Lord Cornwallis having been so reduced by a severe fever as to be still unable to write, he has desired that I should have the honour of addressing your Excellency in regard to our present situation. But few days have past since Lord Cornwallis received your Excellency's dispatch of the 20th of September. In consequence of it, his Lordship directed that I should immediately send a letter to meet Major General Leslie in the Chesapeake, giving him the fullest information respecting our prospects and the present temper of the country. I have the honour to inclose a copy of that letter. Something remains to be said, in addition to it, of a nature which Earl Cornwallis judges inexpedient to unveil excepting to your Excellency.
For some time after the arrival of his Majesty's troops at Camden repeated messages were sent to headquarters by the friends of government in North Carolina, expressing their impatience to rise and join the King's standard. The impossibility of subsisting that additional force at Camden, and the accounts which they themselves gave of the distressing scarcity of provisions in North Carolina, obliged Lord Cornwallis to entreat them to remain quiet till the new crop might enable us to join them. In the mean timeto justify the stake of this province for the uncertain advantages that might attend immediate junction with them. There is reason to believe that such must have been the risk.
Whilst this army lay at Charlotteburg, George-Town was taken from the militia by the rebels; and the whole country to the east of the Santee gave such proofs of general defection that even the militia of the High Hills could not be prevailed upon to join a party of troops who were sent to protect our boats upon the river. The defeat of Major Ferguson had so dispirited this part of the country, and indeed the loyal subjects were so wearied by the long continuance of the campaign, that Lieutenant Colonel Cruger, (Commanding at Ninety-six) sent information to Earl Cornwallis, that the whole district had determined to submit as soon as the rebels should enter it. From these circumstances, from the consideration that delay does not extinguish our hopes in North Carolina,Yet his Lordship thinks they cannot be weighed against the dangers which must have attended an obstinate adherence to his former plan. I am instructed by Earl Cornwallis to express, in the strongest terms, his Lordship's feelings with regard to the very effectual measures which your Excellency had taken to forward his operations. His Lordship hopes that his fears of abusing your Excellency's goodness in that particular may not have led him to neglect making use of a force intended by your Excellency to be employed by him. But as his Lordship knew not how far your Excellency might aim at other objects in the Chesapeake (to which point his Lordship's entreaty for co-operation was originally confined) he could not think of assuming the power to order Major General Leslie to Cape Fear river, though he pointed out the utility of the measure in case it should be conceived within the extent of your Excellency's purpose.
Lord Cornwallis farther desires me to say he feels infinitely obliged by the very flattering testimonials of approbation with which your Excellency has been pleased to honour his success of the 16th of August. He has signified your Excellency's thanks to the officers and men, who received them with grateful acknowledgement.