Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Nathanael Greene to Richard Caswell
Greene, Nathanael, 1742-1786
April 11, 1781
Volume 15, Pages 435-436


Hd. Quarters, Little River, April 11th, 1781.

(The express says Kimboro's 10 miles from Mark's
ferry on Peedee R. C.)


Your letter of the 6th I had the honor to receive last Evening.

Before this you will have been informed of the disappointment that has taken place in Virginia. The Enemy are Masters of Chessapeak Bay and General Philips has arrived there with a very considerable reinforcement of land forces. Col. Morris one of my Aids returned last Evening from Virginia, where I sent him to consult with the Marquis upon a plan of operations. He informs me that by private intelligence obtained the Enemy are preparing to form a junction with Lord Cornwallis by the way of Albemarle Sound. All public stores upon the sea coast should be moved into the interior Country. At Edenton I am told there are a large number of fine heavy Cannon. Those should be sent as high up the Roanoak as they can be transported by water. By leaving the Towns naked of public property we render them less object for the Enemy. But whatever is done in the business must be done immediately.

-------------------- page 436 --------------------

I am not without hopes that our movements will disconcert the Enemys plan; but if it should not it would have been impossible to prevent the Enemys forming in the way they propose.

If the Marquis de la Fayette marches to the Southward as I have desired him, and the Pennsylvanians and Marylanders get up in time, and Virginia and your State furnish any considerable proportion of their Troops, the Enemy will get little by their junction.

Should the Enemy push their operations seriously to the Northward and this Army cannot be actively employed to the Southward, I shall leave it and join the Northern Army now forming in Virginia.

I have given directions to General Sumner to collect all the Continental Officers, and to send some to each place you recommend to receive the recruits. Arms, Cartouch Boxes, and all other matters will be wanting to equip your men. Every exertion should be made to provide for the troops, that they may be able to take the field on the shortest notice.

I am very glad you have established a plan for communicating intelligence. This was very necessary & I presume it will be very useful that you shall hear from me by every opportunity.

I beg leave to refer you to Mr. Wyley Jones for further information respecting my plan and reasons for the present movements. Letters being frequently intercepted prevents my being more particular.

I had all my riding Horses stole a Night or two past. If the State could furnish me with a couple they would oblige me greatly and for which I will be accountable.

At the first opening of the Assembly there should be a Severe Law made against harbouring Deserters; without which I fear the Army will be little benefitted by the draft.

I have the honor to be with great respect
Your most obedient humble servant

Additional Notes for Electronic Version: According to the "The Papers of Nathanael Greene" (Dennis M. Conrad, ed.) vol. VIII, p. 79-80, Greene wrote this letter to Richard Caswell.