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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Abner Nash to George Washington
Nash, Abner, ca. 1740-1786
December 14, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 176-177

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[From the Washington Papers, No. 44, P. 189.]

Newbern, December 14, 1780.


I have just had the honour to receive your Excellency's favour of the 6th ult. Your favours by Majr. General Greene I did myself the honour to answer some time ago, & expressed how much the Southern States were indebted to you for your attention shewn to their interests in the appointmt. of that Genl. to the Command here, & have no doubt he will effect every advantage for us that we may enable him to do; at the same time must observe that the provision hitherto made by the Assembly of this State in particular for the support of an Army is so inadequate, & the steps taken with regard to the currency & other Matters of the greatest consequence so void of policy, that I fear much distress must yet be indured before we shall become sufficiently wise for our own interests. The resolutions of Congress for filling up our Continental Battalions I have repeatedly & in the most pressing manner recommended to their attention, & have had the mortification as yet to find nothing effectual done. I hope your Excellency's Letter to me on this Subject, w'ch I shall have the Honour of Laying before them in a few days, will move the Assembly to do something Suitable to their rank as a Sovereign State, & indeed absolutely necessary to their political Existence. Of all their Acts respecting the great object of defence I shall not fail to acquaint yr. Excellency as soon as I am afforded an opportunity.

Since the affair of Ferguson's defeat, w'ch did the highest honour to the Militia concerned in it, I hear the noted Col. Tarleton has been defeated by another party of Militia under the com'd of Genl. Sumpter. The Board of War writes me that in this action the British lost 90 men killed & 70 taken prisoners, & that Tarleton himself was wounded in two places, thro' the Body & his Thigh broken. I have had the same accts. from Genls. in different parts of the Country, but having it not from Camp I dare not give it as Fact, tho' I much believe it. I have not heard a word of the Enemy landed in Virga. since they left that country. Immediately

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on their departure I sent express to Genl. Small wood to put him on his Guard. The Enemy have not been intirely free of trouble off Charlestown, & on the Coast in that quarter during this summer; they have suffered very considerably by our privateers, particularly by open Row Boats. These Boats, with forty or fifty men on Board, take almost every thing that comes in their way. Two who went in company returned here this week, after a leave of about 20 days, in w'ch time they took and sent in 12 valuable prizes, besides burning, I think, 4. They also did another important service; they landed in Georgia and took off a Mr. Young, the richest man and greatest Tory in that country, except the Governor; they also brought off a considerable number of his negroes. This Mr. Young is now a prisoner. Here the action is exclaimed against by some moderate men; however, as it is exactly in the line of retaliation, I shall not fail to encourage it, unless I should be overruled. There has been lately a second transportation of Charles Town citizens to Augusta; among these is Mr. Middleton the younger. Even the ladies do not escape their vengeance. Mrs. Kinlock and Mrs. Ben Huger have written to me of their distresses. For the offence of permitting Mrs. Pendleton, who escaped from Charles Town, to stay a night in their house they have been taken from their plantation at Wacomico and carried prisoners to Chas. Town, where they are now confined, and reduced from a state of the greatest affluence to want; and to embitter the condition of Mrs. Huger (the lady of Maj. Huger, who fell in the siege of Charles Town) she has lost two of her small children since she was separated from them, probably for want of care; but what I have mention'd are trifles compared to their daily enormities. I shall on all occasions think myself highly honored in hearing from your Excellency, and shall not fail from time to time giving you such intelligence as I shall think it necessary for our Commander-in-Chief to know,

And am, with the highest respect and esteem, Sir,
Your Excellency's most obedt. and very Hble. Servant,

I beg yr. Excellency to forward the enclosed Ltr. to Genl. Howe, A. N.

[Endorsed] December 14th, 1780, from Governor Nash.