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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Diary of a North Carolina soldier [Extract]
No Author
April 11, 1782 - April 16, 1782
Volume 16, Pages 604-607


∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ Day we passed by some exceeding pretty Apple and Peach Trees, all in bloom, which really gave me a pleasure in marching through the Country. At night, when we (began) to think of stopping, I found my good waggoner had taken his horses and left, together with the wagon and Load and my chest, my chocolate and sugar, that we entirely lived upon. After we had laid down, having eat some bacon fried, and fell entirely asleep, I was awakened about midnight with the noise of singing and danging and playing the fiddle. I really was astonished at first, being so sudden awakened, and before I could recollect myself and open my eyes there were several officers hold of me insisting of me to get up and join the musical club; but as I was exceedingly tyred I could not really oblige them, who I found to be a parcel of officers who had been at Mr. Whitfield’s and gotten rather drunken, had joined together and got Bagnell, the Fiddler, with them, rousing up every officer they could find, and in their rounds had come across us laying without any other covering than the Heavens and our blankets, which made us rather hard to be found, and would not even then had they not stumbled over the chests which we surrounded ourselves with to keep the wind off and the blankets together.

The 12th (April). Good weather but very warm. In the morning (Lieutenant) William Williams told me he was setting off for Wilmington, by whom I took the opportunity of writing to home to my sisters. Mr. Callender and I having got into a wagon for the conveniency of writing, had only wrote one apiece before we were obliged to get out, as the Waggon was drawn off to despatch over the River; we replaced our pen, ink and paper in our Chests again as we imagined we should not have time to do it unless on the

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other side of the River. After most of the men were marched in, Callender and I walked together to the House, where we found the wagon halted and would be for some time, therefore we endeavored to get out our paper, pen and ink in order to finish the letters we had begun, in order to borrow some wafers or sealing wax, we walked to the old camp; we scarcely had got there, before the remainder of the men marched, which compelled us to write rapidly. We had time to seal them before the 5th Regiment passed, (we) pursued down to the House, where I was ashamed to go in because my clothes had not come up, & I was exceedingly dirty. Lieut. Callender, John Smith and myself went in to swim and washed off a great deal of dirt off of ourselves. After putting on our clothes the waggons crossing in the flat and the horses swimming over, I got my horse to swim over, which was of service to him in washing. After staying a small time, I led my Men to a swamp which was about half a mile from the River and wated until my mess came up, who in a little time arrived. I went in pursuit of a camping place, which really was difficult as the wagons had stopped in a very bad place exceeding thick with bushes. Callender having taken a walk up the road about a mile in pursuit of some fresh provisions, before I got the place thinned of bushes he returned, having got some eggs which Lieut. Blytten had bought before, which we intended to put to the excellent use of egg-drams. Before night the men gathered together and had some chocolate made up, which we partook with some friends, of whom we always had a sufficient quantity as long as our chocolate, coffee and tea lasted. In the evening Lieut. John ———— arrived (having got liberty to stay some time behind) with his brother Joseph, with whom I soon got acquainted. Tying up my horse after the same manner and lending Capt. Bowman a bait for his horse, we retired to sleep. While we were crossing the River, an Ensign of the 4th Regiment was almost drowned in attempting to swim his horse across, but was happily saved by the help of a soldier, to whom he never returned even thanks.

The 13th. We marched again, the weather extream warm, about 11 miles and halted about 2 hours to refresh men and horses. We marched a second time about 6 miles and took up for the evening. My horse not being able to be rid, I suffered much in

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walking, and no one would offer a horse, and I was determined not to ask. We passed by large quantities of Women and Men beholding the strange sight of a number of people, which astonished the greater part of them. I imagine it would make the Devil laugh to see the pretended innocent behavior of the young Women, if perhaps you should take hold of one of them and offer to kiss them. It really made me laugh also to see them, how fond they were to be taken notice of and yet pretend to be angry, I dislike all Women that wish for what they pretend to hate.

(The 14th.) (Mutilated for two lines.) In marching we passed by several swamps by the names of ————, Peacock and Crosstop. Peacock divides Dobbs County from Edgecombe. As we advanced in the country the richer the inhabitants were; quantities of young women still gathering at the Houses on the Road to see the Glorious Life of a Soldier, ragged, dirty and fainting with thirst and Drinking water out of every puddle he comes by till at length he takes up, where he eats with as good a stomach as a dog whatever the Commissary allows them. The Road being very dusty, you must expect that we looked more like devils than Bishops before we took up.

The 15th. An exceeding fine day, except the morning, which was rather cold. We marched about 16 miles, but halted in the middle of the day as usual. The Road still continuing exceeding good, the Girls still gathering upon the Road. We halted at a House where there were a number of Bells to be sold and every person holding and ringing it close to his ear as loud as possible to hear the tone of it. It really made such a noise it put me in mind of a confusion of Devils got together. We halted in about 8 miles of Tarboro, where, by the excessive fatigue of the march, I could not go to see a parcel of Girls about 500 yds. from the Camp. About 4 miles before we took up, Small, being in a wagon unwell, coaxed me to get in, which I did, and rode all the way to Camp in it. After getting some corn for my horse and spreading the blankets after clearing away the large chunks, we retired into our chamber.

The 16th. Very fine weather. We continued our march in the morning. After saddling my horse, determined his back should get sore as well as my feet, as no person ever offered me one. Joseph

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Small (?) rode in the rear as the most convenient and far the best for riding, to any house along the Road. We passed in the morning by a house really Crowded with young Women, into which I went, where I found several officers with each a Girl in his arms. Willingly after I entered (which bashfulness kept me from at first) I took a Girl, also following their patron, which was rather homely and who, I thought, began to cry, so as soon as I could get off conveniently, I quit. I had left before the rear guard came up, which entirely cleared the House of officers and Soldiers (and disappointing many), leaving the Girls disconsolate. As soon as my horse had eat, I set off with Thomas McCarlton and Joseph Small. It was evening before we overtook the brigade who had stopped at a tavern and got some ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗