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


[1] This officer commanded a legionary corps called the Queen’s Rangers, and had during the war signalized himself upon various occasions. He was a man of letters, and like the Romans and Grecians, cultivated science amid the turmoil of camp. He was enterprising, resolute, and persevering; weighing well his project before entered upon, and promptly seizing every advantage which offered in the course of execution. General Washington expecting a French fleet upon our coast in 1779 or 1780, and desirous of being thoroughly prepared for moving upon New York, in case the combined force should warrant it, had made ready a number of boats, which were placed at Middlebrook, a small village up the Rariton river, above Brunswick. Sir Henry Clinton being informed of this preparation, determined to destroy the boats. The enterprise was committed to lieutenant colonel Simcoe. He crossed from New York to Elizabethtown Point with his cavalry, and setting out after night, he reached Middlebrook undiscovered and unexpected. Having executed his object, he baffled all our efforts to intercept him on his return, by taking a circuitous route. Instead of turning towards Perth Amboy, which was supposed to be the most probable course, keeping the Rariton on his right, he passed that river, taking the direction towards Monmouth county, leaving Brunswick some miles to his left. Here was stationed a body of militia, who being apprized (it being now day) of the enemy’s proximity, made a daring effort to stop him, but failed in the attempt. Simcoe, bringing up the rear, had his horse killed, by which accident he was made prisoner. The cavalry, deprived of their leader, continued to press forward under the second in command, still holding the route to English town. As soon as the militia at Brunswick moved upon the enemy, an express was despatched to lieutenant colonel Lee, then posted in the neighborhood of English town, waiting for the expected arrival of the French fleet, advising him of this extraordinary adventure.

The legion cavalry momentarily advanced towards the British horse; and notwithstanding the utmost diligence was used to gain the road leading to South Amboy (which now was plainly the object) before the enemy could reach it, the American cavalry did not effect it. Nevertheless the pursuit was continued, and the legion horse came up with the rear soon after a body of infantry sent over to South Amboy from Staten Island by sir Henry Clinton to meet Simcoe, had joined, and gave safety to the harassed and successful foe.

This enterprise was considered, by both armies, among the handsomest exploits of the war. Simcoe executed completely his object, then deemed very important; and traversed the country, from Elizabethtown Point to South Amboy, fifty-five miles, in the course of the night and morning; passing through a most hostile region of armed citizens; necessarily skirting Brunswick, a military station; proceeding not more than eight or nine miles from the legion of Lee, his last point of danger, and which became increased from the debilitated condition to which his troops were reduced by previous fatigue. What is very extraordinary, lieutenant colonel Simcoe being obliged to feed once in the course of the night, stopped at a depot of forage collected for the continental army, assumed the character of Lee’s cavalry, waked up the commissary about midnight, drew the customary allowance of forage, and gave the usual vouchers, signing the name of the legion quarter-master, without being discovered by the American forage commissary or his assistants. The dress of both corps was the same, green coatees and leather breeches; yet the success of the stratagem is astonishing.

[2] Arnold was practically acquainted with the dilatoriness attendant on militia movements; and finding, on his arrival in the state, that no preparations for defence had been made, or even ordered, he determined to avail himself of the supineness of the government, and by taking the first fair wind to approach within one day’s march of Richmond, possess himself of it, and destroy the arms; which were then useless for want of men, as now men had become useless for want of arms. A well conceived and well rsecuted project, answering completely in manner and object.

[3] Whenever the commitment of our militia in battle with regulars occurs, the heart of the writer is rent with painful emotions; knowing, as he does, the waste of life resulting from the stupid cruel policy. Can there be any system devised by the wit of man, more the compound of inhumanity, of murder, and of waste of resources? Ought any government to be respected, which, when peace permits substitution of a better system, neglects to avail itself of the opportunity? Was a father to put his son, with his small-sword drawn for the first time, against an experienced swordsman, would not his neighbors exclaim, murderer! vile murderer! Just so acts the government; and yet our parents are all satisfied; although, whenever war takes place, their sons are to be led to the altar of blood. Dreadful apathy! Shocking coldness to our progeny!

[4] Two of our continental regiments, the second of Maryland and the first of Virginia, were composed of raw troops, although the officers were experienced. These regiments had, in the course of the preceding service, been much improved. The two divisions of our army being at a great distance from each other, Greene was necessarily compelled to fall back; and we find that, with all his exertions, he could not reunite until he reached Guilford Court-house.

[5] No man was more familiarized to dispassionate and minute research than was general Greene. He was patient in hearing every thing offered, never interrupting or slighting what was said; and, having possessed himself of the subject fully, he would enter into a critical comparison of the opposite arguments, convincing his hearers, as he progressed, with the propriety of the decision he was about to pronounce.

[6] Lord Cornwallis was exceedingly perplexed in making up his decision, and at length took the course which risked all to gain all, and, as generally happens, he lost all. Thus it often occurs in war. The great Frederic of Prussia committed the same error before Prague, when he attempted to force the intrenched camp of marshal Daun, and afterwards at Cunnersdorf against the Russians and marshal Laudohn. Once the resolution to follow Greene was not only adopted but in execution, a portion of the British army having passed to the southern banks of Cape Fear. This decision being soon after changed, the troops were recalled.

[7] Although the army of Greene was not surprised, yet it was very suddenly assailed: no notice of the attack having been given until our piquets fired. The troops, in the hurry of forming, had not got settled before they advanced. Gunby was anxious to lead his regiment into battle thoroughly compacted; and, therefore, ordered lieutenant colonel Howard to call back captain Armstrong, who, with two sections, was moving upon the enemy. This Howard did, and Armstrong very reluctantly obeyed. The enemy was not yet in strength in this point; and it is probable had Gunby, instead of recalling Armstrong, made him the point of view in forming, that the fate of the day would have been favorable to our arms. This Greene always declared as his opinion, and Gunby as uniformly denied.—The latter officer was called before a court of inquiry, at his own request; whose statement of the facts, as before recited, was followed by the general’s orders announcing the spirit and activity displayed by colonel Gunby unexceptionable; but his order for the regiment to fall back improper, and the probable cause of the loss of a complete victory.

[8] After Greene halted at Saunders’ creek, Washington returned with his cavalry to examine the situation of the enemy. His advanced patrole was pursued by major Coffin with his cavalry. Washington, hearing their approach, placed himself in ambush, covered by some thick bushes, near the road, and pressed upon his adversary. Coffin attempted to bring his men to face us; but they put spur to their horses to regain their camp. Some were killed, some taken, and the rest dispersing reached lord Rawdon. Coffin himself escaped.

[9] It was this regiment which forced the guards at the battle of Guilford Court-house, killing their commandant, and driving them back, seeking shelter under cover of the British artillery; and a portion of the same regiment constituted a part of the infantry which, under Howard, gave to us the victory at the Cowpens, by the free use of the bayonet.

[10] The deportment and demeanor of Mrs. Motte gave a zest to the pleasures of the table. She did its honors with that unaffected politeness, which ever excites esteem mingled with admiration. Conversing with case, vivacity and good sense, she obliterated our recollection of the injury she had received; and though warmly attached to the defenders of her country, the engaging amiability of her manners, left it doubtful which set of officers constituted these defenders.

[11] Powder, ball, small arms, liquor, salt, blankets, with sundry small articles, were gained, one of the many useful and valuable acquisitions occasionally procured by the legion; for which, of the promised remuneration, not a cent has been ever paid to officer or soldier.

[12] The militia of Georgia, under colonel Clarke, were so exasperated by the cruelties mutually inflicted in the course of the war in this state, that they were disposed to have sacrificed every man taken, and with great difficulty was this disposition now suppressed. Poor Grierson and several others had been killed after surrender; and although the American commandants used every exertion, and offered a large reward to detect the murderers, no discovery could be made. In no part of the South was the war conducted with such asperity as in this quarter. It often sunk into barbarity.

[13] The individual meant was colonel Clarke. Brown and this officer had before (as will be recollected) a very severe conflict. Clarke was often beating up the British quarters, and striking at the light parties of the enemy, chiefly loyalists; with whom and the militia a spirit of hate and revenge had succeeded to those noble feelings of humanity and forgiveness which ought ever to actuate the soldier. At length all intercourse between the troops was broken up, and the vanquished lay at the mercy of the victor.

[14] This omission resulted from that spirit of procrastination common to man, and was certainly highly reprehensible. Luckily no injury resulted, whereas very great might have ensued.


Brigadier Pickens and lieutenant colonel Lee to lieutenant colonel Brown.

Augusta, May 31st, 1781.


The usage of war renders it necessary that we present you with an opportunity of avoiding the destruction which impends your garrison.

We have deferred our summons to this late date, to preclude the necessity of much correspondence on the occasion. You see the strength of the investing forces; the progress of our works; and you may inform yourself of the situation of the two armies, by inquiries from captain Armstrong, of the legion, who has the honor to bear this.

Lieutenant colonel Brown, in answer, to Pickens and Lee.


What progress you have made in your works I am no stranger to. It is my duly and inclination to defend this place to the last extremity.

Pickens and Lee, to lieutenant colonel Brown.

Augusta, June 3d, 1781.


It is not our disposition to press the unfortunate. To prevent the effusion of blood, which must follow perseverance in your fruitless resistance, we inform you, that we are willing, though in the grasp of victory, to grant such terms as a comparative view of our respective situations can warrant.

Your determination will be considered as conclusive, and will regulate our conduct.

Lieutenant colonel Brown, to Pickens and Lee.

Fort Cornwallis, June 3d, 1781.


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your summons of this day, and to assure you, that as it is my duty, it is likewise my inclination, to defend the post to the last extremity.

Pickens and Lee, to lieutenant colonel Brown.

Headquarters, June 4th, 1781.


We beg leave to propose, that the prisoners in your possession may be sent out of the fort; and that they may be considered yours or ours, as the siege may terminate.

Confident that you cannot oppose the dictate of humanity and custom of war, we have only to say, that any request from you, of a similar nature, will meet our assent.

Lieutenant colonel Brown, to Pickens and Lee.


Though motives of humanity, and a feeling for the distresses of individuals, incline me to accede to what you have proposed concerning the prisoners with us; yet many reasons, to which you cannot be strangers, forbid my complying with this requisition. Such attention as I can show, consistently with good policy and my duty, shall be shown to them.

Lieutenant colonel Brown to Pickens and Lee.


In your summons of the 3d instant, no particular conditions were specified; I postponed the consideration of it to this day.

From a desire to lessen the distresses of war to individuals, I am inclined to propose to you my acceptance of the inclosed terms; which being pretty similar to those granted to the commanding officers of the American troops and garrison in Charleston, I imagine will be honorable to both parties.

Pickens and Lee, to lieutenant colonel Brown.

June 5th, 1781.


There was a time when your proposals of this day ought to have been accepted. That period is now passed. You had every notice from us, and must have known the futility of your further opposition.

Although we should be justified by the military law of both armies to demand unconditional submission, our sympathy for the unfortunate and gallant of our profession, has induced us to grant the honorable terms which we herewith transmit.

Lieutenant colonel Brown to Pickens and Lee.

June 5th, 1781.


Your proposition relative to the officers of the king’s troops and militia being admitted to their paroles, and the exclusion of the men, is a matter I cannot accede to.

The conditions I have to propose to you are, that such of the different classes of men who compose this garrison be permitted to march to Savannah, or continue in the country, as to them may be most eligible, until exchanged.

Pickens and Lee, to lieutenant colonel Brown.

June 5th, 1781.


In our answer of this morning, we granted the most generous terms in our power to give, which we beg leave to refer to as final on our part.

Lieutenant colonel Brown, to Pickens and Lee.


As some of the articles proposed by you are generally expressed, I have taken the liberty of deputing three gentlemen to wait upon you, for a particular explanation of the respective articles.

Articles of Capitulation, proposed by lieutenant colonel Thomas Brown, and answered by general Pickens and lieutenant colonel Lee.

Article 1st. That all acts of hostilities and works shall cease between the besiegers and besieged, until the articles of capitulation shall be agreed on, signed and executed, or collectively rejected.

Answer. Hostilities shall cease for one hour; other operations to continue.

Art. 2d. That the fort shall be surrendered to the commanding officer of the American troops, such as it now stands. That the king’s troops, three days after signing the articles of capitulation, shall be conducted to Savannah, with their baggage; where they will remain prisoners of war until they are exchanged. That proper conveyances shall be provided by the commanding officer of the American troops for that purpose, together with a sufficient quantity of good and wholesome provisions till their arrival at Savannah.

Ans. Inadmissible. The prisoners to surrender field prisoners of war: the officers to be indulged with their paroles; the soldiers to be conducted to such place as the commander in chief shall direct.

Art. 3d. The militia now in garrison shall be permitted to return to their respective homes, and be secured in their persons and properties.

Ans. Answered by the second article, the militia making part of the garrison.

Art. 4. The sick and wounded shall be under the care of their own surgeons, and be supplied with such medicines and necessaries as are allowed to the British hospitals.

Ans. Agreed.

Art. 5. The officers of the garrison, and citizens who have borne arms during the siege, shall keep their side arms, pistols, and baggage, which shall not be searched, and retain their servants.

Ans. The officers, and citizens who have borne arms during the siege, shall be permitted their side arms, private baggage, and servants; their side arms not to be worn, and the baggage to be searched by a person appointed for that purpose.

Art. 6th. The garrison, at an hour appointed, shall march out with shouldered arms and drums beating, to a place agreed on, where they will pile their arms.

Ans. Agreed. The judicious and gallant defence made by the garrison, entitles them to every mark of military respect. The fort to be delivered up to captain Rudolph at twelve o’clock, who will take possession with a detachment of the legion infantry.

Art. 7. That the citizens shall be protected in their persons and properties.

Ans. Inadmissible.

Art. 8. That twelve months shall be allowed to all such as do not choose to reside in this country, to dispose of their effects, real and personal, in this province, without any molestation whatever; or to remove to any part thereof as they may choose, as well themselves as families.

Ans. Inadmissible.

Art. 9. That the Indian families now in garrison, shall accompany the king’s troops to Savannah, where they will remain prisoners of war until exchanged for an equal number of prisoners in the Creek or Cherokee nations.

Ans. Answered in the second article.

Art. 10. That an express be permitted to go to Savannah with the commanding officer’s despatches, which are not to be opened.

Ans. Agreed.

Art. 11. (Additional.) The particular attention of colonel Brown is expected towards the just delivery of all public stores, moneys, &c.; and that no loans be permitted to defeat the spirit of this article.

Signed at Headquarters, Augusta, June 5th, 1781, by

ANDREW PICKENS, Brig. Militia.
HENRY LEE, jun. Lt. Col. Commandant, V.L.
THOMAS BROWN, Lt. Col. commanding the
king’s troops at Augusta.

[16] This precaution was indispensable. Already had the humanity of the besieging corps been dreadfully outraged by the slaughter of colonel Grierson, and some of his associates. To risk a repetition of the same barbarity, would have justly exposed the commandants to reproach and censure. It was determined to take measures in time to prevent such an issue. Lieutenant colonel Brown’s life was, we knew, sought with avidity; consequently it became our duty to secure his person before the garrison marched out. Brown had himself suffered very cruel and injurious personal treatment in the beginning of the revolution; and succeeding events more and more embittered both himself and the Georgia militia, heretofore his only opponents, till at length in this quarter a war of extermination became the order of the day.

[17] Koschiusko was extremely amiable, and, I believe, a truly good man, nor was he deficient in his professional knowledge; but he was very moderate in talent,—not a spark of the etherial in his composition. His blunders lost us Ninety-Six; and general Greene, much as he was beloved and respected, did not escape criticism, for permitting his engineer to direct the manner of approach. It was said, and with some justice too, that the general ought certainly to have listened to his opinion; but never ought to have permitted the pursuit of error, although supported by professional authority.

[18] When general Greene approached Ninety-Six, he found the ladies of lieutenant colonel Cruger and major Greene in a farmhouse in the neighborhood. The American general tranquillized the fears of the ladies, and as they preferred continuing where they were, he not only indulged them, but placed a guard at the house for their protection. The guard was left until lieutenant colonel Cruger was apprized of our departure, when he sent the guard with his passport to rejoin our army. Some hours after Greene had withdrawn, one of our light parties, absent some days, returned, and passing by the farm-house, was going directly to our late camp before Ninety-Six, when Mrs. Cruger sending for the officer, communicated what had happened, and instructed him to overtake the retiring general.

[19] The corps was badly mounted,—small meagre horses being the only sort procurable. The best officers and the best riders, thus horsed, cannot stand tolerable cavalry, much less such as then composed our rear.

[20] Alexander Skinner was a native of Maryland. He was virtuous and sensible; full of original humor of a peculiar cast; and eccentric in mind and manners. In person and in love of good cheer, as well as in dire objection to the field of battle, he resembled with wonderful similitude Shakspeare’s Falstaff. Yet Skinner had no hesitation in fighting duels, and had killed his man. Therefore when urged by his friends why he, who would, when called upon by feelings of honor to risk his life in a single combat, advance to the arena with alacrity, should abhor so dreadfully the field of battle,—he uniformly in substance answered, that he considered it very arrogant in a surgeon (whose province it was to take care of the sick and wounded) to be aping the demeanor and duty of a commissioned officer, whose business was to fight: an arrogance which he cordially contemned, and which he should never commit. Moreover, he would add, that he was not more indisposed to die than other gentlemen; but that he had an utter aversion to the noise and turmoil of battle. It stunned and stupified him. However, when congress should think proper to honor him with a commission, he would convince all doubters that he was not afraid to push the bayonet.

[21] Extract of a letter, dated 16th July, 1781, camp High Hills, Santee, from adjutant general Williams to major Pendleton, aid-de-camp to general Greene.


After you left us at Ninety-Six we were obliged to retrograde as far as the cross-roads above Winnsborough. Lord Rawdon’s return over Saluda induced the general to halt the army, and wait for intelligence respecting his further manœuvres; and hearing a few days after that his lordship was on his march to fort Granby, our army was ordered to march towards that place by way of Winnsborough. Before we could arrive at Congaree, lord Rawdon retired to Orangeburgh; and as he had left a considerable part of his army at Ninety-Six, general Greene detached the cavalry and light infantry to join general Marion, and endeavor to intercept colonel Stuart, who was on his march from Charleston with the third reginjent, &c. consisting of about three hundred, convoying bread, stores, &c., of which lord Rawdon’s troops were in great want. Stuart however joined his lordship at Orangeburgh; and general Greene, from the information he had received, was encouraged to expect success from an attack upon the British army at that post. Accordingly he collected his troops, and called together the militia and state troops under generals Sumpter and Marion (general Pickens being left to watch the motions of colonel Cruger). A junction of the whole formed a very respectable little army, which marched to a small branch of North Edisto, within four miles of Orangeburgh, where we halted, and lay the 12th instant from about nine o’clock in the morning till six in the afternoon.

General Greene reconnoitred the position of the enemy, and found it materially different from what it had been represented. The ground is broken, and naturally strong, from the court-house (which is two stories high and built of brick), to a bridge four or five hundred yards distant, the only pass over the Edisto within many miles. The general had every reason to believe what he had soon afterwards confirmed, that colonel Cruger had evacuated Ninety-Six, and was on his march to join lord Rawdon, which might possibly be done before we could force his lordship (if he could be forced at all) to a general action,—the issue of which was not ceirtain. These considerations induced the general rather to offer than to give battle. The enemy declined the opportunity, and put up with the insult. General Greene, therefore, ordered our troops to retire in the afternoon to colonel Middleton’s plantation, from whence we have proceeded by slow easy marches to this place, and not without leaving behind sufficient detachments to intercept their convoys from below, and to create such a diversion at Monk’s Corner, Dorchester, &c. as will very probably oblige his lordship to march to their relief. Indeed I am encouraged to hope that the garrison at Charleston will not be undisturbed. Mischief is meditated against them in other quarters; and I sanguinely trust the issue of this campaign will permanently fix the exalted idea the world has justly conceived of the eminent abilities of our general, and secure durable advantages to the country.

[22] Tacitus (de Moribus Germanorum) observes that they had a plentiful table instead of pay,—”Nam epulæ, et quanquam incompti largi tamen apparatus pro stipendio redunt.” This cannot be said of us in toto. Like the Germans we had no pay; and instead of plentiful tables, in lieu, our table was not often plentiful, and seldom agreeable.

[23] The nineteenth regiment, of which this detachment was a part, was one of the three lately arrived from Ireland, and had not seen service. It is probable such submission would not have ensued had the troops been veteran. Generally speaking, infantry, unless surpassing greatly in number, or aided by the ground, will fall when vigorously charged by horse. If they discharge in toto, they are gone. Holding up the front file fire with charged bayonets, and pouring in the rear fire, best aids their chance of success.

[24] Such was doctor Skinner’s unvarying objection to Irvin’s custom of risking his life, whenever he was with the corps going into action, that, kind and amiable as he was, he saw with pleasure that his prediction, often communicated to Irvin to stophis practice, (which, contrasted with his own. Skinner felt as a bitter reproach,) was at length realized, when Irvin was brought in wounded; and he would not dress his wound, although from his station he had the right of preference, until he had finished all the privates,—reprehending with asperity Irvin’s custom, and sarcastically complimenting him, every now and then, with the honorable scar he might hereafter show.

[25] The horses being all shod by our own farriers, the shoes were made in the same form; which, with a private mark annexed to the fore shoes, and known to the troopers, pointed out the trail of our dragoons to each other, which was often very useful.

[26] Copy of a letter from general Washington to major Lee, in his own handwriting.

October 13, 1780,


I am very glad your letter, of this date, has given strength to my conviction of the innocence of the gentleman who was the subject of your inquiry.

I want to see you on a particular piece of business. If the day is fair, and nothing of consequence intervenes, I will be at the marquis’s quarters by ten o’clock to-morrow. If this should not happen, I shall be glad to see you at headquarters. I am, dear sir, your obedient servant,


[27] Copy of a letter from general Washington to major Lee, in his own handwriting.

Headquarters, October 20, 1780.


The plan proposed for taking A—d (the outlines of which are communicated in your letter, which was this moment put into my hands without date) has every mark of a good one. I therefore agree to the promised rewards; and have such entire confidence in your management of the business, as to give it my fullest approbation; and leave the whole to the guidance of your own judgment, with this express stipulation and pointed injunction, that he (A—d) is brought to me

No circumstance whatever shall obtain my consent to his being put to death. The idea which would accompany such an event, would be that ruffians had been hired to assassinate him. My aim is to make a public example of him: and this should be strongly impressed upon those who are employed to bring him off. The sergeant must be very circumspect;—too much zeal may create suspicion,—and too much precipitancy may defeat the project. The most inviolable secrecy must be observed on all hands. I send you five guineas; but I am not satisfied of the propriety of the sergeant’s appearing with much specie. This circumstance may also lead to suspicion, as it is but too well knoun to the enemy that we do not abound in this article.

The interviews between the party in and out of the city, should be managed with much caution and seeming indifference; or else the frequency of their meetings, &c. may betray the design, and involve bad consequences; but I am persuaded you will place every matter in a proper point of view to the conductors of this interesting business, and therefore I shall only add, that I am, dear sir, &c. &c.


[28] When general Washington was called by president Adams to the command of the army, prepared to defend the country from French hostility, he sent to lieutenant colonel Lee to inquire for Champe; being determined to bring him into the field at the head of a company of infantry.

Lee sent to Loudon county, where Champe settled after his discharge from the army; when he learned that the gallant soldier had removed to Kentucky, where he soon after died.

[29] Colonel Hamilton had, before the war, resided in Norfolk; where his goodness, hospitality and urbanity had attracted universal esteem. His business leading him into much acquaintance with the inhabitants of North Carolina, he acquired there, at in Norfolk, the general regard. Believing the mother country right in the dispute which led to the war, Hamilton took part with Great Britain, and became a soldier. He raised a regiment of North Carolinians, and both in the field and in the cabinet performed essential services to his general: serving in the South, first under Prevost, afterwards under sir Henry Clinton, and lastly under lord Cornwallis, in whose confidence he stood very high. Not only the native goodness of his heart set Hamilton against those destructive proceedings too often practised by the corps of Tarleton; but he was particularly desirous to preserve the inhabitants of North Carolina safe from insult and injury; in consequence as well of his own acquaintance with many of them, as of his present solicitude to bring the mass of the people into support of the royal measures.

[30] At Swift run, and at Fish creek, parties of our militia skirmished with the British van,—but these attempts were slight and soon crushed. They were the only ones essayed between Wilmington and Halifax, where a more serious effort ensued; but this too was quickly overpowered.

[31] These enormities being discovered by lord Cornwallis, he followed the light troops about four miles beyond the Roanoke, and halted their march.

“On the arrival of some country people, earl Cornwallis directed lieutenant colonel Tarleton to dismount his dragoons and mounted infantry, and to form them into a rank entire for the convenient inspection ofthe inhabitants, to facilitate the discovery of the villains who had committed atrocious outrages the preceding evening. A sergeant and one private dragoon were pointed out, and accused of rape and robbery: they were conducted to Halifax, where they were condemned to death by martial law. The immediate infliction of the sentence, exhibited to the army and manifested to the country the discipline and justice of the British general.” (See Tarleton’s Campaigns.)

[32] James Monroe, now secretary of state.

[33] John Mercer, late governor of Maryland.

[34] It is well known that the marshal D’Estrees was opposed, in the preceding war, to the duke of Cumberland in Germany; and that passing the river Weser, he followed the duke step by step; overtook him at Hastenbek, fought him and beat him.

Marshal Richelieu now succeeded D’Estrees, and pressing the late victory, drove the duke upon the mouth of the Elbe, when he surrendered his army by convention; by which means the electorate of Hanover fell into the possession of the French.

The great Frederick, already in the greatest distress, was in consequence of the surrender of the duke of Cumberland, more oppressed; as it enabled the prince of Soubise, at the head of one of the armies closing upon Frederick, to draw a considerable reinforcement from marshal Richelieu. Nevertheless the king of Prussia fell upon Soubise at Rosbach, and gained a signal victory. The Hanoverians, encouraged by this event, exerted themselves greatly; and as the French monarch had not ratified the convention of Closterseven, the army of the duke was considered as relieved from its conditions, and joined to the Hanoverians. Richelieu was speedily forced out of Hanover with considerable loss; and the electorate restored to the king of England.

[35] The Point of Fork is the tongue of land made by the Rivannah and Fluvannah rivers at their confluence, when the united streams take the name of James river.

[36] This officer was a near relation to Francis Kinlock, member of congress. When he left England for America he told their, common relations, that he should certainly capture his cousin; which prediction was now verified, improbable as it was.

[37] Copy of a letter from earl Cornwallis to lieutenant colonel Tarleton.

Jefferson’s Plantation, June 9th, 1781.


You will proceed with the detachment of cavalry and mounted infantry under your command, before day break to-morrow morning, to Old Albemarle court-house, where you will destroy any stores you may find. If you then hear of no other stores of any consequence on this side the Fluvannah, and the baron Steuben should be still on the other side, you will cross that river, and make it your principal object to strike a blow at baron Steuben; as the corps under his command consists of part of the new leveys, and is the foundation on which the body of the eighteen month’s men, lately voted by the province of Virginia, will be formed. It will be of the utmost importance to defeat and destroy it: I shall, therefore, wish you to take every mean in your power of effecting this service, if you shpuld see a probability of success. I likewise recommend it to you to destroy all the enemy’s stores and tobacco between James river and the Dan; and if there should be a quantity of provisions or corn collected at a private house, I would have you destroy it, even although there should be no proof of its being intended for the public service, leaving enough for the support of the family; as there is the greatest reason to apprehend that such provisions will be ultimately appropriated by the enemy to the use of general Greene’s army, which, from the present state of the Carolinas, must depend on this province for its supplies.

I shall proceed by easy marches to Richmond, and it will probably be a business of eight or nine days from this time before I can get up my boats to that place to receive you; so that you may very well employ that time on your expedition. As it is very probable that some of the light troops of general Greene’s army may be on their march to this country, you will do all you can to procure intelligence of their route. I need not tell you of what importance it will be to intercept them, or any prisoners of ours from South Carolina.

I would have all persons of consequence, either civil or military, brought to me before they are paroled. Most sincerely wishing you success, and placing the greatest confidence in your zeal and abilities, I am, with great truth and regard, Dear Tarleton, Most faithfully yours,


[38] Copy of a letter from earl Cornwallis to sir Henry Clinton.

Byrd’s plantation, James river, 26th May, 1781.

The arrival of the reinforcement has made me easy about Portsmouth for the present. I have sent general Leslie thither with the seventeenth regiment and the two battalions of Anspach, keeping the forty-third with the army. I shall now proceed to dislodge La Fayette from Richmond; and, with my light troops, to destroy any magazines or stores in the neighborhood, which may have been collected either for his use or general Greene’s army. From thence I propose to move to the neck of Williamsburgh, which is represented as healthy, and where some subsistence may be procured; and keep myself unengaged from operations which might interfere with your plan for the campaign, until I have the satisfaction of hearing from you. I hope I shall then have an opportunity to receive better information than has hitherto been in my power to procure, relative to a proper harbor and place of arms. At present I am inclined to think well of York. The objections to Portsmouth are, that it cannot be made strong, without an army to defend it; that it is remarkably unhealthy, and can’give no protection to a ship of the line. Wayne has not yet joined La Fayette; nor can I positively learn where he is, nor what is his force. Greene’s cavalry are said to be coming this way; but I have no certain accounts of it.

[39] See his letter, [note 43].

[40] The seat of sir William Berkeley, formerly governor of Virginia; and afterwards of Philip Ludwell, one of the king’s council.

[41] One of whom was Ludwell Lee, esq.

[42] La Fayette moved from Greenspring at three; and so much time was consumed in passing this defile, that his main body did not get up with the enemy, encamped not more than one mile and a half distant, until near sunset; which effect shows, in a military point of view, the disadvantages eventually accruing from the interposition of this defile.

[43] Extract of a letter from sir Henry Clinton to earl Cornwallis, dated

New York, June 11, 1781.

Respecting my opinions of stations in James and York rivers, I shall beg leave only to refer your lordship to my instructions to, and correspondence with, general Phillips and Arnold; together with the substance of conversations with the former, which your lordship will have found among general Phillips’ papers, and to which I referred you in my last despatch. I shall, therefore, of course, approve of any alteration your lordship may think proper to make in these stations.

The detachments I have made from this army into Chesapeak, since general Leslie’s expedition in October last, inclusive, have amounted to seven thousand seven hundred and twenty-four effectives; and at the time your lordship made the junction with the corps there, there were under major general Phillips’ orders, five thousand three hundred and four: a force, I should have hoped, would be sufficient of itself to have carried on operations in any of the southern provinces of America; where, as appears by the intercepted letters of Washington and La Fayette, they are in no situation to stand against even a division of that army.

I have reason to suppose the continentals, under La Fayette, cannot exceed one thousand; and I am told by lieutenant colonel Hill, of the ninth regiment, that about a fortnight ago he met at Fredericktown the Pennsylvania line, under Wayne, of about the same number; who were so discontented, that their officers were afraid to trust them with ammunition. This, however, may have since altered; and your lordship may possibly have opposed to you from fifteen hundred to two thousand continentals, and (as La Fayette observes) a small body of ill armed peasantry, full as spiritless as the militia of the southern provinces, and without any service.

Comparing, therefore, the force now under your lordship in the Chesapeak, and that of the enemy opposed to you, (and I think it clearly appears that they have for the present no intention of sending thither reinforcements,) I should have hoped you would have quite sufficient to carry on any operation in Virginia, should that have been advisable at this advanced season.

By the intercepted letters inclosed to your lordship in my last despatch, you will observe, that I am threatened with a siege in this post. My present effective force is only ten thousand nine hundred and thirty-one. With respect to that the enemy may collect for such an object, it is probable they may amount to at least twenty thousand, besides reinforcements to the French, (which, from pretty good authority, I have reason to expect,) and the numerous militia of the five neighboring provinces. Thus circumstanced, I am persuaded your lordship will be of opinion, that the sooner I concentrate my force the better. Therefore, (unless your lordship, after the receipt of my letter of the 29th of May and the 8th instant, should incline to agree with me in opinion, and judge it right to adopt my ideas respecting the move to Baltimore, or the Delaware neck, &c.) I beg leave to recommend it to you, as soon as you have finished the active operations you may now be engaged in, to take a defensive station, in any healthy situation you choose, (be it at Williamsburgh or York Town); and I would wish, in that case, that, after reserving to yourself such troops as you may judge necessary for ample defensive, and desultory movements by water, for the purpose of annoying the communications, destroying magazines, &c., the following corps may be sent to me in succession, as you can spare them: two battalions of light infantry; forty-third regiment; seventy-sixth or eightieth regiments; two battalions of Anspach; Queen’s rangers, cavalry and infantry; remains of the detachment of the seventeenth light dragoons; and such proportion of artillery as can be spared, particularly men.

[44] Copy of the report of lieutenant Sutherland, engineer, dated

Billy, ordnance transport, Hampton Roads, July 25, 1781.


Agreeably to your orders, I have examined the ground on Old Point Comfort with as much accuracy as I possibly could; and for your lordship’s better information, I have made a survey of the ground, upon which is laid down the width and sounding of the channel. I beg leave to offer what appears to me, respecting the situation of a work on that spot.

The ground where the ruins of fort George lie is the fittest for a work, but at the same time must be attended with many inconveniences.

The level of the ground there is about two feet higher than the high water mark; which, from its very short distance to the deep water, must soon be destroyed by a naval attack.

The great width and depth of the channel give ships the advantage of passing the fort with very little risk. I apprehend one thousand five hundred yards is too great a distance for batteries to stop ships, which is the distance here. Ships that wish to pass the fire of the fort, have no occasion to approach nearer.

Nor do I imagine a fort built there could afford any great protection to an inferior and weak fleet, anchored near the fort, against a superior fleet of the enemy; which must have it in their power to make their own disposition, and place our fleet between them and the fort; the channel affording no bay for the security of ships under cover of a fort.

The time and expense to build a fort there must be very considerable, from the low situation of the ground, which must necessarily cause the soil to be moved from a great distance to form the ramparts and parapets; and every other material must be carried there, as the timber on the peninsula is unfit for any useful purpose.

These are the remarks which have occurred to me on examining the ground and situation of a work on Old Point Comfort, for the protection of the harbor and fleet; which I humbly submit to your lordship. I have the honor to be, &c.


[45] Mercer having resigned his commission in the army, (as has been mentioned,) and not being an officer in the militia, the court of the county of Stafford, in which he was born, recommended him (as is required by the constitution of the state of Virginia) to the executive, who conferred on him the commission of lieutenant colonel.

[46] The soldiers of Greene’s army may truly call these hills benignant. Twice our general there resorted, with his sick, his wounded and worn down troops; and twice we were restored to
health and strength, by its elevated dry situation, its pure air, its fine water, and the friendly hospitality of its inhabitants.

[47] So extremely beloved was this citizen by his neighbors that when a company of volunteers was levied near his residence in the beginning of the war, Hayne was called unanimously to the commard of it.

He obeyed the call, and fulfilled the duties of his station honorably to himself and beneficially to his soldiers.

The regiment to which the company was attached being destitute of field officers, Hayne was named as colonel. He did not succeed, owing to some intrigues believed to be practised in favor of his competitor, which so disgusted captain Hayne that he resigned his commission and returned to the ranks, where by his exemplary zeal and obedience he very much advanced the discipline of the regiment) and highly contributed to its subsequent utility.

[48] “If the British would grant me the indulgence, which we in the day of our power gave to their adherents, of removing my family and property, I would seek an asylum in the remotest corner of the United States rather than submit to their government; but as they allow no other alternative than submission or confinement in the capital, at a distance from my wife and family, at a time when they are in the most pressing need of my presence and support, I must for the present yield to the demands of the conquerors. I request you to bear in mind, that, previous to my taking this step, I declare that it is contrary to my inclination, and forced on me by hard necessity. I never will bear arms against my country. My new masters can require no service of me but what is enjoined by the old militia law of the province, which substitutes a fine in lieu of personal service. That I will pay as the price of my protection. If my conduct should be censured by my countrymen, I beg that you would remember this conversation, and bear witness for me, that I do not mean to desert the cause of America.”

[49] Present secretary of the navy.

[50] From the character of major Harden it is to be presumed that the inferiority of his force forbad this measure, or it would have been resorted to.

[51] One of the thousand instances during the war of the waste of American life by confidence in militia, and among the numerous evidences in favor of a classification of our militia, by which measure we should obtain defenders worthy of the high trust reposed in them

[52] Extract of a letter from lieutenant colonel Balfour to major general Greene, dated Charleslon, September 3, 1781.

I come now to that part which has respect to the execution of colonel Hayne; on which head I am to inform you it took place by the joint order of lord Rawdon and myself, in consequence of the most express directions from lord Cornwallis to us, in regard to all those who should be found in arms, after being at their own request received as subjects, since the capitulation of Charleston and the clear conquest of the province in the summerof 1780; more especially such as should have accepted of commissions, or might distinguish themselves in inducing a revolt of the country. To his lordship, therefore, as being answerable for this measure, the appeal will more properly be made, and on such appeal, I must not doubt, every fit satisfaction will be tendered; but as the threat in your letter is of a nature which may extend in its consequences to the most disagreeable and serious lengths, I cannot dismiss this subject without some general remarks, still referring for the particular justification to the opinion and decision of lord Cornwallis, immediately under whom I have the honor to act.

And first I must conceive, without adverting to the particular cause of dispute between Great Britain and this country, that on the subjection of any territory, the inhabitants of it owe allegiance to the conquering power, (in the present case a voluntary acknowledgment was given, and consequent protection received;) and that on any account to recede from it, is justly punishable with death, by whatever law, either civil or military, is then prevalent.

To justify retaliation, I am convinced you will agree, a parity of circumstances in all respects is required; without such, every shadow of justice is removed, and vengeance only points to indiscriminate horrors.

[53] See Gentleman’s London Magazine for 1782.

[54] Copy of a letter from major Andre to general Washington, dated

Tappan, October 1, 1780.


Buoyed above the terror of death, by the consciousness of a life devoted to honorable pursuits, and stained with no action that can give me remorse, I trust that the request I make to your excellency at this serious period, and which is to soften my last moments, will not be rejected.

Sympathy towards a soldier will surely induce your excellency, and a military tribunal, to adapt the mode of my death to the feelings of a man of honor.

Let me hope, sir, that if aught in my character impresses you with esteem towards me; if aught in my misfortunes marks me as the victim of policy, and not of resentment; I shall experience the operation of these feelings in your breast, by being informed that I am not to die on a gibbet. I have the honor to be, your excellency’s most obedient, and most humble servant,

Adjutant-general to the British army.

[55] This farm belonged to Henry Laurens, one of the most respectable, honorable and distinguished statesmen of our country. He had for many years been a member of congress, and was president of that body in a very trying period of the war. He was afterwards appointed minister plenipotentiary to the United Provinces, and was unfortunately captured on his voyage by a British cruiser. On landing in England, he was sent to London, when he was immediately committed to the tower. From this confinement, and its eventual consequence, death upon a gibbet, he was relieved by the surrender of the army of lord Cornwallis; from which era the enemy relinquished every hope of subjugation, and turned his attention with diligence to the conclusion of peace.

Laurens went from England to France, where he assisted in the negotiations which were terminated by the treaty of peace.

[56] Extract from Tarleton’s Campaigns,—”There appears to be an error in this statement of the force marched from Charleston. Lord Rawdon, in his letter of the 5th, to earl Cornwallis, says, he should move on the 7th of June towards Ninety-Six with the troops at Monk’s Corner, and the flank companies of the three regiments lately arrived. Therefore it seems more probable that lord Rawdon’s whole force did not exceed two thousand men, viz. the garrison withdrawn from Cambden; lieutenant colonel Watson’s corps; major M’Arthur’s reinforcement; and the flank companies of colonel Gould’s brigade.” Add to this the regulars of the garrison of Ninety-Six (four hundred) and the flank companies under Majoribanks, between two and three hundred.

[57] The rooting party, being unarmed, hastened back to the British camp upon the first fire, and therefore escaped.

[58] This regiment was one of the three which had lately arrived from Ireland, and had never before been in action; yet, nevertheless, fought with the most determined courage. The regiment of Maryland, under lieutenant colonel Howard, was opposed to it; and such was the obstinacy with which the contest was maintained, that a number of the soldiers fell transfixed by each other’s bayonet.

[59] Colonel Philip Stuart, now a member of congress from Maryland.

[60] When lieutenant colonel Lee took charge of his infantry, general Greene was pleased to direct that the cavalry of the legion should be placed at his disposal. It accordingly followed, at a safe distance, in the rear of the infantry.

Being sent for at this crisis (as has been related) only one troop appeared. Major Eggleston had been previously ordered into action, and had been foiled, by encountering the same sort of obstacle experienced by Washington, as was afterwards ascertained.

To this unfortunate and unauthorized order, may be ascribed the turn in this day’s battle. Had the legion cavalry been all up at this crisis, Coffin would have been cut to pieces, the enemy’s left occupied in force, the route already commenced completed, and Stuart wpuld have been deprived, by the change in our position, of the aid derived from the brick house; and his army must in consequence have laid down their arms.

[61] Doctor Ramsay has represented the death of this highly respected officer differently, from information which no doubt the doctor accredited.

But as the writer was personally acquainted with the transaction, he cannot refrain from stating it exactly as it happened. The Virginians had begun to fire, which was not only against orders, but put in danger Rudolph and his party, then turning the enemy’s left. To stop this fire, lieutenant colonel Lee galloped down the line to Campbell, and while speaking to him on the subject, the lieutenant colonel received his wound, of which he soon expired without uttering a word.

[62] See Appendix, Q and Q.

[63] By the United States in Congress assembled, October 29th, 1781.

Resolved, That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled, be presented to major general Greene, for his wise, decisive and magnanimous conduct in the action of the 8th of September last, near the Eutaw Springs, in South Carolina; in which, with a force inferior in number to that of the enemy, he obtained a most signal victory.

That the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, be presented to the officers and men of the Maryland and Virginia brigades, and Delaware battalion of continental troops, for the unparalleled bravery and heroism by them displayed, in advancing to the enemy through an incessant fire, and charging them with an impetuosity and ardor that could not be resisted.

That the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, be presented to the officers and men of the legionary corps and artillery, for their intrepid and gallant exertions during the action.

That the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, be presented to the brigade of North Carolina, for their resolution and perseverance in attacking the enemy, and sustaining a superior fire.

That the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, be presented to the officers and men of the state corps of South Carolina, for the zeal, activity and firmness by them exhibited throughout the engagement.

That the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, be presented to the officers and men of the militia, who formed the front line in the order of battle, and sustained their post with honor, propriety, and a resolution worthy of men determined to be free.

Resolved, That a British standard be presented to major general Greene, as an honorable testimony of his merit, and a golden medal emblematical of the battle and victory aforesaid.

That major general Greene be desired to present the thanks of Congress to captains Pierce and Pendleton, major Hyrne and captain Shubrick, his aids de camp, in testimony of their particular activity and good conduct during ihe whole of the battle.

That a sword be presented to captain Pierce, who bore the general’s despatches, giving an account of the victory; and that the board of war take order herein.

Resolved, That the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, be presented to brigadier general Marion, of the South Carolina militia, for his wise, gallant and decided conduct in defending the liberties of his country; and particularly for his prudent and intrepid attack on a body of British troops, on the 30th day of August last; and for the distinguished part he took in the battle of the 8th of September.

Extract from the minutes,

[64] After the battle, lieutenant colonel Stuart ordered all the arms belonging to the dead and wounded to be collected, which was accordingly done. When the army had marched off the ground, this pile of arms was set on fire by the rear guard. Many of the muskets being loaded, an irregular discharge took place, resembling the desultory fire which usually precedes battle. The retreating army at once presumed that Greene was up, and had commenced his attack on its rear. Dismay and confusion took place; wagoners cut their horses from the wagons and rode off, abandoning their wagons.

The followers of the army fled in like manner, and the panic was rapidly spreading, when the firing in the rear ceased. Colonel Washington, who had been taken, though indulged with his parole, was accompanied by two officers. These gentlemen abandoned the colonel and galloped off, not liking present appearances; but as soon as the mistake was discovered returned to their prisoner. Washington, after his exchange, communicated these facts to his friend major Pendleton, aid-de-camp to general Greene.

[65] Six millions of livres tournais, a part of which was applied to the purchase of clothing for our army, and the balance was drawn by bills on Paris.

[66] Congress had demanded from the states an army of thirty-seven thousand men, to assemble in January. In May our whole force, from New Hampshire to Georgia, did not exceed ten thousand; nor had we adequate supplies of provisions and clothing even for this small force.

“Instead of having magazines filled with provisions, we have a scanty pittance scattered here and there in the different states. Instead of having our arsenals well supplied with military stores, they are poorly provided, and the workmen all leaving them. Instead of having the various articles of field equipage in readiness to deliver, the quartermaster general is but now applying to the several states (as the dernier resort) to provide these things for their troops respectively. Instead of having a regular system of transportation established upon credit,—or funds in the quartermaster’s hands to defray the contingent expenses of it,—we have neither the one nor the other; and all that business, or a great part of it, being done by military impressment, we are daily and hourly oppressing the people, souring their tempers, alienating their affections. Instead of having the regiments completed to the new establishments, (and which ought to have been so by the — day of —, agreeably to the requisitions of congress). scarce any state in the Union has, at this hour, one eighth part of its quota in the field; and there is little prospect, that I can see, of ever getting more than half. In a word, instead of having every thing in readiness to take the field, we have nothing. And instead of having the prospect of a glorious offensive campaign before us, we have a bewildered and gloomy prospect of a defensive one; unless we should receive a powerful aid of ships, land troops and money from our generous allies: and these at present are too contingent to build upon.” Extract from Washington’s Journal, published in Marshall’s Life of Washington.

[67] To this admirable and judicious decision of the count de Grasse we owe the propitious event which followed, and which led to peace and independence.

Very properly did congress take care of the relatives of the count when lately so oppressed with adversity. Sir G. B. Rodney was completely deceived: for he would not for a moment believe that the French admiral would risk such a valuable fleet with such slight protection, and therefore detached only fourteen sail of the line to our coast, which secured to our ally the naval ascendency so essential to our success.

[68] “And it came to pass in those days there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.” St. Luke, ii. l.” Give to the emperor of France the British fleet, and we shall soon read and feel a similar decree.

[69] A technical term, which signifies the keeping of the windward of your object.

[70] A strong corps was placed under general Arnold, who embarking at New York went up the Sound. He landed at New London, where we had a considerable collection of naval stores.

This town is situated on the west side of New Thames, and was defended by two forts, one called fort Trumbull, and the other fort Griswold. On the appearance of Arnold, fort Trumbull was evacuated, and the garrison drawn into fort Griswold, where lieutenant colonel Ledyard commanded with only one hundred and sixty men.

Lieutenant colonel Eyre, at the head of nearly three regiments, summoned Ledyard to surrender, which being refused. Eyre advanced with fixed bayonets. Never during the war was more gallantry displayed, than on this occasion, both by the assailant and the assailed. At length the British made a lodgment in our ditch, and forced their way by the bayonet through the embrasures. Eyre was killed, as was major Montgomery, second in command, and nearly two hundred privates were killed and wounded. The intrepid Ledyard, being overpowered, delivered his sword to the conqueror, who, to his eternal disgrace, plunged it into the bosom of his conquered antagonist. This bloody example was followed, and the carnage was continued by the slaughter of the greater part of the garrison. The town and every thing in it was consumed by fire, believed by the Americans to be done intentionally, but ascribed to accident by the enemy.

[71] Washington’s solicitude to take care of West Point was unceasing, and would have infallibly recalled him to its vicinity, as soon as he despaired of overtaking Cornwallis.

[72] This superior soldier fell in tlie important victory which he gained on the Heights of Abraham, in the year 1759, when he was thirty-six years of age. Had he lived he would have been fifty-two in the beginning of our war, and very probably would have been placed at the head of the forces sent to America. His letter, written a few days before his death, portrays his vast genius, and it is inserted in the appendix for the edification of my military readers. See Appendix R.

[73] Copy of a letter from sir Henry Clinton to earl Cornwallis, dated

New York, September 24, 1781.


I was honored yesterday with your lordship’s letter of the 16th and 17th instant; and, at a meeting of the general and flag officers held this day, it is determined that above five thousand men, rank and file, shall be embarked on board the king’s ships, and the joint exertions of the navy and army made in a few days to relieve you, and afterwards co-operate with you.

The fleet consists of twenty-three sail of the line, three of which are three deckers. There is every reason to hope we start from hence the 5th of October. I have received your lordship’s letter of the 8th instant. I have the honor to be, &c.


P. S. Admiral Digby is this moment arrived at the Hook, with three sail of the line.

At a venture, without knowing whether they can be seen by us, I request, that, if all is well, upon hearing a considerable firing towards the entrance of the Chesapeak, three large separate smokes may be made parallel to it; and if you possess the post of Gloucester, four.

I shall send another runner soon.    H. CLINTON.

[74] A part of the duke de Lauzun’s regiment (called hulans) were armed with spears.

[75] An unhappy difference had occurred in the transaction of business between the general and his much respected aid, which produced the latter’s withdraw from his family. A few days preceding this period, Hamilton had been engaged all the morning in copying some despatches, which the general, when about to take his usual rounds, directed him to forward as soon as finished.

Washington finding on his return the despatches on the table, renewed his directions in expressions indicating his surprise at the delay; and again leaving his apartment, found, when he returned, the despatches where he had left them. At this time Hamilton had gone out in search of the courier, who had been long waiting, when accidentally he met the maquis La Fayette, who seizing him by the button (as was the habit of this zealous nobleman) engaged him in conversation; which being continued with the marquis’s usual earnestness, dismissed from Hamilton’s mind for some minutes the object in view. At length breaking off from the marquis he reached the courier, and directed him to come forward to receive his charge and orders. Returning he found the general seated by the table, on which lay the despatches. The moment he appeared, Washington, with warmth and sternness, chided him for the delay; to which Hamilton mildly replied, stating the cause; when the general, rather irritated than mollified, sternly rebuked him. To this Hamilton answered, “If your excellency thinks proper thus to address me, it is time for me to leave you.” He proceeded to the table, took up the despatch, sent off the express, packed up his baggage, and quitted headquarters.

Although Washington took no measures to restore him to his family, yet he treated him with the highest respect; giving to him the command of a regiment of light infantry, which now formepa part of La Fayette’s corps. In the arrangements for the assault of the redoubt, La Fayette had given his van to his own aid-de-camp, lieutenant colonel Gimat; but it being Hamilton’s tour of duty, he remonstrated to the marquis upon the injustice of such preference. La Fayette excused himself by saying, that the arrangements made had been sanctioned by the commander in chief, and could not be changed by him. This no doubt was true; but Washington did not know that any officer had been called to command out of tour.

Hamilton, always true to the feelings of honor and independence, repelled this answer, and left the marquis, announcing his determination to appeal to headquarters. This he accordingly did do, in a spirited and manly letter. Washington, incapable of injustice, sent for the marquis, and inquiring into the fact, found that the tour of duty belonging to Hamilton had been given to Gimat. He instantly directed the marquis to reinstate Hamilton, who consequently was put at the head of the van, which he conducted so advantageously to the service and so honorably to himself.

This anecdote was communicated to the writer by lieutenant colonel Hamilton, during the siege of York Town.

[76] Louis XV, after gaining the battle of Fontenoy, despatched M. de la Tour with the intelligence to his ally the great Frederick. La Tour reached the king of Prussia passing at the head of his army the defiles of the mountains in Upper Silesia, near the village of Friedburgh; where in a few hours he attacked the Austrian army, and gained a signal victory, which he announced to the king of France by M. de la Tour in the following words: “The bill of exchange which you drew on me at Fontenoy, I have paid at Friedburgh.” Voltaire.

[77] This would have comprehended all the horses in camp to be spared from other indispensable services, as well as all to be afforded by the country; and no doubt, upon such an occasion, every horse in the neighborhood and along the route of march would have been proffered, and indeed such a collection in four days could not be effected but by great exertions.

[78] We have just narrated the expedition of colonel Fanning, proving conclusively the ipcapable condition of the well affected of North Carolina; and general Greene was south of the Santee, too distant to interpose.


Copy of the Correspondence.
Earl Cornwallis to general Washington.

York, Virginia, October 17, 1781.


I propose a cessation of hostilities for twenty-four hours; and that two officers may be appointed by each side, to meet at Mr. Moore’s house, to settle terms for the surrender of the posts of York and Gloucester.


General Washington to earl Cornwallis.

Camp before York, October 17, 1781.


I have the honor of receiving your lordship’s letter of this date.

An ardent desire to save the effusion of human blood will readily incline me to listen to such terms, for the surrender of your posts and garrisons at York and Gloucester, as are admissible.

I wish, previous to the meeting of the commissioners, that your lordship’s proposals, in writing, may be sent to the American lines; for which purpose, a suspension of hostilities, during two hour’s from the delivery of this letter, will be granted.


Earl Cornwallis to general Washington.

York, 17th October, 1781.


I have been this moment honored with your excellency’s letter dated this day.

The time limited for sending my answer will not admit of entering into the detail of articles; but the basis of my proposals will be, that the garrisons of York and Gloucester shall be prisoners of war, with the customary honors; and for the convenience of the individuals which I have the honor to command, that the British shall be sent to Britain, and the Germans to Germany, under engagements not to serve against France, America, or their allies, until released, or regularly exchanged. That all arms and public stores shall be delivered up to you; but that the usual indulgence of side arms to officers, and of retaining private property, shall be granted to officers and soldiers; and that the interest of the several individuals in civil capacities and connected with us, shall be attended to.

If your excellency thinks that a continuance of the suspension of hostilities will be necessary to transmit your answer, I shall have no objection to the hour that you may propose. I have the honor to be, &c.


General Washington to earl Cornwallis.

Camp before York, 18th October, 1781.


To avoid unnecessary discussions and delays, I shall at once, in answer to your lordship’s letter of yesterday, declare the general basis upon which a definitive treaty of capitulation may take place.

The garrisons of York and Gloucester, including the seamen, as you propose, shall be received prisoners of war. The condition annexed, of sending the British and German troops to the parts of Europe to which they respectively belong, is inadmissible. Instead of this they will be marched to such parts of the country as can most conveniently provide for their subsistence; and the benevolent treatment of the prisoners, which is invariably observed by the Americans, will be extended to them. The same honors will be granted to the surrendering army as were granted to the garrison of Charleston.

The shipping and boats in the two harbors, with all their guns, stores, tackling, furniture, and apparel, shall be delivered in their present state to an officer of the navy appointed to take possession of them.

The artillery, arms, accoutrements, military chest, and public stores of every denomination, shall be delivered, unimpaired, to the heads of the departments to which they respectively belong.

The officers shall be indulged in retaining their side arms; and the officers and soldiers may preserve their baggage and effects, with this reserve, that property taken in the country will be reclaimed.

With regard to the individuals in civil capacities, whose interest your lordship wishes may be attended to, until they are more particularly described, nothing definitive can be settled.

I have to add, that I expect the sick and wounded will be supplied with their own hospital stores, and be attended by British surgeons, particularly charged with the care of them.

Your lordship will be pleased to signify your determination, either to accept or reject the proposals now offered, in the course of two hours from the delivery of this letter, that commissioners may be appointed to digest the articles of capitulation, or a renewal of hostilities may take place. I have the honor to be. &c.


Earl Cornwallis to general Washington, dated

York, 18th October, 1781.


I agree to open a treaty of capitulation upon the basis of the garrisons of York and Gloucester, including seamen, being prisoners of war, without annexing the condition of their being sent to Europe; but I expect to receive a compensation in the articles of capitulation for the surrender of Gloucester in its present state of defence.

I shall, in particular, desire that the Bonetta sloop of war may be left entirely at my disposal, from the hour that the capitulation is signed, to receive an aid-de-camp to carry my despatches to sir Henry Clinton. Such soldiers as I may think proper to send as passengers in her, to be manned with fifty men of her own crew, and to be permitted to sail, without examination, Avhen my despatches are ready; engaging on my part, that the ship shall be brought back and delivered to you, if she escapes the dangers of the sea; that the crew and soldiers shall be accounted for in future exchanges; that she shall carry off no officer without your consent, nor public property of any kind. And I shall likewise desire that the traders and inhabitants may preserve their property, and that no person may be punished or molested for having joined the British troops.

If you choose to proceed to negotiation on these grounds, I shall appoint two field officers of my army to meet two officers from you at any time and place that you think proper, to digest the articles of capitulation. I have the honor to be. &c.



Articles of Capitulation.

Article 1st. The garrisons of York and Gloucester, including the officers and seamen of his Britannic majesty’s ships, as well as other mariners, to surrender themselves prisoners of war to the combined forces of America and France. The land troops to remain prisoners to the United States; the naval to the naval army of his most christian majesty.

Answer. Granted.

Article 2d. The artillery, arms, accoutrements, military chest, and public stores of every denomination, shall be delivered, unimpaired, to the heads of departments appointed to receive them.

Answer, Granted.

Article 5d. At twelve o’clock this day the two redoubts on the left flank of York to be delivered; the one to a detachment of the American army, the other to a detachment of French grenadiers.

Answer. Granted.

The garrison of York will march out to a place to be appointed in front of the posts, at two o’clock precisely, with shouldered arms, colors cased, and drums beating a British or German march. They are then to ground their arms, and return to their encampments, where they will remain until they are despatched to the places of their destination. Two works on the Gloucester side will be delivered at one o’clock to a detachment of PVench and American troops appointed to possess them. The garrison will march out at three o’clock in the afternoon: the cavalry, with their swords drawn, trumpets sounding; and the infantry in the manner prescribed for the garrison of York. They are likewise to return to their encampments until they can be finally marched off.

Article 4th. Officers are to retain their side arms. Both officers and soldiers to keep their private property of every kind, and no part of their baggage or papers to be at any time subject to search or inspection. The baggage and papers of officers and soldiers taken during the siege to be likewise preserved for them.

Answer. Granted.

It is understood, that any property, obviously belonging to the inhabitants of these states, in the possession of the garrison, shall be subject to be reclaimed.

Article 5th. The soldiers to be kept in Virginia, Maryland, or Pennsylvania, and as much by regiments as possible, and supplied with the same rations of provisions as are allowed to soldiers in the service of America. A field officer from each nation, to wit, British, Anspach, and Hessian, and other officers on parole in the proportion of one to fifty men, to be allowed to reside near their respective regiments, to visit them frequently, and be witnesses of their treatment; and that their officers may receive and deliver clothing and other necessaries for them; for which passports are to be granted when applied for.

Answer. Granted.

Article 6th. The general, staff, and other officers not employed as mentioned in the above articles, and who choose it, to be permitted to go on parole to Europe, to New York, or any other American maritime post at present in the possession of the British forces, at their own option; and proper vessels to be granted by the count de Grasse to carry them under flags of truce to New York within ten days from this date, if possible; and they to reside in a district, to be agreed upon hereafter, until they embark.

The officers of the civil department of the army and navy to be included in this article. Passports, to go by land, to be granted to those to whom vessels cannot be furnished.

Answer. Granted.

Article 7th. The officers to be allowed to keep soldiers as servants, according to the common practice of the service. Servants, not soldiers, are not to be considered as prisoners, and are to be allowed to attend their masters.

Answer. Granted.

Article 8th. The Bonetta sloop of war to be equipped, and navigated by its present captain and crew, and left entirely at the disposal of lord Cornwallis from the hour that the capitulation is signed, to receive an aid-de-camp to carry despatches to sir Henry Clinton, and such soldiers as he may think proper to send to New York; to be permitted to sail without examination, when his despatches are ready.

His lordship engages, on his part, that the ship shall be delivered to the order of the count de Grasse, if she escapes the dangers of the sea; that she shall not carry off any public stores. Any part of the crew that may be deficient on her return, and the soldiers, passengers, to be accounted for on her delivery.

Answer. Granted.

Article 9th. The traders are to preserve their property, and to be allowed three months to dispose of or remove them; and those traders are not to be considered as prisoners of war.

Article 9th. Answered. The traders will be allowed to dispose of their effects, the allied army having the right of pre-emption. The traders to be considered as prisoners of war upon parole.

Article 10th. Natives or inhabitants of different parts of this country, at present in York or Gloucester, are not to be punished on account of having joined the British army.

Article 10th. Answered. This article cannot be assented to, being altogether of civil resort.

Article 11th. Proper hospitals to be furnished for the sick and wounded. They are to be attended to by their own surgeons on parole; and they are to be furnished with medicines and stores from the American hospitals.

Answered. The hospital stores now in York and Gloucester shall be delivered for the use of the British sick and wounded. Passports will be granted for procuring them further supplies from New York, as occasion may require; and proper hospitals will be furnished for the reception of the sick and wounded of the two garrisons.

Article 12th. Wagons to be furnished to carry the baggage of the officers attending the soldiers, and to surgeons when travelling on account of the sick, attending the hospitals at public expense.

Answer. They are to be furnished if possible.

Article 13th. The shipping and boats in the two harbors, with all their stores, guns, tackling, and apparel, shall be delivered up in their present state to an officer of the navy appointed to take possession of them, previously unloading the private property, part of which had been on board for security during the siege.

Answer. Granted.

Article 14th. No article of capitulation to be infringed on pretence of reprisals; and if there be any doubtful expressions in it, they are to be interpreted according to the common meaning and acceptation of the words.

Answer. Granted.

Done at York in Virginia, October 19th, 1781.


Done in the trenches before Yorktown, in Virginia, October 19th, 1781.

LE COMTE DE BARRAS, en mon nom et celui du Comte de Grasse.

[81] See Appendix, N.

[82] By the United States, in Congress assembled, October 29th, 1781.

Resolved, That the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, be presented to his excellency general Washington, for the eminent services which he has rendered to the United States, and paiticularly for the well concerted plan against the British garrisons in York and Gloucester; for the vigor, attention, and military skill with which the plan was executed; and for the wisdom and prudence manifested in the capitulation.

That the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, be presented to his excellency the count de Rochambeau, for the cordiality, zeal, judgment and fortitude, with which he seconded and advanced the progress of the allied army against the British garrison in York.

That the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, be presented to his excellency count de Grasse, for his display of skill and bravery in attacking and defeating the British fleet off the bay of Chesapeak; and for his zeal and alacrity in rendering, with the fleet under his command, the most effectual and distinguished aid and support to the operations of the allied army in Virginia.

That the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, be presented to the commanding and other officers of the corps of artillery and engineers of the allied army, who sustained extraordinary fatigue and danger, in their animated and gallant approaches to the lines of the enemy.

That general Washington be directed to communicate to the other officers and the soldiers under his command the thanks of the United States in congress assembled, for their conduct and valor on this occasion.

Resolved, That the United States, in Congress assembled, will cause to be erected at York, in Virginia, a marble column, adorned with emblems of the alliance between the United States and his most christian majesty, and inscribed with a succinct narrative of the surrender of earl Cornwallis to his excellency general Washington, commander in chief of the combined forces of America and France, to his excellency the count de Rochambeau, commanding the auxiliary troops of his most christian majesty in America, and his excellency the count de Grasse, commanding in chief the naval army of France in the Chesapeak.

Resolved, That two stands of the colors taken from the British army under the capitulation of York, be presented to his excellency general Washington, in the name of the United States, in congress assembled.

Resolved, That two pieces of field ordnance, taken from the British army under the capitulation of York, be presented by the commander in chief of the American army to count de Rochambeau; and that there be engraved thereon a short memorandum, that congress were induced to present them from consideration of the illustrious part which he bore in effectuating the surrender.

Resolved, That the secretary of foreign affairs be directed to request the minister plenipotentiary of his most christian majesty, to inform his majesty, that it is the wish of Congress that count de Grasse may be permitted to accept a testimony of their approbation, similar to that to be presented to count de Rochambeau.

Resolved, That the board of war be directed to present to lieutenant colonel Tilghman, in the name of the United States, in Congress assembled, a horse properly caparisoned, and an elegant sword in testimony of their high opinion of his merit and ability. [for Tench Tilghman, see end of this note.]

November 7th, 1781.

Resolved, That the secretary of foreign affairs be directed to prepare a sketch of emblems of the alliance between his most christian majesty and the United States, proper to be inscribed on the column to be erected in the town of York, under the resolution of the 29th day of October last.

Resolved, That an elegant sword be presented in the name of the United States, in Congress assembled, to colonel Humphreys, aid-de-camp of general Washington, to whose care the standards taken under the capitulation of York were consigned, as a testimony of their opinion of his fidelity and ability, and that the board of war take order therein.

Extract from the minutes.

Lieutenant colonel Tench Tilghman had served from the year 1776 in the character of aid-de-camp to the commander in chief, was highly beloved and respected, and was honored by Washington with bearing to congress his official report of the surrender of the British army in Virginia.

[83] John Rogers Clarke, colonel in the service of Virginia against our neighbors the Indians in the revolutionary war, was among our best soldiers, and better acquainted with the Indian warfare than any officer in our army. This gentleman, after one of his campaigns, met in Richmond several of our cavalry officers, and devoted all his leisure in ascertaining from them the various uses to which horse were applied, as vrell as the manner of such application. The information he acquired determined him to introduce this species of force against the Indians, as thafof all others the most effectual.

By himself, by Pickens, and lately by Wayne, was the accuracy of Clarke’s opinion justified; and no doubt remains, but in all armies prepared to act against the Indians, a very considerable proportion of it ought to be light cavalry.

[84] The Indians, when fighting with infantry, are very daring. This temper of mind results from his consciousness of his superior fleetness; which, together with his better knowledge of woods, assures to him extrication out of difficulties, though desperate. This temper of mind is extinguished, when he finds that he is to save himself from the pursuit of horse, and with its extinction falls that habitual boldness.

[85] Only one or two nights in a month suited, as it was necessary that the tide of ebb should be nearly expended about midnight, the proper hour of passing to the island; and it was desirable to possess the advantage of moonlight after we entered the island. Besides, then the galley crews were most likely to be at rest; and we had sufficient time before daylight to execute our various arrangements.

[86] Lord Rawdon to Earl Cornwallis, May 24th, 1781.—”Lieutenant colonel Balfour was so good as to meet me at Nelson’s. He took this measure that he might represent his circumstances to me. He stated that the revolt was universal, and that, from the little reason to apprehend this serious invasion, the old works in Charleston had been in part levelled, to make way for new ones which were not yet constructed; that its garrison was inadequate to oppose any force of consequence; and that the defection of the town’s people showed itself in a thousand instances. I agreed with him in the conclusion to be drawn from thence, that any misfortune happening to my corps might entail the loss of the province.”

[87] The same officer who so gallantly seconded brigadier Wayne in his assault of Stony Point. Posey commanded the column with which the brigadier marched in person, and was by his side when Wayne received the ball which fortunately only grazed the crown of his head; but which laid him prostrate for a few moments.


Headquarters, camp near Bacon’s bridge.

General Gist will take command of the light troops, which will consist of the following corps, viz.

The cavalry of the legion, and the cavalry of the third and fourth regiments, under the command of colonel Baylor.

The infantry of the legion, the dismounted dragoons of the third regiment, the Delaware regiment, and one hundred men properly officered, fit for light infantry service, under major Beall, to be immediately detached from the line, and the whole of the infantry to be commanded by lieutenant colonel Laurens.

General Gist will make such further arrangements as he may find necessary; but that the service may be accommodated as much as possible to the constitution of the cavalry corps, whenever the cavalry of any corps are ordered out, and infantry are wanted, the infantry belonging to such corps will march with it.

Extract from the general orders of the 13th June, 1782.
JOS. HARMAR, lieut. col. deputy adjutant general.

[89] Among the many murders and burning of houses perpetrated by this banditti, that of colonel Kobb was singularly atrocious. A party of them, led by a captain Jones, surprised the colonel on a visit to his family. He defended his house, until he was induced, by the promise of personal safety, to surrender as a prisoner of war; when he was immediately murdered in the presence of his wife and children, and his house burnt.

[90] Articles of treaty between general Marion, in behalf of South Carolina, and major Ganey, and the inhabitants under his command, which were included in the treaty made the 17th day of June, 1781.

Article 1st. Major Ganey, and the men under his command, to lay down their arms as enemies to the state, and are not to resume them again until ordered to do so, in support of the interests of the United States, and of this state in particular.

Art. 2d. We will deliver up all negroes, horses, cattle, and other property, that have been taken from this or any other state.

Art. 3d. We will demean ourselves as peaceable citizens of this state, and submit ourselves to be governed by its laws, in the same manner as the rest of the citizens thereof.

Art. 4th. We do engage to apprehend and deliver up all persons within our district, who shall refuse to accede to these terms, and contumaciously persist in rebellion against this state.

Art. 5th. We will deliver up, as soon as possible, every man who belongs to any regular line in the American service, and every inhabitant of North Carolina, of this, or any other state, who have joined us since the 17th of June, 1781, when the former treaty was made, or oblige them to go out of the district; and whenever they return, to take and deliver them into safe custody in any gaol within the state.

Art. 6th. Every man is to sign an instrument of writing, professing his allegiance to the United States of America, and the state of South Carolina in particular; and to abjure his Britannic majesty, his heirs, successors and adherents; and promise to oppose all the enemies of the United States, and the state of South Carolina in particular.

Art. 7th. All arms, ammunition, and other warlike stores, the property of the British, to be delivered up.

Art. 8th. The above seven articles, being agreed on, they shall have a full pardon for treasons committed by them against the state, and enjoy their property, and be protected by the laws thereof.

Art. 9th. Such men who do not choose to accede to these articles, shall have leave to go within the British lines, and to march by the 25th instant, and be safely conducted, with such of their wives and children as may be able to travel, and carry or sell their property, except cattle, sheep and hogs, which they may dispose of, but not carry with them. Such women and children who cannot be removed, may remain until the 1st day of September next. The officers to keep their pistols and side arms; all other arms to be disposed of, and not carried with them. Each field officer and captain to retain one herse, not exceeding twelve in the whole; and no other person to take with him any more horses, that may be fit for dragoon service, within the British lines.

We have agreed to the before-mentioned nine articles, and have signed the same at Birch’s mill, on Pedee, this 8th day of June, 1782.

FRANCIS MARION, Brigadier General, State of South Carolina.

MICAJAH GANEY, Major of Loyalists, Pedee.

[91] See Carrington’s letter.

[92] See letter.

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