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Patrick Henry to Richard Henry Lee, March 20, 1777

Dear Sir: Wmsburgh, March 20, 1777.

Every possible method has been taken to hasten the march of the new Levys. I am sorry to observe a remissness among the officers, over whom the executive of this country can exercise no command in the opinion of most people. Indeed they have a general want of necessarys to struggle with. But they do not in general exert themselves as they ought. I've sent express twice to each colonel, & besides have had public advertisements repeatedly in the papers. All won't do. They are remiss. I guess two-thirds of the continental Recruits are enlisted, but in broken Quotas. Our three Battalions are more than half full. The inlistments for Georgia (agt. my opinion permitted by the assembly) have greatly hurt ours. A fellow called the Dragging Canoe, has seceded from the nation of Cherokees & 400 Warriors have followed his fortune, lying in the Woods & making War on us notwithstanding the peace made with Col. Christian. We have a Treaty on foot still with that people. Orders were issued a few days since for destroying Pluggy's Town. Three hundred Militia are ordered on that service from the Neighbourhood of Fort Pitt. Five swift sailing Boats are gone for arms to the West Indies. Our Factorys are making some. Perhaps we may arm our own Troops & some others, especially if the importation succeeds. A French ship & 2 Briggs are lately arrived here. 'Tis said they've warlike stores. If so my next will tell, as I've sent to purchase them—I hear to-day the people on the Eastern Shore are very uneasy, and that from the great number of disaffected in Maryland and Delaware the Whigs of Virginia are inclined to move away their Family's. I suppose the number is small and those of the richer sort. The poor can't remove. The affairs of that shore puzzle me. Pray advise me what it is best to do. What can be the reason of no mails from the North? Adieu my dear friend. May your powerful assistance be never wanted when the best Interests of America are in Danger. May the subterfuges of Toryism be continually exposed and counteracted by that zeal and ability you have so long displayed, to the peculiar Honor of your native country, & the advantage of all the United States.

I am, Yr. ever affte.

P. Henry To Richard Henry Lee, at the Congress.

Printed in William Wirt Henry, Patrick Henry: Life, Correspondence, and Speeches (1891), 1: 513.