Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton

“While the main body was in Hanover County, and the Marquis de la Fayette lay between them and Fredericksburg, Earl Cornwallis had clear intelligence of the meeting of the governor and assembly at Charlottesville, under the protection of a guard, in order to vote taxes for the exigencies of government, to concert measures for the augmentation of the eighteen-months men, or state troops, and to issue commands for a large draft of militia. At the same time he obtained information, that Baron Steuben was gone to Point of Fork, which is situated at the extremity of James River, between the Fluvanna and Rivanna, with the eighteen-months men, to cover a continental store, consisting of cannon, small arms, and accoutrements. To frustrate these intentions, and to distress the Americans, by breaking up the assembly at Charlottesville, and by taking or destroying the arms and other stores at Point of Fork, his Lordship employed Lieutenant-colonel (a.) Tarleton on the former expedition, as most distant, and on the account more within reach of cavalry, whilst he committed to later enterprize to the execution of Lieutenant-colonel Simcoe (b.) with the yagers, the infantry, and the hussars of the rangers. It was designed that these blows should, as near as circumstances would permit, be struck at the same moment; that Tarleton, after completing his business, should retire down the Rivanna, to give assistance to Simcoe, if he failed in his first attempt, and that both should afterwards join the army, which would in the mean time file to the left, through Goochland County, and approach the Point of Fork.

Lieutenant-colonel Tarleton, with one hundred and eighty dragoons, supported by Captain Champagne of the 23rd regiment, and seventy mounted infantry, left the army in the beginning of June, and proceeded between the North and South Anna…

…In the mean time, Lieutenant-colonel Simcoe executed the plan committed to his direction with great zeal and indefatigable attention. Baron Steuben did not wait the attack of the King’s troops, but abandoning Point of Fork on their approach, lost part of his rear guard in retreating from that place. The British found in the magazine several brass mortars and cannon, and immense quantity of small arms under repair, and other valuable military stores. If the distance would have allowed Lieutenant-colonel Simcoe to send a small party of hussars to inform the corps at Charlotteville [sic] of the flight of the Americans, Lieutenant-colonel Tarleton might have had time to harass Baron Steuben’s progress, whilst Lieutenant-colonel Simcoe could have pressed him in the rear; and a combination of this sort would in all probablility have ruined that body of new levies: but the distance of thirty-five miles in an enemy’s country, and the uncertainty of Tarleton’s success, perhaps represented such a co-operation as too speculative and precarious.

Upon the arrival of the main body at Jefferson’s plantation, in the neighbourhood of Point of Fork, Earl Cornwallis gave directions for carriages to be provided for the conveyance of the brass artillery and other stores, captured at Point of Fork. The prisoners of note brought down the country were, in general, dismissed, on giving their paroles. Immediately afterwards, the 76th regiment, commanded by Major Needham, were attached to the British Legion, who were directed to supply them with horses for an expedition. This business was almost completed, when Lieutenant-colonel Tarleton received a copy of his instructions, (T.) which guided his march first to Albemarle court house, to destroy the magazine at that place, and from thence across the Fluvanna, to at tempt General Steuben: It was strongly recommended to defeat and disperse his corps, as they were the foundation of a large body of eifghteen-months men, lately voted by the province. Tarleton was likewise enjoined to do his utmost to intercept any light troops that might be on their way from South Carolina, and to destroy all the stores and provisions between the Dan and Fluvanna, that the continental armies might receive no assistance from such supplies. These services being performed, the British light troops were to return with all (a.) their prisoners, both civil and military, to Manchester, where boats would be in readiness to receive and convey them to the royal army at Richmond. Before Lieutenant-colonel Tarleton left his camp to proceed upon this enterprize, reports reached headquarters, that the stores wwere removed from Albemarle court house, and that the Baron Steuben had made a circuitous move, in order to form a junction with the American army, which had now crossed the North Anna; the expedition, therefore, was countermanded, and the royal forces commenced their march towards Westham…