Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Thomas Sumter to Thomas Pinckney
Sumter, Thomas, 1734-1832
August 12, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 553-554


Camp Lands foard, Catauba River, 12th August, 1780.

Dr. Sir:

By accounts Just Received from Ninty Six, Col. Ennis did Not March to Take post at the High Falls of Santee, as was expected. He is Still at his Station. Col. Cruger Comm'ds; his force about five hundred men, one hundred and fifty at Agusta, none at the Congrees; Weak in Town and very Seekly; a Strong post Just to the wesward of me, Cols. Farguerson's & Cuningham's, Rockymount, four hundred; place much strengthened. Our fieldpiece and our houtozer are Now moving into the Neighbourhood of this Post; Camden altogether Defenseless, without the Troops have Retreat to it, Which I judge is Not the Case. They are busy in preparing Works at the Saw mill, and woud prove an advantageous post if there was No Way of Going Round; but if they think to Make a Stand there, it will prove an excelent Trap for them, as the General Cant fail of having a proper Description of the Country about Camden. I am Cleare they mean to Make no great opposisseon at that place; these preperations are meare amusements by which they expect to gain time to Remove their Sick & Wounded, Which are Very Numerous. They have also Considerable Stores; three Large Boats has Just Come up in Which are a quantity of Salt, Rum & Sugar, Cloathing, &c. But should the Excelency, Gen'l Gates, thenk proper to Send a Party over pinetree Creek to fall in their Rear, either at the Creek or at the highills or Nielson's ferrey, it Woud Totally Ruen them, as Nothing is more Certain then that their Retreat woud be Rendered exceedingly precareous, and the Necessary Supplies for their army imposible to be had; the way they Woud have to move to Save themselves and if these Large Convairs

-------------------- page 554 --------------------
of provision, Which are Now entended for Charles Town, Were Cut of, that place Could by no Means hold out but a few days if besiejed. There is Nothing to fear from below. They Cant Spare men from Town; the only force we have to oppose is What they Raise in this State. The Chief of the Militia Downwards are our friends, Readyer to do their Duty then ever, Notwitstanding many of these are in arms against us. The Methods Taken to ablije them to bare arms are intolerable. Two of the Militia Who had lately Joind me Were Taken a few days ago, Carried to Rockymount and immedeately hanged. Nothing less then Ironing Serves for any Who Disobey. I have Just Got a Reinforcement from the Congress of about forty, many of the first people in the Qr, also some few from the Wateree, the Whole Country Wishing for an oppertunity to Join the army. I have had posters Some Distance below Rockeymount, have Secoured Cheefe of the provision in the fork, but by Covering So much of the Country I have Worn Down my horses Very much; am Very Desireous of Taking post in the Dutch fork, a part that abounds in provision, from Whence they begin to Carrey Supplies to Ninty Six.

I am, Dr. Sir, with Great Reguard,
Your Most obedt. Hble. Servt.,
Majr. Thos. Pinckney.

N. B. The enemy are gaining Strength to the westward. They are Raising Several Battalions. Their Measures in Country Succeeds only two well. Our advantage Depends much upon Despatch. Their army at present is much more Seekly than ours. In a few weeks ours Will be in the Same Situation, but a push in to the heart of the Country Settles the Whole Business in three weeks' Time, as well in Charles Town as the Country. The enemy are So Detached that they Can't oppose an army. There is a great Quantity of Old Corn upon the Congrees. The enemy have a Great Many thousand bushels there Stored up. The Next of your favours I am hono'd with I hope will be from Santee or Camden.

T. P.