George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Richard Caswell, 15 February 1778

From Richard Caswell

No. Carolina New Bern 15th Feb. 1778.


I had the Honor of receiving your Excellencys Favors of the 25th & 29. December last, the former advising of the recet of A Resolve of the General Assembly of this State respecting resignations of Officers of the Troops raised here, the latter inclosing a Return of the No. Carolina Regiments in the Grand Army.1

I am really much concerned to find those Regiments so exceedingly short of their Complement of Men, and beg leave to Assure you Sir, that every Attention shall be paid and such Measures adopted as may be in my power to make them more respectable and as nearly complete as possible.

The distresses of the Soldiery for want of Cloathing are truly Alarming and the feelings of every Man of the least Sensibility must be wounded on receiving the information of their unhappy circumstances—since I was favoured with your Excellencys Account of their Sufferings I have been happy in purchasing for our Troops about 4000 Yards of Woolen Cloth, 300 Blankets, 1500 Yards of Ozenbrigs, some Shoes & Stockings, I have also purchased a Considerable quantity of Tanned Leather and Deerskins all which will be sent on to the Clotherr General so soon as I can procure Waggons, considerable quantities of Salt & Salted provisions have been also purchased under my directions which are forwarding to Southquay in Virginia2 from whence they will be haled over to Suffolk about 16 Miles and so forwarded by Colo. Aylett in the best and most expeditious manner in his power.

I take the Liberty of inclosing a Gazette of the 13. Inst. containing the only News here, except a Report of a revolution in Canada which wants confirmation.3 I have the Honor to be with the greatest respect Sir, Your Excellencys Most Obedient Servant

Rd Caswell

ALS, DLC:GW; ALS (duplicate), DNA: RG 93; LB, Nc-Ar: Governor’s Letterbook. GW replied on 28 March.

Richard Caswell (1729–1789), a major figure in North Carolina politics who had served for many years in the colonial assembly and in the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1775, was elected governor in December 1776. He remained in office until April 1780, subsequently commanding the North Carolina militia at the Battle of Camden in August 1780 and serving another term as governor from 1785 until 1787.

1The copy of the circular to the states of 29 Dec. 1777 that GW sent to Caswell has not been found.

2The village of South Quay, which served during the war as a goods depot and transit point, was situated on the Blackwater River, a few miles from the North Carolina border in Nansemond County, Virginia.

3On 6 Feb. the North-Carolina Gazette (New Bern) printed this report: “BY several of the officers of the troops of this State, just arrived from head-quarters, we have an account that Canada has acceeded to the union of the confederated States of America, and that an express from Quebec had just arrived to Congress, with the important account, that they had seized on the President of the council, Governor Carlton having left the country, all the British troops and stores, and requested that they might be received as the fourteenth State, and that proper force might be sent to garrison the several towns in that country.”

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