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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Charles Cornwallis, Marquis Cornwallis to Henry Clinton
Cornwallis, Charles Cornwallis, Marquis, 1738-1805
May 18, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 242-243


Camp at Manigolds, May 18, 1780.


Lieutenant Colonel Webster arrived this morning and informed me of the message which you sent by him, relative to reinforcing the corps under my command. The service on which I am going is undoubtedly of the most important nature, and in my opinion, without some success in the back country, our success at Charlestown

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would but little promote the interests of Great Britain. But at the same time it is necessary that your situation to the Northward should be respectable. It would be with great regret that I should see you leave behind any of that corps destined for your first embarkation. The garrison, then, of Charles-town and Sullivan's Island will consist of three British regiments, two of them very weak, and two Hessian and one weak provincial, the latter of which, perhaps, will be sent to Fort Moultrie. This garrison will have charge of two thousand five hundred prisoners. The corps at present under my command is, in my opinion, fully equal to the purpose intended by it, unless some considerable reinforcement of Continentals should come from the Northward. I have not yet heard that fact ascertained by any intelligence which has come to my knowledge. If the troops are on their march, and not very near, your embarkation given out publicly for the Chesaapeak will probably stop them. I think, therefore, Sir, if you please, with proper deference and submission to your opinion, that the business may be settled in the following manner: If no certain intelligence arrives before you are ready to sail of a considerable corps of Continental troops being far advanced, that the disposition should then remain the same which you mentioned when I had the honour of seeing you. If such intelligence arrives before that time, I should then wish to be joined by five or six hundred men, either British or Hessian, and to submit to your judgement on the spot from whence they could be best supplied. I think, at all events, Lieutenant Colonel Balfour's expedition should go immediately, as the season of the year makes it necessary that he should lose no time. The more pains that can be taken to establish the belief of your going to Virginia the greater will be the probability of stopping their reinforcements.

I am, &c.,