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Francis Marion, Personal Correspondence, Apr. 1781

Gen. Greene to Gen. Marion.

Camp, Deep River, April 4, 1781.

Dear Sir,

This will be handed to you by Capt. Conyers,1 who will inform you what we have contemplated. He is sent forward to collect provisions for the subsistence of the army, and I beg you will assist him in this necessary business. The army will march tomorrow, and I hope you will be prepared to support its operations with a considerable force; Gen. Sumter is written to, and I doubt not will be prepared to cooperate with us. The captain can give you a full history of Lord Cornwallis’ manoeuvers in this state, and of the several skirmishes as well as the battle of Guilford, which finally terminated in a retreat of the enemy, and his lordship was obliged in turn to run hastily.

I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.
N. Greene.

1 Soon after Major Conyers.

———-

Gen. Greene to Gen. Marion.

Head Quarters, Widow Shoemaker’s, April 17, 1781.

Dear Sir,

We are on our march for Camden, and shall be there the day after tomorrow. I am greatly in the dark respecting the enemy’s strength and situation in South Carolina, and also of Lord Cornwallis’ motions. This last circumstance is of the highest importance to the safety of our army, and I beg you to communicate to me all the intelligence you can obtain, and take measures to get all you can. Lieut. Col. Lee is gone towards the Santee; intelligence to him is as equally necessary as to me. You will please therefore to send him information accordingly. Do not spare either time or pains, and forward it as soon as possible. Your present force and situation I should be glad to have a particular account of. Please give me an official account of Col. Horry’s attack upon a party of Watson’s detachment.

I am, dear Sir,
Yours, &c.
(Signed)
N. Greene.

———-

Extract of a Letter from Col. Harden to Gen. Marion.

Camp, on Saltketcher, April 17, 1781.

Dear General,

I marched on, and got within sight of Fort Balfour, at Pocotaligo, at twelve o’clock in the day; I placed my men, and sent ten of the best horses to draw them out, but luckily Cols. Fenwick and Letchmere were at Vanberst, and were taken with seven of the dragoons, and brought to me; the rest were in the fort. I then sent Capt. Harden with a flag, to demand a surrender of the fort and the men in it; they sent for answer, they would not give it up. I sent the second time, and told them that if I was obliged to storm the fort, that I would give no quarter. Col. Kelsel then desired half an hour to consider. I gave him twenty minutes: they then agreed to give up the fort on terms which I granted; and in two hours, the fort with one militia colonel, one major, three captains, three lieutenants and sixty privates of Col. Fenwick’s, one lieutenant and twenty-two dragoons with their horses, gave up to me, and they marched out and piled their arms without the abbatis; and I marched in and took possession of it; and during that night and the next day had it destroyed.

(Signed)
Wm. Harden.

———-

Gen. Marion to Gen. Greene.

Fort Watson, (Scott’s Lake) April 23, 1781.

Sir,

Lieut. Col. Lee made a junction with me at Santee, the 14th inst. after a rapid march from Ramsay’s mill, on Deep river, which he performed in eight days. The 15th we marched to this place and invested it. Our hope was to cut off their water. Some riflemen and continentals immediately took post between the fort and the lake. The fort is situated on a small hill, forty feet high, stockaded, and with three rows of abbatis around it. No trees near enough to cover our men from their fire. The third day after we had invested it, we found the enemy had sunk a well near the stockade, which we could not prevent them from; as we had no entrenching tools to make our approach, we immediately determined to erect a work equal in height to the fort. This arduous work was completed this morning by Major Maham, who undertook it. We then made a lodgment on the side of the mount near the stockade. This was performed with great spirit and address by Ensign Johnson and Mr. Lee, a volunteer in Col. Lee’s legion, who with difficulty ascended the hill and pulled away the abbatis, which induced the commandant to hoist a flag; and Col. Lee and myself agreed to the enclosed capitulation, which I hope may be approved of by you. Our loss on this occasion is two killed, and three continentals and three militia wounded. I am particularly indebted to Col. Lee for his advice and indefatigable diligence in every part of these tedious operations, against as strong a little post as could be well made, and on the most advantageous spot that could be wished for. The officers and men of the legion and militia, performed every thing that could be expected, and Major Maham, of my brigade, had, in a particular manner, a great share of this success, by his unwearied diligence, in erecting a tower which principally occasioned the reduction of the fort. In short, Sir, I have had the greatest assistance from every one under my command. Enclosed is a list of the prisoners and stores taken, and I shall, without loss of time, proceed to demolish the fort; after which I shall march to the High Hills of Santee, encamp at Capt. Richardson’s, and await your orders.

(Signed)
Francis Marion.

———-

Extract of a Letter from Gen. Greene to Gen. Marion.

Camp, before Camden, April 24, 1781.

Dear Sir,

I thank you for the measures you have taken to furnish us with provisions, and for the intelligence you communicate. A field piece is coming to your assistance, which I hope will enable you and Col. Lee to get possession of the fort. With the artillery you will receive one hundred pounds of powder and four hundred pounds of lead; I wish my present stock would enable me to forward you a larger supply, but it will not, having sent you nearly half we have.

(Signed)
N. Greene.

———-

Gen. Greene to Gen. Marion.

Head Quarters, before Camden1, April 26, 1781.

Dear Sir,

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your two letters, dated 23d and 25th inst. I congratulate you on your success against Fort Watson. The articles of capitulation I highly approve of, and feel myself particularly indebted to you, and all the officers and men under you, for their spirit, perseverance and good conduct upon the occasion. The enemy advanced upon us yesterday and gave us battle. The conflict was short, and seemed at one time to promise us advantage; but we were obliged to retire and give up the field; though without material loss. We are now within five miles of Camden, and shall closely invest it in a day or two again. That we may be enabled to operate with more certainty against this post, I should be glad you would move up immediately to our assistance, and take post on the north side of the town. I have detached a field piece to your assistance, with an escort of a few continental troops under the command of Major Eaton. I should be glad you would send them a guide and conduct them to your camp.

I am, Sir,
With great esteem and respect,
Yours, &c.
(Signed)
N. Greene.

P.S. — I should be glad you would move up within seven miles of Camden.

1 The second battle of Camden, aka the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill.

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