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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Duncan McNicol to Richard Caswell
McNicol, Duncan
March 08, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 415-416

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

Halifax, March 8th 1777.


When the other Gentleman belonging to our Reg't. and myself signed our parole to the State of South Carolina, we were conducted to Salisbury by an officer without any other guard; our traveling charges were paid by the State, and horses and saddles found by them to forward us in a most genteel manner. In hope I shall be forgiven to trouble your Excellency with our treatment since: In the month of January last, B. General Rutherford ordered us away from Salisbury to this place, under the conduct of Capt. Martin Fifer, who ordered a wagon to carry our baggage and horses for ourselves to ride to Harrisburg, when he met with Cornet Childers of Capt. Dickenson's light horse who had neither horses for us to ride or money to bear our expenses. He applied to General Parsons for instructions about us; the General told him he did not look upon himself invested with any authority to give him any orders concerning us, as the Congress had given instructions to Capt. Dickinson to bring all the prisoners in the State to Halifax; that we were prisoners upon parole from the State of S. Carolina, and had a certificate of our good behaviour from the Committee of Salisbury; he therefore thought it improper in him to meddle in our affair, could not help thinking it inconsiderate in Mr. Childers to take charge of us without Capt. Dickinson's order. Childers conducted us to this place on foot, with an escort of nine or ten light horse; we had our travelling charges to pay ourselves: usage indeed quite new to us, we did not meet with any such since we were admitted to our parole. Upon our arrival in this place, B. General Allen Jones ordered two sentinels upon each door in Mr. Martin's house, and two rooms in the gaol to be cleaned, and sent us a parole to be signed, giving us only the liberty of the town of Halifax and two miles on the southside of the Roanoke river; unless we were pleased with that, we should be immediately sent to gaol: for my part, I am a soldier these eighteen years and such treatment of prisoners of war I never saw or heard of, unless their own imprudence merited it. I look't upon it that our parole to General Robert Howe and the President of

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South Carolina was sufficient, nor could I find out either then or now any just cause for breaking our parole with the Southern State especially when all accounts concur that, the Hessian officers who are on parole much nearer the seat of war are allowed six miles. I hope if we are not to be removed soon, Your Excellency will allow us our former parole, or order it to be sent back to us, as I think one parole is enough for us to give. Am informed the Congress allowed two dollars a week for each of us but am at a loss to whom to apply for the money, and here we have no friends or acquaintances to supply us. It would be requisite that your Excellency would issue an order to pay us that money, as we have hitherto received no money since we came to this State, I have this day procured the inclosed from Mr. Jones, which I hope your Excellency will consider of, as our situation here is far from being agreeable, I have also inclosed a copy of the certificate from the Committee of Salisbury.

I am with due respect
Your Excellency's most humble serv't.,
Captain, R. H. E.