Following General Greene’s defeat at Guilford Court House—March 1781—, a cavalry officer makes do.
I wish we could get thirty or forty swords, as I wish to have that number of my best men equipped compleat as horsemen, and use the remainder as infantry mounted.—Major de Glaubeck† to General Sumner, 14th May, 1781.
Anecdote of Baron de Glaubeck.
THIS officer, who was in New-York in 1789, supplicating congress for compensation for services during the war, (which he would not have demanded but for his great losses in India,) having signalized himself in many engagements after the battle of Guilford, general Green recommended the baron to the governor of North Carolina, and advised him to put the cavalry of that state under his command. The governor took the general’s advice, and accordingly placed the baron at the head of the cavalry; but to his great astonishment, not a man among them had a sword except himself; however, in order to supply this deficiency, he ordered every man to supply himself with a substantial hickory club; one end of every club he caused to be mounted with a heavy piece of iron; then to show an example to his men, he threw down his sword, armed himself with one of these bludgeons, and mounted his horse.
After giving his men the necessary instructions in the art of wielding their wooden swords, he marched with his whole body, consisting of 300, towards Cornwallis’s army, in order to reconnoitre their lines, where he arrived the same day about one o’clock. Cornwallis was then retreating towards Wilmington, and his men being fatigued, had halted to take some refreshment. The baron seized this favourable opportunity, and charged two Hessian pickets, whom he made prisoners, routed three British regiments, to whose heads he applied the clubs so effectually, that a considerable number were killed on the spot, and finally he retreated with upwards of 60 prisoner.
—Mathew Carey, Editor; The American Museum (October 1792).
† Peter William Joseph Ludwig, Baron de Glaubeck.