Marquis de Lafayette letter to Governor Thomas Nelson, 1781 June 28

Dublin Core

Title

Marquis de Lafayette letter to Governor Thomas Nelson, 1781 June 28

Subject

Campbell, William, 1745-1781
Cornwallis, Charles Cornwallis, Marquis, 1738-1805
Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de, 1757-1834
MacPherson, William, Major
Simcoe, John Graves, 1752-1806
Virginia -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783
Spencer's Ordinary, Battle of, 1781

Description

Report of Lafayette to Governor Nelson on the results of the Battle of Spencer's Ordinary fought against British forces under Colonel Simcoe June 26, 1781. Lafayette briefly comments on the roles of William MacPherson and William Campbell and upon Lord Cornwallis's reaction to the outcome of the action. The battle was fought several miles outside Williamsburg in James City County.

Creator

Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de, 1757-1834

Publisher

Special Collections, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Date

1781

Is Referenced By

Lafayette in the age of the American Revolution. Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1981. Vol. IV, p. 217-218

Format

jpeg

Language

eng

Type

Text

Identifier

MS 2011.11

Document Item Type Metadata

Text

Page 1


Mr. Tyre's plantation 20 miles
From Williamsburg 28th June 1781


Sir


I have only to add a few words to my last
letter. Col. Simcoe was so lucky as to avoid a part of
the stroke; but altho' the whole of the light corps could
not arrive in time, some of them did. Majr. MacPherson
having taken up fifty light infantry, behind fifty dragoons
overtook Simcoe, and regardless, [illegible] of numbers
made an immediate charge. He was supported by the
rifle-men who behaved most gallantly and did great
execution. The alarm guns were fired at Williamsburg
(only six miles distant from the field). A detachment
just then going to Gloucester was recalled, and the whole
British army came out to save Simcoe. They retired
next morning when our army got within striking
distance.


Our loss is 2 Captns, 2 Lieutenants 10 privates
wounded. 2 Lieuts. 1 sergeant 6 privates killed one Lieut.
12 privates whose fate is not known. 1 sergeant taken.
The enemy had about 60 killed, among whom are se-
veral officers, and about one hundred wounded. They
acknowledge the action was smart, and Lord
Cornwallis was heard to express himself vehemently
Upon the disproportion between his and our killed,
which must be attributed to the great skill of our
rifle-men.


This little success has given great sa=
tisfaction to the troops, and increased their ardor. I
Have put the rifle-men under Campbell. To-morrow
I


Page 2


I intend to reconnoiter a position below Byrd’s or:
dinary.


Your return to Richmond, and this
little affair will particularly mark his Lordships
retreat, and the recovery of every part of this State
not under naval protection.


With the greatest respect, I have
the honor to be your Excellency
most obt. sr.
Lafayette

His Excellency
Governor Nelson

 

Address leaf

His Excellency
Governor Nelson
Staunton

Original Format

Ink on paper

Citation

Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de, 1757-1834, “Marquis de Lafayette letter to Governor Thomas Nelson, 1781 June 28,” John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, accessed October 17, 2021, https://rocklib.omeka.net/items/show/472.