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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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Letter from [Jethro Sumner]
Sumner, Jethro, 1733?-1785
Volume 19, Pages 909-911

COPY OF A LETTER (NO DATE) IN GENERAL SUMNER’S HAND WRITING.

Sir:

It has been no small mortification to me to find the law for assembling of the drafts at district rendezvous by the 25th of April has been spun out by so many diletory officers, who had this care intrusted to them, to this day. The repeated instruction from Genl. Greene respecting the movement of these drafts, when receiv’d & equip’d, the enemy’s route through this State, their progress in Virginia, the great and loud call for aid of men, from them and the States adjoining, from the indefeniable Father, the aged mother & loving daughter his Groans & heavy contortion, her sighs, wringing of hands and screams of polluted maids calling to alarm friends and preserve innocence. They lay waste all they meet with in their revenge, and plunder the inhabitants of the best and most valuable

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horses; this Sir, is a greater object and greater in its Consequences, than is generally imagin’d, the probability, we may say certainty of that Army’s intention of invading this State as soon as a Genl. Action can be brought on in Virginia if they are successful, no doubt of a powerful detachmt. being sent to the assistance of their distressed broken force in South Carolina & Georgia, should they be routed and so broken that their force could not make head again, mere reason will teach us that their retreat while Genl. Greene is in South C. will be to this State; the very Tory’s discontent and indeavoring to make head is I think, a very great and convincing proof that force against this State is intended and will soon issue upon you; therefore, Dr. Sir, in this pause and interval of time, Call, with the prophet, to your Tents O Israel, that an Army of four Thousand men should be immediately embedied to act Occasional on the South Side of James River, in conjunction with the force of the Virginians on this side under the Baron Steuben, Major Genl., may answer the greatest expectation, in frustrating the retreat of the enemy and Supplies from James River or if necessary join the Marquis.

I enclose you a return of the drafts and delinquents from Halifax and Hillsborough Districts; the numbers, my last letters from Major Murfree of Edenton district, had receiv’d was fifty odd & from Colo. Armstrong and Capt. Blount of New Bern District, was seventy odd, from Wilmington District Capt. Doherty, thirty odd. The drafts of Salisbury district recd by Major Armstrong one hundred & eighty, sent on to Head Quarter South Carolina with the delinquents, marched under Major Eaton April 17th of which 41 deserted soon after. I have ordered an Officer to remain at each district rendezvous to receive the drafts and delinquents that should be brought to them and march them to Harrisburg, or wherever order’d. The drafts of Edenton and New Bern districts I have Collected & ordered to join General rendezvous immediately and expect them here in a few days. I shall on their Arrival arrange and march them without loss of time to join Baron Steuben at Cole’s Ferry on Stanton River, Virga., and I am doubtful not more than one fifth armed, one twentieth with Cartridge boxes, and one thirtyeth with bayonets; a large Number have not had the Cloathing order’d by law, the delinquents will soon be as naked as ever the

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nine months men were and no doubt many lives will be lost for the want of necessary Cloathing and a Blanket, unless supplyed before the fall of the year. These delinquents expect a suit of cloathing equal to the provision made by Congress for the Continental Soldiery.

(The rest is lost.)