Page images

, On the 16th of September, lord Cornwallis proceeded to t|f<5 sequestration of all estates belonging to the decided friends of Aroerican independence. In the execution of this business, John Cruden, esq. was appointed to take possession of the estates o'f particular persons, designated in warrants issued by his lordship or the commandant of Charleston* Many will pronounce this sequestration, by his proclamation, as justifiable as the confiscation of real and personal property of the several American states', upon the recommendation of congress in HTJf.

The numbers of real royalists, together with the occasional ones who joined the train of the conqueror, bore so large a pro-' portion to the remaining inhabitants of South-Carolina, that Jord Cornwailis, with his superiority in arms, might reasonablyexpect, that the patrons of American independence would be utterly incapable of giving him further trouble in that state; but events were different. Col. Marion had retired from Charleston during the siege, his leg being fractured, which disabled him from commanding his regiment. After the surrender of the, capital he retreated to North-Carolina. He was promoted by gov. Rutledge to the rank of brigadier-general, about.the time that Sumpter was honored in like manner, which was soon after the latter had penetrated into South-Carolina, and recommenced a military opposition to British government, though he has hitherto been spoken of under his continental title of colonel. Marion successfully prosecuted, in the north-eastern extremites of the state, the same plan with Sumpter. On the advance of gen. Gates, he procured the command of sixteen men; with these he penetrated through the country, and took a position near the Santec From this station he sallied out and captured a small British guard, and rescued 150 soldiers of the Maryland and Delaware corps, who, having been taken on the 16th of August, were on their way from Camden to Charleston. He released the prisoners, paroled his captives, and then took himself to the woods. The defeat of Gates however obligedhira to quit the state, but after an absence of a few days he returned. In hisletter from Peedee of August the 29th he wrote to Gates—" As the militia is not under any command, some days I have not more than a dozen with me,"— In subsequent ones he expressed himself as follows—',' On September the 4th, marched with 53 to attack a body of 200 tories, who intended to surprise me:—surprised a party of 45, killed and wounded all but 15, who escaped :—met andi attacked tiiera'airi body, and put them to flight,, though they had 200 men."— "Marched to Black Mingo September the 24th, where was a guard of 60 men of the militia;—attacked them oh the 23th :—

killed three, wounded and took 13 prisoners. I had I captain "ISKid 1 private killed; 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, and 6 privates "grounded: several of the enemy have since been found dead in a 'iwarap to which they took. So many of my men were desirous

■ of seeing their wives and families which have been burnt out, that "vl found in necessary to retreat the next morning. The prisoners

• taken are men of fortune and family, which 1 hope will check the' militia from taking arms against us. Capt. Murphy's party have burnt a great number of houses on little Pedee, and intend to go on in that abominable work, which I am apprehensive

• may be laid to me ; but I assure you, that there is not one house burnt by my orders, or by any of my people; it is what I detest,

Ptb distress poor women and childien." The manner of Marion's ; expressing himself, points out Murphy for an anti-royalist. Many of the professed whigs disgraced themselves by the burnings, pluriderings and cruelties that they practised in their turn upon '.the .royalists. They changed sides at times, as appears by Ma: lion's letter of October the J'8 th—" I have never yet had more ,thari seventy men to act with me, and sometimes they leave me to 20 or 30. Many who had fought with me, I am now ob-Jiged to fight against." He wrote to Gates " Nov. the 4th. .1 -crossed Pcdec the £4th of Oct. the next night came up with -two hundred men under col. Tyne, whom I surprised: killed 6, •• wounded 14, and took prisoners 23, and got 80 horses and saddles, and as maaystand of arms. The colonel made his escape; •-but, sending a party to the High Hills of Santee, he fell into * -•our hands, with several other prisoners, and some who have "%>een very active against us and great plunderers. The militia are now turning out better than they have done. At present I have upwards of 200, and expect that in three or four days it will

- be double." "Black-river, Nov. the 9 th, col. Tarleton [with his corps] has burnt all the houses, and destroyed all the coin,

- from Camden down to Nelson's ferry: has behaved to the poor 'women with great barbarity ; beat Mrs. Richardson, the relict of

gen. Richardson, to make her tell where I was; and has not

• left her a change of raiment. He not only destroyed all the corn,

• but burnt a number of cattle in the houses he fired.-—It is distressing to see the women and children sitting in the open air round a fire without a blanket, or any clothing but what they had on, and women of family, and that had ample fortunes ; for he spares

■ hsfther wig nor tory. Most of the inhabitants to the south•!war<i are ready and eager to take up arms against their task-masters." "Nov. the 21st, col. Tarleton retreated to Camden, afHills of Santee.—Many of my people have left me and gongj over to the enemy ; for they think we have no army coming on, and that they have been deceived, as we have heard nothing from you for a great while. Gen. Harangton has not done an-y service with the troops he commands, while I have been obliged; to act with so few, as not to have it in my power to do any thing effectual for want of men and ammunition.". So much was he distressed for ammunition, that he has engaged when he had not three rounds to each man of his party. At other times he brought his men into view, though without ammunition,, that he might make a show of numbers to-the enemy. The saws of mills were converted into horsemen's swords for his defence. For months he and his party slept in the open air, and sheltered themselves in the thick recesses of deep swamps ;.from whence he sallied out whenever an opportunity of harassing the enemy, or of serving his country presented itself. Me paid the greatest regard to private property, and restrained his men from every species of plunder. - 7


Opposition to royal government cannot be said to have beea, at any time, altogether extinct in the extremities of South-Carolina. The inhabitants of a part of the state, called the New Acquisition, never were paroled as prisoners, nor did they take protection as subjects. A considerable partof Sumpter's men, after their dispersion on the 18th of August, repaired to that settlement, and generally kept in small parties for their own defence. Some of them joined major Davie at the head of about fifty volunteers, who had equipped.themselves as dragoons,, andwas the only American corps which at that time had not been beaten «c dispersed. Let us now repair to Hillsborough.

Gen. Gates seeing the wretched relics of his unfortunate continental army destitute of every thing, did all that was possible to procure them provisions and clothing. He used the most pressing solicitations to gov. Nash and the assembly of North-Carolina. They being present, saw and lamented the hapless fate of those brave men, who had been deserted in.danger by the people they meant to protect. Humanity, gratitude, policy and selfdefence, dictated the most vigorous exertions. Such were the exigences of the whig party, that every man felt and submitted tothe necessity of giving all his assistance, as well on the. present occasion, as to provide against contingent misfortunes. The legislature therefore unanimously concurred in the measure of taking arms, ammunition, and clothing, wherever to be found, in the state, on the credit of the state: for paper-money had scarce any value,, and they had no other. They also ordered,, that a class *- •■ • . . ,©i

»F'their militia should be draughted, and march immediately tc£^irard Salisbury, for which place it was thought lord Cornwallis was preparing to advance with his army. A comfortable Supply Jfff fresh meat and meal or flour, was procured for the hospital; and beef was better and more plenty at Hillsborough than it used to be in camp. An arrangement of the broken troops took place iapon an agreement of a council of general and field-officers, and by order of the commanding officer. The first, thirds fifth, and seventh Maryland regiments, formed together one battalion, called the first* and was commanded by major Anderson. The seeond, fourth and sixth Maryland regiments, with the Delaware, constituted the second battalion, and was commanded by major Hardman. These two battalions were completely officered, and formed one regiment* commanded by col. Otho Holland Williams and lieut. col. Howard. The troops being without pay, clothing, and sometimes provision, many temptations ■were used to seduce them from their duty, and to desert to the British army, which was well clothed and fed, and duly supplied, with rum, a thing of no small consideration w-itk common men; yet such was their fidelity, that very few left the field) even to return to their families; and they several times seized and brought before their officers, those who would have conducted them to "Camden, and have rewarded them for their treachery. They were, after a time, encamped about a mile out of town, though without tents, by the help of fence-rails, poles, brash and Indian corn tops.- The officers suffered no circumstance of humiliation or distress to induce them into a remission of discipline; and be■fog alway with their respective commands, and sharing their fate, a mutual confidence and affection, and at the same time a due subordination prevailed throughout the line. Gol. Bufordha-ving recruited his regiment (which had been so cruelly handled by Taileton's legion) to about 200 men, arrived from Virginia on the 16th of September; but these were badly armed, and almost ■destitute of clothing. Near the same time sixty Virginia militia arrived; as did about fifty of Porterfield's light-infantry on the 18th; these joined Buford's corps. The regiments commanded by him and Williams, were formed into one brigade by general borders, and the command given to general Smallwood. 1,1 Early in September col. Clark collected a number of Americans, and marched through the upper parts of South-Carolina, on "bis way to Georgia. A few joined him in Ninety-Six, but the more prudent discouraged him from his ill-timed enterprise. He liowever prosecuted his design, and by the 14th arrived at Augusta with about 500 men. He soon engaged lieut, col. Brown,


the commandant; who with his small garrison and a few Iradbe ans defended himself bravely, till he got possession of the Garden' liill : then the action became warm for a quarter of an hour*', tvhen the Americans gave way, on which he took post at thc< . houses. At one the next day, about 50 Cherokee Indians show-", ed themselves on the opposite hill, and got into the garrison; and as soon as they were furnished with arms and ammunition, the Americans were discovered advancing. A warm engagement followed soon after, and continued till night. Clark afterward summoned Brown to surrender, and received for answer, " l> shall do my duty as an officer, by defending myself to the last: extremity. Brown was then threatened in a second letter, and replied to Clark, " If you have nothing further to offer upon th« teturn of the flag, hostilities will commence afresh." Brown ex-, peered to be relieved, which took place on Monday morning the 18th, by the arrival of lieut. col. Cruger from Ninety-Six, with a party of regular troops and militia on the opposite hill. By* the time Cruger had crossed the first part of his people over the tiver, part of the garrison sallied out upon the Americans, and brought in two pieces of artillery and some prisoners, one of Inrhom (Henry Dukes) was instantly hanged. "Brown was worm-* ded in both thighs at the beginning of the action. The loss was considerable on the side of the royalists, though more so on that of the Americans. When the last had left Augusta, the inhab-i ■ itants who had joined Clark, or who were supposed to.favor his design, were treated with the utmost severity (Brown hanged about thirty) which has greatly disgusted, and prepared the Miinds of the people for a determined revolt. v ... .' K\

In consequence of measures taken by the governor and assembly of North-Carolina, a small quantity of clothing was obtained; and in a few days four companies of light-infantry were equips ped and selected from the line. The remains of the first and third regiments of cavalry came up to camp the 2d of Oct. com-* manded by lieut. cols. Washington and White. On the same day col. Morgan, who had been but a few days arrived, was in* Vested with the command of the light troops, consisting of the cavalry under Washington, four companies of regular infantry under Howard, and a small body of riflemen from Virginia* Morgan had orders to march immediately toward Salisbury, and act in concert with the militia of North-Carolina, whom the le* gislature had subjected to the command of gen. Smallwood.

While lord Gornwallis was restrained from active operations, by the excessive heats and unhealthy season which followed his victory at Camden* major Ferguson/of the 71 st British regiment)


« PreviousContinue »