Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Alexander Martin to Nathanael Greene
Martin, Alexander, 1740-1807
May 12, 1782
Volume 16, Pages 683-685

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Hillsborough, May 12th, 1782.


I have the honor to address you at this time in public character being called again to the Government of this State. The wants and necessities of the Army under your command, I make not the least doubt are great and call for our immediate attention. Happy shall I be if anything in my power can contribute to their relief and ease. Your requisition of Cattle made November last, Colonel Davie informs me are near compleat, and will be ready to be driven as soon as they will be in order for that purpose. I know not whether any supplies of Spirits, Sugar and Coffee have reached you, which have been ordered both by water and Land.

I have from my predecessor a correspondence between yourself

-------------------- page 684 --------------------
and General Leslie on his proposals to exchange certain persons in Salisbury Gaol under sentence of death for high Treason, by the names of Samuel Bryant, Colonel;John Hampton,Lieutenant Colonel, and Nickolas White, Captain, of the North Carolina Royal Militia. Those persons by our Treason Laws have justly forfeited their lives by taking up arms & being Citizens. Yet while our friends are in Captivity, the rigor of Law must give way to Policy. The Assembly have therefore recommended to me to close Governor Burke’s proposals with you and the British General on this subject, and accordingly, have sent these persons forward to you for the above purposes agreeably to your requests; as these persons are recognized to be British officers and have been in service near two years, under the late Cartel they are deemed Regulars, who have been in service six months, perhaps therefore an equivalent of our North Carolina Continental officers may be obtained for them, otherwise I am authorised by the General Assembly to exchange them for Militia officers of similar rank belonging to this State. At present I am not acquainted whether they have any of our Militia field officers in captivity, if there should not be any, a composition in that case ought to take place; however, this matter is submitted to your further kind interposition in such manner you shall deem most conducive to relieve our distressed friends and not inconsistent with any general plan of a Cartel about to be agreed on.

I beg leave to acquaint you I am further authorized to cause a number of Tories who have been in arms against this State, and who are charged with Military offenses only against the same, to be sent on to you to be exchanged for such of our Captive Citizens who may be detained in Charles Town, provided: General Leslie, or the Commanding officer at that place, shall first give his assurance to me that he will exchange the Citizens of this State now in Captivity, or may be captured from the same on the terms aforesaid, but if General Leslie, or Commanding officer at Charles Town shall fail, or refuse to accept of this proposition made in a reasonable time after the same is notified, then the Treason Laws of this State are to have their full effect. This I request may be communicated by you to the British General together with my letter to him on that Subject, and shall send on a number accordingly.

Our Assembly have not yet finished their business. They have

-------------------- page 685 --------------------
under their consideration the several important matters recommended by Congress, General Washington and yourself. Every twentieth man of this State is to be draughted to fill the Continental Battalions, classes of the Militia being first formed for that purpose consisting of twenty men in each, or the class to find a substitute, the service for eighteen months. One hundred Waggons are also to be raised for the Southern Army, the mode not yet agreed on. As soon as the Assembly shall rise, I shall do myself the pleasure to give you further detail of such of their Transactions that are of an interesting nature or concern the army.

I have the Honor, &c.