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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Henry William Harrington to Horatio Gates
Harrington, Henry William, 1747-1809
September 21, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 635-637


Camp near Cross Creek, 21st Sept. 1780, 7 A. M.

Dear Sir:

I was honoured yesterday evening with your Favours of the 18th Instant, and shall send Letters this morning to Peedee & to the lower part of Bladen County, requesting the earliest intelligence by express, of the first certain accounts of the arrival of the Fleet of our Allies. I have engaged a Person to go to the Seashore, to Lockwood's folly, and to the Boundary-house, & as far southward along the Sea coast as he can, with safety to himself; to make all possible enquiry of the Fishermen, the Sailing Boats & of all others, of the certainty of the said Fleet's being off this Coast. You may rely, Sir, on my utmost endeavour to have it in my power to give you the first certain Intelligence of their arrival, and on this occasion I shall not spare any necessary expence.

Colo. Drayton I was in hopes would have been here ere this with the joyful accounts of the arrival of the Fleet He went to Wilmington to gain intelligence of it.

Colo. Kolbe is unfortunately much indisposed. I shall, Sir, with pleasure present Your Thanks to the worthy Colonel in the manner You desire.

From Colo. Marion, and of the Continentals he released, You must, Sir, by this time have heard.

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Major Butler is in Cross-Creek & has an Ague every day. McLean has received the Law of Moses; he is still in custody, to be sent, Sir, whenever You please to order.

It was some time before I heard that the Assembly had appointed Colo. Davison Brigr. Genl. of Salisbury District Pro tem. in my stead; at first I could not give credit to it, especially as the Governr. wrote to me as usual, without taken the least notice of that proceeding; but when it became no longer a matter of doubt, I expected daily to be made acquainted with it, either by Letter from His Excellency, or from the Board of War; but it was from Colonel Wade that I derived the first certain knowledge. He wrote me on the 14th Instant that It was carried in Assembly by the Western Interest, contrary to My General's and Govr. Nash's desire, as well as against the opinion of near half the House, and not till after some warm debates. Such an honourable Testimony of the Approbation of my Conduct by The Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Department, By the General who at Saratoga gave us Our Alliance with France, gave us rank with the Nations of the Earth, by His Excellency the Governor, and by a considerable Minority of the Assembly, gives me high satisfaction, and more than compensates for that Act of the Majority which deprives me of the honour of the Command of the first District in the State. Be pleased, Sir, to accept my Thanks for your friendly interposition in my favour, and for the honourable & polite Terms in which You were pleased to announce to me this unexpected Act of the Assembly's. I should have resigned immediately on receipt of Colo. Wade's Letter, but as there was the highest probability that Major Weyms, then near the mouth of Lynch's Creek, and pushed on by Doctor Mills, would visit the Cheraw District, where Mills used to reside; and although greatly distressed by the sufferings of the remains of my Family, then on route to Virginia, I could not support the thought of abandoning the Brave, the Generous, the Distressed, in the three Peedee Regiments, to the fury of a cruel and vindictive Foe as long as there was the least probability of its being in my power to assist them; and I flattered myself, Sir, as it was so clearly our Interest to assist those brave men in protecting their property, their Grain & their Mills especially, even for our own sakes, that I should have been honoured with Orders to have marched with

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the Party under my command to Peedee before our Friends there had been obliged to fly, as there was no doubt, with their assistance, of our being able to drive Mills' Banditts, who still continue to plunder, burn & destroy all before them. These, Sir, were the Reasons of the Desire to take Post on Peedee, which is so evident in most of my Letters to my Friend and to the Govr.; and this Desire, joined to the probability of the Enemy's advancing, induced me to continue in Commission after the Conduct of the Assembly in respect to me, and will induce me still to continue untill our haughty Foes are obliged to retreat, either by dint of our own strength or by the timely succour of our Allies, which I hope is not far off; and then I shall, in justice to myself, resign a Commission which a Majority of the last Session of Assembly were not willing I should hold, and which has been greatly prejudicial to my private concerns.

With the most respectful Regard, I am, Dear Sir,
Your most humble, and most obedt. Serv.,