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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Luttrell to Thomas Burke
Luttrell, John
September 01, 1781
Volume 22, Pages 585-586

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Chatham, Sept. 1st, 1781.
His Excellency Thomas Burke, Esq., Granville.Good Sir:

The other Day I wrote Your Excellency that I was appointed Lieut.-Col. of Chatham by the last Assembly. Mr. Williams, my Colleague, on his return home, informed me it was so, and on his information it was that I wrote what I did. Since which he has informed me by Letter that it was Misinformation. The Letter I have inclosed Your Excellency, to convince you that I did not intend deceiving You Thereupon. Should you be desirous of giving that Commission to any other Person, You will do what to you seems best. Yesterday I arrived in this Country with about 20 men, which I picked upin Orange. On my Arrival, I found that the friends to the Country were all dispersed and scattered, some on Cape Fear and others run to Orange, Granville, &c., to get into places of safety. The Party on Cape Fear, who is under the Command of Major Griffin (for Major Cage is a Prisoner with the Tories), to the amount of about Fifty of the Chatham and one hundred of the Wake Militia, are lying near Spreal’s Ferry on the North side of Cape Fear, and that Col. Fanning (the Tory Officer) has near Five hundred men on the Opposite side of the River. This Information I had yesterday by verbal message from Major Griffith. I have wrote this Morning to Major Griffith, begging him to come up immediately with all his men, to call a General Muster on Tuesday next, and imbody every man, agreeable to your orders to Gen’l Butler. The distresses of the People here is very great. There is scarcely a horse or Gun left in the Country worth any thing, and all the People of Property made Prisoners and sent off to Washington and plundered of every thing almost they are worth. General Butler was not at home when your Letter to him arrived, therefore I have had no certain Accounts of what orders to put in execution, except what I got from Col. Tinning, of Orange, who writes so ambiguous that I scarcely understand what he means. Therefore, let us know, if please, positively what your orders are, and they shall be complyed with as near as possible. I have wrote Col. Tinning the situation of

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the County of Chatham, and that ’tis impossible to embody the Militia unless there is a Party of Men in the County sufficient to protect them when they are collecting, and have begged his assistance, which I expect he will grant. Thus, Sir, you see I have taken the Command here without your knowledge or orders. I thought the Spirit of the Times would justify the measure, as it was absolutely to do so as soon as possible. However, if you do not approve of my conduct, or any part of it, please let me know by the Bearer. I shall Immediately desist.

I am, with the greatest respect,
Your most obedient servant,