May it please your Excellency:
Col. Williams has marched to the Northward to join General Washington, and left instructions with me, to stay in this State and superintend the recruiting service; and desired me to apply to you for orders in what manner to proceed. I shou'd have applied in person, but am very unwell with the ague. Therefore please to write me by Capt. Rice, the orders and instructions that you design for the recruiting officers.
Capt. Rice, the bearer of this, is come down to see if some of his men, that deserted some time ago, hath not inlisted in the 10th Regim't; and on his return is ordered to the Northward to join the Regim't under the command of Col. Williams—however as there is but three officers to a Regiment left in this State, and of course more officers gone already than is sufficient to command what men was marched; and there is a number of deserters now lurking about this place, which would be of service to this State to have taken; these reasons, together with that of Capt. Rice's having a sick family, that he seems unwilling to leave for the present, until they get better, has induced me to mention it to your Excellency, and beg of you (if there is no inconsistency in it) to permit him to stay and assist in the recruiting service. Capt. Rice is well
I have four or five negroes in Transylvania, (the place lately purchased by Rich'd Henderson & Comp'y.) and am very desirous of getting them brought home before the cold weather sets in—and the Colony of Virginia hath ordered out two hundred & fifty men to that country, to protect the inhabitants who are now gathering at the Long Island on Holston River, and I imagine that cou'd I be at Holston now, that in all probability I shou'd have an opportunity of employing some person that wou'd bring them home. Therefore I shall be under exceeding great obligations to your Excellency, if you will give me leave of absence from this State a few weeks. I am not able at present to undertake the journey, but am in hopes shall be in a very small time, and I will return again as soon as possible. I should not have asked the favour, if I thought there was any probability of my doing any injury to the service I am engaged in by my absence. There is a report here (how true I cannot say) that the Indians have taken Fort Pitt on the Ohio, and killed every soul, except two men, that was in the place.