Letter from Joseph Graham to Charles Conner
Graham, Joseph, 1759-1836
Volume 19, Pages 989-991
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JOSEPH GRAHAM TO COL. CHARLES CONNER.
Vesuvius Furnace, Nov. 27, 1820.
Not having the pleasure of seeing you after your return from Tennessee I wished to inform that during your absence an application had been made for a copy of the account of the battle at Ramsour’s by a Gentlemen, a friend to the editors of the Salisbury paper. I informed them it was in the hands of a Gentlemen correcting and transcribing, when finished it might probably be convenient to let them have a copy; on this indirect Grant they announced in their paper shortly after that it would appear, &c., &c. As I have committed it to you and Judge Murphey do as you think best with it after corrected; if you could furnish the Salisbury editors with a copy it would gratify them and a number of others in their neighborhood; however, if not convenient I am not pledged for it. I have a great number of loose sheets in continuation, if properly connected & corrected, in my opinion would be interesting and voluminous, not a regular History of the war in this section of Country but rather a Supplement to the Histories of Marshall, Ramsey & Lee; some things omitted by them entirely, others inaccurately described & others where well described incidents are omitted which are worthy of being preserved, especially where the men of what was then Mecklenburg & Rowan were concerned. I will give you a kind of Chronology according to my present view. From Ramsour’s in 3 days Genl. Rutherford marched after the battle against Colo. Bryant at the forks of Yadkin. Bryant heard of his coming on 30th June & crossed the Yadkin, marched rapidly & joined the British at Cheraw Hill. Rutherford pursued until below Abbot’s Creek & returned to Salisbury from there; in a few days marched with the men designated for a time to join Genl. Gates. When in pursuit of Bryant at Salisbury he detached Colo. Wm. L. Davidson with 250 down west side of the Yadkin; at Colson’s attacked the Tories superior in numbers & defeated them; Colo. Davidson and one other wounded. The British advance simultaneously on each side of the Catawba. Genl. Sumner invested with command of So. Ca. Refugees & No. Carolina men. Movements preceding battles of Rocky Mount & Hanging
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Rock, which took place the 1st & 6 of August, being so well described by Lee, only incidents he omitted worth taking notice of: On 16th of August Gates’ defeat; all the Historians describe it better perhaps than could be done again. After Gates’ defeat Sumpter’s, 18th August. Succeeding events about Charlotte. Camped at McCaspen’s Creek. Genl. Sumner arrives. Davie’s affair at Waxhaws well described by Lee. British arrive at McCaspen’s Creek 24 Septr; Tarleton detached after Genl. Sumpter to Bigger’s Ferry, who has notice, crosses the river & escapes. 26 September British advance, Tarleton joins 2 miles below Charlotte; rencounter in Charlotte and at the cross roads very imperfectly described, also form of British encampment and conduct while in Charlotte; on 3rd of October they sent a foraging party, 450 infantry, 60 Cavalry, 40 Waggons, on the road to Beattie’s ford, divide at McIntyre’s farm, are attacked by Capt. Thompson, Geo. Graham, Robt. Robeson, Esqr., 14 in the whole whose names I have; killed a Capt. & 7 men, wounded 12; the party returned to Charlotte with less than 2 loads forage. 7th of October Ferguson’s defeat; Doctor McClean & Capt. Saml. Caldwell who were there say it is not well represented in any of the histories, (I was then in Hospital), they propose giving a description, &c. The British hearing of Ferguson’s disaster leave Charlotte 10th of October; incidents on their return march by way of Old Nation ford; arrive at Winston about 1st Novr. Camp at 6 mile Creek; arrival of Genl. Green & Morgan; Militia management until 17 Jan., ’81. Tarleton defeated; British advance in pursuit of Morgan by way of Ramsours; 30th Jan’y Morgan passes Sherrill’s ford; same day Green, Morgan, Davidson & Colo. Washington Counsel at Beattie’s Ford; next day, 1st February, Battles at Cowen’s & Beattie’s Ford and at Torence’s not well described. 3rd February the British advance attacks the Militia in Morgan’s rear at night, near Trading Ford on the Yadkin; on 7th Febr. Graham’s Troop of Cavalry killed & took 7 prisoners of the British, on their march between Shallow Ford & Salem. 10th Genl. Andr. Pickens of So. Carolina invested with all the forces collected in rear of British army marched by Guilford on to Stony Creek 10 miles from Hillsboro; detached 20 Graham’s Cavalry, some Simmons Riflemen, 40 in the whole, marched in the night, at eight in the morning attacked a picquet at Hart’s mill 1½ miles from Hillsboro, killed
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and took the whole 25, lost none though closely pursued by Tarleton’s whole Corps, brought prisoners all safe in, 2 days after was joined by Lee’s Legion; succeeding transactions of the affair of Piles at Holt’s well described, but unaccountably, though Lee was present, he makes no mention of the affair at Clark’s Mill; 5 or 600 a side & was a pretty stiff business, the British had a Capt. & 16 killed, we had 9 out of my command, I had 2 killed—Ford (of Charlotte) & Johnson killed; Robt. Harris, Esqr., Saml. Martin & Jack Barnett wounded; John Stinson (nigh Charlotte) & Jo. Mitchell prisoners. 7 in the whole. I find I have neither time nor room to finish this scrawl on the plan I set out, from what you have you may anticipate the ballance.
Some affairs I don’t know particulars of, Fanning taking Hillsboro, carrying off Governor Burke, again fighting Genl. Butler at Lindlay’s mill, afterwards the British & tories attacked Genl. Butler at Brown’s Marsh; the details would be interesting—Campaign to Wilmington Fall 1781, Genl. Rutherford Commanded at Raft Swamp, defeated tories again at Belvidere near Wilmington, &c., &c. If we form a Trio I will be responsible and furnish the facts; if you and partner will furnish the arrangement & language, as Salmagundi observes, we will find enough to make a Book as clear as a whistle.
Yours, &c., &c.,
I will thank you to preserve this scrawl until I see you it might assist me in taking my scraps together as I have no notes of the general contents. I have sent by the present mail my resignation as a Militia Officer, you may have it published if you think proper. My son James goes on from Mecklenburg Court by way of Fayette to Raleigh, will arrive about a week after this.
Yours, &c., &c.,