The Papers of General Nathanael Greene

From General Francis Marion,

Has NG's two letters of 16 January. Has seen "an Officer from Colo Lee," but there is no reason "to go at the torries on Little Peedee as Colo Kenan from North Carolina is there & has Disperst them."[1] Does not think it "practicable" to surprise Col. [John] Watson-Tadwell, who reportedly has 250 men in his command, 30 of them mounted. Describes the terrain surrounding Watson-Tadwell's post. Marion thinks it unlikely that a large detachment could march there from NG's camp without being detected. If NG wishes to try, Marion suggests that the troops go by water to "this place & march over Kings Tree Bridge which is the only pass over Black River." Marion can collect "most" of his detachments in two days.
Has several parties impressing horses, but the British have taken all that are fit. Marion has "twenty small horses very poor & ordinary," but doubts they would be of use to NG. Before NG arrived, Marion collected every horse he could for his own brigade, which is "now badly mounted."
Is forming magazines of provisions. All the rice "to be had is Low down" the Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers, "within Six or Eight miles from the Enemy"; Marion is doing all he can to move it "out of the Enemys power."[2] Is collecting "50 negroes" to bring rice to NG's camp as soon as the river, which is "so high," has fallen. The trip usually takes two weeks, and "none but small boats Carrying ten or twelve {Barrels} of rice can go up." Sends a number of prisoners to NG. One of the "toreys," Benjamin Guest, must not escape, as he could "ruin all the good men in his Neighborhood." Marion will "inform" and assist Lee when he finds an "Oppertunity to do any thing against the Enemy." If he joins with Lee, Marion expects to command on the basis of "an Elder Continental Commission." He mentions this "as it may not in any Juncture be Disputed, which may be of hurt to the service."[3]
Autograph letter signed (Greene Papers: DLC) 3 pp. The manuscript is torn; several words were taken from a GWG Transcript, CSmH.
    [1.] On the meeting, see Lee to NG, PGNG, 7: 164. The remainder of Marion's letter is a point-by-point reply to NG's first letter to Marion of 16 January, above.
    [2.] Marion on 16 January had instructed one of his officers, John Postell, to "forbid the Inhabitants between Black River & P.D. to beat out any of their [rice] Crop, untill further Orders." (ScU)
    [3.] Marion had been commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the Continental service in November 1776. (Rankin, Swamp Fox, p. 24)