Saturday, October 8, 2016

Notes on North Carolina Whig Militia: 1775-1787

The following excerpts are taken from North Carolina State Archives and pertain to North Carolina Militia laws, correspondence, returns, equipage and employment during the period of the American War for Independence. 

Letter from an inhabitant of North Carolina to an inhabitant of England [Extract]

December 29, 1775

Volume 10, Pages 370-371

[Reprinted from the American Archives. Vol. 4. P. 476.

Extract of a Letter received at Hull, in England, from a gentleman in North Carolina, Dated December 29, 1775.]

Our Provincial Convention, at their last meeting appointed Committees of Safety, consisting of thirteen members of each of the six districts of the Province; and these Committees, by authority of the Convention, elected a Provincial Council, consisting likewise of thirteen. The Legislative, Judicial, and Executive powers of Government, are now entirely in the hands of the said Council and Committees. Governor Martin is still on board the Cruizer, Sloop-ofWar, from which he issued a proclamation, forbidding a meeting of the Convention, which they resolved was a false, scandalous, scurrilous, and malicious libel, tending to stir up tumults and insurrections, dangerous to the peace of His Majesty's Government, &c., and ordered it to be burnt by the common hangman, which was accordingly done. They appointed two Treasurers, and ordered them to draw on the Continental Congress at Philadelphia for one hundred thousand dollars, for the pay and maintenance of three thousand Minute-Men; and to replace that sum, they have issued paper bills of credit for one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars, and laid penalities on those who should speak disrespectfully of the bills, or offer them at less than eight shillings for a dollar.

The Minute-Men are to be trained every day, Sundays not excepted; the uniform is a hunting-shirt, leggins, or splatter dashes, with garters. To encourage the supplying ourselves with what we used to import from Great Britain, they have voted large premiums to any person or persons who shall erect furnaces for refining iron, slitting mills, steel furnaces, and also for the making of cotton cards, needles and pins; the refining of sulphur, and making saltpetre and gunpowder in this Colony.

The following is a copy of a Test drawn up by the Convention, signed by themselves, the Provincial Council, Committees of Safety, &c., &c., Viz:

“We, the subscribers, professing our allegiance to the King, and acknowledging the Constitutional Executive power of Government, do solemnly profess, testify and declare, that we do absolutely believe that neither the Parliament of Great Britain, nor any constituent

-------------------- page 371 --------------------

member thereof, have a right to impose taxes on these Colonies to regulate the internal policy thereof; and that all attempts, by fraud or force, to establish and exercise such claims and powers, are violations of the peace and security of the people, and ought to be resisted to the utmost. And, that the people of this Province, singly and collectively, are bound by the acts and resolutions of the Continental and Provincial Congress; because, in both they are freely represented by persons choses by themselves.

“And we do solemnly and sincerely promise and engage, under the sanction of virtue, honour, and the sacred love of liberty and our country, to maintain and support all and every the acts, resolutions and regulations of the said Continental and Provincial Congresses, to the utmost of our power and abilities.

“In testimony whereof,” &c.

The former1 Convention voted fifty thousand pounds for raising and embodying one thousand men, to be employed in the common cause, which were accordingly raised. A body of five hundred of them are now encamped near Wilmington. It is reported that many of them desert.

We have but little communication with the neighbouring Provinces owing to the distracted state of the whole Continent; and what we hear is not always to be depended upon. The last accounts from Virginia say, that Lord Dunmore does not lose ground; and since his proclamation, offering freedom to indented servants and slaves, many people have joined him to save their property. He seized a printing press at Norfolk, which he employs for his own purposes; and, by the means of Negroes and others, continues to circulate his proclamations and intelligence through the country. It is said that Colonel Henry, with a large body of men is gone against him; and a General from the American camp, at Cambridge, in Massachusetts Bay, is expected on the same service.

Acts of the North Carolina General Assembly, 1778

North Carolina. General Assembly

April 14, 1778 - May 02, 1778

Volume 24, Pages 154-183

Acts of the North Carolina General Assembly, 1777
North Carolina. General Assembly
April 07, 1777 - May 09, 1777
Volume 24, Pages 1-42

...VI. And be it further enacted, that each Militia soldier shall be furnished with a good Gun, shot bag and powder horn, a Cutlass or Tomahawk, and every Soldier neglecting to appear at any muster, accoutered as above, shall forfeit for every such offence two shillings and six pence (unless he can make it appear that they were not to be procured) to be recovered as other fines. And where any person shall appear to the Field Officers not possessed of sufficient property to afford such arms and accouterments, the same shall be procured at the expence of the County, and given to such persons on muster Days, or when ordered into service, which Guns and Accouterments after such service, shall be returned to the Captain of the Company, and by him carefully preserved for future occasions. And whenever the Militia are called into service, they shall be allowed as follows, viz.: One Baggage Wagon or two Carts for every Company, and one Cart and two Horses for a Brigadier General, one Baggage Cart and two Horses for the Field Officers of each Regiment; Ammunition and Waggons at the Discretion of the Brigadier General; the same rations to them and officers as allowed to the Continental Army, to be supplied by Commissaries appointed by the Brigadier; one Bell tent to each Company, entrenching tools, six axes, and a sufficient number of camp kettles.


-------------------- page 154 --------------------


At a General Assembly, begun and held at New Bern on the Fourteenth Day of April, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Eight, and in the Second Year of our Independence: Being the First Session of this Assembly. Richard Caswell, Esq., Governor… II. Be it therefore Enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby Enacted by the Authority of the same, That Two Thousand Six Hundred and Forty Eight Men shall be raised and detached from the Militia of this State towards compleating the same, in the following Proportion and Manner, viz. From the County of Craven Eighty Six, Carteret Thirty, Beaufort Twenty Six, Johnston Thirty Four, Hyde Twenty Eight, Dobbs One Hundred and Three, Pitt Thirty Five, New Hanover Thirty Two, Onslow Forty-Seven, Bladen Sixty Three, Duplin Sixty Two, Cumberland Seventy Three, Brunswick Thirteen, Rowan One Hundred and Seventy Four, Mecklenburg One Hundred, Tryon Eighty Three, Anson Seventy Eight, Surry Eighty Eight, Guilford One Hundred and Fifty Six, Burke Sixty Two, Washington Sixty Two, Wilkes Thirty Five, Orange One Hundred, Granville Seventy, Wake Sixty, Chatham Sixty Six, Caswell Seventy Seven, Halifax Eighty Six, Northampton Sixty Two, Edgecombe Sixty Three, Bute One Hundred and Five, Martin Thirty Seven, Nash Fifty Six, Chowan Thirty Three, Perquimons Thirty Three, Pasquotank Forty Five, Currituck Fifty, Bertie Seventy Six, Tyrrell Thirty Four, Hertford Sixty Two, and Cambden Forty One. And the Colonel or Commanding Officer in each County is hereby directed to order the Field Officers and Captains to his Regiment belonging to meet at the Court House on or before the Twenty-Fifth Day of May next, and the Field Officers and Captains shall then and there apportion the Men to be raised in the County to the several Companies, in Proportion to the Number of Militia, including Officers of every Rank, his Excellency the Governor only excepted, in each Company respectively, after deducting for such Militia Men only as shall have heretofore actually inlisted good and able bodied Men as regular Soldiers, or cause such to be inlisted, to serve in the continental Army agreeable to the Act passed in May One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Seven, for encouraging the recruiting Service, which said Inlistments they shall prove by their own Oath, and the Testimony of an indifferent Person, to be obtained without Fraud or Collusion in due Time, and without the Procurement of Assistance of any continental Officer or Soldier, and the commanding Officer in each and every County shall, within Five Days after such Meeting, order a General Muster at the Place or Places by Law appointed, and he is hereby authorized to offer a Bounty of One Hundred Dollars to every able bodied Man who shall voluntarily enter into the Service, and if a sufficient Number of Voluntiers do not turn out,

-------------------- page 155 --------------------

then the several Companies shall immediately proceed to determine by Ballot who shall go out of each Company, to make up its particular Quota; and the Persons so voted in shall go themselves, or provide able bodied Men to serve in their Stead, and shall be intitled to a Bounty of Fifty Dollars each… IV. And be it further Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That each and every Person who shall voluntarily enter or be voted into the Service as aforesaid, shall be intitled to have and receive from the commanding Officer of the County a Pair of Shoes and Stockings, two Shirts, a Hunting Shirt, Waiscoat with Sleeves, a Pair of Breeches and Trousers, a Hat and a Blanket, and Five Yards of Tent Cloth; and every Six Men shall be intitled to have and receive from the said commanding Officer One Axe, and a Pot or Camp Kettle.

V. And in order to procure the Cloathing afore mentioned, Be it Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That every Company shall furnish and provide One Pair of Shoes and Stockings, Two Shirts, a Hunting Shirt, a Waistcoat with Sleeves, a Pair of Breeches and Trousers, a Hat and a Blanket, Five Yards of Tent Cloth for each and every Man, and One Axe, and a Pot or Camp Kettle, for every six Men raised out of such Company respectively; and the said Articles shall be valued on Oath by Three Freeholders or Householders, who shall grant Certificates of Valuation to the Persons furnishing the same, which Certificates, with Receipts endorsed from the commanding Officer of the County for Delivery thereof, shall be received by the Taxgatherers in Part of Public Taxes: And if any Company shall fail to furnish its Quota of Cloathing, Tent Cloth, Camp Kettles, and Axes, or any Part thereof, the commanding officer of the County shall have Power to cause so much of the property of any Person or Persons belonging to such Company, refusing to furnish his or their quota of the aforesaid Articles, to be seized and sold, as will procure the Cloathing and other Articles wanted, and shall grant Certificates of the Amount, which shall also be received by the Taxgatherers in Part of Public Taxes.

VI. And be it further Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That the Brigadier Generals of each District shall take into their Possession, and distribute to the Troops so raised, such Guns as belong to the Public, and are good and sufficient; and in case there should not be Arms for every Man, then, and in that Case, the Colonel or commanding Officer of each County shall purchase Guns for the Men marching from the same, and shall give Certificates to those from whom the Guns are bought; which Certificates, countersigned by the Clerks of the respective Counties, shall be paid by the Treasurer of either District, and allowed in the Settlement of their Accounts with the Public.

VII. And be it Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That the Men who shall be raised in Manner aforesaid in the Districts of Halifax, Edenton, New

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Bern and Wilmington, shall march to Halifax, and from thence to Petersburg in Virginia, and those who shall be raised in the Districts of Hillsborough and Salisbury, shall rendezvous at Peytonsburg in Pittsylvania, with all possible Expedition, under the command of such continental Officer or Officers as the commanding officer in the continental Service in this State shall appoint for that Purpose; and if there be none such appointed in any County then the commanding Officer of the Militia in such County shall appoint a Person to conduct the Men thereto belonging either to Halifax, or to Peytonsburg in Virginia, as the Case may require, there to be delivered to the continental Officer appointed to receive them, and such Person shall be allowed Captain's Pay and Rations during the Time of his Employment; and the Men who shall be raised in Manner aforesaid, shall serve in the continental Battalions of this State for the Space of Nine Months from the Time that they shall arrive at either of the Places aforesaid, unless sooner discharged, and shall be subject to the same Rules and Discipline and have the same Pay and Rations, as the continental Troops, from the Day of their being voted in or inlisted.

VIII. And be it Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That in case any Person so voted in, or voluntarily entering as a Soldier agreeable to the Directions of this Act, shall fail to appear in due Time at the Place of general Rendezvous, or shall desert his Duty during the Time specified in this Act, such Person shall from thenceforward be held and deemed a continental Soldier during the present War, and shall be liable to be taken as such; and every Person who shall voluntarily inlist, or be voted into the Service, in Consequence of this Act, and shall well and faithfully serve as a Soldier, agreeable to the true Intent and Meaning of this Act, shall be free and exempt from serving again as a Soldier for the Space of Three Years next after the Time of his procuring a Certificate of his having served as aforesaid. And if any Person shall harbour or conceal any of the Men who shall voluntarily enter or be voted into the Service as aforesaid, such Person, on Conviction thereof before any Justice of Peace in the County wherein the Offence shall be committed, shall be deemed a continental Soldier, and shall be turned over by the said Justice to a continental Officer, or committed to Gaol for that Purpose, and shall serve for Three Years, or during the War.

IX. And be it Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That the Captains of each and every Company shall return descriptive Lists of the Men raised in such Company, specifying the Name, Size, Age, Complection and Occupation, of the Men so raised, and also the Name and Number of the Company from whence they were taken: And the said commanding Officer shall make two fair Copies of such descriptive Lists, one of which he shall deliver to the continental or other Officer appointed to take Charge of the Men, and he shall take a Receipt for the Delivery of the Men on the other.

X. And be it further Enacted, That the Quakers, Dunkers, Moravians, and Menonists, shall furnish Men in Proportion to their respective Numbers in each County, and in Default thereof, the commanding officer of each and every County is hereby impowered to hire Men instead of the Men to be by them furnished, and by Warrant under his Hand, directed to the Sheriff of the County, to levy the Sum given for such Man or Men on the Goods and Chattels, Lands and Tenements, of any Person belonging to such Sect, as shall refuse or fail to find a Man or Men agreeable to this Act.

Minutes of the North Carolina House of Commons

North Carolina. General Assembly

April 14, 1778 - May 02, 1778

Volume 12, Pages 655-764…

-------------------- page 679 --------------------

Resolved that two thousand men be raised as expeditiously as possible for that purpose to serve nine months from the time they shall appear at the places of Rendezvous, and that the several counties in State furnish their proper Quotas in proportion to the number of Militia in each county after deducting for such exemptions as were allowed by the act passed at last session of the General Assembly, for drafting five thousand men to go to the Northward and in order to induce men to enter as Volunteers into the Service,

Resolved, that a Bounty of one hundred dollars be given to every person who shall Voluntarily enter, and the several counties shall make up their respective Deficiencies out of the Militia in the following manner: The Field Officers and Captains shall determine how many each Company shall raise in proportion to their number of Militia, and the men and officers of each Company shall vote and determine by ballot, being first sworn to vote for such as they shall think can be best spared, who shall go to make up its Deficiencies, and every person so voted in shall have a bounty of fifty dollars, and each Company shall also furnish and provide a pair of shoes and stockings, two shirts and hunting shirt, waistcoat with sleeves, pair breeches and trowsers, a hat and a blanket according to the several proportions, or Quotas of the Companies, for each and every man who shall Voluntarily enlist or be voted in as aforesaid, and the articles aforementioned, shall be valued on oath by three indifferent Freeholders who shall grant Certificates to the persons furnishing the same, and such Certificates shall be received by the Tax Gatherers in part of taxes. Each and every Soldier who shall find a good gun of his own shall be allowed three dollars, and the several Captains shall have power to press for deficiency…

Willie Jones, Chairman.

Acts of the North Carolina General Assembly, 1781

North Carolina. General Assembly

June 1781

Volume 24, Pages 384-412


An Act for raising Troops out of the Militia of this State for the defence thereof, and for other purposes.

I. Whereas it is necessary to raise troops for the better security and defence of this State, and to prevent as far as may be the distresses occasioned by the frequent drafts from the battalions of militia;

II. Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, that the colonel or commanding officer of each and every battalion within this State shall, on or before the second Monday in August next, order the field officers and captains of his battalion to meet at the place by law appointed for the general musters of his battalion, or at some other convenient place; and the field officers and captains then and there present shall divide the said battalions, officers and men of every rank included (his excellency the governor, judges of the superior courts of law, attorney general, and continental delegates, excepted) into classes of forty men each, after deducting all such who by themselves or substitutes faithfully served for the space of nine months, agreeable to an act of assembly passed at New Bern in May, 1778, and all such as have been captured and made prisoners when in actual service of this or the United States, and are now on parole, and all such as have been lately drafted or have voluntarily inlisted into the continental service for the space of twelve months, and have hired substitutes: And whereas it may happen that a number not sufficient to make a class, after dividing the battalions into classes of forty men each, may be left, then, and in that case, it shall and may be lawful for the said commissioned officers, by lot, to determine to which class each of them shall be added, there to stand a draft; and the commanding officer of the battalion shall within twenty days thereafter order a general muster of his said battalion, and in case the respective classes do not furnish each a volunteer, he shall proceed to draft one man from each of the said classes so failing.

III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the field officers and captains shall class the men in such manner, that each class may be of equal value, as near as may be agreeable to the assessment of their taxable property.

IV. And be it further enacted, that the said volunteers, drafted men, or substitutes, who shall not be in actual service, shall appear at the place of rendezvous appointed by the commanding officer of the county on or before the twentieth day of September, under the pains and penalties herein after mentioned; but if any of the said drafted men should be in actual

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service at that time, they shall be allowed forty days after their discharge to appear at the place of rendezous, or to join their regiment.

V. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that the troops raised by virtue of this act shall serve for the term of twelve months, from the time of their general rendezvous at such place or places in this State as may be appointed by his excelleny the Governor; and the said troops shall be officered in the following manner: one lieutenant colonel commandant, two majors, eight captains, eight lieutenants, and eight ensigns, and be arranged and organized in the same manner as the battalions of the continental army, the whole to be under the supreme command of the Governor for the time being. Provided, that they shall not be marched out of this State except for the better defence thereof, upon the immediate approach of the enemy, or in pursuit of the enemy on a retreat therefrom.

VI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that any person harbouring, concealing or abetting, any soldier deserting from the troops raised by virtue of this act, knowing him to be such, shall on conviction thereof before two justices of the peace of any county of this State, be deemed a continental soldier during the war.

VII. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that the commanding officer of each battalion shall make out two exact lists of all the soldiers drafted, or procured by voluntary enlistments, out of his battalion, specifying the names, age, size, complexion, colour of hair and eyes, of each man, also where born, and the names of the captains from whose company taken; one of which by him, or one of his field officers, shall be delivered with the men so raised on or before the eleventh day of October next, at such place of rendezvous in this State as may be appointed by his excellency the Governor, commander of the said troops, or other person appointed to receive them, and also take a receipt for the delivery of the men on the other.

VIII. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that each and every class shall furnish and deliver unto the commanding officer of the battalion to which they belong, one blanket, two pairs of stockings, two pair of shoes, two shirts, two leather stocks, one pair of buckskin or thick cloth breeches, one pair of linen overhalls, one waistcoat lined, one coat of thick woollen cloth lined with linen, with cape and cuffs of white cloth, one strong hunting shirt, one good woollen or fur hat of a middle size, and also five yards of strong linen, for tents, for the volunteers and drafts of their own class, and in proportion to their taxable property; and the commanding officer is hereby required to cause the said cloathing to be appraised by two freeholders, and give certificates to the persons furnishing the same, which shall, after being allowed by the auditors of the district, and a certificate of such allowance obtained from them as in other cases of allowances, be received in payment of public taxes: Any class failing to deliver the same to the commanding officer of the battalion to which they belong on or before the day of general rendezvous, that then the field officers and captains shall appoint a person, whose duty shall be to furnish such articles as the law directs his said class to furnish; and each of the classes who fail to furnish their proportion of cloathing, the said person shall have full power and authority to seize and sell such part of the property of such person neglecting as shall be sufficient to defray the proportion of such person, agreeable to his assessment in the year 1781: And in case such person so appointed as aforesaid shall fail or neglect to comply with his duty, then the colonel or commanding officer shall by

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warrant seize and sell so much of the property of such person appointed as aforesaid as shall be sufficient to furnish such volunteer, draft or substitute, with such articles as the law directs.

IX. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that no substitute for any volunteer or draft shall be received, unless approved of by the officer, or other person appointed to receive the same.

X. And be it further enacted, that officers and soldiers raised by virtue of this act shall in all cases whatsoever be subject to the same rules and discipline, and have the same pay and rations, as the officers and soldiers raised by virtue of the continental congress, during the time they shall continue in service.

XI. And be it further enacted, that all the taxable property within the district of each battalion, whose owners are neither in continental service, or liable to be classed as by this act directed, shall be subject to a tax of three pounds upon every hundred pounds value of their taxable property, agreeable to their assessment for the year 1781 (the property of widows and orphans, and also the property of all quakers, moravians, menonists and dunkards, whose owners are liable to a threefold tax, excepted) an exact list of the owners of which property shall be returned by the respective captains of each battalion to the collectors of public taxes on or before the first day of October next, which tax is to be collected for the present year, and accounted for as other public taxes.

Return of North Carolina artificers at Halifax

Long, Nicholas, ca. 1726-1797

August 23, 1781

Volume 15, Pages 619-620


David Arnold,
12 Months
John Coleman,
12 do
George Dilliard,
12 do
Levi Guthree,
12 do
Samuel Weldon,
12 do
Gabriel Long,
12 do
Samuel Williams,
12 do
Gun Stockers:
John Fitz. Garrold,
12 do
Jesse Lane,
Peter Roberson,
12 Months
Thomas Neal,
3 ditto
Wagon Makers:
James Fawcitt,
12 Months
Richd. Thompson,
12 do
James Amis,
Timber Gitters for Wagons, Gun Stocks, &c.:
Zacariah Dillard,
12 Months
Isham Scott,
12 do
William Curlew,
3 do
Jesse Rowan,
3 do
John Barrot,
12 do
Canteen Makers:
Joshua Jones,
12 Months
-------------------- page 620 --------------------
Joshua Gammon,
12 do
Henry Overstreet.
12 do
Shoe Makers to furnish Shoes clear of Expence to the Public:
William Travathan,
240 pair in 12 Months
Thomas Bird,
240 do do
Robert Thompson,
240 do do
James Turner,
240 do do
James Carlisle,
60 3 do
John Knight,
60 3 do
Willis Halyon.
60 3 do
Saddlers, Cap Makers, Harness ditto, &c.:
William Stephinson, Superintendent hired 12 months
Thomas Collom,
12 Months
Thomas Tuchor,
12 do Invalid
Joseph Hawkins,
12 do Invalid
William Watson,
12 do
David Pugh,
3 Months
John Hews,
3 do
William Sikes.
12 do Delinquent
George Ware, 2 years to serve enlisted as a Taylor
Nickolas Bryant,
12 Months
Benj. Bell,
12 do
Joel Wooten, to furnish the Public with 60 Hatts for 3 Months Tour duty
William Campbell, blacksmith, he says his time is Expired some time ago
Thomas Hines, Express rider 12 months


There may be some more who have agreed to serve a Tour of duty but they are not yet come in.

Raiford, Robert

August 22, 1782

Volume 16, Page 645


You will please to excuse its being crowded but the reason is I am very scarce of paper. The waggons when they come in I shall order off immediately to Col. Long. I understand the Countys of Brunswick and N. Hanover has their men and intends delivering them at Wilmington. As soon as Major Blount Joins I shall march to Wilmington.


Memorandum from William Green concerning supplies

Green, William

Volume 16, Pages 469-470


1782. Received of William Gilmore, vizt:

125 lbs. Ball & Shot, 6 Barl. Powder, 620 Doz. Cart., 220 Lead, 370 Candles, 41 Bayonet Belts, 12 lbs Iron, 10 lbs Sugar & a parcel of Carpenter’s tools with 250 Nails.

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Bought to Oct, 1780, of Messrs. Ocheltree, Martin & Compy, vizt:

10 Reams paper, 976 Iron & 65 lbs. Steel, is all I purchased of any person.


Then 24th, Oct. ’80, Delivered the Quarter Master of Genl. Butler’s Brigade, vizt: 976 lbs Iron, 65 lbs steel, 5 Ream & 5 Quire paper. To Genl. Gregory, 2 Ream; to Col. Seawell, 1 Ream & 4 Quire, 8 Quire for hospital; 2 Quire to Col. McDowell, 2 Quire Col. Taylor’s order. 2 Do to somebody by your order, no name; 3 Do to Col. Peasley, which you’ll find to be Nine Ream and 6 quire besides some that was Expended for Cart.

I have sundry orders & Rects. for 2, 3, & four Quire paper for Cart. not mentd. in this return.


Letter from George Doherty to Richard Caswell

Doherty, George

September 26, 1787****

Volume 20, Pages 781-782


September 26th, 1787.


I received by Mr. Markham two letters from Major Evans, one dated 26th August and the other of the 10th Instant, in which he requests Clothing for his Men in the most pressing terms as the Men declare they will not march without them; I make no doubt but he has communicated his situation to your Excellency with a Return of those who are enlisted to get Cloathing; to me he has enclosed an attested Copy of a Return for that purpose, amounting to 93 in number for the following Articles, viz: 93 Hatts, 93 Hunting Shirts, 93 Vest, 93 prs. of Leather Breeches, 93 Blankets, 186 Shirts, 186 Stocks, 186 prs. of Shoes and 186 pr. Stockings. How to make an estimate of the Sum necessary to purchase and get those Articles

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made up is more than I can pretend to do with any degree of precision the prices of imported Goods being so fluctuating of late, but if your Excellency will grant a warrant on the Treasury for the amount of the following rough Sketch, partly guess work, I shall proceed immediately to purchase or if it is for a smaller sum I can be getting some made up till more can be purchased when the prices are ascertained. Your answer per first opportunity will oblige your Excellency’s

Most Obedient humble Servant,

Cloth’r Cumberland Batt’n.

93 Hatts, at 10s
93 Hunting Shirts, 2½ yds. each, 232½ yds. at 2s
186 Shirts, 3½ yds. each, 641 yards at 4s
186 Stocks, at 1s 6d
Lining, pocket & facing for Vest at 2 yards each, is 186 yds., at 2s
93 Vest ¾ yd. Cloth each, 69¾ yards each at 20s
93 Stocks Mohair, at 1s
93 Doz. Buttons, at 1s 6d
93 pr. Leather Breeches, at 40s
186 pr. Stockings, at 9s
186 pr. Shoes, at 16s
93 Good Blankets, at 30s
Making 93 Hunting Shirts, at 2s 6d
186 Shirts, at 4s
93 Vests, at 8s

**** This is a bit late for AWI, but it gives valuable information regarding clothing the militia, fabrics and yardage.

Deployments and engagements

Thursday, November 21st, 1776.

Met according to Adjournment.

Mr Charles Bruce and Mr Ralph Gorrell, two of the members for Guilford County, appeared.

Resolved, That General Person, Mr Irwin, Mr Bradford, Mr Nesbit and Mr Willie Jones, be a Committee to re-examine the accounts of Col. Nicholas Long, rendered to last Congress at Halifax.

It being moved and seconded, that the House take into consideration the Expediency of continuing or disbanding the militia at Cross Creek, under the command of Colonel Folsome, and the independent companies stationed on the sea coast of this State,

Resolved, That all the militia stationed at Cross Creek, whether they be foot or horse, under the command of Col. Ebenezer Folsome be henceforth disbanded and discharged from the pay of this State.

Resolved that the two Southern independent companies stationed on the Sea Coast, under the command of Capt. Silby Harvey and

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Capt. William Purviance, he henceforth disbanded, and discharged from the Pay of this State.


Description by J. G. M. Ramsey of an attack by the North Carolina Militia on the Cherokee Nation [Extracts]

Ramsey, J. G. M. (James Gettys McGready), 1797-1884


Volume 10, Pages 881-885

[Reprinted from Ramsay's History of Tennessee. P. 162.]

An account of the subjugation of the Cherokees.

The Indians were true to their engagement. Being informed that a British fleet with troops had arrived off Charleston they proceeded to take up the war club and with the dawn of day on the first day of July [1776] the Cherokees poured down upon the frontiers of South Carolina, massacreing without distinction of age or sex, all persons who fell into their power. The news of the gallant defence at Sullivan's Island and the repulse of Sir Peter Parker in the harbor of Charleston on the 28th of June, arrived soon after that glorious victory and frustrated in part the plan as concerted.

Preparations were immediately made to march with an imposing force upon the Cherokee Nation. They were the most warlike and enterprising of the native tribes and except the Creeks, were the most numerous. They lived in towns of various sizes; their government was simple and in time of war especially, the authority of their chiefs and warriors was supreme. Their country was known by three great geographical divisions: The Lower Towns, the Middle Settlements and Vallies and the Overhill Towns. The number of warriors in the

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Middle settlements and Vallies
In Lower Towns
In Over-hill Towns
Total Cherokee men in Towns

To these may be added such warriors as lived in the less compact settlements estimated at five hundred.

To inflict suitable chastisement upon the Cherokees several expeditions were at once made into their territory. Colonel McBury and Major Jack from Georgia entered the Indian settlements on Tugaloo and defeating the enemy, destroyed all their towns on that River. General Williamson of South Carolina early in July began to embody the militia of that State and before the end of that month was at the head of an army of eleven hundred and fifty men marching to meet Cameron who was with a large body of Esseneca Indians and disaffected white men encamped at Oconoree. Encountering and defeating this body of the enemy he destroyed their town and a large amount of provisions. He burned Sugaw Town, Soconee, Keowee, Ostatory, Tugaloo and Brass Town. He proceeded against Tomassee, Chehokee and Eustustie where observing a recent trail of the enemy he made pursuit and soon met and vanquished three hundred of their warriors. These towns he afterwards destroyed.

In the meantime an army had been raised in North Carolina under command of General Rutherford and a place of joining their respective forces had been agreed upon by that officer and Colonel Williamson under the supposition that nothing less than their united force was adequate to the reduction of the Middle Settlements and Vallies. Colonel Martin Armstrong of Surry County in August raised a small regiment of Militia and marched with them to join General Rutherford. Benjamin Cleveland was one of Armstrong's captains. William (afterwards General) Lenoir was Cleveland's first Lieutenant and William Gray his second Lieutenant. Armstrong's regiment crossed Johns River at McKenney's ford, passed the Quaker Meadows and crossed the Catawba at Greenlee's ford and at Cathey's Fort joined the army under General Rutherford, consisting of above two thousand men. The Blue Ridge was crossed by this army at the Swannanoa Gap and the march continued down the river of the same name to its mouth near to which

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they crossed the French Broad. From that river the army marched up Hominy leaving Pisgah on the left and crossing Pigeon a little below the mouth of the East Fork. Thence through the mountains to Richland Creek above the present Waynesville and ascending that Creek and crossing Tuckaseigee River at an Indian town. They then crossed the Cowee mountain where they had an engagement with the enemy in which but one white man was wounded. The Indians carried off their dead. From thence the army marched to the Middle Towns on Tennessee River where they expected to form a junction with the South Carolina troops un er General Williamson. Here after waiting a few days they left a strong guard and continued the march to the Hiwassee towns. All the Indian villages were found evacuated the warriors having fled without offering any resistance. Few were killed or wounded on either side and but few prisoners taken by the whites, but they destroyed all the buildings, crops and stock of the enemy and left them in a starving condition. This army returned by the same route it had marched. They destroyed thirty or forty Indian towns. The route has since been known as Rutherford's Trace.

While the troops commanded by McBury, Williamson and Rutherford were thus desolating the Lower Towns and Middle Settlements of the Cherokees, another army not less valiant or enterprising had penetrated to the more secure, because more remote, Overhill Towns. Orders were immediately given to Colonel William Christian to raise an army and to march them at once into the heart of the Cherokee country.1 The place of rendezvous was the Great Island of Holston. Soon after Col. Christian was reinforced by three or four hundred North Carolina Militia under Col. Joseph Williams, Col. Love and Major Winston. The whole force now amounted to eighteen hundred men, including pack-horse men and bullock drivers. Near the mouth of Lick Creek was extensive cane brakes, which, with a lagoon or swamp of a mile long, obstructed the march. The army succeeded, however, in crossing through the pass. At the bend of the Nollichucky the camps of the enemy were found by the spies, deserted. The route to be pursued was unknown and through a wilderness. Isaac Thomas, a trader among the Cherokees, acted as pilot. He conducted the army along a narrow but plain

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war path up long Creek to its source and down Dumplin Creek to a point a few miles from its mouth, where the war path struck across to the ford of French Broad, near what has since been known as Buckingham's Island. Next morning the main body crossed the river near the Big Island. They marched in order of battle, expecting an attack from the Indians, who were supposed to be lying about in ambush; but to their surprise no trace was found even of a recent camp.

When it was understood in the Cherokee Nation that Christian was about to invade their territory, one thousand warriors assembled at the Big Island of French Broad to resist the invaders. A trader named Starr, who was in the Indian encampment harrangued the warriors in an earnest tone. The trader's counsels prevailed, all defensive measures were abandoned and without waiting for the return of their messengers the warriors dispersed and the island was found deserted and their encampments broken up and forsaken. The next morning the army resumed its march. The route led along the valley of Boyd's Creek and down Ellejay to Little River. From there to the Tennessee River not an Indian was seen. Next morning they marched to the Great Island Town which was taken without resistance. A panic had seized the Cherokee warriors and not one of them could be found. Small detachments were therefore sent out from time to time to different parts of the nation, and finding no armed enemy to contend against, they adopted as not a less effectual chastisement of the implacable enemy, the policy of laying waste and burning their fields and towns. In this manner Neowee, Telico, Chilhowee and other villages were destroyed. Occasionally during these excursions a few warriors were seen escaping from one town to a place of greater safety and were killed. No males were taken prisoners. These devastations were confined to such towns as were known to have advised or consented to hostilities, while such, like the Beloved Town Chota, as had been disposed to peace, were spared. Col. Christian endeavored to convince the Cherokees that he warred only with enemies. He sent out three or four men with white flags and requested a talk with the chiefs. Six or seven immediately came in. In a few days several others from the more distant towns came forward also and proposed peace. It was granted, but not to take effect till a treaty should be made by representatives from the whole tribe to assemble the succeeding May at Long Island. A suspension

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of hostilities was in the mean time provided for, with the exception of two towns high up in the mountains on Tennessee River. These had burnt a prisoner, a youth named Moore, whom they had taken at Watauga. Tuskega and the other excepted town were reduced to ashes.

Colonel Christian, finding nothing more to occupy his army longer, broke up his camp at Great Island Town, marched to Chota, re-crossed the Tennessee and returned to the settlements. In this campaign of about three months not one man was killed. A few from inclement weather and undue fatigue became sick. No one died. The volunteers who composed the command of Christian were, many of them, from the more interior counties of North Carolina and Virginia. In their marches they had seen and noticed the fertile vallies, the rich uplands, the sparkling fountains, the pellucid streams, the extensive grazing and hunting grounds and had felt the genial influences of the climate of the best part of East Tennessee. Each soldier upon his return home, gave a glowing account of the adaptation of the country to all the purposes of agriculture. The story was repeated from one to another till upon the Roanoke and the Yadkin the people spoke familiarly of the Holston, the Nollichucky, the French Broad, Little River and the Tennessee.”


1 Haywood's History of Tennessee, page 52.

Letter from John Ashe to Richard Caswell

Ashe, John, 1725-1781

March 17, 1779

Volume 14, Pages 39-43


[From Executive Letter Book.]

Camp, Zubley's Ferry, March 17th, 1779.


I should have wrote you long since, had I had time or opportunity, but we have been constantly marching since we left Elizabeth—from thence to Charlestown, to Purisburg, to Augusta—to prevent the Enemies' crossing into this State and making a junction with the disaffected (which are numerous) of this and our State. The night of our arrival opposite to Augusta, the Enemy encamped and made a precipitate retreat down the Savannah River (tho' double our number), from an information that my command amounted to eleven thousand, when in fact it did not exceed twelve hundred. I halted at this place, considering it an important pass to the State of South Carolina, till directed by General Lincoln to cross the River, and march down to a place called Bryer Creek, the bridge of which the Enemy had burnt down on their Retreat. The Creek makes out of the Savannah River, on the Georgia side, about sixty miles below Augusta; runs at right Angles from the River, about half a mile back of the River Swamp, and then runs almost parallel with the River, so that forty miles up the River it is but ten miles distant, the swamp of the River being generally three miles wide; and on the creek a deep swamp, eight miles above the bridge a Mill, and several fords

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between the bridge and     , and also above. Here we reached, on the 27th Ulto., and      till the 3rd Instant, expecting to be reinforced with such of the Georgia Militia as were well affected—about one hundred and thirty Georgia Continentals, horse, and some of the Militia from South Carolina, and General Rutherford's Brigade—none of which, except two hundred and seven horse from South Carolina, one hundred and fifty only of which were fit for duty, joined us. Genl. Rutherford, with part of his Brigade, had reached Matthews' Bluff, about five miles above, with the River between, and Col. Marbury, of the Georgia horse, lay a few miles above on Bryer Creek, so that I had with me only Genl. Bryan's Brigade, consisting of nine hundred men; Lieut. Col. Lytle's light Infantry of about two hundred, fit for duty; about seventy Georgia Continental Troops (the South Carolina light horse being sent over the Creek to reconnoitre); one four-pound brass fieldpiece, and two iron two-pound Swivels, mounted as field-pieces. From these are to be deducted near a hundred waggoners & Carters, which were always returned as Soldiers in Gen. Bryan's Brigade, with a guard of 50 men that had been sent to guard the baggage across the River, about eight miles above us (which had fortunately been effected a few minutes before the enemy appeared), and fifty on a fatigue party, to make bridges and clear the road (about three miles above us) to the River, for General Rutherford's Brigade, and two brass field-pieces, that had been sent from Head Quarters to Matthews' Bluff. In this situation, without a possibility of Retreat, I had advice of the Enemy being about eight miles above, in full march toward us. We immediately beat to Arms, formed the Troops into two lines, and served them with Cartridges, which they could not prudently have been served with sooner, as they had several times received Cartridges which had been destroyed and lost for want of Cartouch Boxes. We marched out of lines to meet the Enemy—some carrying their Cartridges under their arms, others in the bosoms of their shirts, and some tied up in the corners of their hunting shirts. Having advanced about a quarter of a mile from our encampment, I saw the Enemy on a quick march, in force amounting, as I have since been informed, to eighteen hundred regulars. Several hundred Georgia and Florida Scouts, with four or five hundred horse (by some said to be nine hundred), formed in three Columns, with

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several field-pieces, called Grasshoppers. When they came within one hundred and fifty yards of us, they then displayed their Columns to the right and left to form a line. It was now that the Georgia Continentals and Col. Perkins' Regiment, which formed the right of our first line, began their fire. The Georgia Continentals, under Genl. Elbert, who acted as Col., after two or three Rounds advanced without orders a few steps beyond the line, and moved to the left in front of the Regiment from the district of New Bern, which much impeded their firing. By this movement, and that of the Edenton Regiment, which had been obliged to move a little to the Right, there was a vacancy in the line. At this instant of time the Halifax Regiment, which was upon the left of the second line, broke and took to flight, without firing a gun. The Wilmington (except a small part under the command of Lieut. Col. Young, who were advancing in their line to the right to prevent being flanked, and fired two or three rounds) and the New Bern Regiments followed their example. The Edenton Regiment continued for two or three discharges longer, when they gave way and took to flight, just as Lieut. Col. Lytle, with his light Infantry and a brass field-piece (which had been posted at the Bridge, about a mile and a half from the field), came up. As he saw the impossibility of the Troops being rallied, and that it would be only exposing his small corps to no purpose, he moved off in order in the rear of the fugitives, reserving his fire. The Georgia Continentals still continued in action some little time longer, till their Genl. surrendered himself a prisoner.

When I found the second line had given way, I rode across from the rear of Perkins' Regiment and the Georgians, where I had taken post for a better observation of the movement of the Enemy, to the rear of the fugitives, and called to the officers to rally their men, which I was in expectation might be done, while there was an opposition made by the first line, but by the time I had wheeled my horse and got a few paces on my return, I saw the Edenton Regiment break and take to flight. I then used my utmost exertions to get in front of the fugitives for half a mile or three-quarters, in order to rally them; in which I was assisted by Col. Perkins, Lieut. Cols. Young & Williams, Majors Blount & Doherty, with some few others, who exerted themselves on this occasion, when, finding it impossible, and that if I proceeded much further

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I must unavoidably fall into the hands of the Enemy, I wheeled to the left into the River Swamp, and made my escape to Matthews' Bluff, which I had crossed on my return from Genl. Lincoln the preceding day—a place unknown to the Troops, about four miles up the Swamp—accompanied by Majors Pointer and McIlhean, and one light horseman, swimming several Lagoons on our horses.

I imagined most of the troops would have been either killed or taken, as they had very little further to fly before the broken Bridge at Bryer Creek must stop them; but by a lucky halt which the Enemy made for a few moments at the place of our encampment, they made their escape down the Creek and thro' the River Swamp, many of which swam the River; some crossed on rafts which they made, and others were fetched across in Canoes, which were ordered down from Matthews' Bluff; so that we have only one hundred and fifty missing, upwards of fifty of which, we hear, crossed the River above and returned into our State. Col. Alston and two Captains, one from Perkins' the other from Eaton's Regiments, are prisoners, with two Lieutenants and four Ensigns. Your son had that morning got leave to go up to his baggage to get some clothes, and the next in command, Lieut. Col. Smith, had been appointed by Genl. Bryan (in my absence to meet Genl. Lincoln at the Two Sisters) to command the Baggage Guard. I enclose you a Return (the best I can procure) of Genl. Bryan's Brigade since the action of the 3rd Instant. The little attention paid to orders, both by officers and soldiers, the several Mutinies of the Halifax Regiment, and Desertions from the Brigade, and Genl. Bryan's unhappy temper, from my march from Elizabeth to Bryer Creek, have rendered my command very disagreeable; and since the action, his conduct has been such as will forever render him contemptible to me; of which I shall inform you when I have the pleasure of seeing you, which I hope will be ere long. Let it suffice that at present I only add that he has, by himself and his Tools, endeavored to propagate a Report that I was both a traitor and coward, on which I have procured a Court of Inquiry to be held. It was waiting for their Report, in order to send to you, that I have not sent the dispatch sooner. Whenever it is made, I shall forward it to you, be what it will.

I hope to return before the rising of the next Assembly, when, I make not the least doubt, I shall render such an account to you

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and my Country as will give satisfaction and justify my conduct.

Our loss in the field was about Ten or Twelve killed; about the same number drowned in the Lagoons. Their loss in the field supposed to be double to that of ours. We are now encamped at Zubley's Ferry, about two miles above Purisburg, where Head Quarters are. The Enemies' lines from the Town of Savannah to above the Two Sisters. 'Tis supposed they are drawing in their Troops to Savannah, in order to move round to Beaufort or Charlestown. They still continue superior in number to us.

I am, with respect ane esteem,
Your Excellency's mo. ob. humbl. Serv't,



Letter from [Charles Magill] to Magill (his father) [Extract]

Magill, Charles

August 1780

Volume 14, Pages 584-585

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No date___probably August, 1780 (the battle of Camden having been fought on the 16th August, 1780.)

Field of Battle within eight miles of Camden.

In the Evening of the 15th Inst. a council of Genr'l officers were unanimously of opinion that our Army should move within five miles of Camden, to an advantageous post, with a swamp in our front, fordable only at the road, and no other within seven miles on each side. At ten O'clock the Army moved in the following order: Colo. Armand's Corps, about seventy Horse in front; Colo. Porterfield with 50 men belonging to our Reg't and 150 Militia upon Armand's right flank, about two Hundred yards off the road; Maj'r Anderson with a party of No. Carolina Militia upon Armand's left Flank, in the same order. Colo. Armand's orders were, should the Enemy's Horse attack him, to stand their charge, and Porterfield with the other Light Infantry to flank them. Genrl Smallwood's Brigade in front, Genl Gist's followed, the No. Carolina Division, under Genrl. Caswell next, and in the rear the Virginia Brigade, commanded by Genl. Stevens. After marching in this order nigh five miles, about half after two in the morning, the British Horse made a most violent onset, Huzzaing all the time, but were bravely repulsed by Porterfield with considerable loss. The Enemy's Light Infantry next came up; the Virginia Militia, or the Greatest part that were with Porterfield, took to their heels, and left the men belonging to our Regt. to stand the Attack of the whole light troops, which to their Honour they did for about five minutes, in which a warm and incessant fire was kept up. Colo. Porterfield then ordered a retreat, and in turning his horse about had his Leg shattered by a musket ball, which struck him upon his shin Bone. After some time the firing ceased, our line was formed, and Half an Hour before sunrise the Enemy advanced. Our Army Drawn up in the same order as in their march, only that Gist's Brigade was on our right, Smallwood's being formed in the Rear as a Corps Du reserve. Immediately on the Enemy's driving in our Party in Front, Genl. Stevens was ordered to advance & attack their right,

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and Gist with his Brigade to attack their left. The orders were immediately complied with; but upon the first fire the whole line of Militia broke and ran, the firing upon our right had begun. I was there with Genl. Gates, who perceiving the militia run, Rode about twenty yards in the rear of the line to rally them, which he found impossible to do there; about half a mile further, Genrl. Gates and Caswell made another fruitless attempt, and a third was made at a still greater distance with no better success. Genl. Smallwood or Stevens advancing to the attack, advanced to support him, and on the militia's giving away, occupy'd the ground where the Right of Stevens and the left of the No. Carolina Militia were drawn up. This made a Chasm between the two Brigades, through which the Enemy's Horse came and charged our rear. The men to their Immortal Honour made a brave defence, but were at last obliged to give ground, and are allmost all killed or taken. Gist's Brigade behaved like heroes; so did Smallwood's, but they being more to our left afforded us no opportunity of seeing them. Upon Genl. Gates' Riding to stop the Militia, Gist's Brigade charged Bayonets, and at first made the Enemy give way, but they were reinforced. We owe all our misfortune to the Militia; had they not run like dastardly cowards, our Army was sufficient to cope with theirs, drawn up as we were upon a rising and advantageous ground.

[Extract of Major McGill's letter to his Father, copied at my desire by George Neite.]