Letter by O.H. Williams discussing Gen. Gates, 3 January 1781
from the collection of Theodorus Bailey Myers, pp. 13-14
Submitted by Sherri Bower.
Camp Hicks Creek, 3d January 1781.
DR. SIR — The Bearer, a Corporal of the 3d Regiment of Lt. Dragoons, is ordered to join his Corps. He brings with him seven Privates, nine Horses, &c. Fifty tents have arrived here and we expect more. I will be glad to receive a return of the number you have, when you send your next return of men, &c. It is said here that Genl. Lessly has crossed Nelson Ferry. I think there is no reason to conclude he intends to join Ld. Cornwallis at Camden. But probably you are more particularly acquainted with the motions of these Gentlemen.
The Maryland State Regt. is arrived at Holey's Ferry. I believe it will be employed on detachment and will not join the Army in Camp, at least till the General hears from Maryland. Doct Brown, who has just arrived and reassumes or continues his post in the Hospital Department, Informs me that Major Giles told him and that he told Genl. Gates I had as well as others, censured his conduct in the action of Camden. The letters I wrote on the subject contained matter of fact. I always expected to be called on as Evidence upon an Enquiry into the Genl's. conduct. Therefore avoided giving my opinion. If any of my friends impute to the General as faults all the misfortunes of that Day, it would have been as proper to have given their own Opinions as to have drawn improper conclusions from my information and given me as the author. If I was in presence of Genl. Gates, or if it recurs to certain private conversations I had with him since the action, he will not be surprised at these reports. I am conscious of having conducted myself with the strictest propriety in that affair, as I shall upon Oath when required all and no more than what I have at different times mentioned to the General, and I have said much less to others. You are particularly acquainted with my private sentiments on the subject. I hope you will believe I have at no time been inconsistent, whatever construction may have been put upon my letters, and whatever information Major Giles might have recd on the subject. I shall quiet the old Gentleman's doubts by letters, for in whatever Light his conduct may appear to the World, I always rather pitied than condemned his misfortunes. My compliments to my Friends with you, and believe me yours,
O. H. WILLIAMS