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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Johann de Kalb to Horatio Gates
De Kalb, Johann, 1721-1780
July 16, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 503-504


Camp on Deep River, July 16th, 1780.

Dear General:

I was honored with your letter of the 8th on the 13th, but the Express went away without calling on me; he was gone before the letter was delivered to me.

I am happy by your arrival, for I have struggled with a good many difficulties for Provisions ever since I arrived in this State; and, although I have put the troops on short allowance of bread, we cannot get even that; no stores laid in, and no disposition made of any, but what I have done by military authority; no assistance from the legislative or Executive power, and the greatest unwillingness in the people to part with anything. Of all this I will give you a more particular account at your arrival. The design I had to move near the Enemy, to drive them from Peedee river a plentiful Country, has been defeated by the impossibility of subsisting on the Road, and no immediate supplies to be depended on in the first instant of a difficult march. I will prepare exact Returns, towards the time I shall have the pleasure of seeing you, of the regular Troops of the Department; but I could hardly depend on any but the Maryland and Delaware Regiments of my Division with a small number of Artillerymen and Col. Armand's Legion, and all those very much reduced by Sickness, Discharge and Desertion. This induced me to leave three pieces of Artry. at Roanoke river, and to send since 6 to Hillsborough, having kept eight, which I thought sufficient for so small an army.

I am to move towards Coxe's mill, higher up on Deep River, where I am to be joined by the North Carolina Militia under M. G. Caswell, of about 1,200; the Virginia Militia are still at Hillsborough,

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as you will be informed there. You may also have met with a small party of Col. Buford's remains. I wanted to keep them in the army, but lacking Arms and Clothing, he insisted on marching them to Virginia, and promised me he would join in the beginning of July. I have not heard from him since. Coln. Washington and Coln. White's regiments of horse are at Halifax, it is said, unfit for service. I have wrote to them both several times to know their situation, but could not obtain an answer as yet. There were two troops of V. light Horse under Major Nelson, in so bad order in respect to horses wanting saddles and every article of accoutrement that I have sent them to Halifax to refit and recruit.

Colonel White has 25 of his Light Horse left at Hillsborough; they might serve you for an escort, if you ordered one from Camp to meet you. Let me be informed thereof in time. You will find the Army in a few days at or near Coxe's mill; your shortest road will be by Lindsey's mill, Col. Thaxton and Rocky river. Your waggons, if you have any, would go better by Chatham Court house; your Quarters will be marked near camp.

I have the honor to be,
With great respect and esteem, Dear General,
Your most obedient and most humble servant,
The honorable Horatio Gates, Major General commanding the Southern army, on his way to Hillsborough.