ESSEX COUNTY, August 6, 1777.
This is to inform Capt. Samuel Hawes, of the 2nd Virginia Regiment, that some time in September last I was indulged with a Furlough from Brigadier General Lewes, for the Recovery of my Health, and have ever since been afflicted with a tedious Spell of Sickness, which has taken away the Use of my Limbs, so that I have never been able to join my Company. And wheras I understand that some treacherous Persons have been very busy in advising Capt. Hawes to advertise me as a Deserter, which I hope will not be the case, as knows me to be a true and faithful Soldier, and was always ready and willing to serve my Country at all times. During my Sickness I suffered greatly for the want of Money to subsist on, and, being so circumstanced, I made several Applications to my Officers for Money to support me in my Sickness, but never was supplied with any. RUBEN GIBSON.
Virginia Gazette (Dixon & Hunter) September 12, 1777
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Ruben Gibson must have taken advantage of General Andrew Lewis's orders from August 28, 1776, "The sick of the first and second Regiments who's time for which they were Inlisted is nearly expired, are permitted to embrace the first opportunity of going to their respective homes. The officers . . . to give them their discharge . . . and pay them their Arrears in Full." However, a year later Gibson is concerned that his absence would be interpreted as desertion, a crime which could result in a severe whipping.
Sources: U.S. Army Orderly Book of Andrew Lewis