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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from James Browne to Horatio Gates
Browne, James
November 16, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 739-740


Hillsborough, November 16, 1780.

My Dear General:

Your Letter of the 12 I this Day rec'd, and shall observe your Directions as far as in my power. The No. of Sick at this Post is upward of 200, and increasing daily. We yesterday rec'd an Addition of 46 from the Virginia Line—should be able to discharge a considerable Number in the Course of next Week, had the Men Clothing & Shoes to defend them from the Inclemency of the Weather on their March to join your Army. As soon as Waggons can be procured, a Senior, Junior and Mate, in Addition to those already at Charlotte, shall be sent forward with the Hospital commissary.

My dearest and best friend, I perceive by your Letter that you have not been advised of the Death of your beloved Son; that melancholly Event was communicated to Me by Major Armstrong in his last, dated Berkley, M. Throgmortons, Oct. 12. He left Mrs. Gates the day before preparing to set out for Piedmont, where He had been invited to spend a Week or two. The Major informs me that except her poignt. Distresses for the greatest of all Losses She was free from any Disease, and waits your Determination relative to her Coming Southward to you, or moving

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northwardly. It does not appear to be her Wish, nor does the Major think it eligible, to settle again at your family Seat, where every object would serve to excite her Griefs; he recommends settling in a City for obvious Reasons. It is a harsh Task to be the Intelligencer of such sad News to the Person I hold dearest upon Earth. Most willingly would I commit it to another, and as willingly would I divide with you your afflictions could I thereby subtract the least from the Weight of Woe that oppresses you. You must lament him, my dear General. He was all that you could wish for in a Son. I also must lament him; He was all that I could wish in a friend. But, my dear Patron, let not your Griefs unhinge, unman you; the Stroke was inevitable and could not be prevented. You are to remember that upon this trying Occasion you are to preserve that greatness of Mind that in Afflictions and Adversities constitutes the Hero. Let not your Enemies have an Opportunity to reproach you.

Congress have made a new Arrangement in the Midl. Department, and have left all your friends here out of their Appointments. I am glad they have given Me an Opportunity of retiring. Our affairs have arrived at that state in which the Poet says the Post of Honor is a private Station. I have not yet got the better of my Agues, and fear I must visit the Sea Shore before I go to the Northward, which will be as soon as Congress shall be pleased to send down Gent'n to take Charge of the Hospitals here.

I am, with the greatest Sincerity,
Yr. affectionate friend & very hble. Serv't,
Honble Genl. Gates.