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Letter from Joseph Hewes to Samuel Johnston
Hewes, Joseph, 1730-1779
May 16, 1776
Volume 22, Pages 968-969

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JOSEPH HEWES TO SAMUEL JOHNSTON.

Philadelphia, 16th May, 1776.

Dear Sir:—

I have had the honor to receive your several favors, of the 10th, 13th, 15th and 17th ult., enclosing sundry resolutions of your Congress. I took the earliest opportunity to lay these papers before Congress, and have now the pleasure to inform you they have taken your six regiments into Continental service, appointed Nicholas Long, Esq., Deputy Quartermaster-General, with the rank of Colonel; ordered twelve field pieces to be procured and sent to you; also three tons of powder, six chests of medicines and one hundred-weight of bark. I urged the necessity of taking your light horse into their service, but could not prevail on them to do it, none of the Colonies having yet been allowed to raise any on Continental pay. It is said they are very expensive troops, and of little use in this contest. I am informed a company or two were raised in South Carolina, but, being found by experience to be too expensive, the horses were discharged and the men turned into the ranks of foot regiments.

I had it not in charge from you to apply for any powder or medicines, but apprehending they would be wanted, I took the liberty to apply for them. The three tons of powder in twenty-five barrels went off yesterday in three wagons for Halifax; the medicines will be sent off next week. I hope these matters will meet the approbation of your Congress. Should you want drums, colors, shoes, stockings and blankets for your soldiers, I believe some might be procured here. Cannon fit for field pieces cannot be purchased at any price. Before the resolution passed in Congress to procure and send cannon, or I had received your orders, I had done my utmost to get them. I had contracted with a person to cast twenty-four double-fortified four-pounders, which will do either for field pieces or ship’s guns. They are not yet done, nor can I say when they will. I can only say that nothing on my part shall be wanting to get them as soon as possible.

I send you enclosed the commissions for the field officers of the

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six regiments, and for Colonel Long; the resolutions of Congress respecting the several matters before mentioned; also a resolution that passed yesterday, together with sundry other papers.

My endeavors to get a few muskets for your troops have hitherto been fruitless. It is impossible to procure any here at this time. Many of the Continental troops in this city and in New York are without any, and we are greatly distressed on that account. Some of our vessels have returned without any; some have brought a few, a very few, and several that we expected with a considerable quantity are missing, supposed to be taken by our enemies. Every effort is exerted to get them made in these Colonies, but this source falls exceedingly short of our demands. However, we have some vessels out that may be expected about this time, and we hope they may arrive safe with a seasonable supply.

A few days ago thirteen row galleys, built at the expense of this Province, each carrying one eighteen-pounder, attacked the Roebuck and Liverpool men of war in the river about twenty miles below and obliged them to return to the Capes in a shattered condition. It is thought, had they been fully supplied with powder and ball, they would have destroyed those ships. The boats expended in the engagement about four tons of powder. The report of this day is that the ships are gone out to sea, supposed either to Halifax or Virginai, to repair the damage they received in this action. For other news, I beg leave to refer you to the papers enclosed.

I am, with great respect and esteem, dear sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
JOSEPH HEWES.