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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William Preston to Martin Armstrong
Preston, William, 1729-1783
September 18, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 626-627

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(Copy of a Letter.)

Bottetourt Court House, Sept. 18th, 1780.


This hour I was favoured with Your Letter of the 12th instant, which was forwarded to me by Colo. Crockett, who lives 90 miles from hence, by Express. The increasing distresses of our friends to the Southward give me the deepest concern; would to God I had power equal to my inclination in any measure to alleviate them. I have not a doubt but what they suffer now, unless Providence interposes, we must mostly experience even amongst our Mountains.

Before Colo. Campbell returned, a plan was laid by the Officers in Montgomery to raise 500 or even 1,000 choice Riflemen in the counties of Augusta, Rockbridge, Botetourt, Montgomery & Washington (amongst whom are to be 150 Light Horse tolerably equipp'd to act as a body of Light infantry under the immediate command of Genl. Gates, to Rendezvous at the Moravian town the 15 of October, & to continue three months on duty from that time, unless sooner discharged. This Scheme I sent to the Government by Congress, & expect an answer in Eight days, & perhaps sooner. I also applied to the several County-Lieutenants & exhorted them to put the Business in motion amongst their respective Militias, that preparations might be making in the mean time, & that when Orders arrive from the the Executive the Troops might be ready to march. How far the proposals may be adopted in the several Counties I can't positively say: but I have many reasons to believe that they will meet with all due encouragement, and that each County will exert itself on this alarming occasion; nor have I a remaining doubt but that our Government will most cheerfully adopt these measures; & the rather as they are warmly recommended thereto by General Lewis & Colo. Fleming, two of the Council of State, to whom I applied for their approbations. Thus, Sir, stood matters, when your Letter came to hand; but lest this Relief might be too slow & not answer your present purposes, I have directed Colo. Crockett to send two or three Companies to your immediate relief to overawe the Tories

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in your County & the neighborhood thereof for two or three weeks, that your own Militia might join the Army with more safety to their families & Property: this, I hope, will not interfere with our General plan of sending you a more effectual Aid by the time above mentioned. I have also prevailed on the County Lieutenant of Botetourt, who was present when your letter came to hand, to order a Company of Militia to follow those from Montgomery as soon as they can possibly be raised. I have also directed Colo. Crockett to write to Colo. Campbell of Washington, & request him, if possible, to send another Company, to continue untill the whole body proposed are in motion, & then to return home.

This is all I can do at present; but you may be assured that every Officer, & every thinking man in this Country will exert themselves to the utmost to send you the proposed assistance, which we hope will give a favorable turn to your affairs, provided you can persevere untill they can be sent.

As soon as I receive the Governor's Letter on this subject, I shall communicate the Contents to you by Express. I have the pleasure to tell you that, from the best information I can gather since I came to this place, our Government have ordered the 3,000 Recruits now raised into your State to your assistance; they are to assemble at Hillsborough; also 2,000 Militia, exclusive of the Corps which we are about to raise behind the Mountains, & One thousand Volunteers, which I hear one Colo. Lawson has been ingaged some time with success in raising.

Let me beg of you to write me a line as Opportunity offers; it may be of the greatest use to hasten the Aids from this Quarter.

I am, &c., &c.,
To Colo. Martin Armstrong,

Surry County.