(See page 294.)


A Narrative of the Campaign of 1780, by Colonel OTHO HOLLAND WILLLIAMS, Adjutant General.

THE city of Charleston, South Carolina, was invested by a British army, commanded by General Sir Henry Clinton, on the 1st day, of April 1780. Major General Lincoln of the American army, who commanded the garrison, made the best possible defence his situation and circumstances would admit of; but, finding his garrison inadequate, and the resources of the country cut off, or exhausted, he applied to the commander in chief of the American army for a re-enforcement.

On the 16th day of April 1780, the quotas of Maryland and Delaware troops, about fourteen hundred infantry, marched under the orders of Major General the Baron De Kalb, from cantonments near Morristown in New Jersey, for the head of the Chesapeake Bay. They embarked the 3d day of May, at the head of Elk River, and arrived at Petersburgh in Virginia, early in June.

Here the unwelcome news of the surrender of Charleston (on the 12th May) was first communicated to the detachment, the principal object of whose destination was lost; but the country was not yet conquered ; and it was presumed that the countenance of a body of regular troops, however small, would constitute more than any thing else to sustain the fortitude of the militia. Every exertion, therefore, was made in Virginia to expedite the march of the baron's detachment, which here received a small re-enforcement of, artillery. It proceeded with some celerity, and in fine spirits as far as Wilcox's Iron Works, on Deep River, in the state of North Carolina; but here, on the 6th day of July, the baron found himself under the necessity of halting for want of provisions.

The state of North Carolina, had made no provision for the troops of the union; she was solely occupied with her own militia, a great portion of which, being disaffected, were obliged to be dragooned into effect; he was obliged to send small detachments, under discreet officers to collect provisions from the inhabitants, who, at that season of the year, had but little to spare; many of them were subsisting themselves upon the last of the preceding crop of grain, and the new, although it promised plenty, was not yet mature; consequently some of the inhabitants must have suffered notwithstanding the

Strict orders to the officers to impress only a proportion of what was found on the farms. In this dilemma the troops remained several days, but the resources failing, in the vicinity of the camp, it became necessary to draw supplies from a greater distance, or march to where there was greater plenty, the former was impracticable as the means of transportation were not in the baron's power. He consequently determined on the latter, previously extending the excursions of his foraging parties, with directions to form a small magazine at Cox's (or Wilcox's) Mill, on Deep River, where the troops arrived on the � day of July, and encamped near Buffalo Ford.

Still, however, the supplies of grain were scarcely sufficient, even for the present subsistence of the troops; and the only meat-ration that could be procured, was lean beef, daily driven out of the woods and the cane-breaks, where the cattle had wintered themselves. Inaction, bad fare, and the difficulty of preserving discipline, when there is no apprehension of danger, have often proved fatal to troops, and ruined whole armies. But here, the activity of the officers, and the preserving patience of the privates, preserved order, harmony, and even a passion for the service.

The baron did not fail to represent his situation to Congress, and to repeat his remonstrances to the executive of the state of North Carolina. He had been flattered with a promise of a plentiful supply of provisions and a respectable re-enforcement of the militia of North Carolina; which, about that time took the field, under the command of Mr. Caswell, who was appointed a major general. The supplies, however, did not arrive, and the commandant of the militia, ambitious of signalizing himself, employed his men in detachments against small parties of disaffected inhabitants, who, to avoid being drafted onto the service of their country, retired among the swamps and other cover, with which that country abounds.

It was in vain that the baron required General Caswell to join his command; and it was equally fruitless to expect much longer to find subsistence of this soldiers, in a country where marauding parties of militia swept all before them. The baron, therefore, hesitated whether he had better march to join the militia, in hopes to find that Caswell's complaints of a want of provisions for himself were fictitious; or to move up the country and gain the fertile banks of the Yadkin River. But, before any resolution was taken, the approach of Major General Gates was announced, by the arrival of his aid de camp, Major Armstrong who was to have acted as deputy adjutant general, but was prevented by sickness.

General Gates, who had so fortunately terminated the career of General Burgoyne in the north, was appointed to command the southern army immediately after the reduction of Charleston. His arrival on the 25th of July was a relief to DeKalb, who, condescendingly, took command of the Maryland division, which included the regiment of Delaware. Besides these two corps, the army consisted only of a small legionary corps, which formed a junction with them a few days before, under the command of Colonel Armand, being about sixty cavalry and as many infantry; and Lieutenant Colonel Carrington's detachment of three companies of artillery, which had joined in Virginia.

General Gates was received with respectful ceremony; the baron ordered a Continental salute from the little park of artillery, which was performed on the entrance into camp of his successor, who made his acknowledgments to the baron for his great politeness, approved his standing orders, and, as if actuated by a spirit of great activity and enterprise, ordered the troops to hold themselves in readiness to march at a moment's warning. The latter order was a matter of great astonishment to those who knew the real situation of the troops. But all difficulties were removed by the general's assurances that plentiful supplies of rum and rations were on the route, and would overtake them in a day or two � assurances that certainly were too fallacious, and that never were verified. All were in motion, however, early in the morning of the 27th of July, and the general took the route over Buffalo Ford, leading towards the enemy's advanced post on Lynch's Creek, on the road to


Camden, leaving two brass field-pieces and some baggage for want of horses. Colonel Williams, presuming on the friendship of the general, ventured to expostulate with him upon the seeming precipitate and inconsiderate step he was taking. He represented that the country through which he was about to march was by nature barren, abounding with sandy plains, intersected by swamps, and very thinly inhabited; that the little provisions and forage which were produced on the banks of its few small streams were exhausted, or taken away by the enemy, and by the hordes of banditti (called tories) which had retired from what they called the persecution of the rebels, and who would certainly distress his army, small as it was, by removing what little might remain out of his way. On the other hand, the colonel represented that a route about north west would cross the Pee Dee River some where about where it loses the name of Yadkin, and would lead to the little town of Salisbury in the midst of a fertile country and inhabited by a people zealous in the cause of America. That the most active and intelligent officers had contemplated this route with pleasure, not only as it promised a more plentiful supply of provisions, but because the sick, the women and children, and the wounded, in case of disaster, might have an asylum provided for them at Salisbury or Charlotte, where they would remain in security, because the militia of the counties of Mecklenburgh and Roan, in which these villages stand, were staunch friends. The idea of establishing a laboratory for the repair of arms at a secure place was also suggested as necessary � the security of convoys of stores from the northward, by the upper route � the advantage of turning the left of the enemy's out-posts even by a circuitous route � that of approaching the most considerable of these posts (Camden) with the River Wateree on our right, and our friends on our backs � and some other considerations were suggested. And, that they might the more forcibly impress the general's mind, a short note was presented to him, concisely intimating the same opinion and referring to the best informed gentlemen under his command. General Gates said he would confer with the general officers when the troops should halt at noon. Whether any conference took place or not, the writer don't know. After a short halt at noon, when the men were refreshed upon the scraps in their knapsacks, the march was resumed. The country exceeded the representation that had been made of it � scarcely had it emerged from a state of sterile nature � the few rude attempts at improvement that were to be found were most of them abandoned by the owners and plundered by the neighbours. Every one, in this uncivilized part of the country, was flying from his home and joining in parties under adventurers who pretended to yield them protection until the British army should appear � which they seemed confidently to expect. The distresses of the soldiery daily increased � they were told that the banks of the Pee Dee River were extremely fertile � and so indeed they were; but the preceding crop of corn (the principal article of produce) was exhausted, and the new grain, although luxuriant and fine, was unfit for use. Many of the soldiery, urged by necessity, plucked the green cars and boiled them with the lean beef, which was collected in the woods, made for themselves a repast, not unpalatable to be sure, but which was attended with painful effects. Green peaches also were substituted for bread and had similar consequences. Some of the officers, aware of the risk of eating such vegetables, and in such a state, with poor fresh beef and without salt, restrained themselves from taking any thing but the beef itself, boiled or roasted. It occurred to some that the hair powder which remained in their bags would thicken soup, and it was actually applied*.

* Captain W.D. Beal, &c.


The troops, notwithstanding their disappointment in not being overtaken by a supply of rum and provisions, were again amused with promises, and gave early proofs of that patient submission, inflexible fortitude and undeviating integrity which they afterwards more eminently displayed.

On the 3d day of August the little army crossed Pee Dee River in batteaus at Mask's Ferry, and were met on the southern bank by Lieutenant Colonel Porterfield, an officer of merit, who, after the disaster at Charleston, retired with a small detachment and found means of subsisting himself and his men in Carolina until the present time.

Colonel Marion, a gentleman of South Carolina, had been with the army a few days, attended by a very few followers, distinguished by small black leather caps and the wretchedness of their attire; their number did not exceed twenty men and boys, some white, some black, and all mounted, but most of them miserably equipped; their appearance was in fact so burlesque that it was with much difficulty the diversion of the regular soldiery was restrained by the officers; and the general himself was glad of an opportunity of detaching Colonel Marion, at his own instance, towards the interior of South Carolina, with orders to watch the motions of the enemy and furnish intelligence.

These trifling circumstances are remembered in these notes to show from what contemptible beginnings a good capacity will rise to distinction. The history of the war in South Carolina will recognize Marion as a brave partisan, if only the actions of the two last year's campaigns are recorded.

The expectation, founded on assurances, of finding a plentiful supply of provisions at May's Mill induced the troops again to obey the order to march with cheerfulness; but being again disappointed, fatigued and almost famished, their patience began to forsake them, their looks began to be vindictive; mutiny was ready to manifest itself, and the most unhappy consequences were to be apprehended; when the regimental officers, by mixing among the men and remonstrating with them, appeased murmurs, for which, unhappily, there was too much cause. The officers, however, by appealing to their own empty canteens and mess cases, satisfied the privates that all suffered alike; and, exhorting them to exercise the same fortitude of which the officers gave them the example, assured them that the best means of extricating them from the present distress should be immediately adopted; that if the supplies expected by the general did not arrive very soon, detachments should go from each corps in all directions to pick up what grain might possibly be found in the country and bring it to the mill.

Fortunately, a small quantity of Indian corn was immediately brought into camp � the mill was set to work, and as soon as a mess of meal was ground it was delivered out to the men; and so, in rotation, they were all served in the course of a few hours � more poor cattle were sacrificed � the camp kettles were all engaged � the men were busy but silent until they had each taken his repast; and then all was again content, cheerfulness and mirth. It was as astonishing as it was pleasing to observe the transition.

The general and field officers were not the first served upon this occasion; nor were they generally the most satisfied; but , as no one could point out the means of immediate redress, no remonstrances took place with the commanding officer. The commanding officer, however, was well informed of what was passing in the camp, and of the critical disposition of the troops. Impressed by a sense of difficulties, and, perhaps, conceiving himself in some degree accountable to the army for the steps he had taken, he told Colonel Williams, who acted as deputy adjutant general to the southern army, that he had , in a measure, been forced to take the route he had done � that General Caswell had evaded every order which had been sent to him, as well by the Baron De Kalb as himself, to form a junction of the militia with the regular corps � that it appeared to him, that Caswell's vanity was gratified by having a separate command � that probably he contemplated some enterprise to distinguish himself, and gratify his ambition; which, said he, "I should not be sorry to see checked by a rap over the knuckles, if it were not that the militia would disperse, and leave this handful of


brave men without even nominal assistance." He urged further, that it was the more necessary to counteract the indiscretion of Caswell, and save him from disaster, as he then commanded the only corps of militia that were embodied in the Carolinas � that the assurances he had received from the executive of North Carolina, gave him cause to suspect, that supplies of provisions had been forwarded, and used in profusion in Caswell's camp, notwithstanding intimations had been communicated to him, that the militia were in as bad a situation, in that respect, as the regular corps.

That moreover, having marched thus far directly towards the enemy, a retrograde or indirect movement, would not only dispirit the troops, but intimidate the people of the country; many of whom had come in with their arms, or sent their submissions to the general, promising, upon his engagement tot indemnify them for what had passed, to assemble themselves under their own leaders and follow the colours of the Union. The poverty of the county, and the perfidy of the people, were in vain opposed to these agreements, and in fact the troops had penetrated so far, as to make it even as hazardous to return or file off for the upper country, as to advance.

Dangerous as deceptions had been, it was still thought expedient to flatter the expectation of the soldiery with an abundance of provisions, so soon as a junction could be formed with the militia; therefore, after collecting all the corn which was to be found in the neighbourhood of May's Mill, and huckstering all the meal that could be spared from our present necessities, the march was resumed towards Camden.

On the 5th day of August, in the afternoon, General Gates received a letter, informing him that General Caswell meditated an attack upon a fortified post of the enemy on Lynch's Creek, about fourteen miles from the militia encampment. More anxious than ever, General Gates urged on the march of the regulars. Whatever the men suffered, and whatever they thought, the example of the officers, who shared with them every inconvenience, repressed the murmurs which were hourly expected to break forth. The next morning, orders were issued for the army to march with the utmost expedition to join the militia, under the idea that it was the only expedient to gain a supply of provisions; but, another and a more vexatious cause to General Gates was, a letter from General Caswell, advising him that he had every reason to apprehend an attack on his camp by the garrison from Lynch's Creek, (the very garrison which he, the day before, had determined to assault, for there was no possibility of surprising troops so situated,) and requesting General gates to re-enforce him with all possible dispatch.

One of Caswell's letters began � "Sir, General W____, my aid de camp." � The ostentation of this address weakened the little confidence which the general in chief might have had in the major general's capacity for command, and increased his desire to have all the forces under his immediate direction. Such evasions of orders � such pretences to enterprise, and such sudden signs of intimidation in the militia general, determined Gates to reach his camp in person that same day, although it was impracticable, without retreating the militia, for a junction to be formed until the next. The deputy adjutant general had the honor of attending the general commandant to the head quarters of the commandant of the militia. The reception was gracious, and the general and his suite were regaled with wine and other novelties, exquisitely grateful and pleasingly exhilarating; but, a man must have been intoxicated, not to perceive the confusion which prevailed in the camp � tables, chairs, bedsteads, benches, and many other articles of heavy and cumbrous household stuff, were scattered before the tent doors in great disorder.

It was understood that General Caswell had discovered, upon the last alarm, that by the death of horses and breaking down of carriages, he was rendered unabled to move, and was making and effort to divest himself then, of his heavy baggage. [If, in these notes, a tenor, censorious of General Caswell's conduct, appears to the reader, the writer begs that it may not, as it ought not to be, imputed


to any personal prejudice, or malicious motive. He never had the honor of seeing the general until this time; and all that he had ever heard of him, was extremely favorable to his character as a gentleman and a patriot. A regard to facts, to which the writer thinks he may possibly hereafter be called to testify on oath, obliges him to state them faithfully as they occurred, or were communicated to him; preserving the memory of authorities, as well as incidents, in order to a correct statement of the circumstances, about which he may be interrogated.]

On the 17th [sic*]of August, the wished for junction took place at the Cross Roads, about fifteen miles east of the enemy's post, on Lynch's Creek.

* Should read on the 7th of August, per William Thomas Sherman, Dr. Lawrence E. Babits and Lieut. Col. H. L. Landers The Battle Of Camden South Carolina August 16, 1780 (Washington, United States Government Printing Office, 1929)

This event enlivened the countenances of all parties; the militia were relieved from their apprehensions of an attack, and the regulars forgetting their fatigues, and disdaining to betray the least appearance of discontent, exulted in the confidence with which they inspired their new comrades; a good understanding prevailed among the officers of all ranks, and General Caswell seemed satisfied with the honor of being the third in command.

The Baron De Kalb command the right wing of the army, composed of the regular troops, and General Caswell the left, of militia.

After the junction, which happened about noon, the army marched a few miles towards the enemy's post on Lynch's Creek, and encamped in order.

The deputy adjutant general, who had as much anxiety as if he had been personally responsible for the fate of the army, in order to observe what guards were established for the safety of the left wing, went with Lieutenant Colonel Ford, (officer of the day) at an unusual hour, to inspect the lines. The guards and centinels of the right wing were, as usual, attentive and hailed the visiting rounds with that alacrity and spirit which inspired a confidence of security in that quarter; but, in the left wing, all was tranquil. The officers patrolled around the encampment without being hailed once; and then rode into the lines and among the tents, and even approached the marquees of some of the general and field officers � one of whom complained of being disturbed, and intimated that it was an unseasonable hour for gentlemen to call. The officers of the preceding day were sent for, and guards and patrols sent out to secure the encampment from surprise.

The morning of the 8th of August dawned, without revealing any appearance of an enemy.

Under the judicious mask of offensive operations, the commanding officer of the post on Lynch's Creek evacuated it, and retired unmolested, and at leisure, to a much stronger position on Little Lynch's Creek, within a day's march of Camden � which last was strongly fortified, and had a considerable garrison under the command of Lord Rawdon.

The small posts which the enemy had advanced into the country, were calculated to cover the parties, which were sent in all directions to collect the forage and provisions, that might be found on the waters of Lynch's Creek and Black Rivers, and this business having been already effected, the posts were no longer an object to them.

General Gates saw himself master of the field, but it was a barren one. The troops still subsisted upon precarious supplies of corn meal and lean beef, of which they often, did not receive half a ration per day, and no possibility exhisted of doing better, without departing form the route which the general had all along pertinaciously persisted in. To have descended among the fertile fields of Black river, would have been leaving the garrison of Camden between the army and the expected re-enforcements from Virginia. Besides, the refugees of North Carolina repeated their assurances of joining in considerable numbers in a few days.

On the other hand, the Waxaw settlement offered the greatest prospect of a comfortable supply of provisions; but it could not be gained under two or three days march; it lay too much out of the way � the movement would look like retreating from the enemy, and the swampers, as the expected


volunteers were called, would surely desert the cause. There was no deciding � there was no delaying � the army marched unconscious what step was next to be taken. General Gates however, began to perceive the danger of approaching an enemy, of whose numbers he had no certain intelligence, incumbered as he was with an enormous train of heavy baggage, and a multitude of women, and not a few children. An effort was therefore formed under Major Dean, and a number of wagons were appointed to convey to Charlotte, all the heavy baggage, and as many of the women as could be driven from the line; many of the latter, however, preferred sharing every toil and every danger with the soldiery, to the security and provisions that were promised them. The army advanced, but approaching the enemy's post on Little Lynch's Creek, it was discovered by good intelligence, to be situated on the south side of the water, on commanding ground, that the way leading to it, was over a causeway on the north side to a wooden bridge, which stood on very steep banks; and that the creek lay in a deep muddy channel, bounded on the north by an extensive swamp, and passable no where within several miles, but in the face of the enemy's work. The enemy was not disposed to abandon these advantages, without feeling the pulse of the approaching army; and General Gates observed, that to attack him in front, "would be taking the bull by the horns." It was necessary, for once, to depart from the shortest route to the enemy's principal out post � Camden> The army defiled by the right, and colonel Hall of Maryland, with a detachment of about 300 men, covered the left flank until it was out of danger from surprise, and then formed the rear guard. This man�uvre, on the 11th of August, induced the garrison to retire with some precipitation to Camden, and about the same time the British garrison, Which had occupied Clermont (or Rugley's Mills,) on the north road, retired to the same place.

Lord Rawdon, who commanded the advanced corps of the British army, wisely collected his whole force at Camden, which, besides being flanked by the River Wateree, and Pinetree Creek, was considerably strengthened by a number of redoubts.

As his lordship's emissaries were in all parts of the country, he could not fail to be informed, that General Gates was in his neighborhood with a brigade of regular troops, and two brigades of militia, besides some small corps of artillery and cavalry � that Brigadier General Stevens was on the same route, with a brigade of Virginia militia � that Colonel Marion, below, and Colonel Sumpter above Camden, were stimulating their countrymen to re-assume their arms; and that, in short, the whole country were ready to revolt from the allegiance which had been extorted from them but a few weeks before. He, therefore, permitted General Gates to march unmolested to Clermont, (where the Americans encamped on the 13th,) and employed his men in strengthening his post for defence, until re-enforcements might arrive from Charleston, where Lord Cornwallis was left in command; Sir Henry Clinton having returned to New York soon after the reduction of the former city.

Brigadier General Stevens arrived with his Virginians, at Clermont, on the 14th, and encamped with the rest of the army. On the same day, (or the 15th, ) and inhabitant of Camden came, as if by accident, into the American encampment, and was conducted to head quarters. He affected ignorance of the approach of the Americans � pretended very great friendship for his country men, the Marylanders, and promised the general to be out again in a few days with all the information the general wished to obtain. The information which he then gave was the truth, but not all the truth, which, events afterwards revealed; yet, so plausible was his manner, that General Gates dismissed him, with many promises, if he would faithfully observe his engagements. Suspicions arose in the breasts of some of the officers about head quarters, that this man's errand was easily accomplished, � the credibility of the general was not arraigned � but, it was conceived that it would have been prudent to have detained the man for further acquaintance.


Colonel Sumter of the South Carolina militia, had intelligence that an escort with clothing, ammunition and other stores, for the troops at Camden, was on the road from Charleston, by way of McCord's Ferry on the Congaree; and that it would necessarily pass the Wateree at a ferry about a mile from the town, under cover of a small redoubt on the opposite side of the river. This intelligence he communicated to the general requesting a small re-enforcement of infantry, and two small pieces of artillery to join his volunteers, promising to intercept the convoy. The colonel's accurate knowledge of the geography of the country, and the qualities of the men who were his followers, favored the execution of this enterprise, The general ordered a detachment of one hundred regular infantry, and a party of artillery, with two brass field-pieces, under Lieutenant Colonel Woolford, to join Colonel Sumter, and act under his command.

To attract the attention of the garrison in Camden, if they did not choose to retire, which seemed to be but too confidently expected; and to facilitate the execution of the little expedition under Sumter, all other objects seemed to be suspended.

The only stores which were forwarded to the army by General Stevens, were a few articles of West India produce, the principal of which was molasses. No supply of provisions of any sort was collected, more than to serve from day to day. The obscure route the army had marched, actually kept their friends ignorant of their movements; and the arrival of General Gates at Clermont was, when known, a subject of more surprise to the patriots, than to the enemies of the country. It is probable, and in the opinion of many, a matter of no doubt whatever, that if General Gates had taken a secure position with his army, and waited only a few days, abundance of provisions would have flowed into his camp; and that, by the addition of volunteers from the Carolinas, he would have acquired such a superiority over the British army, which did not much exceed four thousand men, that he would have found no difficulty in recovering the country as far as Charleston; but, opinions are fruitless. On the 15th of August 1789, General Gates issued the following: �

After General Orders � "The sick, the extra artillery stores, the heavy baggage, and such quarters-master's stores, as are not immediately wanted, to march this evening, under a guard, to Waxaws.

"To this order the general requests the brigadier generals, to see that those under their command, pay the most exact and scrupulous obedience.

"Lieutenant Colonel Edmonds, with the remaining guns of the park, will take post and march with the Virginia brigade, under General Stevens; he will direct, as any deficiency happens in the artillery affixed to the other brigades, to supply it immediately; his military staff, and a proportion of his officers, with forty of his men, are to attend await his orders.

"The troops will be ready to march precisely at ten o' clock, in the following order, viz: �

"Colonel Armand's advance; cavalry, commanded by Colonel Armand; Colonel Porterfield's light infantry upon the right flank of Colonel Armand, in Indian file, two hundred yards from the road; Major Armstrong's light infantry in the same order as Colonel Porterfield's, upon the left flank of the legion.

"Advance guard of foot, composed of the advance pickets, first brigade of Maryland, second brigade of Maryland, division of North Carolinas, Virginia division; rear guard, volunteer cavalry, upon the flank of the baggage, equally divided.

"In this order, the trips will proceed on their march this night.

"In case of an attack by the enemy's cavalry in front, the light infantry upon each flank will instantly move up and give, and continue, the most galling fire upon the enemy's horse. This will enable Colonel Armand, not only to support the shock of the enemy's charge, but finally to rout them; the colonel will therefore consider the order to stand the attack of the enemy's cavalry, be their numbers what they may, as positive.


"General Stevens will immediately order one captain, two lieutenants, one ending, three sergeants, one drum, and sixty rank and file to join Colonel Porterfield's infantry; these are to be taken from the most experienced woodsmen, and men every way the fittest for the service.

"General Caswell will likewise complete Major Armstrong's light infantry to their original number. These must be immediately marched to the advanced posts of the army.

"The troops will observe the profoundest silence upon the march; and any soldier who offers to fire without the command of his officer, must be instantly put to death.

"When the ground will admit of it, and the near approach of the enemy renders it necessary, the army will (when ordered) march in columns.

"The artillery at the head of their respective brigades, and the baggage in the rear.

"The guard of the heavy baggage will be composed of the remaining officers and soldiers of the artillery, one captain, two subalterns, four sergeants, one drum, and sixty rank and file; and no person whatever is t9o presume to send any other soldier upon that service.

"All bat men, waiters, &c. who are soldiers taken from the line, are forthwith to join their regiments, and act with their masters while they are upon duty.

"The tents of the whole army are to be struck at tattoo."

After writing this order, the general communicated it to the deputy adjutant general, showing him, at the same time, a rough estimate of the forces under his command, making them upwards of seven thousand. That this calculation was exaggerated the deputy adjutant general could not buy suspect, from his own observation. He, therefore, availed himself of the general's orders, to call all the general officers in the army to a council, to be held in Rugley's Barn � to call also upon the commanding officers of corps for a field return; in making which, they were to be as exact as possible; and, as he was not required to attend the council, he busied himself in collecting these returns and forming an abstract for the general's better information. This abstract was presented to the general just as the council broke up, and immediately upon his coming out of the door. He cast his eyes upon the numbers of rank and file present fit for duty, which was exactly three thousand and fifty-two. He said there were no less that thirteen general officers in council; and intimated something about the disproportion between the numbers of officers and privates. It was replied, "Sir, the Number of the latter are certainly much below the estimate formed this morning; but," said the general, "these are enough for our purpose." What that was, was not communicated to the deputy adjutant general. The general only added � "there was no dissenting voice in the council where the orders have just been read" � and then gave them to the published to the army.

Although there had been no dissenting voice in the council, the orders were no sooner promulgated, that they became the subject of animadversion. Even those who had been dumb in council, said that there had been no consultation � that the orders were read to them, and all opinion seemed suppressed by the very positive and decisive terms in which they were expressed. Others could not imagine how it could be conceived, that an army, consisting of more that two-thirds militia, and which had never been once exercised in arms together, could form columns, and perform other man�uvres in the night, and in the fade of an enemy. But, of all the officers, Colonel Armand took the greatest exception. He seemed to think the positive orders respecting himself, implied a doubt of his courage � declared that cavalry had never before been put in the front of a line of battle in the dark � and that the disposition, as it respected his corps, proceeded from resentment in the general, on account of a previous altercation between them about horses, which the general had ordered to be taken from the officers of the army, to expedite the movement of the artillery through the wilderness. A great deal was said upon the occasion; but, the time was short, and the officers and soldiers, generally, not knowing, or believing any more than the general, that any considerable


body of the enemy were to be met with out of Camden, acquiesced with their usual cheerfulness, and were ready to march at the hour appointed.

As there were no spirits yet arrived in camp; and as, until lately, it was unusual for trips to make a forced march, or prepare to meet an enemy without some extraordinary allowance, it was unluckily conceived that molasses, would, for once, be an acceptable substitute; accordingly the hospital stores were broached, and one gill of molasses per man, and a full ration of corn meal and meat, were issued to the army previous to their march, which commenced, according to orders, at about ten o'clock at night of the 15th. But I must arrest the progress of the narrative to apologize for introducing a remark, seemingly so trivial. Nothing ought to be considered as trivial, in an army, which often, more than upon numbers, the fate of battles depends. The troops of General Gates; army, had frequently felt the bad consequences of eating bad provision; but, at this time, a hasty meal of quick baked bread and fresh beef, with a desert of molasses, mixed with mush, or dumplings, operated so cathartically, as to disorder very many of the men, who were breaking the ranks all night, and were certainly much debilitated before the action commenced tin the morning.

It has been observed that the direct march of the American army towards Camden and the prospect of considerable re-enforcements of militia had induced the commanding officer, Lord Rawdon, to collect there all the forces under his direction. And it is certain that the seeming confidence of the American general had inspired him with apprehensions for his principal post. Lord Cornwallis, at Charlestown, was constantly advised of the posture of affairs in the interior of the country; and, confident that Lord Rawdon could not long resist the forces that might, and probably would, be opposed to him, in a very short time resolved to march himself, with a considerable re-enforcement, to Camden. He arrived on the 14th and had the discernment at once to perceive that delay would render that situation dangerous, even to his whole force; the disaffection from his late assumed, arbitrary and vindictive power having become general through all the country above General Gates' line of march, as well as to the eastward Of Santee and to the westward of Wateree Rivers. He, therefore, took the resolution of attacking the new constituted American army in their open irregular encampment at Clermont. Both armies, ignorant of each other's intentions, moved about the same hour of the same night and, approaching each other, met about half way between their respective encampments at midnight.

The first revelation of this new and unexpected scene was occasioned by a smart, mutual salutation of small arms between the advanced guards. Some of the cavalry of Armand's legion were wounded, retreated and threw the whole corps into disorder; which, recoiling suddenly on the front of the column of infantry, disordered the First Maryland Brigade and occasioned a general consternation through the whole line of the army. The light infantry under Porterfield, however, executed their orders gallantly; and the enemy, no less astonished than ourselves, seemed to acquiesce in a sudden suspension of hostilities. Some prisoners were taken on both sides. From one of these, the deputy adjutant general of the American army extorted information respecting the situation and numbers of the enemy. He informed that Lord Cornwallis commanded in person about three thousand regular British troops, which were in line of march, about five or six hundred yards in front. Order was soon restored in the corps of infantry in the American army, and the officers were employed in forming a front line of battle when the deputy adjutant general communicated to General Gates the information which he had from the prisoner. The general's astonishment could not be concealed. He ordered the deputy adjutant general to call another council of war. All the general officers immediately assembled in the rear of the line. The unwelcome news was communicated to them. General Gates said, "Gentlemen, what is best to be done?"


All were mute for a few moments � when the gallant Stevens exclaimed, "Gentlemen, is it not too late now to do any thing but fight"' No other advice was offered, and the general desired the gentlemen would repair to their respective commands.

The Baron de Kalb's opinion may be inferred from the following fact: When the deputy adjutant general went to call him to council, he first told him what had been discovered. "Well," said the baron, "and has the general given you orders to retreat the army?" The baron, however, did not oppose the suggestion of General Stevens, and every measure that ensued was preparatory for action.

Lieutenant Colonel Porterfield, in whose bravery and judicious conduct great dependence was placed, received in the first rencontre a mortal wound (as it long afterwards proved) and was obliged to retire. His infantry bravely kept the ground in front; and the American army were formed in the following order: The Maryland division, including the Delawares, on the right � the North Carolina militia in the center � and the Virginia militia on the left. It happened that each flank was covered by a marsh, so near as to admit the removing of the First Maryland Brigade to form a second line, about two hundred yards in the rear of the first. The artillery was removed from the center of the brigades and placed in the center of the front line; and the North Carolina militia (light infantry) under Major Armstrong, which had retreated at the first rencontre, was ordered to cover a small interval between the left wing and the swampy grounds on that quarter.

Frequent skirmishes happened during the night between the advanced parties � which served to discover the relative situations of the two armies and as a prelude to what was to take place in the morning.

At dawn of day (on the morning of the 16th of August) the enemy appeared in front, advancing in column. Captain Singleton, who commanded some pieces of artillery, observed to Colonel Williams that he plainly perceived the ground of the British uniform at about two hundred yards in front. The deputy adjutant general immediately ordered Captain Singleton to open his battery, and then rode to the general, who was in the rear of the second line, and informed him of the cause of the firing which he heard. He also observed to the general that the enemy seemed to be displaying their column by the right; the nature of the ground favored this conjecture, for yet nothing was clear.

The general seemed disposed to wait events � he gave no orders. The deputy adjutant general observed that if the enemy, in the act of displaying, were briskly attacked by General Stevens' brigade, which was already in fine of battle, the effect might be fortunate, and first impressions were important. "Sir," said the general, "that's right � let it be done." This was the last order that the deputy adjutant general received. He hastened to General Stevens, who instantly advanced with his brigade, apparently in fine spirits. The right wing of the enemy was soon discovered in line � it was too late to attack them displaying. Nevertheless, the business of the day could no longer be deferred. The deputy adjutant general requested General Stevens to let him have forty or fifty privates, volunteers, who would run forward of the brigade and commence the attack. They were led forward within forty or fifty yards of the enemy, and ordered to take trees and keep up as brisk a fire as possible. The desired effect of this expedient, to extort the enemy's fire at some distance in order to the rendering it less terrible to the militia, was not gained. General Stevens, observing the enemy to rush on, put his men in mind of their bayonets; but the impetuosity with which they advanced, firing and huzzaing, threw the whole body of the militia into such a panic that they generally threw down their loaded arms and fled in the utmost consternation. The unworthy example of the Virginians was almost instantly followed by the North Carolinians; only a small part of the brigade commanded by Brigadier General Gregory made a short pause.


A part of Dixon's regiment of that brigade, next in the line to the Second Maryland Brigade, fired two or three rounds of cartridge. But a great majority of the militia (at least two-thirds of the army) fled without firing a shot. The writer avers it of his own knowledge, having seen and observed every part of the army, from left to right, during the action. He who has never seen the effect of a panic upon a multitude can have but an imperfect idea of such a thing. The best disciplined troops have been enervated and made cowards by it. Armies have been routed by it, even where no enemy appeared to furnish an excuse. Like electricity, it operates instantaneously � like sympathy, it is irresistible where it touches. But, in the present instance, its action was not universal. The regular troops, who had the keen edge of sensibility rubbed off by strict discipline and hard service, saw the confusion with but little emotion. They engaged seriously in the affair; and, notwithstanding some irregularity, which was created by the militia breaking pell mell through the second line, order was restored there � time enough to give the enemy a severe check, which abated the fury of their assault and obliged them to assume a more deliberate manner of acting. The Second Maryland Brigade, including the battalion of Delawares, on the right, were engaged with the enemy's left, which they opposed with very great firmness. They even advanced upon them and had taken a number of prisoners when their companions of the First Brigade (which formed the second line), being greatly outflanked and charged by superior numbers, were obliged to give ground. At this critical moment the regimental officers of the latter brigade, reluctant to leave the field without orders, inquired for their commanding officer (Brigadier General Smallwood) who, however, was not to be found. Notwithstanding, Colonel Gunby, Major Anderson and a number of other brave officers, assisted by the deputy adjutant general and Major Jones, one of Smallwood's aids, rallied the brigade and renewed the contest. Again they were obliged to give way, and were again rallied. The Second Brigade were still warmly engaged. The distance between the two brigades did not exceed two hundred yards, their opposite flanks being nearly upon a line perpendicular to their front. At this eventful juncture, the deputy adjutant general, anxious that the communication between them should be preserved, and wishing that, in the almost certain event of a retreat, some order might be sustained by them, hastened from the First to the Second Brigade, which he found precisely in the same circumstances. He called upon his own regiment (the 6th Maryland) not to fly, and was answered by the Lieutenant Colonel, Ford, who said, "They have done all that can be expected of them. We are outnumbered and outflanked � see the enemy charge with bayonets!" The enemy having collected their corps and directing their whole force against these two devoted brigades, a tremendous fire of musketry was for some time kept up on both sides with equal perseverance and obstinacy, until Lord Cornwallis, perceiving there was no cavalry opposed to him, pushed forward his dragoons, and his infantry charging at the same moment with fixed bayonets put an end to the contest. His victory was complete. All the artillery and a very great number of prisoners fell into his hands. Many fine fellows lay on the field, and the rout of the remainder was entire. Not even a company retired in any order. Every one escaped as he could. If in this affair the militia fled too soon, the regulars may be thought almost as blamable for remaining too long on the field, especially after all hope of victory must have been despaired of. Let the commandants of the brigades answer for themselves. Allow the same privilege to the officers of the corps comprising those brigades, and they will say that they never received orders to retreat, nor any order from any general officer, from the commencement of the action until it became desperate. The brave Major General, the Baron de Kalb, fought on foot with the Second Brigade and fell, mortally wounded, into the hands of the enemy, who stripped him even of his shirt; a fare which probably was avoided by other generals only by an opportune retreat.


The torrent of unarmed militia bore away with it Generals Gates, Caswell and a number of others, who soon saw that all was lost. General Gates at first conceived a hope that he might rally, at Clermont, a sufficient number to cover the retreat of the regulars; but the farther they fled the more they were dispersed, and the generals soon found themselves abandoned by all but their aids. Lieutenant Colonel Senf, who had been on the expedition with Colonel Sumpter, returned and, overtaking General Gates, informed him of their complete success � that the enemy's redoubt on Wateree, opposite to Camden, was first reduced, and the convoy of stores, &c., from Charleston was decoyed and became prize to the American party, almost without resistance. That upwards of one hundred prisoners and forty loaded waggons were in the hands of the party, who had sustained very little loss; but the general could avail himself nothing of this trifling advantage. The detachment under Sumpter was on the opposite side of the Wateree, marching off as speedily as might be to secure their booty � for the course of the firing in the morning indicated unfavorable news from the army.

The militia, the general saw, were in air, and the regulars, he feared, were no more. The dreadful thunder of artillery and musketry had ceased, and none of his friends appeared. There was no existing corps with which the victorious detachment might unite, and the Americans had no post in the rear. He, therefore, sent orders to Sumpter to retire in the best manner he could; and proceeded himself with General Caswell towards Charlotte, an open village on a plain, about sixty miles from the fatal scene of action. The Virginians, who knew nothing of the country they were in, involuntarily reversed the route they came, and fled, most of them, to Hillsborough. General Stevens pursued them, and halted there as many as were not sufficiently refreshed before his arrival to pursue their way home. Their terms of service, however, being very short, and no prospect presenting itself to afford another proof of their courage, General Stevens soon afterwards discharged them.

The North Carolina militia fled different ways, as their hopes led or their fears drove them. Most of them, preferring the shortest way home, scattered through the wilderness which lies between Wateree and Pee Dee rivers, and thence towards Roanoke. Whatever these might have suffered from the disaffected, they probably were not worse off than those who retired the way they came; wherein they met many of their insidious friends, armed and advancing to join the American army; but, learning its fate from the refugees, they acted decidedly in concert with the victors, and, captivating some, plundering others and maltreating all the fugitives they met, returned, exultingly, home. They even added taunts to their perfidy. One of a party who robbed Brigadier General Butler of his sword consoled him by saying, "You'll have no further use of it."

The regular troops, it has been observed, were the last to quit the field. Every corps was broken and dispersed; even the boggs and brush, which in some measure served to screen them from their furious pursuers, separated them from one another. Major Anderson was the only officer who fortunately rallied, as he retreated, a few men of different companies, and whose prudence and firmness afforded protection to those who joined his party on the rout.

Colonel Gunby, Lieutenant Colonel Howard, Captain Kirkwood, and Captain Dobson, with a few other officers, and fifty or sixty men, formed a junction on the rout, and proceeded together.

The general order for moving off the heavy baggage, &c., to Waxaws was not put in execution, as directed to be done on the preceding evening. The whole of it, consequently, fell into the hands of the enemy, as well as all that which followed the army except the waggons of the Generals Gates and De Kalb; which, being furnished with the stoutest horses, fortunately escaped under the protection of a small quarter guard. Other waggons also had got out of danger from the enemy; but the cries of the women and the wounded in the rear and the consternation of the flying


troops so alarmed some of the waggoners that they cut out their teams and, taking each a horse, left the rest for the next that should come. Others were obliged to give up their horses to assist in carrying off the wounded, and the whole road, for many miles, was strewed with signals of distress, confusion and dismay. What added not a little to this calamitous scene was the conduct of Armand's Legion. They were principally foreigners, and some of them, probably, not unaccustomed to such scenes. Whether it was owing to the disgust of the colonel at general orders, or the cowardice of his men, is not with the writer to determine; but certain it is, the Legion did not take any part in the action of the 16th; they retired early and in disorder, and were seen plundering the baggage of the army on their retreat. One of them cut Captain Lemar, of the Maryland infantry, over the hand for attempting to reclaim his own portmanteau, which the fellow was taking out of the waggon.) Captain Lemar was unarmed, having broke his sword in action, and was obliged to submit both to the loss and to the insult. The tent covers were thrown off the waggons, generally, and the baggage exposed, so that one might take what suited him to carry off. General Caswell's mess waggon afforded the best refreshment; very unexpectedly to the writer, he there found a pipe of good Madeira, broached, and surrounded by a number of soldiers, whose appearance led him to inquire what engaged their attention. He acknowledges that in this instance he shared in the booty and took a draught of wine, which was the only refreshment he had received that day.

But the catastrophe being over, before we pursue a detail of all its distressing consequences, it may be excusable to consider, whether the measures which led to the necessity of fighting a general battle were justifiable? And whether such and event might not have been avoided, at almost any time before the two armies were actually opposed?

If General Gates intended to risk a general action, conscious of all circumstances, he certainly made that risk under every possible disadvantage; and a contemplation of those circumstances, would seem to justify Colonel Armand's assertion, made in the afternoon of the day in which the battle was fought � "I will not, said he, say that we have been betrayed; but if it had been the purpose of the general to sacrifice his army, what could he have done more effectually to have answered that purpose?"

General Gates, however, notwithstanding his after order of the 15th, had, in the opinion of most of his officers, and particularly of the writer, no more apprehension of meeting the enemy in force, than the least informed man of his army. The circuitous route, first recommended to him, would certainly have been the safest and best. Magazines, an armory, and hospital, and even fortified posts, might have been established, without halting the effective force of the army; posts to which they might, in case of disaster, have retired under protection of the patriotic militia of Mecklenburg and Roan Counties; who only wanted time to join the army in respectable numbers. Such at least, were their subsequent declarations; and such their subsequent conduct, rendered most probable.

But, even on the route the army had marched, the danger of meeting and enemy of equal or superior force, was passed when they for General Gates to have been informed of the march of Lord Cornwallis from Charleston, to have avoided, almost as long as he pleased, a conflict between the two armies.

In the opinion of the writer, it was not too late, even after Lord Cornwallis reached Camden. If, instead of meeting him, involuntarily, General Gates had been informed of his intended movement, and quietly, in the afternoon of the 15th, have followed, with his whole army, the detachment under Woolford, over the Wateree, it would have been impossible for the armies to have met until the next day, and after the success of Sumter's expedition. If his lordship then have


thought of forcing a passage over the Wateree, General Gates would have had the alternative of opposing him under that disadvantage, or of retiring to any position he might prefer, higher up the river. Lord Cornwallis could not have adventured the passage of the river, much above Gates' army, because the river being fordable in many places, his garrison and magazines at Camden would have been jeoparded; the forces he could afford to leave for its defence, would have been insufficient for half a day; and, if the post and its stores had been gained by the Americans, the British army, destitute of supplies, would have been obliged to retire towards Charleston. On the other hand, if his lordship should keep his post in his rear, he must consequently leave the communication open between the American army and their friends in the upper country; which would have flections on measures, the idea of which, perhaps never occurred, nor was suggested to the general. Involved, as he was, in the necessity of fighting, the disposition which was made of battle, after the alarm, was, perhaps, unexceptionable, and as well adapted to the situation, as if the ground had been reconnoitered and chosen by the ablest officer in the army of the United States.(It was afterwards approved by the judicious and gallant General Greene, to whom the writer had the solemn pleasure of showing the field of battle; and with whom he had the additional mortification of participating the danger and disgrace of a repulse, near the same place, the very next campaign.)

The only apology that General Gates condescended to make to the army for the loss of the battle, was, "a man may pit a cock, but he can't make him fight." � "The fate of battle is uncontrollable" � and such other common maxims as admit of no contradiction.

It is, however, morally certain, considering the disposition of the citizens generally, and the respectable body of militia that had already joined the army, that time was, of all things, the most important to the success of General Gates' army.

Lord Cornwallis, conscious of this truth, and of the disadvantage the least lapse would prove to him � seized the first moment to hasten the decision of an experiment, which was to gain or lose the country. For the season at least; perhaps forever.

General Gates and Caswell arrived at Charlotte on the night of the action. The ensuing morning presented nothing to them but and open village, with but few inhabitants, and the remains of a temporary hospital, containing a few maimed soldiers of Colonel Buford's unfortunate corps, which had been cut to pieces on the retreat, after the surrender of Charleston.

General Caswell was requested to remain there, to encourage the militia of the country, who were to rendezvous there in three days, (as it was first intended) to countenance the reassembling of the American army. General Gates perceived no effectual succour short of Hillsborough, where the general assembly of North Carolina were about to convene; thither he repaired, with all possible expedition; and was followed the next day by General Caswell, who despaired of the meeting of the militia; probably because he thought that their first object, the army, was annihiliated.

On the two days succeeding the fatal action, Brigadier General Gist, who commanded the second brigade of Maryland troops, previous to its misfortune at Charlotte, arrived with only two or three attendants, who had fallen into his route. Several field officers, and many officers of the line also, arrived similarly circumstanced; and, although not more than about a dozen men of different corps arrived in irregular squads, from time to time, not less than one hundred infantry were collected in the village within that time; besides Armand's cavalry, which was very little reduced; and a small corps of mounted militia, which retired from the Waxsaw settlement, under the command of Major Davy, an enterprising and gallant young man, who had been raising volunteer cavalry, to join the army.


Very few of the fugitive militia resorted to this place.

Fortunately, there was small supply of provision in the town � the inhabitants did all they could to refresh both men and officers � and, by the provident care of Colonel Hall, of Maryland, a quantity of flour was sent back on the route of the retreating troops.

Brigadier General Smallwood, who had the honor of the second line, or corps de reserve, assigned him in the late action, deliberately came in on the morning, (or about noon) of the 18th, escorted by one of his aids de camp, and two or three other gentlemen, and about as many soldiers, all mounted. His route was by way of the Wateree.

The small squads assembled by Major Anderson, and the other officers already mentioned, were on the direct route. The latter were not yet arrived, but were hourly expected; and afforded, in addition to those already collected, and those with Colonel Sumter, an prospect of forming such a body a s might still encourage the militia to form, at least the semblance of an army, which might keep up some appearance of opposition, until the resources of the union could be called forth by Congress, or by the states most immediately interested.

An incident, which occasioned great distress the next day, must be here related. It has been observed, that many of the waggoners and retreating troops accelerated their flight, by taking horses from the wagons which were left on the route. In this way many wounded officers and soldiers made their escape, and bore with astonishing fortitude, the pains incident to their situation. They gave indeed, (some of them) proofs of the uttermost pain and fatigue that the human constitution can bear � others sunk under their accumulated distresses. Those who arrived at Charlotte, were taken the vest possible care of � the horses were turned out to graze in the adjacent fields, no forage to the Americans, quitted their villages on the Wateree, and followed the remnant of the army towards the town of Charlotte, where many of them had already arrived; some of them, in their irregular way, fired a number of guns after night, on the 18th, which gave a very general alarm; and many of the people fled in the night, taking as many of the horses as they could find, or had occasion for.

Another incident, much more consequential! The morning of the 19th was fair, and the officers were assembling about the public square, and encouraging one another with hopes of a more favorable course of affairs than had been current for some time past, when they received unquestionable information, that Colonel Sumter, whose arrival they looked for every moment, was completely surprised, the preceding day, and the whole party killed, captured, or dispersed. Dead or alive, he was censured for suffering a surprise.

No organization, nor order, had yet been attempted to be restored among the few troops that had arrived in Charlotte; the privates were, therefore, hastily formed into ranks; and the officers were, among themselves, adjusting the commands to be taken by them respectively, when the number of supernumerary officers was discovered to be very considerable. Every one, however, took some charge upon himself. The care of the wounded � the collection of provisions � and the transportation of the heavy baggage (preserved by Major Dean's small guard) and other matters, which might, in any way, alleviate the general distress, engaged the attention of those who had no division of the men.

There was no council, nor regular opinion taken, respecting this irksome situation. The general idea was, that Charlotte, an open wooded village, without magazines of any sort � without a second cartridge per man � and without a second ration, was not tenable for an hour, against superior numbers, which might enter at every quarter � moreover, it was estimated by those who knew the


geography of the country, that even then the victorious enemy might be in the vicinity of the place. It was admitted, by every one, that no place could be more defenceless.

Only one officer, who was of the legion, proposed a temporary defence, by pulling down the houses and forming a redoubt, which might induce the enemy to grant a capitulation. No respect was paid to this destructive proposition, and the first suggestion prevailed.

Difficulties, almost innumerable, presented themselves to obstruct a march � several officers, with small parties, were known to be on the route from Camden � some refugees might possibly escape from Sumter's detachment � many of the wounded were obliged to be left in the old hospital, dependant, probably, on the enemy, or on a few of the inhabitants who were unable to retire � and even some who might have got off on horseback, were deprived of the means by the alarming incident of the preceding night. Were all those to be abandoned?

Time was never more important to a parcel of wretches than now; but, how to take it, whether "by the forelock," as the adage is, or wait its more propitious moments, none of us could decisively resolve. Brigadier General Smallwood, who quartered himself at a farm-house a little way from town, appeared, at this crisis, approaching the parade in his usual slow pace. As senior officer, his orders would have been obeyed, even to setting about fortifying the village.

But being informed of what has just been related, and concurring in the general sentiment, he leisurely put himself at the head of the party, and moved off towards Salisbury. The deputy adjutant general, and Brigade Major Davidson, took the route to Camden, in order to direct all they might meet, to file off towards Salisbury. The small parties that had attached themselves to Colonel Gunby and Colonel Howard, were met near town, and express was sent to Major Anderson who had, to no purpose, spent some time in endeavors to bring off some wagons, which had escaped beyond the pursuit of the enemy, and were left without horses. By noon a very lengthy line of march, occupied the road from Charlotte to Salisbury. It consisted of the wretched remnant of the late southern army; a great number of distressed whig families, and the whole tribe of Catawba Indians (about three hundred in number, about fifty or sixty of whom were warriors, but indifferently armed); among the rest were six soldiers, who left the hospital with other convalescents; they had all suffered in Buford's unfortunate affair, and had but two sound arms among them, indeed, four of them had not one arm among them; and two only an arm a piece; each of them had one linen garment. Those officers and men, who were recently wounded, and had resolution to undertake the fatigue, were differently transported; some in wagons, some in litters, and some on horseback � their sufferings were indiscribable. The distresses of the women and children, who fled from Charlotte and its neighborhood. The nakedness of the Indians, and the number of their infants and aged persons, and the disorder of the whole line of march, conspired to render it as scene too picturesque and complicated description. A just representation would exhibit and image of compound wretchedness � care, anxiety, pain, poverty, hurry, confusion, humiliation sand dejection, would be characteristic traits in the mortifying picture.

The inhabitants, who had fled with their families, soon began to disperse, and take refuge among their friends in the interior of the country. The Catawbas had a district of county assigned them for hunting grounds in North Carolina. Brigadier General Smallwood continued the march of the regular infantry to Salisbury, and arrived the third day after. Armand's legion proceeded, as they threatened, when it was resolved to evacuate Charlotte: "If, "said one of the officers, "you will make de retreat, we will retreat faster dan you!" � they proceeded to Hillsborough. The fertility of the country between Charlotte and Salisbury � the hospitality and benevolence of the inhabitants � and the numbers of their habitants on the route, afforded, in many instances, that


relief which was requisite to preserve life; besides, a liberal supply of provisions for all this cavalcade.

It is not known, whether, if the Americans had not evacuated Charlotte, Lord Cornwallis would not have made it an object to have dispossessed them; but, as it was, his lordship contented himself, with having defeated the southern army � driven it out South Carolina � and cut up the only detachment respectable enough to afford a head to which the patriots of the country might assemble. His lordship certainly gave the world another instance in proof of the assertion, that it is not every general, upon whom fortune bestows her favours, who knows how to avail himself of all the advantages which are presented to him. Victory is not always attended, perhaps never, with all the superiority it seems to bestow. The British army retired to Camden.

So unexpected an event gave the poor Americans time to breathe. General Smallwood halted his party at Salisbury � selected about one hundred and fifty effective men � and sent the remainder, perhaps fifty or sixty more, over the Yadkin River, with the wagons, women, &c. The effectives he officered according to his pleasure, and permitted the field officers, particularly those who had not formerly belonged to his brigade, to proceed to Hillsborough. � Hall, Williams and Howard, were of the number, who availed themselves, at their leisure, of this permission. At Salisbury, one hundred and twenty or thirty miles from the scene of the late action, Smallwood took time to dictate those letters which, he addressed to Congress, and in which, he intimated the great difficulties he had encountered, and the exertions he had made to save a remnant of General Gate's army. letters which, with the aid of those he addressed to his friends in power, procured him, it was generally believed in the line, the rank of major Major Anderson, who casually heard of the retreat of the detachment that had surprised Sumter, proceed to Charlotte, where he found the militia inspirited by a change of circumstances, disposed to organize themselves, and form such corps as might protect the country the incursions of the enemy, which might be expected from Camden. They requested the major to remain at Charlotte, and through him, invited General Smallwood to return, importuning him, and even offering him the chief command of all the militia of Mecklenburg � General Caswell, their countryman, having, as they alleged, abandoned them even before the expiration of the three days, in which he had ordered them to assemble at Charlotte.

General Smallwood, however, declined the honor of this invitation: and sent orders to Major Anderson, to join him, without delay, at Salisbury. And, in order that these instructions might not be dispensed with on any pretence whatever, Lieutenant Colonel Ford, the particular friend of Anderson,, was charged with them, and with directions to expedite the march of the party. The order was executed, and the mortified militia, were left to depend upon their own exertions, and their own fortitude; which, notwithstanding the discouragements they had met with, did not fail. They assembled � formed themselves into small partisan corps � and actually combated successfully, the first detachments of the enemy that came afterwards into their country. These are facts which entitle the patriots of Mecklenburg and Waxsaws, to a whole page of eulogium, in the best history that shall record the circumstances of the revolution.

The unfortunate General Gates, at Hillsborough, where the assembly of the state had convened, hearing from the officers who arrived there, that the disasters of the army were not so completely ruinous as he had at first apprehended, applied himself assiduously to the legislature for the supplies necessary


to re-equip the regular troops. But what supplies, or rather the quantum, that would be requisite, the general could not ascertain, having received no returns, or reports, of any kind, from General Smallwood, who seemed to assume the command of the army.

In order, therefore, to obtain the requisite information, and to decide, at once, the doubt about command, General Gates wrote explicitly to General Smallwood, and ordered him to pass the Yadkin River with all the men under his command, and to proceed on the direct route to Hillsborough. This order had been anticipated. It was received by General Smallwood, after he had passed the Yadkin and was on his march to Guilford Court House, on the route directed. At Guilford, the troops were halted for refreshment; and, as there was a great plenty of provisions in the neighborhood, General Smallwood, without regarding the instructions he had received from General Gates, wrote to the assembly of the state, intimating that, with their approbation, he would continue there until other arrangements should be resolved on. The assembly, properly, declined interfering in matters which might involve a question of authority between two continental officers, and referred the proposition of General Smallwood to General Gates. General Gates did not entirely disapprove of the execution of the proposition; but, in his letter to General Smallwood, he required, that certain returns, &c. should be forwarded to him without delay; and gave as to induce General Smallwood to suspend, for the present, his hopes of succeeding thereto. He, therefore, marched immediately to Hillsborough, where he arrived with the tattered remains of the army, early in the month of September. Thus ended the campaign of 1780.

A Narrative of Events relative to the Southern Army, subsequent to the arrival of General Gates' broken battalions at Hillsborough, 1780.

Hillsborough had been a place of rendezvous for all the militia raised in the interior of North Carolina; and a stage of refreshment for all the troops which had marched from the northward to succour Charleston, or re-enforce the southern army; consequently, the resources of the country had been generally collected and applied. What remained, did not afford an ample supply even for the fugitives of the late army: which were now collected in the town, and were cantoned, some in the houses of the inhabitants, and some in tents pitched near the court house, where the assembly of the state were convened. The assembly saw and regretted the wants of the troops, and did all that was then practicable, for their relief. A comfortable supply of fresh meat, cornmeal, and wheat flour, was procured for the hospital; and the rest of the men were subsisted by provisions furnished by state commissaries, in part, and partly by the old expedient of collecting by detachments � and expedient which gave great umbrage to the country.

At this time Lord Cornwallis was, with the principal part of his army, at Camden, where his own wounded, and those of the American army were very differently treated.

The worse than savage system of severity, suggested by the malice of the king's minister, of conceived by the malignity of the king himself, which had been so fatally practiced upon the prisoners in New York and Philadelphia, was now practiced with equal barbarity on the prisoners taken in the southern department. Every where they treated with cruel neglect, or insolent severity. The difference of climates made some difference in consequences.

The same treatment, or rather worse, was suffered by the inhabitants of the country who had ever been in arms, or were even suspected of disloyalty; some who were accused of having received protections, and violated the conditions, were hung without any form of trial. Prompt punishments, for supposed crimes, were inflicted at the will of superior officers in the different British garrisons, and every measure was adopted, which the arrogance of power could devise, to subjugate the


minds, as well as the privileges of the people. The want of energy in the union of the United States, and the imbecility of the states themselves, gave great latitude to the effect of the British measures. Their emissaries were in all parts of the country, and were but too successful in the lower counties of North Carolina, where the inhabitants, except in and near the sea-port towns, began to be generally disaffected to the Americans cause. Even in Chatham county, a considerable body took arms and threatened to disperse the assembly of the state from Hillsborough; indeed so serious was the alarm upon this occasion, that to guard against a surprise of the town, on a night when the insurgents were confidently expected, all the troops were kept under arms the whole night; as no arrangement had yet taken place, General Gates desired Colonel Williams to command them. The inhabitants were ordered to arm, and even the members of the assembly thought it incumbent on them, to arm themselves also. The following fact may illustrate their character, as well for patriotism as soldiership.

It was requested that a regular officer would lend his assistance in arranging the militia. The members of the assembly were collected near the court house,(the seat of government) and were arming themselves when the officer arrived; who, taking them for the militia who stood in need of an adjutant, began the exercise of that office, and marshaled them in a manner which showed no respect for them as legislators. No exception, however, was taken to the conduct of the officer. The circumstance was mentioned afterwards, only as one of these ludicrous incidents (and there were many) which occurred during the night of the alarm. Although the alarm proved false, it proved no less certainly, that the enterprise might have been effected by a few brave men, even on that very night; the hurry and confusion which it occasioned discovered the expediency of re-establishing order among the troops; and every other man seemed to feel the obligation of giving his assistance as well to provide for present necessities, as against future contingencies. Influenced by motives not to be disregarded, the government of North Carolina soon began to exert all its powers. The second class of the militia were ordered to assemble immediately � commissaries, quarter masters and agents, with extensive powers, were appointed to procure every article requisite for another campaign � and , for want of funds, (for the paper money of the United States was now depreciated below calculation) these officers were authorized to take, on the account of government, all military stores, arms, provisions, clothing, &c. that were to be found, and to grant receipts or certificates for the same.

Notwithstanding that the disasters of the southern army, and a sense of common danger, had, seemingly, obliterated all recollection of former differences and animosities among the officers of the regular corps, it ought not to be dissembled, that such were among the causes which, for a little time, postponed the new organization of the troops.

What cause General Gates had to apprehend the being superceded in the command of the southern army, may be conjectured by those who have a knowledge of facts; but, what reason General Smallwood could have, to hope to become his successor, none who are not grossly imposed on, can possibly imagine.

The misunderstanding between these two officers was never, I believe, avowed; but, as Gates reassumed his command, Smallwood retired from it.

General Gist was not ambitious of the command of men so circumstanced; and, in fact, many other officers wished for an opportunity of returning home without a laurel, or a scar.

A board of officers, convened by order of General Gates, determined, that all the effective men should be formed into two battalions, constituting one regiment, to be completely officered, and provided for in the best possible manner that circumstances would admit- the sick and convalescent


were to remain- but, all the invalids were to be sent home- and the supernumerary officers were to repair to their respective states, to assist in the recruiting service.

The command of the new formed regiment was given to Colonel Williams and Lieutenant Colonel Howard; Majors Anderson and Hardman, commanded the battalions.

No sooner these officers invested with command, than they began to restore order and discipline among the troops; and the colonel, who was inspector of the Maryland division of the army of the United States, (comprehending the quota of Delaware also) demanded a general order before any of the officers should depart, for the most correct returns that could be made, under present circumstances, accounting as well for the men as for their arms, accoutrements, &c. &c. The latter part of the order could not be complied with, in any satisfactory degree; but, after sometime, the officers, by comparing notes, and recollecting circumstances, rendered returns, from which the following abstracts were taken:

TOTAL of Maryland troops:� Three colonels, four lieutenant colonels, five majors, thirty-eight captains, fifty subalterns, twenty-four staff officers, eighty-five non-commissioned officers, sixty-two musicians, and seven hundred and eighty-one rank and file.

The numbers which were killed, captured and missing, since the last muster, could not with any accuracy, be ascertained. The aggregate was, three lieutenant colonels, two majors, fifteen captains, thirteen subalterns, two staff officers, fifty-two non-commissioned officers, thirty-four musicians, and seven hundred and eleven rank and file. These, at least a very great majority of these, and all of them for aught I know, fell in the field, or into the hands of the enemy, on the fatal 16th of August. It is extremely probable, that the number killed much exceeded the number taken prisoners.

The Delaware regiment being mustered, the return stood thus:

Four captains, seven subalterns, three staff officers, nineteen non-commissioned officers, eleven musicians, and one hundred and forty-five rank and file, in actual service, &c. &c. &c. Eleven commissioned officers, and thirty-six privates of the Delaware regiment, fell into the hands of the enemy.

These details may not be unessential to those who have been concerned in the affairs of the late campaign; and may give satisfaction to those of my friends, who may wish, hereafter, to have a true knowledge of circumstances.

The inhabitants of Hillsborough soon began to experience and complain of the inconvenience of having soldiers billettd among them; and the officers were equally sensible of the difficulty of restraining the licentiousness of the soldiers, when not immediately under their observation. Williams, therefore, drew his regiment out of town, distributing the few tents he had among the several companies. He encamped on a vacant farm, or rather, in the woodland belonging to it, and covered his men with wigwams, made of fence rails, poles, and corn tops, regularly disposed. The tents were chiefly occupied by the officers; but, as they were all much worn, wigwams, were soon preferred, on account of their being much warmer.

The usual camp-guards and centinels being posted, no person could come into, or go out of camp without a permit. Parade duties were regularly attended, as well by officers as soldiers, and discipline, not only began to be perfectly restored, but even gave an air of stability and confidence to the regiment, which all their rags could not disguise. In this encampment no circumstance of want or distress, was admitted as an excuse for relaxing from the strictest discipline, to which the soldiers the more cheerfully submitted, as they saw their officers constantly occupied in procuring for them whatever was attainable in their situation.


Absolutely without pay; almost destitute of clothing; often with only a half ration, and never with a whole one (without substituting one article for another,) not a soldier was heard to murmur, after the third or fourth day of their being encamped. Instead of meeting and conferring in small sullen squads, as they had formerly done, they filled up the intervals from duty, with manly exercises and field sports; in short the officers had very soon, the entire confidence of the men, who divested themselves of all unnecessary care, and devoted themselves to duty and past-time, within the limits assigned them.

The docility and contentment of the troops were the more extraordinary, as they were not unfrequently reminded, (when permitted to go into the country,) how differently the British troops were provided for.

The article of rum, the most desirable refreshment to soldiers, was mentioned among other inducements for them to desert; but, so great was their fidelity to the cause, or so strong their attachment tot heir fellow sufferers and soldiers, that they not only rejected the most flattering propositions to go over to the enemy, but they absolutely brought some of the most bold and importunate incendiaries into camp, who were delivered to the civil authority, and some of them punished.

If any of my friends should inquire why I descend to particulars, so minute and unimportant � I answer, that I am not writing a history of the revolution, nor of the proceedings of government; and that it is not unimportant for any officer to observe every incident in the life and conduct of a soldier, which may, in any degree, serve to illustrate his disposition. The general characteristic of a corps should never be mistaken, by the commanding officer especially. Misunderstandings often arise from it; and the consequences are usually what might be expected � unfavorable both to officers and men.

The legion commanded by Armand was, on the 8th of September, sent to forage, and make cantonments in Warren County, from whence Armand went to Philadelphia, and never returned.

General Gates did not conceal his opinion, that he held cavalry in no estimation in the southern field. If he judged by the conduct of the legion, he ought to have confined his opinion to that corps particularly � for subsequent experience has evinced, that no opinion could have been more erroneous.

Two brass field-pieces, which General Gates had left under a small guard at Buffalo Ford, for want of horses, the first day of his march after taking the command, were brought to camp with a few iron pieces picked up at Hillsborough, and formed a little park in the center of the ragged regiment of Maryland and Delaware troops, which constituted the southern army, until the 16th of September, when Colonel Buford arrived from Virginia with the mangled remains of his unfortunate regiment, re-enforced by about two hundred raw recruits, all of them in a ragged condition; uniforms and other clothing, were to be sent after them, but never arrived.

About the same time, a small detachment of Virginia militia, arrived without even arms.

On the 18th, the relicts of Porterfield's corps, about fifty effective men, arrived under the command of Captain Drew, and joined Buford. Thus, the reminder of those corps, which had been recently cut to pieces, without being recruited, or refurnished with clothing, camp equipage, &c. necessary for a campaign, were hastily assembled to form the head of an army, to act against their conquerors.

The body of the proposed army, was to consist of militia � the second class principally of those very militia, who had so shamefully abandoned some of these same regulars at Camden, but a few weeks before.


Confident hopes were, notwithstanding, entertained that the interior of the two Carolinas, might be defended from the ravages of the enemy, until Congress might gain time and find means to do something more effectual.

The officers and the men began to recover their usual spirits.

Brigadier General Smallwood, weary of waiting events at obscure quarters, and dissatisfied (as every officer of real merit, naturally is) of rank without command in time of war. Suggested that as there were two nominal regiments, and a company of artillery encamped, a nominal brigade might be formed, of which he claimed the command, and was gratified. Captain Anthony Singleton of Virginia, commanded the artillery.

About this time, Colonel Morgan of Virginia, whose heroic conduct under General Montgomery at Quebec, General Gates at Saratoga, and other meritorious actions, will secure him an honorable page in the history of the war in the north, arrived at camp, without command, and with only two or three young gentlemen attending him.

The perfect security which Lord Cornwallis imagined resulted to his posts, and to the communications between them; and the presumption, that all the lower part of the country was in a state of absolute subjection and tranquility, in consequences of his extraordinary, not to say accidental success, induced him to send a small guard from Camden, to convey one hundred and fifty of his prisoners, principally regulars, to Charleston.

Colonel Marion of South Carolina, who has been mentioned in the previous part of these narratives, and who ought always to be mentioned with respect, had been stimulating his countrymen to act in concert with General Gates, until after the unfortunate 16th of August, when he and his followers were obliged to secret themselves on the swamps and deserts which intersect a considerable part of the lower country. From one of these hiding places, Marion suddenly fell upon the British guard, surprised, and made the whole of them prisoners. He paroled the officers, and took a list of the privates to be exchanged. The American soldiers he sent off, with proper guides, to Wilmington � having first distributed among them the arms of their captors. A circumstance so honorable for a small squad of militia, particularly for their commanding officer, ought long to be remembered with admiration. Marion and his men retook to the swamps.

On report, in camp, of this fortunate event, Lieutenant Colonel Commandant Ford, who had not availed himself of the permission for supernumeraries to return home, went to Wilmington to meet the released captives, and to conduct them to camp; but, as they had been subject to very little, or no control, after their releasement, being without any of their own officers, and doubting of the existence of any considerably body of their fellow soldiers, many of them repaired home with all the expedition they could make. Colonel Ford did not recover more than about one half of the number released by Marion; and these, from their sufferings in captivity, their long and circuitous march from Camden to Wilmington, and thence by Cross Creek to Hillsborough, and their want of almost all the necessaries of life, were very little fit for service.

While the American troops were collecting at Hillsborough, measures were taken by the state of North Carolina, to expedite the embodying of the second class of their militia.

To intimidate the people from complying with the requisitions of Government � to collect forage and provisions � and probably with an expectation of striking terror through the country, Lord Cornwallis moved from Camden, (in October) with a considerably body of troops, lightly equipped, which he led immediately to the town of Charlotte, and from thence, man�uvred about the country as far north as Phifer's Mills. But, although his lordship could, and would go where he pleased, he found himself much less at ease in this part of the country, than in any other situation he had experienced. The militia of Mecklenburg, and of Roan, the most inflexible whigs in the whole


state, were continually in his presence. He could make no movement without being observed � no negligence could be committed on his part, of which they did not take advantage. Major Davie, with his mounted volunteers, equipped as dragoons, sometimes intercepted his convoys of provisions � sometimes disturbed his pickets � and even once or twice, insulted the van of his army on its march.

These, however, were feeble and ineffectual resistances; his lordship could "go where he pleased."

This incursion of his lordship into the strongest part of the state, stimulated the exertions of the legislature, in measures to organize and equip their militia for the field. They began to rendezvous in considerable numbers at Salisbury. Smallwood was complimented with a request of the executive, to take the command of them, Caswell's confidence in the courage of his countrymen not being yet restored; and it was presumed that the militia would act with more subordination, and perhaps, with more bravery under a continental general, than under one of their own neighbors.

After making some conditions, about horses for himself and his suite, the general accepted the honor.

At the same time, it was contemplated to send forward as many of the regular troops, as could be tolerably equipped for service; and it fortunately happened that, at that time, the state agents had forwarded to Hillsborough, a small supply of coarse clothing and other articles convenient for the purpose.

General Gates ordered a committee to attend to the equitable distribution of these stores, among the regular corps. But first, and appropriation was to be made for equipping four companies of light infantry, to be drafted from the regiments, and destined to form a part of the corps, to be sent in advance.

The execution of this part of the plan, commenced on the 19th of October, the day clothing arrived, and was very soon completed. The four companies of infantry were formed into one battalion, the command of which was obtained by Lieutenant Colonel Howard. About the 2nd of November, Lieutenant Colonels White and Washington, came to camp with a very few effectives, of the first and third regiments of dragoons, which had also been surprised, routed, defeated and cut to pieces the preceeding spring. White had leave to go to Philadelphia, and Washington remained in command of the remnants of both corps, consisting of sixty or seventy effectives.

These corps joined the light infantry on their march towards Charlotte. A small corps of riflemen (say 60) under Major Rose, had also joined the light infantry at Hillsborough. The gallant Colonel Morgan, then took the command of all the light troops, and proceeded with them through Charlotte. He found the militia under Smallwood, advanced as far as the Old Trading Ford on the Yadkin River, seven miles from Salisbury, in safety. Lord Cornwallis, without any known adequate cause, thought proper to retire through Charlotte, cross the Wateree River, and encamp at Winnsborough. It is not probable, that he was deceived by any exaggerated account of the new levied militia; nor is it probable, that he had any fears by the insolence of the volunteers, and chose to retire to a camp of repose.

Colonel Williams succeeded General Smallwood in the command of the brigade of continental troops. The diminution of its numbers, by the draft of four companies of light infantry was, in part, restored by the arrival of recruits from Maryland and Virginia. These were constantly at the drill. A laboratory was erected, and employed mending arms; and the residue of the clothing, &c. was distributed. Each man in the brigade was supplied with one new shirt, a short coat, a pair of woolen overalls, a pair of shoes, and a hat or a cap. The dividend of blankets was very inadequate to the occasion � they were apportioned to the companies; and every other practicable


provision was made to prepare the brigade for the field. The officers exerted themselves, and the soldiers were emulous who should be the first in readiness to march. Even the convalescents were impatient of being left behind � so generally had the martial spirit revived in the soldiery.

The brigade marched on the second day of November, immediately after the light dragoons, with two brass field-pieces, some ammunition-waggons, and a small train of baggage. They followed the rout of the light infantry to Charlotte, where they encamped.

The militia under Smallwood, had, apparently, taken a permanent position at Providence, about fourteen miles south of Charlotte; and Morgan, now brigadier general, was itinerant with his infantry about the Wateree.

Lord Cornwallis continued with the principal part of his forces at Winnsborough, and kept up the garrisons of Camden and Clermont.

Such were the relative situations of the armies, when General Greene arrived at Charlotte the 4th of December, 1780.

Charlotte. � When General Gates had reviewed, and contemplated his situation at Charlotte, he considered it the most eligible place to encamp for the winter, with the principal part of his army. The light troops were to keep the field, and to act as an advance-guard. With this view, he ordered preparations to be made for building huts, and directed General Morgan to make a foraging excursion towards Camden. On the very day of General Greene's arrival, and after he had assumed the command of the army, Morgan reported that he had made a tour into the country, in the vicinity of Camden, but found the cattle were taken off, and so little grain of forage left, as to make it scarcely worth the fatigue of the troops; but, that, fortunately, an event had taken place, which made some compensation for their toil.

Mr. Rugely, proprietor of the farm called Clermont, had obtained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the British army, and had obtained that of major for his son-in-law; these two officers, with about one hundred British troops and new levies, occupied a large log barn (the old council chamber) which they fortified by a slight entrenchment and a line of abbatis, so as to render it impregnable to small arms. This post was on the left of Morgan's route, as he returned from foraging � but too near to Camden for him to risk any thing like a siege or blockade. It was suggested that the cavalry might go and reconnoiter it � Washington, pleased with the idea, approached so near, as to discover that the enemy had discovered him and were intimidated. He humourously ordered his men to plant the trunk of an old pine tree, in the manner of a field-piece, pointing towards the garrison � at the same time, dismounting some of his men to appear as infantry, and displaying his cavalry to the best advantage, he sent a corporal of dragoons to summon the commanding officer to an immediate surrender. The order was executed with so firm a manner, that Colonel Rugely did not hesitate to comply instantly; and the whole garrison marched out prisoners of war.

The corporal was made a sergeant of dragoons � the old fort was set on fire; and Washington retired with his prisoners without exchanging a shot.

Soldiers, like sailors, have always a little superstition about them.

Although neither General Gates nor General Greene, could be considered as having any agency in this little successful affair, it was regarded by some, and even mentioned, as a presage of the future good fortune which the army would derive from the genius of the latter. But I have superceeded my old friend abruptly, and with almost as little ceremony, as it was directed by congress. As I approach the close of this narrative I assume the epistolary style, in which I intend to make all my future remarks, as they may thus be more easily transcribed for communication.

The letters which were addressed to congress, respecting the overthrow of his whole army, were so vague and unsatisfactory; and others which were written, were so disengenous, that it was


conceived by congress absolutely requisite to have a full inquiry into the circumstances of the campaign and conduct of the commanding officer.

General Washington, was requested to nominate an officer to supercede General Gates, and it was resolved that a court of inquiry should be held, of which major general the Baron Steuben was appointed president. General Greene, whom General Washington distinguished by an election to the command of the southern army, arrived as before observed, at head quarters the 4th of December 1780 with full powers.

A manly resignation marked the conduct of General Gates on the arrived of his successor, whom he received at head quarters with that liberal and gentlemanly air which was habitual to him.

General Greene observed a plain, candid, respectful manner, neither betraying compassion nor the want of it � nothing like the pride of official consequence even seemed. In short, the officers who were present, had an elegant lesson of propriety exhibited on a most delicate and interesting occasion.

General Greene was announced to the army as commanding officer, by General Gates; and the same day General Greene addressed the army, in which address, he paid General Gates the compliment of confirming all his standing orders.

The detention of the Baron Steuben in Virginia, and no major general being present, or authorized to serve in stead, made it impracticable to hold the court of inquiry a this time or place. General Gates, therefore, with the approbation of General Greene, repaired to Philadelphia, in order to meet the charges and to counteract the calumnies against him.

I cannot conclude this narrative without remarking, that a soldier's fame is always precarious during his life. If General Gates had fallen at the commencement of the action of Camden, who would not have acceded to the opinion, that the disasters of the day were owing principally to that circumstance? The laurels of Saratoga would have been ever green on his tomb, and history would have exulted in the merits of the hero.

What difference, in point of real merit, would there have been,(or could there be) between falling by an early, accidental shot, or submitting to the irresistible impulse of the militia, who went like a torrent from the field, forcing almost everything before them? And yet, what a difference in the public opinion!! Instead of praises, panegeric and monumental honors, he was censured, calumniated, and ever condemned, unheard.

The severity of this treatment was aggravated by a recent event, which was carefully kept from his knowledge while in camp, but which too soon overwhelmed him in distress. His only son, an elegant young man, well educated, and just entering into active scenes of life, was suddenly cut off by the stroke of death.

None but an unfortunate soldier, and a father left childless, could assimulate his feelings, to those of this unhappy gentleman � yet many sympathized with him, remembered his [f]ormer public services, wished for the return of tranquility to his afflicted mind, and hoped, even for a restoration of his honors.

General Greene took great pains to collect the best information relative to the circumstances of the late campaign; and his communications to influential characters, finally determined congress to rescined their resolution respecting General Gates, and to restore him to his command in the northern army.