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Pending these movements Sir Henry Clinton committed the southeru war to the charge of Lord Cornwallis, with the command of 4000 regulars, and returned with the remainder of the army on board his fleet, to New York , · Paper money had now become so serious, and alarming in its effects, arising from its depreciation, that Congress resolved to call in by taxes, the sum of two hundred million of dollars, and burn it, and redeem it by a new emission, at the rate of one dollar for 20. This plan succeeded, and thousands of the best patriots of the nation were ruined by the depreciated redemption of that currency they had sacrificed their estates to support at par; i. e. equal to gold, and silver. · At this time Mr. Adams left the court of London, where he had been sent in 1776, to negociate a peace, and was ordered by Congress to repair to Holland, to bring to a close the plans of alliance, and commerce, which had been 2 years in agitation. Mr. Adams repaired to Holland by the way of Spain, and accomplished the objects of his mission. .
Lord Cornwallis having overrun South-Carolina, and settled a system of government which reduced that colony to the obedience of the British Crown, now began to penetrate into North-Carolina.
Gen. Washington was not unmindful of the movements of Sir Henry Clinton, and sent forward the Baron De Kalb, at the head of 1400 men, consisting of the Delaware and Maryland lines, to the support of Gen. Lincoln, as early as the 16th of April. Early in May the baron arrived in Virginia, where he was promptly supported, and he moved on to North-Carolina.. On the 6th of July he found himself on the banks of Deep River, wholly destitute of support, excepting such as he collected by force, and this consisted principally of lean cattle. Both the baron and his commissaries were
destitute of cash, and the sufferings of the army were
. On the 28th Col. Otho H. Williams, being well acquainted with the country, advised Gen. Gates to make a circuitous march to Camden, to order Gen. Caswell to join him at the mouth of Rocky-River on the Pedee, and from thence to send his baggage, women and children to Salisbury, (one day's march higher up the Pedee,) and there establish a hospital, and magazines. Next to march to Charlotte, and from thence by the way of the Waxhaws to Cainden. The advantages of this route promised safety to the army, and plentiful supplies; a council of war was called by Gen. Gates upon the occasion, who set aside this advice, and recommended to march directly to Camden. Lt. Col. Porterfield joined Gen. Gates at this time with about 100 Virginians, who had been acting in South Carolina, since the fall of Charleston. ; Starvation now became the cant term of the army, such was their distress for the want of all the necessaries of life ; added to this, the dysentery became very prevalent in their camp. · On the 6th of August, Gen. Gates was joined by Gen. Caswell, at the head of a fine body of North-Carolina militia, who were in good spirits; but under very bad disci. pline; and he encamped at the cross roads, on his way to Camden. One general harmony now pervaded the army.
Gen. Gates, in daily expectation of a strong reinforcement from Virginia, moved forward his army the next day to Clermont, August 13; and Brigadier Gen. Stevens joined him there, with about 700 Virginia militia ; express also arrived from Col. Sumpter that he should join him at Camden with a detachment of South-Carolina militia, and that an escort of clothing, ammunition, and stores was on its way from Charleston to Camden, for the use of the garrison.
Gen. Gates detached Lt. Col. Woodford at the head of the Maryland line, consisting of 100 infantry, a company of artillery, with two brass field-pieces, and about 300 North-Carolina militia, to join Col. Sumpter, with orders to reduce the forts and intercept the convoy. Gen. Gates prepared to support Col. Sumpter with his whole force, and issued the following orders; the result of a council of war.
6 Camp Clermont, 15th of August, 1780." After general orders, he adds—“ The sick, the extra artillery stores, the heavy baggage, and such quarter-master's stores as are not immediately wanted, to march this evening under a guard, to Washaws. To this order the general requests the brigadier generals to see that those under their command, pay the strictest and most scrupulous attention. Lt. Col. Edmonds, with the remaining guns of the park, will take post and march with the Virginia brigade, under Gen. Stevens; he will direct, if any deficiency
happens in the artillery affixed to the other brigades, to supply it immediately; his military staff, and a proportion of his officers, with forty of his men are to await him, and attend his orders. The troops will be ready to march precisely at ten o'clock, in the following order, viz.” Here follows the order of march, with the different evolutions in case of an attack, upon such and such points. “ The tents of the whole army are to be struck at tattoo."
The deputy quarter-masters, upon the receipt of these orders, handed Gen. Gates an abstract of the field returns of his army, which amounted to 3663; exclusive of the detachment sent to join Col. Sumpter; Col. Porterfield's, and Maj. Armstrong's light infantry, (say 250,) and Col. Arand's legion, 120, and a few volunteer cavalry. Total 4000 ; 900 of which were continentals, and 70 cavalry.
Lord Cornwallis, unknown to General Gates, had entered Camden the day before, and commenced his march at this very time, to surprise General Gates in his camp at Clermont. The advance parties of the two armies met in the woods, about two o'clock in the morning; a conflict ensued. Upon the first shock the American cavalry gave way in some disorder ; but they soon recovered, and skirmishing continued through the night; when morning appeared, both parties, having learnt their situation from their captives, anxiously awaited the issue. Both generals made their dispositions in the morning, and an action commenced; the field was contested with various success, until the British bayonets carried the day : the regular troops were firm; but the militia gave way and fled, and dispersed as they fled, never to be recovered; the general and his regulars were abandoned to their fate.
Several parties of militia, who were advancing to join the army, turned their arms against the fugitives, and thus completed the overthrow. The pursuit continued for more than 20 miles, and the road was strewed with the
fragments of this routed army; together with the wounded, the dead, and the dying. Such was the general panic. throughout the neighbouring country, that a party of horse, supported by more than 200 infantry, and at the distance of more than 80 miles from the scene of action, upon the first intelligence, abandoned their ground, and sought safety by flight.
The losses of his lordship, his want of supplies, and the sickly season, all constrained him to abandon the pursuit, and returned to Camden, and pursue his plans of organizing the submission of North-Carolina ; and the more effectually to accomplish this, he seized all such principal characters as were firm to their country, and sent them off as prisoners to Charleston, and St. Augustine, and secured their effects.
Colonel Tarlton continued to ravage the country, by burning, plundering, and destroying all in his way, sparing neither whig nor tory. Operations continued at the same time by detached parties, and with some success to the Americans. Lord Cornwallis made a retrograde move.. ment to strengthen his position, collect supplies, and General Gates at the same time put forth all his efforts to collect an army at Hillsborough ; but his efforts were not very successful, and he moved from Hillsborough to Charlotte. At this critical moment, General Greene (whose appointment has been noticed) arrived, disclosed" his commission from his excellency General Washington, and took the command ; General Gates retired, and the distress of the army, and of North-Carolina continued.;
General Greene took the command of only 2307 men, without clothes, or magazines, and without discipline; subsisting his army on daily collections, in the heart of a. disaffected country, and in the face of a victorious enė-r my,