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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Thomas Burke to Richard Caswell
Burke, Thomas, ca. 1747-1783
January 27, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 368-369

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

Hanover Court House, Jany 27th1777.


The agreeable intelligence that General Washington has gained several advantages over the Enemy will doubtless reach you long before you will receive this. The amount of what I have learned is that thirteen thousand of the Enemy under Cornwallis marched from Princeton to Trenton with design to force a passage over the Delaware at Trenton they were opposed by Washington, and the advance parties of both Armies were all day engaged, they each retired under cover of the night, and Washington practiced the same expedient to deceive the Enemy, which you Sir, did at Moores Creek Bridge, and while his fires were burning he decamped, passed the Enemy, and surprised three Battalions of Hessians which were in the rear—those he entirely routed taking a great many of them, and all their field Pieces and baggage—he then marched directly to Princeton, and after an obstinate engagement, defeated a strong party of the Enemy who was posted there. Our killed are said not to exceed forty, and I know not the number of wounded. Several Gallant officers fell, and Gen'l Mercer was desperately wounded. The design of this letter is to give you notice that a certain Martin Ferres, and—Stanly who say they are Citizens of your state, are now on their way thither. Ferres came out of England with the Fleet, and was their Pilot into York, he has been a considerable time amongst the Enemy—and may probably be worth examining—he was last night a good deal intoxicated and therefore I suppose communicative, he hinted that he was some times consulted by Lord Howe, on the practibility of some Expeditions, which were laid aside by reason of the advanced season—he also dropped some pretty clear hints that a communication is carried on between most of the States and New York—that Gold and Silver are sent thither to purchase Continental money, which is there at 20 pound per hundred. Several thousands he says were lately purchased by some Citizens of yourState. I endeavored to find out the names, but he refused to tell them, and I did not think proper to use any Coersive means, lest the Gentlemen of this

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State should deem me presuming on their authority. I resolved however to write to your Excellency on the matter, not doubting that your diligence, Sagacity and prudence will be successfully exerted to discover the agents and to suppress this pernicious traffic whereby a Sluice is opened to drain us of all that Specie, which might procure us warlike necessaries, and which is directed to the advantage of our Enemies, and which also serves to depreciate our money—'twere needless Sir, to say more to you on this matter. I thought it my duty to give you this instruction, and I know you will admit it as an excuse for troubling you with this letter. I beg leave to offer my sincere wishes for the happiness and prosperity of the State over which you preside, and that your administration may be happy and glorious to you—let me also add my warmest wishes for your health and private felicity—I have the honor to be with due respect and unfeigned esteem

your Excellency's mo. ob. humble Servant