George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 9 July 1781]

9th. Received a Letter from the Marqs. de la Fayette informing me of Cornwallis’s retreat to Williamsburg—that he had pushed his rear and had obtained advantages—having killed 60 & wounded an hundred with small loss.1

Southern accts. though not official speak of the reduction of Augusta and Ninety Six by the arms of Major Genel. Greene.2

1Lafayette to GW, 28 June 1781 (DLC:GW). In mid-June, after some weeks of skirmishing with Lafayette and Wayne, Cornwallis moved toward Williamsburg in what was less a retreat than a planned withdrawal, although Lafayette harassed the British forces all the way. Reaching the town on 25 June, he waited orders from Sir Henry Clinton in New York and by 26 June received directions from him to establish a base in Virginia for operations against the Americans. In the midst of a confusion of orders and counterorders from Clinton in New York and Lord George Germain in England, Cornwallis in August selected Yorktown as his headquarters. Entrenchments were also established at Gloucester, across the York River from Yorktown. For the British maneuvers at this time, see WICKWIRE description begins Franklin and Mary Wickwire. Cornwallis: The American Adventure. Boston, 1970. description ends , 325–53; CLINTON description begins William B. Willcox, ed. The American Rebellion: Sir Henry Clinton’s Narrative of His Campaigns, 1775–1782, with an Appendix of Original Documents. New Haven, 1954. description ends , 299–331; CORNWALLIS description begins Charles Ross, ed. Correspondence of Charles, First Marquis Cornwallis. 3 vols. London, 1859. description ends , 1:95–112.

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