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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Charles Cornwallis, Marquis Cornwallis to Alexander Leslie
Cornwallis, Charles Cornwallis, Marquis, 1738-1805
November 12, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 298-300


No. 107.

Camp at Wynnsborough, Between Broad River & Wateree, 12th Novr., 1780.

Dr. Sir:

You will, I hope, have received some Letters written by Lord Rawdon during my Illness. I am now perfectly recovered and almost as strong as ever. Had I attempted to penetrate into the further part of N. Carolina, my small Army wou'd have been exposed to the utmost Hazard, and it wou'd have been as impossible to have co-operated with you in the Chesapeak as with Sir Henry Clinton at N. York. If you come to Cape Fear, of which at present I have little doubt, by the help of Gallies and small Craft which will be sent from Charlestown you will easily secure a Water Conveyance for your Stores up to Cross Creek. I will,

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on hearing of your Arrival in Cape Fear River, instantly march with everything that can be safely spared from this Province, which I am sorry to say is most exceedingly disaffected, to join you at Cross Creek. We will then give our Friends in N. Carolina a fair Trial. If they behave like Men it may be of the greatest Advantage to the Affairs of Britain. If they are as dastardly & pusillanimous as our Friends to the Southward, we must leave them to their Fate & secure what they have got. If you find it difficult, from contrary Winds, to get into Cape Fear, the Entrance of which is not easy to Vessels coming from the Northward by the projection of the Frying Pan Shoal, it will be very little out of your way to look into Charles Town; And perhaps, tho' not probably, Balfour may give you the 64th instead of some of the Corps d'Elite which you have brought with you. At any rate we may settle our Operations more fully, & you may enter Cape Fear River with every Assistance that can be procured from them. All the Men of War with you, except the Romulus, can go into Cape Fear if wanted, but I believe that will not be the Case, and the Sandwich will be of more use than any of them. I can only say that I most impatiently long for the day of meeting with You.

I cannot help mentioning a Thing which has given me the greatest Concern. Some of my Letters from the Northward have made me suspect that you thought that your Removal from Carolina was owing to an Application to me. I most solemnly declare upon my honor that nothing can be more false. When I came to Town after the Surrender Sir Henry mentioned my going with him to the Northward. I said that I was ready to serve whereever he thought fit to employ me, & had no Objection to remain in Carolina if he thought my Services conld be useful in that Province. He said something Civil about Climate. He then wished me to take this Command. However painful & distressing my Situation has been, & however dark the Prospect there was, it cannot be supposed that, as a Military Man, I shou'd not rather chuse to command to the Southward than be third at New York. But so far from expressing a Desire to have any other Officer remain with me in preference to you, I shou'd have wished for you in preference to all others; But I did not presume to interfere in any Degree with Sir Henry's Arrangements, nor did

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I say more, or express myself stronger on the Subject of my own saying, than I have described in this Letter. I shall therefore hope that we shall meet with the same Cordiality, & continue on the same footing of Friendship, which has hitherto subsisted between us, & that you will believe me to be, &c.,

Honble. Major Gen. Leslie.