History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 5

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III.
THE SOUTHERN CAMPAIGN OF GREENE.
FEBRUARY–SEPTEMBER 1781.

MORGAN’S success lighted the fire of emulation in the breast of Greene, and he was “loth it should stand alone.” To one of his subordinate officers on the Pedee he wrote: “Here is a fine field and great glory ahead.” On the day of his meeting Morgan he wrote to “the famous Colonel “William Campbell” to “bring without loss of time a thousand good volunteers from over the mountains.” A like letter was addressed to Shelby, though without effect. To the officers commanding in the counties of Wilkes and Surry, Greene said: “If you repair to arms, Lord Cornwallis must be inevitably ruined.” He called upon Sumter, as soon as his recovery should permit, to take the field at the head of the South Carolina militia; he gave orders to General Pickens to raise troops in the district of Augusta and Ninety-Six, and hang on the rear of the enemy; and he sought out powerful horses and skilful riders to strengthen the cavalry of William Washington.

The two divisions of the American army, after effecting their junction at Guilford court-house, were still too weak to offer battle. Edward Carrington of Virginia, the wise selection of Greene for his quartermaster, advised to cross the Dan at the ferries of Irwin and Boyd, which were seventy miles distant from Guilford court-house and twenty miles below Dix’s ferry, and where he knew that boats could be collected. The advice was adopted. Greene placed under Otho Williams the flower of his troops as a light corps, which on the morning of the tenth sallied forth to watch Cornwallis, to pre-

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