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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette to Jethro Sumner
Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de, 1757-1834
July 10, 1781
Volume 15, Pages 522-523


Camp Near Holt's Forge,
10th July, 1781.


Since the receipt of your favor of the 29th June the enemy evacuated Williamsburg and retired to James Town. On the 6th a reconnoitering party from this army of about 800 fell in with their main body. Although so inferior our party commenced a warm and close action, and retired without sustaining any material loss.

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The number of killed and wounded and missing amounting only to one hundred and thirty, we lost two pieces of cannon owing to the horses and being all killed. According to our best accounts Lord Cornwallis has suffered about two hundred and 50 killed and wounded. The next day he crossed to the South side of James river leaving no post whatever on the north side. He is now pointing his march towards South Carolina, but I cannot decide whether with a whole of his force or only a part.

As supporting General Greene is a measure of the last moment, I make no doubt but you are either near or with him by this time. If not you will necessarily without delaying your march order such obstructions to be thrown in the route Cornwallis may take as must lengthen his junction. It is also of the first importance, that all the boats on the Roanoak be brought to a point and pretty high up for faciliating easy transportation. I am in motion and shall use all my endeavours to join General Greene, whose situation must require all our succours.

I shall write to-day to Charlotteville ordering the 300 Stand of fine arms to follow your movements.

I am, Dr. Sir, your Obt. servt.,

On the back the following is written:

It is recommended to every good citizen to forward the bearer of this by such help as may be proper.