Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department, Volume One
Henry Lee



LIEUTENANT GENERAL BURGOYNE had been a soldier from early life, and very much distinguished himself in the campaign of 1762, under the count de la Lippe Schomburg, in Portugal, where he established his reputation in arms, signalizing himself particularly by his surprise of the Spaniards at Valentia de Alcantera, and afterwards with colonel Lee at Villavelha. He was an accomplished gentleman, with the advantage of respectable family connexions, and a highly finished education.


MAJOR GENERAL GATES, like his antagonist, had been bred to arms, and served in America during the war of 1755. His course seems to have been mediocre. After the peace of 1763 he settled in Virginia, where the revolutionary war found him. Unprovided as were the states with soldiers of experience, general Gates was called forth by the congress of 1775, with the rank of major general; and was appointed adjutant general to the army assembled before Boston in our first campaign.


MAJOR GENERAL CHARLES LEE was born in England, and entered very young into the army,—the profession most congenial to his mind. He served in America, in Portugal, and in Turkey, always respected, sometimes distinguished.

Like his unfortunate friend, lieutenant general Burgoyne, he possessed the confidence and esteem of count de la Lippe, under whose orders, with lieutenant colonel Burgoyne, he was detached to strike at a detached camp of the enemy in the village of Villavelha, during the campaign of 1762, in Portugal; which service was handsomely performed.

In the dispute between the colonies and the mother country, Lee espoused with warmth the cause of the colonies, whose rights he believed to be despotically invaded; and sometime after came over to America. When convinced that the sword must be drawn, he resigned his commission in the British army, and accepted the third station in the American staff, proffered to him by congress. He possessed a sublime genius, highly improved by books and travel; but was eccentric from freedom of thought, which he uttered without reserve; sarcastic without malignity of heart, but with asperity of tongue; and imprudent, from an indisposition to guard himself by cramping mental independence.


MAJOR GENERAL BARON DE KALB was a German by birth; and, from the best information obtainable, must have served during the war of 1755 in some of the inferior stations of the quarter master general’s department, in the imperial army operating with that of his most christian majesty; it being well ascertained by his acquaintances in our army that he was intimately versed in the details of that department. Towards the close of that war he must have been despatched by the French court to North America, as he has himself often mentioned his having traversed the then British provinces in a concealed character; the object of which tour cannot be doubted, as the baron never failed, when speaking of the existing war, to express his astonishment, how any government could have so blundered as to have effaced the ardent and deep affection which, to his own knowledge, existed on the part of the colonies to Great Britain previous to the late rupture.—A preference, equalled only by their antipathy to the French nation, which was so powerful as to induce the baron to consider it, as he called it, “instinctive.”

Just before the peace our incognitus, becoming suspected, was arrested; and for a few days he was imprisoned. On examination of his baggage and papers, nothing could be found confirming the suspicion which had induced his arrest, and he was discharged.

Such discovery was not practicable; as during this tour, the baron himself declared, that he relied entirely upon his memory, which was singularly strong; never venturing to commit to paper the information of others or his own observations. On the restoration of peace the baron returned to Europe, and came once more to America un 1777 or 1778, recommended to congress as an experienced soldier, worthy of confidence. A brigadier in the service of France, he was honored by congress with the rank of major general, and repaired to the main army, in which he served at the head of the Maryland division very much respected.

Possessing a stout frame, with excellent health, no officer was more able to encounter the toils of war. Moderate in mental powers, as in literary acquirements, he excelled chiefly in practical knowledge of men and things, gained during a long life by close and accurate investigation of the cause and effect of passing events.

We all know that the court of France has been uniformly distinguished by its superior address and management in diving into the secrets of every nation, whether friend or foe, with whom it has relation.

The business of espionage has been brought in France to a science, and a regular trained corps, judiciously organized, is ever in the service of the court. Of this body there is strong reason to believe that the baron was a member, and probably one of the chief confidants of that government in the United States. No man was better qualified for the undertaking. He was sober, drinking water only: abstemious to excess; living on bread, sometimes with beef soup, at other times with cold beef; industrious, it being his constant habit to rise at five in the morning, light his candle, devote himself to writing, which was never intermitted during the dav but when interrupted by his short meals, or by attention to his official duty; and profoundly secret. He wrote in hieroglyphics, not upon sheets of paper as is customary in camps, but in large folio books; which were carefully preserved, waiting to be transmitted to his unknown correspondent whenever a safe opportunity might offer. He betrayed an unceasing jealousy lest his journals and his mystic dictionary might be perused; and seemed to be very much in dread of losing his baggage; which, in itself, was too trifling to be regarded, and would only have attracted such unvarying care from the valuable paper deposit. He never failed to direct his quarter master to place him as near the centre of the army as was allowable, having an utter aversion to be in the vicinity of either flank, lest an adventuring partisan should carry off his baggage. What became of his journals is not known; but very probably he did not venture to take them into South Carolina: what is most probable, he placed such as remained in the hands of the French minister for transmission to Paris, when he was ordered to the South.

If he continued to write when marching to South Carolina, his progress must have been slow, as he was necessarily much engaged in the duties of his command, which became multiplied by the extreme difficulty with which subsistence was procurable. Whether his baggage was captured is not known to me; but it cannot be doubted, that his papers did not fall into the possession of the enemy; as in such event we should probably have heard not only of the fact, but also of their contents. No man surpassed this gentleman in simplicity and condescension; which gave to his deportment a cast of amiability extremely ingratiating, exciting confidence and esteem. Although nearer seventy than sixty years of age, such had been the temperance of his life, that he not only enjoyed to the last day the finest health, but his countenance still retained the bloom of youth; which circumstance very probably led to the error committed by those who drew up the inscription on the monument, erected by order of congress. This distinguished mark of respect was well deserved, and is herewith presented to the reader.

Resolved, that a monument be erected to the memory of the deceased major general baron de Kalb, in the town of Annapolis, in the state of Maryland, with the following inscription.

Sacred to the memory of the Baron de Kalb, knight of the royal order of military merit, brigadier of the armies of France, and major general in the service of the United States of America. Having served with honor and reputation for three years, he gave a last and glorious proof of his attachment to the liberties of mankind, and to the cause of America, in the action near Cambden, in the state of South Carolina; where, leading on the regular troops of Maryland and Delaware against superior forces, and animating them by his example to deeds of valor, he was wounded in several places, and died the 19th of August following, in the forty-eighth year of his age. The congress of the United States of America, in acknowledgment of his zeal, of his services, and of his merit, hath erected this monument.


WILLIAM RICHARDSON DAVIE, North Carolina, was born in the village of Egremont, near White Haven, in England, on the 20th of June, 1756.

His father, visiting South Carolina soon after the peace of 1763, brought with him this son; and, returning to England, confided him to the care of the reverend William Richardson, his maternal uncle; who, becoming much attached to his nephew, not only took charge of his education, but adopted him as his son and heir. At the proper age William was sent to an academy in North Carolina; from whence he was, after a few years, removed to the college of Nassau-hall in Princeton, New Jersey, then becoming the resort of most of the southern youth under the auspices of the learned and respectable doctor Witherspoon. Here he finished his education, graduating in the autumn of 1776, a year memorable in our military as well as civil annals.

Returning home, voting Davie found himself shut out for a time from the army, as the commissions for the troops just levied had been issued. He went to Salisbury, where he commenced the study of the law. The war continuing, contrary to the expectation which generally prevailed when it began, Davie could no longer resist his ardent wish to plant himself among the defenders of his country. Inducing a worthy and popular friend, rather too old for military service, to raise a troop of dragoons, as the readiest mode of accomplishing his wish, Davie obtained a lieutenancy in this troop. Without delay the captain joined the South army, and soon afterwards returned home on furlough. The command of the troop devolving on lieutenant Davie, it was at his request annexed to the legion of count Pulaski, where captain Davie continued, until promoted by major general Lincoln to the station of brigade major of cavalry. In this office Davie served until the affair of Stono, devoting his leisure to the acquirement of professional knowledge, and rising fast in the esteem of the general and army. When Lincoln attempted to dislodge lieutenant colonel Maitland from his intrenched camp on the Stono, Davie received a severe wound, and was removed from camp to the hospital in Charleston, where he was confined for five months.

Soon after his recovery he was empowered by the government of North Carolina to raise a small legionary corps, consisting of one troop of dragoons and two companies of mounted infantry; at the head of which he was placed with the rank of major.

Quickly succeeding in completing his corps, in whose equipment he expended the last remaining shilling of an estate bequeathed to him by his uncle, he took the field, and was sedulously engaged in protecting the country between Charlotte and Cambden, from the enemy’s predatory incursions. On the fatal 16th of August, he was hastening with his corps to join our army, when he met our dispersed and flying troops. He nevertheless continued to advance towards the conqueror; and by his prudence, zeal, and vigilance, saved a few of our wagons and many of our stragglers. Acquainted with the movement of Sumpter, and justly apprehending that he would be destroyed unless speedily advised of the defeat of Gates, he despatched instantly a courier to that officer, communicating what had happened, performing, in the midst of distress and confusion, the part of an experienced captain. The abandonment of all the southern region of North Carolina, which followed this signal overthrow, and the general despondency which prevailed, have been recorded in the body of this work; nor have the fortunate and active services of major Davie been overlooked. So much was his conduct respected by the government of North Carolina, that he was, in the course of September, promoted to the rank of colonel commandant of the cavalry of the state.

In this station he was found by general Greene on assuming the command of the Southern army; whose attention had been occupied from his entrance into North Carolina, in remedying the disorder in the quarter master and commissary departments. To the first Carrington had been called; and Davie was now induced to take upon himself the last much as he preferred the station then possessed. At the head of this department colonel Davie remained throughout the trying campaign which followed; contributing greatly by his talents, his zeal, his local knowledge, and his influence to the maintenance of the difficult and successful operations which followed. While before Ninety-Six, Greene foreseeing the difficulties again to be encountered, in consequence of the accession of force to the enemy by the arrival of three regiments of infantry from Ireland, determined to send a confidential officer to the legislature of North Carolina, then in session, to represent to them his relative condition, and to urge their adoption of effectual measures without delay, for the collection of magazines of provisions, and the reinforcing of his army. Colonel Davie was selected by Greene for this important mission, and immediately repaired to the seat of government, where he ably and faithfully exerted himself to give effect to the views of his general.

The events of the autumn assuring the quick approach of peace, colonel Davie returned home; and having shortly afterwards intermarried with miss Sarah Jones, daughter of general Allen Jones of North Carolina, he selected the town of Halifax, on the Roanoke, for his residence; where he resumed the profession with the practice of law.


SIMEON THAYER was born in the town of Mendon, in the county of Worcester, in the state of Massachusetts, on the 21st of April, 1738; and early in life removed from thence to the town of Providence, in Rhode Island, where a few years afterwards he married, and permanently established himself.

No man more uniformly possessed the esteem of his neighbors and acquaintances than did this gentleman, being distinguished for unvarying goodness of heart, rendered peculiarly agreeable by the modesty of his demeanor, and the simplicity of his manners. Bottomed on this solid foundation, his popularity extended as he advanced in life. And when in his twenty-seventh year, resistance to Great Britain became necessary, the determination of Thayer to take the field was anticipated by the spontaneous offer of the command of a company in colonel Hilchcork’s regiment of Rhode Island, about to be detached to the American army before Boston. Thayer’s merit soon attracted attention: and when Washington projected the arduous enterprise against Quebec, committed to the direction of colonel Arnold for the purpose of co-operating with Montgomery, the choice spirits of his army were selected for the expedition. Thayer could not of course be overlooked: he marched under Arnold at the head of a company, exhibiting, throughout the operation, peculiar fitness in mind and body to meet danger and difficulty. The fall of Montgomery being soon followed by our repulse, Thayer was made prisoner, bravely struggling to carry the second barrier, and experienced in common with his comrades the beneficence extended by sir G. Carleton to the American prisoners,—so truly honorable to the heart and to the head of the British general. Captain Thayer rejoined his regiment as soon as he was exchanged, and went through the war, adding to his early stock of military reputation whenever opportunity offered. He served generally under Washington, bv whom he was highly respected.

His conduct in the defence of Mud Island has been briefly touched in the course of this work. It is but justice to add, that the assumption of the command in the desperate condition to which the island was reduced, was in consequence of the voluntary request of major Thayer, displaying as much magnanimity as gallantry.

It was known that the island must soon fall: to defend it to the last moment, and then to save the garrison, was the best which could be done. Few presumed this practicable; and fewer were diposed to undertake the hazardous task. Now Thayer offered himself to brigadier Varnum, commanding our force in New Jersey, which was joyfully accepted; and the gallant major as joyfully repaired to his post.

In the battle of Monmouth the corps to which Thayer was attached was closely engaged; in which contest he was wounded by a cannon bail, which deprived him of the sight of the eye on the side it passed.

Concluding his military life with the war, he returned to Providence; carrying with him the esteem of his fellow soldiers, the gratitude of his country, the admiration of the witnesses of his exploits, and the immutable approbation of the commander in chief. Here he continued to deck the laurels he had acquired in the field of battle by his benevolence, his sincerity, his constancy in virtue, and his modesty in deportment.

The legislature of Rhode Island honored him with the commission of major general in her militia, which he held to his death. In 1796 general Thayer removed from Providence to his farm in the township of Cumberland, where he spent his last years in the exclusive occupations of agriculture. Enjoying good health, with universal esteem, he closed his honorable life, after a short illness, at home, on the 21st day of October, 1800, in the sixty-third year of his age, leaving one son and one daughter. His remains were brought to Providence and interred in the north presbyterian burying ground. His grave is distinguished by a plain white marble slab; emblematic of his deportment through life, and spotless
as was his virtue.


BRIGADIER GENERAL DANIEL MORGAN, of the Virginia line on continental establishment, deservedly ranked among the best and most efficient soldiers of the United States, was born in New Jersey; from whence he emigrated to Virginia in 1755. Like many of the greatest men of every country, his native condition was indigent, so much so as to render it necessary for young Morgan to enter into service as a laborer for daily wages.

Soon after his arrival in Virginia he obtained employment from farmer Roberts, near Charleston, in the county of Jefferson, (then Berkley). Afterwards he was engaged to drive a wagon for John Ashley, overseer for Nathaniel Burrel, Esq., at his estate on the Shenandoah river, in Frederic county, near Berry’s ferry. When he left Ashley, Morgan had, by his care and industry, amassed enough cash to purchase a wagon and team; which he did, and soon afterwards entered with it into the employment of Mr. John Ballantine, at his establishment on Occoquan creek. At the expiration of his year Braddock’s expedition was spoken of as an event certainly to take place in the course of the ensuing summer. Morgan reserved himself, wagon, &c. for this expedition; when he joined the army, but in what character is not known.

He received, during his military service, a severe wound in the face; the scar of which was through life very visible. We do not understand in what affair this happened; but it was from a rifle or musket, aimed, as he said himself, by an Indian. The bullet entered the back of his neck and passed through his left cheek, knocking out all his hind teeth on that side.

In the course of the campaign he was unjustly punished, by being brought to the halbert, under a charge of contumely to a British officer, where he received five hundred lashes. The officer being afterwards convinced of his cruel error, made every amend in his power to the maltreated Morgan; who, satisfied with the contrition evinced by the officer, magnanimously forgave him. Nor did the recollection of this personal outrage operate in the least to the prejudice of the British officers in the late war. Many of them, as is well known, fell into the hands of Morgan, and invariably received from him compassionate and kind treatment.

The general would often, among his intimate friends, recur to this circumstance; the narrative whereof he generally concluded, by saying, in a jocular way, that “King George was indebted to him one lash yet; for the drummer miscounted one, and he knew well when he did it; so that he only received four hundred and ninety-nine, when he promised him five hundred.”

In this period of life, from twenty to thirty years of age, Morgan was extremely dissipated; and spent much of his time in vulgar tippling and gambling houses. However, although habituated to the free use of ardent spirits, he was never considered as a drunkard; and though enamored with cards and dice, he was a cautious player, increasing rather than diminishing his cash fund. This course of life subjected him to many affrays and furious pugilistic combats, in which he never failed to take a leading part. The theatre of these exploits was Berrystown, a small village in the county of Frederic, commonly called Battletown; named, as is generally supposed, from the fierce combats fought on its soil under the banners of Morgan.

Whatever may have been the cause, it is certain that he spent much of his leisure at this place; that he fought there many severe combats; and that though often vanquished he never was known to omit seizmg the first opportunity which presented, after return of strength, of taking another bout with his conqueror; and this he repeated from time to time, until at length victory declared in his favor.

Such was the innate invincibility of young Morgan—which never forsook him, when, by the strength of his unimproved genius, and the propitiousness of fortune, he mounted on an extended theatre of action; as replete with difficulty as to him with glory. When he returned from Braddock’s expedition he reassumed his former employment, and drove his own wagon. In a few years his previous savings, added to the little he earned in the campaign, enabled him to purchase a small tract of land from a Mr. Blackburn, in the county of Frederic; on which, during our war, he erected a handsome mansion house, with suitable accompanying improvements, and called it Saratoga,—in commemoration of the signal victory obtained by general Gates, to which he had himself principally contributed. On this farm Morgan, having married shortly after his return from his military tour, resided when the revolutionary war broke out.

The smattering of experience gained during Braddock’s expedition, pointed him out to the leading men of Frederic, as qualified to command the first company of riflemen, raised in that county in defence of our country. He speedily completed his company, as all the finest youth of Frederic flocked to him; among whom was lieutenant, afterwards colonel, Heth, and many others, who in the course of the war became approved officers. With this company Morgan hastened to the American army encamped before Booton, in 1775, and soon afterwards was detached by the commander in chief under Arnold, in his memorable expedition against Quebec.

The bold and disastrous assault, planned and executed by the celebrated Montgomery against that city, gave opportunity for the display of heroism to individuals, and furnished cause of deep regret to the nation by the loss of the much beloved Montgomery. No officer more distinguished himself than did captain Morgan. Arnold commanded the column to which Morgan was attached, who became disabled by a ball through his leg early in the action, and was carried off to a place of safety.

Our troops having lost their leader, each corps pressed forward as the example of its officer invited. Morgan took the lead, and preceded by serjeant, afterwards lieutenant colonel, Porterfield, who unfortunately fell at the battle of Cambden, when his life might have saved an army, mounted the first barrier; and rushing forward, passed the second barrier, lieutenant Heth and serjeant Porterfield only before him. In this point of the assault a group of noble spirits united in surmounting the obstacles opposed to our progress; among them was Greene and Thayer of Rhode Island, Hendricks of Pennsylvania, and Humphrey of Virginia; the two last of whom were killed.

Vain was this blazc of glory. Montgomery’s fall stopped the further advance of the principal column of attack; and the severity of the raging storm, the obstacles of nature and of art in our way, and the combined attack of the enemy’s force, no longer divided by attention to the column under Montgomery, overpowered all resistance. Morgan (with most of the corps of Arnold) was taken; and as heretofore mentioned, experienced a different treatment from sir Guy Carleton than was at that period customary for British oflicers to dispense to American prisoners. The kindness of Carleton, from motives of policy, applied more forcibly to the privates than to our officers, and produced a durable impression.

While Morgan was in confinement at Quebec the following anecdote, told by himself, manifests the high opinion entertained by the enemy of his military talents from his conduct in this assault. He was visited occasionally by a British officer, to him unknown; but from his uniform, he appeared to belong to the navy, and to be an officer of distinction. During one of his visits, after conversing upon many topics, “he asked Morgan if he did not begin to be convinced that the resistance of America was visionary? and he endeavored to impress him with the disastrous consequences which must infallibly ensue, if the idle attempt was persevered in, and very kindly exhorted him to renounce the ill advised undertaking. He declared, with seeming sincerity and candor, his admiration of Morgan’s spirit and enterprise, which he said was worthy of a better cause; and told him, if he would agree to withdraw from the American and join the British standard, he was authorized to promise him the commission, rank and emoluments of a colonel in the royal army.” Morgan rejected the proposal with disdain; and concluded his reply by observing, “That he hoped he would never again insult him in his distressed and unfortunate situation by making him offers which plainly implied that he thought him a rascal.” The officer withdrew, and the offer was never repeated.

As soon as our prisoners were exchanged, Morgan hastened to the army; and by the recommendation of general Washington, was appointed to the command of a regiment. In this station he acted under the commander in chief in 1777, when a select rifle corps was formed out of the others in the army, and committed to his direction, seconded by lieutenant colonel Richard Butler of Pennsylvania, and major Morris of New Jersey, two officers of high talents, and specially qualified for the enterprising service to which they were assigned. Morgan and his riflemen were singularly useful to Washington; but our loss of Ticonderoga, and the impetuous advance of Burgoyne, proclaimed so loudly the gloomy condition of our affairs in the North, that the general who thought only of the public good, deprived himself of Morgan and sent him to Gates, where he was persuaded his services were most required.

The splendid issue of the subsequent campaign and the triumph of Gates has been mentioned, as well as the instrumentality of Morgan in producing the glorious issue. Great and effectual as were his exertions, general Gates did not even mention him in his official despatches. The cause of this cruel omission was then known but to a few.

General Morgan himself says, that immediately after the surrender of Burgoyne he visited Gates on business, when he was taken aside by the general, and confidentially told that the main army was extremely dissatisfied with the conduct of the war by the commander in chief; and that several of the best officers threatened to resign unless a change took place. Morgan perfectly understood the views of Gates in this conference, although he was then a stranger to the correspondence which he had held with Conway and others; and sternly replyed, “that he had one favor to ask of him, which was, never to mention that detestable subject to him again; for under no other man than Washington, as commander in chief, would he ever serve.” From that moment all intimacy between himself and Gates ceased; and when, a few days afterwards, the latter gave a dinner to the principal officers of the British army, among which of coarse some of ours were mixed, Morgan was not invited.

It so happened that this meritorious officer found it necessary to call upon general Gates in the evening on military business. He was introduced into the dining room; and as soon as he spoke with Gates withdrew, unannounced to his guests. The British officers inquired his name, seeing from his uniform that he was a field officer; and upon being informed that it was colonel Morgan, they arose from the table, overtook him in the yard, and made themselves severally known to him; having, as they ingenuously declared, severely felt him in the field. Thus the slight of Gates recoiled poignantly on himself.

After the return of Morgan to the main army he continued actively employed by the commander in chief, and never failed to promote the good of the service by his sagacity, his vigilance, and his perseverance. In 1780 his health became much impaired, and he obtained leave of absence, when he returned to his family in Frederic, where he continued until after the fall of Charleston.

When general Gates was called to the chief command in the South, he visited Morgan, and urged the colonel to accompany him. Morgan did not conceal his dissatisfaction at the treatment he had heretofore received, and proudly spoke of the important aid he had rendered to him, and the ungrateful return he had experienced. Being some few weeks afterwards promoted by congress to the rank of brigadier general by brevet, with the view of detaching him to the south, he repaired to the army of Gates, but did not reach Carolina in time to take a part in the battle of Cambden. He joined Gates at Hillsborough, and was sent under Smallwood to Salisbury with all the force fitted for service. Gates, as soon as he had prepared the residue of his army, followed, and gave to Morgan, in his arrangements for the field, the command of the light troops.

Greene now arrived as the successor of Gates, which was followed by that distribution of his force which led to the battle of the Cowpens; the particulars of which have been related, and the influence of which was felt in every subsequent step of the war in the Carolinas.

Morgan, when overtaken by Greene on his retreat with his prisoners, had decided upon passing the mountains; a resolution no doubt salutary in its effect, if applied to the safety of his own corps and of the prisoners, but fatal to the operations of Greene, which ought to have guided the deliberations of Morgan, but which seems not to have had its due weight. Greene forbade the measure; which produced a declaration from Morgan, that he would be no longer responsible for consequences: to which the restorer of the South amicably and firmly replied, “neither shall you; for the measure is my own.”

Morgan continued at the head of the light troops until the two divisions of the army united at Guilford court-house. There every persuasion and excitement was essayed to induce him to retain his command until the army made good its retreat; but the effort was vain. He left us, and left impressions with many not very favorable to that purity of patriotism essential to round the character of a great soldier. Returning home, he continued in tranquillity with his family, bestowing his attention on the improvement of his farm and his fortune.

When the infatuated transmontane inhabitants of Pennsylvania menaced by force of arms to prostrate the majesty of the laws, and consequently reduced president Washington to the mortifying necessity of arresting their folly and wickedness by the bayonet, Morgan was summoned by the executive of Virginia to the field, at the head of the militia of that state, ordered on his service; having been some years before appointed senior major general by the commonwealth.

On the advance of the army from fort Cumberland and Bedford to pass the Alleghany mountains, general Morgan was charged with the direction of the light troops of the left column.

The ill treatment which his old friend colonel Neville had experienced from a party of the insurgents, the exile of his son-in-law, Presley Neville, and his innate abhorrence of opposition to the laws of his country, whose government he admired in theory and in practice, gave to the mind of Morgan an indignant irascibility which occasionally manifested itself on the expedition to the disquietude of those against whom it pointed. Nevertheless he bridled this adventitious fierceness, and conformed his conduct to the regulations prescribed for the government of the army.

Upon the retreat of the main body, Morgan was left at the head of a respectable corps in the bosom of the insurgents until the ensuing spring; when, by order of the president, they were withdrawn.

The part he took upon this occasion seems to have inspired the general with a desire for political distinction. He was baffled in the first, and succeeded in his second, attempt to obtain a seat in the house of representatives of the United States, from the district of Frederic. Having served the constitutional period he returned to his family, and declined offering as a candidate at the ensuing election.

About this time his health was much impaired, and the robustness of his constitution was gradually sinking. He had previously removed from Saratoga to a farm near his juvenile ground, Berrysville, (Battletown); and after a few years he retired from thence to the town of Winchester for the benefit of his health, which more and more declined. Languishing for some years, he at length closed his eventful life at Winchester.

Brigadier Morgan was stout and active, six feet in height, strong, not too much encumbered with flesh, and was exactly fitted for the toils and pomp of war. His mind was discriminating and solid, but not comprehensive and combining. His manners plain and decorous, neither insinuating nor repulsive. His conversation grave, sententious and considerate, unadorned and uncaptivating. He reflected deeply, spoke liitle, and executed with keen perseverance whatever he undertook. He was indulgent in his military command, preferring always the affections of his troops, to that dread and awe which surround the rigid disciplinarian.

No man ever lived who better loved this world, and no man more reluctantly quitted it. He was in the habit of expressing this feeling to his intimates without reserve, and used to say that he would agree to pass much of his life as a galley slave rather than exchange this world for that unknown. He was the reverse of the great Washington in this respect, whom he very much resembled in that happy mixture of caution and ardor which distinguished the American hero. For the latter, when speaking upon the subject of death, would often declare, that he would not repass his life was it in his option. Yet no man, contradictory as it may appear, valued less his life than Morgan, when duty called him to meet his foe. Stopped neither by danger nor by difficulty, he rushed into the hottest of the battle, enamored with the glory which encircles victory.

General Morgan, like thousands of mortals when nearly worn out by the hand of time, resorted for mental comfort to the solace of religion. He manifested great penitence for the follies of his early life; this was followed by joining the presbyterian church in full communion, with which he continued to his last day. When his remains were interred, an eloquent and appropriate funeral sermon was delivered to a crowded audience by the reverend Mr. William Hill.


FRANCIS MARION, colonel in the regular service, and brigadier in the militia of South Carolina, was born at his father’s plantation in the vicinity of Georgetown in South Carolina, in the year 1733. His ancestors were Huguenots, and fled from France to British America upon the revocation of the edict of Nantz.

They setded on Cooper river near Charleston, from whence the father of general Marion moved to the neighborhood of Georgetown, where he resided during his life, occupied in the cultivation of his plantation.

He had five sons, of whom Francis was the youngest; who, with his brothers, received only a common country education. As his three eldest sons arrived at the age of manhood, they successively obtained a portion ot their father’s property, after which the old gentleman became embarrassed in his affairs, and was, in consequence, deprived of the means of extending similar aid to his two youngest sons. They had to depend upon their own exertions for support and comfort.

Francis, at the age ot sixteen, entered on board a vessel bound to the West Indies, with a determination to fit himself for a seafaring life. On his outward passage, the vessel was suddenly upset in a gale of wind, when the crew took to their boat without water or provisions, it being impracticable to save any of either. A dog jumped into the boat with the crew, and upon his flesh eaten raw did the survivors of these unfortunate men subsist for seven or eight days; in which period several died of hunger.

Among the few who escaped was young Marion. After reaching land, Marion relinquished his original plan of life, and engaged in the labors of agriculture. In this occupation he continued until 1759, when he became a soldier, and was appointed a lieutenant in a company of volunteers raised for an expedition against the Cherokee Indians, commanded by captain William Moultrie, (since general Moultrie). This expedition was conducted by governor Lyttleton: it was followed in a year or two afterwards by another invasion of the Cherokee country by colonel Grant, who served as major general in our war under sir William Howe.

In this last expedition lieutenant Marion also served, having been promoted to the rank of captain. As soon as the war broke out between the colonies and mother country, Marion was called to the command of a company in the first corps raised by the state of South Carolina. He was soon afterwards promoted to a majority, and served in that rank under colonel Moultrie in his intrepid defence of fort Moultrie against the combined attack of sir Henry Clinton and sir H. Parker on the 2d of June, 1776. He was afterwards placed at the head of a regiment as lieutenant colonel commandant; in which capacity he served during the siege of Charleston; when having fractured his leg by some accident, he became incapable of military duty, and fortunately for his country, escaped the captivity to which the garrison was, in the sequel, forced to submit.

When Charleston Ml into the enemy’s hands, lieutenant colonel Marion abandoned his state, and took shelter in North Carolina. The moment he recovered from the fracture of his leg, he engaged in preparing the means of annoying the enemy then in the flood tide of prosperity. With sixteen men only he crossed the Santee, and commenced that daring system of warfare which has been related in the course of the preceding memoirs.

General Marion was in stature of the smallest size, thin as well as low. His visage was not pleasing, and his manners not captivating. He was reserved and silent, entering into conversation only when necessary, and then with modesty and good sense.

He possessed a strong mind, improved by its own reflections and observations, not by books or travel. His dress was like his address,—plain, regarding comfort and decency only. In his meals he was abstemious, eating generally of one dish, and drinking water mostly.

He was sedulous and constant in his attention to the duties of his station, to which every other consideration yielded. Even the charms of the fair, like the luxuries of the table and the allurements of wealth, seemed to be lost upon him.

The procurement of subsistence for his men, and the contrivance of annoyance to his enemy, engrossed his entire mind. He was virtuous all over; never, even in manner, much less in reality, did he trench upon right. Beloved by his friends, and respected by his enemies, he exhibited a luminous example of the beneficial effects to be produced by an individual, who, with only small means at his command, possesses a virtuous heart, a strong head, and a mind devoted to the common good. After the war the general married, but had no issue. He died in February, 1795, leaving behind him an indisputable title to the first rank among the patriots and soldiers of our revolution.


WILLIAM DAVIDSON, lieutenant colonel commandant in the North Carolina line, and brigadier general in the militia of that state, was the youngest son of George Davidson, who removed with his family from Lancaster county, in Pennsylvania, in the year 1750, to Rowan county in North Carolina.

William was born in the year 1746, and was educated in the plain country manner at an academy in Charlotte, the county town of Mecklenburgh, which adjoins Rowan.

Like most of the enterprising youth of America, Davidson repaired to the standard of his country on the commencement of our war, and was appointed a major in one of the first regiments formed by the government of North Carolina.

In this character he marched with the North Carolina line under brigadier Nash to the main army in New Jersey, where he served under the commander in chief, until the North Carolina line was detached in November, 1779, to reinforce the southern army, commanded by major general Lincoln. Previous to this event, major Davidson was promoted to the command of a regiment with the rank of lieutenant colonel commandant.

As he passed through North Carolina, Davidson obtained permission to visit his family, from which he had been absent nearly three years. The delay produced by this visit saved him from captivity, as he found Charleston so closely invested when he arrived in its neighborhood, as to prevent his rejunction with his regiment.

Soon after the surrender of general Lincoln and his army, the loyalists of North Carolina not doubting the complete success of the royal forces, began to embody themselves for the purpose of contributing their active aid in the field to the subsequent operations of the British general. They were numerous in the western parts of the state, and especially in the Highland settlement about Cross creek. Lieutenant colonel Davidson put himself at the head of some of our militia, called out to quell the expected insurrection. He proceeded with vigor in the execution of his trust; and in an engagement with a party of loyalists near Calson’s mill, he was severely wounded: the ball entered at the umbilical region and passed through his body near the kidneys. This confined him for eight weeks; when recovering, he instantly took the field, having been recently appointed brigadier general by the government of North Carolina in the place of brigadier Rutherford, taken at the battle of Cambden. He exerted himself in conjunction with general Sumner and colonel Davie to interrupt the progress of lord Cornwallis in his advance towards Salisbury, and throughout that eventful period, gave unceasing evidences of his zeal and firmness in upholding his falling country.

After the victory obtained by Morgan at the Cowpens, Davidson was among the most active of his countrymen in assembling the militia of his district to enable general Greene, who had joined the light corps under Morgan, to stop the progress of the advancing enemy, and was detached by general Greene on the night of the last day of January to guard the very ford selected by lord Cornwallis for his passage of the Catawba river on the next morning. Davidson possessed himself of the post in the night at the head of three hundred men; and having placed a picquet near the shore, stationed his corps at some small distance from the ford.

This was a deviation from the orders of general Greene, who directed the brigadier to post his whole force close to the shore, under cover of the nearest trees. The cause of this change from the ordered position is not known, though very probably some justifiable reason produced it, as Davidson was in the habit of executing his orders with the utmost precision. The rencontre which ensued in the morning has been related, with its disastrous termination.

The loss of brigadier Davidson would have been always felt in any stage of the war. It was particularly detrimental in its effect at this period, as he was the chief instrument relied upon by Greene for the assemblage of the militia; an event all important at this crisis, and anxiously desired by the American general. The ball passed through his breast, and he instantly fell dead.

This promising soldier was thus lost to his country in the meridian of life, and at a moment when his services would have been highly beneficial to her. He was a man of popular manners, pleasing address, active, and indefatigable. Enamored with the profession of arms, and devoted to the great cause for which he fought, his future usefulness may be inferred from his former conduct.

The congress of the United States, in gratitude for his services, and in commemoration of their sense of his worth, passed the following resolution directing the erection of a monument to his memory.

Resolved, That the governor and council of the state of North Carolina be desired to erect a monument, at the expense of the United States, not exceeding the value of five hundred dollars, to the memory of the late brigadier general Davidson, who commanded the militia of the district of Salisbury, in the state of North Carolina, and was killed on the first day of February last, fighting gallantly in the defence of the liberty and independence of these states.


WILLIAM WASHINGTON, lieutenant colonel commandant of a continental regiment of dragoons during the revolutionary war, was the eldest son of Baily Washington, Esq., of Stafford county, in the state of Virginia.

First among the youth of Virginia who hastened to the standard of his country, on the rupture between Great Britain and her colonies, he was appointed to the command of a company of infantry in the third regiment of the Virginia line, commanded by colonel, afterwards brigadier general, Mercer. In no corps in our service was the substantial knowledge of the profession of arms more likely to be acquired.

Here young Washington learnt the rudiments of war. He fought with this gallant regiment at York island, and on the retreat through New Jersey, sharing with distinguished applause in that disastrous period, its difficulties, its dangers, and its glory. When afterwards the commander in chief struck at
colonel Ralle, stationed with a body of Hessians in Trenton, captain Washington was attached to the van of one of the assailing columns, and in that daring and well executed enterprise, received a musket ball through his hand, bravely leading on his company against the arraying enemy.

The commander in chief having experienced the extreme difficulties to which he had been exposed during the preceding campaign, by his want of cavalry, was, shortly after this period, in consequence of his suggestions to congress, authorized to raise three regiments of light dragoons. To the command of one of these he appointed lieutenant colonel Baylor one of his aid-de-camps. To this regiment captain Washington was transferred with the rank of major, and returned to Virginia for the purpose of assisting in recruiting the regiment.

As soon as the corps was completed, Baylor joined the main army; his regiment was, in 1778, surprized by a detachment of the British, led by major general Gray, and suffered extremely. Washington fortunately escaped; and in the course of the succeedmg year, or early in 1780, he was detached with the remains of Bland’s, Baylor’s, and Moylan’s regiments of horse to the army of major general Lincoln, in South Carolina, where he was constantly employed with the light troops, and experienced, with some flashes of fortune, two severe blows; first at Monk’s Corner, where he commanded our horse, and last at Leneau’s ferry, when he was second to lieutenant colonel White, of Moylan’s regiment. These repeated disasters so reduced our cavalry, that White and Washington retired from the field and repaired to the northern confines of North Carolina for the purpose of repairing their heavy losses. It was here that they applied to general Gates for the aid of his name and authority to expedite the restoration and equipment of their regiments, that they might be ready to take the field under his orders. This salutary and proper request was, as has been mentioned, injudiciously disregarded; from which omission very injurious consequences seem to have resulted in the sequel.

After the defeat of general Gates on the 16th of the following August, it will be recollected that the American general retired to Hillsborough, from whence he returned to Salisbury.

Lieutenant colonel Washington, with his cavalry, now accompanied him, and formed a part of the light corps placed by Gates under the direction of brigadier Morgan. He resumed his accustomed active and vigorous service, and was highly useful in the execution of the trust confided to Morgan.

During this period he carried, by an extraordinary stratagem, the post at Rudgley’s; which drew from lord Cornwallis the following letter to lieutenant colonel Tarleton. “Rudgley will not be made a brigadier. He surrendered, without firing a shot, himself and one hundred and three rank and file, to the cavalry only. A deserter of Morgan’s assures us that the infantry never came within three miles of the house.”

Greene now succeeded Gates, when brigadier Morgan, with the light corps, was detached to hang upon the enemy’s left flank, and to threaten Ninety-Six.

The battle of the Cowpens ensued, in which Washington, at the head of our horse, acquired fresh laurels. He continued with the light corps, performing with courage and precision the duties assigned him until the junction of the two divisions of the American army at Guilford court-house. Soon after this event a more powerful body of horse and foot was selected by general Greene, and placed under colonel Williams, of which Washington and his cavalry were a constituent part.

In the eventful and trying retreat which ensued, lieutenant colonel Washington contributed his full share to the maintenance of the measures of Williams, which terminated so propitiously to our arms, and so honorably to the light troops and their commander. After our repassage of the Dan, Washington and his horse were again placed in the van, and with Howard and Lee, led by Williams, played that arduous game of marches, countermarches, and manœuvres, which greatly contributed to baffle the skilful display of talents and enterprise, exhibited by lord Cornwallis in his persevering attempt to force Greene, at the head of an inferior army, to battle, or to cut him off from his approaching reinforcements and approaching supplies.

We have seen the distinguished part this officer successively bore in the battles of Guilford, Hobkick’s Hill, and Eutaws; and we have found him, throughout the arduous campaign of 1781, always at his post, decided, firm, and brave, courting danger, and contemning difficulty. His eminent services were lost to the army from the battle of Eutaws; where, to its great regret, he was made prisoner: nor did he afterwards take any part in the war, as irom the period of his exchange nothing material occurred, the respective armies being confined to minor operations, produced by the prospect of peace. While a prisoner in Charleston, Washington became acquainted with Miss Elliot, a young lady, in whom concentered the united attractions of respectable descent, opulence, polish and beauty. The gallant soldier soon became enamored with his amiable acquaintance, and afterwards married her.

This happened in the spring of 1782; and he established himself in South Carolina at Sandy Hill, the ancestrial seat of his wife.

Washington seems to have devoted his subsequent years to domestic duties, rarely breaking in upon them by attention to public affairs; and then only as a member of the state legislature.

He possessed a stout frame, being six feet in height, broad, strong, and corpulent. His occupations and his amusements applied to the body, rather than to the mind; to the cultivation of which he did not bestow much time or application, nor was his education of the sort to excite such habits, being only calculated to fit, a man for the common business of life. In temper he was good humored, in disposition amiable, in heart upright, generous and friendly, in manners lively, innocent and agreeable.

His military exploits announce his grade and character in arms. Bold, collected and persevering, he preferred the heat of action to the collection and sifting of intelligence, to the calculations and combinations of means and measures, and was better fitted for the field of battle than for the drudgery of camp and the watchfulness of preparation. Kind to his soldiers, his system of discipline was rather lax, and sometimes subjected him to injurious consequences, when close to a sagacious and vigilant adversary.

The Washington family emigrated from England, and settled in Virginia, always respectable awd respected. The consanguinity of its numerous ramifications is involved in doubt; but it is generally believed that they sprang from the same source.

Lieutenant colonel Washington was selected by his illustrious relation when he accepted the command of the army during the presidency of Mr. Adams as one of his staff, with the rank of brigadier general, a decided proof of the high value attached by the best judge in America to his military talents.

Leading a life of honor, of benevolence and hospitality, in the bosom of his family and friends, during which, until its last two years, he enjoyed high health, this gallant soldier died, after a tedious indisposition, leaving a widow, and a son and a daughter, the only issue of his marriage.


CHRISTOPHER GREENE, lieutenant colonel commandant of one of the Rhode Island regiments in the service of congress during the revolutionary war, was born in the town of Warwick in the state of Rhode Island in the year 1737. His father, Philip Greene, Esq., was descended from Jonathan Greene, Esq., one of the earliest settlers of Massachusetts bay. The latter gentleman emigrated from England in the year 1637, and settled in Salem, now a well improved opulent commercial town. Mr. Greene, soon after his arrival, purchased from the Indian Sachems Micantenomon and Socononeo, a part of the township of Warwick called Occupassatioxet, which property is still possessed by some of his descendants. He left three sons, the progenitors of a numerous and respectable race of men, successively distinguished as well by the highest offices in the gift of their country, as by their talents, their usefulness and goodness.

Philip Greene, the father of the lieutenant colonel, was a gentleman of the first respectability in the state, beloved for his virtues, and admired for his honorable discharge of the duties of the various stations to which he was called, the last of which placed him upon the bench as judge of the common pleas in the county of Kent.

A father so situated could not but cherish the intellectual powers of his progeny with the most careful attention.

Christopher received all the advantages in the best line of education procurable in our country, which he took care to improve by the most assiduous application.

He was particularly attached to the study of mathematics, in which he made great proficiency, and thus laid up a stock of knowledge exactly suitable for that profession to which he was afterwards unexpectedly called.

Exhibitmg in early life his capacity and amiability, he was elected, by his native town when very young, to a seat in the colonial legislature, which he continued to fill by successive elections until the commencement of the revolutionary war. At this period the legislature wisely established a military corps, styled, “Kentish guards,” for the purpose of fitting the most select of her youth for military office. In this corps young Greene was chosen a lieutenant, and in May, 1775, he was appointed by the legislature a major in what was then called “an army of observations”—one brigade of one thousand six hundred effectives, under the orders of his near relation, brigadier Greene, afterwards so celebrated.

From this situation he was called to the command of a company of infantry, in one of the regiments raised by the state for continental service. The regiment to which he belonged was attached to the army of Canada, conducted by general Montgomery, in the vicissitudes and difficulties of which campaign captain Greene shared, evincing upon all occasions that unyielding intrepidity which marked his military prowess in every after scene. In the attack upon Quebec, which terminated as well the campaign as the life of the renowned Montgomery, captain Greene belonged to the column which entered the lower town, and was made prisoner.

His elevated mind illy brooked the ills and irksomeness of captivity, though in the hands of the enlightened and humane Carleton; and it has been uniformly asserted, that while a prisoner, Greene often declared that “he would never again be taken alive;” a resolution unhappily fulfilled.

As soon as captain Greene was exchanged he repaired to his regiment, with which he continued without intermission, performing with exemplary propriety the various duties of his progressive stations, when he was promoted to the majority of Varnum’s regiment. In 1777 he succeeded to the command of the regiment, and was selected by Washington to take charge of fort Mercer, (commonly called Red Bank) the safe keeping of which post, with that of fort Mifflin, (Mud island) was very properly deemed of primary importance.

The noble manner in which colonel Greene sustained himself against superior force of veteran troops, led by an officer of high renown, has been particularly related in the body of this work, as also the well earned rewards which followed his memorable defence. Consummating his military fame by his achievements on that proud day, he could not be overlooked by his discriminating leader, when great occasions called for great exertions. Greene was accordingly detached with his regiment with the troops placed under major Sullivan, for the purpose of breaking up the enemy’s post on Rhode Island, soon after the arrival of the French fleet under count d’Estaing in the summer of 1778; which well concerted enterprise was marred in the execution by some of those incidents which abound in war, and especially when the enterprise is complicated and entrusted to allied forces, and requiring naval co-operation. Returning to headquarters, colonel Greene continued to serve under the commander in chief, whose confidence and esteem he had truly merited, and invariably enjoyed.

In the spring of 1781, when general Washington began to expect the promised naval aid from our best friend, the ill-fated Louis the XVI., he occasionally approached the enemy’s lines on the side of York island. In one of these movemente, colonel Greene, with a suitable force, was posted on the Croton river, in advance of the army. On the other side of this river lay a corps of refugees, (American citizens who had joined the British army) under the command of colonel Delancey. These half citizens, half soldiers, were notorious for rapine and murder; and to their vindictive conduct may be justly ascribed most of the cruelties which stained the progress of our war, and which at length compelled Washington to order captain Asgill, of the British army, to be brought to headquarters for the purpose of retaliating, by his execution, the murder of captain Huddy of New Jersey, perpetrated by a captain Lippincourt of the refugees. The commandant of these refugees, (Delancey was not present) having ascertained the position of Greene’s corps, which the colonel had cantoned in adjacent farm houses, probably with a view to the procurement of subsistence, took the resolution to strike it. This was accordingly done by a nocturnal move on the 13th of May. The enemy crossed the Croton before day light the next morning, and hastening his advance, reached our station with the dawn of day, unperceived. As he approached the farm house in which the lieutenant colonel was quartered, the noise of troops marching was heard, which was the first intimation of the fatal design. Greene and major Flagg immediately prepared themselves for defence, but they were too late, so expeditious was the progress of the enemy. Flagg discharged his pistols, and instantly afterwards fell mortally wounded; when the ruffians (unworthy the appellation of soldiers) burst open the door of Greene’s apartment. Here the gallant veteran singly received them with his drawn sword. Several fell beneath the arm accustomed to conquer, till at length overpowered by numbers, and faint from the loss of blood streaming from his wounds, barbarity triumphed over valor. “His right arm was almost cut off in two places, the left in one, a severe cut on the left shoulder, a sword thrust through the abdomen, a bayonet in the right side, and another through the abdomen, several sword cuts on the head, and many in diferent parts of the body.”

Thus cruelly mangled fell the generous conqueror of count Donop, whose wounds, as well as those of his unfortunate associates, had been tenderly dressed as soon as the battle terminated, and whose pains and sorrows had been as tenderly assuaged. How different was the relentless fury here displayed!

The commander in chief heard with unutterable anguish and deep indignation the tragical fate of his much loved, highly trusted, and faithful friend and soldier, in which feeling the army sincerely participated. On the subsequent day the corps was brought to head quarters, and his funeral was solemnized with military honors, every tongue announcing with sadness of sorrow the magnitude of our loss.

Lieutenant colonel Greene was murdered in the meridian of life, being only forty-four years old. He married, in 1758, Miss Anne Lippit, a daughter of J. Lippit, Esq. of Warwick, whom he left a widow with three sons and four daughters. He was stout and strong in stature, about five feet ten inches high, with a broad round chest, his aspect manly, and demeanor pleasing; enjoying always a high state of health, its bloom irradiated a countenance, which significantly expressed the fortitude and mildness invariably displayed throughout his life.


JOHN EAGER HOWARD, lieutenant colonel commandant of the second regiment of Maryland, was born on the 4th of June, 1752, on the farm settled by his grandfather, Joshua Howard, in the county of Baltimore. This gentleman, when very young, had left his father residing in the vicinity of the town of Manchester in England, to join the army of king James, moving to quell the insurrection headed by the duke of Monmouth. The object being effectually accomplished, young Howard, conscious of having excited the displeasure of his father by his unauthorised departure from home, determined not to return, but to seek his fortune in America. He embarked for Maryland, where arriving, he purchased the tract of land above mentioned, on which he established himself, having intermarried with Miss Joanna O’Carroll, whose father and family had lately settled in the same colony from Ireland. Mr. Howard had a numerous progeny. One of his sons, Cornelius, married Miss Ruth Eager, the daughter of John Eager, the son of George Eager, who possessed an estate adjoining to and now part of the city of Baltimore.

John Eager Howard, the son of Cornelius, was educated in the customary manner of our country, being intended for no particular profession. The dispute between the colonies and the mother country issuing in an appeal to the sword, one of the first measures of defence adopted by the colonies, was the assemblage of bodies of the militia, denominated flying camps. The first of these in Maryland was formed in June, 1776, when young Howard, then twenty-three years of age, offered his services, and received the commission of captain in a regiment commanded by colonel Josias C. Hall. Engaged for a few months only, this corps was discharged in December; before which period congress had prepared a system of defence, requiring from each of the confederate states its proportion of men to be enlisted, organized and disciplined as regular soldiers. The state of Maryland furnished seven regiments, in one of which captain Howard, in obedience rather to the wishes of the state commissioners, empowered to appoint officers, than to his own inclination, was retained. Shortly afterwards these regiments were organized, and captain Howard was promoted to a majority in the fourth regiment, at the head of which was placed the same colonel Hall. In the summer of 1779 he was appointed lieutenant colonel of the fifth, in the spring of 1780 he was transferred to the sixth, commanded by colonel Williams, and after the battle of Hobkick’s Hill, he succeeded to the command of the second, in consequence of the death of lieutenant colonel Ford, who never recovered from the wound received in that battle.

In this station Howard continued until the army was disbanded, when he returned to his native state, married Miss Margaret Chew, daughter of Benjamin Chew, Esq. of Philadelphia, and settled on his patrimonial farm near Baltimore, where he now resides, enjoying “otium cum dignitate.”

This officer was one of the five lieutenant colonels, on whom Greene rested throughout the hazardous operations to which he was necessarily exposed, by his grand determination to recover the South, or die in the attempt.

We have seen him, at the battle of the Cowpens, seize the critical moment, and turn the fortune of the day;—alike conspicuous, though not alike successful, at Guilford and the Eutaws; and at all times, and on all occasions, eminently useful. He was justly ranked among the chosen sons of the South.

Trained to infantry service, he was invariably employed in that line, and was always to be found where the battle raged, pressing into close action to wrestle with fixed bayonet. Placid in temper, and reserved in deportment, he never lessened his martial fame, by arrogance or ostentation, nor clouded it with garrulity or self-conceit.

Granting to all the applause due to their merits, he enjoyed that due to himself with universal assent.

General Greene, whose discriminating mind graduated, with nice exactitude, the merit of all under him, thus speaks of this officer, in a private letter to his friend in Maryland, dated the 14th of November 1781.

This will be handed to you by colonel Howard, as good an officer as the world affords. He has great ability and the best disposition to promote the service. My own obligations to him are great—the public’s still more so. He deserves a statue of gold no less than the Roman and Grecian heroes. He has been wounded, but has happily recovered, and now goes home to pay a little attention to his private affairs, and to take charge of the fifth Maryland regiment recruiting in your state. With esteem and respect, I am, dear sir, yours,



OTHO HOLLAND WILLIAMS was descended from the English stock, his ancestors having emigrated soon after lord Baltimore became proprietor of the colony of Maryland.

His father settled in the county of Prince George, where Otho, his eldest son, was born in the year 1748. His father soon afterwards removed from Prince George to Frederic county, and settled near the mouth of Conogocheaque creek, where himself and wife died, leaving one daughter, and two sons, the eldest of the latter not more than twelve years old. A Scotch gentleman by the name of Ross, having married his sister, Otho was taken under his protection, and was bred up in the clerk’s office of the county, a profession which presented better prospects to a young man, than any other office then procurable, under the colonial government of Maryland. Ross dying, colonel Steel of Hagerstown, married his widow, and continued to patronize his wife’s brothers. In this situation Williams continued until he was removed just before the war broke out, to the clerk’s office in the county of Baltimore, of which he had the principal direction, and the business of which he conducted with exemplary propriety. Anxious to draw his sword in defence of his oppressed country, as soon as the last resort became inevitable, Williams was appointed lieutenant in the company of riflemen raised in the county of Frederic, commanded by captain Price, and marched in 1775 to the American camp before Boston. In 1776 a rifle regiment was formed, of which Stephenson was appointed colonel, Rawlings lieutenant colonel, and Williams major.

Stephenson soon dying, the command of the regiment devolved upon Rawlings, who, with his regiment, formed part of the garrison of Fort Washington, in the state of New York, when assailed by sir William Howe, pushing Washington over the North river. In this attack, the rifle regiment opposed the Hessian column, and behaved to admiration, holding for a long time, victory in suspense, and severely crippling its adversary. The fort was nevertheless carried by capitulation, and its garrison became prisoners of war. After the surrender of Burgoyne’s armv, colonel Wilkinson, adjutant general to general Gates, who was personally attached to major Williams, procured his exchange for major Achland, wounded in the first action between the northern armies, and left on the ground, with many others, to the mercy of the American general. While in captivity, Williams became entitled to the command of a regiment, and as soon as he was exchanged, he was placed at the head of the 6th Maryland. The Maryland and Delaware lines having been detached to South Carolina, soon after the reduction of Charleston, colonel Williams accompanied the Baron De Kalb, and after general Gates took command of the army, he was called to the important station of adjutant general to the same. He bore a distinguished part in the battle of the 16th of August, and shared with the general in the bitter adversity of that disastrous period.

When Greene took command of the Southern army, col. Williams was retained in the station he then occupied, which he held to the end of the war, enjoying the uninterrupted confidence of his commander, and the esteem of his fellow soldiers.

Throughout the important campaign which followed, he acted a conspicuous part, and greatly contributed by the honnourable and intelligent discharge of the duties of the station which he held, to the successful issue of Greene’s operations. At the head of the light troops, during our difficult retreat, he was signally efficient, in holding the army safe until it effected its passage across the river Dan; and after Greene’s return into North Carolina, when, to save that state, the American general was constrained to put to hazard his inferior force, he was not less useful in thwarting the various attempts of lord Cornwallis to strike his antagonist. We have seen with what vigour and effect he seconded his general in the fields of Guilford, of Hobkick, and of Eutaws, invariably exciting by his impressive example, officer and soldier to the animated display of skill and courage.

Returning, upon peace, to his native state, the government desirous, (at that time common through America,) to reward whenever it had the power, those officers and soldiers who continued to the last, bestowed upon this distinguished patriot, the collectorship of the port of Baltimore, the most lucrative office within its gift.

On the adoption of the present government of the Union, Washington was called to the presidency, and of course continued Williams, with whose merit he was particularly acquainted, in his office.

Previous to this epoch, he intermarried with Miss Mary Smith, daughter of William Smith, esq. one of the ancient and most respectable inhabitants of the town, by whom he had four sons, all of whom survived their parents. General Williams’ health had, for many years before his death, been very delicate, resulting from the hardships incident to military life, increased in his case by the severe treatment experienced while a prisoner in New York, which was peculiarly oppressive at that period, while Sir Wm. Howe commanded the British forces in America. Vainly attempting by change of climate, and every other advisable measure, to stop the menacing disease, he, unhappily for his country, his family and friends, fell a victim to the pulmonary complaint in July 1794, on his way to the Sweet Springs. His amiable and disconsolate wife soon fell the victim of grief, exhibiting a rare display of the tenderness and ardor of conjugal love.

Brigadier general Williams was about five feet ten inches high, erect and elegant in form, made for activity rather than strength. His countenance was expressive, and the faithful index of his warm and honest heart. Pleasing in his address, he never failed to render himself acceptable, in whatever circle he moved, notwithstanding a sternness of character, which was sometimes manifested with too much asperity. He was beneficent to his friends, but very cold to all whose correctness in moral principle became questionable in his mind. As a soldier, he may be called a rigid, not cruel disciplinarian; obeying with exactitude his superior, he exacted the like obedience from his inferior. He possessed that range of mind, although self-educated, which entitled him to the highest military station, and was actuated by true courage which can refuse as well as give battle. Soaring far above the reach of vulgar praise, he singly aimed at promoting the common weal, satisfied with the consciousness of doing right, and desiring only that share of applause, which was justly his own.

There was a loftiness and liberality in his character, which forbade resort to intrigue and hypocrisy, in the accomplishment of his views, and rejected the contemptible practice of
disparaging others to exalt himself.

In the field of battle he was self-possessed, intelligent, and ardent; in camp circumspect, attentive and systematic; in counsel sincere, deep, and perspicacious. During the campaigns of general Greene, he was uniformly one of his few advisers, and held his unchanged confidence. Nor was he less esteemed by his brother officers, or less respected by his soldiery.

Previous to the disbandonment of the army, congress manifested their sense of Williams’ merit and services, by promoting him to the rank of brigadier general, of which event we have his own account, in a letter to his friend, major Pendleton, written in Philadelphia, and dated May 18, 1782.


Your laconic epistle of the 20th April was handed to me by general St. Clair, in the situation you wished. Involved in a scene of the most agreeable amusements, I have scarcely had time for reflection, therefore, if I have been guilty of any omissions towards you, or any other of my Southern friends, I hope it will be imputed to the infatuating pleasures of the metropolis.

My promotion, (for which I am principally indebted to my invaluable friend, general Greene,) might prove the efficacy of making a short campaign to court, (especially as it had been once rejected) if the circumstances which attended it, did not too evidently discover how much the greatest men are actuated by caprice, and how liable the most respectable bodies are to inconsistencies. Upon the application of general Greene, seconded bv the recommendation of Washington, the votes of congress were taken, whether I should or should not be made a brigadier, in consequence of former resolves, which very clearly, in my opinion, gave me a right to promotion. It was resolved in the negative. Upon the second motion in congress, the same letters were re-considered, and the man whose legal claim was rejected, (because it was inconvenient, or might give umbrage to others,) is promoted in consideration of his distinguished talents and services. I wish I may be always able to justify and maintain an opinion that does me so much honour. If congress will please to wink at my imperfections, I will be careful not to meddle with theirs.



Camp at the Iron Works, March 16, 1781.


On the 10th, I wrote to his excellency general Washington, from the High Rock ford, on the Haw river, a copy of which I enclosed your excellency, that I had effected a junction with a continental regiment of eighteen months men, and two considerable bodies of militia, belonging to Virginia and North Carolina. After this junction, I took the resolution of attacking the enemy without loss of time, and made the necessary disposition accordingly, being persuaded, that if we were successlul, it would prove ruinous to the enemy, and, if otherwise, it would only prove a partial evil to us.

The army marched from the High Rock ford on the 12th, and on the 14th arrived at Guilford. The enemy lay at the Quaker meeting-house, on Deep River, eight miles from our camp. On the morning of the 15th, our reconnoitring party reported the enemy advancing on the great Salisbury road. The army was drawn up in three lines. The line was composed of North Carolina militia, under the command of generals Butler and Eaton. The second line of Virginia militia, commanded by generals Stephens and Lawson, forming two brigades, one of Virginia, and one of Maryland continental troops, commanded by general Huger and colonel Williams. Lieutenant colonel Washington, with the dragoons of the first and third regiments, a detachment of light infantry, composed ot continental troops, and a regiment of riflemen, under colonel Lynch, formed a corps of observation for the security of our right flank. Lieutenant colonel Lee, with his legion, a detachment of light infantry, and a corps of riflemen, under colonel Campbell, formed a corps of observation for the security of our left flank.

The greater part of this country is a wilderness, with a few cleared fields interspersed here and there. The army was drawn up on a large hill of ground, surrounded by other hills, the greatest part of which was covered with timber and thick under-brush. The front line was posted with two field pieces, just on the edge of the woods, and the back of a fence which ran parallel with the line, with an open field directly in their front. The second line was in the woods, about three hundred yards in the rear of the first, and the continental troops about four hundred yards in the rear of the second, with a double front, as the hill drew to a point where they were posted; and on the right and left were two old fields. In this position we waited the approach of the enemy, having previously sent off the baggage to this place, appointed for our rendezvous in case of a defeat. Lieutenant colonel Lee, with his legion, his infantry, and part of his riflemen, met the enemy on their advance, and had a severe skirmish with lieutenant colonel Tarleton, in which the enemy suffered greatly. Captain Armstrong charged the British legion, and cut down near thirty of their dragoons; but as the enemy reinforced their party, lieutenant colonel Lee was obliged to retire, and take his position in the line.

The action commenced by cannonade, which lasted about twenty minutes; when the enemy advanced in three columns: the Hessians on the right, the guards in the centre, and lieutenant colonel Webster’s brigade on the left. The whole moved through the old fields to attack the North Carolina brigades, who waited the attack until the enemy got within one hundred and forty yards, when part of them began to fire; but a considerable part left the ground without firing at all. The general and field officers did all they could to induce the men to stand their ground; but neither the advantages of the
position, nor any other consideration could induce them to stay. General Stevens and general Lawson and the field officers of those brigades were more successful in their exertions. The Virginia militia gave the enemy a warm reception, and kept up a heavy fire for a long time; but being beat back, the action became general almost every where. The corps of observation, under Washington and Lee, were warmly engaged, and did great execution. In a word, the engagement was long and severe, and the enemy only gained their point by superior discipline.

They having broken the second Maryland regiment and turned our left flank, got into the rear of the Virginia brigade, and appearing to be gaining on our right, which would have encircled the whole of the continental troops, I thought it most advisable to order a retreat. About this time lieutenant colonel Washington made a charge with the horse upon a part of the brigade of guards, and the first regiment of Marylanders, commanded by colonel Gunby, and seconded by lieutenant colonel Howard, followed the horse with their bayonets; near the whole of the party fell a sacrifice. General Huger was the last that was engaged, and gave the enemy a check. We retreated in good order to the Reedy Fork river, and crossed at the ford, about three miles from the field of action, and then halted, and drew up the troops, until we collected most of the stragglers. We lost our artillery, and two ammunition wagons, the greater part of the horses being killed before the retreat began, and it being impossible to move the pieces but along the great road. After collecting our stragglers, we retired to this camp, ten miles distant from Guilford.

From the best information I can get, the enemy’s loss is very great; not less, in killed and wounded, than six hundred men, besides some few prisoners that we brought off.

Inclosed I send your excellency a return of our killed, wounded and missing. Most of the latter have gone home, as is but too customary with the militia after an action. I cannot learn that the enemy has got any considerable number of prisoners. Our men are all in good spirits, and in perfect readiness for another field day.

I only lament the loss of several valuable officers, who are killed and wounded in the action. Among the latter are general Stephens, shot through the thigh, and general Huger in the hand; and among the former is major Anderson, one of the Maryland line.

The firmness of the officers and soldiers, during the whole campaign, has been unparalleled. Amidst innumerable difficulties they have discovered a degree of magnanimity and fortitude that will for ever add a lustre to their military reputation.



Guilford, March 17, 1781.


I have the satisfaction to inform your lordship, that his majesty’s troops under my command obtained a signal victory on the 15th instant, over the rebel army commanded by general Greene.

In pursuance of my intended plan communicated to your lordship in my despatch No. 7, I had encamped on the 13th instant at the quaker’s meetinghouse, between the forks of Deep river. On the 14th I received information that general Butler, with a body of North Carolina militia, and the expected reinforcements from Virginia, said to consist of a Virginia state regiment, a corps of Virginia eighteen months men, three thousand Virginia militia and recruits for the Maryland line, had joined general Greene; and the whole army, which was reported to amount to nine or ten thousand men, was marching to attack the British troops. During the afternoon, intelligence was brought, which was confirmed in the night, that he had advanced that day to Guilford, about twelve miles from our camp. Being now persuaded that he had resolved to hazard an engagement, after detaching lieutenant colonel Hamilton with our wagons and baggage, escorted bv his own regiment, a detachment of one hundred infantry and twenty cavalry, towards Bell’s mill; on Deep river, I marched with the rest of the corps at day break on the morning of the 15th, to meet the enemy, or attack them in their encampment. About four miles from Guilford our advanced guard, commanded by lieutenant colonel Tarleton, fell in with a corps of the enemy, consisting of Lee’s legion, some back mountainmen and Virginia militia, which he attacked with his usual good conduct and spirit, and defeated; and continuing our march, we found the rebel army posted on rising grounds. About a mile and a half from the court-house. The prisoners taken by lieutenant colonel Tarleton having been several days with the advanced corps, could give me no account of the enemy’s order or position, and the country people were extremely inaccurate in their description of the ground. Immediately between the head of the column and the enemy’s line was a considerable plantation; one large field of which was on our left of the road, and two others, with a wood of about two hundred yards broad, between them, on our right of it; beyond these fields the wood continued for several miles to our right. The wood beyond the plantation in our front, in the skirt of which the enemy’s first line was formed, was about a mile in depth, the road then leading to an extensive space of cleared ground about Guilford court-house. The woods on our right and left were reported to be impracticable for our cannon; but as that on our right appeared the most open, I resolved to attack the left wing of the enemy; and whilst my disposition was making for that purpose, I ordered lieutenant M’Cleod to bring forward the guns and cannonade their centre.

The attack was directed to be made in the following order: On the right the regiment of Bose and the seventy-first regiment, led by major general Leslie, and supported by the first battalion of guards; on the left, the twenty-third and thirty-third regiments, led by lieutenant colonel Webster, and supported bv the grenadiers and second battalion of guards, commanded by brigadier O’Hara; the yagers and light infantry of the guards remained in the wood on the left of the guns, and the cavalry in the road, ready to act as circumstances might require. Our preparations being made, the action began at about half an hour past one in the afternoon. Major general Leslie, after being obliged, by the great extent of the enemy’s line, to bring up the first battalion of guards to the right of the regiment of Bose, soon defeated every thing before him; lieutenant colonel Webster having joined the left of major general Leslie’s division, was no less successful in his front; when, on finding that the left of the thirty-third was exposed to a heavy fire from the right wing of the enemy, he changed his front to the left; and, being supported by the yagers and light infantry of the guards, attacked and routed it; the grenadiers and second battalion of the guards moving forward to occupy the ground left vacant by the movement of lieutenant colonel Webster.

All the infantry being now in the line, lieutenant colonel Tarleton had directions to keep his cavalry compact, and not to charge without positive orders, except to protect any of the corps from the most evident danger of being defeated. The excessive thickness of the woods rendered our bayonets of little use, and enabled the broken enemy to make frequent stands, with an irregular fire, which occasioned some loss, and to several of the corps great delay, particularly on our right, where the first battalion of the guards and regiment of Bose were warmly engaged in front, flank, and rear, with some of the enemy that had been routed on the first attack, and with part of the extremity of their left wing, which, by the closeness of the woods, had been passed unbroken. The seventy-first regiment, and grenadiers, and second battalion of the guards, not knowing what was passing on their right, and hearing the fire advance on their left, continued to move forward, the artillery keeping pace with them on the road, followed by the cavalry. The second battalion of guards first gained the clear ground near Guilford court-house, and found a corps of continental infantry, much superior in number, formed in the open field on the left of the road. Glowing with impatience to signalize themselves, they instantly attacked and defeated them, taking two six pounders; but pursuing into the wood with too much ardor, were thrown into confusion by a heavy fire, and immediately charged and driven back into the field by lieutenant colonel Washington’s dragoons with the loss of the six pounders they had taken. The enemy’s cavalry was soon repulsed by a well directed fire from two three pounders, just brought up by lieutenant M’Cleod, and by the appearance of the grenadiers of the guards and the seventy-first regiment, which, having been impeded by some deep ravines, were now coming out of the wood on the right of the guards, opposite to the court-house. By the spirited exertions of brigadier general O’Hara, though wounded, the second battalion of the guards was soon rallied, and, supported by the grenadiers, returned to the charge with the greatest alacrity. The twenty-third regiment arriving at that instant from our left, and lieutenant colonel Tarleton having advanced with part of the cavalry, the enemy were soon put to flight, and the two six pounders once more fell into our hands; two ammunition wagons, and two other six pounders, being all the artillery they had in the field, were likewise taken. About this time, the thirty-third regiment and light infantry of the guards, after overcoming many difficulties, completely routed the corps which was opposed to them, and put an end to the action in this quarter. The twenty-third and seventy-first regiments, with part of the cavalry, were ordered to pursue; the remainder of the cavalry was detached with lieutenant colonel Tarleton to our right, where a heavy fire still continued, and where his appearance and spirited attack contributed much to a speedy termination of the action. The militia with which our right wing had been engaged, dispersed in the woods; the continentals went off by the Reedy Fork, beyond which it was not in my power to follow them, as their cavalry had suffered but little. Our troops were excessively fatigued by an action which lasted an hour and a half, and our wounded dispersed over an extensive space of country, required immediate attention. The care of our wounded, and the total want of provisions in an exhausted country, made it equally impossible for me to follow the blow the next day. The enemy did not stop until they got to the iron works on Troublesome creek, eighteen miles from the field of battle.

From our observation and the best accounts we could procure, we did not doubt but the strength of the enemy exceeded seven thousand men; their militia composed their line, with parties advanced to the rails of the field in their front; the continentals were posted obliquely in the rear of their right wing. Their cannon fired on us whilst we were forming from the centre of the line of militia, but were withdrawn to the continentals before the attack.

I have the honor to inclose to your lordship the list of our killed and wounded. Captain Schutz’s wound is supposed to be mortal; but the surgeons assure me that none of the other officers are in danger; and that a great number of the men will soon recover. I cannot ascertain the loss of the enemy, but it must have been considerable; between two and three hundred dead were left upon the field; many of their wounded that were able to move, whilst we were employed in the care of our own, escaped and followed the routed enemy; and our cattle, drivers, and forage parties, have reported to me that the houses, in a circle of six or eight miles around us, are full of others. Those that remained we have taken the best care of in our power. We took few prisoners, owing to the excessive thickness of the wood facilitating their escape, and every man of our army being repeatedly wanted for action.

The conduct and actions of the officers and soldiers that compose this little army will do more justice to their merit than I can by words. Their persevering intrepidity in action, their invincible patience in the hardships and fatigues of a march of above six hundred miles, in which they have forded several large rivers and numberless creeks, many of which would be reckoned large rivers in any other country in the world, without tents or covering against the climate, and often without provisions, will sufficiently manifest their ardent zeal for the honor and interest of their sovereign and their country.

I have been particularly indebted to major general Leslie for his gallantry and exertion in the action, as well as his assistance in every other part of the service. The zeal and spirit of brigadier general O’Hara merit my highest commendations; for after receiving two dangerous wounds, he continued in the field whilst the action lasted; by his earnest attention on all other occasions, seconded by the officers and soldiers of his brigade. His majesty’s guards are no less distinguished by their order and discipline than by their spirit and valor.

The Hessian regiment of Bose deserves my warmest praises for its discipline, alacrity and courage, and does honor to major du Buy, who commands it, and who is an officer of superior merit. I am much obliged to brigadier general Howard, who served as a volunteer, for his spirited example on all occasions.

Lieutenant colonel Webster conducted his brigade like an officer of experience and gallantry. Lieutenant colonel Tarleton’s good conduct and spirit, in the management of his cavalry, were conspicuous during the whole action; and lieutenant M’Cleod, who commanded the artillery, proved himself upon this, as well as all former occasions, a most capable and deserving officer.

The attention and exertions of my aid-de-camps, and of all the other public officers of the army, contributed very much to the success of the day.

I have constantly received the most zealous assistance from governor Martin during my command in the southern district: hoping that his presence would tend to incite the loyal subjects of this province to take an active part with us, he has cheerfully submitted to the fatigues and dangers of our campaign; but his delicate constitution has suffered by his public spirit; for, by the advice of the physicians, he is now obliged to return to England for the recovery of his health.

This part of the country is so totally destitute of subsistence, that forage is not nearer than nine miles, and the soldiers have been two days without bread. I shall, therefore, leave about seventy of the worst of the wounded cases at the New Garden quaker meetinghouse with proper assistance, and move the remainder with the army to-morrow morning to Bell’s mill. I hope our friends will heartily take an active part with us, to which I shall continue to encourage them; still approaching our shipping by easy marches, that we may procure the necessary supplies for further operations, and lodge our sick and wounded where proper attention can be paid to them.

This despatch will be delivered to your lordship by my aid-de-camp, captain Brodrick, who is a very promising officer, and whom I beg leave to recommend to your lordship’s countenance and favor, &c.


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