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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Penn, Thomas Burke, and Allen Jones to Richard Caswell
Penn, John, 1740 or 1-1788; Burke, Thomas, ca. 1747-1783; Jones, Allen, 1739-1807
January 21, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 323-324

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

Philadelphia, Jany. 21st, 1780.


Enclosed is an Extract of Intelligence received through the most Authentic channel, and may be relied on. The peculiar interest which our Country has in some part of it determined us to give the earliest advice in our power to you, her presiding Magistrate, relying on your Vigilance for every thing that can possibly be done to frustrate the designs of the Enemy. We flatter ourselves that a strict attention even to the most minute movements of the disaffected, which we know you will cause to be kept up, will prevent the advantages which they hope for from that ill-judging class of our Citizens and from our Negroes; and should they attempt to invade or penetrate any part of our Country we have no doubt of hearing that the vigor and valor of our people will be exerted against them with decisive success. But we cannot help wishing that the scene of action may be forever removed from our own State, and that the Enemy may be met in their most distant approach by a force sufficient to give them an Effectual Check. Our apprehensions on the Articles of arms made us enquire if any succours of that kind could be sent from this place, but we can derive no hope from the result. Virginia has lately had an acquisition of five thousand stand, and we doubt not she will assist us if we shall be eminently threatened. It would give us great satisfaction to learn that the long-expected supplies of this kind are arrived, for we should have no fears from such a force as the Enemy can employ against our particular state if the Militia were completely armed. The Virginia line, which is on its March to reinforce the Southern Army, will be, we hope, at least time enough to come to the relief of Charlestown should it be invested, at all events to check them in their approach to our Country.

We are well informed that the German Princes have refused Troops to Great Britain, and even permission to recruit in their

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dominions. We have no other matter of important intelligence to communicate at present, and for ordinary Occurrences beg leave to refer you to the enclosed papers.

We have the honor to be,
Your Excellys. ob. Servts.,

[Enclosure Above Referred to.]


The number of Troops embarqued does not exceed seven thousand, sailed the 28th December, under convoy of the Russel, Robust, Europa, Defiance, Reasonable, Roebuck, Renown, Romulus and Perseus, positively going to Charlestown. Governor Martin, with a considerable number of North Carolina Refugees, and all the Officers who have been on furlough from Georgia, go with the Expedition. Five vessels are laden with Ordnance Stores, fifty Chests of Arms, for the purpose of Arming the Tories and Negroes. It is said that they are to act on a very different plan from what they formerly have—I expect, to settle the Country as they conquer it, by securing all those whom they may suppose dangerous, and to give the noted Tories a considerable Command, Clinton to go home immediately after taking possession of Charlestown, and leave command to Lord Cornwallis. The most sanguine Tories flatter themselves that the British Army will be in possession of both the Carolinas by May next. I sincerely hope that such measures will be taken as may disappoint their expectations, even to the taking of Charlestown. If the Garrison destined to defend it will have a retrospect to Georgia and imitate them, I think they may hold it. Clinton will make a Vigorous push for it, for I believe he thinks it necessary to do something to distiuguish himself before he returns to England.