"We fight get beat and fight again": Nathanael Greene to George Washington, 1781

This is a sketch of three soldiers operating a cannon.

General Nathanael Greene wrote this letter to General George Washington on May 1, 1781, informing him of the situation in the Southern Campaign and expressing his appreciation for Washington sending the Marquis de Lafayette to Virginia. 

Spelling is original.

Camp May 1st 1781

Dear Sir

My public letters to Congress will inform your Excellency of our situation in this quarter. We fight get beat and fight again. We have so much to do and so little to do it with, that I am much afraid these States must fall never to rise again; and what is more I am perswaded they will lay a train to sap the foundation of all the rest.

I am greatly obliged to your Excellency for ordering the Marquis to the Southward. I propose to halt him in Virginia until the enemies plan of operations is better explained. Baron Stuben will join this army, he having offended the Legislature of Virginia cannot be as useful there as he has been. The Marquis is desired to keep your Excellency advisd of all matters in that quarter as it is too far first to come to this army and then be sent back again.

When I was appointed to the command of this army, I solicited Congress to give Doctor McHenry a majority that he might serve me in the character of an aid. This they refused. I was perswaded when I made the application of the necessity, and since have felt it, most sensibly. Your Excellency can scarsely tell how happy you are in your family and therefore can hardly judge of my situation. I cannot make a second application to Congress upon this subject, nor should I have hopes of succeeding if did, but I shall esteem it a peculiar mark of your Excellency[s] friendship and esteem if you will interest yourself in the matter and get him a Majority. Your Excellency will judge of the propriety of my request; and if my wishes has prompted me to ask any thing that dont accord with your opinion or your feelings, I must beg you to decline the measure, and excuse me.

It is a long time since I receivd a line from Mrs Greene, I am afraid they have miscarried before they got to Head quarters. I am sorry that you had not leisure to call on her on your return from Newport, she would have tho’t her self greatly honord, and been peculearly happy on the occasion. With the greatest respect esteem & affection I am your Excellency’s Most Obedient humble Ser.

N. Greene

I beg my most respectful compliments to Mrs Washington.