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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Richard Caswell to Abraham Sheppard
Caswell, Richard, 1729-1789
August 22, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 587-588

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

Newington, 22d August, 1777.


When you received the very honorable appointment from your Country, to the command of a regiment to be raised by Gentlemen of your own appointment, from my knowledge of your own sentiments of the present measures taken by the British Tyrant and his tools in administration to enslave us, your assiduity, prudence, and conduct, as well as those of many of the officers you appointed, of whom I entertained the highest opinion, I was induced to believe you would not only be able to raise men to serve their country, but that the officers would be punctual in obeying orders. In the first I am happy to find I was not mistaken; but, what shall I say to the latter? I have, Sir, repeatedly required you would order the recruits to Kingston, your Head Quarters, where you was first ordered to rendez-vous. 'Tis true that three companies have appeared there: but these are from the neighborhood of that place, and could have been assembled in three or four days, whenever they should have had notice. I know you have sent written orders to some of the other officers, because I have seen them; these were at a distance and required more time. But, Sir, a reasonable time has long since past, and I begin to think your officers, I mean such of them as neglect this essential piece of duty, of attending punctually to orders, are apprehensive, that there is no power lodged with the Executive of this State to order Continental Troops or that their appeariag with their men at the rendez-vous appointed is merely intended for parade and show. You know, Sir, this is not the case: Congress have lodged proper power in the Governor of this State to direct the Continental Troops whilst here; you also know my design in appointing the place of rendez-vous was not only because it was near the center of the State, and a healthy part of the country, but where I expected to see the Regiment frequently, and where they would, when altogether, get some knowledge

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of discipline, and be preparing to march at the shortest notice; in which by being so near me, my assistance could be had, and, if necessary, my authority more easily put in execution with their assistance: you likewise know, Sir, that I wanted to see your men together, to know what number of arms they have, whether any were wanting, and if Col. Dauge's party brings up the No. ordered from Edenton; by having this knowledge, I certainly should have it much more in my power, than I now have, to give Congress an account of their strength, and manner of equipment, and they would themselves be better able to execute such orders as Congress, through me, might think proper to give. You are no stranger to their orders for your being in readiness to march; you have also some knowledge of the enemy's designs upon Chesapeak, I have had further information from that quarter by express from the Governor of Virginia, such as would have induced me, had your Regiment been here, to have ordered them immediately to that State.

For God's sake, and your Country's sake, for your own honor and that of your Regiment, let me entreat you, nay order and command you, immediately to order your officers to repair to Head Quarters at Kingston, with such of their men as are, or can conveniently be, collected, without delay, and that Col. Dauge's party bring up the 300 stand of arms ordered from Edenton, if to be had; and so soon as they are assembled you furnish me with a proper return of your numbers, arms, &c., and what may be wanting to equip you for a march. I hope I need say no more to spur you or your officers to the discharge of a duty in which your Country's interest and honor as well as your own are so essentially concerned.

I am &c.,