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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Christian Senf to Thomas Benbury
Senf, John Christian
November 05, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 144-145


Camp at Great Swamp, November 5th, 1780.

Dear General:

Through the neglect and slow movements of these Gentlemen, Officers and Inhabitants, your express ordered to join me, and by the superiority of the Enemy am likewise drove off from N. W. River Bridge, the 3rd, in the morning at day break. The Enemy, with___(torn out)___their way at a passage over logs called the Burn___(torn out)___where I had stationed 50 Virginians. They attacked them suddenly, and, having good Guides, they passed that defile before I cou'd have notice of it. Of course all that I could do was to quit the other post, which, when dispersed of eight miles distance, draw them together, march and oppose them if possible; but hardly cou'd I get together 140 men of Virginians and No. Carolinians, and was liable of being cut off from the great Swamp. I sent off 40 Men to that Pass. Few of the Volunteer Light Horse and some on Foot skirmished with the Enemy. The Enemy advanced, and the greatest part of the Men were looking for their Retreat. I hardly cou'd muster 60 Men in all at the Great Swamp, And since that Time I have become less, by Desertions. I hardly have 30 men in all. Yesterday I was at the County of Currituck & Indian Town, which is 28 miles from here. I have ordered the Militia of Currituck and___torn out)___of Camden to make a stand at Tulley's Creek, but I don't know if they can muster 40 Men with arms, and the Inhabitants are much discontented by reconnoitring the

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County. I think with 300 Men the County still Cou'd be defended against a considerable force. If you have any Men, you'd best send them immediately, or I am afrade it will be attended with bad consequences. I likewise beg to order another Officer to take Command of this Place, that I may join the Army again where I may be of more use than at present at this Station. By all Information, the Enemy has between 3 or 400 Men at No. W. River, in different places. None of our Men got Hurt except Capt. Pain, who Commanded the Volunteer Light Horse. He had his arm broke by a shot. Two of the Enemy were killed and several wounded. As I have no more paper, I beg you'l inclose this to his Excellency Governor Nash.

I am, with due respect,
Your Most Obedt. Servt.,
Colonel Engineers.