Philadelphia June 5 1780
I have been honoured with your Letter of the 31st Ulto covering Rivington’s Gazette extraordinary.
I have received no official Intelligence from the Southward of the Surrender of Charlestown.
All the Information from that Quarter which is come to hand, I received, this Day in a Letter from Governor Nash, covering Copies of a Letter from Govr Rutledge to him, and of an intercepted Letter signed James Simson Copies of all which are enclosed.
Your Excellency will observe, that although Govr Rutledge’s Letter of the 16th of May was enclosed in the Letter from Governor Nash of the 25th of May addressed to me, yet he takes the Liberty to doubt whether Charles Town had surrendered; that the Account wants Explanation though I fear it may eventually prove true.
I have, this Moment received authentick Information that the Spaniards have taken Mobile, the Garrison consisting of about 800 regular Troops are made Prisoners, the Articles of Capitulation which are come to hand you will see in the Paper enclosed. I have the honour to be with the highest Respect your Excelly’s obedt hbble servant
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
Headquarters Charlestown Neck May 5. 1780
The information you have given of the loyal disposition of the inhabitants in the interior parts of North Carolina hath been fully communicated to his excellency the commander in chief by govr Martyn & I’m authorized to assure you that they will meet with every encouragement countenance & support that can be given to them. you will therefore be pleased as far as you can to cherish & cultivate that good disposition and also to engage as many as you can to join his Majestys arms & assist in restoring the king’s government together with peace & tranquility in these now unhappy & disharted provinces. Every possible care will be taken and attention paid to ’em when ever they join the Army & they will receive ample supplies of provisions and also be paid & armed, if arms are wanted whilst they are in actual service. I am persuaded your zeal for the kings service will prompt you to use your utmost endeavours to promote it I am with great regard yr very humble servt
secy to the commr
Newbern May 25. 1780
I this day received a letter from govr Rutledge a copy of which I enclose to your excellency also a copy of an intercepted letter from genl Clinton’s secretary to a german Minister in one of our back counties. These letters, Sir, will give your Excelly and the honble Congress a proper idea of the distresses of south Carolina Should Charlestown fall tis fairly to be concluded from governor Rutledge’s letter that South Carolina will fall with it. This state immediately then becomes the barrier and I can assure you Sir we are in no condition at present to repel such a force as the enemy have. We have about 1500 militia in South Carolina and are now embodying four thousand more to march immediately to the relief of that much distressed state, but tis yet uncertain whether it will be possible for us to arm this last and I have an express waiting at Georgetown to obtain a certainty of the fate of Charlestown, when I am made acquainted with this important event I shall not fail to give your excellency the earliest intelligence of it being with the highest respect &c.
May 16. 1780
Last sunday week fort Moultrie surrendered. the garrison are prisoners of war but the militia admitted to their parole to remain peaceably at home. We have accounts (so certain that I think they cant be doubted) that on friday last Charlestown surrendered, as yet I have received no authentic intelligence of the terms of capitulation, but that seems most probable of the several which are reported are that the country militia were to march out with four days provisions & remain at their own homes as prisoners on parole that the continentals were to be prisoners of war & exchangeable for Burgoyne’s troops & that such of the inhabitants of the town as chose to remove with their effects should be allowed thirty six hours for so doing. Those who remained to enjoy their property, I suppose upon taking the oath of allegiance to the King of great Britain. As soon as I receive a copy of the articles of capitulation I will send it to you by express, in the mean time I think it necessary to give you the foregoing information which I request you will immediately communicate to the governor of Virginia & Congress by sending per express to each a copy of this letter that you & they may see the absolute necessity of speedy & large reinforcements under proper commanders to preserve or regain this county. I cannot say whether it will be possible to get any more of our Militia into the field or to keep the few who are now in it, however I shall use my best endeavours to do so. I am &c.
P.S. Two days ago one Wickman who lives at Salisbury was apprehended coming from the british Army & carrying letters of which the enclosed are copies. Simpson’s letter by discovering Mr Martyn’s scheme will I hope enable you to defeat it. I have sent copies of these to Salisbury & recommended to the officer commanding there to apprehend Boot and the other persons to whom Mitchels circular letters are directed and to inform you of his having done so, that he might receive your orders respecting them. Wickman says gover. Martin assured him there would be an Army of 6000 men at Cross creek in 14 days from the surrender of Charlestown. This is improbable for Simpson’s letter I think would have mentioned it if such a thing was intended. However the disaffected would have been encouraged by such a message had Wickman arrived.