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Letter from William Howe, Viscount Howe to William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth
Howe, William Howe, Viscount, 1729-1814
January 16, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 412-413

[Reprinted from the American Archives. Vol. 4. P. 699.]
Letter from Major General William Howe to the Earl of Dartmouth.

Boston, January 16th, 1776.

The necessary arrangements being made for the departure of Major General Clinton to Cape Fear, in consequence of your Lordship's dispatches of the 22nd October, he is ready to sail in the Mercury, ship of war, with the Falcon, sloop, and two transports, having

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on board two Companies of Light-Infantry, and some Highlanders; the latter, I hope may be useful in getting men in North Carolina, if Governor Martin is not deceived in his expectations, of which I do not presume to judge, having received no direct intelligence from thence since General Gage's departure; nor have I received Governor Martin's letter referred to in your Lordship's letter of 22nd October.

It is much to be wished that the troops had sailed from Europe in time to have arrived at their destination by the middle, or latter end of November; but I am free to own my opinion to your Lordship, which has been, to leave the Southern Provinces in the fullest persuasion of their security, until the Rebels should have been defeated on the side of New York; which event appears to me, more clearly than ever, of so much consequence, that our utmost strength should be exerted to accomplish it before designs of less importance are taken up, inconsistent with the general plan of operations for the ensuing campaign; and it is to be presumed the Southern Rebels would have been less able to defend themselves, had they not been roused by the conduct of their Governours, who have not, I fear, the power of suppressing them, or of re-establishing the interest of Government in any degree.

It is remarkable that the destination of the regiments to the Southward was promulgated here by private letters from England, that came in the same ship with your Lordship's dispatch relative to them; and I make no doubt of the Rebels being in possession of the intelligence very soon after it arrived. General Lee, I hear, is gone for the Army in consequence of it.

With the most perfect respect, I have the honour to be your Lordship's faithful and most obedient servant,

WILLIAM HOWE.