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Letter from Captain Leslie to General Howe


Norfolk, November 26, 1775.

On Tuesday, the 14th of this month, Lord Dunmore, with the detachment of the Fourteenth Regiment that I have the honour to command, and some volunteers, embarked in boats, and after going up the southern branch of Elizabeth River, we landed, about daylight, four or five miles below the Great-Bridge, with an intention to dislodge a number of men in arms from North-Carolina, who had taken possession of that pass; but they thought proper to retire and disperse upon our approach. After directions had been given to erect a kind of wooden fort to secure the pass, we proceeded nine or ten miles farther, to Kemp' s Landing, where we were informed there were three or four hundred of the Rebels ready to receive us, under the command of a Colonel Lawson. When we arrived within sight of Kemp' s Landing, our advanced guard was twice fired upon by the Rebels, who had concealed themselves in very thick woods on the left of the road; but upon our rushing in among them, they were very soon totally routed. Their very precipitate flight, and the closeness of the woods, prevented our giving a much better account of them. It is said that some of them ran away even before the firing began. However, five of the Rebels, that we know of, were killed, two drowned in endeavouring to escape across a creek, and, by all accounts, a great many of them were wounded. We had only one Grenadier wounded in the knee. Colonel Hatchings and seven of the Rebels were taken in the field, and Colonel Lawson and eight others were taken a day or two after. For further particulars, in regard to the abovementioned affair, and the consequences of it, I refer your Excellency to the enclosed newspaper.

We took possession of this Town the 23d instant, and are now busy intrenching ourselves in the best manner we can, as a large body of the Rebels, consisting of eight or nine hundred men, are within ten or twelve miles of us. They marched from Williamsburgh, about a fortnight ago, with an intention to pillage and burn this Town; which, however, we shall do every thing that is possible to prevent, and I flatter myself that our endeavours will be attended with success.

I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient humble servant, SAMUEL LESLIE,
Captain 14th Reg' t of Infantry.

To his Excellency General Howe.