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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from the North Carolina Council of Safety to William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, and John Penn
North Carolina. Council of Safety
September 09, 1776
Volume 11, Pages 349-351

[From MS. Records in Secretary of States Office.]

Salisbury September 9th 1776.


Your obliging favor of the 29th day of July last came to hand this day for which you have our thanks—we are made extremely happy to learn from you that the Honble Continental Congress seems so well disposed to afford the proper necessary assistance to this colony. The Articles Mentioned in our former Letters we earnestly request may be forwarded with all expedition to Halifax Town.

With respect to your Army under Brigadier Genl. Rutherford we have to tell you that it marched into the Gap of the mountains on the first day of this Instant being then about eighty Miles distant from the Cherokee middle Settlements and this is the day appointed and agreed upon between Genl. Rutherford & Major Williamson who commands the So. Carolina Forces to meet in that Country and the Valley Settlements to put an end if possible to the farther depredations of the Savages by destroying all their Towns & Crops on the Ground– Major Williamson has already put the finishing Stroke to the lower Towns and Crops of Corn near them. Inclosed you have a list of the Towns destroyed as also Copies of several Letters Directed to Genl Rutherford to which we refer you as they will at one view give you a perfect knowledge of the present Indian business. We have the Frontiers of this State properly secured against any injury which may be attempted

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We have to desire that you will apply to Congress for the releasement of Michael Holt at this time a close prisoner in Philadelphia Gaol put there by order of our last Congress. The unhappy situation of this Man's Family the application of the Committee of Orange County & of many reputable & respectable friends to the cause of American liberty in his favour has induced us to make a Resolve in his behalf a Copy of which you have inclosed as also an oath which he must take previous to his discharge before the Mayor or some other Officer empowered to administer an oath. In Genl Rutherford's absence damage has been done by strowling parties of Indians & good and sufficient Forts are needed in the Counties of Tryon & Rowan & Surry and tomorrow we shall send off an Express to Genl. Rutherford to build proper forts in the Cherokee Country as Major Williamson has done the same where the lower Towns stood—you will observe in the postscript to Genl. Rutherford's Letter he mentions pack Horse Men.. It may be necessary to let you know that these Men are all Armed and the whole Army amount to about 3.000 Men which we think a very large force from this State but it was thought best to march forth a sufficient Army at once to subdue the Indians in order that our people might in return get some rest and be prepared to give the necessary support to the Seaboard as we expect a visit in the Southern Colonies from the Ministerial Troops in the Winter—we have given every facility and assistance to the recruiting officers from the State of Georgia and have the pleasure to acquaint you that they have met with great success—Colo. Christain who commands the Forces of Virginia & this State, in the whole about 2200 Men, will proceed immediately against the over Hill Cherokees—you will observe in our Letter of the 14th Day of last month that we had ordered out 500 Men from the Hillsborough Brigade. These Men Marched near to the Mountains. We thought it proper to discharge them as Genl Rutherford had as it was thought a Sufficient force in Conjunction with Major Williamson to subdue the Cherokee Middle & Valley Settlements.

We are sorry to tell you that we have been under the necessity of permitting a few vessels to carry out to the Foreign West India Islands Staves for the Express purpose of importing Salt, ammunition Arms & warlike Stores. Bond with a large penalty is taken by us for the true performance of the Voyage. It is impossible for us to describe the distressed Situation of this State for the want of Salt

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the Inhabitants in general say only let them have that article and they will fight so long as they have Existence in support of the just rights of their Country and that without it themselves Families and Stocks must perish. We hope when these Circumstances are considered the Congress will think with us that such a procedure was not only justifiable but absolutely necessary to preserve the peace & good order of this State.