Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Report of a committee of the North Carolina General Assembly concerning the conduct of officers of the Tenth North Carolina Regiment of the Continental Army
North Carolina. General Assembly
December 1777
Volume 22, Pages 779-783


Report of the Committee on Inquiry into the Conduct of Colonel Abraham Sheppard and the Other Officers of the Tenth Regiment, and the Reasons of Delay of the March of Said Regiment to join General Washington, etc., etc.

Mr. McLaine, Chairman; Mr. Jones, Clerk.

Your committee, having obtained all the information that could be had at present, and having duly considered the same, do find, by a resolve of the General Assembly bearing date of the 17th of April, 1777, that Abrham Shepperd was appointed to the command of a regiment (now the Tenth) with certain powers, and under certain restrictions; that such soldiers as should be enlisted into the said regiment were to be under Contiental regulations, and that the Commissary of Stores was directed to supply every soldier so enlisted with a suit of clothes as directed by the Continental Congress.

That his Excellency the Governor, in consequence of the aforesaid resolve and the directions of the General Assembly, issued recruiting instructions to Colonel Abraham Shepperd, dated the 9th of May, 1777, by the 13th article of which the said Abraham Shepperd

-------------------- page 780 --------------------
is enjoined to make Kingston the rendezvous of his regiment, to make return of his success in recruiting on the 1st day of July then next, and thereafter on the 10th day of every month, or oftener if required, and to hold himself in readiness, with the officers and soldiers under his command, to march at the shortest notice to join the Continental army.

That the Council of State, on proof made to them that Colonel Shepperd, and the officers under his command, had raised 328 privates, previous to the 1st day of July last, recommended to his Excellency (by resolve of 5th August, 1777), to grant commissions to such officers as were necessary to complete the battalion.

That the Continental Congress, by resolve dated June 17th, 1777, admitted Colonel Shepperd’s battalion on the Continental establishment, on his compliance with the terms stipulated with the State of North Carolina, and directed that, as soon as 300 rank and file should be enlisted, Colonel Shepperd should march his battalion, with all possible expedition, to join General Washington, only leaving proper officers to recruit.

And that, in consequence of the above, his Excellency issued Continental commissions to Colonel Shepperd and the officers under his command—as many as were necessary to complete the battalion. But for various reasons, which may appear by his Excellency’s letter to the committee, deferred ordering the said battalion to the northward until the 15th day of September, when his Excellency issued orders, directing Colonel Shepperd to march the battalion under his command, and the artillery company under Captain John Vance (which had also been received on the Continental establishment), from Kingston on the 25th day of September, with the greatest expedition, to Richmond Town, in Virginia, there to remain until he received further orders; directing a speedy return of such articles as he would actually stand in need of on his march, that his Excellency might make the necessary provision.

That the said battalion and artillery company marched accordingly on the 25th day of September, and that his Excellency, some few days after, sent further orders to Colonel Shepperd to proceed immediately to headquarters and join General Washington’s army with the utmost expedition. That Colonel Shepperd arrived, with the said battalion and artillery company, on the north side of Roanoke, in Northampton county, on the 6th of October, and the said

-------------------- page 781 --------------------
Shepperd, after staying there a few days, left the battalion and returned to Dobbs county, suggesting for reasons, in his letter of 14th October to his Excellency, that the Commissary of Stores was not at Halifax, and that Colonel Long had informed him there were neither shoes, breeches, blankets nor stockings for the soldiers, and that his Excellency saw Colonel Shepperd soon after, and advised him to return and endeavor to proceed on his march.

Your committee further find, by return made and information obtained from Mr. Craik, Commissary of Stores, that clothing, etc., to a considerable amount were delivered to the Tenth Battalion, previous to the 7th of October, and that Colonel Shepperd, on the said 7th of October (Mr. Craik being then absent from Halifax, using his time to purchase Continental stores), delivered the remainder of the clothing, etc., then on hand. That after this there was a considerable deficiency of hats, breeches, shoes, blankets and stocking, quoad the said Tenth Battalion; but that he, Mr. Craik, had furnished the artillery company with coats, shirts, spatterdashes, breeches, and two pairs of shoes to a man, lacking twelve pairs within twelve months past, and had supplied them with eight blankets only, they having never applied for any more, tho’ there were blankets on hand, until they reached Kingston. That he had inferred from their conduct they did not want blankets, but supplied themselves and meant to make a claim therefor; but that he did not know whether they had done so or not. Mr. Craik also informed the committee that he he had now provided a sufficient quanity of shoes for the said Tenth Battalion and artillery company.

Your committee further find that Colonel Shepperd did repair from Dobbs county to his battalion in Northampton county, but, instead of proceeding on his march, soon returned again to his Excellency the Governor, with a memorial from his officers and the officers of the artillery, to which your committee begs leave to refer.

Upon the whole, it appears to your committee, that his Excellency the Governor has, by every possible means in his power, encouraged the recruiting of the Tenth Battalion; that he has endeavored to excite Colonel Shepperd and his officers to a discharge of their duty by urging them on every principle of honor, love of liberty and of their country; that he ordered the said Colonel Shepperd to march as expeditiously as possible to headquarters to join General Washington; and that, at the time of year when these orders were

-------------------- page 782 --------------------
given and received, the weather was so moderate that the said Colonel Shepperd, with the troops under his command, might have marched without much inconvenience. From whence your committee conceive that Colonel Shepperd and the officers under his command have disobeyed orders on frivolous and insufficient reasons; that their conduct casts a shade, not only on themselves, but in some measure draws a reflection on this State; and that, to do away with this, the only proper way is to behave like soldiers for the future.

Wherefore, that they may have an opportunity of so doing,

Resolved, That his Excellency the Governor be desired to order Colonel Shepperd with the Tenth Battalion and the artillery company immediately on to the northward.

Resolved also, That the commanding officer of the said battalion shall return to his Excellency a list of the names of such officers and soldiers as shall refuse or decline marching according to orders, which list shall be published in the newspapers of this and the neighboring States; and that such officers and soldiers shall for the future be deemed deserters of the cause of liberty and be held unworthy to hold any office or place of trust or profit in this State; and shall be incapable of bringing suits or of taking by purchase or otherwise, or disposing of any messuages, lands, tenements, or hereditaments, within the same; and shall and may be treated as deserters wherever they may be found.

It appearing to your committee that Benjamin Shepperd, a person strongly suspected of being concerned in passing counterfeit money, has been appointed paymaster to the Tenth Battalion, and that Alexander Outlaw, who has long labored under a bad character, for practices of the like nature, and was under recognizance to have appeared at the last Court of Oyer at Wilmington (which recognizance he has forfeited by his non-appearance), has been appointed quartermaster to the said regiment.

Resolved, That the said Benjamin Shepperd and Alexander Outlaw be declared unworthy of holding the said offices.

Your committee, being informed by a gentleman called before them, that he had purchased from one of the officers of the Tenth Battalion a certificate to exempt him from militia duty, for which he paid a valuable consideration, but that he did not enlist any person himself, and being further informed that other certificates had been granted in the same manner;

-------------------- page 783 --------------------

Resolved, as the opinion of your committee, That such certificates do not come within the meaning of the resolves of the General Assembly, which required that the militia men exempted from duty should themselves make the enlistment; and therefore that no militia man shall be exempted from duty by virtue of any certificate fraudulently granted.

Your committee also inquired into the state of the Continental stores now on hand, but could not obtain a particular account, nor can it be had until the commisaries return to New Bern. However, from the information laid before them, respecting the manner of keeping the stores, your committee apprehend there is danger of the gunpowder being lost or spoiled, for that the houses wherein it is lodged in different parts of the State are very improper, and being in places very distant from one another, the commissary can not pay the necessary attention to the whole. Your committee are therefore of opinion that a magazine should be built for the reception of the bulk of military stores, and that the commissary be empowered to employ certain persons, paying a reasonable sum for services performed, to receive and deliver out, in his absence, such detached stores as may be necessarily lodged elsewhere. Your committee were informed by the commissary that blankets might be purchased in Charleston.