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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Charles Lewis to Patrick Henry
Lewis, Charles
October 14, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 842-843

[From MS. Records of Virginia.]
Letter from Colonel Charles Lewis, Commanding Second Battalion of Virginia Forces against the Cherokees, to Governor Patrick Henry.

Camp on French Broad River,
Oct. 14th, 1776.

May it Please Your Excellency,

Yesterday about noon our whole army arrived at the river, but from the accounts Col. Christian received from one Harland, a white man who the Indians sent with a flag of truce, he did not think it prudent to attempt crossing in the day. Harland told us that there were about 7 or 800 Indians lying on the opposite bank of the river, and that he overtook several parties of them as he came from their towns, on their way to the river. About 8 o'clock at night Col. Christian took about 1100 with him, and marched down the river about 4 miles to a ford the spies had discovered, though there was no appearance of its ever being used, crossed safe with all the men and after a most surprising march through the woods, arrived at the place the Indians were said to be at before sunrise. But instead of a general engagement, as was expected, the bank of the river was found clear and no sign of more than three or four Indians, upon which the Col. ordered the rest of the army to cross, which was done today and the whole encamped in good order. From the accounts Col. Christian received today, from three men he had sent to the Cherokee towns, we have the greatest reason to expect an attack in a day or two. Our men are in high spirits and really wish for an attack, that they may have it in their power to chastise the cruel villians.

I am sorry to tell your Excellency, That from sickness and death I have not been able to bring but a little more than 300 men of the 2d Battalion on this important expedition. The men being so very sickly while they were in service below, gave the people of the counties that composed the Battalion such a distaste to the minute service, that a very few new recruits could be raised by the officers. But the deficiency has been amply made up by the activity and

-------------------- page 843 --------------------
good conduct of Col. Christian in raising the men in the Back Counties.

I am your Excellencys
Most Obedient Humble Servt
His Excellency Patrick Henry, Esq., Governor in Chief of the Commonwealth of Virginia.