[v. 3, No.
128.] Extract of a Letter from Ad'jt. Gen.
Williams to Maj. Pendleton, Aid-de-Camp to Genl. Greene
CAMP HILLS, SANTEE, July 16, 1781.
After you left us at Ninety-Six we were obliged to
retrograde as far as the cross roads above Winnsborough.
Lord Rawdon's return over Saluda induced the General to halt
the army, and wait for intelligence respecting his farther
manoeuvres, and hearing a few days after that his lordship
was on his march to fort Granby, our army was ordered to
march towards that place by way of Winnsborough. Before we
could arrive at Congaree, Lord Rawdon retired to
Orangeburgh; and as he had left a considerable part of his
army at Ninety-Six, Gen. Greene detached the cavalry and
light infantry to join Gen. Marion, and endeavor to
intercept Col. Stewart, who was on his march from Charleston
with the Third Regiment, &c., consisting of about three
hundred, conveying bread, stores, &c., of which Lord
Rawdon's troops were in great want. Stewart, however joined
his lordship at Orangeburgh; and Gen. Greene, from the
information he had received, was encouraged to expect
success from an attack upon the British army at that post.
Accordingly he collected his troops, and called together the
militia and state troops under Gen's. Sumter and Marion
(Gen. Pickens being left to watch the motions of Col.
Cruger). A junction of the whole formed a very respectable
little army, which marched to a small branch of North
Edisto, within four miles of Orangeburgh, where we halted,
and lay the 12th instant from about nine o'clock in the
morning till six in the afternoon.
"Gen. Greene reconnoitred the position of the enemy, and
found it materially different from what it had been
represented. The ground is broken, and naturally strong,
from the Court-house (which is two stories high and built of
brick), to a bridge four or five hundred yards distant, the
only pass over the Edisto within many miles. The general had
every reason to believe what he had soon afterwards
confirmed, that Col. Cruger had evacuated Ninety-Six, and
was on his march to join Lord Rawdon, which might possibly
be done before we could force his lordship (if he could be
forced at all) to a general action,the issue of which was
not certain. These considerations induced the General rather
to offer than give battle. The enemy declined the
opportunity, and put up with the insult. Gen. Greene,
therefore, ordered our troops to retire in the afternoon to
Col. Middleton's plantation, from whence we have proceeded
by slow easy marches to this place, and not without leaving
behind sufficient detachments to intercept their convoys
from below, and to create such a diversion at Monk's Corner,
Dorchester, &c., as will very probably oblige his
lordship to march to their relief. Indeed I am encouraged to
hope that the garrison at Charleston will not be
undisturbed. Mischief is meditated against them in other
quarters; and I sanguinely trust the issue of this campaign
will permanently fix the exalted idea the world has justly
conceived of the eminent abilities of our General, and
secure durable advantages to the country."
Documentary History of the American Revolution, by
Gibbes, Volume 3, p. 105)
Gibbes, v. 3, p. 105