Letter from Jethro Sumner to Nathanael Greene
Sumner, Jethro, 1733?-1785
Volume 15, Pages 448-450
GENERAL SUMNER TO GENERAL GREENE.
May 1st, 1781.
I received your letter dated 21st of April on the 29th and the 19th on the thirtieth, and shall pay due respect to the contents. I had then before me an express informing of the small pox raging
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very much in Hillsborough, and that a large store of provisions was then at Harrisburgh on the way to Hillsborough. I gave order to the commissioners of the district of Hillsborough & Halifax to store the provisions, and informed them that my general rendezvous, for the drafts of Wilmington, Newbern, Salisbury and Hillsborough districts would be at Harrisburgh, immediately: The districts of Halifax and Edenton drafts would rendezvous at Halifax Town but Sir, I am since informed that the small pox is spreading itself in that neighbourhood; should this be true, I shall remove those troops to Harrisburgh when collected; should the General of the district not alter it from that station before General Jones has returned from Virginia where he went to procure arms, and I am told by Judge Ashe without getting any, but that eight hundred stand had been sent on to you; if so probable that they are on their way in this State ere now. I wish to receive your orders respecting them, for I am very apprehensive of consequences if we are to depend on supplys of arms of this State.
I received yesterday 4 o'clock in the afternoon, a letter from Genl. Lillington at his camp at Lime Stone Bridge, Duplin County, dated 22d April. He writes we have nothing of note just now, you may depend in case Cornwallis should make a movement that you shall hear of it by express without delay. There is a report in camp that part of his troops is moved down to Brunswick, if that should be the case, you may conclude that he intends for the Southward as soon as he can get shipping to take him off.
I wrote yesterday to Baron Steuben and I am very sorry that I am doubtful of a ready supply of arms from that quarter, there being a report which seems to gain credit, that the enemy had landed between two and three hundred men at Cedar Point on Ja. River and penetrated to Petersburgh, where the Baron Steuben and General Mulenburgh with about seven hundred men retired over the bridge to the North side of Appomattox. A cannonade from each army continued for some time, when a retreat was ordered to Chesterfield Court House, that the Militia were collecting from all quarters and were in want of arms. I have a few minutes since received express from Col. Long informing of the Enemy's march towards Halifax, that General Lillington has retreated to Kingston, the neighbourhood of that place were moving, also General Caswell.
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I don't know what confidence to give these reports. However I thought necessary to mention them. Lt. Col. Ashe who receives the drafts of Halifax district informs me that he had received a few of the drafts there.