The Papers of General Nathanael Greene


To General Thomas Sumter

Dear sir

I reced your favor of the 7th.[1] The Enemy are penetrating this Country with great rapidity, nor do I see anything to stop their progress. There are few or no Militia with us, nor are there many in the Enemie's rear. I heard by several people that you were with the latter, which gave me great pleasure: but I find I was misinformed. Before I heard of your being out I had sent General Pickens to take the command in the Rear.[2] His character and influence I hope will be useful.
General Marion has crossed the Santee, and {taken} the Stores at Watbaw & near forty Prisoners.[3] If you can call out a body of Militia immediately, {and em}ploy them in the State of South Carolina, they will render essential service, & may serve to convince the Enemy that while they attempt new conquests they lose their old possessions.[4]
Would your health permit, & the Militia come out in force in the State of North Carolina it would be my wish that {you} should join the Army. But I am persuaded {the} fatigues would be too {great} for you, nor can I flatter myself with any considerable body of Militia collecting to our Aid.
If I should risque a General action in our present situation, we stand ten chances to one of getting defeated, & if defeated all the Southern States m{ust} fall. I shall avoid it if possible; but I am afraid it will be out of my power. Our force is so small & in such distress that I have little to hope & every thing to fear. The Tories in this quarter are collecting very fast; and it is highly important that the Whigs exert themselves in every quarter.
Col Middleton [Charles Myddelton] left me night before last, & can give you a more full account of things than time will permit me to do at present. I am, with good wishes for your perfect recovery,

Your most obt hble serv

Nath Greene

Letter signed (Sumter Papers: DLC). The LS is damaged; portions in curly brackets were taken from an ADfS (MiU-C).
    [1.] Sumter's letter has not been found.
    [2.] See NG to Andrew Pickens, 3 February (PGNG, 7: 241-242).
    [3.] Gen. Francis Marion had reported a successful raid on the British post at Wadboo Bridge, S.C., by a detachment from his command. (See Marion to NG, 31 January, PGNG, 7: 229-230.)
    [4.] Sumter summoned the men from his brigade on this date and attacked a number of British posts in South Carolina during the following days. (Gregorie, Sumter, pp. 135-43)