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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William Bryan to Richard Caswell
Bryan, William
April 27, 1779
Volume 14, Pages 74-75

[From Executive Letter Book.]

27th April, 1779.


It is with some reluctance that I have at this critical situation of our public affairs resolved to resign my Commission as Brigadier General of Militia.

It is, therefore, incumbent on me to assign to your Excellency some of the reasons which lead me to this measure:

First, then I have long since been convinced that inexperienced officers commanding undisciplined Troops cannot possibly acquire reputation to themselves or render material service to their Country. Our Militia officers, some few exceptions, are unexperienced, a striking instance we have seen in the late expedition to

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Georgia. The Militia establishment of this State, I think, too very imperfect, as there is no law, sufficiently penal, to compel men when drafted to turn out and march, whereby seldom more than half the number ordered enters upon duty, those badly armed, and entirely without the necessary Equipment, nor is it possible the necessary supplies can be obtained when there is no Quarter Master General or commander of Military Stores appointed to supply the Militia with the numberless articles which come under those two departments.

Our Militia, therefore, when embodied are in such a naked, defenceless state that they have but a faint resemblance to a Military force.

I cannot, therefore, help saying it is my opinion that armies thus raised, officered, armed and supplied must eventually bring dishonor on the command, as it would be very difficult for the best and most experienced commander to arrange them in such order as to insure any degree of success when opposed by a Regular, disciplined force. Knowing myself to be one of those unexperienced Militia officers, and from my situation and circumstances in life not capacitated to make the study and practise of Military my principal object, I candidly confess I think it my duty (be my inclination what it may) to resign a command, in the execution of which I see so little prospect of being serviceable to my Country and acquitting myself with repute. Your Excellency will therefore be pleased to consider this an ample resignation of that appointment.

I am, Sir,
Your Excellency's Mo. Ob. humble Servt.,