George Washington (1772 portrait) wears a colonel's uniform of the Virginia Regiment.
|Country||Colony of Virginia|
|Allegiance||George II of Great Britain|
|Famous commander||George Washington (1754-58)|
The Virginia Regiment was formed in 1754 by Virginia's Royal Governor Robert Dinwiddie, as a provincial corps. The regiment served in the French and Indian War, with members participating in actions at Jumonville Glen and Fort Necessity in 1754, the Braddock expedition in 1755, and the Forbes expedition in 1758. Small detachments of the regiment were involved in numerous minor actions along Virginia's extensive wilderness frontier.
The conflict over the Ohio Country led to raising of the first provincial regiment in Virginia. In 1754 the General Assembly voted to raise a regiment of 300 men and send it to the confluence of the Alleghany and Monongahela rivers. After the battle of Fort Necessity the Assembly voted to raise the regiment from five to ten companies. The Virginia provincial troops that participated in the Braddock Expedition of 1755, and suffered defeat at the Battle of the Monongahela was unregimented; on the behest of General Braddock they were organized in two companies of carpenters, six companies of rangers, and one troop of mounted rangers, in all 450 men. The remaining 350 men from the original ten companies of the Virginia Regiment were used to augment the two regular regiments of the expedition.
After Braddock's defeat, the Virginia regiment was immediately reformed, and the Assembly voted in 1755 to raise it to 1,500 men in 16 companies. In 1756 its actual strength was 1,400 men, while in 1757 it was reduced to 1,000 men. In 1758 Virginia raised two regiments of a thousand men each for the Forbes Expedition. The enlistment period for the first regiment expired in May 1759, and for the second in December 1758. After the fall of Fort Duquesne, the Assembly voted in 1759 to fill the one regiment still in service, and to raise a force of another 500 men that would remain in the province for its immediate defense. The regiment would remain in service until May 1760.
With the outbreak of the Cherokee War, the Assembly prolonged the Regiment's service, adding 300 men in three companies as frontier guards. It remained on the Cherokee frontier until early 1762, when the governor disbanded it. In 1762 the British government wanted Virginia to raise a regiment that would be put on the regular British establishment, but the General Assembly voted to re-raise the Virginia Regiment. That regiment was disbanded in May 1763, just before the outbreak of Pontiac's War, since the province could not maintain it without the supply of paper money disallowed by the Board of Trade.
Most recruits were characterized by Washington as "loose, Idle Persons ... quite destitute of House, and Home."  Hampered by frequent desertions because of poor supplies, extremely low pay and hazardous duty, Virginia Regiment recruiters went to Pennsylvania and Maryland for men. Washington said of them, " and not a few... have Scarce a Coat, or Waistcoat, to their Backs ..."  Later drafts pulled only those who could not provide a substitute or pay the £10 exemption fee, ensuring that only Virginia's poor would be drafted. White males between 16 and 50 were permitted to serve, although the regiment's size rolls report men as young as 15 and as old as 60 in the ranks, along with references to a small number of drafts with partial African and Native American ancestry.