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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Charles Cornwallis, Marquis Cornwallis to Henry Clinton
Cornwallis, Charles Cornwallis, Marquis, 1738-1805
January 06, 1781
Volume 17, Pages 979-980

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No. 123.

Wynnesborough, 6th January, 1781.


I am just honored with your Letter of the 13th ulto. I have written several Letters in the course of the last month, to give your Excellency an account of the state of the Provinces of South Carolina and Georgia, and of the Military Transactions. I fear they are all still at Charlestown, as no Opportunity has offered of transmitting them to N. York. The present Addition to the Naval Force in this Quarter will, I hope, enable me, or if I am too distant, Lt. Colonel Balfour, to transmit Reports more frequently.

The difficulties I have had to struggle with have not been occasioned by the opposite Army, They always keep at a considerable distance, and retire on our Approach. But the constant Incursions of Refugees, North Carolinians and back Mountain Men, & the perpetual Risings in the different Parts of this Province; the invariable Successes of all these Parties against our Militia, keep the whole Country in continual Alarm, and renders the Assistance of regular Troops everywhere necessary. Your Excellency will judge of this by the disposition of the Troops, which I have the Honor to enclose to you.

I shall begin my march tomorrow (having been delayed a few Days by a Diversion made by the Enemy toward Ninety-six), and propose keeping on the West of Catawba for a considerable distance. I shall then proceed to pass that River and the Yadkin. Events alone can decide the future Steps. I shall take every Opportunity of communicating with Brig. Gen. Arnold.

I have directed Lt. Col. Balfour to apply to the Commanding Officer of the Navy to send a Force into Cape Fear immediately, and to embark about 200 Men, & establish some Post for the Protection of the Victuallers and Vessels in the River.

The Expression made use of in the Letter from Lt. Col. Balfour to Major General Leslie was only meant to convey his private Opinion

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of the Necessity of his complying with my request, and of the Danger to which the Province wou'd be exposed if it was again left as destitute of Troops as in October last. He certainly had no Apprehensions whilst the Army remained on the Frontiers. I can with Truth assure your Excellency that Lt. Col. Balfour does not hold the Language of despondency, and that his Spirited Exertions & constant Attention to the good of the Service have rendered me the most effectual Assistance.

In the hurry of Business your Excellency omitted answering the following Paragraph in my Letter of the 30th June: “Mr. Graham, Lt. Governor of Georgia, has presented an Account of Money advanced for Refugees, to which is added a Charge of 20/ per Diem to the 24th of June, as Inspector of Refugees in Georgia. But as he informs me that his Commission for that Office is not signed, I beg to know your Pleasure whether this account is to be allowed.”

I have the pleasure to inform your Excellency that the Army here is perfectly healthy and in good Order.
His Excllency Sir Henry Clinton.