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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
November 09, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 294-295



New York, November 6, 1780.

Your Lordship can judge of the strength of this part of the army by that under your own orders, and will agree with me that it is scarcely possible for me to detach a greater force from it, or of our being able to make such efforts in Chesapeak Bay as have now almost become necessary. However, when I know your Lordship's success in North Carolina and your determination respecting a post on Elizabeth River, I will then consider what additional force I can spare. If your Lordship determines to withdraw that post I shall in that case think your present force, including General Leslie's, quite sufficient.

By the copy of instructions last sent, and those now forwarded to General Leslie, your Lordship will perceive I mean that you should take the command of the whole. If my wishes are fulfilled, they are that you may Establish a post at Hillsborough, feed it from Cross Creek, and be able to keep that of Portsmouth. A few troops will do it, and carry on desultory expeditions in

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Chesapeak till more solid operations can take place, of which I fear there is no prospect, without we are considerably reinforced. The moment I know your Lordship's determination to keep a post at Portsmouth I will, as I said before, consider what additional force I can spare. Once assured of our remaining superior at sea, I might possibly send two thousand more for this winter's operations.

Operations in Chesapeak are but of two sorts: Solid operation, with a fighting army, to call forth our friends and support them, or a post, such as Portsmouth, carrying on desultory expeditions, stopping up in a great measure the Chesapeak, and, by commanding James River, prevent the enemy from forming any considerable depots upon it or moving in any force to the southward of it. Such, my Lord, are the advantages I expect from a station at Portsmouth, and I wish it may appear to you in the same light.