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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William Richardson Davie to Richard Caswell
Davie, William Richardson, 1756-1820
August 29, 1780
Volume 22, Pages 776-777


Charlotte, August 29th, 1780.


The enemy’s falling immediately back to Camden and making no further advantage of their victory laid me under no necessity of retreating further than this. I kept out small parties of horse to cover the country and furnish us with regular intelligence. The number of the militia in camp have been so fluctuating that nothing could be done. Last Saturday, with some difficulty, a command of one hundred horse was made up. I proceeded with them over the country as far as three miles below the Hanging Rock.

The Tory militia have returned to their plantations, but none of them appeared. They have robbed a few houses and take every opportunity of enforcing their design of plundering the country and murdering the Whiggish inhabitants.

The North Carolina militia are now reduced to 300 in number, and those are detained by the enemy’s solemnly engaging to march into this State between the first and tenth of the next month.

The arrangements the enemy are making in number indicate a disposition of this kind. They are industriously mounting their infantry on the captured horses, refreshing and shoeing the cavalry of the legion. This looks like a Bush Country trip. Getting barrels

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made to carry provisions. Have sent off some of their baggage to Charleston, conscious, I suppose, of the uncertainty of human affairs; but Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday marched off the prisoners to garrisons. It is said one party was released by the militia near Sumter. Two women who left Camden on Sunday told me it was publicly spoken of there as a fact. Last Friday they called in their outpost from Rugeley’s. Colonel Turnbull has also discharged his militia on the other side the Catawba and marched with the regular troops into Camden.

All the recruits raised in the District of Ninety-Six and other parts of South Carolina were furloughed till the 6th or 7th of the next month, when they are to rendezvous at Camden. Our old friend, Mr. B. B. Boote, is commanding of prisoners, and Mr. Kerr, who left Salisbury with him, is assistant.

They talk of reinforcements from town, but God knows whether they are serious or not. The militia in lump are quite inconsiderable; frightened, too, and irresolute—one day in camp, another away to save their property—so that one-half will undoubtedly vanish upon the approach of the enemy. The counties of Rowan and Mecklenburg are rich in provisions and strong in men, staunch, numerous and spirited, if they were only managed to take the field by timely assistance.

These are the facts, as near as I can collect them, respecting the enemy’s conduct and the situation of this distressed country. A small body of regulars with a few militia, and these counties would still keep the enemy at bay. Our poor wounded in body are in a most wretched situation. Col. Inbyson told me General Rutherford had no surgeon but himself, and that many of them had never been dressed. Something should be done for them. ’Tis cruel.

Captain Marneal, of Hamilton’s regiment, who came up with Col. Inbyson till he met with my party, mentioned the legion’s returning last Monday from capturing some provision wagons, on their way, he said, to Nelson Ferry.

I am, sir, with great respect, your humble servant,