Page images
PDF
EPUB

British Evacuation of Camden.

Destruction of Property.

Fall of Brirish Posts.

Sale of Traveling Establishment.

a May.

beyond Sawney Creek, on the border of Fairfield District. He was not mistaken. On the eighth, a Rawdon crossed the Wateree, at the ferry below Camden,' and proceeded toward Greene's encampment. The two armies were now equal in numbers ; about “ twelve hundred each. On the approach of the British, Greene retired to Colonel's Creek ; at the same time, Rawdon became alarmed at the intelligence of the increase of the American army and of Greene's strong position, and returned to Camden. Believing it impossible to drive Greene from his neighborhood, and anxious for the safety of his menaced posts between him and Charleston, Rawdon resolved to evacuate Camden, and with it all the country north of the Congaree. He sent orders to Lieutenant-colonel Cruger to abandon Ninety-Six, and join Lieutenant-colonel Brown at Augusta, and also directed Major Maxwell to leave Fort Granby (near the present city of Columbia), and fall back upon Orangeburg, on the bank of the North Edisto. He then burned the jail, mills, and several private houses at Camden ; destroyed all the stores which he could not carry with him, and on the tenth left that place for Nelson's Ferry, hoping to cross there in time to drive off Marion and Lee, then besieging Fort Motte. He took with him almost five hundred negroes ; and the most violent Loyalists, fearing the vengeance of the patriots, followed him in great numbers. Within six days afterward, Orangeburg, b Fort Motte,e the post at b May 11. Nelson's Ferry,d and Fort Granby,e fell into the hands of the Americans. Greene,

c May 12. in the mean while, had marched toward Ninety-Six, where he arrived on the twen- e May 15. ty-second of May. The military events at these several places will be noticed presently, in the order in which I visited them.

It was almost dark when I rode into Camden and alighted at Boyd's Hotel. Here was the end of my tedious but interesting journey of almost fourteen hundred miles with my own conveyance ; for, learning that I could reach other chief points of interest at the South easier and speedier by public conveyance, I resolved to sell my traveling establishment. Accordingly, after passing the forenoon of the next dayf in visiting the battle-ground (Jan. 18 on Hobkirk's Hill, sketching the scenery at the Spring, and the monument erected 1849. to the memory of De Kalb, on the green in front of the Presbyterian church in Camden,' I went into the market as a trafficker. A stranger both to the people and to the business, I was not successful. I confess there was a wide difference between my “asking” and my “ taking” price. My wagon was again broken, and, anxious to get home, I did not " dicker” long when I got an offer, and Charley and I parted, I presume, with mutual regrets. He was a docile, faithful animal, and I had become much attached to him. A roll of Camden bank-notes soothed my feelings, and I left the place of separation at dawn the next morning in the cars for Fort Motte and Columbia, quite light-hearted.

d May 14.

1 There is now a fine bridge across the Wateree at this place, which cost twenty thousand dollars.

2 Many of these, who had occupied their farms near Camden, were reduced to the most abject poverty. Outside of the lines at Charleston, men, women, and children were crowded into a collection of miserable huts, which received the name of Rawdontown.-Simms's History of South Carolina, 223.

3 I was informed, after I left Camden, that the house in which Cornwallis was quartered, while there, was yet standing, and very little altered since the Revolution. It was one of the few saved when Rawdon lest the place. I was not aware of this fact while I was in Camden. Il.

X x

11

Departure from Camden.

The High Hills of Santee.

Passage of the Wateree Swamp.

CHAPTER XXVI.

Marion. Friends ! fellow-soldiers ! we again have heard
The threats of our proud enemies; they come,
Boasting to sweep us, like the chaff, away.
Shall we yield ? shall we lie down like dogs beneath
The keeper's lash ? Then shall we well deserve
The ruin, the disgrace that must ensue.
Ne'er dream submission will appease our foes;
We shall be conquered rebels, and they'll fear
The spirit of liberty may rouse again ;
And therefore will they bind us with strong chains,
New cords, green withes, like those which Samson bound ,
And we, alas ! shall have been shorn and weak,
On Folly's lap, if we yield up our freedom.

Mrs. S. J. Hale's TRAGEDY, “ ORMOND GROVESnor."

[ocr errors]

T was a brilliant, frosty morning when I left Camden to visit the scenes of some of the exploits of Marion and his partisan compatriots. Soon after crossing the Big Swift and Rafting Creeks, we reached the high hills of Santee, whereon General Greene encamped before and after the battle at the Eutaw Springs. They extend southward, in Sumter District, from the Kershaw line, twenty-two miles, parallel with the Wateree. They are immense sand hills, varying in width on the summit from one to five miles, and are remarkable for the salubrity of the atmosphere and for medicinal springs. Just at sunrise,

while swiftly skirting the base of these hills, with the Wateree Swamp between us and the river on the west, we saw the sharp pencilings of the few scattered houses of Statesburg against the glowing eastern sky. There was the residence of General Sumter after the war, and in his honor the surrounding district was named. After skirting the Wateree Swamp some distance, the road passes through a high sand bluff, and then crosses the great morass to the river, a distance of four miles. Beyond that stream, it joins the rail-way from Columbia. Through the swamp, the iron rails are laid upon a strong wooden frame-work, high enough to overtop a cane-brake. The passage is made at a slow rate to avoid accidents. The scenery was really grand, for below were the green canes waving like billows in the wind, while upon either side of the avenue cut for the road, towered mighty cypresses and gum-trees, almost every branch draped with long moss. Clustered around their stately trunks were the holly, water-oak, laurel, and gall-bush, with their varied tints of green; and among these, flitting in silence, were seen the gray mock.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

I was informed that the house of General Sumter and several others, with a large tract of land, was owned by a mulatto named Ellison, who, with his wife and children, were once slaves. He was a mechanic, and with the proceeds of his labor he purchased the freedom of himself and family. He is now (1850) about sixty years of age, and owns a large number of slaves. His sons and daughters are educated, and The former occupy the position of overseers on his plantation. Mr. Ellison is regarded as one of the most honorable business men in that region.

* This little sketch is from the pencil of J. Addison Richards, one of our most accomplished landscape

Fort Motte.

Remains of the Revolution.

Position of the Americans there.

General Marion.

ing-bird and the brilliant scarlet tanniger. Here, I was told, opossums and wild cats abound, and upon the large dry tracts of the swamp wild deers are often seen.

We arrived at the junction station at a little past eight o'clock, and, crossing a narrow part of the Congaree Swamp and River, reached Fort Motte Station, on the southern side of that stream, before nine, a distance of forty-four miles from Camden.

The plantation of Mrs. Rebecca Motte, whose house, occupied and stockaded by the British, was called Fort Motte, lies chiefly upon a high roll

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

garee, a little above the junction of that river with the Wateree,' thirty-three miles below Columbia, the capital of the state. This plain slopes in every direction, and is a commanding point of view, overlooking the vast swamps on the borders of the Congaree. It is now owned by William H. Love, Esq., with whom I passed several hours very agreeably. His house (seen in the engraving) is built nearly upon the site of Mrs. Motte's

VIEW AT FORT MOTTE, mansion, desolated by fire at her own suggestion, while occupied by the British. The well used by that patriotic lady is still there, close by the oak-tree seen on the right; and from it to the house there is a slight hollow, which indicates the place of a covered way, dug for the protection of the soldiers when procuring water. The other large tree seen in the picture is a blasted sweet-gum, and in the extreme distance is seen the Congaree Swamp. This house was built by Mrs. Motte immediately after the

close of the war. The Americans, whose exploits we shall consider presently, were stationed upon an eminence about a quarter of a mile northeast of the house, toward the Congaree, in the direction of M Cord's Ferry. A little eastward of the house there was an oval mound, when I was there in 1849, about twelve feet in height, and dotted with

the stumps of trees recently cut down. This is the vesVESTIGE OF A BATTERY.

tige of a battery, upon which the assailants planted a fieldpiece to dislodge the British. We shall better understand these localities after consulting the oracle of history.

Among the bold, energetic, and faithful patriots of the South, none holds a firmer place in the affections of the American people than General Francis Marion. His adventures were

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

painters. The cypress " knees," as they are called, are here truthfully shown. They extend from the roots of the trees, sometimes as much as two feet above the earth or the water, but never exhibit branches or leaves. They appear like smooth-pointed stumps.

I The Congaree is formed by the junction of the Broad and Saluda Rivers at Columbia. Its junction with the Wateree (the Catawba of North Carolina), at the lower end of Richland District, forms the Santee, which name is borne by the whole volume of unted waters from that point to the ocean. Buck's Head Neck is formed by a sweep of the Congaree, of nearly eight miles, when it approaches itself within a quarter of a mile. The swamp land of this neck has been reclaimed in many places, and now bears good cotton. At the rundle of this bow of the river is the ancient M'Cord's Ferry, yet in use.

* Francis Marion was born at Winyaw, near Georgetown, South Carolina, in 1732. He was so small at his birth, that, according to Weems," he was not larger than a New England lobster, and might easily enough have been put into a quart pot.” Marion received a very limited share of education, and until his twenty-seventh year (1759), he followed agricultural pursuits. He then became a soldier, by joining an expedition against the Cherokees and other hostile tribes (see page 646) on the Western frontier of the Carolinas. When the Revolution broke out, he was found on the side of liberty, and was made captain in the second South Carolina regiment. He fought bravely in the battle at Fort Sullivan, on Sullivan's Island. He was afterward engaged in the contest at Savannah, and from that period until the defeat of Gates, near Camden, in the summer of 1780, he was an active soldier. Soon after that affair, he organized a brigade, having passed through the several grades to that of brigadier of the militia of his state. While Sumter was striking heavy blows, here and there, in the northwestern part of North Carolina, Marion was performing like service in the northeastern part, along the Pedee and its tributaries. In 1781, he was engaged with Lee and others in reducing several British posts. After the Battle at Eutaw, Marion did not long remain in the field, but took his seat as senator ir. tho Legislature. He was soon again called to the field,

[merged small][ocr errors]

The Song of Marion's Men.

full of the spirit of romance, and his whole military life was an epic poem. The followers of Robin Hood were never more devoted to their chief than were the men of Marion's brigade to their beloved leader. Bryant has sketched a graphic picture of that noble band, in his

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Then sweet the hour that brings release

From danger and from toil;
We talk the battle over,

And share the battle's spoil.
The woodland rings with laugh and shout,

As if a hunt were up,
And woodland flowers are gather'd

To crown the soldier's cup.
With merry songs we mock the wind

That in the pine-top grieves,
And slumber long and sweetly

On beds of oaken leaves.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Well knows the fair and friendly moon

The band that Marion leads-
The glitter of their rifles,

The scampering of their steeds. 'Tis life to guide the fiery barb

Across the moonlight plain; 'Tis life to feel the night wind

That lifts his tossing mane. and did not relinquish his sword until the close of the war. When peace came, Marion retired to his plantation, a little below Eutaw, where he died on the twenty-ninth of February, 1795, in the sixty-third year of his age. His last words were, “Thank God, since I came to man's estate I have never intentionally done wrong to any man."

Marion's remains are in the church-yard at Belle Isle, in the parish of St. John's, Berkeley. Over theni is a marble slab, upon which is the following inscription : “Sacred to the memory of Brigadier-general Francis MARION, who departed this life on the twenty-ninth of February, 1795, in the sixty-third year of his age, deeply regretted by all of his fellow-citizens. History will record his worth, and rising generations embalm his memory, as one of the most distinguished patriots and heroes of the American Revolution ; which elevated his native country to Honor and Independence, and secured to her the blessings of liberty and peace. This tribute of veneration and gratitude is erected in commemoration of the noble and disinterested virtues of the citizen, and the gallant exploits of the soldier, who lived without fear and died without reproach."

Marion in Gates's Camp.

Description of his Regiment.

Rebecca Motte.

Her House fortified and garrisoned

[ocr errors]

When Gates was pressing forward toward Camden, Marion, with about twenty men and boys, were annoying the Tories in the neighborhood of the Pedee. With his ragged command, worse than Falstaff ever saw, he appeared at the camp of Gates, and excited the rid. icule of the well-clad Continentals. Gates, too, would doubtless have thought lightly of him, if Governor Rutledge, who was in the American camp, and knew the partisan's worth, had not recommended him to the notice of that general. Gates listened to his modestlyexpressed opinions respecting the campaign, but was too conceited to regard them seriously, or to offer to Marion a place in his army. While he was in Gates's camp, the Whigs of Williamsburg District, who had arisen in arms, sent for him to be their commander. Gov. ernor Rutledge gave him the commission of a brigadier on the spot, and he hastened to or. ganize that brigade, which we shall hereafter meet frequently among the swamps, the broad Savannahs, and by the water-courses of the South.”

Fort Motte, where the brave Marion exhibited his skill and courage, was the principal depôt of the convoys be

farm-house, upon a hill tween Charleston and

north of the inansion, Camden, and also for

and their place was those destined for Gran

supplied by a garrison by and Ninety - Six.

of one hundred and fifThe British had taken

ty men, under Captain possession of the fine

M.Pherson, a brave large mansion of Mrs.

British officer. After Rebecca Motte,' a wid

Colonel Watson eluded ow of fortune, which oc

the pursuit of Marion cupied a commanding

and Lee, and crossed position. They sur

the Congaree (see page rounded it with a deep

681), those indefatigatrench (a part of which

ble partisans moved is yet visible), and along

upon Fort Motte. A the interior margin of it

few hours before their erected a high parapet.

arrival at that place, Mrs. Motte and her family,

M.Pherson was re-enforced known to be inimical to the rebecca

ē by a small detachment of British, were driven to her

dragoons sent from Charleston with dispatches for Lord Rawdon. They were on the point of leaving, when Marion and Lee appeared upon the height at the farm-house where Mrs. Motte was residing.

After cautiously reconnoitering, Lee took position at the farm-house, and his men, with the field-piece sent to them by Greene, occupied the eastern declivity of the high plain on which Fort Motte stood. This gentle declivity is a little southwest of the rail-way station, in full view of passengers upon the road. Marion immediately cast up a mound (see page

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

· Colonel Otho H. Williams, in his Narrative of the Campaigns of 1780, thus speaks of Marion and his men, at that time : “ Colonel Marion, a gentleman of South Carolina, had been with the army a few days, attended by a very few followers, distinguished by small leather caps and the wretchedness of their attire ; their numbers did not exceed twenty men and boys, some white, some black, and all mounted, but most of them miserably equipped ; their appearance was, in fact, so burlesque, that it was with much difficulty the diversion of the regular soldiery was restrained by the officers; and the general himself was glad of an opportunity of detaching Colonel Marion, at his own instance, toward the interior of South Carolina, with orders to watch the motions of the enemy, and furnish intelligence.

? So certain was Gates of defeating Cornwallis, that when Marion departed, he instructed him to destroy all the boats, flats, and scows, which might be used by the British in their flight.

3 Rebecca Brewton was the daughter of an English gentleman. She married Jacob Motte, a planter, in 1758, and was the mother of six children. General Thomas Pinckney, of South Carolina, married in succession her two eldest daughters; the third married Colonel William Alston, of Charleston. Her other three children did not live to reach maturity. Mrs. Motte died in 1815, at her plantation on the Santee. The portrait here given is copied, by permission of the author, from Mrs. Ellet's Women of the Revolution. The original is in the possession of Mrs. Motte's descendants.

« PreviousContinue »