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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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Extract from the Pennsylvania Packet
No Author
July 15, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 874-876

[From Gardner's Diary of the Revolution, Vol. 2, Pages 276 and 277.]

When it was found necessary to call in the detachment of the American troops which had been posted at Lempriere's Ferry, opposite to Charleston, South Carolina, three men of General Hogun's North Carolina brigade were by some accident left behind, who, being in danger of falling into the enemy's hands, took shelter in the woods, and were travelling on towards Georgetown. In hopes of facilitating their march, and to profit by misfortune, one of them, who was clad in scarlet, suggested a strategem of which his comrades approved, and which he carried

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into effect. He left his arms and ammunition with the other two, and went into the plantation of a poltroon Tory, or one of those mean-spirited wretches who ought to be forever stigmatized under the character of property men, and to be made fair game for all parties. These creatures were early, eager and noisy in fomenting the present war, but withdrew themselves the moment in which their fears dictated danger to their persons or estates. The brave North Carolinan personated a messenger despatched by some of that tribe, and addressed the owner of the plantation in the following terms:—“Sir, I understand that you are a friend to the King and his government.” The property man,not a little alarmed at the sight of a red coat, hastily interrupted him: “Yes, yes, sir! I am as true, faithful, loyal a subject as any in his Majesty's dominions.” “I have been told so,” said the soldier. “I am sent by some of his Majesties friends to inform Lord Cornwallis of the approach of a rebel army from the northward, which is coming on very rapidly, and I am afraid will surprise that part of the King's army which his lordship commands in this quarter of the country, unless his lordship is speedily apprised of their design. I have travelled through swamps and thick woods to avoid being stopped by the rebels, and last night had the misforture to lose my horse, saddle, &c., &c.” “Sir,” replied the Tory, “you shall have the best horse I am master of, my own riding horse, and I beg you will be expeditious in delivering your message; or if the rebels come here I shall be ruined, perhaps hanged; I don't know what they will do with me because I am a faithful subject. Boy! saddle Spider, and bring him immediately for this gentleman; make haste!” Spider, a fine, blooded horse, was produced, with saddle, bridle, holsters and pistols. This encouragad the soldier to intimate the loss of his side arms. The turn coat, with equal haste, supplied him with his own militia sword. When the soldier was ready to mount, he remarked the weather looked gloomy and threatened rain, and that, among other articles, he had lost his surtout. “Sir,” said the apostate. “I have a very fine roculoe at your service; pray make use of it, and go on as fast as possible, through wet and dry; your business is of great consequence.” Thus equipped, the soldier rode off, and presently rejoined his companions, who were waiting for him in the bush. The three, all armed and one mounted, proceeded on their journey for Georgetown. When they had
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marched a few miles, they encountered two of the British light horse who had been marauding and plundering helpless women of their apparel. These fellows they took into custody, and conducted them safely into Georgetown, together with Spider and his furniture, the captured cavalry and their accoutrement, the silver-mounted sword, and the “very fine roculoe,” splendidly marked on the cape, Joseph Wigfall.


Pennsylvania Packet, July 15.