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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William Bryan to Richard Caswell
Bryan, William
November 23, 1778
Volume 13, Page 295

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

Johnston County, 23d Novr., 1778.


I recd yours of the 17th Inst. wherein you directed me to send a Drum and colors. We have not so much as a stand of colors in this County. I have ordered a drum down with our last draft, which I expect will march this day. You also directed me to send forward those men who did not march in the first draft. It is not in my power to get them, some run clear off, and others lye off in the Rebellion and swears to kill any person that shall offer to enlist them. Some that was balloted last spring to go to the Northward, and some that was drafted in our first Detachment to march to the assistance of South Carolina, I understand has embodied themselves and lies on and about the line that divides Johnston and Nash Countys, and so plays in both Countys. We have had some apprehended and put in jail, but they broke jail and take them out. I should be glad to have some instructions what I must do with such lawless people. I have some reason to think myself in danger of my life, every day as one of the Deserters has swore damnation to himself if he does not kill me on sight, to which I called on a person of credit to be qualified before a justice of the peace to what he heard him say and has got a Copy of his Deposition. Now if some method can't be taken with such fellows, I can't think myself safe in transacting the public business of this County, and should be glad of some instructions from your Excellency in what manner I must proceed. I am Sir,

Your huml Servt. to command.