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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Richard Caswell to James Robertson
Caswell, Richard, 1729-1789
August 13, 1787
Volume 20, Pages 758-760

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Kinston, Augt. 13th, 1787.

Dear Sir:

Your favor of the 2d July reached me last evening; it gives me pain in hearing your situation is so distressing on accot. of your savage neighbors and am astonished in learning by your express that Major Evans had not when he crossed the Mountains at the Flower Gap, passed it; his information is that a no. of men, not exceeding one hundred, were lying within ten miles of the Mountains waiting for others. Major Evans assured me on receiving the necessary support for his march that he would proceed immediately to the westward, the support he required was without delay supplied him, expected he had passed the Blue Ridge some months ago, but if your expess’s information is right, he has been engaged in an attack on a Lady who he was lately reduced into possession by making her his wife.

I have written to Major Evans or the officer commanding the Troops raised for the defence of Davidson County, to proceed immediately to that Country there to pursue the directions of the Act of Assembly for raising them, I mean that part of it that relates to the defence of the people, suggesting in my own mind that it may be of more advantage to the settlers to have this force to their aid, who are in the pay of the State than it will be real benefit to the Community to have the road cut at this Time, supposing also that every measure possible could be pursued by the Chicamaugas to retard the progress in making the road by distressing, annoying and ambushing the people engaged in that business; but as it would of course be some time before these Troops will be provided to leave the settlements on Holston you will have in your power to countermand these orders before they are fully carried into effect, that is if peace takes place between you and those Indians & you think the men will be in safety and better employed in Cutting the road; in that case you are required to Countermand the orders from me for them to proceed immediately to Davidson, and I have directed the Commanding officers to obey such your orders on receiving them but by no means delay his

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progress on his march until such orders are received from you or Colo. Bledsoe.

Your conduct in respect to the War you have been obliged to carry on appears to me to be rather to be approved than condemned by every well wisher to Freedom and Liberty, for my own part I think you merit the thanks of your Country & I cannot doubt but the Assembly will approve of your promising pay to the Militia who have turned out by your orders and will on their meeting make provision accordingly.

I have furnished your Express with a Warrant on the Treasury for forty pounds which I flatter myself will be sufficient to defray his expences.

I most sincerely wish you success in your undertakings, at the same Time I beg you will use every means in your power to prevent a General War with the Indians. Defence is justifiable but to commence and carry on a War without the interference of Congress would be judged perhaps a violation of our Confederation, the articles of which we must strictly attend to. I shall transmit an extract of your Letter and some other documents of Indian affairs and if I receive any advice from them respecting this business I shall communicate the same to you and in all your conduct with the Indians I hope you will, Indeed I am satisfied you will, altho’ Sumner County may not be in so great distress as Davidson, Consult Colo. Bledsoe who I am aware is able & willing to aid and assist you with all his powers. All my public dispatches to either of you I expect and request will be communicated to each other in the same manner as if your people were yet in one County. I condole with you in the loss of your Brother by the hands of savages as I do lament the loss of every brave and useful man who falls in the Defence of his Country.

However, I know you have a no. of Brave men with you & have no doubt but Justice will be done by sufficient retaliation on your enemies, if you have not already effected it.

I repeat that I am disposed to render your settlements every good in my power & shall be happy in doing anything I can either in public or private Character that may promote their happiness.

I am Sir, Your most obedt. Servant,

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P. S.—Pray avoid every measure which may tend to involve us in war with either an European Power or with the Indians. Let all your Acts be on the defensive only.