George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Huntington, 9 February 1781

From Samuel Huntington

Philadelphia. February 9. 1781


I have been honored with your Excellency’s Despatches of the 31st January & 3d Instant.1

Am much obliged by the Intelligence received from Le Compt de ro-chambeau. If the Situation of the British Fleet at Gardners Bay should render it prudent for the French to send some naval Force in to the Chesapeake at this Juncture, I have no Doubt your Excellency will use every proper Endeavour to improve the Opportunity.

From the best Accounts I have received, the Enemy’s Naval Force in the Bay consists of one 44, three Frigates & some smaller armed Vessels.

I sincerely congratulate your Excellency on the Success of our Arms under Brigadier Morgan.2 Enclosed is a short Description of the Country at & near the Scene of Action & Places occupied by our Troops; presented to your Excellency by the Honble William Sharpe Delegate from North Carolina.3

Give me Leave to acknowledge my Obligations for the polite Manner in which you have been pleased to introduce to my Acquaintance the Chevalier de Chatelleux and other french Officers who appear to be accomplished & meritorious Gentlemen.4 I have the Honor to be with very great respect your Excellencys most obedient humble Servant

Saml Huntington


Huntington wrote GW a second letter on this date: “Your Excellency will receive enclosed, a resolve of Congress of the 5th Instant, directing that the Thanks of Congress be given to Major General Parsons and the Officers & Men under his Command, for the judicious Arrangement, spirited & military Conduct displayed by them in the successful Enterprize against the Enemy’s Post at Morrissania.

“The Transmission of this resolve, through a Multiplicity of Business, hath accidentally been delayed until the Proceedings on this Subject appear in the public Papers, which I must beg your Excellency to excuse” (LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 15). The enclosed document with the resolution of Congress is in DLC:GW; see also JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 19:114–15, and General Orders, 20 February. For the reply to both letters from Huntington on this date, see GW to Huntington, 17 February.

2For Brig. Gen. Daniel Morgan’s victory at the Battle of Cowpens on 17 Jan., see Greene to GW, 24 Jan. (first letter), n.3.

3William Sharpe’s undated letter to GW reads: “Winsborrough is about 45 miles from Cambden nearly in a line from Cambdon to ninety six.

“The cross roads where Lord Cornwallis detached Lieut. Colo. Tarleton to beat up Morgans quarters is near the head of Fishing Creek & about 20 miles west of Winsborrough.

“Grindels ford on packelet where Genl Morgan had encamped several days is about 30 miles distant, and a little to the west of south from the cross roads and about a mile below the junction of Lawsons fork with the north fork of packelet.

“The Cowpens is about 15 miles from Grindels ford—on the high lands between packelet and broad river at the sources of Buck Creek, of packelet & Suck Creek, of Broad river and within 3 miles of the boundary line between No. and So. Carolina.

“The Cowpens is about 25 miles distant and a little to the east of South from Kings Mountain. … From Genl Greene’s head quarters to the Cowpens, at least 120 miles—So. Wt direction.

“Genl Morgans Camp near Cain Creek is about eight miles west of Kings Mountain” (ALS, DLC:GW).

North Carolina lawyer and surveyor William Sharpe (1742–1818), of Rowan (now Iredell) County, was a member of the state’s provincial Congress in 1775, a delegate to the state’s constitutional convention at Halifax in 1776, and a member of Congress from 1779 to 1781. He served in the state house of representatives in 1781 and 1782.

4See GW to Huntington, 27 Nov. 1780 (first letter), and the source note to that document. Chastellux had arrived in Philadelphia on 30 November. At the end of his journal entry for that day, he described his first impression of Huntington: “After passing a quarter of an hour at Mr. Reed’s, we waited on Mr. [Samuel] Huntington, President of Congress. We found him in his cabinet, lighted by a single candle. Such simplicity reminded me of that of a Fabricius or a Philopoemen. Mr. Huntington is an upright man, who espouses no party, and may be relied on” (Chastellux, Travels in North America description begins Marquis de Chastellux. Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781 and 1782. Translated and edited by Howard C. Rice, Jr. 2 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1963. description ends , 1:134, brackets in source). Gaius Fabricius Luscinus, a consul of ancient Rome, was reputedly austere and incorruptible. The Greek soldier Philopoemen, who lived in the late third and early second century B.C., was a general of the Achaean League.

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