South Carolina Militia
Head Quarters Camp before Charlestown
His Majesty having thought proper to direct a Force to be sent to Carolina in order to re-establish His Government, and to extinguish the most wicked and daring Rebellion which Still Subsists notwithstanding the Gracious Terms repeatedly offered in order to reclaim His Rebellious Subjects in the Colonies;
Their Excellencies the Commanders in Chief of the Army and Navy, have come hither in person with a very powerful Fleet and Army for those purposes and to rescue the King's faithful Subjects from the misery and oppression they are now Suffering from those Men whose ambitious Politicks have overwhelmed North America with Misery and Ruin.
Although the Force already in the province may be Sufficiently compleat for every purpose of Conquest yet the Exertions of the Kings loyal Subjects will much accelerate and facilitate the Establishment of the Peace and quiet of the Country and it is not to be doubted but that they will use their utmost endeavours to accomplish as Soon as possible a Measure so conducive to their own Safety, Interest and happiness-
And His Excellency Sir Henry CLINTON hath judged it proper to send fit Persons amongst the Inhabitants of the interior parts of the Province in whose loyalty from their past exertions & late professions there is much reason to confide in order to inform them of these his intentions that they may be the better enabled to be assisting in re-establishing His Majestys Government together with Peace and happiness in this almost ruined and distracted Country.
And as you have agreed to go upon this Service, it is His Excellencys pleasure that in endeavouring to execute it you will have Regard to the following Rules for your Conduct.
1st You will proceed with all convenient expedition to Such places in the Country as are Inhabited by the loyal Subjects, and be diligent to inform them of the Force which is arrived, and you are authorized to give them the Strongest Assurances of Effectual Countenance, Protection and Support.
2dly You will inform them that it is the General's intentions as Soon as Charlestown is reduced to march a Force into the back Country and that it is therefore his pleasure that they should hold themselves in readiness to assemble on the first nottice of the Kings Troops being in Motion and in the mean time advise them to collect as much ammunition and Provisions as the[y] can procure that they may not be distress'd for want of those Articles until they join the Royal Army.
3dly As soon as they are assembled in Sufficient numbers they will endeavour to Seize and Secure Such of the People as have been most Subservient to the purposes of the Rebellious Leaders in enforcing their Tyrannical Laws, and thereby prevent the mischief they will attempt and the distresses they will cause to the defenceless Familys left behind, but is must always be remembered that no time is to be lost, and that their Junction with the Kings Troops as soon as possible is of the first consequence and every other Consideration must be postpon'd it.
4thly As it will be of great Consequence to procure as many Horses as possible they will be careful to bring with them all they can collect and also any Provisions that belongs to the Rebels, or if it cannot be brought away with convenience let it be destroyed but not so as to leave the Women or Children absolutely destitute; but they must not destroy the Corn in the Ground as the distress it would occasion would probably chiefly fall upon themselves.
5thly If in their March down the Country they Should be opposed by the Rebels they must resolutely endeavour to cut their way through them, but it will be prudent not to attempt any doubtful Offensive operations that can be avoided until they meet the Kings Troops & they themselves are formed under proper Officers to guide and conduct them.
6th Whenever they join the Kings Troops they will be furnished with Ammunition and Arms where they are wanted; it is the intention of His Excellency the Commander in Chief to embody them as Militia, to appoint Such fit persons as will be agreeable to themselves to be their Officers, to employ them only for the purpose of extirpating the Rebellion in this and the two adjoining Provinces and as soon as that is effected to dismiss them to their own Habitations, after establishing nevertheless Such a Police as will be effectual Speedily to assemble them upon any Emergency or to repel any hostile attempts of the Rebels, and whenever they are in actual Service they will receive the same Pay & draw the same Rations as the Kings Troops.
7thly When they March down the Country they will of course destroy all Stores and Provisions belonging to the Rebels if they cannot bring them away, and they will also destroy all Posts or places of Strength erected by the Rebels if any shall fall in their way.
8th It will be proper not to make the purposes of your Errand generally known amongst the common people until you have disclosed it to Such persons whose consequence and Influence amongst them will probably induce their Example to be followed, and it will also be right to digest with some Men of Sense and Discretion a proper Plan for conducting them, until that Care shall devolve upon Persons properly Commissioned for that purpose and lastly you must not omit frequently to Send fit and Intelligent Persons to Head Quarters to give information of your proceedings & Success.
It cannot fail to occur to you that much will depend on the Secrecy with which you conduct yourself until the time Shall arrive when the people are to assemble, and that Vigour & dispatch after they are Assembled will be necessary to crush any Attempts of the Rebels to withstand them:
The Exigency of the moment must Govern your Conduct but you must never forget the Junction with the Kings Army is the object to which every other consideration must give way.
I am Sir
Head Quarters Charlestown Neck
To. Captn. Richard PEARIS
Great Britain, Public Record Office, Treasury Office, Class 1, Volume 645, folios 214-215.
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