George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 14 June 1781]

14th. Received agreeable acts. from General Greene, of his Successes in South Carolina1—viz.—that Lord Rawden2 had abandoned Cambden with precipitation, leaving all our wounded taken in the action of the 25th. of April last, together with 58 of his own too bad to remove—that he had destroy’d his own Stores—burnt many buildings and in short left the Town little better than a heap of Rubbish—That Orangeburg, Forts Mott. & Granby, had surrendered;3 their Garrisons including officers consisting of near 700 Men—That Ninety Six & Fort Augusta were invested4—that he was preparing to March to the Former and that, Lord Rawden was at Nelsons ferry5 removing the Stores from that place which indicated an Evacuation thereof.

1GW had just received Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene’s letter of 16 May 1781, enclosing a copy of Greene’s letter of 14 May to Congress announcing his successes in the South (DLC:GW). News of Greene’s victories was relayed to the army in General Orders, 15 June 1781 (DLC:GW).

2Francis, Lord Rawdon (1754–1826), had commanded a company at Bunker Hill and served on the staffs of Burgoyne and Cornwallis. In 1778 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and in 1780 was ordered south for the campaign against Charleston, S.C. by Jan. 1781 Rawdon was left in virtual command of some 8,000 troops to face Greene’s army in South Carolina and Georgia while Cornwallis moved into North Carolina. It was on 25 April 1781 Rawdon defeated Greene at the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill, S.C., suffering heavy casualties. He then moved on to capture Camden, S.C., but finding it impossible to hold, he withdrew to Monck’s Corner.

3These forts were in South Carolina: Orangeburg in Orange County, taken by Brig. Gen. Thomas Sumter 11 May; Fort Motte on the Congaree River in Orange County, captured 12 May by Lt. Col. Henry Lee and Brig. Gen. Francis Marion; Fort Granby, on the Congaree River, taken by Lee on 15 May.

4Ninety Six, Greenwood County, S.C., was under siege from 22 May to 19 June 1781. Rawdon had ordered the fort abandoned but his instructions miscarried. Ninety Six was on the verge of surrender to the Americans when Rawdon mustered 2,000 men and marched to its relief. On 20 June, Greene pulled back from the fort and was briefly pursued by the British. Rawdon then ordered Ninety Six abandoned and the evacuation was completed by 3 July.

Fort Augusta on the Savannah River, Richmond County, Ga., was under siege by Henry Lee and Andrew Pickens 22 May–5 June 1781. The fort surrendered on 5 June.

5Nelson’s Ferry was on the Santee River about five miles from Eutaw Springs, S.C.

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