for paying them as Rangers is exhausted; they will now receive 8d. a day and a suit of clothes as soon as they arrive, without paying for them.”
LT GOV Dinwiddie to COL George Washington, 19 August 1756


“I am sorry the Rangers seem to dislike the Service so much, but am still in hopes, the encouragement given by the committee will have some weight with them. They have allowed our Soldiers 8d. per day, without deductions for clothes or Surgeon: A General Hospital is established for their reception in case of accidents. The Clothes which are now given them, besides the 8d. per day, will be as good as any Soldiers in Europe. All these advantages they may enjoy, if they will only embrace this opportunity of enlisting.”
COL Washington to CPT David Bell at Winchester, 6 September, 1756


“I have ordered Stalniker to raise a Co. of Rangers and build a small stockade fort at Drapers Meadow.”( Smithfield, VA)
LT GOV Dinwiddie to CPT Hogg, 8 September 1756

8 September 1756 – December 1756 CPT Stalniker’s Ranger Company (15 men as of 17 December)

18 September 1756 MAJ Lewis and CPT Overton’s Ranger Company returns
to Augusta County

"I promised, at their particular request, to address your Honor and the Assembly in their behalf, and that a regular force may be established in lieu of the militia and ranging companies, which are of much less service, and infinitely more cost to the country. Were this done, the whole would be under one direction, and any misbehavior could never pass with impunity. Whereas the others are soldiers at will, and in fact will go and come when and where they please, without regarding the orders or directions of any. "
COL Washington at Winchester to GOV Dinwiddie, 9 November, 1756.

23 November 1756 MAJ Andrew Lewis orders CPT William Preston to attend militia draft at Robert Craven’s house and proceed with 60 men to Fort Miller (Vanderpool, VA) to relieve militia there.

On 24 November 1756 the House of Burgesses voted to raise three Companies of Rangers with two stationed in Augusta County. MAJ Andrew Lewis was to command all the Rangers and one Company with CPT Peter Hogg, CPT John Dickinson and CPT William Preston commanding the other three. The private men were to be paid twelve pence, about fifteen cents, a day, and find their own clothing.

Nov 1756-1758 CPT Peter Hogg’s Company of Rangers
LT James Dunlap
24 Men

1757 Major Andrew Lewis appointed County Lieutenant of Augusta County and commander of the County Militia

1757 CPT Edward Goodrich’s Ranger Company

March 1757 Fort at Bull Pasture built by CPT William Preston’s Ranger Company.


“WHEREAS it is judged necessary in this time of open war, that a number of forces should be raised and kept on foot, for vindicating the honor of his majesty's crown, and for the safety and defence of this dominion, amounting to fifteen hundred and seventy two men, including three companies of rangers, to consist of one hundred men each. ……An exact discipline be observed, and that the soldiers who shall mutiny or stir up sedition, or shall desert his majesty's service be brought to a more exemplary and speedy punishment, than the usual forms of the law will allow……. That from and after the passing of this act, if any person being mustered, or in pay as an officer, or who is or shall be enlisted or in pay as a soldier or ranger, by virtue of any act of Assembly, or shall during the continuance of this act voluntarily enter himself into his majesty's service as a soldier or ranger, shall at any time during such continuance of this act within this dominion, begin, excite, cause, or join in any mutiny or sedition in the company or regiment whereto he doth belong, or in any other company, or desert his majesty's service, or being a soldier or ranger actually enlisted in any company, shall enlist himself in any other company, without a discharge produced in writing from the colonel, or in his absence the chief officer commanding the regiment or company in which he last served as an enlisted soldier or ranger; or if any officer, soldier or ranger, so enlisted as aforesaid, shall hold correspondence with any of his majesty's enemies, or give them advice or intelligence either by letters, messages, signs, or tokens, or any manner of way whatsoever, or shall treat with such enemies, or enter into any condition with them, without the license of his majesty's lieutenant-governor, or commander in chief of this dominion, or the colonel or chief officer commanding such regiment; or shall strike or use any violence against his superior officer, being in the execution of his office, or shall refuse to obey any lawful command of his superior officer, all and every person and persons so offending, in any of the matters before mentioned, shall suffer death, or such other punishment, as by a court martial shall be inflicted
That the governor or commander in chief of this dominion, may from time to time grant a commission under the seal of this colony to any officer of such regiment, not under the degree of a field officer, for holding a general court martial within this dominion, for the trial of any officer or soldier belonging to the Virginia regiment, in which court martial all the offences above mentioned, and all other offences herein after specified shall be tried and proceeded against in such manner, as by this act shall be hereafter directed.”
An act for Preventing Mutiny and Desertion, Laws of Virginia, April 1757

“ A sum of money not to exceed six thousand pounds, to be laid out for and in the raising and maintaining three companies of men, consisting of fifty men each, with their officers, to be employed as rangers, for the protection of the subjects on the south west frontiers of this colony, as the governor shall direct from time to time, and shall not be sent out of this colony, nor incorporated with the soldiers now in his majesty’s service.”
Laws of Virginia, April 1757

8 June 1757 3 Companies of Rangers of 100 men each to be raised for the southwest counties


8 June 1757- 4 May 1759 CPT William Preston’s Company of Rangers
29 Men

8 June 1757-1758 CPT John Ashby’s Company of Rangers

“And as you observe the absolute necessity of having a Company of Rangers, I agree to the raising sixty, seventy or 80 men to be commanded. by Mr. Rutherford, but you must be certain of his raising the men, not to load the country with a charge, as formerly, without men to the different Companies;--I do not doubt of your. keeping them strictly to their duty--his pay, with first and second Lieutenants to be the same as the Officers in Your Regiment and as the private Men are to have 12d. per day they are to have no enlisting money or clothing, and if possible they are to furnish their own arms, but if they cannot you are to supply them by delivering a number to Captain. Rutherford, on his receipt to restore them, casualties excepted; and they are to be provided with provisions by the Contractor; this I hope will encourage the settlers to remain on their Plantations. Your Care in having proper Lieutenants. for Captain Rutherford will be for the Public Service.”
GOV Dinwiddie to COL Washington, 2 Nov 1757

4 August 1757 CPT Peter Hogg relieved of command and CPT Peter Hogg’s Ranger Company to be commanded by MAJ Andrew Lewis


1758-59 CPT Robert Rutherford’s Company of Rangers

1758 CPT Robert Wade’s Ranger Company

1758 CPT James Dunlop’s Company of Rangers

30 March 1758 Colonial Assembly provides for 4 Companies of Rangers and instructs militia to garrison forts left by Virginia Regiment

“ Captain Rutherford’s company was raised and posted on this quarter by Governor Dinwiddie’s express order and can be more useful here, than any other men whatever, being all sons of the neighboring farmers, men of property, young, active and entirely acquainted with the woods of these frontiers. Whereas, if they go southward they will be utter strangers to the enemy’s haunts, and of no more use there than the militia of an adjacent county; while their places must there be supplied with militia equally ignorant of these woods as they will be of any others, besides giving them a useless march of two hundred miles, and exposing the frontiers in the mean time. Another reason may be urged; their property lies in this county. Interested motives induced them to enlist, and to be vigilant in defending it, and, I believe, they would desert rather than go to the southward.”
COL Washington at Ft. Loudoun to the President of the Council, 24 April 1758

“I humbly conceive therefore, that it would be infinitely more for the interest of the service, to order the 100 from Prince William to the South Branch, and continuing Rutherford’s Company in its present station, making this its headquarters. For, as that company is perfectly acquainted with all that range of mountains, extending from the Potomac to the Augusta Line, and through which the enemy make incursions into this settlement, they could with greater facility obstruct their inroads and assist the inhabitants of this valley (of whom they themselves form a very great part) than those who are ignorant of the ground.”
COL Washington at Ft. Loudoun to the President of the Council, 4 May 1758

“I have been waiting ‘till now for Capt. Rutherford’s pay-roll; his company being much dispersed in the Ranging Service.”
COL Washington at Ft. Loudoun to Lieutenant Governor Fauquier, 19 June 1758

“ A sum of not to exceed four thousand pounds, to be laid out for and in the raising and maintaining four companies of rangers, consisting of one hundred men each, with their officers, to be employed as rangers, for the protection of the subjects on the south west frontiers of this colony, as the governor shall direct from time to time, and shall not be sent out of this colony.”
Laws of Virginia, September 1758

14 September 1758 CPT John Dickenson’s Company of Militia Rangers at Fort Young (Covington City, VA).

February 1759- February 1760 Virginia Frontier Battalion under LTC William Peachy w/LT Benjamin Temple with a planned strength of 500 men.

February- December 1759 4 Ranger Companies in service

“The Burgesses yesterday passed a bill to raise pay and clothe one Regiment of 1000 private men complete, which I have the power to march out of the Colony to join the rest of His Majesty’s Forces to act offensively against the enemy. These shall be raised and ordered to march to the General Rendezvous with the greatest expedition possible. They have raised a body of 500, on a different establishment, to remain home to protect the frontiers.”
LT GOV Fauquier to GEN Amherst, 3 April 1759

 
“Mr. Harrison informed the House, that he had, according to Order, waited on his Honor the Governor with the Address to of this House, desiring that he would be pleased to give Orders for the disbanding the Rangers on the Frontier of this colony, to which his Honor was pleased to answer he would comply with the desire of the House as soon as possible”
Journal of the House of Burgesses, 6 April 1759


14 June 1759 William Preston promoted from CPT to LTC of the Augusta Militia


October 1759 Indian raid on settlement at Kerr’s Creek. 12 KIA and 13 captured.

Pursued by CPT Charles Lewis and CPT Dickenson’s Ranger Companies killing 20 and recovering POWs (Straight Fork west of Crab Bottom in Highland County).

30 November 1759 Virginia Gazette. Announcement of and reward for the apprehension of two deserters from the Virginia Frontier Battalion at Staunton by LTC William Peachy.

1760-64 CPT William Christian’s Company of Rangers
11 Men

1763 CPT William Phillips Company of Rangers
27 Men

“ The militia are called out merely to protect the inhabitants of the back settlements, and can be employed to no other purpose. Colonel Stephen now has 250 men in small posts in the Counties of Frederick and Hampshire on the waters of the Potomac which divides the neighboring colonies of Maryland and Pennsylvania from this. Their chief use is to pursue any parties of Indians who make irruptions into the colony and in that capacity have done execution since last summer. They are not marched farther west than the Allegheny Mountains, it not being thought advisable that they should go further out of the settlements. Colonel Lewis has 450 men to the southward of Colonel Stephen on the same plan having the defense of the frontiers from Lord Fairfax’s to the Carolina Line under his charge. The Officers cannot by law be under any orders but my own.”
LT GOV Fauquier to COL Bouquet, 19 April 1764

Sources

Burton, Agnes, ed. “Collections and Researches Made by the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society, Bouquet Papers, VOL XIX Wynkoop, Hallenbeck Crawford Co. Lansing, MI, 1911

Clark, Murtie J., “Colonial Soldiers of the South, 1732-1744”, Genealogical Publishing,

Hamilton, Stanislaus, ed., “Letters to Washington, Vol. II, 1756-1758”, Houghton, Mifflin and Co., Cambridge, 1899

Ford, Worthington C., “The Writings of George Washington,” Vol. II, 1758-1775, G.P. Putnam and Sons, New York, 1889

Hening, William Walter, “Hening’s Statutes at Large, Being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia from the first session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619.” http://www.vagenweb.org/hening/

Johnson, David E., “A History of Middle New River Settlements and Contiguous Territory”, Standard Printing and Publishing, Huntington, WV, 1906

Kennedy, John, ed., ‘Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1761-1765, Richmond, VA, 1908

Kercheval, Samuel, “A History of the Valley of Virginia”, John Gatewood, Printer, Woodstock, VA, 1850

Kimball, Gertrude, ed., “Correspondence of William Pitt, Vol. I. and Vol. II , MacMillan Company, New York, 1906

Koontz, Louis, “The Virginia Frontier, 1754-1763”, Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1925
Lewis, Virgil, “First Biennial Report of the Department of Archives and History of the State of West Virginia,” Tribune Printing Company, Charleston, West Virginia, 1906

Mc Ilwaine, H.R., ed., ‘Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1758-1761, Richmond, VA, 1908

Morton, Oren, “Annals of Bath County Virginia,” Mc Clure Company, Staunton, VA 1917
Osborn, Richard “William Preston in the American Revolution”, Journal of Backcountry Studies, Vol. III, Issue I, Winter/Spring 2008

Reese, George, ed. “The Official Papers of Francis Fauquier, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, 1758-1768, Vols. I-III, University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 1980

Sparks, Jared, ed., “Writings of George Washington”, Vol. II, Little Brown, and Co., Boston 1855

Titus, James W.” Soldiers When They Chose To Be So: Virginians at War 1754-1763,” Doctoral Thesis, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, 1883

Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: volume 1 Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library

The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, Vol.’s I and II, Virginia Historical Society Richmond, VA, 1884

Virginia Gazette http://research.history.org/DigitalLibrary/BrowseVG.cfm