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Letter from William Smallwood to Horatio Gates
Smallwood, William, 1732-1792
August 31, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 580-582


Guilford Court House, 31 August, 1780.


I wrote you on the 22d Instant, at the same time I wrote Governor Nash, which I am afraid has not got to hand, as you do not mention the receipt of it. I therein acquainted you with the Circumstances of our Situation, designing to remain at Salisbury and to leave a party at Charlotte for the purpose of covering and collecting the remains of our broken Troops, and pointing out the expediency of imediately forwarding Supplies and Reinforcements, if you should intend a stand should be made at those Stations. The day before I wrote you I sent down to Masks' Ferry for Ammunition, and to the Commanding Officer of the Regular Troops at Buffalo Ford to join me; but the Ammunition and those

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Troops being ordered to Hillsborough, I was disappointed in the aids I expected in both Instances, which left me in a critical Situation, and waiting seven days for the purposes above recited, till the straglers had chiefly come in, without receiving an Answer from you or Governor Nash, or having any certainty of Speedy Reinforcements. These circumstances, added to the distressed Situation of the Troops, induced me to order them at both Posts to March at 2 o'Clock on the 28th, by the rout of Guilford Court House, to Hillsborough. Just after the March of the Troops I received your Orders dated the 24th, to that purport, and prosecuting my March had reached near this place, when I was honored with yours dated the 27th, revoking your Orders of the 24th, wherein you mention, from viewing my Letter to the Governor of the 22d Instant, that you find from thence I was in a Condition to make a stand on the East side of the Yadkin. This was upon a Supposition I should receive Ammunition from Masks' Ferry and the Troops from Buffalo Ford, with other speedy Reinforcements; but failing in all these Expectations, and understanding by a Letter from the Officer at Buffalo Ford that the general Rendezvous was ordered at Hillsborough, I was induced to March for that place.

The Commanding Officer of Militia here informs me there are not Arms Sufficient for his men. These he acquaints me has the Governor's Order to receive are very sorry and many want Repairs. There is plenty of Powder and Lead, but neither Moulds or Paper to make up Cartridge. I expect Major Anderson, from Charlotte, will arrive here to-morrow Evening with Eighty armed Men. I have inclosed You a Return dated 25th Instant by which you will see I had Three hundred and nineteen, Rank and File, at Yadkin, exclusive of Major Anderson's detachment, and Forty-eight Artillery; but since that many of those have deserted, perhaps gone to Hillsborough. Several Officers have gone off without any kind of License. We have now about 150 Armed and 48 unarmed.

The Artillery Officers and Men, agreeable to the Return, are all here. I shall wait at this Post for your further Orders.

The Officers and Soldiers are in a most wretched Situation for want of Cloaths of all kinds, particularly Shoes and Shirts, as also Tents, Camp Kettles, Equipage, &c. If they cannot

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immediately be equipped, perhaps it would be eligible to order the Posts at Charlotte and Yadkin to be occupied by Bodies of Militia, Volunteer horse and Riflemen, numbers of which I believe might be got till the Regular Troops could be fitted. Colo. Campbell, with near 300 Volunteer Riflemen from Virginia, well mounted, armed and accoutred, are now in the Moravian Settlement. I would submit to you the Propriety of ordering him to the late Post on the Yadkin.

I advised the Militia at Charlotte of my March, and recommended in the strongest Terms their remaining for a short Time 'till Reinforcements could be forwarded.

I desired General Gist to deliver you a Letter from Colo. Vaughan requesting that two Surgeons might be sent in. All but two departed without leave; one of those I forwarded with the Sick to Hillsborough; the other is here attending the Sick and wounded. I have had sundry Applications on this head since, therefore earnestly request you would Order two Surgeons with Medecine into Camden.

You will also be so obliging to direct me what I am to do with twenty British and near thirty Tory Prisoners which I have now under guard, the greatest part taken by Colo. Williams in South Carolina.

I have the Honor to remain,
Your Most Obedt. & very Hble. Servt.,
Honble. General Gates.