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Petition from Louis Antoine Jean Baptiste de Cambray-Digny concerning the construction of Fort Hancock
Cambray-Digny, Louis Antoine Jean Baptiste de
April 1778
Volume 15, Pages 233-234


To the Honourable Assembly of North Carolina.

When I first began to Establish a fort at Cape Lookout Bay I had no other design, no other view but the good of this State by the great advantages she may get from it. I don't intend to sett a price on my Labours; self-interest cannot prevail nor even guide me.

If I prove successful in contributing to the public good, my reward far extendeth my desires and if this Honourable Assembly approve of my performances her Commendation is the only price I expect for my labours.

I am sorry to hear, Gentlemen, that ye intend to indemnify me by a sum of money for my stay untill now in the state for the publick service which detained me from joining the Continental army. My Delicacy is much offended by such a reward. Is it not possible to alter your Resolution? If it is not, I beg that the sum appointed on the treasury should be destined to finish fort Hancock, or employed on other works which may be useful to the publick good, for I declare to this Honourable Assembly that I will not receive the least thing on that account.

I submit to your knowledge, Gentlemen, the plan of Cape Lookout Bay, with the situation of Fort Hancock, together with a plan of the said fort.

I confess freely that the fort is not as I intended it to be, but as the Circumstances have permitted. Those Circumstances, to avoid a long tale of its particulars, are, in a few words, the cause of its not being as I should like it to be. The fort is not finished for want of help. What is done I have done it with almost nothing, and have put it in a manner of being finished according to the plan.

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I have sacrificed a very precious time, which I do not regret, having employed it for the service of this State. I cannot sacrifice any more without proving myself reprehensible; therefore I intend to make all the haste possible on purpose to join the continental army. In Consequence, I beg the Honourable Assembly to give me some Letters for the Cougress, and for his Excellency General Washington, justifying my zeal for the publick Good, and the uninterestedness with which I undertook a painful work, though common to every friend to humanity and natural to every true citizen. All the reward that I desire from every American is to be known under that prospect.

I shall always do my best endeavours to prove useful to this state, but at this time I make my duty to fly to the Continental army and put myself under General Washington's Commands. I shall be flattered if I can prove useful to this State again.

I beg leave to represent to this Honourable Assembly that a fort cannot defend himself if it is not defended by a good garrison, therefore Fort Hancock requires one of fifty or sixty men. It is even necessary to send some guns of about eighteen-pounders, for the more this fort shall be fortified the more he'll prove advantageous to the whole Continent. In going to Cape Lookout on purpose to establish the fort, I unfortunately broke a Chaise belonging to Mrs. Bartholomew, of Beaufort; and as I should be afraid to offend the inhabitants of this state if I was to take this charge upon myself, I therefore leave it to your Disposition.

I finish by entreating the Honourable Assembly to look upon me as one of the greatest partisans of the Common cause. It is in hopes of Contributing to its success that I left my country. I do not desire anything so eagerly as to find some occasion to prove ye, Gentlemen, the ardour and sincerity of

Your most humble and most obedient Servant,
Cap. d'Artillerie.