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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Robert Burton to Thomas Burke
Burton, Robert, 1747-1825
August 14, 1781
Volume 22, Pages 560-561


State of North Carolina, Aug. 14th, 1781.


From the Face of a Letter of yours of the 9th inst. I observe that Your Excellency has great hopes of procuring many articles for the Use of the Army from private families. I wish it may be possible to effect it; but I have my fears it cannot; as every family within my knowledge is obliged to make use of a deal of Industry to clothe itself. The articles you expect to be made at the manufacturers will be done with much ease, if proper materials can be had. I herewith send you a List of such Artificers as are now in public employ, in my Department, together with an estimate of the quantity of each specified article that should be made (according to the

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best Information I can get) in lieu of a Tower of Duty. As also a List of such Articles as are already made. You desire I will make a requisition to the Counties of Halifax, Hillsborough, and Salisbury Districts for waggons. Please point out the mode on which you wish such requisition to be made, and order as many men from the Militia as may be necessary to attend the Courts to put this into Execution. Steel has been had from Maryland and Pennsylvania heretofore. You will please give Orders that the following Artificers can be furnished from the Militia, so soon as we have, or can procure Tools and Materials to employ them. For Hillsborough two Express riders, four Smiths for repairing Waggons, arms, shoeing horses, &c., two wood cutters, four shoe makers, and saddlers for the purposes of making and repairing saddles, making Shoes, covering Cartouch Boxes, &c., &c. Two laborers to take care of horses and to attend Public Yards and one servant. For Williamsboro four Smiths for repairing Arms, Waggons, shoeing Horses and two Cole Wood Cutters, 4 shoe makers and saddlers for the Purpose of making and repairing saddles, making shoes, Halters, Bridles, covering Cartouch Boxes, &c., and 2 labourers to take care of Horses and attend the Public Yard, and one servant.

I wish to draw the Men wanted for the Purpose of procuring a list of Taxable property within this State from this District. Could I ascertain the precise business for which I may want a few Men, I would do that and draw Men for that particular purpose, but know ing that Twenty little Businesses, such as erecting Public Yards for Horses, digging Troughs to feed Horses in, Colecting Horses and Waggons, driving waggons, &c., with many more that cannot be enumerated until the business is fully entered on. I thought it best to apply for such, in Case I should want them, and not call them out until immediately wanted. Ten in addition to those already ordered, would be sufficient for any extra services for some time.

You will please explain such of the abuses that were committed within my department that they may be remedied. The late Governor directed Capt. Drewry Smith to borrow Salt for the purpose of curing a large quantity of Fish caught by Sundry Sanes on Roanoke for the Use of this State. He in consequence of such Direction, has borrowed near 200 Bushels. Please direct how Salt is to be had, to replace this. It is very material that Waggon timber should be immediately got, as it will take some time for it to season before it

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will be set to work up. Therefore, directions on that Head should be as soon as possible given. Col. Locke, the Commanding Officer of Salisbury District, who has one of the Horses that comes under the Description of those you ordered to be delivered to the Quarter Master, in a public and positive manner refused to deliver him notwithstanding his being shewn your Order on that head. Please inform what measures will be taken thereon.

Please give directions that the Commissioners of Confiscated Property deliver all the Iron, Steel, leather, Blacksmith’s and Carpenter’s Tools that they have or may have in their possession to the Q. M. G., or his order. By the last of next week I hope to have the Horses ready to send to Genl. Greene. Your Excellency will much oblige me in appointing some Person to act as Quarter M. G. by the first of September, as at that time I intend to resign that office. If you have no Person you have in View you think of offering the Q. M. Genl. Commission to, I would take the Liberty of recommending Col. Stephen Moore as a Gentleman of integrity and business, as he I think would gladly accept the appointment.

I am your Excellency’s
Most obedient Servant,