Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"Has not every Peasant in Virginia & North Carolina a Gun?"

We have been for some days past in the most impatient expectation of hearing that the Virtue and ardor of our Countrymen had put a stop to the Progress of Cornwallis, and a period to his handfull of men with which that adventurous Knight Errand had dared to traverse the Southern States, and (as if bidding defiance to our Patriotism and Courage) has with three thousand troops thrown down the Gauntlet to forty thousand at least, who are nearer to him than he is to any support. Good God! Shall it be said that this man has dared to Venture near three Hundred miles from the Sea Coast and above two Hundred from any of his Posts and shall be permitted again to return! I cannot believe it. It is said we want Arms-Has not every Peasant in Virginia & North Carolina a Gun? with what weapons were the Battles of Bunkers Hill, Bennington and Kings mountain fought. But I will not dwell on a Subject which affords so much Chagrin. I will suppose that the Spirit of America has again roused and that Saratoga is revived at the Saura Town.(1) I have been unwearied in my applications for a Maritime force from Rhode Island and should in my last have informed you that I had at last obtained it through the French Ministery-but was afraid to trust it to paper as it was so profound a secret that no one in Philadelphia except him & myself knew it was saild untill we had reason to expect it had arrived....

- Theodorick Bland to Richard Henry Lee, March 5th 1781. [Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 17.]

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