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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William Smallwood to Horatio Gates
Smallwood, William, 1732-1792
October 31, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 720-721


Camp New Providence, October 31st, 1780.


Since my last, nothing material has occured except a great scarcity of Provision. Colo. Polk has not even supplied the Regular Troops. Our principal Subsistence has been brought in by Detachments, which they took from the disaffected who have gone over to the Enemy; and I have now not less than two Hundred Men employed on that duty, which is the only prospect of supplying the Troops till the late Provision Act for collecting the specific Tax in Provision is more effectually carried into Execution, which I fear at last will not afford an ample supply in addition to what Purchases can be made. Forage is also much exhausted, and can not long be procured for any considerable Force.

Plundering prevails to an amazing degree, by Persons who go under the denomination of Volunteers. Your Proclamations restraining this infamous Practice, and offering terms to the Tories before they obtain Intelligence of the Enemy's landing in Virginia, might have, as I wrote you before, a salutary effect.

The British two days ago were encamped at Lee's Mill, said to be fifteen Miles below the Cross Roads. From this place Roads lead to the Westward—Congaree, Charles Town, and Camden;

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from which no just Conclusion can be drawn of their Destination or Views.

I shall be happy to see you on with the Continental Troops as soon as they can be equipped; the present aspect of our Affairs seems inauspicious. The Enemy's late descent in Virginia, together with our defenceless Situation and want of Resources, is truly alarming. Pray what has become of the French Fleet? Unless something is to be expected from them, our Situation must become ineligible.

General Sumpter lies high up on the South side of the Catawba, he writes me his number is very inconsiderable. The Georgians have not joined him as he expected. The other Parties who defeated Ferguson are dispersed and gone Home, except the Escort with the Prisoners.

You will be so obliging to continue to forward any farther Intelligence you may receive respecting the Enemy, or other material transactions.

I am, with very great Regard and Esteem,
Your Most Obedt. and very Hble. Servt.,

N. B. Axes and intrenching Tools are much wanting.

Honble. General Gates.