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Petition from Louis Antoine Jean Baptiste de Cambray-Digny concerning the construction of Fort Hancock
Cambray-Digny, Louis Antoine Jean Baptiste de
April 1778
Volume 15, Pages 233-234

THE PETITION OF Le CHEVALIER DeCAMBRAY.

To the Honourable Assembly of North Carolina.
Gentlemen:

When I first began to Establish a fort at Cape Lookout Bay I had no other design, no other view but the good of this State by the great advantages she may get from it. I don't intend to sett a price on my Labours; self-interest cannot prevail nor even guide me.

If I prove successful in contributing to the public good, my reward far extendeth my desires and if this Honourable Assembly approve of my performances her Commendation is the only price I expect for my labours.

I am sorry to hear, Gentlemen, that ye intend to indemnify me by a sum of money for my stay untill now in the state for the publick service which detained me from joining the Continental army. My Delicacy is much offended by such a reward. Is it not possible to alter your Resolution? If it is not, I beg that the sum appointed on the treasury should be destined to finish fort Hancock, or employed on other works which may be useful to the publick good, for I declare to this Honourable Assembly that I will not receive the least thing on that account.

I submit to your knowledge, Gentlemen, the plan of Cape Lookout Bay, with the situation of Fort Hancock, together with a plan of the said fort.

I confess freely that the fort is not as I intended it to be, but as the Circumstances have permitted. Those Circumstances, to avoid a long tale of its particulars, are, in a few words, the cause of its not being as I should like it to be. The fort is not finished for want of help. What is done I have done it with almost nothing, and have put it in a manner of being finished according to the plan.

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I have sacrificed a very precious time, which I do not regret, having employed it for the service of this State. I cannot sacrifice any more without proving myself reprehensible; therefore I intend to make all the haste possible on purpose to join the continental army. In Consequence, I beg the Honourable Assembly to give me some Letters for the Cougress, and for his Excellency General Washington, justifying my zeal for the publick Good, and the uninterestedness with which I undertook a painful work, though common to every friend to humanity and natural to every true citizen. All the reward that I desire from every American is to be known under that prospect.

I shall always do my best endeavours to prove useful to this state, but at this time I make my duty to fly to the Continental army and put myself under General Washington's Commands. I shall be flattered if I can prove useful to this State again.

I beg leave to represent to this Honourable Assembly that a fort cannot defend himself if it is not defended by a good garrison, therefore Fort Hancock requires one of fifty or sixty men. It is even necessary to send some guns of about eighteen-pounders, for the more this fort shall be fortified the more he'll prove advantageous to the whole Continent. In going to Cape Lookout on purpose to establish the fort, I unfortunately broke a Chaise belonging to Mrs. Bartholomew, of Beaufort; and as I should be afraid to offend the inhabitants of this state if I was to take this charge upon myself, I therefore leave it to your Disposition.

I finish by entreating the Honourable Assembly to look upon me as one of the greatest partisans of the Common cause. It is in hopes of Contributing to its success that I left my country. I do not desire anything so eagerly as to find some occasion to prove ye, Gentlemen, the ardour and sincerity of

Your most humble and most obedient Servant,
Le CHEV. DeCAMBRAY,
Cap. d'Artillerie.