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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Henry Clinton to Alexander Leslie
Clinton, Henry, Sir, 1738?-1795
November 02, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 293-294


New York, 2d November, 1780.


Having already put you under the orders of Lord Cornwallis, who must, of course, be the best judge of Operations to the Southward, it may be needless to say anything more. But lest you should not receive any orders from His Lordship, or obtain certain intelligence relative to him, or have reason to Suppose you can better assist his Operations by a diversion made nearer him, I think it necessary to give you some hints respecting Cape Fear River, and how far the acting upon that River will Operate. Should Lord Cornwallis have passed the Yadkin, and be advanced towards Hillsborough, I think you cannot act anywhere so well as on James River, approaching sometimes towards the Roanoke, but not passing that River without orders from Lord Cornwallis. If you have every reason to believe that his Lordship meets with Opposition at his passage of the Yadkin, I think a Move on Cape Fear River will operate effectually. I have had much conversation with General O'Hara on this subject. I have given him every Information respecting that Move, and I trust, after consulting him, you will act in the best manner possible to fulfill the object of all your Instructions, a Diversion in favour of Lord

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Cornwallis. That you may be the better judge of his plan, I send you Copies of such of his Letters which give any hints towards it.

Should you determine to quit Chesapeak you will apply to the Officer Commanding in the Naval Line, to whom Sir George Rodney intends giving corresponding Instructions. As you will meet, of course, in Cape Fear River a considerable number of Gallies, Armed Vessels, &c., I wish, in case you quit Chesapeak, that all those now with you may be sent back to us. You will, of course, cautiously avoid inrolling any of the Militia of Princess Ann or elsewhere, without you determine to Establish a Post. Those, however, who voluntarily join you must be taken care of.

I have the honor to be, &c., &c.,
Honble. Major General Leslie.