George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Nathanael Greene, 22 April 1782

Head Quarters S. Carolina April 22d 1782.


I was honoured by your Excellency’s letter of the 2d Ulto two days since.

The enemy continue in the same position as when M.Genl St Clair left this army; however from various circumstances I am led to believe they are making preparations for a forward movement, and am apprehensive for the consequences of such an event. Our force is inferior to the enemy and in a distressed situation the men are perfectly naked, and have been for a month past without a gill of rum. Their discontent is daily increasing and the spirit of mutiny is very prevalent. In the Pensylvania line it appears to have origionated and they have endeavoured to spread the contagions throughout the army with appearances of success. I have been able to prove the fact but upon one person, whom I have reduced to be shot this day. He was a serjeant and had much influence in the line. I wish this example may deter them from the execution of a scheme which we have been decoding every night. There never was an army more distressed or more discontented. They have so long been without pay and their provision is so bad that I am persuaded even if they were cloathed their uneasiness would not be fully removed.

I have this day addressed the Financ[ier] on the subject of pay and I fear least the existance of this army depends on its arrival before the sickly season approaches We have for a few days past suffered considerably by desertion, and the moment the enemy act offensively I fear it will be much more frequent.

I have laid our Excellency’s letter before the Field Officers and have the honor to transmit, their reports made to B.General Gist on the occasion. I am sorry they have so generally disapproved of the measure recommended by Mr Morris. The situation of this country is particular, there is no post nearer than Virga from whence supplies can be had, and it is so ravaged that it can afford nothing but poor beef and rice for the Officers, and unless they have money it will be impossible to get necessaries from so great a distance.

The present disposition of the Officers and men is such that without they receive pay they will be petulant and discontented and no person will bring necessaries to Camp for sale.

The information I gave Mr Morris respecting the Officers clothing I expected to recieve from Newberne and York was nothing more than that there was a probability of obtaining a supply from those places and desiring he would not send the two hundred suits from Phila. untill he hear’d further from me, but those supplies were trifling and hardly worth mentioning. I have the honor to be with great respect and esteem Your Excellency’s Most Obedient and Most Humble Servant

Nath. Greene

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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