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Letter from General Lee to the Convention of Virginia


Wilmington, June 1, 1776.

SIR: The whole enemy' s fleet have sailed from Cape-Fear, the first division on Wednesday, the last yesterday; but it is far from being ascertained whether they have steered their course to the northward or to the southward. The people here are all of opinion that Charlestown is their object; for my own part I do not see on what they ground this persuasion; however, as South-Carolina is weaker in numbers than Virginia, I have ordered Muhlenburg' s regiment at a venture to Charlestown immediately, as also a detachment of seven hundred men from this place. I have also been under the necessity of stripping this Province of sixteen hundred pounds of gunpowder, which I must replace from Virginia. As this Colony is now apparently no longer in danger, I shall send an express to stop your Militia, as they may be wanted more in their own Province, and will now be an unnecessary expense. I shall myself set out for Charlestown to-morrow, but at the same time confess I know not whether I shall go to or from the enemy; but if that capital is really their object, their whole force will be collected in one point; their operations will be more regular, and, consequently, my presence as Commander-in-Chief of the district more requisite; whereas if Virginia is their object, it is possible and probable their operations may be merely predatory and piratical. If such are their intentions, I am confident that your own officers will have little or no occasion for the advice or assistance, such as .they are, of, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,


To Edmund Pendleton, Esq˙, President of the Convention of Virginia.

P˙ S. As I have not much time, and indeed there being no absolute necessity of troubling the Congress with any circumstances further than expressed in this letter, I must entreat, sir, that you will send a copy of it to the Congress.