George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Charles Harrison, 5 December 1780

From Colonel Charles Harrison

Virga Richmond 5th Decr 1780

My Dr Sir

I have the pleasure to acknowledge the rect of your Excellency’s polite & friendly favor by Major Genl Greene, under whose comd promise myself no small share of happiness, and through his aid to be enabled, to arrange matters within my department, no little deranged by the late unfortunate defeat.1 It adds no little to my happiness that I merrit a share of your confidence, which shall endeavour to cultivate by doubling my exertions.2

I was order’d by Genl Gates (after regulating matters as well as circumstances wou’d permit) to repair to the State, & lay before the Legislative the distress’d situation of the remains of the troops under my command; with some difficulty have in a measure relieved their wants, at least so far as to enable them to take the field, with some tolerable degree of comfort, & I fully intended to have return’d to the Army immediately after obtaining my wishes; but the arrival of the Brittish troops at Portsmouth, & the confus’d situation of the State Artillery obliged me to cast my attention that way, & endeavour to fit a few pieces for the Field, this by the exertions of a few of my Officers, was effected in a little time.3 I must beg leave to ask your Excellency whether, it woud not be advisable a few light 3 lb. shoud be sent the Southern Army, such may prove very serviceable in so woody a Country; at present we have only six 6 lb. & two Howitzers.4 And now believe me Dr Sir with due respect, Your Obt Sert

Cha. Harrison Comdt Artillery


1Harrison refers to the Battle of Camden in August (see Horatio Gates to GW, 30 Aug., and notes 1 and 2).

2GW had written Harrison from headquarters at Preakness on 22 Oct.: “I dare say before this reaches you, you will have heard that Major General Greene is appointed to the command of the Southern army, and from the knowlege, you have of him, I am persuaded, you will be happy to find yourself under his command. The affairs of the Southern army in general must necessarily be greatly deranged, and the corps of artillery in particular from the losses it has sustained and the circumstances of the service, cannot well be upon the best-regulated footing; but I have no doubt, sensible how much depends upon it, and conscious of the honorable importance of the command you possess, you will exert yourself to the utmost to have every thing in your department in the best order it will be in your power to place it—General Greene will give you all the aid he can; and will be happy to show you every mark of his confidence, which I am sure on your part, you will not fail to cultivate. Wishing you success and honor” (Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; GW’s aide-de-camp David Humphreys docketed the draft 23 Oct., which suggests that date for the recipient’s copy, which has not been found).

Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene wrote Harrison from Charlotte, N.C., on 7 Dec. to lament not having seen Harrison before leaving Virginia and to ask his efforts to prepare the artillery (see Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 6:542). Harrison replied to Greene from Richmond on 29 Dec. (see Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 7:25).

3For this British expedition, see GW to Samuel Huntington, 17 Oct., n.2, and Greene to GW, 31 Oct., n.4.

4No reply from GW to Harrison has been found.

Index Entries