Letter from Abner Nash to Samuel Huntington
Nash, Abner, ca. 1740-1786
Volume 15, Pages 98-100
GOVERNOR ABNER NASH TO PRESIDENT SAML. HUNTINGTON.
[Dept. of State. North Carolina State Papers, Book 72, Page 101.]
Newbern, October 6th, 1780.
I have had the Honour to receive sundry dispatches from your Excellency lately containing Resolves of Congress. These were received on the Road during our Excursion made to the Western part of the Country, and of course I could not conveniently answer them as they came to hand, and I am now sorry to acquaint you that there is little prospect of our being able to fill up our Continental Battalions, owing to the perpetual calls we have for the Militia. All that part of the people who might otherwise be expected to enlist in the service are employed as substitutes, and indeed get the most extravagant premiums, far beyond anything that the public could offer. So long, therefore, as this necessity of employing so large a number of our Militia in the field continues, it will be impracticable to fill up our Battalions; & with respect to provisions, I am to acquaint you that the state of our country at present is such as will render very Precarious any supplies that might otherwise be expected of us. Providence, indeed, has blessed us with very plentiful crops, & the country abounds in Beef & Pork, & could we keep the enemy out of the country, & have the benefit of our Laws for laying a specific Tax, a very considerable supply might doubtless be expected of us; but, Sir, as I said, this is
-------------------- page 99
precarious, for the enemy have now marched in force into the strongest part of the State. On the 24th Ult. they entered Charlotte, & by the last accounts were on their march towards Salisbury—our Militia flying before them. Genl. Davidson, who commands for the pres't at the Westward, writes from Phifer's that he shall endeavour to make a stand on the North side of the Yadkin. Should he be unfortunate in this attempt it will have a very unhappy effect on our affairs, for the country below the Yadkin, to within twenty miles of Hillsborough, is chiefly disaffected, and has been so from the beginning of the war. For the present I fear we have little to expect from the Maryland & Delaware Troops now at Hillsborough; their late loss of, in short, everything necessary for troops in the Field renders them useless until they can be refitted. Of this I suppose Gen. Gates has fully apprised Congress. On our part we have been doing everything in our power to refit the remains of that very valuable little army, consisting, when I came from Hillsborough, as Gen'l Smallwood told me, of about 800 men. I hope Congress have taken some measures for supplying them, for I assure you they must for the present constitute a great part of the security of this State. The Enemy, it is true, are not strong in this quarter in old troops, but their new levies are numerous and under much better discipline than our Militia; notwithstanding we shall call forth and exert our utmost force to repel them, & in due time shall expect the aid which Governor Rutledge writes me Congress intend sending hither. Before I conclude I think it my duty once more to mention to yr. Excellency that it will be, in my opinion, unsafe to depend much on this State for provisions unless Congress do in time give orders to their own officers to purchase on the general credit. All the funds of this State have been exhausted in the course of the late campaign. The horses, wagons, tents, arms, camp equipage of every kind, the pay and bounty of the militia, and the provision of beef, pork, flour, spirits, sugar, coffee, wine, medicines, &c., &c., all fell upon us, besides the paym't of very large sums on Congress draughts, & all was lost in a single hour. Judge then, Sir, if money can at this time be expected of us to purchase a new supply of provisions, &c., sufficient for an army equal to the defense of the Southern States. I hope Congress will consider our distresses, and the
-------------------- page 100
imminent danger to which we are now immediately exposed, & grant us such aid and support as will consist with the general safety.
With the highest respect,
Sir, I have the Honor to be,
Yr. Excellency's most ob't serv't,
His Execllency Samuel Huntington, Esq., Pres't of Congress.