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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Instructions to Abraham Sheppard concerning recruitment of soldiers
Caswell, Richard, 1729-1789
May 09, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 467-468

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

Recruiting Instructions for Col. Abraham Sheppard.

1. You are to enlist none but able bodied men fit for service, capable of marching well, and such whose attachment to American liberties you have no cause to suspect; young, hearty, robust men, whose birth, family connections, and property, bind them to the interest of their country, and well practised in the use of firearms, are much to be preferred.

2. You are, as much as possible, to have regard to moral character, particularly sobriety.

3. You are to be careful in inlisting such men for Sergeants and Corporals, whose ability, activity, and diligence make them fit for that appointment.

4. You are to exert yourself to complete your Regiment, and punctually to report to me, or the Commanding Officer left in this State, at such times and places as you shall be directed.

5. The soldiers are to be allowed one shilling per day each for their subsistence, till they join their Regiment.

6. You are to take notice that a Field Officer will be appointed to inspect the men you enlist, and reject such as are not fit for service.

7. You are to furnish the subaltern officers of your Company with a copy of these instructions.

8. You are to inlist your men according to the following form, to wit: ‘I have this day voluntarily inlisted myself a soldier in the American army, for the term of three years, or to the end of the war, (as the case may be) and do bind myself to conform, in all instances, to such rules and regulations as are or shall be established for the government of the said army. As witness my hand, the     day of     177     ’

9. You are to inlist no soldier under five feet four inches high, able-bodied men, healthy, strong made, and well limbed, not deaf, or subject to fits, or ulcers on their eyes, or ruptures.

10. You are to pay to each soldier you shall enlist thirty dollars bounty, and engage a suit of clothes, or in lieu thereof twenty dollars, and 250 acres of land to each soldier who shall inlist during the war, or 100 acres of land to such as shall inlist for the term of three years.

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11. You may inlist any apprentice or servant belonging to any person or persons whatsoever: but you shall not presume to take such apprentice or servant from the service of his master or mistress, until you have applied to three Justices of the County wherein such apprentice or servant shall reside, to ascertain the value of his time of servitude, who are to grant a certificate under their hands and seals which shall be countersigned by the Clerk of the County. And if such valuation shall amount to or exceed the bounty of thirty dollars, such bounty shall be paid to the master, mistress, or owner, of such apprentice or servant. But if the time shall be valued at a less sum, then only so much of the said bounty as shall amount to the value of the time of such apprentice or servant, and the remainder shall be paid to the apprentice or servant so enlisted, who shall be forever discharged from his apprenticeship or servitude.

12. You are, within six days after inlisting each person, to cause such recruits to take the following oath, viz. ‘I do swear that I will be faithful and true to the United States, that I will serve the same to the utmost of my power in defence of the just rights of America, against all enemies whatsoever: that I will, to the utmost of my abilities, obey the lawful commands of my superior officers, agreeable to the ordinances of Congress, and the articles of war, which I have subscribed, and lay down my arms peaceably, when required so to do by the Continental Congress.’ So help me God.'

13. Your recruits are to rendezvous at Kingston, where you shall keep your head-quarters. You are to make just and faithful returns to me of your success in recruiting, on the first day of July next, & thereafter on the tenth day of every month, or oftener if required, and hold yourself in readiness with officers and soldiers under your command to march at the shortest notice to join the Continental army.

14. You are hereby informed, and requested to assure the officers under your command, that in calling officers to services of honor, preference will be given to those who have been most industrious in raising recruits, and such will meet the special favour and approbation of this State, and be regarded in future promotions

Given under my hand and seal at arms at New Bern the 9th day of May, 1777.