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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Henry William Harrington to Horatio Gates
Harrington, Henry William, 1747-1809
September 25, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 651-653


Camp, near Cross Creek,
25th Sept., 1780, 9 P. M.

Dear Sir:

I received your favour of the 20th Instant, and, agreeable to your Desire, acquainted Capt. Davie that it was your Orders he should March with all under his care to Hillsborough, as soon as Colo. Ford returns. I hope the Colo. will hear a Confirmation of the agreeable news of the Fleet of our Allies being off this Coast. Reports from different ways say it is, as I had the honour to write

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to You, Sir, on the 16th, with this addition, that the Fleet has Land Forces on Board; and yet I cannot learn the certainty of it, although I have wrote to all my Correspondents on the subject, and have actually sent a Man to Lockwood's Folly on the Seaboard, as the most probable place to gain Intelligence of the said Fleet, with orders to go as far along the Shore of South Carolina as he could venture, & and to make diligent enquiry of all Fishing & sailing Boats, and of all others, touching this Report.

I hope the Governor has sent out 2 or 3 Pilot-boats from Newbern on this business. That certainly would have been the most effectual & speedy method to have come to the knowledge of this most interesting Intelligence.

Mr. Penn writes to me that You have directed Colo. Marion to apply to me for directions how to act in consequence of that information. I have wrote to Colo. Marion & to Colo. Giles to collect as many South-Militia as possible, to form a junction with Colo. Brown, of Bladen (who should have 200 Men), and to proceed immediately against the Insurgents of that Country, on little Peedee, on the Frontiers of So. Carolina. I think to move to Coles Bridge, if the accts. from the Long Bluff continue to be as favourable as they have been for the last two days. I shall be strengthened there by near two hundred Horse, and if Colonels Marion, Giles & Brown prove successful, I shall push on & order them to join me at Peedee, either above or below the Enemy, as circumstances may require. Should we prove successful I shall again endeavour to embody the Militia of the three Peedee Regimts., unless, Sir, I have your Orders to the contrary, till when I shall look on myself as honoured with your former Appointment, whilst I hold my Commission.

I received intelligence on Saturday evening that Mills's Gang at the Long Bluff & Peedee are not more than 300, about 90 of them Red Coats, thought to be Colo. Hamilton's North Carolinians. Their Head Quarters are at Capt. Dewers Mills, a little above the Long Bluff. Lt. Colo. Gray has been with 100 on this side the River to his own Plantation, but they are now rather shy of coming to this side, & it was believed they had moved some of their Plunder & were preparing to retreat. A Party of the Peedee Men under a Gentleman named Delong have actually gone towards Kolbs ferry.

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I yesterday evening had the satisfaction of seeing a person from Santee. He crossed that River on the 13th Instant, 5 miles above Nelsons ferry. He says that 15 or 20 Boats with Sick & wounded & some baggage were coming down the River, & were just above the said ferry when he came away; that he had been told by a friend late from Cambden that the Enemy lost at least 600 Men Killed & wounded on the 16th Ulto., & that a retreat from there was daily expected; that a British Officer told him (at his own house on Santee) that they (the British) now had between 1,500 & 2,000 men, but had not had any reinforcements. He followed the Tract of the party from Cambden to Cheraws, & says he saw the ruins of several Houses which the Enemy had burnt; at some they burn the Fences & all the Grain that is housed; at others they leave the Fences. They drive all the Horses, good & bad, to Cambden; he saw them drive one gang of about 40 head. He came by the way of Little Peedee, & confirmed accounts I have before received that the Bladen Insurgents did not amount to more than 150. All things considered, I am in hopes we shall be more than a match for them, and if we gain the least advantage we shall have numbers join us. You may be assured, Sir, on my acting with the greatest Caution, and that whilst I am going on towards Cheraws I shall not forget Cross-Creek nor the Tories on Little Peedee.

I have the honour to be, Dear Sir,
Your most humble and most obed. Sert.,