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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Armstrong to Jethro Sumner
Armstrong, John, 1717-1795
July 01, 1781
Volume 15, Pages 504-505


Camp Bigg Springs, Twenty Miles From Broad River,
July 1st, 1781.

Dear General:

The Enemy having received a large reinforcement at Chas. Town Enabled Lord Roden to march to 96 by which means General Greene was under the necessity of raising the siege. They pursued him as far as the Fish Dam Ford on Broad River and then took back again in great haste, the reason of this I cannot venture to relate Except it was to get of what stores they might have in that fort, it would have been completely reduced in three days more had his Lordship not advanced; we are now in Camp about half way between the Nation Foard on Catawba and the Fish Dam ford on Broad River in a fine situation & plenty of good water; it hath one failing, it will not make grogg.

The General seems very uneasy about the delay of the drafts of Salisbury district and the desertions that frequently happen by reason they forsd a number of Toreys into the Sarvis and as soon as they recd. the Bounty deserted. I have received nigh three hundred men and will not have above two in the field. I did everything in my power to bring out the drafts of this district, but all to

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no purpose; there is one half at home yet and remains without molestation; as for clothing there was little or none sent fit for a Negro to wear except from Rowan. I am sorry I ever had anything to do with such sloathful Officers & neglected soldiers; there is a number of them now almost Nacked. When cold weather sets in they must be discharged for no Officer would pretend to put them on duty, the neglect we have laboured under heretofore together with the present, makes the sarvis very disagreeable to every officer in Camp; we are without money, cloathing or any kind of Nourishment for our sick. Not one gill of Rum, Shugar or Coffey, No tents nor Camp kettels Cantains, &c., &c., &c., No Doctor nor medisins. Under those Sircumstances we must become very indurable; I wish it had been my Lott to have gone with you to Virginia where we would have been under your Imedat Care, and shared the fate of the other drafts and officers of the State. I am fully satisfied you was not acquainted with our Sircumstances hear or otherwise it would have been removed. I recd. yours of the 12th Instant directing me to order the Lewises, into the field again, one is dead, the other a member of the Assembly & Joel resigned and denys Sarving any longer. I am afraid that in a short time you will have but few Officers in the field by reason of the Shamefull neglects of the State, we seem rather a burthing than a benefit to them, we are tossed too and fro like a ship in a storm. I cannot learn what is become of Major Eaton's men. Sanders has a few some where to the southward of this. McRee, Lytle and Brevard, was sent back with the prisoners to Salisbury and I have got about ninety in Camp. I will do my best to gather them to Camp if possible and then shall make you a full return. I have nothing more particular to acquaint you of at present; we are lying verry still; if anything happens Material I will do myself the pleasure of writing to you in full.

I am with much Esteem your most
Obedient, humble servant,

N. B. Please to present my compliments to my brother officers with you.

J. A.