Want to save this letter now that you've found it?
It's easy - just create your own collection of letters after signing up for a free account.
About the time that the Beaumont sailed with my last letters, I received despatches from Pensacola, which I transmit to your Excellency. I was extremely sorry to learn that the state of the place, and that of their enemies in the neighbourhood of it, was very different from what I had heard a few days before through the channel of a private letter from St. Augustine ; and I am the more concerned, as the relative situation of this place, the state of the naval affairs here, and the present condition of the province, render it utterly impossible for me to give assistance ; for to attempt it with any degree of prudence, and to do it effectually, a convoy would be wanted of more considerable force than could be given from hence, and a greater detachment of troops than could be spared consistent with the security of this important province.
In ease of a misfortune at Pensacola, St. Augustine becomes a frontier in this quarter, and I think I shall direct Lieut-Colonel Clarke to take the command there with the regiment of Weissenbach and some provincials, and remove the detachments of the 60th (upon which from their composition there can be no great dependence ) to Savannah, to assist in the interior business of the province. For with East Florida in our possession on one side, and South Carolina on the other, it is not probable that Georgia can be an object to any foreign enemy.
Since my arrival at this place I have been employed in the internal regulations of the province, and settling the militia of the lower districts, both of which are in forwardness ; and I have kept up a constant correspondence with the frontiers and the interior parts of North Carolina, where the aspect of affairs is not so peaceable as when I wrote last. Sumpter, with about 1500 militia, is advanced as far as the Catawba settlement Lord Rawdon reports to me that many of the disaffected South Carolinians from the Waxhaw and other settlements on the frontier, whom he had put on parole, have availed themselves of the general release of the 20th of June, and have joined General Sumpter.
Accounts from Virginia through different channels say that 2500 of their militia had followed De Kalbe, that the Assembly had voted 5000 men, to be immediately drafted to serve as a corps of observation, and had vested their Governor with absolute power during their recess. The Government of North Carolina is likewise making great exertions to raise troops, and persecuting our friends in the most cruel manner, in consequence of which Colonel Bryan,' although he had promised to wait for my orders, lost all patience and rose with about 800 men on the Yadkin, and by a difficult and dangerous march joined Major M'Arthur on the borders of Anson county ; about two-thirds only of his people were armed, and those I believe but indifferently.
The effects of the exertions which the enemy are making in those two provinces, will, I make no doubt, be exaggerated to us. But upon the whole there is every reason to believe that their plan is not only to defend North Carolina, but to commence offensive operations immediately; which reduces me to the necessity, if I wanted the inclination, of following the plan which I had the honour of transmitting to your Excellency in my letter of the 30th of June, as the most effectual means of keeping up the spirits of our friends and securing this province. To enable me to begin first, I am using every possible despatch in transporting to Camden rum, salt, regimental stores, arms, and ammunition, which, on account of the distance and excessive heat of the season, is a work of infinite labour, and requires a considerable time. The want of subordination and confidence of our militia in themselves, will make a considerable regular force always necessary for the defence of the province, until North Carolina is perfectly reduced It will be needless to attempt to take any considerable number of the South Carolina militia with us when we advance ; they can only be looked upon as light troops, and we shall find friends enough in the next province of the same quality, and we must not undertake to supply too many useless mouths.
When the troops march into North Carolina it will be absolutely necessary to get supplies up some of the principal rivers of that province ; I therefore thought it proper to apply to Captain Henry to detain the Sandwich, which will be more useful to us than any frigate in the service, and could not in my opinion be much wanted at New York, where the Admiral will have it in his power to fit up so many vessels of the same kind. Captain Henry has consented, and I hope to procure, with her assistance and the galleys, a tolerable water-communication pretty high up the country. The bringing the troops down towards the coast before the month of November would be leading them to certain destruction
I have, &a,
- Charles Cornwallis
- Correspondence of Charles, first Marquis Cornwallis, Vol I, Charles Ross, Esq., London, 1859