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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Henry Clinton to Charles Cornwallis, Marquis Cornwallis [Extract]
Clinton, Henry, Sir, 1738?-1795
June 01, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 245-246


Charles-town, June 1, 1780.


We shall probably leave this in a day or two. I dare not be so sanguine as to suppose that your business will be compleated in time for us to meet before I sail, and our communication will become precarious. I think it necessary to give your Lordship outlines of my intentions where your Lordship is likely to bear a part. Your Lordship knows it was a part of my plan to have gone into Chesapeak-bay, but I am apprehensive the information which the Admiral and I received may make it necessary for him to assemble his fleet at New York, in which case I shall go there likewise. When your Lordship has finished your campaign, you will be better able to judge what is necessary to be done to secure South and recover North Carolina. Perhaps it may be necessary to send the galleys and some troops into Cape Fear, to awe the lower counties, by far the most hostile of that province, and to prevent the conveyance of succors by inland navigation, the only communication that will probably remain with the northern parts of North Carolina and Virginia. Should your Lordship so far succeed in both provinces as to be satisfied they are safe from any attack during the approaching season, after leaving a sufficient force in garrison, and such other posts as you think necessary, and such troops by way of moving corps as you shall think sufficient, added to such provincial and militia corps as you shall judge

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proper to raise, I should wish you to assist in operations which will certainly be carried on in the Chesapeak as soon as we are relieved from our apprehensions of a superior fleet, and the season will admit of it in that climate. This may happen, perhaps, about September, or, if not, early in October. I am clear this should not be attempted without a great naval force; I am not so clear there should be a great land force. I therefore propose that your Lordship, with what you can spare at this time from your important post, which is always to be considered as the principal object, may meet the Admiral, who will bring with him such additional force as I can spare into the Chesapeak. I should recommend, in the first place, that one or two armed ships, vigilants, should be prepared, and that as many gallies as can go to sea may likewise accompany you from hence. Our first object will probably be the taking post at Norfolk or Suffolk, or near the Hampton Road, and then proceeding up the Chesapeak to Baltimore. I shall not presume to say anything by way of instruction to your Lordship, except in articles where you wish it; and if you will do me the honor to inform me of your wishes by the first safe opportunity, I shall pay every attention to them, upon that subject or any other. The Admiral assures me that there will be ships enough left for convoy, ready by the 24th of June. Your Lordship will be the best judge what use can be made of them. Correspondence may, and I hope will, be kept up by the cruizers, which the Admiral and officer stationed here will have; but if you find it necessary, you will be so good to press or hire armed vessels.