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Letter from the North Carolina Council of Safety to Patrick Henry
North Carolina. Council of Safety
October 25, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 860-861

[From MS. Records of Virginia.]
Letter from the North Carolina Council of Safety to Governor Patrick Henry, of Virginia, about the Cherokee Expedition.

Halifax, Oct. 25th, 1776.


Mr Sharp, a gentleman of our board, who accompanied Genl Rutherford, on the Expedition against the Cherokees of the Middle & Valley Settlements, having just returned; We take this opportunity of communicating to You, pr. post, the Intelligence which he brings.

Genl Rutherford, with his whole force, whereof we informed You in our last, marched from the head of Catawba River, on the 1st of Septembr, and arrived, unmolested, and undiscovered, within thirty miles of the middle Settlements,—from thence he ordered a Detachment of one thousand men, by forced Marches, against the Towns, in order to surprise the Enemy. The Detachment, on their way, were attacked by about thirty Indians, who fired, and immediately fled, having wounded one man in the foot. It is but justice to our Troops to observe that when they were fired on, and expected the enemy on every Side, the only contention among them was, who Should be foremost to share the danger and the promised Fight. The Detachment, without further Interruption, proceeded to the Towns, (which the Indians had evacuated before their arrival) and destroyed them. From hence about 900 Men, under the command of Genl Rutherford, who had left the main body, taking ten days provision, Marched on against the Valley Settlements. They found great Difficulties, & were much embarrassed, and for want of an intelligent pilot, crossed the Mountains at an unaccustomed place, by which means they were, to their great Mortification, disappointed of an Encounter with about 500 Indians, who were then, and had been for Several days before, lying in ambuscade on the common crossing place. Two days after this Colo Williamson, with the South Carolina Troops, crossing at the usual place, fell into the ambuscade, was attacked and lost twelve killed & twenty wounded, but defeated & put the Enemy to the Rout, with the loss of about 14 killed. Their loss is supposed to be much greater; but only fourteen were found upon the ground. Genl Rutherford destroyed

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the greater part of the Valley Towns, killed twelve & took nine Indians, and make prisoners Seven White Men, from whom he got four Negroes, a considerable Quantity of Stock & Deer leather, about 100 wt of gunpowder & 2000 of Lead, to the amount of £2500 proc., which they were conveying to Mobile. Colo Williamson, with the So: Carolina Forces, now joined Genl Rutherford, & having destroyed all the Towns, the corn and everything which might be of Service to the Indians, it was determined by the Commanding officers to return to their respective States, it being utterly impracticable to go against the Overhill Cherokees, the gap thro' the Mountains being impassable for an Army, in case of Opposition. Genl Rutherford's Army was Never opposed by any considerable body of Indians. He lost three men only. Mr Sharp Supposes that Many of the Indians lay concealed in the Mountains, that some had gone to the Overhills; but that the greater part had fled South Westward, to Coosawatee River, bordering on the Upper Creeks. Should Your Army meet with any Signal Success against the Overhills, or should they only destroy their Towns & Corn, we flatter ourselves that the Southern States will suffer no further Damage this Season, from the Savages, as it will employ their whole time to provide Sustenance, & Shelter for their Squaws, & children.

We are, with the Greatest Respect
Sir Your most Obedt
& most Humble Servt

By order of Council.