The Papers of General Nathanael Greene

From General Daniel Morgan


I just arrived at this place to view the situation.
Genl [William L.] Davidson is here with Eight hundred men. The enemy is within ten miles of {this} place in force, their advance is in {sight. It} is uncertain whether they intend to {c}ross here or not. I have deteched two hundred men to the Tuckaseega Ford to fill it up & {De}fend it.[1] An express Just arrived who informs they have burnd their waggons and loaded their {men very heavy. We} have taken four prisoners, who says they are for Salsbury.[2] I am Just returning to Shireld Ford where our regulars lie. I expect they will attempt to cross in the morning.[3] I will let you hear of every particular. I have the Honor to be Sir

Your obedt servt

Danl Morgan

Autograph letter signed (Greene Papers: DLC). The letter is deteriorated along the margins and at the folds; portions in curly brackets were taken from a GWG Transcript, CSmH.
    [1.] According to Joseph Graham's memoirs, "trees were felled in the road, and a ditch dug and parapet made" to "fill" Tuckasegee and Toole's fords on the Catawba River. (Graham, Graham, p. 288)
    [2.] In a letter of 17 March to Lord George Germain, Lord Cornwallis explained his actions:
as the loss of my light troops, could only be remedied by the activity of the whole Corps, I employed a halt of two days in collecting some flour and in destroying superfluous baggage and all my Waggons except those loaded with Hospital Stores, Salt & Ammunition, and four [wagons], reserved empty in readiness for sick or wounded. In this measure 'tho' at the expence of a great deal of officers baggage and of all prospect in future of Rum & even a regular supply of Provisions to the Soldiers, I must in justice to this Army say that there was the most general and chearfull acquiescence. (PRO 30/11/76)
Cornwallis's biographers contend that "although some would later criticize this great bonfire as an important step in Cornwallis' downfall," most observers, including Charles O'Hara, his second in command, had nothing but praise for the action. (Wickwire, Cornwallis, p. 276; O'Hara to the Duke of Grafton, 20 April, SCHGM 65 [1964]: 174)
    [3.] Cornwallis's army did not ford the Catawba until 1 February, rain having made the river "impassable." (Cornwallis to Germain, 17 March, PRO 30/11/76)