Letter from Richard Caswell to John Ashe
Caswell, Richard, 1729-1789
Volume 13, Pages 338-340
GOV. CASWELL TO MAJ. GEN. JOHN ASHE.
[From Executive Letter Book.]
Kingston, Dec. 29th, 1778.
Your favour of the 24th current, with general returns of the militia and Continental Troops under your command, came to hand two days ago. It would really have given me great pleasure to have seen you at Elizabeth Town, but the duties of my appointments made it absolutely necessary that I should remain here until the Troops had all passed this place. That has not yet happened. Colo. Lamb is here waiting for somewhat upwards of an hundred Continental Troops and some Militia which he hourly expects. These men on their arrival shall be sent forward with all imaginable dispatch. Many small parties have been sent on since I had the pleasure of writing you last; some of them I hope have arrived at Elizabeth Town before this. I am really concerned
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to learn the Troops with you are so far short of the number ordered out. I find by a return from Genl Rutherford which he sent me a few days ago, tho' not Complete, the Militia from several Counties not having joined him, that his Brigade is equally short. The deficiency in arms and accoutrements I am sensible of and equally concerned at, but it seems these deficiencies cannot be removed here. I hope the same may be done to the Southward, tho' the Governor of South Carolina on my application to him signified we could not be furnished by that State. Genl Lincoln on his way seemed to think otherwise and supposed the arms there were Continental, having been assured by the President of Congress that a sufficient number were at Charles Town. When I mentioned these difficulties to the Genl from his answers I was led to believe he thought our people would obtain arms there, and I sincerely hope they will. Otherwise I am well convinced little service can be expected from them with what they have.
I do not recollect the particular mode of expression in the Resolve of Council or the manner I have expressed myself in the order consequent thereto respecting the discharge of the Troops. I believe it was the sense of the Council. I know it was my own, that the Troops should not continue in service in the Southern States longer than the 10th of April. That they should then be discharged from that service, but by no means be disbanded until they return to this State, and at such places as may be most convenient to the detachments from the several Regiments in this State. I am truly sensible of the inconveniences you mention and know such must arise from the disbanding of our Militia in neighboring State. However, this matter I will lay before the Council, and do myself the honor of writing you more fully on the subject when I obtain their further advice thereon. I send a dozen blank Commissions by Mr. Johnston, and in conformity to your recommendation I send the Adjutant General's commission to Col. Caswell. I had no thought of making the appointment until you should think proper to recommend a person, of course had no one in view. The person you have been pleased to make choice of I know will do the best his knowledge and abilities will enable him, but I fear Sir, they will not be found to be equal to your expectations, or my wishes. If on a trial, it shall turn out so, I hope he will have
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discretion enough to resign and you will be pleased to accept his resignation accordingly, for altho' it will always give me pleasure to hear of his promotion yet my vanity would never prevail on me to wish him to hold an appointment in conducting which, he must disgrace his Country. Give me leave to thank you Sir, for the honor done my son, in this appointment, and to request the favor of you to consider him only according to his merit, you know how censorious the world is, and how apt they are to charge partiality to the account of men acting in yours and my stations. This freedom you will excuse and also this incorrect scroll; the bearer is waiting and myself much hurried. It will always give me pleasure to hear from you, and be assured that I will frequently give you an opportunity of hearing from me.
I am Dr. Sir, with the greatest respect and sincere esteem your most obedient servant,