East Florida Militia
The unlucky turn the naval operations took at Charlestown makes a very considerable change in the situation of affairs in this Province.
It was thought expedient for the benefit of this Province to summon the Inhabitants to meet me at the Statehouse yesterday morning.
After mentioning a few outlines of the present situation of public Affairs, and recommending a manly spirit to be exerted in defence of the Province, and that it was the duty of every man in these bad times to shew his loyalty and allegiance to the best of Kings, and his duty and affection to the british Constitution. I proposed to them to be embodied into a Battalion of Militia.
I have the satisfaction to inform your Lordship, that the whole joyfully consented without a dissenting voice, they testified their readiness to comply with whatever I thought fitest for them, and would go wherever I should lead them in defence of the Province.
I then declared Lieutenant Governor MOULTRIE to be their Colonel, Robert BISSET Esqr. Lieutenant Colonel, and Benjamin DODD Esqr. Major, which gave general satisfaction.
The Companies are to be composed of a Captain, a Lieutenant, two Serjeants, two Corporals, and twenty five private Sentrys.
Two Companies of the Battalion will be raised at Saint John River. I expect four here.
I fear by what Colonel BISSET mentions, we cannot venture to raise at Doctor TURNBULL’s Settlement more than one Company, but in the other Settlements in those parts, we shall be able to raise four black Companies, to which must be given double or treble white Officers, in proportion to the Officers of the white Companies.
If these measures meet your Lordships approbation, I shall be happy.
I have the honor to be with the greatest respect, My Lord,
St. Augustine 21 August 76
Great Britain, Public Record Office, Colonial Office, Class 5, Volume 556, pages 743-744.
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