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Letter from Alexander Martin to Nathanael Greene
Martin, Alexander, 1740-1807
August 29, 1782
Volume 16, Pages 707-708

[From Executive Letter Book]

Hillsborough, August 29th, 1782.


By Major Forsythe I am favored with yours of the 28th of July respecting a supply of Cattle for the Southern Army. It gives me real concern that the Legislature of this State have not granted their proportional Revenue to the support of the Union as recommended by Congress, conceiving themselves unable at present as I have formerly mentioned to you to do anything in Specie; but have granted in lieu thereof such supplies that answer very little purpose. The Executive fettered with restrictions in the Acts of Assembly walk on ticklish ground if they deviate in any uncommon exertions not authorized by Law; which renders it difficult for me to supply the wants of the Army immediately as you request. Unfortunately the requisitions I made for Cattle last Winter thro’ Colonel Davie, have partly fallen through by reason of the Commissary Department under that Gentleman being abolished by the Legislature and several stocks of Cattle which had been collected

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were returned to the owners on the dissolution of that business; the County Commissioners judging thereby there was no further necessity. By this misfortune Sir, you were not supplied as you were taught to believe from me. I am now putting this business again in train, and hope still to draw forth a supply of cattle for you until the Assembly shall aid me further, whose meeting will be in November next. In the meanwhile I have called for Cattle by contribution in the Districts of Edenton, Newbern and Wilmington according to the value of property, which is more eligible than impressment, a power I am still armed with, and which I have informed these Districts I will use at all hazards rather than that the Army should suffer. 300 head have gone forward from Wilmington, part of the last Winter’s collection. As many more will shortly start from Edenton and Newbern. The Quarter Masters, or Commissary General’s receipt will be sufficient for the weight of Beef delivered, which must be ascertained by average, and the State will settle with the financier as you propose, which is the only way this affair can be conducted under my present restrictions.

I have the honor, &c.,