<br /> Lee Letter: b208

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Henry Laurens

My dear Sir,

I arrived here on the first of this month a member of our general Assembly, and at this place was honored with your favor of the 5th. instant which is the only one that I have received since we parted. To you I should most certainly have paid my respects very frequently if I had not believed that you had sailed for the West Indies in your way to Europe. the account you have favored me with of the southern operations is the only full and sensible one that I have seen – it is to be lamented that our intelligence from Charles Town is so irregular, slow, and uncertain. I do greatly lament the loss of Colo. Parker both for public and private reasons. nor am I in the least surprised at your feelings for the consequences of things in the South, you who have so many more powerful reasons than I have, when myself have felt so much anxiety for the fate of Charles Town and its brave garrison. In ten minutes after our House was formed (which unfortunately was not until the 9th.) I moved for a bill to embody militia for the relief of S. Carolina, and one will pass to morrow for sending with all possible expedition 2500 men to your assistance. we have given such large pay in tobacco, and other encouragements, that I hope the number will soon be obtained, and they are to go on as fast as a Battalion is collected. should they not come in time to save Ch. Town, which yet I hope, they may be in time, with others to controul the further operations of the enemy. The Maryland line of Continental troops is coming on and part are already arrived at Petersburg where our government has been making every necessary exertion to facilitate their speedy progress to the Scene of action. Colo. Porterfield with our last State regiment, about 500 men, and Majr. Nelson with 60 horse left Petersburg about 10 days ago for Ch. Town, and at the same time went on from thence Colo. Armand with his Corps. We have about 300 good men remaining at Williamsburg who will march South in a day or two – yesterday our house voted that the Governor should spare all the Arms from our Stores that could be done, and this was done in consequence of a requisition from N. Carolina for Arms to put into the hands of their Militia. By this the Governor is authorised to supply the Arms wanted in N. Carolina which I think he will immediately do, and leave us enough to arm the Militia going south and yet to provide our Eastern frontier with proper defence which is next to the relief of Charles Town our diligent object. To this is to be added that our enemies are now stimulating an active war upon our Western frontier which calls for immediate defence, and which prevents so full and strong aid as our wishes incline us to, from being sent to S. Carolina; and which I hope will prevent our sister state from thinking that we have been unwilling to give them more powerful support – The truth is that we have, and that we mean to furnish every assistance in our power – We shall probably continue sitting here until the middle of June and I shall be very thankful to you for frequent information of the progress, and as you conceive, of the designs of the enemy. I lodge in the house with a few good whigs, among whom is Mr. Page; heretofore a member of Congress, who particularly desires to be remembered to you – The Marquis Fayette is arrived at Boston certainly, and thence I suppose that our Ally means some active operation on this quarter – perhaps you may have heared the report that a trench squadron was expected at N. York. Gerard & Jay have arrived thro much peril of storms a[nd] tempest at length in France. I pray you Sir to believe that I have the highest friendship and esteem for you,

and that I am with the greatest respect most sincerely and affectionately yours

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Laurens CorrespondenceLong Island Historical Society

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 180 – 82. Addressed to Laurens “at Wilmington, in North Carolina.”