Exhortation and flattery were lost on Dunbar. Dinwiddie received from him in reply a short, dry note, dated on the first of August, and acquainting him that he should march for Philadelphia on the second. This, in fact, he did, leaving the fort to be defended by invalids and a few Virginians. “I acknowledge,” says Dinwiddie, “I was not brought up to arms; but I think common sense would have prevailed not to leave the frontiers exposed after having opened a road over the mountains to the Ohio, by which the enemy can the more easily invade us.... Your great colonel,” he writes to Orme, “is gone to a peaceful colony, and left our frontiers open.... The whole conduct of Colonel Dunbar appears to me monstrous.... To march off all the regulars, and leave the fort and frontiers to be defended by four hundred sick and wounded, and the poor remains of our provincial forces, appears to me absurd."
[Footnote 238: Dinwiddie’s view of Dunbar’s conduct is fully justified by the letters of Shirley, Governor Morris, and Dunbar himself.]
He found some comfort from the burgesses, who gave him forty thousand pounds, and would, he thinks, have given a hundred thousand if another attempt against Fort Duquesne had been set afoot. Shirley, too, whom the death of Braddock had made commander-in-chief, approved the Governor’s plan of renewing offensive operations, and instructed Dunbar to that effect; ordering him, however, should they prove impracticable, to march for Albany in aid of the Niagara expedition. The order found him safe in Philadelphia. Here he lingered for a while; then marched to join the northern army, moving at a pace which made it certain that he could not arrive in time to be of the least use.
[Footnote 239: Orders for Colonel Thomas Dunbar, 12 Aug. 1755. These supersede a previous order of August 6, by which Shirley had directed Dunbar to march northward at once.]
Thus the frontier was left unguarded; and soon, as Dinwiddie had foreseen, there burst upon it a storm of blood and fire.
Removal of the Acadians
By the plan which the Duke of Cumberland had ordained and Braddock had announced in the Council at Alexandria, four blows were to be struck at once to force back the French boundaries, lop off the dependencies of Canada, and reduce her from a vast territory to a petty province. The first stroke had failed, and had shattered the hand of the striker; it remains to see what fortune awaited the others.