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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Benjamin Lincoln to Richard Caswell
Lincoln, Benjamin, 1733-1810
January 29, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 330-331

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

Charles Town, January 29th, 1780.

(On Public Service.)

His Excellency Richard Caswell, Esqr., Governor of North Carolina.
Dear Sir:

Since I did myself the honour of addressing your Excellency, under the 24th Inst., our frigates have returned from a cruise. By them I learn that they discovered some ships off Port Royal, and that their tender saw many others off Tybee. Some of them appeared to be ships of war. On their return the frigates took two sloops, part of the fleet which left the Hook the 26th Ulto. They had about 45 Dragoons on board, wt. 45 Horses and furniture for them. (All the horses were lost on the passage but two.) From the prisoners we are informed that the fleet consisted of 140 sail, bound to Georgia, wt. a large number of troops on board, some say 10,000, and that General Clinton commands in person. Though we are uncertain as with regard to their exact number and who commands them, yet that they are in very great force cannot be questioned, or that the subjugation of this State is their object, to defeat which depends so much on the exertion of yours that I cannot help repeating my request that the full number of men ordered may be sent forward wt. all possible dispatch, and that they may, if possible, be convinced that too much depends on their present exertions, and that their own safety and happiness is too nearly connected wt. the salvation of this State, to justify their refusal to march to its assistance, whatever small Circumstance of Bounty, &c., may intervene.

I have the honor to be,
Dear Sir, with the greatest respect,
Your Excellency's most obedient Servant,

Since closing the above, Mr. Rutledge has returned. By him I am informed that the common Expresses are so dilatory and unfaithful that no dependence can be placed in them, and that they spread wild and groundless reports in the country that the enemy

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are leaving Georgia, &c., so that the necessary exertions are not made by the people, from a belief that their Services are not needed here. To prevent any delay at this critical period, & that we may reap all the advantages of just representation of matters, I have desired Major Clarkson, one of my family, to become the bearer of this. He is well acquainted with our real Situation. From his mouth you will receive a just and impartial account of the affairs in this State, & all I know of the Enemy's force & situation in Georgia. If it should be necessary he will call on the Assembly.

I had, a few days since, information from Genl. Rutherford that, in case of necessity, he would embody 500 Volunteers & march them to our assistance. The time seems to be fast approaching when they will be really needed. This kind offer on his part, & being informed by Mr. Rutledge that he had requested leave from you to suffer us to call on him, if his services were necessary, without first applying to your Excellency, have induced me to send to him, desiring that he would march as soon as possible with the troops he proposed.

I am, Dear Sir, Yours,