Upon an inspection into the condition of the garrison ordnance stores and ammunition at Fort Johnston I found them agreeable to the three returns inclosed—First, Return of the garrison 2d. Returnd. Return of the arms and acourtrements Six Carriages for the 18 and 9 pounders are at Wilmington and three swivel guns are at Salisbury in the western frontier of this province. Six hundred swivel balls and eight barrels of gunpowder were let out upon bond, by the late Governor to some gentlemen on this river. I have ordered the parties to replace it, as in case of neglect I shall sue their bonds. The three eighteen pounders with their carriages I shall at the request of the inhabitants leave in the town of Wilmington, the other three carriages I have ordered into the fort. The three swivels may be necessary in the back country in some temporary fort against the indians. Great quantity of the powder, the flints and all the musket balls were sent into the back country during the last war, and tho' there are no vouchers that I can find for the expenditure, I am told it was all used.
This my Lords is the fullest return I can procure of the ordnance, stores &c in this province. As Capt Dalrymple told me he left at your Lordships board a plan of the said fort, I shall only take notice that the proportions observed in the construction of the fort are as miserable, as are the materials with which it is built; lime, half broken oyster shells and sand are the ingredients, called tabby-work. There is so great a proportion of sand that every gun fired, as a signal, or on public occasions, brings down some of the parapet. In short I think the fort a disgrace to the ordnance his Majesty has placed in it. Its situation for the defence of the entrance of the river is admirable, and extremely favoured by nature. It commands not only across but up and down the channel, and has no covered or hollow way very near on the side of the country. I am apprehensive this country will not at present be at any further expence in the rebuilding of this fort; and indeed were they to raise money for that purpose, it could not be effectually applied, without his Majesty was pleased to order an engineer to direct and superintend the construction. All the other forts in the province are entirely gone to ruin. In the present circumstances of the country, the protection of the entrance of this river is certainly the most essential of any in the province; the towns of Brunswick and Wilmington lying so near the bar, the first eighteen and the other thirty miles distant from it which lays them more open to the insults of the enemy, than those towns to the north east of this province, which lay 70, 80, and 140 miles from the mouths of their rivers.