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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Edward Stevens to Horatio Gates
Stevens, Edward
August 21, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 568-569


Camp at Parson's Farm, 18 miles from
Masque's Ferry, August 21st, 1780.

Dear Genl.

I rejoice to hear of your being safe, but most sincerely condole with you for our misfortunes, and more especially as they were brought on by ye d m n d rascally behaviour of ye Militia. My feelings never Knew what it was to be hurt before, tho' to repine indeed is unmanly and answers no good end therefore am determined and am now ready to obey your commands with

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double ardour. I arrived at Masque's Ferry Yesterday, when I got theer, was much amazed to find that ye party that was and had collected their had retreated from thence to Hillsborough. This, I am informed, was ordered by Colo. Harrison. Whether he received your orders for it or not, I cannot be informed, as the Colo. is gone forward himself to Hillsborough.

I last night overtook ye party at this place; their numbers and situation with respect to Arms I now send you. As the retreat from Masques is so far advanced, I shall continue on to Buffaloe Ford, on Deep River, where I shall halt till I hear from you. The behaviour of the Tories surpasses any thing that you can imagine. My horse being wounded made my time more difficult to this place than it otherwise would have been. It is scarce possible to keep ye troops together; ye militia at every opp'ty clearing themselves for home, And I am perfectly satisfyed great numbers of them have thrown away their Arms in order that they may the better effect getting home, and seem to have no notion of embodying. I have Officers ahead to Stop all ye Virga. Militia going home. As I cannot be certainly informed where you'll be, shall send both to Salisbury and Hillsborough.

I am, wth. ye greatest esteem, Dear Genl.,
Your Obedt. hum. Servt.,

P. S. Not one of our Waggons has escaped this rout. It is horrid to see ye desertion made of ye Waggons and Supplys that was going to ye Army, and in places where their was no danger, and might have been brought off with the greatest ease. We have no Ammunition with us; what was left at ye River Colo. Harrison has carried on wth. him.