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Letter from Richard Caswell to Thomas Burke
Caswell, Richard, 1729-1789
February 15, 1778
Volume 13, Pages 42-43

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

North Carolina Newton 15th Febry 1778.

Dr Sir,

Your favor of the 1st instant sayed to be by Capt. Cade was delivered me yesterday, and believe me 'twas the first of my knowing he was to go, or had gone on express to your part of the country. I have not seen him these three months past. If the Secretary had kept his word with me in giving notice of the time his express was to set out I certainly would have done myself the pleasure of writing to you agreeable to my promise. This I declare upon my Honor was the case, therefore shall apologize no further

This is intended to go by Post, I have written by the same conveyance to the President, General Washington and the War Office in answer to several letters received respecting resolutions of Congress, the State of our Troops, Clothing, and Provisions by a return made me by order of General Washington. I find our nine Regiments are far, very far indeed short of their complement of men and those in Camp almost destitute of Clothing, which must be very distressing at this inclement season—add to this the account from the War Office of the scarcity of provisions, altogether must hurt the feelings of every man of the least sensibility. The officers of the sixth Battalion are sent home, as supernumerary with directions to recruit and to obtain every advice and assistance in that necessary business and recommending to me to devise ways and means for filling the Regiments. You know how little this is in my power, that nothing can be done without money, that if I had ever so much at my command, more than the Bounty directed by law, cannot be given, and that 'tis out of my power to call the Assembly to a shorter day than that to which they have adjourned themselves, so that was I to exert every nerve and influence I am able, and no man is more willing than myself 'twould be to very little purpose 'till the Assembly meets. I am to buy leather, skins, shoes and other clothing, procure manufacturers, set them to work, purchase salt and provisions, and procure Boats & Wagons for sending these articles on, all this I am

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really constantly, almost busily employed about myself, receiving very little assistance, even the Council itself disappoint me often in convening, the members being so distant from each other, and from the places of meeting which I have changed from time to time as most agreeable to them.

A considerable quantity of Tanned Leather and deer skins, some shoes and stockings, about 4000 yards of Osnaburgs are purchased, and to be sent on to the Clothier General, so soon as I can get wagons which I have written to Col. Long to supply, and to-morrow expect his answer, if he cannot, I must send immediately to the westward. A considerable quantity of salt and salt provisions is also purchased, and I am endeavouring to get boats to carry the same on to South quay, from whence it will be forwarded under the directions of Col. Aylett, at whose request I have lately appointed a Mr. Green, brother to James Green junr his assistant Commissary in this State, and have sent him to Col. Aylett for money to pay for salt and provisions engaged.

I sent Copies of the Militia Law and aid Bill to the War Office, informed the Honble the President of Congress thereof, but have heard nothing regarding the aid since. I shall be glad to hear from you on that or any other subject you may think proper to communicate. I wrote lately to Messrs Penn and Harnett in answer to theirs. My best wishes attend you and them, if I can serve you or them in public or private character, nothing shall be omitted to effect it in my power. The heavy duty you lay upon me in public matters, I cheerfully submit to, notwithstanding I have so little help. Thos. Craike is gone to South Carolina, I have not seen him since the Assembly.

I am Sir, with the greatest esteem your mo. ob. Servt.