George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major William Galvan, 13 June 1780

From Major William Galvan

No. 3.

Cape henry [Va.] 13th June 1780.


Since my arrival at this place I am without any letter from your Excellency, the Marquis or the Ambassador.1

the following is this moment transmitted me by his Excellency Governor Jefferson:2

“Extract of a letter from Governor Rutledge dated Salisbury June 2d 1780.

“I think it proper to acquaint you that intelligence being received last Saturday morning3 at Cambden that 3900 men under Lord Cornwalis had Crossed and taken post on the North Side of Santee River about 57 miles below Cambden, and that they were to be Soon joined (as they have been Since) by 1200 more from the opposite Side of the river who were to rendezvous at that town and proceed higher up the Country, General hugher,4 who Commanded the North Carolina troops under General Caswell, and the Virginia Continentals under Colo. Buford, ordered them to retreat, the former to Pedee river & the latter to this place. Gl Caswell has, I understand, made good his retreat, But Co. Buford was attacked last monday on his march and totally defeated, with the loss of two field pieces, his baggage &c.5 Co. Porterfield thinking his force insufficient to oppose the enemy, retreated yesterday from this town and Crossed the yadkin, meaning however to return and join the Militia here if they turn out in Such Numbers as may probably be able to prevent the enemy’s getting higher up the Country.[”]

a Ship of 20 guns, a brig of 18, two Sloops and a Schooner, are constantly at the mouth of this bay, and Some of them Come every day close to the Shore under the Cape. I have about 30 men, militia and regulars, (tho’ very irregular) with which I hope, if they will remain, that I Shall be able to keep my post.

I take the liberty to beg that your Excellency will be pleased to remember me when the light Infantry is formed. I have the honour to be with the greatest respect Sir your Excellency’s most humble & most obedient servant



1Galvan is referring to Major General Lafayette and French minister La Luzerne. GW had not written Galvan since giving him his orders on 16 May to take station at Cape Henry, Va., to await the potential arrival of the expected fleet and army from France.

2Virginia governor Thomas Jefferson had sent GW the same extract (see Jefferson’s second letter to GW, 11 June, found at his first letter to GW, same date, source note).

3The Saturday previous to 2 June was 27 May.

4The officer mentioned was Brig. Gen. Isaac Huger.

5Col. Abraham Buford’s detachment suffered defeat at the Battle of Waxhaws on 29 May. Besides significant casualties, Buford lost twenty-six wagons with clothing and military stores.

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