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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Charles Cornwallis, Marquis Cornwallis to Henry Clinton [Extract]
Cornwallis, Charles Cornwallis, Marquis, 1738-1805
December 03, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 241-242


December 3d, 1780.


“Lord Rawdon, during my illness, informed your Excellency, in his letters of the 28th and 31st of October, of the various causes which prevented my penetrating into North Carolina. I shall not trouble you with a recapitulation, except a few words about poor Major Ferguson. I had the honour to inform your Excellency that Major Ferguson had taken infinite pains with some of the militia of Ninety-six. He obtained my permission to make an excursion into Tryon county, while the sickness of my army prevented my moving. As he had only militia, and the small remains of his own corps, without baggage or artillery, and as he promised to come back if he heard of any superior force, I thought he could do no harm, and might help to keep alive the spirit of our friends in North Carolina, which might be damped by the slowness of our motions. The event proved unfortunate, without any

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fault of Major Ferguson's. A numerous and unexpected enemy came from the mountains. As they had good horses, their movements were rapid. Major Ferguson was tempted to stay near the mountains longer than he intended, in hopes of cutting off Colonel Clarke on his return from Georgia. He was not aware that the enemy was so near him; and in endeavoring to execute my orders of passing the Catauba, and joining me at Charlotte-Town, he was attacked by a very superior force, and defeated on King's Mountain.”