variously estimated, encamped on the Cape Fear river
four miles below Cross Creek
On that same day Moore
, who, at the first menace of danger, took the field at the head of his regiment, and lay in an intrenched camp at Rockfish
, was joined by Lillington
, with one hundred and fifty minute men from Wilmington
, by Kenon with two hundred of the Duplin militia, and by Ashe
with about a hundred volunteer independent rangers; so that his number was increased to eleven hundred.
On the nineteenth the royalists were paraded, with a view to assail Moore
on the following night; but his camp was too strong to be attempted; and at the bare suspicion of such a project, two companies of Cotton
's corps ran off with their arms.
On that day Donald Macdonald
, their commander, sent Donald Morrison
with a proclamation, prepared the month before by Martin
, calling on Moore
and his troops to join the king's standard, or to be considered as enemies.
made answer instantly, that ‘neither his duty nor his inclination permitted him to accept terms so incompatible with American freedom;’ and in return, he besought Macdonald
not to array the deluded people under his command, against men who were resolved to hazard every thing in defence of the liberties of mankind.
‘You declare sentiments of revolt, hostility, and rebellion to the king and to the constitution,’ was Macdonald
's prompt answer; ‘as a soldier in his majesty's service, it is my duty to conquer, if I cannot reclaim, all those who may be hardy enough to take up arms against the best of masters.’
But knowing that Caswell
, at the head of the gallant minute men of Newbern
, and others to the number