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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William McClure to Jethro Sumner
McClure, William
Volume 16, Pages 470-471


(No date, probably 1782.)

Dear General:

In my last, I mentioned my intention of being with you before this time, but my ill state of health still prevents me from joining the army. I have constantly a Cough, and every Night a hectic fever which I believe will produce a Consumption. In short my Constitution is so broken that I cannot pretend to attempt the fatigues of a Campaign until I recover a better state of health. I mean to be candid, and let you know every Spring of my Conduct. I have mentioned the principal reason that detains me, and the following combine with it. My uncle Doctor Gaston, who was kill’d by the Enemy left his affairs in Confusion, and the distressed widow has nobody who can settle them for her but myself. There is no Doctor here to oppose my practice, which is something considerable, and before I had this opportunity of making a little money I was much in debt, for it is a long time since I have received any pay, and no cloathing, an article which the other officers were sufficiently supplied with, so if there had been no other obstacle poverty would scarce permit me to appear in the Army. By this war I have lost all my property which was something considerable in South Carolina. My aged Mother, who was in affluent

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circumstances is by the enemy reduced to abject poverty, so if I neglect the present opportunity I have no other resource but the Army, which you know is poor enough. It is true these are private concerns and ought to give way to the public good, which no man can have more at heart than I have. Without any cloak, or disguise I have given the three reasons for my delay, but upon honor the want of health is the chief.

I hope my conduct appears unexceptionable to you, and that I may be indulged until health permits of being of service to my Country, which is, and ever has been my constant study and persuit. A line from you will be esteemed a particular favor by

Your very huml. Servt.,
General Sumner.