The Papers of General Nathanael Greene

From General Francis Marion,

Has NG's letter of 25 January. Sent two parties of thirty horsemen each across the Santee River on 29 January, one to burn the enemy's stores at Colonel Thompson's plantation and the other to destroy those at Wadboo Bridge. The latter party destroyed a quantity of stores at Wadboo and at Keithfield, where they killed two British guards, wounded three, and brought off thirty-seven prisoners without suffering any casualties. Expects similar news from the other party, who are expected back "this night."[1] Col. [Henry] Lee's "retreat" leaves Marion unable to attack the post at Wright's Bluff on Scott's Lake until he can collect his detachments. Marion previously informed NG that Colonel Watson-Tadwell had gone to Camden, but now learns that the British officer has halted twenty-three miles from there and is waiting for "Lord Rodneys [Rawdon's] horse" to attack Marion "in rear." If Lee's cavalry were with him, Marion would still go after Watson-Tadwell, but he believes Lee will go with NG to the Dan River. Marion still hopes to attack "if his Lordship is not in the way."[2] Marion cannot send mounted troops across the Santee until the river drops, and then it will take two days to get them across. Should they meet great opposition, they would be unable to recross. "The men I beleive woud go with me provided their familys are not Exposed to the Enemy, in their Absents, but if that must be the Case I shoud get but few."[3] If NG thinks it necessary, Marion will send 100 across and "go to the Soward," where he is "sure" there are men who will join him. He will send Captain [William Clay] Snipes over immediately to collect the men. When they are gathered, Marion will fix on some "Enterprise which may serve as a Diversion to Lord Cornwallis Army," who are reported to be "going Northwardly."[4] NG can depend on him to do everything possible for the good of the country.
Autograph letter signed (Greene Papers: DLC) 2 pp.
    [1.] Marion detailed the activities of this party in his letter of 2 February (PGNG, 7: 239).
    [2.] A raid by Thomas Sumter kept Lord Rawdon from attempting to trap Marion until early March. Marion was then forced onto the defensive. (On the British attempt to neutralize Marion and his response see Rankin, Swamp Fox, pp. 165-79.)
    [3.] In his letter of 25 January (PGNG, 7: 194-195), NG had asked Marion about the practicality of sending a force across the Santee into the rear of the enemy to operate in connection "with other movements." NG, probably anticipating Marion's reluctance to attempt such an expedition, sent alternative orders for the partisan in his letter to Isaac Huger of 30 January (PGNG, 7: 219-221). As seen in his letter to Marion of 11 February (PGNG, 7: 281-282), however, NG continued to advocate the movement.
    [4.] Marion wrote Isaac Huger that Snipes and Col. [John?] Baker had "collected the georgians & some others to go over Santee." Marion, however, was not pleased, complaining that he was "Sertain" that Snipes and Baker "will do no other Service than plunder the Inhabitants, which will make more Enemys" and that their going would "frustrate" Marion's own plan to raise militia "to the SoWard." He added that Snipes and Baker "say they have Orders from head quarters." (Marion to Huger, 6 February, ScU) NG denied that Snipes and Baker had acted under his orders in a letter to Marion of 16 February (PGNG, 7: 297).