The Papers of General Nathanael Greene

From Baron Steuben,

Reports on the movements of the British down the [James] River from the time they passed Hood's on 12 January until they reached Portsmouth on the 19th.[1] Gives details of his own unsuccessful attempts to "oppose them" with militia; the Continental troops were "too naked to Keep the Field" and had to be sent back to Chesterfield Court House. Has consulted with the other militia officers, who unanimously agree that it is impossible to force the enemy to evacuate Portsmouth. Steuben is therefore "taking a position" that will prevent the British from making "excursions in the Country."[2] Details his disposition of forces. Has tried to keep the number of militia as small as possible; those now in the field are to be relieved by men from "the back Country," many of whom, Steuben anticipates, will bring their own rifles. He has therefore given orders to collect spare arms and keep them on wagons, ready to arm the "Militia of the Vicinity" if they are needed.
Letter signed (MiU-C) 4 pp.
    [1.] Steuben's earlier reports to NG on the British invasion of Virginia, dated 8 and 11 January, are both at PGNG, 7: 76-81, 97-99.
    [2.] The British established winter quarters at Portsmouth. (Selby, Revolution in Virginia, p. 224) For British accounts of the activities at this time, see Benedict Arnold to Henry Clinton, 21 January, Davies, Documents, 20:40-43; Ewald, Journal, pp. 259-75; Simcoe, Military Journal, pp. 88-97.