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Letter from Captain Fordyce to Captain Urquhart


Intercepted Letter transmitted to Congress by General Washington, with his Letter dated December 18, 1775.


Norfolk, December 1,1775.

DEAR URQUHART: Thanks to the bar of St˙ Augustine, for allowing me to receive your last letter, two days before the St˙ Lawrence arrived. I had embarked for this Colony, with all the Grenadiers, and as many men from the battalion as made up a detachment of sixty, including non-commissions. We sailed the 7th of October, and got here the 20th. Jonathan, with the small remains of the regiment, are to follow when relieved by the three companies of the 16th, from Pensacola. From what you wrote me there must most certainly be some unaccountable mistake with respect to our regiment. One would conceive that it never could be intended that we should be divided in the way we have been for some time past. I brought the sergeants and corporals of your two companies with me; and it was intended they should have gone by this sloop, but Lord Dunmore has acquainted Captain Leslie that he cannot give them a passage; the true cause is that he does not at present choose to part with so many good men.

We have been in great hopes of troops coming here, either from England or your army. What a pity it is that this Colony should have been so much neglected; a couple of thousand men would settle every thing here in the course of this winter. There have been no accounts from England or Boston since I came here. I enclose you a newspaper, which contains some account of our proceedings here. You will see by it that we have had a little brush with the Rebels, who behaved in a most dastardly manner. Redfern was the only man hurt; he received a shot in the knee-pan, which will render him unfit for service. A corps of about seven hundred men has been sent from Williamsburgh, in order to take possession of this place, which they are most exceedingly desirous of doing. We are throwing up some intrenchments, so that they won' t find it quite so easy


as they expected. They have been for some days within about ten miles of us, but their farther progress has been hitherto stopped by a fort constructed by Batut, at a bridge where they must pass. Their riflemen keep up an almost constant fire, but hitherto without much success, having only wounded Gardner, of the General' s company. Wallace commands the fort; he has twenty-five of our regiment, a few militia, and some negroes. The negroes who had deserted from the Rebels to the fort, say that many of them have been killed and wounded by our people. Would to God we had a few more men, and I think we should give a very good account of these rascals; but we are at present a very handful. The place is entirely deserted by the natives; only a few Scotch remain, who to a man are well-affected to Government, and are now all embodied, as the town of Norfolk militia, and do their duty wilh great spirit; one of them you may recollect at Boston some years ago, his name John Hunter, an active man, and aid-de-camp to Lord Dunmore.

I have forgot all this time to condole with you on the death of your good friend, and quondam Captain, Blackett, who drank his last dram, and resigned his breath on the 12th of October. They say he was a most miserable object before he died. I think you have been in tolerable good fortune this year to get quit of him, and Patoon so soon. I have wrote to Stanton to apply for our bat and forage money. We are most certainly entitled to it, as well as the other troops. Lend a helping hand in this business; a few joes would by no means be inconvenient for some of your friends. I have likewise desired from him particular information concerning the provisions for men, women, and children.

I see by the Williamsburgh papers that the Thirty-Second and some other regiments have been drafted, and the officers sent home. It must really be a most distressing matter to be robbed of all the men that one knows, and has been at so much pains with. I am very thankful that we have been so fortunate as to avoid that dreadful fate. I hope my very worthy friend Symes was well when he left you. Did Brown go home with the regiment, or remain with General Grant? If he is with you, remember me to him.

We have a report that General Gage is gone home, and that General Howe succeeds him. If that is true, it will make a terrible change in your staff; though I hope it may not by any means affect you. I have enclosed in a packet to you a great many letters which I brought from St˙ Augustine, which I will be obliged to you if you will take the trouble of sending. All your friends in East-Florida desired to be remembered to you. The parson had some thoughts of coming with me in his way to Boston, but Governour Tonyn would not give him leave. My best wishes attend Mrs˙ Urquhart. By what I have heard, you have, I presume, by this time, a pledge of your mutual love, I beg my compliments to Colonel Leslie, Major Musgrave, and my other friends of the Sixty-Fourth. All here join in compliments and best wishes to you. And I remain with great truth, dear Urquhart, your sincere friend,
&c˙, C˙ FORDICE.

Captain Urquhart.