The Papers of General Nathanael Greene


From Colonel Henry Lee, Jr.

On Sunday last a party left Charlestown, said to consist of three hundd destined for Wilmington No Carolina.[2] I mean to return to quarters on the Pedee tomorrow, & expect to reach my position at Mr Benjamin Post in two or three days.[3]
Had I had three hundd regulars under me last night trained on the same plan as my Infantry, I should have much pleasure this moment in communicating signall success. I completely surprized the garrison of Georgetown. Captain [Patrick] Carnes with the Legion Infantry effected this enterprize. Unhappily for me the plunders [i.e., blunders] of the guides [frustrated?] the good consequence which ought to have been the issue of the business.[4]
I am on another expiditon; tomorrow will determine it.[5]
As soon as my troops refresh I mean with your permission to touch at Wilmington. One hundd & twenty good regulars joined to me [indecipherable] & instantly, would aid me signally [in?] an enterprise against Wilmington.[6]
I must pray your interest to give me two majors: Captain [Henry] Peyton is one already, Cap Rudulph ought to be the other. I find it impossible to act any longer with efficacy without such assistance.[7]
I must also pray you to ascertain with Congress whether I am L t Col Comg or L t Col. only.[8] I am my dear Ser

your s aff y

Henry Lee Junr

Autograph letter signed (MiU-C).
    [1.] In this undated letter, Lee referred to the attack on Georgetown as occurring "last night." As the attack took place during the night of 24-25 January, Lee must have written this on the 25th; its docketed date of 28 January was presumably when it was received in camp.
    [2.] On the British expedition to Wilmington, see Drayton to NG, 2 February (PGNG, 7: 236-237).
    [3.] Lee's camp was at Benjamin Port's ferry on the Pee Dee River.
    [4.] For more on the attack at Georgetown, see Lee's official report (PGNG, 7: 197-199).
    [5.] As seen in Gen. Francis Marion's letter to NG of 27 January (PGNG, 7: 207-208), Lee and Marion were planning to cross the Santee River and raid British supply depots.
    [6.] The "enterprise" never took place.
    [7.] No letter from NG to Congress concerning the rank of John Rudulph has been found. Rudulph was still a captain when he wrote NG on 18 June (PGNG, 8: 412).
    [8.] NG does not seem to have written Congress about Lee's rank; Lee is not listed anywhere as lieutenant colonel commandant.