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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William Bryan to Richard Caswell
Bryan, William
July 27, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 541-543

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Poplar Spring, 27th July, 1777.


I rec'd your favour of yesterday by Mr. Marckland. Return you my best thanks for your kind congratulations on my recovery and return home, as well as for the information it contains. Am truly sorry that this State has so many people so ignorant and easy to be

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deceived, but hope your Excellency will take such measures as will put a stop to the growing evil, by a vigorous exertion of that power which the Constitution has vested you with. There was a General Muster & a draft in this County, Friday last, I was in town, but so unwell I was not able to be in the field, so that I can give little acc't of the present temper of the people, but believe they are well disposed. I left Baltimore the 11th instant: there was nothing new from the Camp, or any other quarter, except an acc't that the British army, all but a Garrison at New York had actually sailed. This acc't came so well authenticated that I believe it is not to be doubted. A Col. Meade, a Virginian, who is Aid de Camp to Gen'l. Lincoln, left the camp the 27th ultimo, informed as he passed through Virg'n several Gentlemen from whom I had the acc't that the British army after their various manœuvers in the Jerseys and their crossing to Staten Island embarked on board transports and had actually with great part of their heavy artillery gone to sea, (his expression was they fell down before the Hook), that various were the conjectures with regard to Howe's destination, some apprehended he meant to go up the Delaware, others to Boston, others that it was nothing more than a feint, and that he intended to return and go up the No. River; it is not impossible but his destination may be to the South. Knowing us to be in a defenceless State, he may attack No. & So. Carolina at one and the same time, the disaffected party rising in arms in so many parts of the State, at this season of the year when their crops are on hand, rather encourages me to think an attack is intended to be made either in this State or So. Carolina, although I should suppose the season of the year would discourage them from such an expedition. Should the militia be drawn into actual service, their operations will be greatly retarded for want of money to purchase many articles, and hire others which is necessary to equip the people in order for a march; the article of gun flints will be also much wanting in this Brigade, I should also think it advisable that some person be immediately employed to have a quantity of lead cast into sizable bullets and buck shot, as it is probable the call will be sudden. I do not at present know who has the custody of the military store at Newbern, or what stores there is at that place. In case your Excellency should be under the necessity of ordering out the militia, hope you will be
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particular in the orders and ascertain as near as possible the number you would wish should march from this District, that they may be properly proportioned to each County; however I expect Craven, Dobbs, and Pitt must bear the burthen.

I am at present very poorly with a violent cold I took on the road, and I renewed it after I got home by washing myself in warm water, so that I am afraid that I can not be at the muster in Dobbs. If I should find myself amended so as able to ride with safety to myself, I will be up.

I am, Sir, Your Excellency's most obed't and very hum'l,

N. B. Your letter to Capt. Caswell I put in the post office at Baltimore, as I could not see him. I heard from him by Mr. Salter who was immediately from Camp, at Phila. He said he was very well. I also bro't a letter for you which Mr. Salter bro't from Philada. I believe from Mr. Penn, that I left with Mr. Lengf. Cox, as I came down and requested him to forward it.

W. B.