The Papers of General Nathanael Greene

From Colonel Arthur Campbell


I expect ere now that the Executive of Virginia or N. Carolina have fully informed your Excellency of the defection of the whole of the Cherokee Indians from the American Interest and their meditated hostilities against the western Frontiers of those States.[1]
The Militia of three Counties embodie'd to the number of about Seven hundred, repel'd the Invasion, proceeded into the enemies Country, where was dealt out to them, not a few of the miseries that were designed for us. The Over Hill Country were chiefly made a Field of desolation, the Families dispersed in the Mountains to starve, some of their principal Warriours slain, and a few Indians made prisoners.[2]
The season, and the means of subsistance, prevented me from staying in the Country as long as I could have wished; however I found that the Cheifs were greatly humbled, and were disposed to offer terms of peace. I was not prepared for such a negociation: however on my leaving the Country I sent them a Message the contents of which is herewith transmitted, for your Excellency's perusal, as on the observance and prosecution of what is there said much of the advantages of our success may depend.[3]
On looking into the American Confederation I judged it most properly the business of Congress, consequently of their Southern Commander in Chief, to direct a negotiation or the future operation in this quarter against the common enemy. Major [Joseph] Martin, who served with credit as a Militia Officer on the Expedition: has acted as Agent of Indian Affairs for Virginia: will deliver these, and can give you full information respecting the state of our affairs, and who will wait to receive your Excellencys further commands.[4] I have the honour to be with much Esteem & Respect

Your most Obedient Servant

Arthur Campbell

Autograph letter signed (Greene Papers: DLC).
    [1.] NG had written Gov. Thomas Jefferson on 31 December 1780 (PGNG, 7: 28) about the Cherokee attack on the frontier and the militia's response.
    [2.] Campbell had informed Jefferson in a letter of 15 January that the militia force consisted of men from the Watauga district and from modern-day Sullivan County, Tenn., and Washington County, Va. He also reported that the militia had killed twenty-nine men, taken seventeen prisoners, "mostly Women and Children," and destroyed "One thousand Houses, and not less than fifty thousand Bushels of Corn, and large quantities of other kinds of Provisions." (Boyd, Jefferson Papers, 4: 359-63)
    [3.] Campbell enclosed a proclamation, dated 4 January, calling on the Cherokee "Chiefs and Warriors" to come and discuss terms of peace within two months or face another invasion. (Greene Papers, DLC)
    [4.] NG replied on 26 February (PGNG, 7: 351).