a novel by L. Stewart Marsden
12 September 1779
Col. Peter Horry
My Dear Cousin Bonneau,
I trust my letter finds you both in good health and in good spirits. My joy in receiving your letter of 3 June can only be surpassed by its contents that you have taken up God’s election to the ministry. I was of the impression you had decided to forego that journey and enlist in the militia. How happy I am you did not, and that you will carry on the tradition of your great-grandfather! Your brother’s sacrifice in this War is enough to satisfy any thought of family debt in our cause of freedom. If you have any future doubts regarding this, please take to heart my encouragement that advancing God’s Kingdom is as great and perhaps more important than this temporal endeavor we are now engaged in here. Yours is the conquest of souls for eternity. There can be no nobler effort.
I am also convinced that your time in Geneva and, perhaps France, will endow you with an even deeper understanding of what we are playing out on this stage of the struggle for freeedom in America. Please seek out opportunities to speak to our brothers who were displaced by the heavy hand of Louis. Their experiences breathe validation upon our faith as well as our future here.
I also accept your request to inquire of your mother’s state. Thus far she remains both well and safe. The Enemy has made gains in Carolina, and many plantations have fallen into their possession, but yours is not one of those. The militia in the Santee area is strong and has been able to thwart the British. Our troops under Col. Marion continue to aggravate the enemy, as we have been able to strike and run, disrupting their progress and continuity.
We are currently on the verge of what I and others fear will be a futile effort against the British forces entrenched at Savannah. French Admiral d’Estaing has sailed his fleet from the East Indies to our aid, fresh from victory over the British. He has taken control in planning our assault, which, in private, none feels will be successful. He is a man obsessed with himself, and has neither ear to hear nor eye to see beyond his own plans. But, perhaps we are wrong and he will be proved right.
As it is, I am very happy to oblige your request regarding the history, what I know of it, of the Horry family in coming to Charles Towne. No doubt it will prove beneficial to you in preparation for your calling. In the field I have no access to diaries or other written records, but I am not so old that recollection cannot be relied upon.
I cannot help but compare to these days we are in to the time and occasion of the Horry flight from France to America. As we have today, French Huguenots then had to resort to many extremes to survive the oppression of both the French Monarchy and the Catholic Church. I find it ironic that the very French nation we once fled for our survival is whom we depend upon now for assistance in gaining our freedoms from another oppressive hand here in America.
So, Dear William, I shall begin the story here, and continue as I can, considering my first obligations to my military duties.