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fore, as you are proceeding to that part of the Country, desire and authorize you to make enquiry into the premises, and where you shall have probable cause to believe that any persons have been guilty of Treason or misprision of Treason, that there is legal evidence to commit them thereof, and that an examining Court can be had on them in the County where the offence was committed before there shall be any danger of a Rescue by the Enemy, you have them delivered to the Warrant of a Justice of the Peace, in order that they may be prosecuted in the usual Forms of law and be aiding in their safe conveyance to the public Jail in Richmond, if they be ordered to be conveyed: But where you shall be of Opinion that legal evidence cannot be obtained, that an examining Court cannot be procured in the County before there will be Danger of a Rescue by the Enemy and that there are pregnant circumstances of suspicion that they have been guilty of the offences of Treason or Misprision of Treason, or where there shall be pregnant causes of suspicion that persons in these Counties are disaffected to the Independence of the United States ; and when occasion serves, aid or advise the Operations of the Enemy, that in those Cases you apprehend such Persons, & send them in safe Custody to the Jail of this County reporting to the Executive the facts and Circumstances of Suspicion whereon you proceed. In the executions of these Powers, I must recommend to You that you have no retrospect to any fact prior to the 17th of April last, being the day the Enemy embarked at Portsmouth; that you single out only those who have been foremost or most daring in their offences, and that even these be treated by those into whose hands they shall be committed with no Insult or Rudeness unnecessary for their safe Custody.
TO COLONEL ABRAHAM PENN.
V. S. A.
RICHMOND May 4th, 1781. SIR.-I am exceedingly sorry that the public Situation should be such as to render it necessary to call our Citizens from their farms at this interesting season of the Year.
But the enemy will not suspend their operations till we can sow or reap, so that we must have our Army on foot as well at these as the other seasons of the Year. We have called on eleven Counties to furnish a reinforcement to Genl Greene, and hope it will be the last time we shall have occasion to require our Militia to go out of their own Country as we think it most advisable to put that distant disagreeable service on our Regulars, and to send them forward as fast as raised, and to employ our Militia on service in our own Country. And I am confident that if the Reinforcement of Militia now under orders to Genl Greene is marched, and serves the two months with him which is intended, that by that time he will be so reinforced by Regulars as to retain Possession of North and the greatest part of South Carolina, and thus to keep the war at a distance from us. On the contrary if he is not supported by the Militia until the Regulars can get to him, he will be driven back and we shall have the war on us.
Of the eleven counties called on, seven have applied to be excused. You will immediately see, Sir, what would be the consequence of complying with their request.
The Executive have therefore been obliged to insist on the Requisition. Mr Henry has written on the same subject, as to Your County, but the grounds on which a Relaxation of the order is proposed, being met as every other County has or as would, go to a perpetual Exemption from Military duty, we cannot withdraw the Call.
Capt Baurt has engaged fifty horse to go for three months, but this is no equivalent for 250 Infantry to serve two months. I must therefore, Sir, rely on your zeal and activity to carry the former Requisition into Execution.
It is probable you may have among you some delinquent Militia who should by law serve six months, as a punishment for their Delinquency, these if sent with the Militia might be counted as part.
CIRCULAR LETTER TO THE COUNTY LIEUTENANTS OF LUNENBURG, MECKLENBURG, GREENSVILLE, BRUNS
WICK, AMELIA AND CUMBERLAND.
V. S. A,
RICHMOND May 8th, 1781. Sir,—The British Army under Major Genl Phillips having landed at Brandon & meaning to press Southwardly; and Lord Cornwallis being now advancing Northwardly with a design probably of uniting their force; it behooves us immediately to turn out from every County as many men as there are Arms to be found in the County, in order to oppose these forces in their separate State if possible ; and if not to do it when combined : You will therefore be pleased with the Assistance of the Captains and Subalterns to collect immediately every fire Arm in Your County in anywise fit for military service, and to march so many men with these Arms in their hands to Prince Edward Courthouse or to Taylor's ferry or Roanoke as shall be most convenient, having Respect to what you shall hear of the movements of the hostile armies and our army under Major General Marquis Fayette : The object of your Detachment being to join the latter, & keep clear of danger from the former. When you shall be possessed of the Arms, I think those men should be called on whose regular tour it is to go, unless any should offer voluntarily, in which case the service should be accounted to them as a Tour of Duty. The person who received any fire Arm must be noted by you and held accountable to the owner for its safe return,
in which he will not be obstructed when he shall be discharged. When the Discharge will take place we cannot undertake to say. It is fixed that no tour shall exceed two months in the Field, but our expectation is that the present crisis will be over in a much shorter Time, and whenever it is over they shall be discharged. It is probable that this order will put it out of your power to proceed with your Draught : If so, be pleased to suspend it in it's present state, and to take it up again where you left off as soon as your men shall return.
Cavalry in a due proportion, being as necessary as Infantry, you will be pleased to permit and even encourage one tenth part of those who are to come into Duty, as above required, to mount & equip themselves as Cavalry. They must not be received however unless their Horses are good and fit for service. A short sword can be furnished them by the State, though if they can procure a proper one with other Equipments themselves they had better do it. Their Horses and Accoutrements shall be ensured by the public against everything but their own negligence, and they shall be allowed forage for them in addition to their own Pay & Rations. The future movement of the Enemy being uncertain, it is necessary for me to give general Direction to see that all Horses fit for Cavalry which shall be at any time within twenty miles of the Enemy, and all other horses which shall be directly in their front be removed by their Owners; or if they shall refuse or delay to do it, that then you have them taken by such persons as you shall appoint, and carried to Your camp, giving the Owners a Receipt and Description of them. I need not urge to you that the greatest Events hang on the Dispatch which is used in getting the Militia into the field. I am &c.
TO GENERAL WASHINGTON.
RICHMOND May 9th, 1781. Sir,-Since the last letter which I had the honour of addressing to your Excellency the military movements in this State have scarcely merited communication except a very late one.
The Enemy after leaving Williamsburg came directly up James River & landed at city point being the point of land on the Southern side of the confluence of Appamattox & James Rivers. They marched up to Petersburg where they were received by Majr: Gen. Baron Steuben with a body of militia somewhat under 1000 who tho' the Enemy were 2300 strong disputed the ground very handsomely two hours during which time the Enemy gained only one mile and that by inches. Our troops were then ordered to retire over a bridge which they did in perfectly good order. Our loss was between sixty & seventy killed wounded and taken.
The Enemys is unknown but it must be equal to ours : for their own honour they must confess this as they broke twice & ran like sheep 'till supported by fresh troops. An inferiority in number obliged our Force to with