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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Robert Bignall to Thomas Burke
Bignall, Robert, ca. 1730-1787
September 03, 1781
Volume 22, Pages 588-589


Tarborough, 3 September, 1781.

Dear Sir:

Your Excellency will pardon me for the Liberty I take in Troubling you. Mr. Benjamin Hill went through this town yesterday morning from Halifax with Letters for General Caswell, General Lillington and Colonel Armstrong. He told that he had a verbal Message from Col. Long to Capt. Hall, to hold himself in readiness to move at a moment’s warning. This Sir, makes me conjecture that something very alarming has happened. I expect that instead of General Waynne, it is Lord Cornwallis that is expected at Halifax, and that a spy or Spies have been sent from the Enemy to Halifax informing that General Waynne was moving towards that place, but how this could happen I am at a loss to know. However, I wish to guard against the worst, and I wish Your Excellency would be so very obliging as to give me a few lines by the bearer who I send on Purpose, that should the Enemy be expected at Halifax what few good people are in this Neighborhood may have an opportunity to succor themselves and some little property, should the Enemy be

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advancing it will not be in my power to remove any of the Public Tobacco from this Warehouse. The River is not more than Twelve inches deep just below this for several miles. Not a Wagon to be got in these parts upon any Emergency. I therefore wish, should you think this Place in Danger, that the Quarter Master Col. Long would send me a Waggon to remove such Things as I have on Hand belonging to the Public. I have heretofore been under the Necessity to hide such as I found. I can’t learn that the Enemy have done any Damage to the Salt Works as was expected on their retreat to Wilmington. Col. Gorham discharged all his men as soon as he found the Enemy had retreated.

I have the Honor to be with due regard
Your Excellency’s most obedient and Humble Servant,