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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Whitmel Hill to Thomas Burke
Hill, Whitmel, 1743-1797
February 09, 1781
Volume 22, Pages 533-534


Halifax, Feb. 9th, 1781.

Dear Mr. Burke,


I sit down in great haste to give you the Intelligence this moment rec’d from the Westward, which is as follows, that Lord Corwallis, on receiving an account of the loss of his Troops under Tarleton (particulars of which have reached you before this), burnt all his heavy baggage, and pushed on rapidly to regain Morgan’s Prisoners, having mounted 1,200 Men on Horseback; his passage of the Catawba was disputed by Gen’l Davidson for a whole Day, but on Davidson’s being thrown from his Horse great part of his men retreated, supposing him killed, and joined Morgan, who was in the neighborhood; on which Cornwallis crossed the River, and pushed on to Salisbury, where he was halted, and Morgan and Davidson, with 2,000 men, have fallen in their rear. Gen’l Greene is advancing in Front, where the whole Militia of that part of the Country are Assembling fast; hence we may conclude that a very few days will decide the fate of this State; Cornwallis, by burning his Baggage, has lost all idea of retreating, and is determined to risque everything to the fate of one Day’s business in Arms. Our hopes of success are sanguine, and indeed much, I must say, all depends on the Event.

Immediately after Morgan’s affair, Cols. Lee and Marion surprised the Garrison at Georgetown, bayonetted 112 Men and took the commanding Officer Prisoner; this, I believ, may be relied on. Our Assembly has been convened at this place for some time on

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public business, but few or no Determinations have taken place as yet. They have before them a Bill for raising Regulars, &c. What will be the issue is uncertain.

The present opportunity does not afford me time to be more explicit, but wishing you happiness, must conclude.

Yours most respectfully,

N. B. You will please present my most respectful Compliments to Messrs. Johnson and Sharpy. Cornwallis’s force said not to exceed 2,500 men.