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Letter from Josiah Martin to George Sackville Germain, Viscount Sackville
Martin, Alexander, 1740-1807
July 05, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 652-654

[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind.: No. Carolina. No. 222.]
Letter from Governor Martin to Lord George Germain.

Snow Peggy, South Carolina, within the
Bar off Charles Town, July 5th, 1776.

My Lord,

Since I had the honour of writing to your Lordship by the Duke of Cumberland Packet nothing of great moment or out of the common course of things has occurred with regard to the Province of No Carolina except the withdrawing of the Fleet and Army from thence on the 31st day of May, a measure which was taken on the manifold considerations that the Army was not then all arrived, that the season was too far advanced for the service of the British Troops in this climate, that carriages and horses, the indispensible means of enabling the army to penetrate into the Country, were

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not in our hands, that it was probable the Rebels, having already disarmed the friends of Government, in case the necessary facilities should be obtained by the Army, on its taking footing on shore, would fall back on the country and drive before them the well affected, preventing our junction with them and rendering the subsistence of the Army difficult by desolating the country behind them, but above all the representation of General Clinton that his Army might probably be ordered to join General Howe before the reduction of the country could be compleated and order restored, which would turn victory to defeat, convinced and satisfied me that the conquest of that Province was not then an object to be pursued.

The Armament on its departure from Cape Fear bent its course hither as I understand, on fair presumption that a sudden stroke might be made with advantage, but owing to a train of unlucky circumstances, which your Lordship will better learn from the Commanders of the Expedition, a month was almost consumed before any attempt was made upon the enemy. On the 28th of last month the Squadron attacked a strong Battery of the Rebels on Sullivan's Island, and after a severe cannonade that lasted more than nine hours, the ships having expended most of their ammunition, were obliged to haul off, having sustained great damage and very considerable loss of men. General Clinton, with whom I had the honour to be at this time, had made every arrangement that time and circumstances and the position in which his Army lay admitted, to support and take advantage of this attack, but the Frigates intended to make a diversion in his favour being laid aground by the Pilots, and none arriving at their appointed Station, nothing could be attempted by the Army but at the hazard of everything.

It is now resolved my Lord to join the main Army under General Howe and all preparations are making accordingly. As my Family, cutt off from my advice for want of communication, is detained at long Island near New York and I understand that Province to be the next object of his Majesty's arms I hope so tender a consideration will justify me to my Royal Master and to your Lordship for accompanying this Armament thither while it is utterly out of my power to effect any good purpose in North Carolina where I have left on Board a Transport which I hired for the purpose under the protection of the King's ships on that Station a number of the friends of Government who took sanctuary on board the Fleet during its stay at Cape Fear among whom there are persons

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qualified and instructed to keep up a correspondence with and to give every possible encouragement to the well affected during my absence, while I do assure your Lordship shall be no longer than to see how far it may be possible to receive my family an additional motive with me for going thither of which I have the satisfaction of General Clinton's approbation is that I may be able to answer the inquiries of the Commander in Chief in relation to the Province of North Carolina where as in all the other Southern Provinces I am firmly persuaded the King's Government may be restored by the adoption of a Plan of which General Clinton has done me the honour to communicate the outlines which that Gentleman I apprehend has the merit of first conceiving and has formed I am sure upon information collected with most universal pains and attention and better than any other person possesses, its great object is to get at the arm and draw into use the friends of Government who inhabit the interior Country and by their means to press the Rebels on the back while the regular forces engage their attention on the Coast, it is a plan My Lord in my humble opinion altogether as compleat in all its parts and hanging as well together as can be imagined and I must say bids so fair to succeed under General Clinton's direction that if it fails I should be almost inclined to think the reduction of these Provinces out of hope which pursuing General Clinton's Plan I persuade myself will be effected in the most desirable way by the strength of the friends of Government in the Provinces themselves who will evermore after conquest most effectually secure their allegiance.

The check his Majesty's Arms have received in the attack made by the Squadron here the other day will certainly operate disadvantageously by teaching the Rebels higher opinions of their own strength, although I think it to be imputed to the deception of the Pilots in not carrying the ships so close to the enemy works as they engaged to do, by which as in a distant cannonade must always be the case, all advantage was on the side of the Artillery on shore, and the bravery of the British Seamen, which was displayed as usual upon this occasion could not command the success it deserved.

I have the honour &c.,