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gen. Lillington had delayed so much time, as to render 1781, our junction critical, I gave him orders to file off to Cross Creek. I thought his going there at this moment, might keep down the tories; and his reinforcement would be too inconsiderable to enable us to make a stand, and would only add to our difficulties in getting over the river.” The next morning he sent an express Feb. to him with this note--" 4 o'clock. Follow our route,
14 as a division of our force may encourage the enemy to push us further than they will dare to do, if we are together. I have not sept four hours since you left me, fo
great has been my solicitude to prepare for the worst. . I have great reason to believe, that one of Tarleton's officers was in our camp the night before last.”—Again _" 2 o'clock in the afternoon. The greater part
of our waggons are over, and the troops are crossing.” The communication between Greene and Williams closed for the present with“ Irwin's ferry, 4 past 5 o'clock. All our troops are over, and the stage is clear. The infantry will cross here, the horse below. Major Hardman has posted his party in readiness on this (the south] fide, and the infantry and artillery are posted on the other, and I am ready to receive and give you a hearty welcome.”. Greene had the pleasure of seeing all the light army safe over that night, though in the day they had been pushed forty miles by Cornwallis's army, whose van arrived just as the American rear had crossed. The next day Greene dispatched the following letters—To governor Jefferson of Virginia ; “ On the Dan river, almost fatigued to death, having had a retreat to conduct for upward of 200 miles, manauvring constantly in the face of the enemy, to give time for the militia
1781. to turn out and get off our stores.”—To baron Steuben;
“ Col. Williams, with the light infantry, lieut. col.
During the transactions above related, gen. Marion
and morasses of the settlements near Charlestown; and 1781. was frequently fallying out from his hiding places, and enterprising something in behalf of his country. Hava ing mounted his followers, he infested the British outposts, intercepted their convoys, destroyed their stores, beat up
their quarters, and so harassed them with alarms, that they were obliged to be alway upon their guard. On the other side, col. Balfour, who commanded at Charlestown, projected an expedition against Wilmington in North Carolina. A small naval force was equipped, and major Craig dispatched on the service with about 300 soldiers. The troops were landed about nine miles short of Wilmington; and the town being abandoned by its defensive force of about 150 men, was taken without resistance. It has since been made a post of fome strength.
Lieut. col. Lee's legion recrossed the Dan on the 18th; agreeable to the wish of gen. Greene, to watch the motions of Cornwallis's army; which, after having collected a quantity of provision, began on the morning of the 19th to move Nowly toward Hillsborough. There his lordship erected the royal standard, and by procla- Feb. mation on the 20th, invited all his friends to repair to 20, it. Greene being informed, that numbers had joined his lordship, and that the North Carolinians were repairing to him in shoals to make their submission, was apprehensive, that unless some spirited measure was immediately taken, the whole country would be lost to the American cause. He concluded therefore upon returning to North Carolina. The light troops recrossed the Dan on the 21st, and on the next day were followed by the main body, accompanied with 600 Virginia militia
1781. under gen. Stevens. Greene, the more effectually to
alarm Cornwallis and discourage the royalists, rode with his aid de camp twenty-one miles toward the enemy and within about fifteen of his lordship. The report of his being within that distance foon reached his lordship; who inferred that the American army was equally near. The light infantry hung round his lordship's quarters, while the main army advanced Nowly, keeping in view the route to the upper parts of the country, the more effectually to avoid an action, and to form a junction with the militia of the Western Waters under col. Campbell and others, who were expected in considerable numbers.
Lieut. col. Tarleton with the British legion was detached from Hillsborough, across the Haw river, to major O'Neil's plantation, to protect a considerable number of royalists appointed to meet there on the 24th. Gen. Pickens and lieut. col. Lee, who had intelligence of Tarleton's movements, concerted measures to bring him to action. Lee's cavalry were to attack those of
Tarleton's command, while Pickens's militia dispersed Feb. the colle&ted royalists. These happened to be paraded /25. on the night of the 25th, in a long lane leading toward
O‘Neil's house. Lee led his cavalry into the lane, mistaking the royalists for a part of Pickens's militia, which he supposed had arrived there before him. After he discovered the distinguishing red rag in their hats, he with great presence of mind passed on, intending to leave them to the treatment of their countrymen under Pickens. When these came up, and a firing had commenced between them and the royalists, Lee with his cavalry returned and fell upon the latter; who not having
feen Tarleton's dragoons, mistook Lee's cavalry for 1781. them. While laboring under this mistake, he cut thein down as they were making ardent protestations of loyalty, and afferting" that they were the very best friends of the king.” A horrid Naughter was made of them, between 2 and 300 being cut to pieces.
Tarleton was refreshing his legion about a mile from the scene. Upon hearing the aların, he ordered his men to mount; precipitarely recrossed the Haw; and returned to Hillsborough. On his retreat, he also cut down several of the royalists as they were advancing to join the British army, mistaking them for rebel militia of the country. This event, together with Greene's having recrossed the Dan, broke all Cornwallis's measures. The tide of public sentiment was now no longer in his favor. The recruiting service declined and was stopped, which had it proceeded a fortnight longer, would have so strengthened his lordship, that he must have held the country. The advocates for royal government were discouraged, and could not be induced to act with confidence. Considerable numbers, who were on their way to join his lordship, returned home to wait for further events.
On the 27th Lord Cornwallis retired from Hillsbo- Feb. rough in two columns. The same day Lee's legion and 27. Pickens's militia joined the main body of American light infantry, which was now considerably reinforced by volunteer horse and riflemen from Virginia : and the whole corps passed the Haw (a branch of Cape Fear river) at night. Greene, with the main army, augmented by the North Carolina militia, crossed it the next morning, and marched with all his force toward Allamance. In VOL. IV. E