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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Deposition of William Todd concerning the destruction of Fort Johnston
Todd, William
August 23, 1775
Volume 10, Pages 131-132

William Todd Commander of the Ship Duke of York of and belonging to Whitehaven in the Kingdom of Great Britain and being duly Sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God, deposeth and saith:

That on the 9th of July being on his way to Wilmington to advise Mr Cruden of his arrival in Cape Fear River, he called at Brunswick and was there asked to dinner by Mr Dry, Collector of His Majesty's Customs at that Port. That he accepted his invitation accordingly, and after dinner he heard with astonishment the said Mr Dry toast three several times “success to the American Arms,” adding that he wished ardently from his soul they might conquer. That he this Deponent drank his glass twice, without repeating any Toast, but being asked at the third round whether he had any objection to the Toast he drank it fearing his opposition might prove injurious to the owners of his Ship. That on the 17th of the last month (July) this Deponent being in bed on board his Ship lying at the Flatts was waked by one of his People about midnight and told there was a man come on board who wanted to see him. That this Deponent immediately got up and went on Deck where he was presented by a person (of the name of Smith as he has been informed) with a letter which he told him was from Col. Ashe, which this Deponent read and found it addressed to all Captains and Masters of Ships lying at the flatts purporting that they were requested to send all their men, boats and several guns to assist in

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their glorious design of burning the Transport with fire rafts which they had prepared for that purpose, adding that he hoped the Master of Ships would not be wanting in giving the utmost assistance upon the occasion, that those who went upon the Expedition should be well rewarded. This Deponent declared that the above mentioned was signed John Ashe, which having read three times over and asked leave to keep it or to take a copy of it which was refused, he returned it to the messenger who brought it desiring him to make the Deponents compliments to Col. Ashe and to let him know that he could not conveniently spare his men, boats or swivil guns; that if his men chose to go upon the intended service he could not control them, but it was out of his power and he could not command them to go, and that if Colonel Ashe meant to employ force to take his boats he had not strength to withstand his superior force, upon which answer the Messenger retired from his this Deponent's ship. And further this Deponent saith not.