Letter from John White to Richard Caswell
Volume 11, Pages 685-687
COL. I. WHITE TO GOV. CASWELL.
[From Executive Letter Book.]
Wilmington, Nov. 30th, 1777.
I take the liberty to address your Excellency and to inform you
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of the distress that one of the Continental Regiments (which I have the Honor to command) labours under the men in general barefoot, and some of them entirely naked. We are obliged for want of money to put up with such provisions as we can scrape together upon credit, as Mr. Turner absolutely refused to furnish us with the least article, 'till I pledged my honor to see him paid for the same, before the Regiment marched from this place. The Continental Horses are perishing for want of Forage, there being no Quarter Master or Deputy (in that Department) stationed here to supply us. I brought five thousand Dollars with me from York Town, which I judged sufficient, for extra expenses. In marching the Battalion to Georgia, as I was informed by the board of war there were Magasines of stores, established in the different States, for the supply of the Continental Troops, who might march through them. I indeed met with every assistance in Maryland, and Virginia, 'till I drew near to the borders of this State, since which I have been obliged to purchase almost every necessary we stood in need of, at an immense expense, which has entirely expended, all the public money I had in my hands, with almost a thousand dollars of my own—and two hundred & fifty Major Walker was so polite as to lend me—'till I could get supplied.
I must therefore in the name of the United States at large, and the State of Georgia in particular, most humbly request that your Excellency will furnish me, (or take such measures as to have me furnished) with five thousand Continental Dollars—in order to expedite my march to the State of Georgia, the which I pledge my honor and the faith of Georgia, shall be repaid with the utmost dispatch, either by our Delegates in Congress, (on whom I have herewith sent Bills for that purpose) or by the State. I would not trouble your Excellency were we not in the utmost distress, and both officers and soldiers murmuring. It hurts me to the soul to punish offenders for mutiny, when I know their complaints are just, and have it not in my power to redress them. But am obliged to conform, and put Court Martials into execution to keep order in the Regiment, according to the rules and Discipline of War. Should I be so unsuccessful as not to obtain a supply of money from this State, I know of no alternative, (as we can get nothing here without money) but that of letting each man shift for himself, for before we could be supplied from Georgia, most of
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the men would certainly perish Between thirty and forty, are now languishing under diseases, occasioned for want of the common necessaries of life, the sick obliged to make use of rusty salt pork, as at times we can get nothing else for them.
For further particulars, I refer your Excellency to the bearer Major Eustace of my Battalion, who likewise has my letter of credit from the State of Georgia, which he is instructed if necessary to lay before you, with other vouchers.
I hope your Excellency will take our distressed situation into serious consideration, and comply with furnishing me the amount of my request, Five Thousand Dollars.
I am with the utmost respect your Excellency's most obedt Humble servt.
I. WHITE Col: 4th Ga. Battn
Additional Notes for Electronic Version:
According to Heitman's "Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution," John White was Colonel of the Fourth Georgia Battalion.