Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

When gen. Greene . found himself under the numerous whig militia tham North Carolina, had laid was The troops were destitute of ther for their comfort or conve. naked; there were no magazine, subsisted by daily collections. E;=, upon opinion; and it was equally da: go

forward or to stand still; for if he knir of the people, he lost all support; and to danger, all was hazarded. The impact people to drive off the enemy, if regarded, s, cipitate him into a thousand misfortunes. of conducting the war, most to the liking of it. bitants, was the least likely to efect their fáirates By the genuine returns on the 8th of December, it se pears, that the infantry then serving under Greene vere, rank and file, present and fit for duty 1482, and vu command 547, in all 20295 ore 821 were con nentals, and 1208 militia. Ad to these go cavalry, 60 artillery, and 128 continentes exza service, and his whole operative force was 33. The fewness of his troops, the nature of the 2ned with woods and swamps, and thinly inhatrange ervan of numbers, and the want of magazine et de general to conclude on a partizan war. 1. tried the maxims. of European generals, but we are una créning himself to them ; for he observed that isgrein ez right suit that part of the world, Lity *** 153 kated to the place where he was to act, oidy La boutin harices,

* The general's owing

1780. we shall attempt a secondary object. The reduction of

Charlestown, Savannah, &c. may come into contemplation.” The prospect of giving relief to the southern states, by an operation against New York, was the principal inducement for proposing it.

The southern operations have been peculiar. Before they are related, let it be remarked, that when gen. Gates passed through Richmond on his way home, the Virginia house of delegates on December the 28th« Resolved, nemine contradicente, That a committee of four be appointed to wait on major general Gates, and to assure him of the high regard and esteem of this house :—That the remembrance of his former glorious services cannot be obliterated by any reverse of fortune, but that this house, ever mindful of his great merit, will omit no opportunity of testifying to the world the gratitude which, as a member of the American union, this country owes to him in his military character.” To this resolve, when communicated by the committee of four, the general answered the same day—“Sirs, I shall ever remember with the utmost gratitude, the high honor this day done me, by the honorable the house of delegates of Virginia. When I engaged in the noble cause of freedom and the United States, I devoted myself entirely to the service of obtaining the great end of their union. That I have been once unfortunate is

my great mortification; but let the event of

my

future fervices be what they may, they will, as they always have been, be directed by the most faithful integrity, and animated by the truest zeal for the honor and interest of the United States."

When

[ocr errors]

When gen. Greene entered up his command, he 1780. found himself under the greatest embarrassments. The numerous whig militia that had been kept on foot in North Carolina, had laid waste almost all the country. The troops were destitute of every thing necessary either for their comfort or convenience. The men were naked; there were no magazines; and the army was subsisted by daily collections. Every thing depended upon opinion; and it was equally dangerous for him to go forward or to stand still; for if he lost the confidence of the people, he lost all support ; and if he rushed on to danger, all was hazarded. The impatience of the people to drive off the enemy, if regarded, would precipitate him into a thousand misfortunes. The mode of conducting the war, most to the liking of the inhabitants, was the least likely to effect their salvation By the genuine returns on the 8th of December, it

appears, that the infantry then serving under Greene were, rank and file, present and fit for duty 1482, and on command 547, in all 2029; of these 821 were continentals, and 1208 militia. Add to these go cavalry, 60 artillery, and 128 continentals on extra service, and his whole operative force was 2307. The fewness of his troops, the nature of the country, filled with woods and swamps, and thinly inhabited, the toryism of numbers, and the want of magazines, led the general to conclude on a partizan war. He considered the maxims of European generals, but was far from confining himself to them; for he observed that however they might suit that part of the world, they were not adapted to the place where he was to act, only in certain circumstances,

# The general's own letters.

to

1780. to which when they occurred, he meant to be attentive.

On his arrival at camp, he learned that the troops had made a practice of going home without permission, staying weeks and then returning. Determined to stop such a dangerous custom, the general gave out that he would make an example of the first deferter of the kind he caught; and one was accordingly shot at the head of the army drawn up to be spectators of the punishment. At night he sent officers round the camp to listen to the talk of the soldiers, and was happy to find that the measure had taken its desired effect, and that the language of the men was only " We must not do as we have been used to: it is new lords new laws.” But it was a mortification to him to learn from another quarter, that by the folly or treachery of those who had the charge of the prisoners taken at King's Mountain, all except about 130 had been enlarged upon different conditions ; by which he lost upward of 600 men, who would have been of the utmost importance in an exchange with lord Corn: wallis. His lordship on the ist of December addressed to him the following note'I think it proper to represent to you, that the officers and men taken at King's Mountain, were treated with an inhumanity scarcely credible. I find myself under the disagreeable necessity of making some retaliation for those unhappy men, who were so cruelly and unjustly put to death at Gilbert: town.”' Gen. Greene answered to it on the 17th I am too much a stranger to the transactions at Gilberttown to reply fully to that subject. They must have been committed before my arrival in the department, and by persons under the character of volunteers, who were independent of the army. However, if there was

Dec.

17:

any

[ocr errors]

any thing done in that affair contrary to the principles 1780.
of humanity and the law of nations, and for which they
had not the conduct of your army as a precedent, I shall
be ever ready to testify my disapprobation of it. The
first example was furnished on your part, as appears by the
list of unhappy sufferers enclosed ; and it might have been
expected, that the friends of the unfortunate should fol-
low it.—Punishing capitally for a breach of military pa-
role is a severity, that the principles of modern war will
not authorize, unless the inhabitants are to be treated as
a conquered people, and subject to all the rigor of mi-
litary government.—The feelings of mankind will for :
ever decide, when the rights of humanity are invaded.
I leave them to judge of the tendency of your lordship's
order to lieut. col. Balfour after the action near Camden,
of lord Rawdon’s proclamation, and of Tarleton's lay-
ing waste the country and distressing the inhabitants,
who were taught to expect protection and security, if
they observed but a neutrality.-Sending the inhabitants
of Charlestown to St. Augustine, contrary to the articles
of capitulation, is a violation which I have also to re-
present, and which I hope your lordship will think your-
self bound to redress.” The list referred to was this
“ William Stroud and Mr. Dowel, executed near Rocky
Mount, without a trial, by order of lieut. col. Turnbull.
Richard Tucker, Samuel Andrews, and John Miles,
hanged in Camden by order of lord Cornwallis. Mr.
Johnson hanged since the action of Black Stocks, by
lieut. col. Tarleton. About thirty perfons hanged at
Augusta by col. Brown. Adam Cusack hanged at Pee-
dee by one col. Mills.”

General

« ZurückWeiter »