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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Hugh Williamson to Thomas Burke
Williamson, Hugh, 1735-1819
July 05, 1781
Volume 15, Pages 507-508

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Halifax, 5th July, 1781.


Two days ago I recd. a Letter from Edenton concerning a young man a Surgeon lately arrived from England who is willing to serve in the Army. His name is Bull, he was born and educated in London, came out Surgeon to a privateer of 20 guns which the crew seized at Madeira & brought her to Teneriff. From Teneriff he is just come to Edenton and desires employment. Tho I presume that he has been regularly educated & is well accomplished as a Surgeon I should not employ a Gentleman in his Situation unless by advice from Govermt. or the commanding officer. At present I do not know whether any Surgeons are or will be wanted. On this subject I wish to hear from your Excellency. During the Winter & Spring I had not so much as an assistant (except one Lad for 6 weeks) in Genl. Gregory's Camp. Three weeks ago I prevailed on a Surgeon to take the Charge of the Sick for some Time, he would not engage for any Continuance as he is Subject to being call'd away at any Hour. But it had become necessary that I should devote a few weeks to the settlemt. of private affairs & the army being very small at that Time & healthy the General had no Objection to my withdrawing for a while. When I first enter'd the Service of this State 4000 men were expected to take the Field under Major Gen. Caswell. At present there is no considerable body of Militia at any particular Station, And it is more than probable that a regimental Surgeon is the only officer not wanted in the medical department. Hitherto I have been obliged to provide Medicines, Instruments, Linen & other necessaries for a Hospital & that too generally at my private Expence. My office has been very Expensive & commonly my duty has been very severe, However knowing the State of public Finances I make no complaints. Though I have not sent in my commission I do not consider myself at present as entitled to public Pay, for I am on private Business. Should I find at any Time that my Services can be of any particular use to the public I am ready to serve even as a Volunteer. In the meanwhile as I presume that new Regulations will be adopted in the Militia Department

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I shall not hereafter venture to take any Steps in that Line without particular Instructions.

Inclosed is the Copy of a Letter from Gl. Gregory to Col. Blount at Edenton. As you may not be acquainted with the particular Topography of that Camp & its Environs I have taken the Liberty of inclosing a small Sketch by which you will perceive that nothing but Phrenzy could not have tempted the General to fight or remain a minute in his camp after the Enemy had arrived at McPhearson's on the very road that he should have retreated, leaving only one Retreat & that very circuitous.

I have the Honor to be Sir
Your obdt. Hble Servt.

P. S. It is said that Genl. Gregory has again taken Possession of his Camp with all his Canon & Stores.