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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Thomas Burke to John Adams
Burke, Thomas, ca. 1747-1783
December 20, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 375-376

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[From Executive Letter Book.]

Philadelphia, Dec. 20th, 1780.

Dear Sir:

Presuming on our former acquaintance, while we served together in Congress, I take the liberty of introducing to you Mr. John Benegette, of this City, who proposes to visit you at Amsterdam. I hope you will find him, what he is esteemed here, and I believe him to be, an honest, sensible, intelligent gentleman and most unequivocally attached to his Country. I shall not solicit for him your attention and regard. I know he will deserve them, and I know you too well to doubt in that case his obtaining them. Having lately left the scene where our officers labor under the greatest difficulties, I mean the Southern department, it will probably not be disagreeable to you to know my sentiments relative to them. Some events, it is true, were unfortunate, but, to me, they seemed rather the result of misconduct, and a precipitation that contemned all precaution, than of weakness. Nothing can be a stronger proof of that determined, unconquerable Spirit which animates all America than what appeared in the State of North Carolina immediately on the defeat of Gen. Gates near Camden. The rout of his Army was as complete as can be imagined. The utter loss of tents, wagons and every Camp necessary made it impossible for his Troops to keep the field; want of Magazines, which, through some defect in the Staff department, had been neglected, rendered it almost impossible to collect the scattered soldiers. Appearances could not be more desperate. Even the General gave up all hopes of defending the Country, and thought of nothing but the safety of the remains of his Regular Army. But under all those circumstances the People, then laboring under all the distresses inseparable from an unprovided Soldiery, flew to arms with the greatest alacrity, resolving that the Enemy should not find their Country an easy prey, if even they should not be able finally to withstand them. They had the success that such spirit in a people will always command. They obtained a most complete Victory over one of the

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principal divisions of the British Army, with numbers much inferior to those they conquered. They harrassed the other division with incessant skirmishes, until they obliged them to retreat a considerable distance into South Carolina. The war may impoverish and distress us, we may be many times unsuccessful, our Armies may be dispersed, our finances deranged, but a people pervaded by such a spirit as animates all America never can be conquered. I refer you to some other correspondents for details. The Spirit of the people appears to me, and I am persuaded to you also, of far more interesting consequence.

I am, with much regard and Esteem,
Your obedt. Servt.,