Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Alexander Lillington to Thomas Burke
Lillington, John Alexander, 1720s-1786
July 06, 1781
Volume 22, Pages 540-541


His Excellency, Gov. Burke, At Wayne Court House.

Dear Sir:—

Your Excellency will excuse me for taking the Liberty of addressing myself to you on this Distressing Occasion. I am to acquaint you, Sir, that it is not my Own Opinion, but the principal part of the People of the District of Wilmington, is by every other part of the State, Intended to fall a sacrifice to the Enemy, which is now almost the Case, by being lately Destitute of every Assistance from the other Districts, this is too visible not to be seen by the Conduct of some of the neighboring Counties, where early notice

-------------------- page 541 --------------------
was given to Col. Avery that the Enemy was up at Holley Shetter, and said to be on their March for Newberne. After some Days, he at last Collected A Body of Men together and then basely discharged them. Altho’ I had informed him that the Onslow Men were Imbodied and were waiting for the Jones Men to join them, and that the Duplin Militia were coming on. The Troops from Craven Gen’l Caswell wrote me he had ordered on, and the next day he sent orders to have them Discharged, on a bare supposition of Col. Avery that the British were gone back to Town, which to this Moment it is well known that they are not returned, but is now at Wishart Mill, sending out parties Collecting all the cattle that is between Holley Shetter and New River, and it is not known how far they Intend into the Country. I am sorry to say that I see nothing to hinder them from going where they please. I have lost great part of property, and I see I am in a fair way to lose all; but if that should be the Case I should not regard it, or at least as little as most Men, provided we had that Justice shewn us from other Parts of the State, which protection we have an undoubted Claim to. But since that Justice has not been given us, and no likely hood of ever having any Assistance, and it being entirely out of my power and many others who is in the same situation, having no money and in great want, and my Country not paying me for them. Impressed now over twelve Months, and no wages paid, but Five thousand Dollars, puts it out of my power to remove what little is left Any further out of the way of the Enemy. Had it not been for the want of Money, I should have done myself the pleasure to have waited on Your Excellency, as I see that there is no Prospect of Driving the Enemy back into Town so that we might get to our homes. I cannot see with what Justice our Country can blame us to make the best terms we can.

I am Your Excellency’s Most obedient Servant,

July 6th, ’81. At Mr. Shine’s, on Trent.