The Papers of General Nathanael Greene

To General Francis Marion


Your letter of the 20th is before me. Before this I hope you have receivd the agreeable news of the defeat of Lt Colonel Tarlton by General Morgan.[1] After this nothing will appear difficult. I find it is your opinion however that Colonel Watsons Corp is so posted that it will be difficult to either to surprise or attack them. But I should suppose from your description of the place they will be more easily surprised than if they lay where they were less coverd. People are apt to be off their guard in proportion as they imagine themselves in security. I cannot give up the Idea of an attack upon them, and wish you to get the best intelligence you can of their numbers; and consult with Col Lee upon the subject. If your force aided by the Infantry of the Legion, is not sufficent to make the attack to advantage, I will send a party down the river agreeably to your advice.[2]
I wish to have your opinion upon the practicability of crossing the Santee with a party of three or four hundred horse and whether they would be much exposd by being in the rear of the enemy. Also whether the party could not make good their retreat if it should be necessary and join our people towards Ninty Six.[3] If the thing is practicable, can your people be engaged to perform this service? It may be a matter of the highest importance connected with other movements, and therefore I beg you to give me all the information upon the subject you can, with[out] hinting the design to any person whatever except Lt Col Lee who I wish you to advise with upon all occasions.[4] You may place the highest confidence in him with perfect security; and I perswade my self there will be no disputes between you respecting rank.
All the provisions in the lower Country should be brought up the river as fast as possible; and I beg you to take every measure in your power to have it done. Those posts low upon the river are exposed to sudden invasions by water and besides which they are very insecure posts for an Army while the Enemy hold posts so high up in the Country.[5] I am Sir with esteem & regard

your most humble Ser

N Greene

Autograph draft signed (MiU-C).
    [1.] For more on Banastre Tarleton's defeat by Daniel Morgan at the battle of Cowpens, see Morgan to NG, 19 January (PGNG, 7: 152-161).
    [2.] Marion's letters to NG of 27 and 31 January (PGNG, 7: 207-208, PGNG, 7: 229-230) gave additional information about Col. John Watson-Tadwell's corps and the post at Wright's Bluff.
    [3.] On the purpose of the proposed movement, see NG to Lee, 26 January (PGNG, 7: 202-204).
    [4.] Marion replied on 31 January (PGNG, 7: 229-230).
    [5.] In his letter of the 20th (PGNG, 7: 164-165), Marion had said he was using magazines in his district to temporarily store the rice his troops had collected.