Papers of the Congressional Congress
William Preston to Martin Armstrong 9/18/1780
National Archives & Records Administration
M247-164 i150 v2 pg. 459
Transcriber's Note: This is a transcript of a copy of a letter sent by William Preston to Martin Armstrong. Preston had the original copied and forwarded to the governor of Virginia from which this transcript is made.
Bottetourt Court House
18th September 1780
This Hour I was favoured with your Letter of the 12th Inst. which was forwarded to me by Colo. Crockett, who lives 90 miles from hence, by Express The increasing Distresses of our Friends to the Southwd. give me the deepest Concern; would to God that power equal to my Inclination, in any Measure to alleviate them I have not a Doubt, but what they suffer now, unless Providence interposes, we must shortly experience even amongst our Mountains. Before Colo. Campbell return'd, a plan was laid by the Officers in Montgomery County to raise 500 or even 1000 choice Riflemen in the Counties of Augusta, Rockbridge, Bottetourt, Montgomery & Washington (among whom are to be 150 Light Horse, tollerably [sic] equipped) to act as a Body of Light Infantry under the immediate command of General Gates to Rendez[vous?-page torn] at the Moravian Town the 15th. of October, and to continue three Months on Duty, from that Time unless sooner discharged. This Scheme I sent to the Government by Express, and expect an Answer in Eight Days, and perhaps sooner I also applied to the several County Lieutenants, and exhorted them to put the Business in Motion among their respective Militias, that preparations might be making in the Meantime, and that when Orders arrived from the Executive the Troops might be ready to march How far the proposals may be adopted, in the several Counties, I can't positively say; but I have many Reasons to believe, that they will meet with all due Encouragement and each County will exert itself on this alarming Occasion: nor have I a remaining Doubt, but that our Government will most cheerfully adopt these Measures; and the others as they are warmly recommended by General Lewis & Colo. Fleming, two of the Council of State, to whom I applied for their approbation.
There Sir stood Matters when your Letter came to no[tice?] but lest this Relief might be too slow, and not answer your [?] Purposes, I have directed Colo. Crockett, to send two other [?-page torn] your immediate Relief, to overawe the Tories in your County and the Neighbourhood thereof for two or three Weeks, that your own Militia might join the Army, with more Safety to their Families & property. This I hope will not interfere with our general Plan, of sending you a more effectual Aid by the time above mentioned. I have also prevailed on the County Lieut. of Bottetourt, who was present when your Letter came to hand, to order a Company of Militia to follow those from Montgomery, as soon as they can possibly be raised I have also directed Colonel Crocket [sic] to write Colonel Campbell of Washington, and request him, if possible, send another Company to continue until the whole Body raised are in Motion, and then to return Home This is all I can do at present, but you may be assured that every Officer, and every thinking Man in this Country will exert themselves to the utmost to send you the proposed assistance, which we hope will give a favorable turn to your affairs; provided you can persevere until they can be sent. As soon as I receive the Governor's Letter on this Subject, I shall communicate the Contents to you by Express I have the pleasure to tell you, that from the best information I can gather, since I came to this place; our Government have ordered 3,000 Recruits now raised, into your State to your Assistance they are to assemble at Hillsborough, also 2,000 Militia and one Thousand Volunteers, which I hear, one Colonel Lawson has been engaged with Success, in raising Let me beg of you to write me a Line as Opportunity offers it may be of the utmost use to hasten the Aids from this Quarter.