William Preston Letter
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January 6, 2013
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William Preston Letter
July 18, 1779
I have just rec'd intelligence that a number of Tories have embodied themselves up New River in this county [Montgomery County, Virginia], that they took Prisoners Captains Cox, Osborn & Henderson, the former of whom made his escape. That they also took two men who were sent as spies and kept them ...... Prisoners in which time the spies heard them say that they intended to take the Lead Mines & that thy had but 105 men there they made were five hundred strong....
Colo. Wm. Campbell with 48 men was at the Mines on Fryday...waiting untill he could be reinforced by the militia in that neighborhood who were then preparing to join him; and that the People on that Quarter were greatly alarmed.
This news was brought to me a few hours ago by Colo. Ingles whom I have ordered to draught several companies of Militia, which with those already on foot he is to take command as a Touchstone of his sincerity in the American cause, and March immediately against the Insurgents. He seemed willing to undertake the Business and promises the utmost Exertion in Quelling the Insurrection.
I am really apprehensive that they will be joined by numbers from this county, Washington & Carolina.... become formidable unless an immediate stop be put to their carreer. Should that be the case I shall be obliged to apply to you for your Friendly assistance. At present, however, I shall postone making any Demand until I have further Intelligence. All I would now beg of you is that you would be pleased to give the officers orders to hold their companies in readiness to turn out on short notice. That should matters take an unfavorable turn in our first attempt to repell those people, there may be no time lost in raising a proper number to chastise them as they deserve.
I have hopes that the Insurgents, on hearing that Colo. Ingles is to command the Montgomery Militia, will Disperse. Be that as it will, I shall immediately send you the first certain inteligence I can procure.
I am Dr. Sir, your most obed't serv't.