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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Ramsey to Thomas Burke
Ramsey, John
August 15, 1781
Volume 22, Pages 562-563


Deep River, 15th Aug., 1781.

Per Mr. Isaac Matthew.


A few of my Neighbors requests me to represent to your Excellency our distressed situation, and total ruin that in a few days must ensue. The forces ordered by your Excellency or General Butler sent to our assistance we suppose was raised for such Time as the Tories would be subdued, but upon finding them all to go Home and Fanning not more than Twenty miles below us, with his whole force, which is said to be Three hundred, has dispirited our People so much that it was impossible to keep those we had Embodied from following the Example. They could not be much blamed when upwards of Six hundred did not think it prudent to attack them. Myself and many others have made use of every possible endeavor to spirit up

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the people and that they might be assured that your Excellency would take proper steps as soon as circumstances would admit to prevent those mischiefs. But as they think it is now too late to prevent our Property being destroyed and forced to leave all to the Mercy of the Enemy has thrown us in such Confusion that I fear we will not be able to make much opposition at the next approach of the Enemy which will without any kind of Doubt be in a few days, for they know our situation by this time. The utmost Force we could possibly raise in this County some time ago was some short of one hundred and Fifty, and never but once they could be all turned out. A great many of those are taken, sent to Wilmington and Paroled. It seems at this time to be of the general opinion of those yet at Liberty to withdraw themselves to places of Safety to prevent the same Fate, which seems to be with the greatest Reluctance but as we know of no Assistance near at Hand it is the only Resource left us to save our Persons. We are now to request that your Excellency will be pleased to let us know if there is any forces collecting to oppose these people who are by this Time become an object of the whole State, and what time we might expect it. This Sir, would give us great satisfaction as we are situated at present in darkness.

Since writing the above a Reconnoitering Party we had down to find out the Enemy’s Movements Informs us that Fanning went down to Cross Creek, where he joined Three Hundred from the Raft Swamp, and it strongly suggested that the British from Wilmington is or will be there also. This Every Person we saw told us when we were down with the Flag would be the case. I am now led to believe it but not then. I should think Major Cage would write Your Excellency on the same head but as I have no Opportunity to see or hear from him and that he should not, have endeavoured to explain Our Situation as well as I could. For any other Particulars I refer your Excellency to the bearer who knows as much as I do of these Matters. If you will please to let us know what we can depend on it will much oblige many good men and particularly,

Your Excellency’s most obedient and Humble Servant,

John Ramsey.

Deep River Aug. 15th, 1781.
Received 18th; answered same day.