The Papers of General Nathanael Greene


From General Daniel Morgan

Dr Sir

After my late success and my sanguine expectations to do some thing clever this campaign must inform you that I shall be oblig'd to give over the persuite, by reason of an old pain returning upon me, that laid me up for four month last winter and spring.[1] It is a ciatick pain in my hip, that renders me entirely [in]capable of active services. I have had it these three wks past, but on geting wet the other day it has ceazed me more violently, which gives me great pain when I ride, and at times when I am walking or standing am obligd to set down in the place it takes me, as quick as if I were shot; I am so well acquainted with this disorder, that I am convincd nothing will help me but rest, and were I to attemp[t] to go through the winters campaign I am satisfied it wou[ld] Totally disable me from further service.[2]
I am not unacqu[a]inted with the hurt my retiring will be to the service, as the people have much dependence in me, but the love I have for my country and the willingness I have always showed to ser[ve] it, will convince you that Nothing would be wanting on my side were I able to persever, so that I must beg leave of absence, till I find my self able to take the field again which will I immagine be some time in the spring and if I can procure a chair I will try to get home.[3] Gen l [William L.] Davidson, Colo [Andrew] Pickens and Genl Sumpter [Thomas Sumter] when he gets w[ell] which I am told wont be long first can manage [the] Malitia better than I can and will well supply my place.[4] I have the Honor to be with much esteem

your obedt servt

Danl Morgan

Autograph letter signed (Greene Papers: DLC).
    [1.] Morgan's "late success" was his victory at Cowpens on 17 January. (On the battle, see Morgan to NG, 19 January, PGNG, 7: 152-161.)
    [2.] Morgan wrote a friend in Virginia, William Snicker, on 26 January: "Exposing myself has give me severe pains, particularly the old pain in my Hip, so that I can't Ride. I shall be obliged to quit the service, for I am determined not to break myself Intirely down." (NHi) Morgan wrote Thomas Jefferson on 1 February that he was also suffering from a pain in his "breast." (Boyd, Jefferson Papers, 4: 496) Finally, on 6 February (PGNG, 7: 254), he informed NG that to add to his "misfortunes," he had had an attack of piles, or hemorrhoids. Dr. William Read later recalled that he had seen Morgan in his tent on 3 February, "very sick, rheumatic from head to feet." (Gibbes, Documentary History, 2: 277) Henry Lee wrote in his memoirs that NG was reluctant to allow Morgan to retire and was not convinced that the maladies were as debilitating as Morgan claimed. (Lee, Memoirs, 1: 275-76) Morgan anticipated NG's reaction when he wrote Otho Williams on 24 January: "Genl Greene may think that a fewe days rest will restore me, but thats all a joke it is a dangerous pain and nothing will releve me but to reduce myself very low, and then make use of the cold bath." (MdHi) In the end, NG gave Morgan a leave of absence. (See NG to Morgan, 10 February, PGNG, 7: 271.)
    [3.] A "chair" was a type of one-horse, light chaise. (OED) Morgan returned to duty in Virginia in the late spring and served briefly with the Marquis de Lafayette. (Higginbotham, Morgan, pp. 161-62) Recurring illness, however, forced him to leave the army again at the end of July. (Ibid., p. 166)
    [4.] Thomas Sumter was recovering from a gunshot wound; he returned to the field in early February. (Gregorie, Sumter, p. 135)