Von Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin (1730-1794) to Nathanael Greene
Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00140
Place Written: Richmond, Virginia
Type: Letter signed
Date: 3 February 1781
Pagination: 3 p. : address : docket ; free frank; 33.2 x 20.8 cm.
Summary of Content: Written by von Steuben as the senior Continental officer in Virginia to General Greene as commander in the Southern Department. References Greene’s letter of 24 January 1781. Congratulates Greene on his army’s recent victory at Cowpens and in the race to the Dan River. Says the traitorous General Benedict Arnold’s incursions in Virginia were causing him problems and keeping him from reinforcing Greene’s army. Says the troops he wanted to send off on 15 January 1781 will not be ready until 20 February 1781. Mentions changes in his command and says General Robert Lawson will relieve General Muhlenberg. Says he is to rendezvous with the calvary at Petersburg and will deliver the necessary recruits to them and make the arrangements with the government to equip them. Says number of recruits will be deficient. Mentions several other movements of troops from Fort Pitt and Bethany. Says enemy is moving toward Suffolk, Virginia. Repair where seal was removed has led to slight text loss. Address leaf is free franked by von Steuben.
People: Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin, Baron von, 1730-1794., Muhlenberg, John Peter Gabriel, 1746-1807 , United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783, Cowpens, Battle of, Cowpens, S.C., 1781 , Arnold, Benedict, 1741-1801. , Lawson, Robert, d. ca. 1802
Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783
Full Transcript: Richmond Virga. 3d Feby 1781, My Dear General, Yesterday Major Giles handed me your Letter of the 24th Inst & I sincerely Congratulate you on the fortunate & glorious event it anounces - your presence to the Southard has hitherto been favord with the Smiles of Fortune - may you my dear General experience a continuance of them the personal interest I take in every thing that can add to your Happiness & Glory is an additional motive for my wishing it - , Mr. Arnold still continues at Portsmouth - his incursion into this State [struck: has] notwithanding the weak opposition I was able to oppose has not drawn my attention from the main object of reinforcing your Army - Delay was unavoidable - it was the natural result of the confusion that every thing was thrown into., The second division of 400 Men which I expected to have sent off the 15 Jany will not possibly be equipped for the March before the 20th. Instant I am determined to move Heaven & Earth to get them off if possible by that time - The 10th Ins is the time fixed for the Officers of the [Viy] Line to assemble at Chesterfield - I have given orders for relieving  those of them who are now with the Militia by the supernumerary of State Officers - Genl Lawson will relieve Genl Muhlenberg - some necessary arrangemts to be made at Fredricksburg will prevent Genl, Wilson from attending - I shall first appoint the Officers who are to attend at the places of rendezvous to receive the Recruits & send them immediately to their respective posts - a Field Officer 4 Capts. & 14 Subs will go with the first detachment to the Southard & so with the subs -, The Cavalry are to Rendezvous at Petersburg where I shall deliver them their proportion of the Recruits as they come in & shall take the necessary measures with Government to get them mounted & Equipped which done I propose sending them on by Troops of 60 Horse 30 for each Regiment, The number of Recruits to be raised added to what they have now in the Field will fall defecient at least one fourth of the Quota of this State - this must be considered in the formation of the new Regiments the Strength of which must bear the same proportion to the number originally design for each ,  I believe I before advised you of my intention to form the remains of the 9th Regt at Fort Pitt into two Companies & to call down the Supernumerary Officers General Washington has approved it and I have accordingly given the necessary Orders to Cols. Broadhead & Gibsen, Agreable to your orders I have directed Capt J[illegible] with his [Artillery] to move immediately to Bethany - I am intirely of your Opinion that this Corps weak as it is [text loss]all Render much more Service at that [text loss] considering its proximity to you & the num[text loss] of Arms in that Neighbourhood wanting repair -, I have just reced advice of a movement of the Enemy towards Suffolk tho with what force I don’t know I am just setting off for Cobbinpoint but shall not let it prevent my meeting the Officers the 10th Ins at Chesterfield - with the greatest Regard, I am D. Genl, Your very hum Servt , Steuben, Maj: Gen, , [address leaf], The Honorable Major Genl. Green, Commanding the, Steuben, , Southern Army, , [docket], From, Baron Steuben, Feby. 3d. 1781
Sub Era: The War for IndependenceOrder Image