The Papers of General Nathanael Greene

To Governor Abner Nash Of North Carolina.

The first half of this letter—a report on what has occurred— is similar to the two opening paragraphs in NG to Steuben, this date (PGNG, 7: 242-245). NG writes that he has had to retreat across the Yadkin River, while Lord Cornwallis advances toward Salisbury. The enemy, who have burned their wagons, are "equiped for the most active operations." If "the Militia collects in force," though, NG will advance when the "troops arrive from the Pedee." Is informed that the British have landed at Wilmington.[1]
"The evils are now fast approaching" that NG has "been endeavoring to impress upon your Legislature." He has written Nash "many letters respecting the critical situation" of the state and believes it "unnecesary to add" anything. He will be unable "to detach from this army to cover the lower Country. Doubtless the enemy will improve the present opportunity in our weak state to disperse the Continental Army and effect an entire reduction" of North Carolina. "Decided measures are necessary to be taken, for reinforcing this Army, and the arrangment of the Commisary and Quarter Masters department are not less requisite than men." Wishes to be informed immediately of any "force the State raises either upon the Militia or Continental establishment." NG has "been much in the dark respecting the last Militia."[2] He reports on Col. [Henry] Lee's surprise attack at Georgetown, S.C.[3] Asks where Col. [William R.] Davie is and whether he is "to have the direction of the Commisaries department or not?"[4]
Autograph Draft Signed (MiU-C) 5 pp.
    [1.] On the British capture of Wilmington, see Drayton to NG, 2 February (PGNG, 7: 236-237).
    [2.] Nash's reply has not been found, but Alexander Martin, a member of the council extraordinary, addressed some of the points NG raised here in his letter of 19 February (PGNG, 7: 318-320).
    [3.] Regarding the attack on Georgetown, see Lee to NG, second letter of 25 January (PGNG, 7: 197-199).
    [4.] As seen at Martin to NG, 25 January (PGNG, 7: 199), William R. Davie had been given "direction of the Commissaries department" in North Carolina. Following his appointment, Davie had remained in Halifax to negotiate payment for two warrants he had received and to consult with the legislature concerning his department. (Robinson, Davie, p. 103) NG, in his letter to the North Carolina legislature of 15 February (PGNG, 7: 290-292), reported that Davie had joined the army.