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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Benjamin Lincoln to Richard Caswell
Lincoln, Benjamin, 1733-1810
March 07, 1779
Volume 14, Page 33

-------------------- page 33 --------------------
[From Executive Letter Book.]

Purisburg, March 7th, 1779.


After the Enemy left Augusta Genl. Ashe, who was stationed on the opposite side of the river, was ordered to cross and to take post at or near Bryer Creek lower bridge, as thereby he would cover the upper part of the Country. And this was considered one of the strongest posts therein, his left being secured by a deep swamp and the Savannah, his front by the Creek, (which at this place is unfordable, and about sixty yards wide,) besides he had a party of about two hundred horse to cover his right and rear. Boats were provided for the Troops to recross the Savannah in case the Enemy should move against them in force, and the baggage sent over that they might not be encumbered therewith in case they should be obliged to retire into the Country. But notwithstanding on the 3rd Inst., at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, the Enemy fell into the rear (his horse at that time being over Bryer Creek in front) and began the attack so suddenly that the Genl. had not time to form the whole of his Troops. Those which were soon gave way, tho' many officers exerted themselves to prevent it, (excepting a few under Genl. Elbert and a regiment or two of No. Carolina Militia,) some he informs me without firing; they took to the Swamp and escaped, either by swimming the River or were brought across in boats. His loss of men is very inconsiderable, Genl. Ashe supposes one hundred and fifty or two hundred; but since he gave me the account many have come in, and I hear from a person just now from Augusta that fifty of the men are at that place. One brass field-piece was lost and two small Iron ones, some ammunition and wagons and one baggage wagon, as also many of the men's arms. Gen. Elbert is among the missing.