The Field Commission of George Mason of Gunston Hall As Colonel

 

August 17, 1756

 

 

"Colonel George Mason took the oaths according to law repeated and subscribed the test pursuant [to] his Military Commission."

Source: Fairfax County Minute Book, (1756) - Part II. Page 17A. This Document Was Found on July 28, 2006, by Virginia1774.org

 

This Commission was probably as a result of supplying Colonel George Washington with arms and ammunition during the French and Indian War. The first use of his military title Colonel George Mason appears just after the commission by Colonel George Washington in a letter of George Washington to Robert Dinwiddie, September 8, 1756 , describing George Mason's participation.

"War having been proclaimed here and at Fort Cumberland, and the guns from Rock Creek brought up some time ago, Ensign Fleming, in Captain Hogg's absence, will be wanted at his post. But your Honor will be pleased to do as you like in the affair. I am glad the Cherokees have determined to come to our assistance, and to hear of the firm attachment of them and the Catawbas to our interest. They will be of particular service more than twice their number of white men. When they arrive, which I pray may be soon, we may deal with the French in their own way; and, by visiting their country, will keep their Indians at home. I sent off expresses to enquire for fuzees for them. Have not yet heard from Colonel Mason. In Fredericksburg, I am informed, there are about 29. Mr. Hunter of that place informs me that Mr. George Braxton has at least 500 very good, light and fit for Indians. I shall send immediately to Fort Cumberland for a sufficient quantity of the stores. Our men are very much harassed in endeavoring to protect the frontiers, which the great extent of territory renders impossible to be done properly with our small numbers. But we have been happy in being tolerably peaceable and holding our own of late, while Maryland and Pennsylvania fly in the utmost consternation. The frontiers of Maryland are abandoned for many miles below the Blue Ridge, as low as Frederick-Town, thro' which place I am credibly informed no less than 350 wagons, transporting the affrighted families, passed in the space of three days. By which means, Potomack River, which is now our frontier, is deserted on the Maryland side 40 miles below Conocgch. and as much in a parellel below Winchester, and is now more than any the theater of bloodshed and cruelty."

In a letter from George Mason to George Washington, on September 13, 1756 , George Mason endorsed the letter as "From Colo. Geo: Mason:" He is also referred to as Colo. George Mason in a local Fairfax Arbitration case he adjudicated on July 15, 1767.

 

George William Fairfax was the county-lieutenant of Fairfax County and as noted by Thomas Jefferson in his Notes on the State of Virginia (Query IX) on the military force structure: "In every county is a county-lieutenant, who commands the whole militia of his county, but ranks only as a colonel in the field. We have no general officers always existing. These are appointed occasionally, when an invasion or insurrection happens, and their commission determines with the occasion."