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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Horatio Gates to Abner Nash
Gates, Horatio, 1728-1806
August 03, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 17-18


Camp West Bank of Pedee,
Near Mask's Ferry, 3rd August, 1780.


I had the Honour to address your Excellency from Hillsborough the 19th Ultimo, by Genl. Huger, but have not as yet received any answer. The Distress this Army has suffered, and

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still continues to suffer, for want of Provisions has perhaps destroyed the finest Opportunity that could be presented of driving the Enemy's advanced post, in all likelihood, even into Charles Town. Lord Cornwallis is believed to be gone to Savannah; has weakened his Main Body at Camden, where Lord Rawdon commands, and withdrawn the troops from Augusta, Cheraws and Anson's Court House. I am astonished that I have not Intelligence of any Flour coming to me from the Interior part of the State. Your Excellency cannot believe this miserable Country, already ravaged by the Enemy and gleaned by the Militia under the Generals Caswell & Rutherford, can afford a Handful to me. I must believe your Excellency's Letter in answer to mine from Richmond, that you had then done all you thought necessary to provide us. I am anxious that this Letter should find your Excellency and the Executive Council at Hillsborough exerting all your authority and Influence to supply your almost famished Troops. Flour and Rum are the Articles the most in Request in this Climate, which Bad Weather contributes to render more unwholesome. Rum is as necessary to the Health of a Soldier as good Food. Without these, full Hospitals and a thin Army will be all your State or Congress can depend upon in the Southern Department. For my own part, I have never lost one Moment in pressing the Army forward from the Instant I joined it to this Moment, and when I can do more more shall be done. Depend not, Sir, upon Commissaries; they will deceive you. Depend only upon honest Men, of sound Whig Principles, and whose souls are Superior to sordid Gain. Genl. Stevens, with the Virginia Militia, is halted at Buffaloe Ford, Fifty Miles in my Rear, and cannot proceed for want of Provisions. I March To-morrow at Daybreak.

With Great Regard, I am, Sir,
Your Excellency's most Obedient Humble Servt.,

P. S. Genl. Rutherford's Division have no Tents. I hope those I wrote for to your Excellency are in a fair way to be sent forward.