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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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Letter from John Christian Senf to Thomas Benbury
Senf, John Christian
October 08, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 112-113

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Camp at the North West Bridge,
Oct. 8th, 1780.

The Honble. Brigadier Genl. Benbury.
Dear Sir:

Just when I had a little time to spare to send off an express to acquaint his Excellency, the Governor of the State of North Carolina, of our retreat, I had the pleasure of receiving your kind Letter. The 26th Inst. in the evening I arrived at the great Bridge, but to my great astonishment found every thing in the greatest confusion; The men, believing the Enemy were gone off, became careless & a number of Officers & men retired to their Homes. I have done as much as laid in my power to keep the men together that were there. The 27th Inst. towards the evening I got certain intelligence that the Enemy had relanded again, & by all reports more than before; they landed likewise about 30 flete Horse. Genl. Nelson had sent from Portsmonth two ships' cannon which were posted at the Bridge, but considering in case of a retreat the Cannon might be lost, & the place, by the number of Men I had & in the greatest want of amunition and Arms & natural inattention, by no means defensible, I sent one piece by an ox cart to this Bridge & should have sent the Other if I could have procured a Cart; I was about to mount that piece on a Carriage, & had impressed Horses for such, when, this morning at Day break they attacked us at the Bridge & soon drove off the small number of men I had to defend the place. Not being able to remove the piece of Cannon I had remaining at the great Bridge, it has fallen into the hands of the Enemy. With one piece I am at this side of the Northwest Bridge, but have not as yet rec'd any assistance from any of those Counties you mentioned in your Letter.

By Intelligence some Ships are gone up Nansemond River & troops are Marched from Portsmouth to Suffolk; if so, they certainly

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aim for Edenton. Be so kind as to send off a copy of this letter to His Excellency Governor Nash.

I am, with due respect,
Yo. mo. Humble Servt.,
JN. CHRISTN. SENF, Colo. Engineers.

If a Map of No. Carolina could be had I should be infinitely Obliged to you to send me one by an opportunity or express.