George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Frédéric, baron de Kalb, 6 June 1780

Petersburgh June 6th 1780


I have the honor to inclose a Copy of my letter of this day to the Board of War, by which your Excellency will See the process of my Rout till now. Having put the Second Brigade on thier march I am Setting out this moment to come up with the Troops in front. I have the honor to be with great Respect Your Excellency’s most obedient and very humble Servant

The Baron de Kalb

DLC: Papers of George Washington.



Petersburgh June 6th 1780


Having been delayed at annapolis for near two days to get the 160,000 Dollars from the Loan office in Maryland, I arrived at Richmond the 22d and next day morning at this place where the Governor and Council had directed the Troops to rendez-vous.

By what was told here to Mr Bee (Delegt. from S. Carolina going to Congress, whom I met at hanover Courthouse the 21st) and Wrote to me, through him, by Governor Jefferson, it Seemed, the State had ordered to impress as many horses as would be necessary to put all the Soldiers on horse back to bring them on with more rapidity, but I found at my arrival at Richmond, When I proposed the Use of Waggons for the Same purpose, instead of Riding horse, that neither Scheme was practicable, for want of Saddles, Bridles, horses, Waggons and forage. Therefore it was determined, I should be furnished with a sufficiency of Waggons (the Number agreed on) to carry only the Tents and Soldier’s Packs, the Waggons to be in readiness in a very few days: forty were promised from Suffolk county, twelve from Richmond and the others to be taken here.

Col. Carrington arrived with the artillery on the 29th and Capt. Coleman on the 26th. Several of the Maryland and Delaware Companies came in only on the 29th. The Transports having been parted in a Gale of Wind. The clothing could not arrive untill the 30th.

The Coming in of the Waggons of this Neighborhood gave me a prospect of getting the others (in which However I was deceived) and not to lose a day, the artillery being ready, instead of marching them between the Two Brigades, I ordered them on their march the 30th under Command of Col. Harrison, who had joined with 40 Recruits. But the Suffolk and Richmond Waggons failing, not only I could not march the first Brigade sooner then the 1st inst: nor the Second before now, but was also obliged to give up all thoughts of Lightening the Men of their Packs—I hope to meet with no farther obstructions on the Rout, which is by Taylor’s ferry, Hillsbourough Salisbury &c.

An ammunition Waggon of Second Brige was Sunk in crossing here Apomatox Rx the Waggon was brought out, but the whole of 12,000 musket Cartriges are spoiled and have been turned into the Continental Store. This accident can not be attributed but to the badness of the ferry-boat.

The letter, Gentlemen, you were pleased to write to me on the 16. may came only to hand the 31. and to this day I have not heard of Major Lee’s Corps if they come up with me? your orders, respecting them, Shall be punctually complied with. I have the honor to be &c.

signed, The Baron de Kalb

P.S. as I am this moment informed, by Major Jameson who arrives from George Town S.C. that Charlestown capitulated on the 12 may. our Garrison Prisoners of War, the Enemy advancing this Side Georgetown, their forces in that Quarter unknown, but that their army under Gl Clinton was, with a late reinforcement he received, about 12,000, no certainty where Governor Rutledge is with the Troops under his Command. I have Sent orders to the first Brigade and Artillery to halt where they are, untill I shall join them with the Second Brigade, I suppose my letters will find them not far from Salisbury, there I will consider what Steps to take, if a junction with Governor Rutledge may be expected, and whether there will be any prospect of obtaining Militia from the State of Virginia and North Carol. but as even then the Enemies will be still vastly Superior in number I am determined to be on the defensive, untill reinforcement, proper intelligence, and farther orders and Directions, either from your Board, Congress or the Commander in chief.

By major Jameson I also understand that Col. Armands Corps is in Wilmington.

The State artillery of Virginia moved from this place 28 days ago by the Same road I am marching, they are supposed to be actually about Cambden or with Governor Rutledge.

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