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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Stephen Drayton to Horatio Gates
Drayton, Stephen, 1736-1810
September 25, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 649-651


25 September, 1780.


In consequence of your letter of the 6th Instant, I sett out from Cross Creek, intending to proceed as far as the Camp of either Colo. Marion or Giles, but when I came to white marsh I met with the Men of those two Colonels, under the command of the former, who had retreated from Peedee. Of course my further progress south-wardly would have been attended with certain danger. I could not answer the End you could wish. I therefore, after waiting several days in hopes of gaining intelligence by some who were expected in, concluded to send a man in, to whom I have given directions that, should he not be fortunate enough to be the Bearer of the news so much wish'd for, to proceed as far as Haddrels point & endeavour there to gain every knowledge he can in other matters. From the character and appearance of the Man I flatter myself he will exert himself to render service.

Various are the reports that come in hourly respecting the motions of the Enemy. This morning accounts were brought to Mr. Bourguin, at whose house I am at present, of three Bodies, one of 500 British & Tories, at long bluff on Pee-Dee; one of 250 Tories at Kingston, Waccamaw; one party of 150 at Armies, near Brunswick, the Tories commanded by British officers. The first meets with credit, the two latter doubtful, tho' Colo. Marion

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marched yesterday, upon some intelligence he received, to the southward, and I am told Colo. Brown, with his Militia, marches this day to take post on drowning creek.

It is idle for me to hand you Northern news, yet as it is flattering, permit me to mention what is here reported, brought by a Doctor who is arrived at Wilmington from Philadelphia. He says the English Fleet are blocked up at New York by a part of the Fleet of our Allies, & that a division has sailed from the W. Indies for Charles Town; I am in hopes my man will bring a confirmation. Should I receive any thing of importance before the return of this Express, I will do myself the Honor of being the Bearer of it to you, unless the Fleet is actually on the Coasts; in that Case I will endeavour to know more of them before I see you.

Conscious of the want of our officers that are now in this State, & the poorness of the Continental Stores, I have taken upon me to send a list of articles for cloathing, for such officers & privates as belong to So. Carolina, to Messrs. Stanley & Co. Merchts. in Newbern, who have a Valuable prize with European goods, captured off Chas. Town Bar, arrived there. I was induced to do this for the above reason, as also upon that House offering me as an Officer their credit & Services. I do purpose drawing on Governor Rutledge for the amount of the purchase if it meets with your approbation, & should it, beg leave to mention that in similar cases, in army service, the Genl. back'd my Contracts, with an application to the Governor to supply the sums I might require; he has the whole of the last Certificates remitted by Congress for the Use of the State, & therefore has it in his power without addressing Congress to answer the drafts that may be made.

In my list I include certain stores in the Q. Master's department, & Stationery, as also cartridge paper & Cordage, a small quantity for Artillery & other Uses; for I trust we shall soon have occasion for them in our state, & I know full well the Q. Master's Stores in this State & Virginia are Blanks.

I step a little out of my line respecting the Cloathing; but there being no proper Officer belonging to So. Carolina here, the opportunity of cloathing the naked may be lost: & I am conscious my mode of payment will purchase them on terms superior

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to those made by this State. But allow me, sir, to declare private emolument has no weight with me in this Act. The general turn of the World just now has obliged me to make this declaration, least I should be mixed with the Herd. The desire of rendering my Country service in any respect is the only passion I have at present.

I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
Genl. Gates.