Primary tabs

Letter from the Council of Safety of Georgia to the Council of Safety of South-Carolina


SAVANNAH, March 16, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: Since ours of the 4th instant to you, we have neither heard from you, nor have we wrote to you, except by Lieutenant-Colonel Wells, upon a particular business, which, by your assistance, we hope he will soon have effected.

Colonel Bull, with the detachment from your Province, arrived here very seasonably on Sunday last, our own Militia having been so greatly fatigued with marching, keeping out-guards, ambuscades, and watching, that we were under the necessity of suffering a great part of them to go home.

On the evening of the 3d instant, the chief of the vessels which escaped the fire, got up some small distance from the town, and lay under cover of the armed schooner and sloop; and, towards the morning, they sent express to Colonel McIntosh, with the original of the enclosed copy marked No˙ 1 , by which we were entrapped into a cessation, at the time when we should have done ourselves justice by destroying or taking all the vessels, both warlike and mercantile, which it was in our power easily to do with fire-ships, as they lay in the South River for near two days, and most of them often aground. This mistake was occasioned by our anxiety for the safety and recovery of our captive friends, though, perhaps, a very mistaken policy, for coercive measures might have been more successful.

We enclose to you copies of all the letters which passed upon that occasion, which will convey to you a full idea of the subject. By them you will find that they sued for peace. During this truce, when any of our officers or men went near the shore where any of the vessels lay, (in all which the soldiery were distributed,) they were meanly obsequious.

On the 7th instant, while they were yet within our power in the Sack River, we found that they had affected to construe one of Colonel McIntosh' s proposals into a consent that the merchant shipping should be carried to Cockspur; and, therefore, by way of explanation, and to make a further demand of our prisoners, we sent the despatch marked No˙ 2 , which was delivered as directed, about six o' clock at night. Immediately after which, the whole of the marines, soldiers, and mariners, were set to work, and, after labouring very hard, staving and throwing overboard most of the rice, got out of the Back River, safe into Five-Fathom Hole, about two o' clock in the morning, and in the course of two or three days down to Cockspur.

A few days ago, we sent down a boat, with some necessaries to our confined friends; and by the return, among a number of others, came the originals of the copies we now enclose to you. We are informed that there are many other letters in the packet, both for Carolina and Georgia, which may be had by sending the hard money; and as we intend sending down further supplies to-day, we shall send hard money for all the letters. Those which shall appear to belong or appertain to your Province, we will despatch to you.

By the letters from the contracting victuallers, we learn that our enemies have essayed to make this river a victualling and watering place for the whole forces employed against America; but, with respect to the former, we are determined at all hazards to disappoint them. All we have to guard against is, the being surprised. A number of vessels and troops may arrive below, and be tempted to attack the town at a time when it may be most defenceless. To prevent this, it will be necessary to keep a standing force, in doing which, we are in need of your assistance. If you could spare us about one hundred and fifty or two hundred men, until our officers shall get the battalion recruited, it would enable us, with drafts from our own people, to keep a force sufficient, with our natural advantages, to repel a formidable enemy.

We are much afraid that the enemy will use their exertions to ravage your plantations bordering on our river. They have done it already, as they were making their escape through the Buck River, by taking a number of negroes belonging to Mr˙ Middleton, Mrs˙ Cuthbert, and others, and by taking the live stock, &c˙, from the plantations appertaining to the friends of America.

We have ordered a large boat to be fitted out for the purpose of guarding the river. We have some reasons to believe that the transports, with some of the vessels-of-war, are about sailing for Boston, and we are almost certain that the force now upon our coast will not attempt aught against Chartestown; however, the officers below say that Sir Peter Parker sailed on the 5th of December, for America with four forty-four-gun ships, and five thousand soldiers, and that their destination, in particular, was against your Province.

Several of the King' s officers and non-associates have taken sanctuary on board the King' s ships; and we have six others, besides the two Captains, confined as hostages for the good treatment and enlargement of Messrs˙ DemerĂ©, Roberts, and Rice. If necessary, we shall trouble some of our sister Colonies with them.


Captain Grant, of the armed schooner St˙ John, has, within a few days past, arrived at Cockspur, and gives an account that the American fleet was seen off near Providence, and that thereupon he took the powder (amounting to two hundred and seventy barrels) onboard, and went out from the Island one way as the fleet came in on the other.

Six or seven large ships have been seen off St˙ Catherine' s, from whence they got a pilot; but whether it is Sir Peter Parker or our friends, we are at a loss to conjecture. The King' s ships below have taken the Georgia Packet, Captain George Bunner, with four hundred barrels of flour, and other articles of provisions.

By order of the Council of Safety;

WILLIAM EWEN, President.

To the Honourable the Congress or Council of Safety for South-Carolina.