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aged was a detan militia. Infantry
71st regiment, and two British light-infantry companies laid down their arms to the American militia. The only body of in fantry that escaped, was a detachment left at some distance, to guard the baggage. Early intelligence of their defeat was con: veyed to the officer.commanding that corps, by some royalists." What part of the baggage could not be carried off he immediately destroyed; and with his men mounted on the waggon and spare horses, he retreated to lord Cornwallis. The British had 10 commissioned officers and upward of 100 rank and file killed; 200 wounded; 29 commissioned officers, and above 500 privates prisoners, fell into the hands of the Americans, beside two pieces of artillery (first taken from the British at Saratoga, then retaken by them at Camden, and now recovered by the Americans) two standards, 800 muskets, 35 baggage waggons, and upward of 100 dragoon horses. Washington pursued Tarleton's, cavalry for several miles, but the far greater part of them escaped. They joined their army in two separate divisions. One arrived in the neighborhood of the British encampment upon the evening of the same day, the other under Tarleton, appeared the next morning. Although Tarleton's corps had waged a most cruel warfare, and their progress had been marked with burnings and devastations, not a man of them was killed, wound. ed, or even insulted after he had surrendered. The Americans had only 12 men killed and 60 wounded.
Gen, Morgan, together with his officers and troops, have justly obtained the universal applause of their countrymen. The glory and importance of the action have resounded from one end of the continent to the other. The desponding friends of Ame. rica in the southern states, were re-animated, and enjoyed seeming resurrection from the dead. When it was known by congress that the southern army had safely crosssed the Dan into Virginia, they returned, on the 9th of March, the thanks of the United States to gen. Morgan and the officers and men una der his command. They resolved also to honor the general with a gold medal, col. Washington with a silver one, col. Howard with another, and col. Pickens with a sword.
Several of the British officers censure Tarleton for not halting his troops before he engaged, that so they might have been refreshed, and time have been given for the detachment with the, baggage, together with batmen and officers servants to come up and join in the action. They charge him with un-officer-like impetuosity, in directing the line to advance before it was propers ly formed, and before the reserve had taken its ground. They pronounced him guilty of an error in omitting to give discretion
his shed, and time with batmen charge him before it was.pty hey
ary powers to the commander of the reserve to advance, wher the front line was in pursuit of the militia ; but chiefly in no€ bringing up a column of cavalry to support and improve the ads vantages he had gained when the American infantry were com pelled to retreat. Tarleton's impetuous attacks had answered in former instances ; but in the present action he did not surprise his enemy, and engaged an officer, Morgan, who had faced the troops under Burgoyne, and served under Washington and Gates.
Lord Cornwallis, with the expectation of regaining the prison ers, and of demolishing Morgan's corps, instantly concluded on a pursuit. Morgan, aware of the consequences of delay, sent on the militia with the prisoners, and to cover their retreat manoeu: vred in their rear with his cavalry and regular infantry. Cornwallis, that he might march with more ease and rapidity, on the 25th of January, began to destroy all his superfluous baggage, and even all the waggons, except those with hospital stores, salt, and ammunition, and four others which were reserved empty for the sick and wounded. The same day, Greene ordered Stevens to marclr with his brigade of Virginia militia. (whose time was nearly expired) by way of Charlotte, and take the prisoners under his care to Charlotte Ville, in Virginia, to which place More gan had instructions to send them. Greene concluded that being present with Morgan, he could so order the movements of botli divisions for forming a junction, as would excel any directions which could otherwise be given. He therefore left the camp at Hick's Creek, under the command of gen. Huger and col. Otho Williains, and set forward on the 28th, attended by one aid de camp, and two or three militia-men armed and mounted. The first intelligence he gained on his route was, that.Cornwallis was marching after Morgan with great expedition. His lordship gained upon the latter after the destruction of the baggage: Greene immediately sent off an express to Huger-and Williams, with directions for them to march with all possiple dispatch to form a junction with the light troops at Charlotte ox Salisbury, as circumstances would admit. They marched the next day. Greene proceeded ; and on the 31st, after a journey of 150 miles, joined the light troops encamped at Sherrard's Ford, on the north side of the Catawba. They had reached the Catawba on the 28th, and by the evening of the next day they and their prisoners had passed it without any difficulty. About two hours after Morgan had crossed, the British advance arrived. It rained hard that night, and the river rose so high as to prevent Jord Cornwallis's getting over. The rise was owing chiefly to the rains which had fallen before in the mountains. Had the
rişe taken place a few hours earlier, Morgan, with his whole de tachment and five hundred prisoners, would scarcely have had a chance of escaping. His lordship could not cross for two days, which gave an opportunity of sending the prisoners forward with safety. The arrival of gen. Greene was no less providential than the rise of the river. Gen. Morgan was for retreating over the mountains, a different l'out from what Greene proposed. He was so attached to his own opinion, that he declared he would not be answerable for consequences if it was not followed. Greene jeplied “Neither will you; for I shall take the measure upon myself;" and gave directions accordingly. The event has showny that the other route must have proved fatal; and that the junce tion of the light troops with the main army under Huger and Williams could not have been effected by it. As soon as the passage of the Catawba was practicable, Cornwallis made preparations for crossing. The more effectually to deceive the Americans, he made a feint of passing at different fords; but the real al tempt was made early in the morning of the (st of February, at a ford near M'CowansGen. Davidson, with about 300 militia, arrived at this post the evening before, Greene, apprehensive of Cornwallis's real intention, advised Davidson to encamp his troops close in with the side of the river, that he might be rear dy to give the enemy a vigorous opposition. The advice was ne. glected. Davidson stationed, only a small number on the bank, while the main body was at a distance. The party on the bank made what opposition they could to the British, who marched through the river upward of 500 yards wide, and about thręce feet deep, without returning their fire till after landing. The firing brought Davidson toward the spot. But the British were formed, and he was soon shot dead in attempting to make a pure effectual opposition to them. The militia throughout the neighbouring settlements were now totally dispirited. Few of them could be persuaded to take or keep the field. A small party col lected about ten miles from the ford, but was soon dispersed by Tarleton. All the fords were abandoned, and the whole royab army crossed over without any further opposition. I t is
A military race now cominenced between the pursuing: Bri. Tish under lord Cornwallis and the fleeing Americans under gen. Greene. The latter retreated as expeditiously as possible, and crossed the Yadkin partly in flats and partly by fording, olx the 2d and 3d of the month, and secured the boats on the north side. Though Cornwallis was so close in the rear, as that a smart skirmish happened between a party of riflemen and his advance, yet a want of boats, and the rapid rising of the river from pret
ceding rains, made his crossing impossible. This second hairbreadth escape, was considered as a fresli evidence of their being favored by Heaven. They viewed it with pious gratitude ; and frequently marked, that if the rising of the river had been a few hours sooner, Morgan's whole detachment would have been in the power of a greatly superior ariny; if a few hours later, that Cornwallis would have effected his passage, so as to have enabled him to get between the two divisions of the American ariny, which might have proved the destruction of both. ' That the Americans should effect their passage in two successive instances, while the British (whose advance was often in sight of the Ame. rican rear) were providentially restrained, affected the devout inhabitants of the neighbouring settlement with lively thanks to the Most High, and added fresh vigor to their exertions in behalf of their country. · On the 5th of Feb. Greene wrote to Huger- I intend, if we can find a good position, to prepare to receive the enemy's attack, It is not improbable, from lord Cornwallis's pushing disposition, and the contempt he has for our army, we may precipitate him into some capital misfortune. If Cornwallis knows his true in. terest he will pursue our army. If he can disperse that, he com pletes the reduction of the state, and without it will do nothing to effect. His lordship being obliged to march his troops ac bout 25 miles to the upper fords, which are generally passable, gave time for the junction of the two divisions of tře American army on the 7th near Guilford court-housc, circumstances not having admitted of its being done either at Charlotte or Salis; bury. : Lord Cornwallis's first object,' that of retorting the fatal blow given by Morgan at the Cowpens, and of recoverirg the captives, being frustrated, and the British army being without tents, and like the Americans, dependant for subsistence on what could be hastily picked up by detachments on a rapid march, it was doubts ed whether his lordship would prosecute his cnterprise further; so that geri. Greene spent the 8th of February in refreshing all his regular forces at Guildford couri-louše, which was much wanted. The light troops had not time, after the batile, to take carc of their wounded or even breathe, (surgeons were left on the field) and their retreat of 150 miles was effected under dicha culties that harassed them exceedingly. The retreat of the bat. talion's from the Pedee under Huger, was conducted for 100 milies under circuinstances requiring the utmost patience. The worst waggons, with the poorest teans, and most useless part of the bagsäge, wcre early sent off by col O. Williams to Hillsbosough ; but the best, and even the artillery was air inčunne brauce in their situation. They were sometimes without ineata often without llour, and alway without spiritous liquors. Notwithstanding the wintry season, and their having little clothing they were daily reduced to the necessity of fording deep creeks, and of remaining wet without any change of raiment, till the, heat of their bodies and occasional fires in the woods dried their tattered rags. Their route lay through a barren country, whicle scarcely afforded necessaries for a few straggling inhabitants, They were retarded by heavy rains, broken bridges, bad roads, and poor horses. Many of them marched without shocs over the frozen ground, and through flinty roads, which so gashed their feet, that the blood marked every step of thcir progress. Alt these hardships were endured without the loss of a single sentinel by desertion. Lee's partizan legion had undergone extreme ser. vice, through their additional expedition to George-Town, 75, miles distant from the point where the retreat of the battalions commenced,
Though the toils and sufferings of the Americans exceeded, those of the royal army were far from trifling. The British had in conmon with the others bad roads, heavy rains, a want of cover, deep crecks and rivers, through which to pass in the depth: of winter; but then they were well supplied in the article of shoes and clothes. The difficulties and evils arising from lord Corne: wallis's destroying the superfluous baggage and waggons were not small; but they were submitted to with the most general and cheerful acquiescence from his lordship's setting the example, us
On the 9th of February gen. Greene wrote to gen. Sumpter
" I shall avoid a general action if possible ; but I am afraid it will not be in my power. Our force is so small and in such disur tress, that I have little to hope, and every thing to fear." The troops present and fit for action were 1426, beside rifiemen and others, amounting to 397, and 176 cavalry, in all 1999. Butthey were greatly fatigued, and in general much dispirited. The : forces under Cornwallis, (as Greene then thought and said in his letter to gen. Washington) consisted of between 2500 and 3000, a including near 300 dragoons and their mounted infantry. These : were well clothed, amply equipped, and confident of every advantage. In the morning a council of war was called; of which Greene sent the following account to governor Nash of Northet. Carolina" It was the unanimous opinion of a council of war; this day, that it would be inevitable ruin to the army, and no less ?? ruinous to the American cause, to hazard a general action: the council therefore advised to our crossing the Dan immediately."