Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Advanced Search Options
Letter from Thomas Burke to Thomas Hogg
Burke, Thomas, ca. 1747-1783
March 13, 1782
Volume 16, Pages 229-231

[From Executive Letter Book.]

13th March, 1782.


It being resolved that all of those people who were in Arms with

-------------------- page 230 --------------------
the Enemy or who committed hostilities against the people of this State under color of British authority be made prisoners of War, except a few of the more atrocious, unless they will faithfully serve twelve months in the Continental Line of this State, I request you to take upon you the conduct of an expedition for this purpose.

I propose putting under your command the State Troops, of which you will find a return enclosed, and to reinforce them with detachments of Militia if you think it necessary.

I suppose you will find it necessary to move towards Deep River in order to be convenient to the Counties of Randolph, Chatham and Cumberland where the greatest number inhabit.

In the other Counties it will probably be sufficient to place small detachments with Continental Officers to receive the enlistments and protect those who enlist.

Time having been given until the 10th of March it would not have been proper to make any prisoners at a more early day. That day being now past, it is necessary that you take post and make dispositions immediately, in order that such as are disposed to enlist may find protection, and that all may see we are determined and ready to act with vigor. Such as shall enlist, even now will be deemed Citizens, and in order that their families may be protected in their absence. I request you to take an account of them and their place of abode.

They are not to be armed until they go to camp, but as they all have arms it will be proper that they bring them in and deposit them, to be delivered to them after the time of their service shall be completed.

It will be also necessary that you return me a list of their names in order that I may protect them from prosecutions and record their pardons.

You will see by the proclamation issued by the Speaker of the Senate the persons who are excepted. Such may be captured, but unless they are very conspicuous they are no object, and I would not recommend your distinguishing them. Indeed, except the very mischievous and atrocious, I wish to see very few submitted to the Executioner.

You will deem it necessary that every disaffected man be reduced as soon as possible to the condition of a soldier, Prisoner of War or

-------------------- page 231 --------------------
Civil Prisoner. The distinction between the species of prisoners, it will be well to delayed until you can report them to me.

You will subsist your troops where it can be done without oppression, on the estates of the disaffected. But to prevent those employed from committing abuses, it will be necessary that nothing be taken from them without a particular account being rendered to you.

I need not to recommend to you to prevent, and if necessary, to punish all acts of plunder or inhuman or disgraceful violence, nor the having particular care that the families of those unfortunate people be not insulted or deprived of the means of subsistence. You have too just a sense of discipline and too much humanity to require it, and I only mention it in order that I may express my detestation of such practices which I am concerned to find have already much disgraced us. The necessary severities I shall authorize and you will execute, I am persuaded, with sufficient vigor, though with reluctance.

The families of such as will become prisoners will probably be removed within the Enemies Lines, but as it may become unnecessary by some favorable event, I would not precipitate it, and if finally, it must be executed, I am every way disposed to make it as easy as possible in the execution. I am indeed distressed at having operations to carry on against women and children, and wish to try all means against the men who can be injurious, in hopes of making the other unnecessary.

I will give you orders to the officers of the Militia and Commissioners to give you such assistance as you may demand, and shall, on every occasion, do everything to make your expedition agreeable and successful.

You have here my general ideas and instructions, and I am certain that I may leave the execution entirely to yourself, which I most willingly do.

You shall have copies of my letters to the Brigadiers and other officers on this subject.

I am, Dear Sir,
Your Very Obedient
Humble Servt.,