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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Cornelius Harnett to Richard Caswell
Harnett, Cornelius, 1723-1781
August 11, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 569-570

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Philadelphia, 11th August, 1777.


I have been honored with Your Excellency's favour of the 15 July which you will be pleased to accept my acknowledgments. I took the small-pox by inoculation at Port Tobacco in Maryland which detained me three weeks at that place, tho' I had it in a very favorable manner; I did not lie down one minute for it. The money your Excellency is so anxious about Mr. Penn tells me has been sent long ago; an officer went off to take charge of it. I do not find however whether it is certainly gone or not, as the Treasurer has not yet acquainted Mr. Penn with it. We expect every hour to hear from Baltimore about it. I should have wrote you sooner had I not been waiting to give you a certain account of the destination of the British fleet which sailed upwards of three weeks ago from Sandy Hook, with Gen. Howe's army on board. Everybody believed their intention was against this city, which was also

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Gen. Washington's opinion by the movements in our grand army under his command, which has been some time encamped at Germantown. Yesterday morning our army begun their march towards N. York Government. The evacuation of Ticonderoga, and the success of Gen. Burgoin since that event has thrown the people and army in that State into great consternation which they have not as yet recovered from, this, together with the tardiness of the New England Militia make our affairs wear rather a gloomy aspect in that quarter. Gen. Gates is gone to take command of our army in the Northern Department, & we have great expectation from that Gentleman's military abilities that an immediate change will take place, as the New England people have a high esteem for him. The uncertainty of Gen. Howe's intentions has hurt our affairs exceedingly, by harassing our army by unnecessary marches. The No. Carolina Troops are in high spirits. I have seen some of the officers. I inquired particularly after Capt. Caswell who is in good health and spirits. Gen. Nash with his Brigade is stationed for the present at Trent Town. Mr. Burke talks of returning home the beginning of the next month. I tell him he will not be suffered to stay long in No. Carolina, which is indeed my wish. I am sorry he is under the necessity of going. I beg your Execllency will be pleased to present my most respectful compliments to the Gentlemen of your Council. I shall keep this letter open until the setting off of the post, and shall communicate to you any further intelligence which may be received concerning Gen. Burgoin and Howe's operations.

I am with the greatest respect,
Your Excellency's most obedient & very huml Serv't.,