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The American Revolution
Revolutionary War: Groping Toward Peace 1781-1783
George Washington to Nathaneal Greene, March 18, 1782

In many respects, the Revolutionary War continued after Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown. The following letter from Washington to General Nathaneal Greene, still commander of Continental Army troops in the south, is a small bit of evidence of that continuation. What difficulties seem still to be plaguing Greene's army? How does Washington describe the nature of the continuing war?

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Philadelphia, March 18, 1782.

My Dear Sir: I have your favr. of the 24th. of January and your public and private letter of the 7th. of February. It gives me the more pain to hear of your distresses for want of Cloathing or other necessaries, as you are at so great a distance that you cannot be suddenly relieved, even if we had the means. I am not however without hopes, that should the War be continued to the southward (of which I have my doubts for reasons which I shall presently give) matters will be put into much better train than they have hitherto been. The arrangements made already by the superintendent of Finance have been attended with infinite public advantages, and he is extending those arrangements as fast as circumstances will possibly admit. I am sorry to see a jealousy arising from a supposition that there has been a partiality of conduct. I am certain there has been no such intention, and that instead of a charge of having done too little, it will soon be a matter of wonder how Mr. Morris has done so much with so small means. As I know he corresponds with you on the affairs of his department, I shall content myself with saying, that before Colo Cartington leaves town, measures will be taken to enable him to make provision in future, for the ready transportation of Stores, and for the accommodation of Troops moving to the southward. It is agreed that the Elaboratory shall be removed from Richmond to New London.

In my former letters upon the subject, I acquainted you with the reasons which operated against Count de Rochambeau's detaching more than the Legion of Lauzun towards South Carolina, upon your requisition for a reinforcement. Altho' my instructions to you did not mention a power to call upon the Count for assistance, yet I look upon it as implied in my desire to you to correspond with him. The circumstances of the moment must determine whether any or what can be spared by him.

By late advices from Europe and from the declarations of the British Ministers themselves, it appears, that they have done with all thoughts of an excursive War, and that they mean to send small if any further reinforcements to America. It may be also tolerably plainly seen, that they do not mean to hold all their present posts, and that New York will be occupied in preference to any other. Hence, and from other indications, I am induced to believe that an evacuation of the southern States will take place. Should this happen, we must concentre our force as the enemy do theirs: You will therefore, upon the appearance of such an event, immediately make preparations for the march of the Army under your command to the Northward. What troops shall in that case be left in the southern States will be a matter of future discussion.

No other reinforcement went from New York to south Carolina than that of the 400 which had arrived. Letters, which you had not received when you last wrote, will have informed you, that our first intelligences respecting the number of Men embarked were false. With the highest sentiments etc.
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