Letter from William Smallwood to Horatio Gates
Smallwood, William, 1732-1792
Volume 14, Pages 569-571
GENERAL W. SMALLWOOD TO MAJ. GENL. GATES.
Salisbury, 22d August, 1780.
I take this opportunity, by General Ugee, of acquainting you that I retreated with the shattered remains of the Maryland Division by the way of Wacksaw, thence to Charlotte, where I
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intended to have made a stand, but upon hearing of Sumpter's defeat and dispersion, and that the Enemy were advancing to that Post, I thought it more eligible to order the Sick, wounded, and such baggage as was saved, forward to this place, following slowly with the handful of Cavalry and Infantry which I had collected on the Retreat, leaving Major Davie with his Light horse at Charlotte, with orders to proceed down on the Main and River roads below the hanging Rock, to explore the Country and give the earliest Intelligence of the approach of the Enemy, should they be advancing; but upon receiving Information that the Enemy retreated precipitately after the action with Sumpter, I ordered Major Davie with his Corps to remain at Charlotte, as also Major Anderson, with Forty of the regular Infantry and such Militia as had arrived there, and have since ordered them to proceed with a strong party, with as many horse as they could collect, down to the hanging Rock, to bring off such of our Waggons and Baggage as they could fall in with, and I have just heard they are likely to succeed in this duty. I have used every Exertion to encourage and induce the Militia to assemble at Charlotte, and am happy to acquaint you that they have turned out in great numbers, seem Spirited and desirous of being commanded by some of the Continental Officers, who I have ordered down for that purpose. I have at this Post near 200 Cavalry and Infantry, and at the Ford on the Yadkin about Seventy, forty of whom are Armed. This being a good Post and the only Ford for fifteen Miles above and as far below, renders the Position eligible, as the Ford may be easily defended. I have sent to Mask's Ferry for Ammunition, and intend to remain here till all our Stragglers are collected and the Sick, wounded, &c., can be forwarded, under a proper Escort, to Hillsborough. Our Officers and Men are in a distressed situation for want of Cloathing and necessaries. If Reinforcements are not expected, and no stand is intended to be made in this Quarter, an early Intimation ought to be given, that the Militia may be ordered to return Home and the Continental Troops to Hillsborough; for under an Impression that the Militia would be immediately assembled and Reinforcements of regular Troops forwarded, I have made this stand to cover the Country and Stores and hold out the Countenance of Opposition, which is very essential at this period; but if support cannot be shortly
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expected, a secure retreat to Hillsborough ought to be made. I therefore wait your Information and Direction to these points, and in the interim rest assured I shall use every Exertion to promote the Common Cause and the good of the Service.
I am your very Obedt. Hble. Servt.,
Hon'ble Genl. Gates.