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sent 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 aide-de-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 SPOILS AND PRISONERS-CORNWALLIS 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 south-west 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 be
1781.] TARLETON SENT IN QUEST OF MORGAN. 235
tween Greene and Virginia, cut him off from all reinforcements from that quarter, and oblige him either to make battle with his present force, which would be ruinous to him, or retreat precipitately 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
* Cornwallis to Lord George Germain, March 17.
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, 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
BATTLE OF THE COWPENS.
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-cooked. Eager to come upon his enemy while in the confusion of a hurried flight, Tarleton allowed his exhausted troops but a brief repose, and, leaving his baggage under a guard, resumed his dogged march about two o'clock in the night; tramping forward through swamps and rugged broken grounds, round the western side of Thickety Mountain. A little before daylight of the 17th, he captured two videttes, from whom he learnt to his surprise, that Morgan, instead of a headlong retreat, had taken a night's repose, and was actually preparing to give him battle.
Morgan, in fact, had been urged by his officers to retreat across Broad River, which was near by, and make for the mountainous country; but, closely pressed as he was, he feared to be overtaken while fording the river, and while his troops were fatigued and in confusion; beside, being now nearly equal in number to the enemy, military pride would not suffer him to avoid a combat.
The place where he came to halt, was known in the early grants by the name of Hannah's Cowpens, being part of a grazing establishment of a man named