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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Robert Smith to Abner Nash
Smith, Robert
October 24, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 129-130


Edenton, 24th Oct., 1780.

To His Excellency Abner Nash, Governor, Newbern.
Dear Sir:

I have certain intelligence from Virginia that last Sunday eveningy

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the Enemy landed at Portsmouth to the amount of one Thousand men & upwards. They came in sixty Sail of Vessels. It seems their intention is to march through this State to form a junction with Lord Cornwallis. They sent in two hundred men into Princess Ann County, and plundered it totally and drove in the Cattle. They took Mr. Thorrowgood & Mr. Wake, with several other valuable citizens, and carried them on Board the Fleet, to send them, as is supposed, to some other Country to be tried. Genl. Nelson was down at the time they came in, and used all the endeavours he could with the Militia, offering to head them himself if they would turn out, but he met with so little encouragement he had come up to Suffolk yesterday & on his way to Richmond to hasten down some Regular Troops that are there, but I am afraid they will come too late; I fancy Beubury has ordered the Militia of the district to assemble, but they want arms, and their movements are so slow, officers & men, that my hopes from them, I must confess, is not the most sanguine, and as this place is said to be one of their objects, I fear they will but too cheaply obtain it. We are preparing to make the best opposition we can, but God knows, unaided, unsupported, the small number of Inhabitan of this Town cannot carry their opposition far.

I have sent an Express to the Great Bridge to see if that post is still in our possession. Should that be the case, we could, I think, maintain it against all the force they have yet landed. I fancy the Genl. will write you and crave hard for Council, Aid & assistance; but as I was not certain of it I took the liberty to write you this line, thinking your Excellency would be anxious to know how matters stood this way.

The last account I had from the Great Bridge it was in our possession; we had several pieces of Artillery mounted there, and a small Garrison Collected from the different Counties round it. It's a very tenable and very important Post.

I have the Honour to be, with much respect,
Your Excellency's most obedt. H. Servt.,