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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from James Robertson to Richard Caswell
Robertson, James, 1742-1814
July 02, 1787
Volume 20, Pages 730-731

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(From Executive Letter Book.)

Nashville, July 2d, 1787.


I had the pleasure of receiving your Excellency’s letter to Col. Bledsoe & myself in which you was so obliging to mention you would render every good in your power to Our Country; never was there a time in which your Excellency’s assistance and attention was more necessary than the present. The war being exceeding hot in the Spring I marched some men near the Chickamawgaws, but wishing to avoid an open war, returned without doing them any Mischief, leaving a letter containing every offer of peace that could be made on honourable terms, in Consequence of which they sent a Flag to treat tho’ I have every reason to doubt of the Sincerity, as several persons were killed during their Stay & one man at my house in their sight. They imputed the mischief we suffer to the Creeks. A few days after their departure my Brother Mark Robinson being killed near my house, I tryed the advice of the Officers, Civil and Military, raised about 130 men and followed their tracks near the lower end of the Mussle shoals where some Indians discovered us, fired on our back picket and alarmed a small Town of Cherokees. We found where we crossed the Tennessee pictures of two Scalpes made a few days before which Scalps we were afterwards informed were carried into said Town by Seven Cherokees who were there when we attacked them. Though they constantly kept out spies we had the good fortune to cross Tennessee and go 18 Miles down the river, till in sight of the Town, before the Indians Discovered us; we made a rapid charge and entirely defeated them, the attack began at the Mouth of a large creek, we forced them into the Creek and river & what escaped either got off in boats or swam the river, about 20 were killed & several wounded. The whole Town, as we were afterwards informed by a Frenchman who we found there, had been Counciling three days at the instigation of a principal Creek chief and had unanimously agreed to fight us if we crossed the Tennessee.

From what passed at this Consultation I have every reason to believe the Creeks totally averse to peace notwithstanding they have had no cause of offence; we have been exceedingly particular on

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giving them no reason to Complain. Their force Consisted of 10 Creeks & 35 Cherokee Warriors together with nine Frenchmen, chiefly from Detroit, who have joined the Indians against us. Among the dead was the Creek chief before mentioned Mischievous, Cherokee Chief, three French men and a French woman who was killed accidentally in one of the Boats.

In this Action we lost never a man but a party of 50 men who was sent to the Mouth of Dutch river was there attacked by a large Number of Indians & we had one man killed and 8 wounded. We were piloted by two Chickasaws in this Expedition, their Nation seem on every occasion our friends and if it were possible to supply them with trade at the Chickasaw Bluff there is no doubt but they and the Choctaws would find full imployment for our Enemies. From the constant incursions of the Indians I have been obliged to keep the Militia very much in service on scouts, Guards, &c., and have been under the necessity of promising them pay, without which I am pursuaded the Country would have totally broke as many have done already, and hope you will approve of the promise I made the Inhabitants.

Sumner County seems in peace compared with this being more out of the Indian’s range. I have not an opportunity of seeing Col. Bledsoe, or I make no doubt but he would join me with informing your Excellency that our situation is at present deplorable, deprived of raising subsistance and Constantly harassed with duty. Our only hope is the Troops promised us by the General Assembly, but have yet no news of them. I earnestly beg of your Excellency to forward them with all possible expedition. I hope your Excellency will by Express or otherwise favor me with an answer.

I am with respect, Your Excelly’s
Most Obedient Servt.,

I have no opportunity of sending this but by express & hope your Excellency will give him an order on the Treasury for his Service.