Dear John Letter 261 years ago Franklin Scientist Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin

Today, the Franklin Scientist Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin remembers the success of George Washington 261 years ago.

The “Join or Die” cartoon began in early May 1754 to encourage the colonists to band together against the French invasion from the west.

On May 28, 1754, George Washington and his men gained success over an attack by a group of Frenchmen in Pennsylvania.

A few days later, Washington wrote of the skirmish to his brother, John Augustine Washington.


[Camp in the Great Meadows, Pa., 31 May 1754]

Dear John,

Since my last we have arrived at this place, where 3 days ago we had an engagement with the French that is, between a party of theirs and ours.

Most of our men were out upon other detachments, so that I had scarcely 40 men under my command, and about 10, or a dozen Indians. Nevertheless we obtained a most signal Victory.

The Battle lasted about 10, or 15 minutes, sharp firing on both sides, when the French gave ground and run, but to no great purpose.

There were 12 killed, among which was Monsr De Jumonville, the Commander, and taken 21 prisoners with whom are Monsieurs La Force, Druillong, together with two cadets.

I have sent them to his Honor the Governor at Winchester conducted by Lieutenant West and a guard of 20 men.

We had but one man killed, 2 or 3 wounded and a great many more within an Inch of being shot. Among the wounded on our side was Lieutenant Waggoner, but no danger will ensue.

We expect every hour to be attacked by a superior force, but shall if they stay one day longer be prepared for them.

We have already got entrenchments and are about a Pallisado’d Fort, which will I hope be finished today.

The Mingo’s have struck the French and I hope will give a good blow before they have done.

I expect 40 odd of them here tonight, which with our Fort and some reinforcements from Colonel Fry, will enable us to exert our noble courage with spirit.

I am Your Affectionate Brother

George Washington

I fortunately escaped without a wound, though the right wing where I stood was exposed to and received all the enemy’s fire and was the part where the man was killed and the rest wounded.

I can with truth assure you, I heard bullets whistle and believe me there was something charming in the sound.


The Franklin Scientist Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin shows against an image of the first instance of the cartoon in Benjamin Franklin’s newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette.

Franklin Scientist Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin