The Papers of General Nathanael Greene

From Baron Steuben,

Maj. [Edward] Giles handed him NG's letter of 14 January "Yesterday."[2] Rejoices at the "fortunate & glorious event it Anounces." NG's "presence to the southard has hitherto been favord with the smiles of fortune"; Steuben hopes they may continue. Arnold remains at Portsmouth. Despite the British "incursion" and the "weak opposition" he has been able to muster, Steuben has not diverted "attention one moment from the great object of reinforcing" NG's army.[3] Given the "Confusion," however, "Delay was unavoidable." The second detachment, which he hoped would march by 15 January, will not be equipped before 20 February. He is "determined to move heaven & Earth to get them off if possible & by that time."[4] The Virginia Continental officers are still to assemble on 10 February. Steuben has arranged to relieve those serving with the militia, including Gen. [Peter] Muhlenberg, so they can attend. Gen. [George] Weedon, however, must remain in Fredericksburg "some time longer."[5] At the meeting, Steuben will decide which officers are to "receive the Recruits" and will send them to the rendezvous sites. He plans to include a field officer, four captains, and fourteen subalterns in each detachment going to NG. The cavalry will rendezvous at Petersburg; they will receive a "proportion" of the recruits, and Steuben will push "Government" to have the dragoons mounted and equipped. He will send them to NG in troops of sixty—thirty for each regiment. He intends to treat the artillery in the same manner. Counting the recruits to be raised and the troops in the field, Virginia will be at least 25 percent below its quota. Each regiment will therefore be reduced proportionally; infantry regiments, for example, will number 412 instead of 612. He informed NG earlier that he intended to reorganize the Ninth Virginia Continental Regiment at Ft. Pitt. Washington has approved his plan, and Steuben has issued the necessary orders.[6] As NG wished, Steuben has ordered Capt. [Nathaniel] Irish and his company to Bethania, N.C. Agrees that this company, "weak as it is," will be of more service there, given the proximity to the army and the number of arms needing repair.[7] Has a report that an enemy force has moved toward Suffolk, Va.[8] Steuben is setting off for Cabin's Point, but will be sure to meet with the officers on 10 February.[9]
Draft (NHi) 4 pp.
    [1.] A version of this letter, which may have been taken from the recipient's copy, is printed in SCHGM 16 (1915): 100-101. The salutation, place, date, complimentary close, and signature were taken from that version.
    [2.] NG's letter, announcing the victory at Cowpens, was dated 24 January (PGNG, 7: 186-187).
    [3.] On the "weak opposition" to Benedict Arnold's invasion, see Steuben to NG, 8 January (PGNG, 7: 76-81).
    [4.] The reinforcements did not march until 25 February. (See Steuben to NG, 27 February, PGNG, 7: 362-363.)
    [5.] The officers met to arrange the Virginia Continental line on 10 February. Muhlenburg, however, remained with the troops facing Arnold and did not attend. (Steuben to Muhlenburg, 18 January, Steuben Microfilm) After being prodded by Steuben, who did not arrive until 12 February himself, Weedon came to the meeting on the 17th. (Steuben to Weedon, 11 February, Steuben Microfilm; Chase, "Steuben," p. 197; Ward, Weedon, p. 172)
    [6.] Steuben had written NG concerning the Ninth Regiment on 15 December 1780 (PGNG, 6: 585). Washington's approval of the reorganization was in a letter to Steuben of 9/11 January. (Fitzpatrick, GW, 21: 85)
    [7.] NG changed the orders in his letter to Steuben of 10 February (PGNG, 7: 271-273). As a result, Irish's company of artificers remained with Steuben. (See Steuben to NG, 17 February, PGNG, 7: 306-307.)
    [8.] The report was false. (Chase, "Steuben," pp. 196-97)
    [9.] As noted above, Steuben did not attend the meeting at Chesterfield Court House until 12 February.