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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Nathanael Greene to Jethro Sumner
Greene, Nathanael, 1742-1786
July 23, 1781
Volume 15, Page 566

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Head Quarters High Hills Santee, July 23rd, 1781.

Dear Sir:

I have this moment got intelligence from Virginia that a detachment, under Col. Tarleton, was as high up in Virginia as Prince Edward Court House and it is suggested they are pushing for our prisoners, which are to be expected on the road from this to Virginia. Tho' I hardly think the thing practicable, yet it is not to be altogether neglected, as the Enemy were on the route from Prince Edward to Boyd's ferry. I beg you to send out some reconnoitering parties and find out which way the enemy are directing their route. Should they be pushing into the upper Country towards Salisbury you will give orders for the Stores, &c., at Salisbury to be sent up to the Mountains under a small guard, with all possible dispatch, and with the rest of the force with you retire and join this Army.

Should the enemy be near you, and the Prisoners in danger of falling into their hands you will order them to be brought on with your Troops until you meet Major Ross who has a flag going to Virginia to James Town with the whole to effect an exchange. Should Maj. Ross arrive to take the prisoners under care of his flag you may let them remain at Salisbury.

Don't lose a moment's time in equipping your men, as it is probable the enemy are moving with their whole force into North Carolina. Send on intelligence every day of the information you get that I may be prepared to take some decisive measure to counteract the Enemy, let them move in what quarter they may. In our late movements towards Cha. Town we took about 140 Prisoners and killed and wounded near 100 more, and destroyed a prodigious quantity of baggage and stores, and took upwards of 200 horses. Our Militia fought valiantly, and we lost but few men notwithstanding.

I am, Sir, your humble servt.,