Letter from Joseph Hawkins to Abner Nash
Volume 15, Pages 487-488
COL. JOSEPH HAWKINS TO GOVERNOR NASH.
Camp Smithfield, 17 June, 1781.
In consequence of orders received from you by Gen. Caswell I have proceeded without delay to this place. When I received the orders, I was on the Head of Black River among the tories my men were mostly detached and I have appointed the Rendezvous at Capt. Homes's near Colo. Sampsons, where I expected to meet Genl. Caswell. My orders being positive I was compelled to leave that country sooner than I could wish, the people there, except one family, are all disaffected. Had I Recd. your orders two days before I did, I might with the greatest ease have collected seven Hundred Stears (if Information be true) tho' the tories have and continue to carry great quantities of beef from that part to the enemy at Wilmington. Your orders were dated the 14th; that evening my detachments returned I sent them off Immediately into the same neighborhood (vizt. Black River) with orders to Return. Last evening they brought in fifty two Beaves and six prisoners, the Most of which we inlisted. Ten miles from this place to day I recd. a line from Colo. Linton ordering that Capt. Tullock should proceed to him Immediately with twenty of the best mounted horse and myself to follow on. These orders I have it not in my power to comply with, altho' I have obeyed every order that has come to me, be them from who they would, but Sir, I must Inform you that the duty has been so hard that my men have not only tired down their own horses but all the public Horses that I have Impressed; the
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men themselves are worn out for the want of sleep, they yet will go where ever your excellency choses to order them. I have Recd. orders from so many different officers since I have been in office that my time has been in some measure unhappy. These difficulties I can yet bear with. By the circular letters from your Excellency you say that the members of Assembly will be reprehensible for their conduct should they not attend the assembly, its impossible for Capt. Tullock and myself to attend the assembly and the Campaign at the same time. Capt. Tulluck is a member for Hillsborough—his business is of such importance that he must attend the assembly. The Horses and men are so fatigued that I shall continue here until tomorrow one o'clock, at which time I expect to Receive some positive orders from your Excellency. You will see Colo. Kenan before I see your Excellency, he will inform you whether we rendered any service to the County of Duplin. As we did nothing capital I shall refer you to him for particulars. Before we met Colo. Kenan we dispersed the tories Intirely, we fired on and wounded several but the swamps prevented our killing them. I dont know your Excellencies motive for sending the Horse between New Bern & Wilmington, but I should think that the Horse by staying in Wake county and resting one or two days might be able to act as videts, so as to give the Assembly every Intelligence of the Enemies movements at Wilmington. Your Excellency will excuse my Ink, paper and writing when you consider the difficulties of writing in Camp.
I have the Honor to be, with great Respect, your Most obed. Servt.,
His Excellency G. Nash.