The Papers of General Nathanael Greene

To Governor Thomas Jefferson of Virginia


Your Excellency's favor of the 16th Ulto is before me.
The enemy are in the vicinity of the Moravian towns & are advancing with great rapidity.
Our force is so inferior that every exertion in the State of Virginia is necessary to support us. I have taken the liberty to write Mr Henery to collect 14 or 1500 Volunteers to aid us.[1]
I must refer your Excellency to the honble the Baron de Steuben for particulars.[2] The Army are marching towards Boyds Ferry on the Dan River.[3] I am with great esteem & respect

Your Excellency's Most Obedient Servt

Nath Greene

Autograph letter signed (Vi).
    [1.] See NG to Patrick Henry, this date (PGNG, 7: 270).
    [2.] See NG to Steuben, this date (PGNG, 7: 271-273).
    [3.] As noted at NG to Nash, 9 February (PGNG, 7: 263-265), Lord Cornwallis thought NG would have to cross the Dan at one of the ferries higher up the river. NG decided to attempt a crossing much farther downstream at Boyd's Ferry, however, after consulting with his quartermaster, Edward Carrington, who had earlier supervised a survey of the river. (See PGNG, 6: 512, 514n.) Carrington recalled in 1809 that "when the retreat was determined on, it was predicated on the certain knowledge, that there was but one boat at Dixon's [Dix's] ferry, from which place, Cornwallis well prepared for rapid movement, was not much more distant than Greene, and that between there and Boyd's ferry inclusive, five more were to be found.... There were then no other boats in the river, other than the wide and shallow flats at the ferries, which it was impossible to carry against the current." (Quoted in Lee, Campaign of 1781, pp. 116-17)