Letter from William Campbell to William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth [Extract]
Volume 11, Pages 265-267
[B. P. R. O. America & W. Indies. Vol: 229. No 10]
Lord William Campbell to Earl of Dartmouth.
Cherokee Armed Ship in Rebellion Road.
1. January 1776.
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On the 30th of November the Scorpion with the Transport under her convoy arrived here having Governor Martin on board who I soon found had left Cape Fear only to secure the Scorpion's immediate
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return. His situation has long been very disagreeable on board a very small sloop and it was natural for him to wish to keep the ship appointed to the North Carolina Station and he therefore applied to Captain Thornbrough to order the Scorpion immediately back which he did. I plainly foresaw the consequence of this step would be abandoning Charlestown Harbour I therefore thought it my duty to remonstrate against it but without effect and the Scorpion with the Transport and three vessels that had been stopped here sailed for Cape Fear leaving us in a worse situation than they found us, as the Rebels were greatly elated at their departure and the very next morning landed a body of men on Sullivan's Island where they never had ventured before, burned the only house upon it, consumed the little all of three poor families who had taken refuge there, carried off the people with two men belonging to the Cherokee who were ashore watering and destroyed their Casks. The day after the Rebels got some Guns upon the Main Land on the North side of the Harbour nearly opposite to the end of Sullivan's Island, off which, the King's ships lay and immediately threw up a work and erected a Battery of four eighteen Pounders. These circumstances which I clearly foresaw are so truly distressing to me as I could not agree in opinion with Governor Martin as to the comparative importance of the two Provinces, nor with the commanding Officer of the King's ships as to the Propriety of his conduct; that I will not dwell any longer upon the subject I only beg leave to transmit to your Lordship some letters that passed between Governor Martin, Captain Thornbrough and myself.
I can with the greatest truth assure your Lordship no consideration of any merit that might be attributed me from the first impression being made in his Majesty's Province under my command influenced my conduct; had I thought it would have been more conducive to the King's service I would have chearfully served as a volunteer with Mr Martin in North Carolina rather than have divided our little Force but I cannot from what I have hitherto seen give up my opinion of the vast difference between the Provinces in wealth, strength and of course in the power of doing mischief I therefore must have good reason to make me think our whole puny Force ought not to have been collected in Charles Town Harbour to keep that Port open: leaving a small vessel to
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cruize off Cape Fear to give necessary information to any King's ship that might arrive.
While I so freely declare my sentiments and my dissent from the proceedings in Rebellion Road, I have the pleasure to assure your Lordship, the only dispute that can be Mr Martin and me will be which of us can most effectually serve our most gracious Sovereign.
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I have the honor to be with great Truth and Esteem My Lord
Your Lordships most obedient
and most humble servant
Earl of Dartmouth
(Recd 29th February.)