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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Hugh Williamson to Alexander Martin
Williamson, Hugh, 1735-1819
September 17, 1783
Volume 16, Pages 881-882

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Princeton, 17th September, 1783.

Dear Sir:

Mr. Nathl. Lawrence informs me that his name is left out of the list in the last return of the officers of the North Carolina line now in the office of the Secretary at War. If his name was designedly left out he conceives himself much injured. This young Gentleman is a native of New York Governt. joined our army in Pennsylvania and was appointed second Lieutenant of the 2d. North Carolina Regiment as appears by a certificate signed by Colonel Patton. His appointment was on the first of June 1778. Twelve months after that time, viz on the first of June, 1779, Mr. Lawrence was taken prisoner with the Garrison at Fort La Fayette on the North River. Capt. Thomas Armstrong was taken at the same time. Mr. Lawrence continued a prisoner chiefly on Long Island ’til the 28th March, 1781, when he was exchanged and was referred by the Commander in Chief to General Greene for orders. The General in his answer which is dated High Hills of Santee, 18th August,’81, informs Mr. Lawrence that from the then deranged State of North Carolina line he could give no definitive answer respecting his rank nor whether he should be considered supernumary, in the meanwhile gives him permission to stay in the State of New York, that he would inform him when matter should be ascertained. General Howe afterwards took Mr. Lawrence into his family and engaged to write to General Greene, on the subject; since that time the campaign

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being inactive Mr. Lawrence returned to live with some of his friends in the Country.

There appears by the last arrangement several officers who were taken into the service so late as September, 1780. Perhaps it will be said that Mt. Lawrence whenever he was exchanged without money or the means of travelling should have travelled to General Greene’s Camp instead of writing to him in order to receive his orders. I do not know what flaw there may have been in his conduct according to Military rules, but I shall venture to say that the spirit of Military honor as well as the honor and justice of the State leave us no room to doubt who, at the end of the War has the best claim to protection or pay, the man who has fought several times and been imprisoned for years in the service of his Country or the Soldier of Yesterday, who never smelt powder unless when shooting at a squirrel. I need not add that I am persuaded you will cause this matter to be enquired into, and that Mr. Lawrence will eventually neither have occasion to complain of the partiality nor injustice of the State of North Carolina or its officers.

I have the honor, &c.,

P. S. If Mr. Lawrence has been left out in the arrangement from any breach or right of duty I am altogether uninformed of the circumstances, he is thought merely to have been overlooked.