<br /> Lee Letter: b220

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Theodoric Bland

Dear Sir,

When I propose to you a correspondence between us, I do not mean to interrupt your attention to more weighty matters – but it seems to me Sir that such a correspondence may eventually produce good to our common country. It is now sixteen days since our Assembly ought to have met, and yet to this day we have not members enough to make a house, altho the invasion of our country calls loudly for legislative aid. The enemy have been plundering in the neighborhood of Hampton and in Princess Anne & Norfolk counties, they are at present as high as within 8 miles of Smithfield – A great spirit appears among the people of all ranks and much zeal to engage the enemy, but the extensiveness of the country and dispersion of the people occasions delay – I am sorry to say that neither the Artillery or small arms are in proper order, and will be the source of much hinderance. Gen Muhlenberg with 1000 men is about 20 miles from the enemy – his party is constantly increasing, so that a battle or a retreat must quickly take place – We have an intercepted letter from Cornwallis to Clinton requesting that he would cause a post to be taken at Portsmouth with 2500 men to favor, as the former says “his favorite project” – Whatever may have been this “project” Colo. Campbell with a few brave militia of N. Carolina & this State seems to have effectually defeated it by the destruction of Majr. Ferguson & his party of about 1100 men – It appears that since the defeat of Ferguson Tarleton came with his Corps upon Campbell in order to release the prisoners he had made, but the former got drubbed and lost 70 of his men upon the spot – Colo. Campbell is a member of our house, and is, I believe, now in pursuit of Cornwallis who is, with great precipitation urging his way to Charles Town – an officer of our Militia who was wounded in the battle of Gen Gates is just come here from Camden from him we learn that Cornwallis was marching down on this side the Wateree with Gen. Sumner attending him on the other side, and Gen. Davison & Colo. Davie with the horse pushing & greatly distressing his rear – Colo. Marianne with the force that took George Town in his front – Thus stands our intelligence from the South and from the enemy in this State – perhaps before the post goes out we may get further news, and if we do you shall have it. I shall thank you Sir for inclosing in that journal which contains the proceedings respecting Dr. Lee since his arrival at Philadelphia, and also the Table of depredation published by Congress

Novr. 3. I have given you the accounts which have been brought here under the first date of this letter, but a gentleman who arrived here yesterday from N. Carolina makes it doubtful whether Cornwallis is not yet in the neighborhood of Cambden, so that we remain in suspence until authentic information shall set us right. Our invading enemy has certainly retreated from Suffolk upon the approach of Gen. Muhlenberg and have retired to the fastnesses about Portsmouth after plundering the country indiscriminately – Be so kind as deliver the inclosed to Dr. Lee – I am dear Sir

your most affectionate and obedient.

Richard Henry Lee

No House yet, b[ut] we expect one on Monday next.

Notes:

Fogg CollectionMaine Historical Society

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 208 – 10. Addressed “Honorable The. Bland esquire Member of Congress at Philadelphia,” and endorsed “Rd. Hr. Lee’s Letter Answered.”