The Papers of General Nathanael Greene

From General Daniel Morgan


The enemy encampd Last night at Ramsowers Mill in force. Thay March near thirty miles yes[ter]day.[1] It is my opinion thay intend to make a forced march through this part of the state, and perhap make a try to make a junction with Phillips High up in the country's.[2] If so the Position you have taken will be much out of the way. If Cornwallis and Lasly have joind their force we are not able to contend with them.[3] All the south Militia have dispersed.[4] What numbers Genl Davidson has I am not able to inform you, as they were only collecting yesterday.[5] From this information youl be able to dispose of your army in the best manner. I am convincd Cornwallis will push on til he is stopd by a force able to check him. I will do every thing in my power but you may not put much dependence on me for I cant ride or walk. A pain in my hip prevent me.[6] I will continue to give you every intelligence in my power. I have the Honor to be

your Very obedt servt

Danl Morgan

I this minutes recd intelligence that the enemy are within a few miles of this place moving on rapidly. My party is so weak that I think I must give way.[7]
Autograph letter signed (Greene Papers: DLC). On the address sheet, Morgan attached an order to "all Quartermasters" to furnish the express carrying this letter "with fresh horses." There is also a note, signed by Joseph Marbury and dated the "27th," that the letter had arrived at Salisbury "last Evening." As it was still at Salisbury on 27 January, NG must not have seen it before he left camp the next day.
    [1.] Morgan exaggerated the British army's pace. It had taken Cornwallis's troops three days to traverse the thirty-six miles from a camp on the Little Broad River to Ramsour's Mill. (Treacy, Yorktown, p. 122)
    [2.] When he informed Morgan of the British invasion of Virginia, NG had misidentified the commanding officer as Gen. William Phillips; the commander was Gen. Benedict Arnold. (See NG to Morgan, first letter of 13 January, at PGNG, 7: 106.) Cornwallis had no plan to join forces with Arnold. (For a discussion of how Arnold's presence in Virginia pertained to Cornwallis's plans, see Wickwire, Cornwallis, p. 252.)
    [3.] Alexander Leslie's detachment had joined Cornwallis's army on 18 January. With this reinforcement, Cornwallis's army numbered approximately 2,500 to 3,000 troops. (Boatner, Encyl., p. 1020; although historians' estimates of the size of the army vary from 2,000 to more than 4,000, a range of 2,500 to 3,000 troops is given most often and would seem to fit the facts.)
    [4.] Soon after the battle of Cowpens, the Virginia militia's term of service had expired, and those troops marched for home with the British prisoners. A number of militiamen from South Carolina and Georgia, fearful of leaving their homes unprotected, had also left Morgan's detachment during the retreat into North Carolina. (Morgan to NG, 23 January, PGNG, 7: 178-179; Waring, Fighting Elder, pp. 55-56)
    [5.] Morgan reported on 28 January (PGNG, 7: 211-214) that Gen. William L. Davidson had joined him with 500 men.
    [6.] For more on Morgan's physical problems, see his first letter to NG of 24 January (PGNG, 7: 190-191).
    [7.] As seen at Morgan's letter of 28 January (PGNG, 7: 211-214), Cornwallis halted his army at Ramsour's Mill. That allowed Morgan to remain at Sherrald's Ford for several more days.