Letter from Colonel Josias C. Hall, 4th MD Regiment

Aug. 28 [1780]. Colonel Josias C. Hall of the Fourth Maryland Regiment
describes the disastrous defeat at Camden on August 16, 1780. In part:"You
have before this I suppose heard of our defeat or rather rout for there was
no retreat for us. We never attempted to stand till we got to Charlotte about
70 miles from place of action, we lost the whole of our artillery stores
Baggage & The Mangl[e]d Divisions acquired a great deal of honor even
from the enemy. True it was purchased at a great expense - we lost one half
the men we conveyed into action, the quarter part of those killed in the field
. This is the 4th general defeat I have been in but I never saw men behave so
cool and determined after the whole left wing had given way. The
ad[udjant] Brig. pushed the enemy some distance & continued the action
over time[?] with the horse & foot in the van alternately facing one way & the
other. Lt. Rawdon's Corps had fairly given up the contest until Cornwallis
discovered our whole left wing had given way & ordered him up again.
They could not turn our right at last. The first Brig[ade] was about
100 Yards on our left & in our van with both flanks exposed so that they
were [?] & broke before us tho they behaved as well as men could. Of the
militia who composed 4/5 of the whole had behaved tolerably well contrary
to my expectations. We should have obtained a complete victory being fully
persuaded of the event from a variety of reasons not proper to be mentioned
here. I sent all my clothes off before hand so I have lost the best [of] my
Camp equipage Stores &c. We shall be able to form our [?] Regt. out of the
remains & it is probable I will continue hire [sic]... This affair tho
unfortunate to individuals & to none more so than to Gates is trifling in the
general scale. Our fate must be decided at N. York or perhaps rather at
Sea. The people have recovered their spirits & have more militia in the field
than before the action determined to regain their Credit..."
This battle
proved to be the last for Gates who soon retired from the army. Congress
sent Nathaniel Greene to assume his command, and he managed to rally the
army and turn the tide against the British beginning with his brilliant victory
at Cowpens in January 1781.

Submitted by Charles Baxley. Image. Transcribed by J. Robertson. Source publication needed.