Nathaniel Greene to Congress 4/27/1781
Papers of the Continental Congress M247 roll 175 vol. 2 pg. 47
National Archives and Records Administration
Transcribed by Billy Markland
Camp Sander's Creek
April 27th 1781
I did myself the honor to address your Excellency on the 22d and informed you that we lay before Camden, having found it impracticable to Storm the
Town with a prospect of success, and nothing left but to take a position to induce the Enemy to sally. We chose a Hill about one mile from the Town on
the main road leading to the Waxhaws. It was covered with Timber and flanked on the left by an impassable Morass. The Country between that and
the Town is covered by heavy Wood and under Brush. In this situation we lay constantly upon our Arms ready for Action at a moments warning.
About 11 o'Clock in the Morning of the 25th, our advanced piquets [sic] were fired upon, who gave the Enemy a warm reception.
The line was formed in an instant, General Huger's Brigade upon the right of the road, Col. Williams's Brigade of Marylanders on the left, and the
Artillery in the centre. Col. Read with a few Militia in the rear, as a Second Line. Captain Kirkwood and the light Infantry lay in our front, and as the
Enemy advanced he was soon engaged with them, and both he and his Corps behaved with great gallantry.
The Piquets under the command of Captains Morgan and Benson, behaved with equal spirit and good conduct.
As the Enemy were found to be advancing only with a small front, Lieut. Col. Ford with the 2d Maryland Regiment had orders to advance and flank them
upon the left, Lieut. Col. Campbell had orders to do the like upon the right. Col. Gunby with the first Maryland Regiment and Lieut. Col. Haws with the
second Virginia Regiment had orders to advance down the Hill and charge them in front. Lieut. Col. Washington had orders to turn the Enemies right
flank and charge them in the rear. The whole line was soon engaged in close firing, and the Artillery under Col. Harrison playing on their front. The
Enemy were staggered in all quarters, and upon the left were retiring while our Troops continued to advance, when unfortunately two Companies of the
right of the first Maryland Regiment got a little disordered, and unhappily Col. Gunby gave an order for the rest of the Regiment then advancing to take
a new position in the rear where the two Companies were rallying. This impressed the whole Regiment with an Idea of a retreat, and communicated
itself to the 2d Regiment which immediately followed the first on their retiring. Both were rallied but it was too late, the Enemy had gained the Hill and
obliged the Artillery to retire. The second Virginia Regiment having advanced some distance down the Hill, and the Maryland line being gone the Enemy
immediately turned their flank, while they were engaged in front. Lieut. Col. Campbells Regiment had got into some disorder and fallen back a little,
this obliged me to order Lieut. Col. Haws to retire. The Troops were frequently rallied, but had got into too much disorder to recover the fortune of the
Day, which once promised us a compleat [sic] victory as Col. Washington found the Enemy both Horse and foot retiring with the utmost precipitation
towards the Town, and took upwards of 200 prisoners and ten or fifteen Officers, before he discovered our People had left the ground, more than fifty
of which were brought off. The Colonels behaviour and that of his Regiment upon this occasion did them the highest honor. We retired about two or
three Miles without any loss of Artillery or Ammunition Waggons [sic], the Baggage having been sent off at the begining [sic] of the Action. The Enemy
suffered very greatly. Our force was not materially different; but had we succeeded, from the disposition made, we must have had the whole Prisoners
as well as full possession of Camden. Inclosed [sic] is the returned of the killed and Wounded. Among the former is Captain Baty of the Maryland Line,
a most excellent Officer and an ornament to his profession.
Our Army is in good spirits, and this little repulse will make no alteration in our general plan of operations.
Inclosed [sic] I send your Excellency the conditions of the capitulation and surrender of Fort Watson, which I hope will be followed by others.
I have been honored with your two letters the 10th and 29th of March.
I have the honor to be with great respect
Most obedient and most humble Servant
P.S. The Horse and part of the Infantry at the close of the Event charged upon the Enemy who retreated immediately into Town with precipitation.