Your favour of the 23rd Ulto. was delivered to me last night by General Lincoln. This morning I had the remains of General Bryan's Brigade drawn up, and proposed to them their Continuing in the Southern States for two or three months longer, upon the encouragement you mentioned, and half a Dollar per day in addition offered by General Lincoln, but am sorry to inform you there was only one Man offered to remain. I then endeavoured to prevail on them to remain in Service till the arrival of those ordered from our State to relieve them, but without success. At the time I received orders from General Lincoln to March from Purisburg to this place, I had orders to discharge such as were sick or unfit for duty, and to have them marched by an Officer into our State. The short notice rendered it impracticable for me to attend to their examination, which obliged me to refer it to the commanding officer of each Regiment, who permitted about three hundred & forty to return home under the command of Major Poynter, two-thirds of which were not really sick. These, with fifty or sixty Deserters, amount their number to about four hundred, so that there remains not more than five hundred of the Brigade, many of which are sick, & the whole suffer greatly for the want of cloathes. I have not yet heard from Col. Saunders, who commands the western Brigade, what number of that Brigade will continue in service, as soon as I receive the account I will either inclose it or insert it at the bottom of this. I did myself the honor of writing to you on the 17th Ulto., which I sent by express by a light Horse, which I hope has reached you before this, least it should not, I have inclosed a duplicate, with the Opinion of the Court of Inquiry that was held at my request. It gives me pain to be informed that reports have been unfavourable to me, as I am not conscious of having acted to deserve it, and more so, as I know it took its rise from a scoundrel, that has neither honor nor truth, and who was so panick-struck that he was not capable of making any observations, either on my conduct or on the action. More of this when I have the pleasure of seeing you.
When I received orders, 15 miles before I reached Purisburg, to march to the Cross Roads, ten miles above, where we should be supplied with ammunition, and from whence we were ordered to march to Augusta to prevent the Enemy crossing the river into this State, It gave me much surprise that Troops that had marched, some of them 400 miles, harrassed and without any accoutrements fit for the field, should be sent a 130 miles further in preference to the western Brigade, and a Number of Continental Troops & South Carolina militia, who was well accoutred, and had been resting for upwards of a month at Purisburg, and who were equipped with every necessary for the field, but more so, when we had effected the purpose we were sent for, to be desired to cross the River in pursuit of the Enemy, double our number, and into an enemies' Country, where they might be speedily reinforced. However, in expectation of General Lincoln's co-operation with me, as he wrote, I crossed the River, expecting, from the panic the Enemy was in, to get down low enough to cover his crossing, and to make a junction; but on the first night after my removal from Augusta I received a letter from the General informing me of the lower Bridge on Bryer Creek being burnt down by the Enemy—desiring I would march to that place, where I must necessarily halt for a few days, leave the care of the troops to Generals Bryan and Elbert for a day or two, and meet him at the Two Sisters, a place about thirty miles below. This was sent by a Confidential officer, as I had before informed him I had Matters to communicate that I did not choose to commit to writing, as the road was become too hazardous. By this officer I informed him I should pursue my orders, but that I looked upon it as an unsafe stand. At the same time I shewed the officer the plan of the Creek and the River, which I had obtained at Augusta, desired him to inform the General that I looked upon it as a very unsafe one, and that it might prove a trap, pointing out the passes by which it might be effected, which turned out afterwards as I had predicted. Notwithstanding I received a letter from the General wherein he tells me he saw no reason to alter his sentiments with regard to my taking post at Bryer Creek. We reached it 27th Feby, and on the 28th I set off for the Two Sisters, in order to meet General Lincoln. On my leaving the Camp I desired General Bryan, on whom the command devolved in my absence,
It was from this detachment, and this only, that we could receive any useful intelligence, and I am informed since by Major De Brahm that soon after crossing they discovered that a great number, both of horse and foot, had marched up the creek on the lower side, and that a little after they came to an encampment, where the fires were still burning, with nine or ten fresh Bullocks' heads, which they never sent me the least intelligence of, but proceeded on towards Hudson's. I had but a few horse with me from our State, and such of those as were fit for service, amounting to about half a dozen, I had taken down with me to the Two Sisters, as an escort, and their horses were too much fatigued on my return. To have dared to have thus sent a party of foot across the Creek, or to the Mill, 8 or 10 miles above, would only have been throwing them into the hands of the Enemy, that were strong in Cavalry and were hourly scouring the woods. I have been thus circumstantial to show that it was not in my power, for want of horse, to take that necessary precaution to gain timely intelligence of the movements and approach of the Enemy which the Court of Enquiry in their report think I ought to have done. I have annexed the report of the Court for your Perusal. As to the accusation of my being a Traytor, they thought it too absurd to take notice of. I likewise inclose a list of the prisoners from General Bryan's Brigade, taken on the 3rd Ulto.
Col. Saunders has just left me. He informs me that few or none of General Rutherford's Brigade will continue in this service longer than the 10th of April.
Things here wear a melancholy appearance. As I expect to