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The proper measures were instantly taken. A light army was formed out of col. Lee's legion, the regular battalion of infantry under col. Howard, the cavalry under col. Washington, and a small corps of Virginia riflemen under major Campbell, amountjag to about 700 men, the flower of the southern American armay. Gen. Morgan being rendered totally unfit for command, or even to march with his corps, by the great fatigue he had suffered and the torment he was in with the rheumatism, Greene was embarrassed in the appointment of an officer to succeed him. He finally resolved to confer that honor upon the deputy-adjutant-general, col. Otho H. Williams, who entered upon his command on the joth';, when Greene marched with the main armiy from Guilford court-house toward the Dan, which forms the boundary between North-Carolina and Virginia.
Lord Cornwallis, well knowing the inferiority of the American army, conceived hopes of getting between Greene and Virginia, and of reducing him to the necessity of either fighting or abandoning his communication with that state, and likewise of running the risk of being hemmed in between the great rivers in the west, the sea on the east, lord Rawdon in the south, and the main royal army in the north. To this end Cornwallis kept the upper country (where only the rivers are fordable) as he supposed that the Americans could not make good their passage in the deep water from the want of a sufficient number of flats. In case they attempted it, he expected to overtake and force them to an action before they could cross. But the advantages resulting from the season of the year, and from the face of the country intersected with rivers and creeks, were so improved by Greene as completely to baffle his lordship. The better to avoid a rapid pursuit, the main and light army took different routes. The next day the latter had a rencountre with the van of the British army in which an officer and half a dozen privates of Tarleton's legion were made prisoners, and several killed. Frequent skirmishes and the manæuvres practised.to mislead Cornwallis, had the desired effect, and gave Greene time to send forward his baggage. On the morning of the 13th Greene wrote to Williams It is very evident the enemy intend to push us in crossing the river. The night before last, as soon as I got your letter, I sent off the baggage and stores, with orders to cross as fast as they got to the river. The North-Carolina militia have all deserted us, except about 80 men. Majors and captains are among the desertors. You have the flower of the army, don't expose the inen too much, lest our situation should grow more critical. Finding gen. Lilling- . ton had delayed so much time as to render our junction critical;
I gave him orders to file off to Cross-Creck: I thought his gols ing there at this moment might keep down the tories; and this reinforcement would be too inconsiderable to enable us to make a stand, and would only add to our difficulties in getting over the river.” The next morning [Feb. 14.] he sent an express to hin with this note " 4 o'clock. Follow our route, as a division of our force may encourage the enemy to push is further than they will dare to do if we are together. I have not slept four hours since you left me, so great has been my solicitude to prepare for the worst. I have great reason to believe that one of Tarleton's officers was in our camp the night before last.”-Again ----* (wo o'clock in the afternoon. The greater part of our waggons are over, and the troops are crossing.” The communication between Greene and Williamsclosed for the present wit-"Irwin's fer
y, 1-2 past 5 o'clock. All our troops are over, and the ståge is clear. The infantry will cross here, the horse below. Major Hardman has posted his party in readiness on this (the south ] side, and the infantry and artillery are posted on the other, and I am ready to receive and give you a hearty welcome. Greene had the pleasure of seeing all the light army safe over that night, though in the day they had been pushed forty miles by Cornwal. - lis's army, whose van arrived just as the American rear had crossed. The next day Greene dispatched the following letters To gov. Jefferson, of Virginia—“On the Dan river, almost fatigued to death, having had a retreat to conduct for upward of 200 miles, manæuvring constantly in the face of the enemy, to give time for the militia to turn out, and get off our stores." To baron Steuben- Col. Williams, with the light infantry; tieu, col. Lee's legion, and the cavalry of the 1st and 3d regiments, has covered our retreat, and conducted with great propriety in the most critical situation. Cornwallis's movements are so rapid that few or no militia join us. He marches from 20 to 30 miles in a day; and is organized to move with the same facility as a light-infantry corps. Should he continue to push us, we must be finally ruined without reinforcements.”-Toger. Washington"The misera ble situation of the troops for want of clothing, has rendered the march the most painful imaginable, many hundreds of the soldiers marking the ground with their bloody feet. The British army is much stronger than I had calculated upon in my last.' I have not a shilling of money to obtain intelligence with, notwithstanding my application to Maryland for that particular purpose. Our army is in good spirits, notwithstanding their suffer. ings and excessive fatigue." Some days after, he informed baron Steuben-" We have been astonishingly successful in our
Late great and fatiguing retreat, and have never lost, in one in stance, any thing of the least value.”. It was with inexpressible grief and vexation that the British discovered, on the 15th, that all their exertions had been in vain, and that all their hopes were , frustrated. Lord Cornwallis however, had this to console him, that there was no force in North-Carolina to prevent the royalists from making good their promise of a general rising in favor of British government. . During the transactions above related, gen. Marion defended himself with a few faithful militia, in the swamps and morasses of the seitlements near Charleston, and was frequently sallying out from his hiding places, and enterprising something in behalf of his country. Having mounted his followers, he infested the British out-pasts, intercepted their convoys, destroyed their stores, beat up their quarters, and so harassed them with alarms that they were obliged to be alway upon thier guard. On the other side, colonel Balfour, who conimanded at Charleston, projected an expedition against Wilmington, in North Carolina. A small naval force was equipped, and major Craig dispatched on the service, with about 300 soldiers. The troops were land. ed about nine miles short of Wilmington; and the town being abandoned by its defensive force of about 150 men, was taken without resistance. It has since been made a post of some strength. - Lieut. col. Lee's legion re-crossed the Dan on the 18th February, agreeably to the wish of gen. Greene, to watch the motions of Cornwallis's. army, which, after having collected a quantity of provision, began on the morning of the 19th to move slowly toward Hillsborough. There his lordship erected the royal standard, and by proclamation on the 20th, invited all his friends to repair to it. Greene being informed that nurnbers had joined his lordship, and that the North-Carolinians were repairing to him in shoals to make their submission, was apprehensive, that unless sone spirited measure was immediately taken the whole country would be lost to the American cause. He concluded therefore upon returning to North-Carolina. The light troops recrossed the Dan on the 21st, and on the next day were fola lowed by the main body, accompanied with 600 Virginia militia under gen. Stevens, Greene, the more effectually to ao larm Cornwallis and discourage the royalists, rode with his ainda de-camp twenty-one miles toward the enemy, and within about afteen of his lordship. The report of his being within that distance soon rcached his lordship, who inferred that the American army was equally near. The light-infantry hung round his lordship's Vol. II.
ute to the upper pj to form a juncell and others, w
quarters, while the main army advanced slowly, keeping in view the route to the upper parts of the country, the more effectually to avoid an action, and to form a junction with the militia of the Western Waters under col. Campbell and others, who were expected in considerable numbers.
Lieut. col. Tarleton with the British legion was detached from Hillsborough across the Haw-river, to maj. O'Neil's plantation, to protect a considerable number of royalists appointed to meet there on the 24th. Gen. Pickens and lieut. col. Lee, who had intelligence of Tareton's movements concerted measures to bring him to action. Lee's cavalry were to attack those of Tarleton's command, while Pickens's militia despersed the collected royalists. These happened to be prepared on the night of the 25th February, in a long lane leading toward O'Neil's house. Lee led his cavalry into the lane, mistaking the royalists for a part of Pickens's militia, which he supposed had arrived there before him. After he discovered the distinguishing red rag in their hats, he with great presence of mind passed on, intending to leave them to the treatment of their countrymen under Pickens. When these came up, and a firing had commenced between them and the royalists, Lee with hiscavalry returned and fell upon the latter,who not having seen Tarleton's dragoons, mistook Lee's cavalry for them. While labouring under this mistake, he cut them down as they were making ardent protestations of loyalty, and asserting-*that they were the very best friends to the king." A horrid slaughter was made of them, between 200 and 300 being cut to pieces. Tarleton was refreshing his legion about a mile from the scene. Upon hearing the alarm, he ordered his men to mount, pricipi. tately, recrossed the Haw, and returned to Hillsborough. On his retreat he also cut down several of the royalists, as they were advancing to join the British army, mistaking them for rebel militia of the country. This event together with Greene's having recrossed the Dan, broke all Cornwallis's measures. The tide of public sentiment was now no longer in his favor. The recruiting service declined and was stopped, which, had it proceeded a fortnight longer, would have so strengthed his lordship that he must have held the country. The advocates for royal government were discouraged, and could not be induced to act with confidence. Considerable numbers who were on their way to join his lordship, returned home to wait for further events.de
On the 27th lord Cornwallis retired from Hillsborough in two columns. The same day Lee's legion and Pickens's militia joined the main body of American light-infantry, which was now considerably reinforced by volunteer horse and reflemen from Virgi
pia s and the whole corps passed the Haw (a branch of Cape Fear river) at night. Greene, with the main army, augmented by the North Carolina inilitia, crossed it the next morning, and marched with all his force toward Allamance. In the evening it was disicovered, that Cornwallis with the British army was near it. The American light-infantry encamped within about three miles of him, and Greene halted within seven, on a road leading immediately to his lord ship's camp. Though Greene meant to assume the most eonfident appearance, he considered this situation extremely ineligible : as it was in a manner forcing his lordship to -action; for which he himself was by no means prepared ; but to retire precipitately would betray his apprehensions of dangers He hoped that lord Cornwallis meant to retire, though reluct'antly, to Cross-Creek on Cape Fear river. He therefore wished only to wait on him, and partially to attack him on the march, for which the light troops were perfectly calculated Greene's object was to wear away the time, till all the expected reinforcements should arrive, and his army could be properly organized and prepared for action. On the 2d of March there was a slight skirmish in the morning, between a detachment under Tarleton and a part of the militia under Williams, within one mile of the
British encampment : . . . 3. After various movements of the American light infantry, lord
Cornwallis, taking the advantage of a thick fog on the 6th of March, marched early in the morning with his whole force, intending to surprise them, and bring Greene to a general action ; but the vigilance of the light troops disappointed his lordship's first hope, and then gallanly, defeated his second.. About eight o'clock the patroles of Williams's brigade brought intelligence of his lordship's being within two miles of his encampment, on the road leading to gen. Pickens's quarters, and from thence to Whitseil's mill, an important pass on Reedy-Fork: creek, imme, -diately between the American light-infantry, and the main arıny. • His-lordship's designs were manifest, and no time was to be losti
Dispatches went off to apprise Pickens. He being gone to head. quarters, and lieut. col.. Lee, who was of that brigade and second in command, having received information of his lordship’s apSproach, retired before him, Col. Williams marched his brigade immediately for Whitsell's mill. The light skirmishing of some small parties on the flanks of the British army, gained time for
the removal of certain impediments, so that a junction of the two • brigades was formed about a mile from the mill. Col. Williams
Then ordered col. Campbell, who had joined the light-infantry with a number of rifiemen from the Western Waters, and lieut,