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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Andrew Armstrong to Thomas Burke
Armstrong, Andrew
August 28, 1781
Volume 22, Pages 1047-1048

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Hillsborough, August 28th, 1781.


Yesterday I received yours, and this day will endeavor to have your furniture brought into Town. Mr. Taylor says he has it in his power to supply you with some necessarys which you may want. As I came up I called at Harrisburg, and tryed some Public there, and ordered part of it to be kept for your use, it will be well if this order is complyed with, as there is none to be got here.

By letter which Mr. Hogg received from Cross creek he is informed that on the morning of the 14th instant the inhabitants of that place were completely surprised and made prisoners by a party of men, commanded by a certain Mr. Slingsby, who calls themselves King’s Militia, the appellation of Tory being no more agreeable to them The other officers who were with Slingsby were McNeal and Ray. This Slingsby has formerly lived in Wilmington as a Merchant; he is a man of good character, and behaved very well to the people at Cross creek upon the above occasion.

Last Friday I was in the Hawfields when we were informed that a number of Torys was five miles beyond Hunterford on Haw river. I rode up to General Butler’s in order to receive certain intelligence and was soon convinced it was too true; they were about forty in number and it’s said are commanded by one Lenly whose father was hanged in Georgia. I do not learn that they are connected with any party, but as an independent company for the Special purpose of stealing and plundering. They indiscriminately plundered every home they came to, took Robert Ray and his son prisoners, but afterwards let them go. In the evening they encamped in an old field belonging to R. Hunter, in the course of the day General Butler alarmed that part of the militia that was convenient to him and after having collected a few he went in quest of them, but they were gone.

Captain Mebane is here with about twenty Regulators and is exceeding willing to do anything in his power to render the country service, but the want of arms he is much afraid will defeat his purpose. Colo. Lytle is also here and has received an account of his exchange and is exceeding desirous of being active.

Notwithstanding of the inconvenience that have been found to attend

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the commanding of Volunteers I am at present fully persuaded from the appearance of the People that a better purpose could be answered by them than by those lazy looking fellows who are dragged out in consequence of the law, Certain I am were you here to command the whole county turn out. And am well persuaded that any of these officers whom mentioned could get more volunteers than they could command. It is only a few days ago that Mr. Carter thought of raising a company of Horse and in a few days now will have his number completed.

I mentioned in my last to you that Joseph Moss was taken prisoner by Fanning’s party. He has since informed me that a great many of his party only stay with him because they dare not leave him. There is a certain Edwards who commands a company with him mostly from about Hillsborough who would every man return home could they only have assurance of not being hanged.

I cannot for my part see the propriety of refusing such pardon. It is certainly as easy to reduce the number of our enemies by pardoning than by killing them and much better suited to our present condition.

A certain Mrs. Doherty wants much to see you respecting her son who is laying out, but if I am not mistaken, I think that Old Lady depends more upon personal acquaintance than utility for the obtaining her Request.

General Butler set out for Salisbury on Saturday last. He thinks there will be a Necessity of Raising some men to serve only in certain districts, not only to subdue Armed parties but to inforce a compliance to the Militia laws which he thinks can not be put in execution in several countys without some assistance from others.

I am sorry to inform you that the few men who came with Col. Mebane could not be supplied without have recourse to that old and distressing method of impressment. I cannot help thinking that being under the necessity of Impressing Provisions here at this time must be Owing to a Neglect in some department.

The serving of the quarter master Post from this place makes it very disagreeable to the officers who are here and also to those who pass through as they can get nothing for their horses but what they; and that is by no means certain to their circumstances. I purpose to being in Halifax in a few days, in the meantime, I am, with sincere respect, your very humble servt.,