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Carolina and Virginia falls at present on Virginia only aided with about 500 Men from Maryland. While our Northern Brethren infinitely superior in numbers, in compactness, in Strength of Situation, in Access to foreign supplies, of necessaries, possessed of all the Arms & Military stores of the Continent, opposed by an Enemy not superior to Ours, have the protection of almost the whole of the Continental Army, with the very important addition of the Army and fleet of our Allies. A powerful Enterprise meditated by the Northwestern savages has obliged this State to have an Army of between two & three thousand Men collected at this Time at the Ohio. The Cherokees on our Southwestern corner take off the Aid of our most valuable Counties in that Quarter. To support General Greene and prevent the Enemy entering our Country on the South we are obliged to send the whole of our regulars and continual reliefs of Militia, and on our seaboard an enemy three thousand strong is firmly posted, has totally shut up the only door we had to commerce for either private or public purposes, and lays us under the necessity of keeping up two Armies of Militia to prevent their ravaging the adjacent country. Notwithstanding all this I believe from what I have lately seen that we should be substantially safe were our Citizens Armed, but we have not as many Arms as we have Enemies in the State.
Under such circumstances it is not easy to foretell events, and it is natural for our People to ask if they are to have no help from others.
Should any considerable part of the Union be abandoned to the Enemy, it must be in their hands very formidable to the future safety of the rest.
The Interests of our Allies, were an appeal to that Motive necessary, would place the Southern States ina point of View of some Importance, as presenting to them very fair Objects of Commerce. This consideration however was not wanting to draw to us the Aid of his Most Christian Majesty. The late efforts made for us by his feet and army demonstrate that his Attention is not partial, and the hope held up in your letter of the 2 3d is a further proof.
The Northern States are safe : their independence has been established by the joint efforts of the whole. It is proved as far as testimony can prove anything that our Enemies have transferred every expectation from that Quarter, and mean nothing further there than a diversion in favour of their Southern Arms. It would be unfortunate indeed should it be again proposed to lose a Campaign on New York and to exhaust on that the efforts of the Confederacy as those of Spain on Gibralta, to give up provinces in the South for towns in the North. Should a superiority on the Continental seas be obtained by your fleet, it will save everything from North to South : If the Detachments of the British Army can once be insulated, they will be whittled down by the Militia, by famine, by sickness and desertion to nothing
If they can be prevented availing themselves of an Army flying on the Wings of the wind to relieve the labouring part acting in New York this week, in Portsmouth the next, in Charlestown the third, the Continental war would be totally Changed, and a single Campaign would strip them of the labours and laurels of half a dozen. Could the Enemies for instance at Portsmouth be excluded from the water, they might be blockaded by Land and must fall in a due course of Time without the Loss of a man on our part.
CIRCULAR LETTER TO THE COUNTY LIEUTENANTS.
V. S. A.
IN COUNCIL. April 12th, 1781. SIR, -Having received an application from the Commanding Officer to strengthen our Army below, and being unwilling to harass the Militia more than shall be absolutely unavoidable, we are in hopes an immediate and sufficient Accession of force may be obtained by an Application to the several Counties for their delinquents in Militia Duty whom the Law sentences to six months service. Every County, we are Confident, must have a number of these, and the laying them under a Penalty is a Justice due to the better part of the County, on whom, without a strict Execution of the Law the whole Militia duties will fall.
These are now become too weighty not to be exacted equally and rigidly from all. You will consider it as a standing part of the Duty of an Officer whom in my letter of the zoth of March 1781, you were desired to appoint for receiving recruits for the war to receive from time to time all persons of whatever Denomination sentenced to serve in the Army and instruct him to march them to this place whenever he shall have such a number as the distance and public necessity may render it expedient to march. The delinquents now particularly called for he must march immediately on their Receipts to Williamsburg. By executing this Requisition, justice will be done to the past services of the worthier part of the County, the tardy will be punished, due obedience to the Laws ensured in future, the military duties justly and equally divided, & the necessity of an immediate call on you for more Militia prevented.
TO COLONEL OLIVER TOWLES.
V. S. A.
RICHMOND April 14th, 1781. SIR,—The same very disagreeable intelligence which you have been pleased to communicate to me of the Operations of our savage Enemy on the Potowmac has come to hand from several Parts of that River. Colo Skinner particularly has written on the subject of Arms. The Order I inclosed him tardy as the supply may be is the utmost it is in our power to do. From his letter we are to judge about a third of his Militia have Guns. These I suppose not to be very good, but they are unfortunately what we are obliged to have recourse to: the 200 stand from Annapolis for which I gave him an order are said to be very fine. The defence at Hunter's and the public Work at Fredericksburg are very important indeed and I hope will be very particularly attended to by the adjacent Counties. No Intelligence from Portsmouth gives us reason to believe that any regular forces have been sent on this expedition ; so that we trust that it is less formidable than some representations make it. The worst is that a Country vulnerable in every Point is open to insult and depredation to even the smallest force, yet important points may we trust be guarded. In effecting this we rely on your Exertions being added, as we are assured they will be.
TO COLONELS SKINNER AND GARRARD.
V. S. A.
RICHMOND. April 14th, 1781. Sir,-I am exceedingly sorry to learn that the Enemy are committing such cruel depredations in your part of the Country; however it may tend to produce immoveable hatred against so detestable a nation and thereby strengthen our Union. Yet in the mean time it brings afflicting distress on Individuals and by diverting so great a Proportion of our force from their principal object leaves Atchievements in their power which otherwise could not be.
We had thrown the whole Burthen of Militia duty on the Southern Counties leaving those to the North quiet till they should get through the raising of their new levies. That being done we have set the Southern Counties on the same business and relied on our Northern Citizens to constitute the Opposition to the hostile army below. Thus deprived for two months of the Aid of the Southern Counties and so many of the Northern like to be diverted, our Army is reduced to less than a third of the number of our Enemy who of course may march wherever they please. Situated as you are we cannot say that the Men before called for must march at all events. We wish you to consider the above circumstances and viewing at the same time your own situation, to determine yourself whether the force called for can be spared without endangering your part of the Country. Every part being equally within our care we wish not to expose one for the defence of another. The