The Papers of General Nathanael Greene


From Colonel Henry Lee, Jr.

Dear Genl.

I congratulate you from my soul on the glorious victory obtained by Genl Morgan.[1] I wish my fortune had been equally propitious, as then Lord Cornwalis must have been exceedingly distressed.[2]
I detachd Cap. [Joseph] Eggleston with a party of Dragoons to pass the Santee & destroy the stores on the Congaree. This was to have been effected on the 25th. The Militia officer disappointed the Captain in canoes. The business was postponed to last night. I have not heard whether he has got over or not.[3] Watsons corps has run off towards Cambden.[4]
Geor[ge]town is reinforced. I suppose they have now three hund. men under a Major Grant.[5] The fort cannot be carried by bayonet unless with a very great loss, nor can the troops accomplish any business in the town after destroying the Garrison unless the fort is taken. Two six pound[ers] would do the business fully & two hund. additional regulars.
If you approve of the attempt & there is no possible danger in the execution, please to order the troops to Mr. Ben Frosts [Port's] there to receive my orders.
I propose they should march under a pretence of dispersing the torys on drowning creek or any other good pretext.
You might send the cannon from camp with a detachment of troops to reinforce Gen Morgan. On their moving four or five miles up the river, the troops could be counter orderd after night & the cannon put in boats & push down the river . The officer of artillery ought not to land a single man during this voyage; his pieces ought to be concealed by straw. If that cannot be done, he ought to lay by with his boats during the day in some creek or morass and move during night. From posts [Port's] I will conduct the expedition.
The Infantry to join us ought to move by land one day before the artillery.
If you can do this surely & send down two boats which will carry one hund men, I will present you with a large supply of necessarys without any loss.[6]

Yours affy

Henry Lee Junior

Anonymous typescript (MiU-C).
    [1.] On Gen. Daniel Morgan's victory at Cowpens, see Morgan to NG, 19 January (PGNG, 7: 152-161).
    [2.] Lee's and Francis Marion's attack on the British post at Georgetown is discussed at Lee to NG, second letter of 25 January (PGNG, 7: 197-199).
    [3.] Two detachments from Marion's brigade, led by John and James Postell, conducted the raid. Marion reported on their success in his letter of 31 January (PGNG, 7: 229-230).
    [4.] NG had urged Lee and Marion to attack Col. John Watson-Tadwell's detachment of 200 men and the fort at Wright's Bluff, on the Santee River. As seen by Marion's letter (PGNG, 7: 207-208), they were still contemplating an attack on the post.
    [5.] Shortly before the attack on Georgetown, Col. Nisbet Balfour had sent a party of the Queen's Rangers under Capt. John Saunders from Charleston to reinforce Georgetown. When the post's commander, Col. George Campbell, was captured in the raid, Saunders was named to succeed him and the post's second in command was given a leave of absence. In his memoirs, Stephen Jarvis, a Loyalist officer, called this "a very lazy way of superceding an officer in his Command." (Jarvis, "Sketches," pp. 39-40)
    [6.] As seen in his letter to Lee of 26 January (PGNG, 7: 202-204), NG was not prepared to approve another attack on Georgetown.