Campbell to Preston, 17 September 1774

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From Thwaites and Kellog, 1905:202-205
See Letters of Dunmore's War for other letters in T&K.

Maj. Arthur Campbell to Col. William Preston.
Drapers MSC:3QQ98
Sept. 17th 1774

SIR — The same day Jno. Henry was wounded on Clinch There was one Samuel Lemmey taken Prisoner on the North fork of Holstein, about a Mile from the upper End of Campbells Choice (now called the Clay-Lick) and John & Archibald Buchanans Familys narrowly escaped.

Tuesday I3th three Indians attacked one of Capt. Smiths Soldiers about half-Mile from the Maiden-Spring Station he is tho't to have killed one of them; and escaped himself without being hurt: a party of our people happened to be within 300 Yards when the Guns fired; they soon were at the place of action, and give the remaining two Indians a good Chase the wounded fellow, found means to get into a large Cave or Pit within 70 or 80 Yds. of the place he was shot ; in which it is supposed he is Dead, as he fell when he was shot, and Bled a good deal; I have one [of] the plugs now in my House that burst out of his wound a few steps from the Tree he stood behind when he received the Shot. The Pit is to be search'd by means of leting a Man down in it by ropes with lights as our Men is anxious to get his Scalp.

The same Evening of ye 13th Capt. Smiths Scouts discovered the tracts of a party of the Enemy going off with Horses and it is supposed the prisoners, he immediately set out with a party of 21 Men, in pursuit of them, which I am perswaded he will follow a considerable way, or else overtake them. (42) I have made strict enquiry into the Conduct of the Spys and find, it was not their fault, the leting the Enemy in undiscovered. The different passes they were ordered to watch, lay at such a distance, that it took several days before thefy] could go, to each, when they came to Sandy River the[y] found the Enemys footing; and immediately ran to the station, but as they were 30 Miles off and the Enemy had 2 or 3 Days start the damage was done before they got in to give the Alarm. I am much obliged to the most of the Militia that was called upon, on this occasion, as they shewed great willingness both to go out, and do what service [lay] in their power.

The Principal part of the party now in pursuit of the Enemy under Capt. Smith is of those that I sent out as I mentioned in my last Letter. There is a few obstinate Wretches, that selfishly refuses Duty, when in their power, to perform it; Please give Orders what course is to be taken with such, for if they go unpunished it will set a bad example to others. Also one of the party, that went out on this occasion; behaved but indifferently; They proceeded to the place the Man was wounded at, made some small search there, from when[ce] the[y] went to Capt. Smith Station and drew three days provision, on pretence, they intended to search the Country round for the Enemys footing; but instead of doing so; the[y] precipitately returned home; altho, on their way back, they were informed of fresh Signs of the Indians and was requested to go in search of them ; which they refused, I should think less of this Piece of ill-Conduct, had it not been for the deception about the Provision; as it was some Bacon that was kept in reserve, for to carry out in case of a pursuit and for the use of the Spys, and besides Meat is but scarce on Clinch. Your late instructions will enable me to satisfy every reasonable request of the Inhabitants; and if we had Powder; I hope in the Almighty we shall be able to give a good account of the Enemy, if the[y] trouble us with any more Visits.

I shall take it as a favour if you will let me know the News from the Army as often as you receive Intelligence. Herberts Men is not yet come: 12 is gone out of Doacks Company and I believe two more will be along in a few Days the fifteenth Man, I am informed, is an obstinate Gent, that despises Authority. I have not yet seen Capt. Wilson, But I expect he will dispose his Men in the best Manner he can on Reed-Creek and in the Rich-Valley in Order to protect the Inhabitants and encourage them to stay at home, to save their Crops.

Capt. Floyd was to have some Plots made out before he went away, for Col. Byrd, Capt. Harrison and myself I hope he has not forgot to inform you about them.

I am Sir With great Respect your Obedient Servant


(42) Colonel Preston reports these occurrences in a letter pub lished in Amer. Archives, i, p. 808, in which he states that Captain Smith's party was unable to overtake the Indians, who had stolen horses upon which to ride away.—ED.

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