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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Joseph Hewes to Samuel Johnston
Hewes, Joseph, 1730-1779
May 16, 1776
Volume 22, Pages 517-518


Philadelphia, 16th May, 1776.

Dear Sir:

I have had the honour to receive your several favors of the 10th, 13th, 15th & 17th ultimo, enclosing Sundry Resolutions of your Congress. I took the earliest opportunity to lay these papers before Congress, and have now the pleasure to inform you they have taken your Six Regiments into Continental Service, appointed Nicholas Long, Esq., deputy quarter master general, with the Rank of Colonel and ordered twelve field pieces to be procured & sent to you, also three tons of powder, six chests of medicine and one hundred weight of Bark. I urged the necessity of taking your light horse into the service, but could not prevail on them to do it, no Colonies having been yet allowed to raise any on Continental pay. It is said they are very expensive troops and of little use in this contest. I am informed a Company or two were raised in South Carolina, but being found on experience to be too expensive the Horses were discharged and the men turned into the Ranks of Foot Regiments. I had it not in charge from you to make application for any Powder or Medicines, but apprehending they would be wanted, I took the liberty to apply for them. The three tons of Powder in 25 bbls. went off yesterday in three waggons for Halifax. The Medicine will be sent off next week. I hope this matter will meet the approbation of your Congress, and should you want drums, colours, shoes, stockings and blankets for your Soldiers I believe some might be procured here. Cannon fit for field pieces cannot be purchased at any price. Before the Resolution passed Congress to procure & send cannon, or I had received your orders, I had done my utmost to get them. I had contracted with a person to cast twenty-four double fortified four-pounders,

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which will do either for field pieces or ship guns. They are not yet done, nor can I say when they will. I can only say that nothing on my part shall be wanted to get them soon as possible. I send you inclosed the Commissions for the field officers of the Six Regiments and for Col. Long. The Resolutions of Congress respect the several matters before mentioned, also a resolution that passed yesterday, together with sundry other papers, newspapers, etc., etc.

My endeavors to get a few muskets for your troops have hitherto been fruitless. It is impossible to procure any here at this time, many of the continental troops in this City and in New York are without any. We are greatly distressed on that account. Some of our vessels have returned without any, some have brought a few, a very few, and several that were expected with a considerable quantity are missing, supposed to be taken by our enemies. Every effort is exerted to get them made in these Colonies, but this source falls exceedingly short of our demands. However, we have some vessels out that may be expected about this time and we hope they will arrive safe with a seasonable supply.

A few days ago thirteen Row Gallies, built at the expense of this province, each carrying one 18-pounder, attacked the Roebuck & Liverpool Men of War in the River about twenty miles below and obliged them to return to the Capes in a shattered condition. It is thought if they had been fully supplied with powder and ball they would have destroyed those ships. The boats expended in the engagement about four tons of powder. The report of this day is, that the ships are gone from the Capes, either to Halifax or Virginia, to repair the damage they rec’d in this action.

To Samuel Johnston, Esq.