The Papers of General Nathanael Greene


To General Isaac Huger

Dear Sir

I have just arrivd at this place where General [Daniel] Morgan is posted with his light troops. The Enemy lay on the other side of the Catabaw about 18 miles below this. All the fords between this and Charlotte are occupied by the Militia under General [William L.] Davidson. The Enemy appear determin to cross and from different accounts have in contemplation visiting Salisbury. If they cross and push that way they must have a plan of cooperation in view with General Arnold at Cape Fear.[1] To disconcert them it will be necessary for us to form a junction before them and {give one or the} other of their divisions a defeat if practicable. The Militia is coming in in great numbers to appearances; but there is no possibility of telling our forces: and at any rate I wish to avoid an action until our force is collected. For this purpose I beg you to hasten your march towards Salisbury as fast as possible. If the Stores have arrivd issue whatever may be necessary to put the troops in good order for action. Let the rest of the Stores be sent up to Guildford Court House under the care of Major Mazaret with a light guard composed of the Troops unfit for other duty. All the Artillery except the 4 Six pounders may go with him. But let those that are retained be well Manned. The heavy baggage of the Army may move up the east side of the River to the ford at Salisbury, and there wait further orders.[2] Give General [Alexander] Lillington orders to join you; leaving a proper guard at the Mouth of Rocky River to guard the provisions and Stores at that place and to relieve all our parties at the Mills. These may be the unarmed men if he has a sufficient number for the purpose. If not he must detach those that are armed.[3]
Should Arnold land at Cape Fear or Ld. Cornwallis pass the Catabaw and push for Rocky River all the live stock at that place must be drove off towards Guilford. Have all the spare waggons loaded with Meal to follow the Army and drive all the Cattle with you that is collected. Give orders also that the Waggons that move off with the Stores to take as much corn with them as will subsist the horses through the barrens. If the Musket cartridges have come up, take on 40 or 50 thousand & let the rest go with the Stores. Should Arnold come into Cape Fear give the Commisary orders to move the provision & Stores from Cross Creek and at such other places as may be within their reach. Bring forward with you all the Rum & Spirits that may have arrivd. All the broken down horses either belonging to the Cavalry or the QMG department, may continue on the Pedee until further orders, unless the movements of the enemy below should be such as to expose them. In that case, let them be moved to Guildford. Keep your commisaries and forage Masters ahead of the Army to make all the collections they can to assist the stock you bring from Pedee. Let as many of the Boats follow the Army as are complete;[4] and you will also bring the Tents of the Army with you if the means of transportation will admit of it.
It is necessary we should take every possible precaution to guard against a misfortune. But I am not without hopes of ruining Lord Cornwallis if he persists in his mad scheme of pushing through the Country and it is my earnest desire to form a junction as soon as possible for this purpose. Desire Lt Col [Henry] Lee to force a March to join us.[5] Here is a fine field and great glory ahead.
If the two companies of Artificers is come up detach a few to go with the Stores and a few with the baggage and bring the rest on with you; and desire Col Kossciuszko [Thaddeus Kosciuszko]to join me at this place as soon as he can.[6]
If General [Francis] Marion cannot cross the Santee give him orders to move up towards Cambden upon Lynches Creek that he may be at hand to cooperate with us if necessary.[7] I am dear Sir with esteem

Your most Obed humble ser

N Greene

Autograph draft signed (MiU-C). A line in a fold of the letter has faded and is indecipherable; that portion, in curly brackets, was taken from a GWG Transcript, CSmH.
    [1.] It was logical for NG to assume that the operations of Lord Cornwallis and Gen. Benedict Arnold, who had invaded Virginia, were coordinated; they were not, however.
    [2.] By the "River," NG meant the Pee Dee and its tributary, the Yadkin, which flows past Salisbury. Otho Williams transmitted NG's orders to Maj. John Mazaret in a letter of 2 February (PGNG, 7: 235-236).
    [3.] See Huger to Lillington, 2 February (PGNG, 7: 235).
    [4.] NG had had the boats built while the army was camped at Hick's Creek, S.C. (See his letter to Thaddeus Kosciuszko of 1 January, PGNG, 7: 35-36.) As seen at NG to Morgan, 19 January (PGNG, 7: 146-147), the boats were mounted on wheels and could be moved overland.
    [5.] Huger's letter to Lee has not been found.
    [6.] As seen at Carrington to NG, 28 January (PGNG, 7: 209-211), a company of artificers was en route to the army from Philadelphia. Lewis Morris, NG's aide, conveyed NG's orders to Kosciuszko on 1 February (PGNG, 7: 232).
    [7.] Huger's letter to Marion has not been found. Huger replied on 1 February and discussed his compliance with NG's orders in letters of 3 and 8 February (PGNG, 7: 232-234, PGNG, 7: 247, PGNG, 7: 259-260).