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These disappointments may have rendered Hamilton doubtful of his being properly appreciated by the commander-in-chief; impaired his devotion to him, and determined him, as he says, "if there should ever happen a breach between them, never to consent to an accommodation." It almost looks as if, in his 'high-strung and sensitive mood, he had been on the watch for an offence, and had grasped at the shadow of one.
Some short time after the rupture had taken place, Washington received a letter from Lafayette, then absent in Virginia, in which the Marquis observes, "Considering the footing I am upon with your Excellency, it would, perhaps, appear strange to you, that I never mentioned a circumstance which lately happened in your family. I was the first who knew of it, and from that moment exerted every means in my power to prevent a separation, which I knew was not agreeable to your Excellency. To this measure I was prompted by affection to you; but I thought it was improper to mention any thing about it, until you were pleased to impart it to me.”
The following was Washington's reply: "The event, which you seem to speak of with regret, my-friendship for you would most assuredly have induced me to impart to you the moment it happened, had it not been for the request of Hamilton, who desired that no mention should be made of it. Why this injunction on me, while he was communicating it himself, is a little extraordinary. But I complied, and religiously fulfilled it."
We are happy to add, that though a temporary coolness took place between the commander-in-chief and his late favorite aidede-camp, it was but temporary. The friendship between these illustrious men was destined to survive the Revolution, and to
signalize itself through many eventful years, and stands recorded in the correspondence of Washington almost at the last moment of his life.*
*His last letter to Hamilton, in which he assures him of "his very great esteem and regard," was written by Washington but two days before his death, SPARKS, Xi., 469.
CORNWALLIS PREPARES TO INVADE NORTH CAROLINA-TARLETON SENT AGAINST MORGAN-BATTLE AT COWPENS-MORGAN PUSHES FOR THE CATAWBA WITH ENDEAVORS TO INTERCEPT HIM
THE RISING OF THE RIVER-CORNWALLIS AT RAMSOUR'S MILLS.
THE stress of war, as Washington apprehended, was at present shifted to the South. In a former chapter, we left General Greene, in the latter part of December, posted with one division of his army on the east side of the Pedee River in North Carolina, having detached General Morgan with the other division, one thousand strong, to take post near the confluence of the Pacolet and Broad Rivers in South Carolina.
Cornwallis lay encamped about seventy miles to the southwest of Greene, at Winnsborough in Fairfield district. General Leslie had recently arrived at Charleston from Virginia, and was advancing to reinforce him with fifteen hundred men. This would give Cornwallis such a superiority of force, that he prepared for a second invasion of North Carolina. His plan was to leave Lord Rawdon at the central post of Camden with a considerable body of troops to keep all quiet, while his lordship by rapid marches would throw himself between Greene and Virginia, cut him off from all reinforcements in that quarter, and oblige him either to make battle with his present force, or retreat pre
cipitately from North Carolina, which would be disgraceful.* In either case Cornwallis counted on a general rising of the royalists; a re-establishment of regal government in the Carolinas, and the clearing away of all impediments to further triumphs in Virginia and Maryland.
By recent information, he learnt that Morgan had passed both the Catawba and Broad Rivers, and was about seventy miles to the northwest of him, on his way to the district of Ninety-Six. As he might prove extremely formidable if left in his rear, Tarleton was sent in quest of him, with about three hundred and fifty of his famous cavalry, a corps of legion and light infantry, and a number of the royal artillery with two field pieces; about eleven hundred choice troops in all. His instructions were to pass Broad River for the protection of Ninety-Six, and either to strike at Morgan and push him to the utmost; or to drive him out of the country, so as to prevent his giving any trouble on that side.
Cornwallis moved with his main force on the 12th of December, in a northwest direction between the Broad River and the Catawba, leading toward the back country. This was for the purpose of crossing the great rivers at their fords near their sources; for they are fed by innumerable petty streams which drain the mountains, and are apt in the winter time, when storms of rain prevail, to swell and become impassable below their forks. He took this route also, to cut off Morgan's retreat, or prevent his junction with Greene, should Tarleton's expedition fail of its object. General Leslie, whose arrival was daily expected, was to move up along the eastern side of the Wateree and Catawba,
* Cornwallis to Lord George Germain, March 17.
BATTLE OF THE COWPENS.
keeping parallel with his lordship and joining him above. Every thing on the part of Cornwallis was well planned, and seemed to promise him a successful campaign.
Tarleton, after several days' hard marching, came upon the traces of Morgan, who was posted on the north bank of the Pacolet, to guard the passes of that river. He sent word to Cornwallis of his intention to force a passage across the river, and compel Morgan either to fight or retreat, and suggested that his lordship should proceed up the eastern bank of Broad River, so as to be at hand to co-operate. His lordship, in consequence, took up a position at Turkey Creek, on Broad River.
Morgan had been recruited by North Carolina and Georgia militia, so that his force was nearly equal in number to that of Tarleton, but, in point of cavalry and discipline, vastly inferior. Cornwallis, too, was on his left, and might get in his rear; checking his impulse, therefore, to dispute the passage of the Pacolet, he crossed that stream and retreated towards the upper fords of Broad River.
Tarleton reached the Pacolet on the evening of the 15th, but halted on observing some troops on the opposite bank. It was merely a party of observation which Morgan had left there, but he supposed that officer to be there in full force After some manoeuvring to deceive his adversary, he crossed the river before daylight at Easterwood shoals. There was no opposition. Still he proceeded warily, until he learnt that Morgan, instead of being in his neighborhood, was in full march toward Broad River. Tarleton now pressed on in pursuit. At ten o'clock at night he reached an encampment which Morgan had abandoned a few hours previously, apparently in great haste, for the camp fires were still smoking, and provisions had been left behind half