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3785. the evening it was discovered that Cornwallis, with the

British army, was near it. The American light in-
fantry encamped within about three miles of him, and
Greene halted within seven, on a road leading immedi-
ately to his lordship's camp. Though Greene meant to
assume the most confident appearance, he considered
this situation extremely ineligible ; as it was in a man-
ner forcing his lordship to action, for which he himself
was by no means prepared ; but to retire precipitately
would betray his apprehensions of danger. He hoped
that lord Cornwallis meant to retire, though reluctantly,
to Cross Creek on Cape Fear river. He therefore wish-
ed only to wait on him, and partially to attack him on
the march, for which the light troops were perfectly
calculated. Greene's object was to wear away the time,
till all the expected reinforcements should arrive, and his
army could be properly organized and prepared for ac-
tion. On the 2d of March there was a slight skirmish
in the morning, between a detachment under Tarleton
and a part of the militia under Williams, within one
mile of the British encampment.

After various movements of the American light in

fantry, lord Cornwallis taking the advantage of a thick Mar. fog on the 6th of March, marched early in the morn

ing with his whole force, intending to surprise them and
bring Greene to a general action : but the vigilance of
the light troops disappointed his lordship's first hope, and
then gallantly defeated his second. About eight o'clock
the patroles of Williams's brigade brought intelligence
of his lordship’s being within two miles of his encamp-
ment, on the road leading to gen. Pickens's quarters,
and from thence to Whitsell's mill, an important pass



on Reedy Fork creek, immediately between the Ameri-1781. can light infantry and the main army. His lordship’s designs were manifest, and no time was to be lost. Difpatches went off to apprize Pickens. He being gone to head quarters, and lieut. col. Lee, who was of that brigade and second in command, having received information of his lordship's approach, retired before him. Col. Williams marched his brigade immediately for Whitsell's mill. The light skirmishing of some small parties on the flanks of the British army, gained time for the removal of certain impediments, so that a junction of the two brigades was formed about a mile from the mill. Col. Williams then ordered col. Campbell, who had joined the light infantry with a number of rifle men from the Western Waters, and lieut. col. Washington to move now, and give time for the rest of the troops to gain the pass, if possible, without risking their commands, which was effected. A covering party was formed of about 150 Virginia militia. The main body of the militia paffed first after the horses and waggons, and formed on the opposite side of the water ; then the regular infantry under lieut. col. Howard; after that Lee's legion, infantry and cavalry. Campbell and Wash ington filed off about half a mile from the mill, crossed and rejoined the rest on the other side of the creek. Col. Webster, with about 1000 British infantry, attack ed the covering party, which gave him a brisk fire, and then retired over the fork. The British infantry followed with great precipitation, and met a severe faluce from the fire of Campbell's rifles and Lee's legion infantry, which were judiciously disposed for that purpose. Webfter being supported by the chasseurs and Hellians, and


E 2

tant mancuvre.

2781. Cornwallis planting his field pieces on commanding

grounds, dismayed the militia fo manifestly, that Williams gave them orders to retire ; and then followed with Howard's battalion, Aanked by a company of Delaware infantry and the infantry of the legion, the whole covered by Washington's cavalry. The cavalry of the legion covered the baggage and ammunition waggons, which accidentally took a different route. Thus ended the designs of lord Cornwallis for that day, which was too far spent to admit of the execution of any impor

The loss of the Americans was about 50 killed and wounded, that of the British probably much greater, as they twice sustained the unexpected fire of the former. Col. Williams retired three miles, and formed to await the enemy; but as they did not advance he proceeded further, and encamped that evening about seven miles from the place of action. It

may be thought worthy of being recorded, that Mr. Perry, sergeant major, and Mr. Lunsford, quarter master sergeant of the 3d American regiment of dragoons, two spirited young fellows, being separately detached with each four dragoons, as parties of observation on the retreat; saw 16 or 18 horsemen of the British army in new levy uniforms ride into a farm-house yard in an irregular manner; and some of them dismounted. They instantly joined their small force, seized the occasion, charged the horsemen, and in sight of the British legion, which was on the contrary side of the fence, cut every man down, and then retired without a scar.

While Greene was really unequal to even defensive operations, and waited to have his army strengthened, he lay for seven days within ten miles of Cornwallis's


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his own.


camp: but he took a new position every night ; and 1681, kept it as a profound secret with himself where the next was to be; so that his lordship could not gain intelligence of his situation in time to avail himself of it. During these manoeuvres Greene was often obliged to ask bread of the common foldiers, having none of

Cornwallis made a stroke at him twice, but missed his aim. At length Greene was reinforced, with another brigade of militia from Virginia under gen.

Lawson, and two from North Carolina under gens. Butler and Eaton, and 400 regulars raised for 18 months: this enabled him to diffolve the constitution of the light army on the roth. The same day he wrote to gov. Mar. Jefferson-" Hitherto I have been obliged to practise that by finesse, which I dared not to attempt by force. I know the people have been in anxious suspense, waiting the event of a general action : but be the consequence of censure what it may, nothing shall hurry me into a measure, that is not suggested by prudence, or connects not with it the interest of the southern department.”

Lord Cornwallis not immediately urging his plan of bringing on a general action, but moving toward New Garden, alias the Quaker meeting-house, gave Greene the opportunity of arranging his army a-new, and of making every preparation for an engagement. This he now determined to venture upon, as he thought himself fufficiently strong; and foresaw that by delaying any time he should probably be weakened through the withdraw ment of many militia men; beside, there would be a. great difficulty of subsisting long in the field in fo exhausted a country. On the 14th he marched his army to Guildford court-house, and took a position within E 3


1981.eight miles of Cornwallis's encampment. His force con

fisted of Huger's brigade of Virginia continentals, 778 present and fit for duty; of Williams's Maryland brigade and Delawares, 630; and of the infantry of Lee's pare tizan legion, 82—total of continental regulars, 1490 : besides these there were 1060 militia from North Caro, lina, and 1693 from Virginia, in all 2753. The whole army consisted of 4243 foot, and of 161 cavalry, including Washington's light dragoons 86, and of Lee's legion 75. Before the engagement began, the marquis of Bretagney joined the army with about 40 horse, very few accoutred as horsemen, but mounted as infantry. On the morning of the 15th the Americans were supplied with provisions, and a gill of rum per man; and orders were issued for the whole to be in perfect readiness for action.

Lord Cornwallis, being convinced from gen. Greene's movements that he intended to venture an engagement,

sent off his baggage under a proper escort on the 14th; Mar, and the next morning at day break, marched with the .

remainder of his army, amounting to about 2400 men, chiefly troops grown veterar. in victories, either to meet Greene on the way, or to attack him in his encampment. By this, Greene's design of attacking his lordship was anticipated. About three miles from the American army, the British advance guard under Tarleton fell in with Lee's legion, Campbell and Lynch's rifle

Lee's dragoons killed about fifty of Tarleton's, and the riflemen are thought to have killed and wounded more than 100 infantry. This skirmish


Greene time to form his army, within about a mile and a quarter of Guilford court-house.

The British advanced


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