NOTES FROM Tarleton’s Book

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A HISTORY OF THE CAMPAIGNS OF

1780 AND 1781 IN THE SOUTHERN

PROVINCES OF NORTH AMERICA

BY LT. COL. BANASTRE TARLETON

“BEFORE THE MIDDLE OF SEPTEMBER, PART OF THE STORES BEING ARRIVED, WITH A REINFORCEMENT FROM CHARLES TOWN, CONSISTING OF THE 7TH REGIMENT, AND SOME RECRUITS FOR THE PROVINCIALS, THE INTENDED MOVEMENT INTO NORTH CAROLINA WAS IMMEDIATELY UNDERTAKEN”. PG.158

“EARL CORNWALLIS, WITH THE PRINCIPAL COLUMN OF THE ARMY, COMPOSED OF THE 7TH, 23RD, 33RD, AND 71ST REGIMENTS OF INFANTRY, THE VOLUNTEERS OF IRELAND, HAMILTON’S CORPS, BRYAN’S REFUGEES, FOUR PIECES OF CANNON, ABOUT FIFTY WAGGONS, AND A DETACHMENT OF CAVALRY, MARCHED BY HANGING ROCK, TOWARDS THE CATAWBA SETTLEMENT; WHILST THE BODY OF THE BRITISH DRAGOONS, AND THE LIGHT AND LEGION INFANTRY, WITH A THREE POUNDER, CROSSED THE WATEREE , AND MOVED UP THE EAST SIDE OF THE RIVER, UNDER LT. COL. TARLETON. THE SEARCITY OF FORAGE IN THE DISTRICT OF THE WACSAWS WAS THE PRINCIPAL REASON FOR THIS TEMPORARY SEPARATION. FLOUR, CATTLE, AND FORAGE WERE COLLECTED WITH DIFFICULTY BY THE MAIN ARMY, TO SUPPLY THE MEN AND HORSES UPON THE MARCH, THE DEPREDATIONS OF BOTH PARTIES HAVING MADE A DESERT OF THE COUNTRY”. PG.158

“ON THE 22ND, EARL CORWALLIS DIRECTED THE BRITISH LEGION AND THE LIGHT INFANTRY TO CROSS THE CATAWBA AT BLAIR’S FORD, IN ORDER TO FORM THE ADVANCE GUARD, FOR THE IMMEDIATE POSSESSION OF CHARLOTTE TOWN”. PG. 158

“A PARTY OF MILITIA FIRED AT THE ADVANCED DRAGOONS AND LIGHT INFANTRY AS THEY ENTERED THE TOWN, AND A MORE CONSIDERABLE BODY APPEARED DRAWN UP NEAR THE COURT HOUSE. THE CONDUCT OF THE AMERICANS CREATED SUSPICION IN THE BRITISH: AN AMBUSCADE WAS APPREHENDED BY THE LIGHT TROOPS, WHO MOVED FORWARDS FOR SOME TIME WITH GREAT CIRCUMSPECTION: A CHARGE OF CAVALRY, UNDER MAJOR HANGER, DISSIPATED THIS ILL-GROUNDED JEALOUSY, AND TOTALLY DISPERSED THE MILITIA. THE PURSUIT LASTED SOME TIME, AND ABOUT THIRTY OF THE ENEMY WERE KILLED AND TAKEN”. PG.159

“CHARLOTTE TOWN AFFORDED SOME CONVENIENCIES, BLENDED WITH GREAT DISADVANTAGES. THE MILLS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WERE SUPPOSED OF SUFFICIENT CONSEQUENCE TO RENDER IT FOR THE PRESENT AN ELIGIBLE POSITION, AND, IN FUTURE, A NECESSARY POST, WHEN THE ARMY ADVANCED: BUT THE APTNESS OF ITS INTERMEDIATE SITUATION BETWEEN CAMDEN AND SALISBURY , AND THE QUANTITY OF ITS MILLS, DID NOT COUNTERBALANCE ITS DEFECTS. THE TOWN AND ENVIRONS ABOUNDED WITH INVETERATE ENEMIES; THE PLANTATIONS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WERE SMALL AND UNCULTIVATED; THE ROADS NARROW, AND CROSSED IN EVERY DIRECTION; AND THE WHOLE FACE OF THE COUNTRY COVERED WITH CLOSE AND THICK WOODS”. PG. 159-160

“IT WAS EVIDENT, AND IT HAD BEEN FREQUENTLY MENTIONED TO THE KING’S OFFICERS, THAT THE COUNTIES OF MECKLENBURG AND ROHAN WERE MORE HOSTILE TO ENGLAND THAN ANY OTHER IN AMERICA ”. PG. 160

“THE FORAGING PARTIES WERE EVERY DAY HARASSED BY THE INHABITANTS, WHO DID NOT REMAIN AT HOME, TO RECEIVE PAYMENT FOR THE PRODUCE OF THEIR PLANTATIONS, BUT GENERALLY FIRED FROM COVERT PLACES, TO ANNOY THE BRITISH DETACHMENTS”. PG. 160

“AN ATTACK WAS DIRECTED AGAINST THE PICKET AT POLK’S MILL, TWO MILES FROM THE TOWN: THE AMERICANS WERE GALLANTLY RECEIVED BY LT. GUYON, OF THE 23RD REGIMENT: AND THE FIRE OF HIS PARTY FROM A LOOP-HOLED BUILDING ADJOINING THE MILL, REPULSED THE ASSAILANTS. NOTWITHSTANDING THE DIFFERENT CHECKS AND LOSSES SUSTAINED BY THE MILITIA OF THE DISTRICT, THEY CONTINUED THEIR HOSTILITIES WITH UNWEARIED PERSEVERANCE; AND THE BRITISH TROOPS WERE SO EFFECTUALLY BLOCKADED IN THEIR PRESENT POSITION, THAT VERY FEW, OUT OF A GREAT NUMBER OF MESSENGERS, COULD REACH CHARLOTTE TOWN IN THE BEGINNING OF OCTOBER, TO GIVE INTELLIGENCE OF FERGUSON ’S SITUATION”. PG. 160-161

“THE DESTRUCTION OF FERGUSON AND HIS CORPS MARKED THE PERIOD AND THE EXTENT OF THE FIRST EXPEDITION INTO NORTH CAROLINA . ADDED TO THE DEPRESSION AND FEAR IT COMMUNICATED TO THE LOYALISTS UPON THE BORDERS, AND TO THE SOUTHWARD, THE EFFECT OF SUCH AN IMPORTANT EVENT WAS SENSIBLY FELT BY EARL CORNWALLIS AT CHARLOTTE TOWN. THE WEAKNESS OF HIS ARMY, THE EXTENT AND POVERTY OF NORTH CAROLINA, THE WANT OF KNOWLEDGE OF HIS ENEMIES DESIGNS, AND THE TOTAL RUIN OF HIS MILITIA, PRESENTED A GLOOMY PROSPECT AT THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE CAMPAIGN”. PG.166

“THE KING’S TROOPS LEFT CHARLOTTE TOWN ON THE EVENING OF THE 14TH TO MARCH TO THE CATAWBA FORD: OWING TO THE BADNESS OF THE ROAD, THE IGNORANCE OF THE GUIDES, THE DARKNESS OF THE NIGHT, OR SOME OTHER UNKNOWN CAUSE, THE BRITISH REAR GUARD DESTROYED, OR LEFT BEHIND, NEAR TWENTY WAGGONS, LOADED WITH SUPPLIES FOR THE ARMY, A PRINTING PRESS, AND OTHER STORES BELONGING TO PUBLIC DEPARTMENTS, AND THE KNAPSACKS OF THE LIGHT INFANTRY AND LEGION. LT. COL. TARELTON HAD DIRECTED HIS TROOPS TO LEAVE THEIR BAGGAGE WITH THE ARMY, WHEN SENT UPON THE LATE EXPEDITION. THE ORDER FOR THE MOVE BEING UNEXPECTED AT CHARLOTTE TOWN, THE PROPERTY OF THE ABSENT WAS COMMITTED TO THE WORST WAGGONS, AND WAS UNFORTUNATELY LOST. AS SOON AS THE BRITISH LEGION, AND THE LIGHT INFANTRY, ARRIVED AT THE CATAWBA FORD, THEY WERE ORDERED TO CROSS THE RIVER, WHICH THEY ACCOMPLISHED WITH SOME DIFFICULTY, ON ACCOUNT OF A GREAT FALL OF RAIN. THE ROYAL FORCES REMAINED TWO DAYS IN AN ANXIOUS AND MISERABLE SITUATION IN THE CATAWBA SETTLEMENT, OWING TO A DANGEROUS FEVER, WHICH SUDDENLY ATTACKED EARL CORNWALLIS, AND TO THE WANT OF FORAGE AND PROVISIONS: WHEN THE PHYSICIANS DECLARED HIS LORDSHIPS HEALTH WOULD ENDURE THE MOTION OF A WAGGON, COL. LORD RAWDON, THE SECOND IN COMMAND, DIRECTED THE KING’S TROOPS TO CROSS SUGAR CREEK, WHERE SOME SUPPLIES MIGHT BE OBTAINED FROM THE COUNTRY: ON THIS MOVE, THE MECKLENBURG MILITIA, SUPPOSING THE CAVALRY STILL ABSENT, ATTEMPED TO HARASS THE HEAD OF THE COLUMN: WHEN THEIR WANT OF INTELLIGENCE PROVED FATAL TO THE MOST ENTERPRISING OF THE PARTY. A FEW DAYS AFTERWARD THE ARMY PASSED THE CATAWBA RIVER, NEAR TWELVE-MILE CREEK, WITHOUT DIFFICULTY OR OPPOSITION”. PG. 167

EXTRACT—FROM EARL CORNWALLIS TO SIR HENRY CLINTON, DATED CAMP AT WACSAW, SEPT.22, 1780.

“IF NOTHING MATERIAL HAPPENS TO OBSTRUCT MY PLAN OF OPERATIONS, I MEAN, AS SOON AS LT. COL. TARELTON CAN BE REMOVED, TO PROCEED WITH THE 23RD, 33RD, VOLUNTEERS OF IRELAND, AND LEGION, TO CHARLOTTE TOWN, AND LEAVE THE 71ST HERE UNTIL THE SICK CAN BE BROUGHT ON TO US. I THEN MEAN TO MAKE SOME REDOUBTS, AND ESTABLISH A FIXED POST AT THAT PLACE, AND GIVE COMMAND OF IT TO MAJOR WEMYSS, WHOSE REGIMENT IS SO TOTALLY DEMOLISHED BY SICKNESS, THAT IT WILL NOT BE FIT FOR ACTUAL SERVICE FOR SOME MONTHS. PG.191

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