Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Nathanael Greene to John Hancock, including cover letter from Hancock to the Provincial Congress of North Carolina
Greene, Nathanael, 1742-1786
November 12, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 909-910

[From MS. Records in Office of Secretary of State.]
Letter from President Hancock to the Congress at Halifax.

Philada, Novr 15th, 1776.


Since dispatching the Express yesterday with Intelligence that a Fleet of above One Hundred Vessels had left New York, the Congress have received a Letter from General Greene containing further Accounts; a Copy of which, in Obedience to their Commands, I now enclose.

It appears from this Information, that Lord Dunmore is to take the Command of a Fleet bound for the Southward, and said to be for South Carolina. But as it is by no Means certain against which of the Southern States, the Expedition is designed, it is highly necessary you should be on your Guard. I shall not detain the Express, only to add that you will make such Use of this Intelligence, as the Importance of it requires.

I have the Honour to be, Gentlemen,
Your most Obedt &
Very Humble Servt

Since the foregoing, Congress have pass'd a Resolve, respecting the Troops in your State, & the necessity of the Exertion of a part of your Militia, which I inclose you & to which I beg Leave to Refer you as also to the Resolve respectg the Inlistments.

Please to forward the Dispatches to South Carolina by a fresh Express.


Fort Lee, Nov. 12th, 1776.


Your favrs of the 4th & 5th of this Inst came duly to hand, you may depend upon my transmitting to Congress every piece of intelligence that comes to hand that is worthy their notice.

-------------------- page 910 --------------------

By one Justice Mercereau a Gentleman that fled from StatenIsland, I am inform'd that there are 10,000 Troops embark'd for South-Carolina to be Commanded by Lord Dunmore. This intelligence he obtain'd by a Gentleman yesterday from the City of NewYork, a man of Credit and Truth. Mercereau is a very good friend to the Cause, and a sensible man, and he says from several ways this Account is confirm'd, perhaps the numbers are not so great as reported. Mercereau further informs that a large fleet are at the watering place on Long, or Staten-Island, all ready to sail for England, it is reported the fleet consists of 100 Sail. By several accounts from different people from the City it appears our prisoners are in a very suffering situation, Humanity requires that something should be done for them, they have only half allowance of bread & water, but this I suppose is exaggerated.

The Enemy at Dobbs ferry where they have been for several days past decamp'd this morning at nine oClock, and took the road towards King's Bridge. They made an appearance at the ferry, as if they intended to cross the River. I believe they are disappointed in their expeditions, and at a loss what measures to pursue.

We have had several skirmishes with the Hessians on York Island, within a few days, killed & wounded between thirty and forty privates and one officer. Day before yesterday our people had an interview with the Hessians, they acknowledged they were greatly impos'd upon by their Prince, and promised to desert that night but none came over.

A Considerable part of the Troops on the other side, are coming over into the Jerseys, and his Excellency, General Washington with them. I expect General Howe will endeavour to possess himself of Mount Washington, but very much doubt whether he will succeed in the attempt. Our Troops are much fatigued with the amazing Duty, but are generally in good Spirits. The Hessians say they are on half allowance. The light Horse are said to be perishing for want of Provender.

I have the Honour to be
Your Most Obedt &
Very Humble Servt