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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from David Fanning to Thomas Burke
Fanning, David, 1756?-1825
February 29, 1782
Volume 16, Pages 205-208

[From Executive Letter Book.]

February 29th, 1782.


I understand that you have hung three of my men, one Captain and two privates and likewise have a Captain and six men under the sentence of death.

Sir, if the requisition of my articles do not arrive to satisfaction and the effusion of blood stopped and the lives of those men saved, that I will retaliate blood for blood and tenfold for one and there shall never an officer or private of the rebel party escape that falls into my hands hereafter but what shall suffer the pain and punishment of instant death. I have got your proclamation whereas it specifies this that all officers, leading men, persons of this class, guilty of murder, robbery and house burning, to be precluded from any benefit of your proclamation. For there never was a man who has been in Arms on either side but what is guilty of some of the above mentioned crimes, especially on the rebel side, and them that’s guilty is to suffer instant death if taken. If my request agreeable next, to my articles a’nt granted and arrive by the eighth day of March I shall fall upon the severest and most inhuman terms imaginable to answer the ends for satisfaction for those that are so executed, and if the request is granted immediately, send a Field Officer to Deep River to Mr. Windsor Pearce and there he may remain unmolested

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or to Colo. Phelan Obstone’s under a flag till we can settle matters, so no more but I am in behalf of His Majesty’s Troops.

Your mo. H’ble Servt.,
Commander of the Royal Militia of Randolph and Chatham.

P. S.: On Friday the 7th of January last I wrote to Lawyer Williams the terms that I was willing to surrender under and he wrote to me that General Butler could not comply with my terms till he had the approbation of the Governor. On Wednesday the 11th inst., the flag was to meet at a certain house with the letters and as the flag was coming it was waylaid by Charles Golson and a party of men for which it appeared to me that they seemed more like taking my life by treachery than coming upon peaceable terms, but as the gentleman that bore the flag, Balaam Thomson, acting so honorable to his trust the minute he arrived at the place, he let me know of it and declared himself innocent which gave me grounds to think that he would act with honor still.

On the 15th of the present month, Mr. Williams, Mr. Clark and Mr. Burns were the gentlemen that were kind enough to wait upon me with a blank parole and letter that my request was granted by the Governor. In the mean time the gentlemen waiting on me at the place appointed there came around a company of Haw Fields commanded by Captain Scobe which plainly and evidently appeared to me that there was nothing but treachery meant.

On Sunday the 10th of February I fell in the rear of Captain Golson and Captain Hines and following their trail came on them at dusk and after some firing that night we rode off and came on them next morning and we came upon terms of peace till I could write to their Superior for which I have Counsel’d with some of my officers and we joined with and hurt to comply with the terms underneath written.

We the subscribers do acknowledge ourselves subject to the British Government and as you are well assured of our fidelity and loyalty to His Majesty and has been daily the case that we have been destroying one another’s persons and property to uphold our opinions and we are hereby williing to come to a cessation of arms for three months on the condition underwritten.

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Our Request is from Cumberland twenty miles north and thirty miles East and West to be clear of any of your Light Horse, and further that every man that has been in actual Arms in a permanent order in order to establish a Royal Government, excepting those that have deserted from a regular troop, who have voluntarily enlisted themselves, then we do obligate to deliver up and each and every man that is at liberty shall have a right to withdraw himself in the said District, and that any persons living in the said District that have not been in actual arms in a permanent manner to establish the Royal Government, that we should at any request by writing to me or Major Rivers have them apprehended and sent to any of the American officers at or near the Line.

That if any of our men should go out of the Line or District to plunder or distress or murder any of the American party that we will by information made to me or to Major Rivers or any of the Captains, that I shall return their names. If their request is granted that they shall immediately be apprehended and sent to you or the next officer to be tried by your own Law; and if any of your party shall be caught plundering, stealing or murdering or going private paths with arms signifying as if they were for mischief, to be left to our pleasure to deal with as we see cause agreeable to our Laws. All public roads to be free to be traveled by any Army or Company keeping the public roads, or wagons.

That every person that has been in actual arms in a permanent manner in order to establish the Royal Government shall not be interrupted of his arms or provisions and any person that has not been in arms as above written. If you should want provisions or other articles from them, to send to either of us and we will send a sufficient guard to see them safe in and out, the Quakers excepted, and that we will not in the mean time distress or disturb any person abiding by your Law in the said District, in their persons or property.

All back plunders shall be void as it is impossible to replace and restore all the plunder on either side.

Our request is to have a free trade to any party with waggons or horseback without arms, with a pass from any appointed officer for salt or iron or any other necessary, and we expect the two Coxes Mills to be free from all Armies belonging to America.

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Any man that has been returned a Continental without taking the bounty, that has been in actual Arms as above mentioned shall return in the said District.

If the request is granted above written, I should request the liberty to send to Charlestown to let them know what we are about, and any request you should ask in reason I will petition for and perhaps a peace might be made for a twelve months or more if you desire it.

If the request can’t be granted be pleased to let me know as quick as possible and if you don’t like to comply with our terms send me an answer back immediately that we may know what to depend on.

So no more at present but we remain friends in behalf of His Majesty’s Troops.

Sir, we remain your faithful Humble Serv’ts,
JOHN CAGH, Captain,