James Sterling letter book 1761-1765
Robert Howe (1732-1786) was a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He was born in New Hanover County, North Carolina, to Job Howe. In 1756 he became justice of the peace in Bladen, North Carolina, and between 1760 and 1775, he represented Bladen and Brunswick Counties in the North Carolina Assembly. During this time, Howe also served in various military raids on the North Carolina frontier and was the commander at Fort Johnson. Howe frequently clashed with Royal Governor Josiah Martin and became a proponent for American independence. At the outbreak of war against the British in 1775, Howe was appointed colonel of the 2nd Regiment of North Carolina Continentals. The Continental Congress appointed him brigadier general of the Continental Army in March 1776, and he served under Major General Charles Lee in South Carolina and Georgia. Howe was promoted to the rank of major general in early 1777, and was soon appointed commander of the Southern Department. In 1778, Howe partnered with the governor of Georgia John Houstoun to attack the British in East Florida, but disagreements of command resulted in a splintering of forces and the Continental Army's eventual defeat in the South. In 1779 he served under General George Washington in New York and Connecticut. Next he commanded Fort West Point in 1780, and after the war led frontier raids against various Native American tribes. Howe died in 1786.