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an absolute decision on the application, the CHAP. IX. marquis de La Fayette who had accompanied 1781. him, remained on board the admiral's ship for the purpose of using his influence in support of the request which had been made. That nobleman returned with a note from De Grasse October 23. declaring his conviction of the advantages which would result from an expedition against Charleston; but that “the orders of his court, ulterior projects, and his engagements with the Spaniards, rendered it impossible for him to remain on the coast, during the time which would be required for the operation.” He consented however to convoy a detachment of two thousand Americans to Wilmington and to cover their landing, stipulating at the same time, that they should be put on board the vessels by the first of November. As the time of embarkation approached, the admiral found it necessary to decline performing even this engagement. The necessity of being in the West Indies by a given day could not be dispensed with, and a continuance of southerly winds, or other adventitious circumstances obstructing the landing of the detachment, might compel him to carry it with him to the islands. These considerations having de. termined him not to take on board the troops designed to re-enforce general Greene, prepa. rations were made for marching them by land; and the command of the detachment which
CHAP. IX. consisted of Wayne's and Gist's brigades, was 1781. given to major general St. Clair, who was in.
structed to take Wilmington in his route, and to dispossess the enemy of that post.
The count De Grasse having consented to remain in the bay a few days for the purpose of covering the transportation of the eastern troops, and of the ordinance, to the Head of
Elk, they were embarked in the beginning of November. November under the command of general Lin.
coln. The instructions given to that officer directed him to march the troops from their place of landing into New Jersey and New York, and to canton them for the winter in those states. * The French troops remained in Virginia, not only for the preservation of that state, but to be in readiness to march either southward or northward, as the service of the ensuing campaign might require.
This service being effected, the count De Grasse sailed for the West Indies, and the commander in chief proceeded to Philadelphia.
At the close of this campaign, the marquis de La Fayette again obtained permission to return to Europe.
The credit with his sovereign which that nobleman was believed to possess, and the use which from his avowed attachment to the United States, it was supposed he would make
* See Note, No. VII. at the end of the volume.
of that credit, were motives with congress for CHAP. IX. adding to those resolutions which expressed 1781. their sense of his meritorious services, others requesting their ministers in Europe to confer with him on the situation of American affairs, and to employ his assistance in accelerating such supplies as might be afforded by his most christian majesty.
Greene invests Camden....Battle of Hobkirk's hill....Se.
veral British posts taken... Lord Rawdon retires into the lower country....Greene invests Ninety-six....Is repulsed, and retires from before that place.... Active movements of the two armies.... After a short repose they resume active operations....Battle of Eutaw.... The British army retires towards Charleston.
1781. In South Carolina and Georgia, the campaign
of 1781 was uncommonly active. The impor. tance of the object, the perseverance with which it was pursued, the talents of the gen. erals, the courage and sufferings of the armies, and the accumulated miseries of the inhabit. ants, gave to the contest for these states a degree of interest seldom bestowed on military transactions, in which greater numbers have not been employed.
When lord Cornwallis entered North Carolina, the charge of preserving the authority of his sovereign in the more southern states was committed to lord Rawdon. For the perfect establishment of his power, a line of posts had been continued from Charleston by the way of Camden, and Ninety.six, to Augusta in Georgia. The most important point of this line was Camden. To complete and secure the communication, and to cover the country, seyeral small intermediate stations were taken,
the garrisons of which consisted of a few re- chap. X. gular troops, and of the neighbouring militia, 1781. whose attachment to the royal cause was assi. duously cultivated and improved. These posts were in general slightly fortified, so as to resist the sudden attacks that might be made by any force which could be collected in the country; and no apprehensions were entertained of a more formidable enemy. The spirit of resist. ance was still kept up in the northwestern, and northeastern parts of the state, by generals Sumpter and Marion, who respectively commanded a corps of mounted militia. Their celerity of movement protected them from the attempts made against them by lord Rawdon who had been unable to form a body of cavalry, and was consequently incapable of overtaking them after they had been routed. Their exertions though bold, seem not to have been successful, and they excited no alarm, because there was no probability that their strength would be increased.
Such was the situation of the country when general Greene formed the bold resolution of attempting to re. annex it to the American union. By a return made on the last of march, it appears that his effective continental infantry, amounted to fifteen hundred men. To this number the legion of Lee, and the cavalry of Washington made an addition which might be estimated at not quite three hundred. His VOL. IV.