[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.

Dear Pendleton:

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."

(From Documentary History of the American Revolution, by Gibbes, Volume 3, p. 105)

Doc ID: Gibbes, v. 3, p. 105
Date: 7/16/1781

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