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Lord Cornwallis, on the receipt of a reinforcement of of 1500 troops,* commenced his operations, and advanced. Colonel Tarlton was detached, at the head of his cavalry, to dislodge General Morgan from his position at the Cowpens; he commenced his movements with his usual impetuosity; traversed the country for several days, laying, waste every thing in his course, until he arrived at Morgan's position; an action commenced, with the same impetuosity; the Americans were dislodged and thrown into disorder; but they rallied to the charge^ and were victorious in their turn: Tarlton was defeated, his army routed and destroyed, his artillery and baggage taken, and he with the mounted fugitives fled to Lord Cornwallis, January 17th, 1781.
This defeat roused up his lordship; he commenced a pursuit, and the operations were such as the flight of the Americans, and the pursuit of his lordship, through a country thinly inhabited, without intermission, would naturally produce.
Gen. Greene had the address to harass his lordship in his pursuit, and yet avoid a general action, until he arrived at Guilford, near the confines of Virginia, where he made a stand and gave him battle. Gen. Greene with his little army of 2,000 men, had hopes of success against his lordship's pursuing army, greatly superior. The movements were well concerted, and as well executed ; and the conflict was sharp, and desperate; but the militia gave way; the regulars were overpowered, and Gen. Greene drew off his troops in good order ; took a strong position to collect the stragglers, and commenced his retreat.
The severity of the action occasioned his lordship to make a hasty retrograde movement tp recover his los-les. i
* This was Leslie's corps which had been ordered on this servicfi from. Virginia, and arrived by the way of Charleston,
During these movements, the murderous sword of civil war, raged between whig and tory, and threatened to depopulate the country.
At this time Sir Henry Clinton detached a fleet from New-York, with 1500 land forces on board, to make a diversion in Virginia, and prepare to co-operate with Lord Cornwallis. This fleet entered the Chesapeake Bay, landed their forces, and commenced the most alarming depredations; several efforts were made to dislodge them, but to no effect.
At this critical moment Gen. Greene made a movement to return to North Carolina, and carry the war into what had now become the enemy's country. He boldly advanced to Camden, and gave battle to Lord Rawdon, April 1781. A desperate conflict ensued ; victory for a long time held a doubtful balance; both parties withdrew from the combat, and left the field covered with their dead.
On the 28th of June, Gen. Greene thus expressed himself to the French minister. "This distressed country I am sure cannot struggle much longer without more effectual support: they must fall, and I fear their fall will sap the independence of America. We fight, get beat, rise and fight again; the whole country is one continued scene of blood and slaughter."
After the battle, Lord Rawdon retired to Camden, and took post, as a permanent position; Gen. Greene advanced, carried the war into South-Carolina, and by a desperate attack was on the point of carrying the strong fortress of Ninety-Six; the reduction of which wouldhave recovered all South-Carolina except Charleston.
Gen. Greene, in his letter to the Marquis La Fayette, dated 1st of May, thus expressed himself. "You may depend upon it, that nothing can equal the sufferings of our little army; but their merit. Let not the love of fame get the better of your prudence, and plunge you into a misfortune in too eager pursuit after glory. This is the voice of a friend, not the caution of a general."
In this critical state of affairs Lord Rawdon retired in person to Charleston ; put himself at the head of a strong reinforcement of 1700 fresh troops, then arrived from Ireland, and by forced marches advanced to the relief of Ninety-Six. Gen. Greene commenced an immediate assault upon the town, resolved if possible to cany it by storm, before the approach of his lordship, but he failed; the advance of Lord Rawdon compelled him to abandon, the assault, when engaged hand to hand with the enemy and at the moment when victory seemed ready to decide in his favour. Gen. Greene drew off his little army in good order, and moved towards Camden; Lord Rawdon advanced to the support of that position, and Gen. Greene, finding himself not sufficiently strong to attack him, moved towards Charleston and took a strong position on the high hills of Santee. Lord Rawdon abandoned his position at Camden, and retired to Charleston, August 1781.
The masterly movements of Gen. Greene, in conducting the southern war, andthe bold and intrepid conflicts and rencounters, amidst the multiplicity of operations in which he was incessantly engaged, are above all praise, and have covered him, and the brave officers and soldiers under his immediate command, with immortal honor.
The war, during these operations in the south, raged in Virginia under the command of Gen. Philips, through the month of April, and their ravages exceed all description; at Petersburg they destroyed all the shipping, and about 400 hogsheads of tobacco, and at Osborn's mills they took two ships, and ten smaller vessels laden with cordage, flour, &c. four ships, and a number of smaller vessels were either burnt or sunk, besides many others destroyed by the Americans, to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy, together with about 3000 hogsheads of tobacco, April 27th. On the 30th the enemy penetrated to Manchester, and destroyed 1200 hogsheads of tobacco more; from thence they proceeded to Warwick, and laid waste the shipping, (both in the river, and on the stocks,) extensive rope-walks, tanneries, ware houses, and magazines of flour, mills, &c. in one geaeral conflagration, and then embarked on board their shipping.
The Baron Steuben was opposed to this party of marauders; but he could not collect a force sufhcient to check their ravages, and depredations.
The commander in chief detached the Marquis La Fayette, with a body of troops to join the baron, and check these savage operations ;when the marquis arrived at Baltimore, such was the state of his army, his military chest, and the public credit, that he was constrained to borrow upon his own credit, April 17th, 2000 guineas of the merchants to purchase supplies for his army, to enable him to proceed, (his soldiers were destitute of all things, even shoes,) and upon the strength of this he advanced to Richmond, by forced marches, (about 200 miles,) where he was joined by the Baron Steuben on the 29th, at the head of the Virginia militia, and thus covered the city of Richmond.
The Marquis La Fayette watched the motions of the enemy, and checked their operations with great zeal and activity; but his force was not sufficient to prevent their taking possession of Petersburg, which Gen* Philips entered on the 9th of May, where he died on the 13th.
Pending these operations in Virginia, Lord Cornwallis moved forward from Guilford to Wilmington, and left Gen. Greene to pursue his southern expedition unmolested by him; from Wilmington he advanced by forced marches on the 25th, to join Gen. Philips at Petersburg, which he Teached on the 30th, and there learnt that Philips had died on the 13th; but he found a force of 1800 regulars, which was attached to his command.
Lord Cornwallis put himself at the head of his'united forces, and advanced towards Richmond to dislodge the Marquis La Fayette, who was now destined to enter the lists with about 3000 men only, with this victorious army, now commanded by the renowned hero of the south.
Flushed with his triumphs, his lordship in his communications to his friends, thus expressed himself. "The boy cannot escape me." Lord Cornwallis moved first upon, - Richmond, with an intention to dislodge the marquis, and bring him to an action; but the marquis eluded the movement, and evacuated it on the 27th.
The Baron Steuben was separated from the Marquis at this time, by orders from Gen. Greene, to join him in the southern war; but he was countermanded on his march, and returned to join the Marquis, to co-operate against Cornwallis.
Lord Cornwallis made a movement to prevent the junction of Gen. Wayne with the marquis; but this attempt was eluded, and the junction was effected, which gave the marquis an additional force of 800 Pennsylvania militia, June 7th.
His lordship next made an attempt to destroy the stores of the marquis, which had been removed from Richmond to Albema'rle; distant two days' march. The marquis apprised of his intention, intercepted his movement, by throwing himself into an old cross road, considered by his lordship as impassable, and taking a strong post, and thus covered his stores ; This lordship abandoned the enterprise, and made a hasty retrograde movement upon Richmond, which he gained in two days, and the marquis pressed close upon his rear, June 17. On the 19th the Baron Steuben rejoined the marquis, and on the 20th his lordship evacuated Richmond, and moved by a hasty