No time has been lost in repairing the old and erecting new works here (in which the Negroes have been very serviceable) but none
The Enemy are at Suffolk with Two thousand five hundred, or three thousand men. They threaten an attack on us, but I cannot suppose them capable of so much temerity. We are prepared for them at all points, and I believe nothing will induce them to attack us, but the hope of succeeding in a surprize, and despair of keeping their tattered force together, through want of Provisions, and the necessity of ploughing their Lands to prevent a famine the ensuing Year.
I have requested a Ship from Commodore Symonds to send to My Lord Cornwallis, I have not received an answer, but if she is furnished me, I intend proposing to My Lord, if the Co-operation will be of Service to him, to send some Boats with four or five hundred Troops thro' Curratucks inlet, to Sweep the Albemarle Sound as high as Edington, & to go to New Bern and destroy their Shipping Stores, &c., while a few armed Vessels take Post at Ocracoke Bar, and a Frigate Cruises without. This movement I am convinced will have a good effect, first, by destroying the Navigation of North Carolina, and thereby distressing the Inhabitants, and secondly by taking off their attention from my Lord Cornwallis and General Leslie.
A number of my Boats are begun, & if fifty or one hundred Ship Carpenters and Boat Builders could be procured in New York, or elsewhere and sent here, they might be employed to great advantage.
I have sent Six Vessels under Convoy of a Frigate to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, for forage, provision, and lumber.
Yesterday at one O'Clock P. M., anchored in Linn Haven Bay Three French Ships of War, one of 64 Guns and two Frigates, it remains a doubt where they are from, and whether they are the King's Ships or Merchantmen. I believe the latter, tho' the Gentlemen of the Navy are of the opinion they are the former, & from