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together by campaigning in a foreign land, where their main safety consisted in standing by each other.

Greene knew the inferiority of his troops in this respect; his reinforcements, too, fell far short of what he had been led to expect, yet he determined to accept the battle which had so long been offered. The corps of light troops, under Williams, which had rendered such efficient service, was now incorporated with the main body, and all detachments were ordered to assemble at Guilford, within eight miles of the enemy, where he encamped on the 14th, sending his waggons and heavy baggage to the Iron Works at Troublesome Creek, ten miles in his rear.

Cornwallis, from the difficulty of getting correct information, and from Greene's frequent change of position, had an exaggerated idea of the American force, rating it as high as eight thousand men still he trusted in his wellseasoned veterans, and determined to attack Greene in his encampment, now that he seemed disposed for a general action. To provide against the possibility of a retreat, he sent his carriages and baggage to Bell's Mills, on Deep River, and set out at daybreak on the 15th for Guilford.


passed through the centre of the place, from south to north.

Greene had drawn out his troops in three lines. The first, composed of North Carolins militia, volunteers, and riflemen, under Generals Butler and Eaton, was posted behind a fence, with an open field in front, and woods on the flanks and in the rear. About three hundred yards behind this, was the second line, composed of Virginia militia, under Generals Stevens and Lawson, drawn up across the road, and covered by a wood. The third line, about four hundred yards in the rear of the second, was composed of Continental troops or regulars; those of Virginia under General Huger on the right, those of Maryland under Colonel Williams on the left. Colonel Washington with a body of dragoons, Kirkwood's Delaware infantry, and a battalion of Virginia militia covered the right flank; Lee's legion, with the Virginia riflemen under Colonel Campbell, covered the left. Two six-pounders were in the road, in advance of the first line; two field-pieces with the rear-line near the court-house, where General Greene took his station.

About noon the head of the British army was descried advancing spiritedly from the south along the Salisbury road, and defiling into the fields. A cannonade was opened from the two six-pounders in front of the first American line. It was answered by the Brit

Within four miles of that place, near the New Garden Meeting-house, Tarleton with the advanced guard of cavalry, infantry, and yagers, came upon the American advance-guard, composed of Lee's partisan legion, and some moun-ish artillery. Neither produced much effect. taineers and Virginia militia. Tarleton and Lee were well matched in military prowess, and the skirmish between them was severe. Lee's horses, being from Virginia and Pennsylvania, were superior in weight and strength to those of his opponent, which had been chiefly taken from plantations in South Carolina. The latter were borne down by a charge in close column; several of their riders were dismounted, and killed or taken prisoners. Tarleton, seeing that his weakly mounted men fought to a disadvantage, sounded a retreat; Lee endeavored to cut him off: a general conflict of the vanguards, horse and foot, ensued, when the appearance of the main body of the enemy obliged Lee, in his turn, to retire with precipitation.

During this time, Greene was preparing for action on a woody eminence, a little more than a mile south of Guilford Court-House. The neighboring country was covered with forest, excepting some cultivated fields about the courthouse, and along the Salisbury road, which

The enemy now advanced coolly and steadily
in three columns; the Hessians and Highland-
ers under General Leslie, on the right, the
Royal artillery and guards in the centre, and
Webster's brigade on the left.
The North
Carolinians, who formed the first line, waited
until the enemy were within one hundred and
fifty yards, when, agitated by their martial ar
ray and undaunted movement, they began to
fall into confusion; some fired off their pieces
without taking aim; others threw them down,
and took to flight. A volley from the foe, a
shout, and a charge of the bayonet, completed
their discomfiture. Some fled to the woods,
others fell back upon the Virginians, who
formed the second line. General Stevens, who
commanded the latter, ordered his men to open
and let the fugitives pass, pretending that they
had orders to retire. He had taken
care, how-
ever, to post forty riflemen in the rear of his
own line, with orders to fire upon any one who
should leave his post. Under his spirited com-

Ex. 49.]



mand and example, the Virginians kept their ground and fought bravely.

ness of the woods impeded the movements of
the cavalry. The reserves on both sides were
called up.
The British bayonet again suc-
ceeded; the second line gave way, and General
Stevens, who had kept the field for some time,
after being wounded in the thigh by a musket-
ball, ordered a retreat.☛

The British were too much cut up and fatigued to follow up their victory. Two regiThe action became much broken up and di- ments with Tarleton's cavalry attempted a purversified by the extent of the ground. The thick-suit but were called back. Efforts were made to collect the wounded of both armies, but they were dispersed over so wide a space, among woods and thickets, that night closed before the task was accomplished. It was a dismal night even to the victors; a night of unusual darkness, with torrents of rain. The army was destitute of tents; there were not sufficient houses in the vicinity to receive the wounded; provisions were scanty; many had tasted very little food for the last two days; comforts were out of the question. Nearly fifty of the wounded sank under, their aggravated miseries, and expired before morning. The cries of the disabled and dying, who remained on the field of battle, during the night, exceeded all description. Such a complicated scene of horror and distress, adds the British writer, whose words we quote, it is hoped, for the sake of humanity, rarely occurs, even in

The loss of the Americans in this hard-fought affair, was never fully ascertained. Their official returns, made immediately after the action, give little more than four hundred killed and wounded, and between eight and nine hundred missing; but Lord Cornwallis states in his despatches, that between two and three hundred of the Americans were found dead on the field of battle.

The enemy pressed with increasing ardor against the third line, composed of Continental troops, and supported by Colonel Washington's dragoons and Kirkwood's Delawares. Greene counted on these to retrieve the day. They were regulars; they were fresh, and in perfect order. He rode along the line, calling on them to stand firm, and give the enemy a warm reception. The first Maryland regiment which was on the right wing, was attacked by Colonel Webster, with the British left. It stood the shock bravely, and being seconded by some Virginia troops, and Kirkwood's Delawares, drove Web-military life.* ster across a ravine. The second Maryland regiment was not so successful. Impetuously attacked by Colonel Stewart, with a battalion of the guards, and a company of grenadiers, it faltered, gave way, and fled, abandoning two field-pieces, which were seized by the enemy. Stewart was pursuing, when the first regiment which had driven Webster across the ravine, came to the rescue with fixed bayonets, while Colonel Washington spurred up with his cavalry. The fight now was fierce and bloody. Stewart was slain; the two field-pieces were retaken, and the enemy in their turn gave way and were pursued with slaughter; a destructive fire of grape-shot from the enemy's artillery checked the pursuit. Two regiments approached on the right and left; Webster recrossed the ravine and fell upon Kirkwood's Delawares. There was intrepid fighting in different parts of the field; but Greene saw that the day was lost; there was no retrieving the effect produced by the first flight of the North Carolinians. Unwilling to risk the utter destruction of his army, he directed a retreat, which was made in good order, but they had to leave their artillery on the field, most of the horses having been killed. About three miles from the field of action he made a halt to collect stragglers, and then continued on to the place of rendezvous at Speedwell's Iron Works on Troublesome Creek.

The loss sustained by his lordship, even if numerically less, was far more fatal; for, in the circumstances in which he was placed, it was not to be supplied, and it completely maimed him. Of his small army, ninety-three had fallen, four hundred and thirteen were wounded, and twenty-six missing. Among the killed and wounded were several officers of note. Thus, one-fourth of his army was either. killed or disabled; his troops were exhausted by fatigue and hunger; his camp was encumbered by the wounded. His victory, in fact, was almost as ruinous as a defeat.

Greene lay for two days within ten miles of him, near the Iron Works on Troublesome Creek, gathering up his scattered troops. He had imbibed the spirit of Washington, and remained undismayed by hardships or reverses. Writing to the latter, he says: "Lord Cornwallis will not give up this country, without

Stedman, vol. 11. p. 346.

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being soundly beaten. I wish our force was | ing-house, and the adjacent buildings, under more competent to the business. But I am in the protection of a flag of truce, and placing the hopes, by little and little, to reduce him in rest of his wounded in waggons or on horsetime. His troops are good, well found, and back, be set out, on the third day after the fight with great obstinacy. action, by easy marches, for Cross Creek, otherwise called the Haw, an eastern branch of Cape Fear River, where was a settlement of Scottish Highlanders, stout adherents, as he was led to believe, to the royal cause.. Here he expected to be plentifully supplied with provisions, and to have his sick and wounded well taken care of. Hence, too, he could open a communica tion by Cape Fear River, with Wilmington, and obtain from the depot recently established there, such supplies as the country about Cross Creek did not afford.

"Virginia," adds he, "has given me every support I could wish or expect, since Lord Cornwallis has been in North Carolina; and nothing has contributed more to this, than the prejudice of the people in favor of your Excellency, which has extended to me from the friendship you have been pleased to honor me with."*

And again: "The service here is extremely severe, and the officers and soldiers bear it with a degree of patience that does them the highest honor. I have never taken off my clothes since I left the Pedee. I was taken with a fainting last night, owing, I suppose, to excessive fatigue and constant watching. I am better today, but far from well. I have little prospect of acquiring much reputation while I labor under so many disadvantages. I hope my friends will make full allowances; and as for vulgar opinion, I regard it not."

In Washington he had a friend whose approbation was dearer to him. than the applause of thousands, and who knew how to appreciate him.

To Greene's account of the battle he sent a cheering reply. "Although the honors of the field do not fall to your lot, I am convinced you deserve them. The chances of war are various, and the best-concerted measures and most flattering prospects, may and often do deceive us, especially while we are in the power of the militia. The motives which induced you to risk an action with Lord Cornwallis are supported upon the best military principle, and the consequence, if you can prevent the dissipation of your troops, will no doubt be fortunate."

The consequence, it will be found, was such as Washington, with his usual sagacity, predicted. Cornwallis, so far from being able to advance in the career of victory, could not even hold the ground he had so bravely won, but was obliged to retreat from the scene of triumph, to some secure position where he might obtain supplies for his famished army.

Leaving, therefore, about seventy of his officers and men, who were too severely wounded to bear travelling, together with a number of wounded Americans, in the New Garden Meet

*Sparks. Correspondence of the Revolution, ill. 267.

On the day on which he began his march, he issued a proclamation, setting forth his victory, calling upon all loyal subjects to join his standard, and holding out the usual promises and threats to such as should obey or should continue in rebellion.

No sooner did Greene learn that Cornwallis was retreating, than he set out to follow him, determined to bring him again to action; and presenting the singular spectacle of the vanquished pursuing the victor. His troops, however, suffered greatly in this pursuit, from wintry weather, deep, wet, clayey roads, and scarcity of provisions; the country through which they marched being completely exhausted; but they harassed the enemy's rear-guard with frequent skirmishes.

On the 28th, Greene arrived at Ramsey's Mills, on Deep River, hard on the traces of Cornwallis, who had left the place a few hours previously, with such precipitation, that sereral of his wounded, who had died while on the march, were left behind unburied. Several fresh quarters of beef had likewise been forgotten, and were seized upon with eagerness by the hungry soldiery. Such had been the urgency of the pursuit this day, that many of the American troops sank upon the road exhausted with fatigue.

At Deep River, Greene was brought to a stand. Cornwallis had broken down the bridge by which he had crossed; and further pursuit for the present was impossible. The constancy of the militia now gave way. They had been continually on the march with little to eat, less to drink, and obliged to sleep in the woods in the midst of smoke. Every step had led them from their homes and increased their privations. They were now in want of every

To Lafayette he writes at the same time. "I expect by this movement to draw Cornwallis out of this State, and prevent him from forming a junction with Arnold. If you follow to support me, it is not impossible that we may give him a drubbing, especially if General Wayne comes up with the Pennsylvanians.”

In pursuance of his plan, Greene, on the 30th of March, discharged all his militia with many thanks for the courage and fortitude with which they had followed him through so many scenes of peril and hardship; and joyously did the poor fellows set out for their homes. Then, after giving his "little, distressed, though successful army," a short taste of the repose they needed, and having collected a few days' provision, he set forward on the 5th of April toward Camden, where Lord Rawdon had his head-quarters.

ET. 49.] GREENE CHANGES HIS PLAN-WEARY RETREAT OF THE BRITISH. 585 thing, for the retreating enemy left a famished | erate with all the militia they could collect; country behind him. The term for which promising to send forward cavalry and small most of them had enlisted was expired, and detachments of light infantry, to aid them in they now demanded their discharge. The de- capturing outposts before the army should armand was just and reasonable, and, after striv-rive. ing in vain to shake their determination, Greene felt compelled to comply with it. His force thus reduced, it would be impossible to pursue the enemy further. The halt he was obliged to make to collect provisions and rebuild the bridge, would give them such a start as to leave no hope of overtaking them should they continue their retreat; nor could he fight them upon equal terms should they make a stand. The regular troops would be late in the field, if raised at all: Virginia, from the unequal operation of the law for drafting, was not likely to furnish many soldiers: Maryland, as late as the 13th instant, had not got a man; neither was there the least prospect of raising a man in North Carolina. In this situation, remote from reinforcements, inferior to the enemy in numbers, and without hope of support, what was to be done? "If the enemy falls down toward Wilmington," said he, "they will be in a position where it would be impossible for us to injure them if we had a force."* Suddenly he determined to change his course, and carry the war into South Carolina. This would oblige the enemy either to follow him, and thus abandon North Carolina; or to sacrifice all his posts in the upper part of North Carolina and Georgia. To Washington, to whom he considered himself accountable for all his policy, and from whose counsel he derived confidence and strength, he writes on the present occasion. "All things considered, I think the movement is warranted by the soundest reasons, both political and military. The manœuvre will be critical and dangerous, and the troops exposed to every hardship. But as I share it with them, I may hope they will bear up under it with that magnanimity which has always supported them, and for which they deserve every thing of their country."-" I shall take every measure," adds he, "to avoid a misfortune. But necessity obliges me to commit myself to chance, and, I trust, my friends will do justice to my reputation, if any accident at

tends me."

In this brave spirit, he apprised Sumter, Pickens, and Marion, by letter, of his intentions, and called upon them to be ready co-op

* Greene to Washington. Cor. Rev., iii. 278.

Cornwallis, in the mean time, was grievously disappointed in the hopes he had formed of obtaining ample provisions and forage at Cross Creek, and strong reinforcements from the royalists in that neighborhood. Neither could he open a communication by Cape Fear River, for the conveyance of his troops to Wilmington. The distance by water was upwards of a hundred miles, the breadth of the river seldom above one hundred yards, the banks high, and the inhabitants on each side generally hostile. He was compelled, therefore, to continue his retreat by land, quite to Wilmington, where he arrived on the 7th of April, and his troops, weary, sick, and wounded, rested for the present from the "unceasing toils and unspeakable hardships, which they had undergone during the past three months."*

It was his lordship's intention, as soon as he should have equipped his own corps and received a part of the expected reinforcements from Ireland, to return to the upper country, in hopes of giving protection to the royal interests in South Carolina, and of preserving the health of his troops until he should concert new measures with Sir Henry Clinton.t His plans were all disconcerted, however, by intelligence of Greene's rapid march toward Cam

*See Letter of Cornwallis to Lord George Germain, April 18. Also Annual Register, 1781, p. 72.

↑ Answer to Clinton's Narrative, Introduction, p. vi.





We must now step back in dates to bring up events in the more northern parts of the Union.

den. Never, we are told, was his lordship | with Phillips impracticable: having sent an more affected than by this news. "My situa- express to the latter, therefore, informing him tion here is very distressing," writes he. of his coming, and appointing a meeting at "Greene took the advantage of my being Petersburg, his lordship set off on the 25th of obliged to come to this place, and has marched April, on his fated march into Virginia. to South Carolina. My expresses to Lord Rawdon on my leaving Cross Creek, warning him of the possibility of such a movement, have all failed; mountaineers and militia have poured into the back part of that province, and I much fear that Lord Rawdon's posts will be so distant from each other, and his troops so scattered, as to put him into the greatest danger of being beaten in detail, and that the worst of consequences may happen to most of the troops out of Charleston."*

It was too late for his lordship to render any aid by a direct move towards Camden. Before he could arrive there, Greene would have made an attack; if successful, his lordship's army might be hemmed in among the great rivers, in an exhausted country, revolutionary in its spirit, where Greene might cut off their subsistence, and render their arms useless.

All thoughts of offensive operations against North Carolina were at an end. Sickness, de-. sertion, and the loss sustained at Guilford Court-house, had reduced his little army to fourteen hundred and thirty-five men.

In this sad predicament, after remaining several days in a painful state of irresolution, he determined to take advantage of Greene's having left the back part of Virginia open, to march directly into that province, and attempt a junction with the force acting there under General Phillips.

IN a former chapter we left Benedict Arnold fortifying himself at Portsmouth, after his ravaging incursion. At the solicitation of Governor Jefferson, backed by Congress, the Chevalier de la Luzerne had requested the French commander at the eastward to send a ship of the line and some frigates to Chesapeake Bay to oppose the traitor. Fortunately, at this juncture a severe snow-storm (Jan. 22d) scattered Arbuthnot's blockading squadron, wrecking one ship of the line and dismasting others, and enabled the French fleet at Newport to look abroad; and Rochambeau wrote to Washington that the Chevalier Destouches, who commanded the fleet, proposed to send three or four ships to the Chesapeake.

Washington feared the position of Arnold, and his well-known address, might enable him to withstand a mere attack by sea; anxious to ensure his capture, he advised that Destouches should send his whole fleet, and that De Rochambeau should embark about a thousand men on board of it, with artillery and apparatus for a siege; engaging, on his own part, to send off immediately a detachment of twelve hundred men to co-operate. "The destruction of the corps under the command of Arnold," writes he, "is of such immense importance to the welfare of the Southern States, that I have resolved to attempt it with the detachment I now send in conjunction with the militia, even if it should not be convenient for your Excellency to detach a part of your force; provided M. Destouches is able to protect our operations by such dispo

By this move, he might draw Greene back to the northward, and by the reduction of Virginia, he might promote the subjugation of the South. The move, however, he felt to be perilous. His troops were worn down by upwards of eight hundred miles of marching and counter-marching, through an inhospitable and impracticable country; they had now three hundred more before them; under still worse circumstances than those in which they first set out; for, so destitute were they, notwithstand-sition of his fleet as will give us the command ing the supplies received at Wilmington, that his lordship, sadly humorous, declared, "his cavalry wanted every thing, and his infantry every thing but shoes."+

There was no time for hesitation or delay; Greene might return and render the junction

Letter to Major-General Phillips. † Annual Register, 1781, p. 90.

of the bay, and prevent succors from being sent from New York."

Before the receipt of this letter, the French commanders, acting on their first impulse, had, about the 9th of February, detached M. de Tilly, with a sixty-gun ship and two frigates, to make a dash into the Chesapeake. Washington was apprised of their sailing just as he was.

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