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Letter from Willis Wilson to Richard Caswell
Wilson, Willis
June 26, 1778
Volume 13, Pages 171-172

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

Caswell, Ocracock 26th June 1778.


I sent a Pilot and Crew to Beaufort, after our Tender, and have received her at this place, but in a most wretched condition, in so much that she has drove from her anchors twice, and once had near been lost. I got her along side the Caswell, having her down to stop her leaks.

The enemy (one ship, two sloops and a brig) take a peep at us every now and then, but are not disposed to venture in. Some few arrivals since last I wrote your Excellency. The Pilots of Ocracock have finally stopped bringing in or carrying out vessels, having entered into an association to that purpose, the reasons they give me for this extraordinary step is, that having no branches, they are liable to a penalty for taking charge of any vessel, and that they will not take branches because the Legislature have rated their pilotage at too low a price, being all in a clan. I fear our trade will be hurt by the infamy of these people. Pursuant to your Excellency's recommendation I have wrote to Richd Ellis, Esqr., to know if he will accept the agency for the ship as our Crew are beginning to be taken down very fast with scurvies attended with fluxes, and fish (the only fresh provision to be got here) Doct Cooley does not approve of in the latter disorder. I hear there is fresh beef to be purchased at Marmashite (?) which will be much cheaper, as well more wholesome for the crew. I have wrote to Mr. Ellis for a Barrel Brown Sugar a bag coffee, a Hogshead Rum, and a ditto Molasses, being quite out of those articles; will be exceedingly obliged to your Excellency to hurry the paymaster with our money, as we are all destitute of that necessary article at present and the whole in great want.

I am your Excellency's mo. ob. Servt.

P.S. I am distressed for Commissioned officers having only Mr. Cheshire the Master of the ship on Board at present and not another officer I can depend upon, as a seaman. If your Excellency

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knows of any, that would make a good second Lieut, will esteem it a favor if you'l commission him, otherwise please send a commission of Lieut. for Mr. Cheshire who is now Master and a good officer. Doctor Cooley waits on your Excellency, in want of medicines, he is an assiduous Gentleman in his duty to the sick; if Mr. Ellis declines to furnish us, I hope your Excellency will appoint, or order us the things wrote for to Mr. Ellis.

Your Excellency's ob. huml servt.