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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Johann de Kalb to the United States Board of War
De Kalb, Johann, 1721-1780
June 06, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 499-500


Petersburg, June 6th, 1780.


Having been delayed at Annapolis for near 2 days to get the money from the treasury of that State, I arrived at Richmond the 22d, and next day at this place, where the Governor and Council had directed the troops rendezvous. By what was said to Mr. Bee (whom I met at Hanover Court House,) and wrote to me by him, by Governor Jefferson, it appeared the state had ordered to press as many horses as would be necessary to put all the soldiers on Horseback, to bring them on with the greatest rapidity; but found on my arrival at Richmond that the scheme was impracticable for want of Horses, Saddles, Bridles and forage; therefore it was determined that I should be furnished with a sufficiency of waggons (the Number agreed on) to carry the tents and the soldiers' packs; the waggons were to be in readiness in a few days, 40 were promised from Suffolk County, 12 from Richmond, and the others were to be taken here. Colonel Carrington with his artillery arrived on the 25th, Captain Coleman on the 26th, but several of the Maryland and Delaware companies came in only on the 29th; the Transports having been parted in a Gale of wind, the shoes, shirts and overalls could not arive until the 30th.

The waggons from the neighborhood coming in gave me a fair prospect of getting the others; not to lose a day, the artillery being ready, I ordered them on their march the 30th under Colonel Harrison, who had joined with 30 Recruits; but the Suffolk and Richmond waggons failing, not only I could not march the first Brigade before 1st Instant, nor the Second ere now, but was also obliged to give up the thought of having the soldiers' packs

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carried in waggons. I hope to meet with no more obstructions on the Rout by Taylor's ferry, Hillsboro, Salisbury, &c.

An Ammunition Waggon of second Maryland Brigade sunk in crossing here, Appomatox ferry. The waggon was brought out, but the whole of 12,000 musket Cartridges are spoiled, and have been turned into the store; this accident cannot be attributed but to the Rudeness of the ferry Boat.

The letter, General, you were pleased to write to me on the 16th May came only to hand the 31st, and to this day I have not Heard of Major Lee's Corps. If they come up with me, your orders respecting them shall be punctually complied with.

I have the honor to be, with great respect,
General, yr. most obt. Ser.

P. S. As I am this moment informed by Major Jameson, who arrived from George Town, So. Carolina, that Charles Town capitulated on the 12th May, our garrison prisoners of war, the Enemy advancing this side of George Town, their officers in that quarter unknown, but that their Army under Genl. Clinton was with a late reinforcement. He received about 12,000. No certainty where Govr. Rutledge is with the troops under his command, and have sent orders to the first brigade and Artillery to halt where they are until I have joined with the 2d Brigade. I suppose my letters will find them not far from Salisbury. Then I will consider what steps to take, if a junction with Governor Rutledge may be expected, and whether there will be any prospect of obtaining militia from Virginia and North Carolina, but even then the Enemy will be still vastly superior in number. I am determined to be on the defensive until reinfercement and further orders and directions either from your board, Congress, or the Commander in Chief.

By Major Jameson I also understand that Colonel Armand's Corps is under Washington.

The state Artillery of Virginia marched from this place 28 days ago by the same road I am marching. They are supposed to be actually about Camden or with Governor Rutledge.

To the Honorable, the board of War.

Additional Notes for Electronic Version: According to the original document, this letter was written to the Board of War.