The Papers of Henry Laurens

[Page 358]

William Tennent to Council of Safety


This comes by Captn. George Reeds[1] waggon from the long Canes where I am at present. I parted from Mr. Drayton on Monday[Page 359] Morng.; he steer'd his Course to Augusta and thence designed for the Camp at Amelia. I tho't it necessary to visit the Settlements on this Side Saludy. Met a large Congregation Yesterday and found the people divided in their Sentiments. Spoke at least two Hours to them to good Effect. The prevailing party here is for American Measures by the Agency of some of our worthy Members. but they need Confirmation. I have therefore appointed three Meetings at which I expect to see the greater Number of the Disaffected. Shall then cross over into Fletchal's Regt. once more to be at an Election appointed at Ford's on Enoree where we expect great Opposition if not Violence from Cunninghams Party. Brown will bring them to Blood if he can but, still hope it may be prevented. I consider myself as running great Risques but think it my Duty. Our Visit has given their party a great Shock divided their Freinds and strengthened the American Interest much. One of their Cheifs confessed to me at little River that he bro't up the Thanks of the Govr: to Mr. Cunninghams for what he has done and is doing. and engaged to write. The Govr's._ Intrigue here is as evident as the Light of the Sun. The Evidences of their Design of by the Indians is no doubt clear to the Council from the papers sent down already. The Inhabitants here are in great Terror as far as they have heard of their Danger and that because they have no Amunition. The leaders have frequently dropd in Company that they intend to form a Camp. I am sure they will find a smaller number ready to illegible befriend them than they imagine. but their Dependance is upon the Savages to join their Army. & that the rest of the Inhabitants will be forced to join them, to save their Families from a Massacre. I am taking proper Measures in this District to prevent the horrible Conspiracy. Three Volunteer Companies are formed. One under Major Terry who now seems animated in the Cause another under Captn: Pickens[2] a third under Captn: James Mc:Call.[3][Page 360] More of the like kind is going on as fast as may be. The great Difficulty is the want of Amunition. They evidently have a Design upon Fort Charlotte and our Friends cannot collect to defind it unless they are supplied. I have, therefore promised them a Supply. If you Gentlemen therefore think it proper, it will be of the greatest utillity to send up illegible 100 or 150 Wt. Powder & some Lead, by the Bearer Saml. Reed,[4] who will effectual secrete it untill delivered safe into the hands of the volunteer Companies to be subject to the Order of the Council in case it is not used for the Defence of the Coly_. It will be effectually secured & a small Delay may be greatly dangerous. The same Measure will be necessary on the other Side Broad River. I could wish that Virginia might be allarmed and ready, and that a categorical Answer might be demanded of the Cherokees, before the time of Danger. The Creeks are in some Danger from one Thompson an Emissary now among them I shall visit Fort Charlotte before I return and hope to let you hear more particularly on these Subjects next Week and am

with great Respect
your humble Servt.

Wm: Tennent

P:S: I shall back this Letter to some unsuspected Person that it may be less in Danger of surprise from Enemies
ALS, Gibbes Collection, ScA; addressed on cover "To / Mr. Arthur Middleton / Charlestown / favd. by / Mr. Saml. Reed."; addressed below close "To the Council of Safety."; dated below close "Long Canes 1st_ Septr. 1775"; docketed by HL "Revd. Wm. Tennent / 1st. Septem 1775 / Recd. 16th_''; numbered "25-18".
[1.] George Reed, a militia captain serving under Andrew Williamson, rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel (1779). He also provided wagon service and sundrys for the militia. Audited Account No. 6324, ScA; Moss, South Carolina Patriots, p. 805.
[2.] Andrew Pickens (1739-1817), a native of Pennsylvania whose family settled in South Carolina in 1752, resided in Ninety Six District where he was a militia captain. Active throughout the Revolution he rose to the rank of colonel in 1777 and was commissioned a brigadier general of South Carolina troops after the victory at Cowpens (1781). During a long political career he represented Ninety Six and later Pendleton District in the General Assembly. In 1793 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Washington and Pinckney District. Directory of the S.C. House, III, 552-555.
[3.] James McCall, a captain in Major James Mayson's rangers, was captured during the campaign against the Cherokees (1776), but escaped. In 1780 he received a lieutenant colonel's commission in the state troops and was twice wounded that year. He participated in several battles including both fought at Ninety Six, Long Cane, Augusta, and Cowpens. He died of smallpox in May 1781. Moss, South Carolina Patriots, p. 594.
[4.] Samuel Reed (1749-1843), Captain George Reed's son, participated in several battles including both at Ninety Six. After the Revolution he moved to Georgia and Alabama. Moss, South Carolina Patriots, p. 806.