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You will easily conceive how sensible an affliction it was to me on entering this province, to receive an account of the death of my friend General Phillips, whose loss I cannot sufficiently lament from personal or public considerations.
The corps which I brought from North Carolina, arrived here this morning. The information conveyed by your Excellency to General Arnold, relative to the probable movements of the French armament, restrains me at present from any material offensive operations ; but as soon as I can hear any satisfactory accounts of the two fleets, I will endeavour to make the best use in my power of the troops under my command. General Arnold being of opinion that Portsmouth, with its present garrison, is secure against a coup-de-main, I would wish to avoid making a precipitate movement towards that place without absolute necessity, because it would lessen our reputation in this province ; but I have sent to assure the commanding officer, that I will do everything I can to relieve him, in case the French should attack the post
It is with infinite satisfaction that I inclose to your Excellency, copies of two letters from Lord Rawdon, which have relieved me from the most cruel anxieties. His Lordship's great abilities, courage, and firmness of mind, cannot be sufficiently admired and applauded.
There is now great reason to hope that we shall meet with no serious misfortune in that province ; if, however, General Greene should persevere in carrying on offensive operations against it, we must, I think, abandon Camden, and probably Ninety-Six, and limit our defence to the Congaree and the Santee ; this will only be giving up two bad posts, which it is difficult to supply with provisions, and quitting a part of the country, which for some months past we have not really possessed.
I have the honour to be, &c.,
- Charles Cornwallis
- Correspondence of Charles, first Marquis Cornwallis, Vol I, Charles Ross, Esq., London, 1859