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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Robert Bignall to Thomas Burke
Bignall, Robert, ca. 1730-1787
February 13, 1782
Volume 16, Pages 193-194

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Tarborough, February 13th, 1782.


I have just heard of your being at Halifax. Be assured I do sincerely congratulate you on your safe arrival to your family and Government.

In October last I purchased a quantity of Arms and Powder to the amount of about two hundred and twenty thousand pounds weight of Tobacco, a larger quantity than I then had in hand or have since been able to purchase with what little stock I had on hand. About one half of the Arms and Powder I had brought from New Berne to this place and immediately forwarded them, agreeably to Governor Martin’s directions to Colonel Burton, the Quarter Master General. The remainder was taken from New Berne by General Rutherford’s order.

Upon my informing Governor Martin of my purchase and acquainting him with the quantity of Tobacco I had on hand, he sent me an order on Major Tatom the Commissioner of Hillsborough District for sixty thousand Pounds Weight of Tobacco, which he wrote me was collected in that District for the Public, but upon my informing Major Tatom with the Draft I had on him, Colonel Henderson, Commissioner with Major Tatom, wrote me that they never had more than fifty thousand in possession, twenty-three thousand of which Colonel Davie had got, the remainder should be sent to me. But I have only received five Hogsheads as yet, although I have repeatedly written to Colonel Burton on the subject, and the Tobacco very much wanted, as I promised to deliver the whole of it at Washington in six weeks from the time I made the purchase, but was not able to send any down until lately for want of boats.

I am now under the necessity of engaging Tobacco for Freight, although Governor Martin wrote me that the Quarter Master would furnish me with boats, wagons and hands to transport the Tobacco to Washington, but as yet I have not got the least assistance from any Department. I could wish some of the Tobacco from the District

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of Hillsborough could be sent to me soon, and I could also wish the wagons could be ordered to take it immediately to Washington, as I am afraid I can not get it all down while we have water enough in the river, and I am anxious that the gentleman from whom I bought the Arms, &c., should be paid as soon as possible.

If I had Salt I could purchase as much Tobacco as I want, but have none. Here are about two hundred bushels Alum Salt in my Warehouse belonging to the public and in the care of Mr. Edward Hull, Assistant Quarter Master, which has been at this place ever since the first of December last.

I have the Honor to be with due Esteem
Your Excellency’s,
Most Ob. & very H’ble Serv’t.,
Com. Trade.