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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Thomas Burke to Richard Caswell
Burke, Thomas, ca. 1747-1783
July 22, 1777
Volume 11, Page 529

-------------------- page 529 --------------------
[From Executive Letter Book.]

Philadelphia, July 22d, 1777.

Dear Sir:

I waited some time for the intelligence from Ticonderoga which you will find in the inclosed paper, and I declined writing until I could give you particulars, because I did not choose to put you on disagreeable speculation. Many of us have long expected that Ticonderoga would be evacuated at the approach of an enemy, because we had no hopes of having a force there competent to its defense. We have mistaken much, in my opinion, our line of conduct in these matters. We have relied too much on fortifications without sufficient force or discipline to defend them. Our Troops in general make no resistance when they are cooped up within lines, and assailed on all sides, and experience has convinced the world that even veteran Troops are unequal to such a trial. To wait firm and determined to sustain the shock of an enemy charging from all sides is an effort of fortitude that very few armies have ever been found equal to, and it seems to me not very wise to expect it in our raw and undisciplined armies. Our own experience too is sufficient to instruct us in avoiding this kind of battle, for therein the enemy is always superior to us, and in desultory war we are always superior to them. We shall now dispute the country with the enemy and I hope with more success than we defend fortifications. General Howe is still inactive at New York and Staten Island, and General Washington with a superior army is ready to oppose him whichever way he moves. Mr. Harnett arrived here on Friday night last, but has not yet been able to go into Congress. I shall use the permission you are pleased to give me of returning home, as soon as I can do so without danger of injury to public service. I shall at present trouble you with nothing more, but wish you all possible happiness.

Capt. Caswell is with his Regiment at Trentown. I have not heard from him since his departure from this city.

I have the honor to be
Your most ob't. hum. serv.,
Governor Caswell.