The Papers of General Nathanael Greene

To Governor Abner Nash of North Carolina


Since I wrote your Excellency of the defeat of Tarlton by General Morgan, Lord Cornwallis has penetrated the Country in pursuit of him as high up the Catabaw as Bateys Ford. The moment I got intelligence of the enemies movements, I put the Army in motion on the Pedee, to move into the upper part of the State, and left it under the command of General Huger, and crossed the Country as fast as possible, to collect the Militia, and make the necessary arrangments for opposing the enemies motions, until we could form a junction of our forces. So rapid was his Lordships motions that General Morgan would have been in the greatest danger of losing all his prisoners, had not a great fresh prevented his crossing the Catabaw, by which he was delayed four or five days, which gave time for the prisoners to be got off.
General Davidson had not three hundred Militia with him, altho he had made use of every argument to draw them out, nor would twenty thousand Men on foot in the manner the Militia come out and as they come and go afford five hundred men as an operating force in the field at any given point. The Enemy crossed the Catabaw at McCowens Ford, where General Davidson was posted, who it is said fell in the first of the action, which I am afraid will have an unhappy effect upon the Militia as none appeard that Night at the places of rendezvous. I waited at one of them until mid Night and not a man arrived there. We have been obligd to retreat a cross the Yadkin at which place the troops from the Pedee are on their March to join us. Lord Cornwallis is on his March towards Salisbury. If the Militia collects in force when the troops arrive from the Pedee we shall advance. I am just informed that the Enemy have landed at Wilmington. Lord Cornwallis is equiped for the most active operations, having burnt his waggons to enable him to move with greater facility.
The evils are now fast approaching which I have been endeavoring to impress upon your Legislature. I have written your Excellency in many letters respecting the critical situation of your State, that I think it unnecessary to add. It will be out of my power 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 your State. 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. What ever force the State raises either upon the Militia or Continental establishment, I should be glad to be informed of as soon as possible as I have been much in the dark respecting the last Militia.
Lt Col Lee has effected a surprize upon George Town. He writes me many were killed but few taken. The commanding officer and several others were made prisoners.
Where is Col Davie, is he to have the direction of the Commissaries department or not? I am with great respect

Your Excellencys Most Obed humble Ser

N Greene

Autograph draft signed (MiU-C) 5 pp.