Letter from Abner Nash to Samuel Huntington
Nash, Abner, ca. 1740-1786
Volume 15, Pages 1-3
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GOV. ABNER NASH TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
[North Carolina State Papers, No. 72. p., 89.]
Newbern, July 18th, 1780.
I made not the least doubt that our delegates had acquainted Congress of the steps taken by our Assembly for furnishing their quota of the Continental Tax; every transaction relative to this business is anteriour to my appointment to the government of this State, and I did not conceive it necessary to trouble you, Sir, with accounts which I supposed you had received before, either from our late Governor or the Delegates of the State. Every Congress draft that has yet come to hand has been duly paid, and, indeed, I have advanced in cash 1,250,000 dollars to your Commissary on the Cr. of the United States, he engaging to obtain and furnish Bills for the amount. I am obliged yet to advance him farther sums or let the Army suffer.
I am to acqt. you that your resolves, tho' dated in February, never came to my hands till the 15th May, which unfortunately happened a few days after the rising of the Genl. Assembly. Of course nothing effectual could be done on that head, and I beg leave to observe that it is much to be lamented that this measure, if deemed necessary for the subsistence of the Army, had not been adopted last winter, and the respective States immediately made acquainted therewith. The provision called for might then have been collected against the opening of the campaign and on reasonable terms. However, Sir, I have called a meeting of the General Assembly for the express purpose of taking under consideration
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your letters and the resolves of Congress which accompany them. In answer to that part of your letter in which you desire to be acquainted with the powers lodged with the Executive of this State, I am to inform you that the Governor & Council are impowered to draw out 8,000 men of the militia of this State to relieve that number now employed in the field; and they are also impowered to strike money, if absolutely necessary, on the Cr. of this State, for defraying the Militia expenses. By this you perceive, Sir, we have had more of our militia out on duty than was required by the Acts of Congress. Very little progress has been made for recruiting in the regular service, tho' the reward offered by the State was very great. Of this, however, I presume your Genl. will be able to give you a better account than I can, as they are supposed by ye orders of Congress to be sent to him as fast as they are recruited; & your Genl., I presume, can also give you more satisfactory accot. of the operations of the armies than I can. I shall, nevertheless, from time to time acquaint Congress with every material occurrence that happens in this State or So. Carolina, & shall be happy to do this in the way most agreeable to you, either by holding a reciprocal correspondence with you or with our delegates in Congress. And, Sir, I shall hope for the honor of being made acquainted with such matters of Genl. importance as concerns the United States. In your last favour you allude, as I conceive, to an expectation of aid from France; but as I never had any previous intelligence on this head, could not determine how much confidence to place in it. A report also prevails that Genl. Gates is appointed to command in the Southern department, but you make no mention of any such measure in any of your letters; of course I should not suppose the report well founded. By the last returns I had from the Baron De Kalb, his army amounted to upwards of 11,300 men, besides 4,000 militia that are now marching to reinforce him; and as the immediate burthen of subsisting this army falls upon N. Carolina, I hope Congress will think we are doing our utmost, both as to men and money, for the common Interest of the Union.
I have had late intelligence from Pee Dee. Majr. McArthur is posted there near Cheraw Hill, with about 500 Regulars & about 1,600 Militia. Their outposts in that neighborhood have lately been called in, & Lord Cornwallis has returned from Charles
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Town to Cambden. The crops in that Country are immense, & the Mills are constantly at work for the use of the Enemy. The Baron writes me that he understands Genl. Gates is coming to take his command, & that he shall be happy to be relieved. I expect his Army will remain at their present post (Conrad Dowd's) on Deep River until the General arrives. General Caswell, with a pretty large detachment of the Militia, is, I expect, by this time at Cole's Bridge, on Drowning Creek, about 25 Miles from Pee Dee. He writes that if he can accomplish a junction with General Rutherford and the Western Militia under him, he will march on and take post on the hither side of Pee Dee; this would be of the utmost consequence, as we should then be in the way of consuming what may at present be called the Enemy's stores. But, important as the object is, I have advised him not to get beyond supporting distance from the Regular Army, unless from intelligence he has a very great certainty of succeeding in his enterprise. I hope, Sir, Our Assembly, at their next Session, will answer the fullest expectations of Congress. I shall not fail to urge them to the execution of every measure recommended by your Honourable body, and will advise you minutely of their actn.
With the highest respect,
I have the Honour to be, Sir,
Your Excellency's Most Obdt. Servant,
Excuse the direction; 'twas copied by My Secretary from the direction of Yours to me, where 'tis to the office & not to the man.
Addressed, His Excellency, The Pres't of Congress, Philadelphia.