Mr. Chairman & Gentn of the Committee of Inquiry &c.
Your Message of yesterday I received so late in the evening, that I could not conveniently get the papers you required copied. I now send you a copy of the recruiting instructions and marching orders issued to Col. Sheppard, and also copies of some other papers, with my own observations which may shew the reasons why that Regiment was not ordered to march sooner.
Observations respecting Col: Sheppard's Battalion.
1. By Resolve of the General Assembly 300 men were to be raised before 1st July (See Copy Resolve No. 1).
2. The “Council by agreement of the members was appointed to meet at Kingston, the place of Rendesvous for the said Regiment, the 8th, July, to receive Colonel Sheppard's Report,—a sufficient number to constitute a Board did not meet—the 5th of August was then appointed, when the Board met, and resolved Col. Sheppard had complied with the Resolution of Assembly”—(see Copy Resolve No. 4) and in consequence of a Resolve of Congress of the 17th June (see Copy No. 5) that Regiment to be considered as Continental.
3. The 8th August a detachment advised by the Council to be sent to remove the Magazine from Wilmington (see Copy Resolve No. 6) they were ordered accordingly, and in a few days marched 100 men, with 3 wagons and 4 carts, who brought off only part of the stores (see Mr. Brice's letter 21st August No. 7) which they delivered at Kingston 28th or 29th August, previous to which I had come to Newbern, where the Council was summoned to meet the 1st Sept. But before this on observing the tardiness of the Officers in repairing to Head Quarters; I wrote to Col. Sheppard on the subject—(see Copy letter 22d August No. 8).
4. The Council sat at Newbern, 2d September and before their breaking up, the 4th they proposed advising me to order this Regiment to march. But as I did not know the detachment sent to Wilmington was returned or that Col: Dauge with three Companies from the District of Edenton and some others were arrived at the places of Rendesvous, and apprehending myself vested with competent powers, to order the Continental Troops—whilst in this State, I declined taking the opinion or advice of the Council, and returned to Dobb's with a design of ordering the Regiment to march as soon as I found it practicable, but on the 7th I received by express from Congress, a Resolve directing the removal of the Military and Naval Stores from Wilmington, (see Copy of that Resolve No. 9.) the 8th I ordered a detachment from this Battalion to bring up the remainder of the Military stores, being induced thereto from the seeming earnestness of the Congress, to have the same done immediately, and knowing if I waited 'till this could be effected by the Militia, it would be attended with that delay that might be a means of injury to the public—and considering thatd Sept. from whence the Regiment with the artillery company marched the 25th and I flattered myself they would have proceeded on their march agreeable to order, as the Commissary of Stores had assured me, every thing in his power which they were entitled to, should be furnished them on their way at Halifax—but on the 15th October I received Col. Sheppard's letter of the 14th (No. 11) to which I refer you. I saw him two or three days after, advised him to return to his Regiment and by all means endeavour to proceed on his march, about the time this assembly was to meet, received the Memorial of his officers which I took the earliest opportunity of laying before the Council, who thought proper to recommend the consideration thereof to the General Assembly.
Thus Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Committee I have given you all the information in my power relating to the delay Col: Sheppard necessarily met with on his march. This I thought incumbent on me in my present station.