Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Nathanael Greene, 10 February 1781

From Nathanael Greene

Guilford Court house Feb: 10h 1781


Your Excellency’s favor of the 16h Ulto. is before me.

The enemy are in the vicinity of Moravian towns and are advancing with great rapidity. Our force is so inferior that every exertion in the State of Virginia is necessary to support us. I have taken the liberty to write

Mr. Henery to collect 14 or 1500 Volunteers to aid us.1

I must refer your Excellency to the Honble. the Baron de Steuben for particulars. The Army are marching towards Boyds ferry on Dan river.

I am With great esteem & respect Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Servant,

Nath Greene

RC (Vi); in an aide’s hand, signed by Greene; endorsed. FC (MiU-C). Tr (CSmH).

Mr. Henery: Patrick Henry; Greene’s letter to him, of the present date, is printed in part in William Johnson, Sketches of the Life and Correspondence of Nathanael Greene, Charleston, 1822, i, 447. I must refer your excellency to … Steuben: Greene’s letter to Steuben, of the present date, is among the Steuben Papers in NHi; it gives detailed reasons why Greene has been obliged to retreat and asserts: “The interest of America is so nearly connected with the operations of this Campaign that prudence makes it necessary to avoid the present moment of action to strike a blow hereafter that may be decisive and important. My expectations on this head will rest chiefly on Virginia, so that your exertions to assist me from that quarter will become more necessary.” Steuben transmitted a copy of Greene’s letter (not found) to TJ on 15 Feb. (see Steuben’s letters of that date).

1This sentence appears at the beginning of the second paragraph in FC and Tr, neither of which mentions the size of the volunteer force requested.

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