Letter from Robert Howe to William Moultrie
Effingham, Thomas Howard, Earl of, 1747-1791
Volume 11, Pages 706-707
GEN. ROBERT HOWE TO GEN. MOULTRIE.
Charlestown Feb 23rd 1777
This morning an Express arrived from Georgia with an Account that a Detachment of Regulars of at least 300 men with a Body of Indians and East Floridians making in all about 900 or 1000 men had invaded the frontiers of Georgia, attacked one of the forts which after a gallant Resistance was obliged to surrender and that they were advancing fast into the State and that some of the forts were about to be evacuated and that an immediate and considerable Support from this State was absolutely necessary.
Upon this information I thought it proper to call a Council of War, before which I laid the information I had received by Express. They were unanimously of opinion that the troops ought to be immediately sent. They further took into consideration the present situation of affairs, and it appearing that the enemy having advanced with Artillery thro' such a length of Country, could not intend a mere temporary Invasion into the Country, that having been joined by such a Body of Indians who as the Cherokees were treating, must be the Creeks, that thus a Creek war was immediate and inevitable
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and that in that case without a very considerable Body of Forces to act instantly Georgia must be lost, & the Inhabitants of this State, on its frontiers massacred. Added to this that the Light Horse of Georgia had refused to do duty when ordered so that the Battalion men not consisting of more than 400 men were the only troops to defend that State, that the number of disaffected in that Country, who if the progress of the enemy is not stopped, would undoubtedly join them, the probability that the attack on the outpost was to be seconded by a Sea-Board attack in short that the critical situation of affairs made it absolutely requisite to suspend till your pleasure could be known, the march of the North Carolina Brigade. The Governor and Council also met on this occasion and gave it as their unanimous opinion they should be detained. Great as my concern is to suspend the order of a superior Officer & particularly as that Officer was gone, I could not upon an occasion so urgent, and upon advice so forcibly given avoid it, especially as if the reasons are not satisfactory you can easily overrule them and as the only inconvenience on one side is a few days delay, and on the other should the troops not be detained fatal consequences may answer. I should be glad to hear from you on this occasion in a Letter particularly directed to myself, as I shall be in Georgia for which place, I am on the brink of setting out, and it will give me great pain should you disapprove my Conduct. That I acted for the best I am sure you will do me the justice to think.
Your several Letters for this State had better be directed to the commanding Officer for the time being in Charles Town. The Troops set out tomorrow morning
Dear General with every wish for your happiness
Yours sincerely &c.