Part 3 out of 4
similar to the one of the 15th of November: "You are at liberty
to act as you think advisable. I have no particular instructions to give you,
and only wish you to avoid surprise."
At the close of this year, Gov. Rutledge and his council issued
writs of election for members of the senate and house of representatives,
which, by proclamation issued afterwards, were appointed to meet
at Jacksonborough. Gen. Greene still lay at the Round O,
where he secured the rice and other provisions from the enemy,
by sending out patroles of cavalry as far as Dorchester:
but he had not yet received a supply of ammunition for his infantry,
and Marion was also without that indispensible muniment of war.
As to other necessaries he says, "Our horsemen have neither
cloaks or blankets, nor have our troops received a shilling of pay
since they came into this country. Nor is there a prospect of any.
Yet they do not complain."* At length on the 14th of December
he received a supply of ammunition and sent ~it all~ to Marion,
then at Watboo, saying, "he was in expectation of soon receiving more."
* Greene's letters, 13th and 14th December.
The British extended their patroles of cavalry nearly up to Dorchester,
but their main body was now confined to Charleston neck.
Thus, in the course of the campaign of 1781, the American army
under Gen. Greene, without pay, without clothing, and as we have seen
frequently without ammunition, had driven the enemy from
all their strong holds but one; had defeated them in battle,
and retaken all South Carolina but a neck of land.
Detached Narratives for 1781.
There was with Marion's brigade throughout, a young man, Robert,
commonly called Bob James, but oftener, ~the general's right hand man~.
It was known to very few that Marion employed him often to gain intelligence
from the enemy in Georgetown and other places. The general never suffered him
to mount guard or do common duties; being an excellent woodsman,
he was his favourite guide; being an expert swimmer, he was generally
by his side when swimming rivers, or paddled him over in a canoe
if they had one; being a good fisherman, he often caught him fish;
the general would laugh and joke with him, but with no other private.
He did not however employ Bob in these small matters when he had
any thing serious for him to do. Surprised at his exact intelligence
from Georgetown and other places, the author asked him once "how he got it?"
He related several interesting particulars, among others this one:
"Just in the outskirts of Georgetown there is a pond full of bushes,
and in the middle of it a large gum-tree with a thick top and branches
that reach the thicket below. This tree overlooked the garrison
and both roads leading out of town. I used to climb into it
and watch for days together, and if I saw any thing important,
immediately came down, mounted my horse, hid in a neighbouring swamp,
and told it to the general myself, or sent the only other person we trusted."
The gum tree stood there lately, but Robert James sleeps with his fathers.
"Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him Horatio." It was generally thought that
although he swam so often on horseback, or crossed rivers in unsteady canoes,
the general could not swim himself. His body was sufficient for endurance;
and his mind, to sagacity and foresight, united the higher virtues
of patience and fortitude. In one thing he appeared singular;
long swords were now in fashion as best for attack or defence,
but Gen. Marion always wore the little cut and thrust, which was in use
in the second regiment, and he was seldom, perhaps never, seen to draw it.
His messmates told a story, whether true or not is of little consequence,
as it shows the public opinion. The sum of this story was,
that on one occasion he attempted to draw it, but it was so rusty
he could not extricate it from the scabbard. He had a reason
for this apparent singularity; a long sword might have tempted him,
a small man, to act the common soldier, and he appeared to place no reliance
on his personal prowess. Gen. Greene depended entirely upon him
for intelligence. -- Now, intelligence is the life of an army.
Sumter and Greene were then at variance, and if Sumter gained any, he would
not condescend to let Greene know it, but take advantage of it himself.
Lee, whose particular business it was to furnish Greene with intelligence,
was always too fond of seeing his men and horses in good plight,
to expose them to hardships. Marion's were for every day's use.
An anecdote worthy to be recorded happened at the brick house at the Eutaw.
Capt. Laurence Manning, since adjutant general in this state,
marched at the head of the legion infantry to batter down
the door of the house. Intent on this single object, and relying confidently
on his men, he advanced boldly up to the door; when, looking behind him
for the first time, behold his men had deserted him. He stood for a moment
at the side of the door, revolving what was to be done. --
Fortunately a British officer, Capt. Barry, opened the door gently
to peep out, and Manning seizing him fast by the collar, jerked him out.
He then used him as an ancient warrior would have done his shield,
and the enemy, fearing to shoot least they should kill Barry,
Manning escaped without a shot being fired at him from the house.
During the struggle of the present year, (1781) Capt. Wm. Allston,
of True Blue, on Little river, All Saints parish, served under Gen. Marion.
He was a firm patriot and good soldier; indeed he may well be enumerated
among the martyrs to the cause of his country; for having been seized
with a fever in camp, he had scarcely time to reach his home,
where he expired at a middle age. He left behind him, by his last wife,
two sons and a daughter; his eldest son he named after
the illustrious Washington; and he has since proved himself
to be highly worthy of that distinction. In this son
will be readily recognised the distinguished artist, Washington Allston;
whose pencil has bestowed celebrity upon the place of his birth,
and whom every American should be proud to claim as his countryman.
Towards the conclusion of this year, Maj. Edward Hyrne,
one of Gen. Greene's aids, was commissioned by him to negociate
a cartel of exchange of prisoners in Charleston. He had to conduct this
with Col. Balfour, who was haughty and unreasonable as well as cruel;
his demands were so exorbitant, that Maj. Hyrne, after waiting upon him
several times with much patience, at length declared they were
utterly inadmissible, and took his leave. Returning to his lodgings,
he wrote a note to each British officer on parole in town,
informing him he must prepare to follow him into the country the next day.
His firmness or good policy had the desired effect; Balfour's quarters
were soon besieged by at least forty officers, many of whom
were of higher rank than himself, and Major Hyrne succeeded
to the extent of his wishes.
The party under Major John Postell, which was ordered out on the 29th January
in this year, and succeeded in taking eleven British waggons
with soldiers' clothing at Keithfield, consisted with the officers,
commanding of thirty-eight men.* They carried off what clothing they could,
and what they could not they burnt. What was carried away
was sold for a division, and bought in, as it appears, in continental dollars,
on the 2d February, 1781.
* This statement is confusing. To paraphrase, Postell's party
(which made this attack) consisted of thirty-eight supernumerary officers.
-- A. L., 1997.
The prices of a few are inserted; sixteen blankets were sold.
1 Bought by Major Postell for $1590
1 do. Capt. Wm. Capers 2200
1 do. (the lowest priced)
by Capt. Thomas Potts, 900
1 Loaf of sugar, Francis Greene, 2000
1 Coat by Capt. Capers, 6210
1 Knife and fork, A. Simons, 700
1 Pair of Stockings, Capt. Capers, 800
&c. &c. &c.
Most of this party were supernumerary officers, who placed themselves
under the command of Major (then Captain) Postell, who was justly considered
as one of the most enterprising officers in Marion's brigade.
Of these thirty-eight men, the only survivor is Richard Greene,
who has been long a respectable and opulent planter on Black river.
The account of sales is in the hand writing of Capt. Thomas Potts.
There is a list of the names of the thirty-eight, many of whom
fought then and afterwards with great bravery. -- John Futhey,
then a lieutenant, after being promoted to a captaincy
was killed in a skirmish at Avant's ferry on Black river.
Thomas Potts, jun. a lieutenant, was twice wounded. John M`Bride,
father of the late friend of the author, Dr. James M`Bride, was always
at his post. What a loss to science was the early death of the son?
Capt. Wm. Capers was imprisoned by Balfour in the upper story
of his ~provost~, and made his escape by slipping past the keeper at night
when he brought their scanty supper to the prisoners. He had then
to descend a steep flight of stairs and pass the guard at the bottom.
Luckily he stumbled at the head of the stairs and fell to the bottom,
and the guard mistaking him for the keeper, raised him up and gave him
much consolation. He had only to refrain from speaking and to utter
a few groans, which being an indistinct tone of the voice, made no discovery,
and the guard suffered him to pass. A friend furnished him with a small boat
to pass Cooper river; but now the difficulty was to get through
the British guard ships which lined the river. Being a pretty good mimic,
he bethought himself of assuming the character of a drunken sailor
~going on board his own ship~, and acted his part so admirably well,
that he was suffered, though often threatened, to pass through
the whole fleet. Capt. Capers lost no time in joining Gen. Marion,
with whom he fought bravely in the ranks until the general advanced
down into St. Thomas' parish, where he commanded a company,
and where he had left property at the mercy of the enemy.*
Capt. Wm. Capers, and his brother G. Sinkler Capers, were often afterwards
the terror of the enemy, who had early oppressed and imprisoned them,
for G. S. Capers had also made his escape from the ~provost~.
* The following is a curious fact in natural history. When Capt. G. S. Capers
returned to his plantation in 1782, it had been completely stripped
of all live stock and poultry, except one cock. When the British chased him
he had always taken refuge under a kitchen low to the ground.
This bird was carefully preserved. After the war, it was the fashion
for ladies to wear scarlet cloaks, and so strong was his recollection
(must it be so called) of the colour of the British uniform,
that whenever he saw ladies in scarlet cloaks, he would squall out,
as such birds usually do at sight of danger, and run directly
under the kitchen.
Francis G. Deliesseline, the present sheriff of Charleston district,
joined Marion when a boy, and made if possible a still more surprising
and narrow escape out of the same ~provost~; but as the narrative would expose
certain names which he wishes concealed, he has declined giving it publicity.
At so early an age, none behaved better than Deliesseline, and no one
has refreshed the author's memory more in the detail of facts of that period.
Many of the privates of Marion's brigade were men of character and honour;
most of them lost their fortunes by the war, and many made them,
or at least handsome competencies, after it; but it is believed that more,
cast out of the ways of industry and economy, and losing their all,
sunk under the pressure brought upon them. Where they are known,
what an injustice would it be to pass over the merits of such men? --
On the monument erected by the Greeks at Thermopylae,
the names of Leonidas and his three hundred men were not inscribed,
because it was thought impossible to imagine they could ever be forgotten.
Pardon me, ye sons of my fellow soldiers! should my memory be found
not so tenacious; and should I have passed over the merits
of many of your fathers without even a shade of remembrance.
CAMPAIGN OF 1782.
The military history of this year, is not remarkable for any great events;
but the most material of these happened in the brigade of Marion.
As they are not altogether of a pleasant nature, it appears to have been
the wish of many to bury them in oblivion, and therefore some of them
have been suppressed, and others but slightly recorded.
But, the correspondence gives dates and hints, which bring the whole
to recollection; and it is the duty of the biographer to be impartial.
It was hoped that he might have avoided saying any thing more
about the dispute which arose between Cols. Peter Horry and Maham;
but, as that dispute terminated in unhappy consequences,
it becomes necessary that they should be developed. Gen. Marion was returned,
at the elections which took place for the Jacksonborough assembly,
a member of the senate for St. John's, Berkley. Being about to take his seat,
he gave the immediate command of the brigade to Col. Peter Horry,*
subject to his future order. Of this order, all that is necessary
to state here, is as follows: "You will take command of my brigade
until I return. You will keep the guards at Cainhoy and Fogartie's.
Their orders are to prevent any boats or persons from going to or from town,
without a written pass from me or yourself. Col. Maham's corps
will be ordered to Mepkin, to remain there until my further orders."
As the enemy got most of their intelligence from persons,
more especially women, going to and from town, this part of the order
was very material. In the mean time application was made
by Gen. Marion to Greene to decide this unhappy dispute between the colonels;
and, in a conciliating letter, he decided it in favour of Horry. (16th Jan.)
On the 18th of January, Gen. Marion writes to Horry: "I send you
Gen. Greene's letter in answer to mine, sent him as soon as I arrived here,
and it is determined as I expected. You will keep the letter,
and if the enemy should approach your quarters, and you find it necessary,
you must call on Col. Maham's troops and horse, as reinforcements;
and I wish he may not be called upon for any other purpose."
In a letter from Col. Maham to Horry, of the 20th of January,
it is to be inferred that the latter had immediately called upon him
for a return of his corps, and to submit to his orders; for he answers,
"I cannot think of being commanded by an officer of the same rank.
I think it proper not to make you any return of my regiment,
and I shall not obey any order you may be pleased to send." It appears
from a subsequent letter of Maham's of the same date, that Gen. Marion
had not written to him concerning the determination of Gen. Greene;
but Gen. Marion's order, both then and subsequently, was certainly sufficient
to convince him he ought to submit. After this Col. Horry writes
to Gen. Marion: "Col. Maham interferes with my command so much
that I can scarcely act; he gave passes to several ladies
to go to town without my leave, and they accordingly went in a boat,
which boat has since returned, and the ladies have since come up."
And again, "I assure you your presence is much wanted. Your brigade
lessens daily." (31st Jan.) On the 3d of February, Marion answers:
"I am surprised at Col. Maham's interference with your command.
I have written him positive orders not to do so in any respect whatever,
and was in hopes Gen. Greene would have prevented such evils before this."
But from a former letter of Gov. Rutledge, which is a philippic against Horry,
and the subsequent determination of Gov. Matthews, it is evident that Maham
had got the civil authority on his side, and he did not regard the general's.
And thus it is, when civilians interfere with military affairs
that they invariably commit blunders. Having premised these facts,
to show that in Marion's absence there was naught but discord and dissention,
we now proceed to state the consequences.
* Marion's letter to Horry, 10th January.
Almost the whole of the warfare was henceforth carried on
in St. Thomas' and St. James', Santee. About this time,
Col. Richard Richardson commanded the post at Cainhoy.
A British galley lay in the river Wando, which he watched,
and patroled the road down to Daniel's island by day,
and returned into the woods and lay without fire by night.
A fortnight after he was posted there, hearing of a party of British
which had landed at Daniel's island, he immediately sent out scouts
to the causeway over to the island, and wrote for a reinforcement.
In the morning Maham's horse arrived, four troops in uniform,
and fully equipt; but their colonel, who would have been ranked by Richardson,
was not present, and they were under the command of Maj. Giles.
The British took the Strawberry road, and about noon
stopped at Bishop Smith's, Brabant, about fourteen miles up the road.
To the north of that plantation is a swamp of considerable width,
with a causeway and bridge. Beyond the causeway, on the right going up,
was a fence on a bank and a ditch behind it, with trees in front.
Richardson passed the swamp above, and going down to the hill
above this fence, immediately went to reconnoitre, but came back
with a British troop and Capt. Campbell at his heels. He ordered a charge.
At the commencement of the onset it was easy to be seen that Maham's corps
had not yet been trained. They charged in some disorder,
but at first drove the British horse easily before them.
At the bridge they met the British infantry, who gave them a volley.
All was now confusion, horses and men wedged together upon a narrow causeway.
The front striving to retreat, and the rear urging them on.
The British horse being rallied, now came in to aid the infantry,
and a total rout and scene of carnage ensued. Of Maham's officers,
Capt. Samuel Cooper rallied his men, and returning to the road,
saved several lives and drove back a troop of black dragoons.
In this affair the six months men particularly suffered.
Being near the road when the rout commenced, they wheeled their lean horses
and ran directly up it, consequently they were trampled down by both parties.
Capt. Bennett, with twelve men, after having been pursued
by a party of British, double his number, and stopped by an impassable creek,
when inspiring his men with courage, and setting the example,
they wheeled about and drove back the enemy. In the course of this day,
G. S. Capers took three swords from the British in single rencounters,
and Gen. Marion promoted him to a lieutenancy. It appears that the defeat
might have been prevented if Richardson had posted his militia
behind the fence described. Twenty-two Americans were buried on the causeway;
how many were killed in the pursuit is not known. Of the British,
Capt. Campbell was killed, and several of his men, but the number
was not ascertained.
Gen. Marion had now taken his seat in the senate at Jacksonborough;
but his presence, as will shortly be seen, was much more necessary in camp;
but he could not get leave of absence, nor be spared without
breaking up the house, for there were but thirteen senators present,
which number was required as a quorum to do business. They were passing
a new militia act, and one for raising the continental quota of troops
for the state; and the confiscation act at that time and place
was esteemed of greater consequence than the commanding of a brigade.
But in all his letters dated from that place, Gen. Marion expresses
the utmost anxiety to return to his command.
In the mean time Horry, by orders of Gen. Marion, took a position
on the north side of Wambaw, a large creek emptying into the Santee.
He lay in the angle formed by the two roads which pass
from Lenud's ferry road to Mr. Horry's, about a quarter of a mile
from the bridge. In his rear there was a wood. His new raised regiment,
scarcely yet half completed, lay at Durant's plantation about a mile above,
under the immediate command of Maj. Benson. On the 23d of February,
Horry had out patroles upon the Christ Church road, and scouts
down in St. Thomas'. Thinking himself secure, and being sick,
on the 24th he went over the river to his plantation, and left the brigade
under the command of Col. M`Donald, contrary to Gen. Marion's order,
which was to leave it in such case under Maham. While Benson was at dinner,
Capt. Bennett, who commanded the scouts in St. Thomas',
came in with intelligence that the British were approaching,
but at that time of day he was an unwelcome messenger.
Bennett proceeded down to head quarters at Mr. Horry's, where M`Donald
was also at dinner. He likewise would not believe the intelligence,
because he said he had been down into Christ Church the day before;
but he desired Maj. James who had just arrived in camp, and came for orders,
to take command of his regiment. In less than half an hour after
a firing commenced at Durant's. M`Donald's regiment was on the right
towards Echaw, and two regiments of six months men on the left towards Wambaw.
Maj. James immediately formed M`Donald's regiment in the wood in the rear,
and rode to the left for orders from the commanding officer present,
Col. Screven; but when he arrived, Screven's men had broke,
and he was in the act of rallying them, but the attempt was vain.
They ran over the bridge and threw off the planks. Maj. James returned
to his own men, and as fugitives were now passing in numbers
from Horry's corps, he ordered a retreat to the bridge.
As he brought up the rear and was on horseback, two British dragoons
attempted in succession to cut him down, but he kept them in check
with his pistols, and finally leaped a chasm in the bridge,
supposed to be twenty feet in width. He by this means gained time
to rally his men, and checked the British.
Thus Gen. Marion had not left his brigade more than six weeks, before it
had dwindled away and had been defeated. On the part of Horry's cavalry
it was a complete surprise. Major Benson was killed, and what number of men
cannot be ascertained, but he lost thirty-five horses.
The British were commanded by Col. Thompson, afterwards the celebrated
Count Rumford. Maham having refused to cooperate with Horry,
lay still at Mepkin; and Gen. Marion passing there on the 24th,
took command of his corps and proceeded towards Wambaw;
but the colonel was not present. On his way Gen. Marion was sorely vexed
with the disagreeable news of the defeat of his brigade; but with
such a fine corps as Maham's was then he felt sure of beating the enemy
should they appear. He proceeded down to Mrs. Tiddiman's plantation,
between Echaw and Wambaw, and there halted for provisions. (25th Feb.)
There was a lane with a high fence on each side, leading up to the house,
and the cavalry picketted in the lane. In front of the lane
was an old field, and a little to the right a pond of water.
Scarce half an hour had elapsed when the British appearing in the old field,
displayed their columns and seemed to pause. Capt. John Carraway Smith
commanded Maham's corps; he drew up his men in solid column,
and Gen. Marion having posted a small body of infantry to great advantage
along the fence of the lane, ordered Smith to charge. He proceeded very well
till he got to the edge of the pond, where an inclination to the left
was necessary to reach the enemy, but in performing this evolution
his men fell into disorder, and the enemy charged with a shout.
All was now rout and dismay; but the British followed no further
than the edge of the woods. Gen. Marion had rallied a troop there,
and checked the pursuit. The loss was but little; Lieut. Smizer
and three men only were killed; but the disgrace was great.
Had this corps been well trained the enemy must have been beaten.
Horry had thus lost a great part of his horses, and Maham's corps
was a second time shamefully defeated.
We have seen Count Rumford opposed to Gen. Marion with a degree of success,
which perhaps he would not have obtained had the orders of the general
been obeyed. It is well known that Count Rumford was a native
of Massachusetts, and of the town there whence he took his title;
also that he became after this a celebrated philosopher,
and especially in economics; his writings have been of great use to the world.
It is a pity that the career of such a man should have commenced in hostility
to his native country. His life has been published, but we have not yet had
the pleasure of reading it; and perhaps it may not contain
the following anecdote. After his dashing success at the Santee
he formed a grand scheme, which was no less than that of surprising
Gen. Greene in his camp at Ashley hill. To effect this he must
either have crossed Ashley river over Bacon bridge, at Dorchester, which was
too well secured for a sudden attack of cavalry; or he must cross the river
at Ashley ferry, ten miles from town. He determined on the latter,
and put his four troops of cavalry in motion. When he arrived at the ferry
it was ebb of tide, the water was running out as from a millsluice;
the banks on each side were so miry as scarcely to support a crab --
the river was at least one hundred yards wide, and there was not a boat. --
He however ordered Major Fraser to lead on the first troop into the river
and swim across. Fraser viewed him for some time with astonishment,
suspecting him not to be in his sober senses. But finding he appeared so,
he said to him, "Why, Sir, I am not in the habit of disputing,
or hesitating to perform any order given by my commander; but this thing
is utterly impossible." "How so," said Thompson, "it may be difficult
but not impossible, and if we do not attempt difficult things
we shall never be distinguished. Alexander swam across the Granicus,
beat the Persians and immortalized himself." "And it would no doubt
immortalize you," replied Fraser, "if you could swim the Ashley,
and surprise Gen. Greene; but let us put the matter to the test.
Here is Serjt. Allen, the best trooper and the best swimmer in the corps;
and here is my horse that cost me one hundred guineas.
Let Allen try it first; better that he than that all should be lost."
The proposition was agreed to. Allen was mounted on the major's charger,
and was ordered to swim the river. -- "I'll try," said he,
"since the colonel orders it -- but the Lord have mercy upon me;"
and having so said, he plunged into the river. As might have been expected,
the current swept him a quarter of a mile below the landing
on the opposite side; he attempted to land there, but the fine horse was
swallowed up in the marsh, and Allen escaped with the utmost difficulty. --
This was the last notice we have of Col. Thompson (Count Rumford)
in this country: he was a burning meteor but soon disappeared.*
* Count Rumford told professor Pictet, of Geneva, many years after,
that he had never been able to efface from his imagination,
the horrid spectacle of the dead and wounded upon these occasions.
-- See Pictet's Tour in England, p. 212.
After the defeat at Wambaw, Gov. Matthews, having taken much pains
to find out from Gen. Marion who was the best cavalry officer of the two,
Horry or Maham, incorporated the two regiments and gave the command
to the latter. The preference appears to have been extorted from Marion.
The fact was that Horry, though said to be a good infantry officer,
failed in one most essential requisite in the command of cavalry,
and that was horsemanship. In several charges he made, it is said
he was indebted to some one or other of his men for saving his life;
yet possessing great personal bravery, his supreme delight was always to be
at the head of cavalry. From the commencement of this narrative,
his patriotism has been conspicuous: in fact, his property was wasted
and his life often exposed in the cause of his country, and few men
were more devoted to her than Col. Peter Horry. He now resigned,
but as some consolation, Gen. Marion made him commandant of Georgetown,
with full powers to regulate its trade and defend it from the enemy.
It was from thence and Cainhoy, that Gen. Marion after long perseverance,
got much clothing for Greene's army. But Col. P. Horry,
instead of leaving trade to flow into Georgetown as freely as the tides
which passed before him, put it under such restrictions
that the merchants soon began to murmur. About the 20th of April,
there was an alarm excited among the civil authority of the state,
that the British in Charleston had been reinforced and were about to attack
Gen. Greene. Gov. Matthews immediately wrote to order Gen. Marion
to his assistance. He lay at that time near Murray's ferry;
his men had been dismounted by an order from the same authority,
and they now set out for Bacon's bridge on foot for the first time.
When they reached within eight miles, the alarm had subsided;
but another had taken place, that the enemy had sailed for Georgetown,
and the governor ordered Marion there. After a forced march of four days
he arrived at White's bridge; but there was no enemy near Georgetown.
In this march of about one hundred and sixty miles, Marion's men had
but one ration of rice; all the rest were of lean beef driven out of the woods
in the month of April. As Ganey's party had been troublesome
to the people of North Carolina, and had not observed the treaty of neutrality
with Gen. Marion, made June 17th, 1781, a joint expedition was concerted
between Gov. Matthews, of South and Gov. Martin of North Carolina,
to subdue them.* Of this expedition Gen. Marion was to have the command.
His very name was sufficient for the purpose intended. At Burch's mill
on Pedee, a treaty was signed, (June 1782) by which Ganey's party agreed
to lay down their arms as enemies of the state, to demean themselves hereafter
as peaceable citizens, to deliver up all stolen property,
to apprehend all who did not accede to the treaty now made,
to take all deserters from the American army and deliver them up,
to return to their allegiance and abjure that of his Britannic majesty.
From this treaty, Gibson, who killed Col. Kolb, and Fanning and his party
were excepted, but they escaped. Fanning was properly of North Carolina,
but occasionally acted with Ganey, and was one of the most active men,
and one of the most deliberate murderers of the whole party.
But little defence had been made by the tories; only one skirmish took place,
in which the general's friend, Robert James, was wounded;
and at the Bowling Green, between Great and Little Pedee,
at least five hundred men laid down their arms to Gen. Marion.
Thus ended an opposition to the country, which commenced more
from the desire of plunder than from principle, and which,
except with regard to sex, and some to age, had been carried on
in the true spirit of savage warfare. Of Harrison's party,
many had gone with him to the British; with those who remained
a species of warfare was waged even after the peace with Great Britain.
* Capt. Crafton's letter to Marion, 13th June, 1782.
During Gen. Marion's absence, Gen. Greene appears, from the correspondence,
to have been very anxious for his return. After the adjournment
of the Jacksonborough assembly, he had crossed the Edisto and encamped
on the west side of Ashley river, sixteen miles from Charleston,
and here the sufferings of his men had risen to the utmost extremity.
They were often without rations, and when served, it was generally
with lean meat without bread or rice, or bread or rice without the lean meat.
They had as yet received no pay, and their clothes were so worn and broken,
that they were as naked as the Caffres of Africa. Here,
in a state of inaction, they became mutinous, and were plotting
to deliver up their commander to the enemy. But it is surprising,
that when mischief of any kind began to brew in such a situation,
that only twelve should have been concerned in it, and it is honourable
that none of those were native Americans.
About the 9th of July, Gen. Marion had returned to the Santee,
and received orders from Gen. Greene to remain between that and Cooper river,
as heretofore. The militia were now so far relieved, that, by law,
they were obliged to turn out only one month in three; but were ordered,
as we have mentioned above, to be dismounted, which discouraged them,
and rendered their movements less rapid. The experience derived
both from the history of the revolutionary and the late war,
fully shows that the militia are effective only when mounted.
On the 25th of August, in this year, Lieut. Col. John Laurens
was killed in a skirmish at Page's point, on Combahee river.
He fell in the flower of his youth, and yet had long been the admiration
of both the contending armies. In history the parallel to his character
is perhaps to be found only in that of the Chevalier Bayard:
the knight without fear and without reproach.
During the remainder of the summer of 1782, Gen. Marion frequently
changed his encampments from place to place, between Cooper and Santee rivers,
with three objects constantly in view; to cut off supplies from the enemy,
to prevent all surprises from their sudden irruptions, and to provide
for his own men. -- His scouting parties still penetrated
into St. Thomas' parish as far as Daniel's island and Clement's ferry.
At the head of one of these Capt. G. S. Capers performed a gallant action.
Having the command of only twelve men, he encountered
a party of twenty-six of the British black dragoons, and cut them to pieces.
They had at the time two or three of his neighbours in handcuffs as prisoners.
About the 25th of August in that year, Marion lay for some time
at the plantation of Sir John Colleton, the first above Watboo bridge,
on the south side of that creek. This with him appeared to be
a favourite place of encampment. It had been deserted by the owner,
who was attached to the enemy, and the mansion and two extensive ranges
of negro and other outhouses were left open for himself and men.
He occupied the mansion and his men the outhouses, on the west
towards the bridge; on the back of the outhouses to the east,
and directly in front of the dwelling, there stretched towards the road
an extensive avenue of old cedar trees, the trimming of which
had been neglected for some years; and their long boughs now descended
nearly to the ground. While encamped in this situation,
Gen. Marion heard of the approach of Major Fraser with the British cavalry,
towards the Santee, in his rear. On this side there was nothing
but an open old field for a mile. None but the officers
now had horses, and he immediately ordered out a party of these,
under Capt. Gavin Witherspoon, to reconnoitre the enemy.
They had advanced but little way in the woods beyond the old field,
when the reconnoitring party were met by Major Fraser
at the head of his corps of cavalry, and were immediately charged.
A long chase commenced, which was soon observed by Marion,
and he drew up his men under the thick boughs of the cedar trees.
As the chase advanced towards him it became more and more interesting. --
When in full view, either Witherspoon's horse had failed him,
or he fell purposely in the rear to bring up his party,
and a British dragoon was detached to cut him down. He advanced
until nearly within his sword's length, and was rising in his stirrups
to make sure of his blow, but Witherspoon had eyed him well,
and at the instant, Parthian like, he fired the contents of his gun
into his breast. The good omen excited much animation,
and the British, still advancing, attempted to charge upon the left,
but were received on that side with a well directed fire, which caused them
to break and fly in great disorder. Had Gen. Marion's cavalry been present
they might now have been cut to pieces; but scarcity of forage
had induced him to quarter them at the distance of six miles.
The enemy rallied and manoeuvred about in the old field for an hour,
making several different feints of charging, but never coming
in reach of Marion's fire, whose men stood firm at their post.
Capt. Gillies of the British, and nine men and five horses were killed.
The number of wounded could not be accurately ascertained;
but as the firing was only at the distance of thirty paces,
and was made with the usual charge of heavy buckshot, the proportion of these
must have been greater than that of the killed on the usual computation.
(29th Aug.) On the next day, Gen. Marion called out Capt. Witherspoon
in front of the brigade, and gave him thanks for his many public services,
but more particularly for the deed of yesterday.
Here ended the warfare of Marion. Its close was as the last ray
of the setting sun; in his progress through the day, at times
shining brightly; at others clouded with darkness: but at eventide
descending with cheerful brilliancy. Should the exploits performed,
or the number of the enemy cut off, not equal the expectation of the reader,
he is requested to recollect the lapse of time which has intervened,
and how many circumstances must have escaped the memory of the writer,
and particularly, that the loss of Col. Watson, with whom Marion had
the most arduous of all his conflicts, could never be known. He will also
bear in mind the patroles which went out nightly, and seldom failed
to do some execution, which like a perpetual dripping corroded deeply
into the force of the enemy. If the late Guerilla warfare in Spain
cut off so many thousands of the French in detail, in a comparatively
open country, how much more effect would such a warfare have in woods
upon an enemy more weak in proportion and more slowly reinforced.
Such a warfare is the one most fitted for militia and the most dreaded
by regular troops. But on the other hand, should it be thought by some
that the present narrative is too highly coloured, the eulogy of Gen. Greene,
certainly the best judge of Gen. Marion's merit, is here inserted, of which
it may be remarked, that it was written before the latter had performed
half of what is here related.
Extract of a letter from Gen. Greene to Gen. Marion.
"~Camp, before Camden, April 24, 1781.~
Your favour of the 21st has just come to hand. When I consider
how much you have done and suffered, and under what disadvantage
you have maintained your ground, I am at a loss which to admire most,
your courage and fortitude, or your address and management. Certain it is,
no man has a better claim to the public thanks than you. History affords
no instance wherein an officer has kept possession of a country
under so many disadvantages as you have. Surrounded on every side
with a superior force, hunted from every quarter with veteran troops;
you have found means to elude their attempts and to keep alive
the expiring hopes of an oppressed militia, when all succour seemed to be
cut off. To fight the enemy bravely with the prospect of victory is nothing,
but to fight with intrepidity under the constant impression of a defeat,
and inspire irregular troops to do it, is a talent peculiar to yourself.
Nothing will give me greater pleasure than to do justice to your merit,
and I shall miss no opportunity of declaring to congress,
the commander in chief of the American army, and to the world,
the great sense I have of your merit and services."
The letters of Gen. Greene show that he was an agreeable polished gentleman.
Their style is easy, simple and correct; there is no search after ornament;
they come at once to the point and show him to be much in earnest.
His commands are always requests, and when he might well have used
the language of reprehension, it is only that of persuasion
and friendly admonition. His privations here were great,
perhaps he had not even the comforts of a common soldier in the British army;
yet he states them fairly, without uttering a word of complaint;
hopes they will soon be remedied, and declares his unalterable perseverance
in gaining the glorious prize constantly in his view --
the independence of his country.
In reviewing the transactions of the present year, two things passed
which are well worth notice. Gen. Alexander Leslie, now commander in chief
of the British army, a gentleman of enlarged views and humane feelings,
had before this time, as it appears, submitted certain papers to Gen. Greene,
through Capt. Skelly, for his inspection, preparatory to a proposal
for a cessation of hostilities; and on the 23d of May, writes again to Greene
in substance as follows: "Believing that a treaty for terminating the war
is now carrying on, I have therefore to inform you, that those papers
were transmitted to him (Gen. Leslie) by his excellency Sir Henry Clinton.
That such was the manner in which those important papers had reached him,
that he held it a duty he owed the rights of humanity,
the welfare of this country, and the sentiments of the legislature of his own,
to propose a cessation of hostilities." Again, on the 13th of August,
Leslie proposed, "That the garrison of Charleston should be permitted
to receive rice and other provisions, for which a compensation should be made
on terms of mutual advantage." Both these propositions were at once rejected
by the civil authority of the state; because it was supposed that Leslie
only intended to amass provisions for the support of the British forces
in the West Indies, to carry on war to advantage with our allies the French.
But this matter might easily have been adjusted by treaty,
and the rejection of the offer was certainly another piece of blind policy
in the civil authority. They had now no means of taking the town,
and by acceding to the proposals, Greene's army might have been clothed,
the wants of the citizens sooner supplied, and much
effusion of blood prevented.
Early in the month of January, in this year, the Jacksonborough assembly
commenced its session. As might have been expected, it was entirely
composed of those, who either in a civil or military capacity,
had distinguished themselves in the late contest. In the senate
we have seen there were but thirteen members, which was a bare quorum;
and Gen. Marion could not be spared, for it would have broken up the house.
In the house of representatives, there were but seventy-four members,
of whom sixty formed a quorum. Both houses were therefore remarkably thin;
but what they lacked in numbers they made up in spirit. They passed
the well known confiscation law, avowedly to retaliate on the British
for having acted in like manner to those who had adhered to the Americans;
but privately with a view to enable the state to raise its quota
of continental troops; for Gen. Marion, in a letter to Col. Peter Horry,
of the 10th of February, states, that "Two regiments are to be raised,
as our continental quota, giving each man a negro per year,
which is to be taken from the confiscated estates. A number of large estates
are down on this list, and others are amerced, which will give us
at least a million sterling as a fund." And a clause in the act passed,
enacts, "that there shall be set apart a sufficient number of slaves
to raise the quota of continental troops required of this state." How far
this law might be justified, on the plea of necessity and self-defence,
is quite a different ground from that of retaliation. In the preamble
to the law, the reason given for enacting it is retaliation upon tories
for the injuries done to the property of the whigs by confiscations;
but there appears to be no sound reason for passing the law
as a retaliatory measure. Between rulers and subjects, or citizens,
the duties of subjection and protection are reciprocal;
but, in this case, the rulers were unable to protect the citizens,
and therefore ought not to have expected from them such implicit subjection.
It was only by a few daring spirits, and that generally
in places remote from the enemy, that resistance was kept up;
yet, under existing circumstances, it was not to be looked for from the timid
more immediately in their power. But, as a measure of self-defence,
the law was justifiable.
The governor and council, armed with the supreme power of the state,
had impressed the horses, provisions and indigo of the whigs,
for public services, and that proceeding had scarcely excited a murmur.
These resources had now failed, and the war was to be carried on
without money; then what good reason could be given for
exempting from requisition the negroes and other property of the tories.
In this point of view the case against them becomes the strongest of the two.
Yet the clamour raised against the law at the time and after, was great;
in the legislature their friends became numerous, and as each particular case
was brought forward and considered, it was made an exception,
and the act became a nullity. John Matthews was elected
governor of the state, after Gen. Gadsden, for whom a majority of votes
was first given, had declined serving. A bill was brought in
to indemnify several militia officers who had been concerned
in impressing indigo and other property necessary for public service.
Gen. Marion's name was at first inserted on the list, but when it came
to be read in the senate, he rose and moved to strike it out;
saying, if he had taken the property of any man improperly or unnecessarily,
he was willing to make restitution. The bill passed into a law
without the general's name. Before the adjournment, the powers
left with the governor and council, were as extensive as usual.
Gov. Matthews appears to consider them in a letter to Gen. Leslie,
(12th April) as equal to dispensing with parts of the confiscation act.
The evacuation of Charleston took place on the 14th of December, 1782,
but the militia were not permitted to be witnesses of the ceremony.
The civil authority had interposed to exclude them as dangerous spectators,
and Gen. Greene in his letter of the 22d of November, was so much hurt at it,
that he takes particular pains to exculpate himself from any participation
in that order. In this treatment, the militia shared the fate
usually attending humble friends, who are seldom caressed by the great
any longer than they can be subservient to their views or interests.
Gen. Marion and his brigade were now to part forever.
But as its movements had always been directed without pomp or parade,
so its discharge was conducted with republican simplicity.
In his favourite encampment at Watboo, and on the side of the cedar trees,
he thanked his officers and men for their many and useful services,
and bid them a friendly and affectionate farewell. Two years and a half
had now elapsed since Gen. Marion first assumed his command;
his appearance was not prepossessing, his manners were distant,
but not repulsive, yet few leaders have ever been so popular among their men;
none ever had more of their confidence. He had so much influence
as to settle amicably many disputes among his officers, and even private men;
and never was a duel fought by any of them while under his immediate command.
His stratagems appeared intuitive. Did Gen. Marion march in person
to the attack?* then the common conclusion was, the enemy is taken
by surprise, or we shall fight them on advantageous ground.
* Nil desperandum, Teucro duce.
The revolutionary war raged no where more than it did where he commanded;
in all this he had the head to lead and to plan, and the discernment to choose
those who could best execute. His personal bravery was displayed
on many occasions, but his own sword struck not the blow, it never was seen
stained with blood; cool and collected, he was always the general,
never the common soldier. In short the whole bent of his soul
was how he should best provide for his men, how he could most annoy the enemy,
and how he could soonest achieve the independence of his country.
The characters of his officers will be best collected from the facts stated.
In taking such wise measures as have been related for
the defence of the lives and property of his friends, Gen. Marion could extend
none of them to his own possessions. His plantation in St. John's
lay within a mile of the marches and countermarches of the British,
and was subject to every species of wanton waste and depredation.
One half of his negroes were taken away, and the other half
must have been faithful, or they would not have remained.
He had ten workers left, but plantation utensils, clothes for his people,
household furniture, and stock of cattle and horses, were all to be purchased
without a cent of money.* He expected to receive half pay,
but even in this was disappointed. At a session of the legislature
shortly after, a garrison was established at fort Johnson,
and he was appointed commander, with a salary of about 500 pounds.**
Yet, in despite of his recent and meritorious services,
this moderate appointment became a butt at which they who
are forever seeking popularity by recommending curtailments
in useful and even necessary expenditures, soon levelled their shafts.
His spirit could not easily brook such treatment, but his debts
made it prudent to submit.
* Marion's letter to Col. P. Horry, 18th Jan. 1781.
** Act, 10th March, 1784.
At this juncture, his merit and high reputation had made a favourable
impression on the heart of Miss Mary Videau, one of his relations.
She was observed to be fond of hearing his achievements spoken of
in terms of high approbation; some of the general's friends noticed it,
and gave him a hint. He paid his addresses to her and was well received.
They were soon after married, and he resigned his command at the fort.
She brought him a handsome fortune, and as there was no great disparity,
either in their years or disposition, she made him an excellent wife.
She was in countenance the exact counterpart of the general.
She partook in all his amusements, accompanied him in his journeys,
and in his absence could not be better pleased than by hearing his praises.
In short, nothing could have made this matrimonial connexion more happy,
but its being more fruitful. They never had an heir. The general built
a comfortable house of a single story, with one sitting room,
but many chambers; its materials were of the most durable kind of cypress;
but it received no coat either of paint or varnish. Here his friends
were received with a hearty welcome and good cheer, and the stranger
with kind hospitality. His planting interest was judiciously managed,
and his property increased yearly. In the summer months he made excursions,
into the upper country almost every year, for the benefit of his health.
In these journeys he loved to renew former recollections. He had retained
his marquee, camp bed and cooking utensils, and he always travelled
as he had done in his brigade. To his wife nothing could be more pleasant,
and she has often recounted these jaunts to her friends with delight.
The old pot, kettle and frying-pan, tin plates, knives and forks
were preserved as precious relics: the sumpter mules as friends.
His faithful servant Oscar, who had accompanied him through
all his difficulties, always received high marks of his favour.
As to honours, Gen. Marion did not aspire higher than to a seat in the senate,
which he continued to fill as long as he pleased, as a member for St. John's.
In May, 1790, he was a member of the convention for forming
the state constitution; after which he declined all public duties.
In politics he was a moderate federalist; such as were many
great revolutionary characters. In May, 1794, the militia of the state
were re-organized, and soon after Gen. Marion resigned his commission
in the militia. Shortly after his resignation, at a meeting of
the citizens of Georgetown, a committee of four was appointed
to draw up an address to the general. These were William D. James,
Robert Brownfield, Thomas Mitchell and Joseph Blythe. An address was prepared
by the chairman (James,) and unanimously adopted. Copies were also directed
to be distributed through the district. It is as follows:
At the present juncture, when the necessity of public affairs
requires the military of this state to be organized anew, to repel
the attacks of an enemy from whatever quarter they may be forced upon us,
we, citizens of the district of Georgetown, finding you no longer at our head,
have agreed to convey to you our grateful sentiments for your former
numerous services. In the decline of life when the merits of the veteran
are too often forgotten, we wish to remind you that yours are still fresh
in the remembrance of your fellow citizens. Could it be possible for men
who have served and fought under you, to be now forgetful of that general,
by whose prudent conduct their lives have been saved and their families
preserved from being plundered by a rapacious enemy? We mean not
to flatter you. At this time it is impossible for you to suspect it.
Our present language is the language of free men expressing only
sentiments of gratitude. Your achievements may not have sufficiently swelled
the historic page. They were performed by those who could better wield
the sword than the pen. By men whose constant dangers precluded them
from the leisure, and whose necessities deprived them of
the common implements of writing. But this is of little moment:
they remain recorded in such indelible characters upon our minds,
that neither change of circumstances nor length of time can efface them.
Taught by us, our children shall hereafter point out the places
and say to their children, here Gen. Marion, posted to advantage,
made a glorious stand in defence of the liberties of his country; there,
on disadvantageous ground, retreated to save the lives of his fellow citizens.
What could be more glorious for the general commanding free men
than thus to fight, and thus to save the lives of his fellow soldiers?
Continue general in peace to till those acres which you once wrested
from the hands of an enemy. Continue to enjoy dignity, accompanied with ease,
and to lengthen out your days blessed with the consciousness of conduct
unaccused of rapine or oppression, and of actions ever directed
by the purest patriotism."
This address was presented to the general and gave him great pleasure;
but as he had not latterly been much in the habit of using his pen,
his answer was a verbal one, expressive of his sincere thanks.
On the 27th day of February, 1795, Gen. Marion died at his house
in St. John's parish. As his fame is yet but indistinctly known,
and much of that through the medium of fable, the present attempt
has been made to arrest its progress, to do honour to his memory,
and to transmit his example to posterity.
Gen. Marion's Epitaph.
Sacred to the Memory
BRIG. GEN. FRANCIS MARION,
~Who departed this life, on the 27th of February, 1795,~
In the Sixty-Third Year of his Age;
Deeply regretted by all his fellow citizens.
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 HONOUR AND INDEPENDENCE,
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
and the gallant exploits of the
Who lived without fear, and died without reproach.
Taken from the marble slab at Belle Isle, this 20th September, 1821,
by Theodore Gourdin.
~The following is the letter of Dr. Robert Brownfield to the author,
giving a detailed account of the defeat of Buford's regiment,
referred to at page 39.~ [Chapter II Paragraph 6]
In obedience to your request, I send you a detailed account
of the defeat and massacre of Col. Buford's regiment, near the borders
of North Carolina, on the road leading from Camden to Salisbury.
This regiment consisting of three hundred and fifty men,
well appointed and equipped, had marched from Virginia
for the relief of Charleston, and had advanced to Santee,
where they were met by intelligence of the surrender;
a retreat then became unavoidable. -- Between this place and Camden
they fell in with Gen. Caswell, at the head of about seven hundred
North Carolina militia, whose object had been the same, and whose retreat
became equally imperious. At Camden these two corps unfortunately separated;
Caswell filed off to Pedee, and Buford pursued the road to Salisbury.
This measure was accounted for by the want of correct intelligence
of Tarleton's prompt and rapid movements, who was in full pursuit
with three hundred cavalry, and each a soldier of infantry behind him. --
Neglecting Caswell and his militia, the pursuit was continued after Buford
to the Waxhaw. Finding he was approximating this corps, he despatched a flag,
saying he was at Barclay's with seven hundred men, and summoned them
to surrender on the terms granted to the garrison in Charleston.
Buford immediately laid the summons before a council of his officers
with three distinct propositions from himself: -- Shall we comply
with Tarleton's summons? Shall we abandon the baggage,
and, by a rapid movement, save ourselves? or, shall we fortify ourselves
by the waggons, and wait his approach?
The first and second were decidedly rejected by the unanimous
voice of the council, declaring it to be incompatible with
their honour as soldiers, or the duty they owed their country,
either to surrender or abandon the baggage on the bare statement of Tarleton.
They had no certainty of the truth of his assertion, and that it might be
only a ~ruse de guerre~ to alarm their fears and obtain a bloodless victory.
The third was also negatived on the ground, that although
they might by this means defend themselves against Tarleton,
but as no succour was near, and as Tarleton could, in a short time,
obtain reinforcements from Cornwallis, against which no effectual resistance
could be made, this measure would be unavailable.
The discussion soon resulted in a resolution to continue the march,
maintaining the best possible order for the reception of the enemy.
In a short time Tarleton's bugle was heard, and a furious attack was made
on the rear guard, commanded by Lieut. Pearson. Not a man escaped.
Poor Pearson was inhumanely mangled on the face as he lay on his back.
His nose and lip were bisected obliquely; several of his teeth were broken out
in the upper jaw, and the under completely divided on each side.
These wounds were inflicted after he had fallen, with several others
on his head, shoulders, and arms. As a just tribute to
the honour and Job-like patience of poor Pearson, it ought to be mentioned,
that he lay for five weeks without uttering a single groan.
His only nourishment was milk, drawn from a bottle through a quill.
During that period he was totally deprived of speech,
nor could he articulate distinctly after his wounds were healed.
This attack gave Buford the first confirmation of Tarleton's declaration
by his flag. Unfortunately he was then compelled to prepare for action,
on ground which presented no impediment to the full action of cavalry.
Tarleton having arranged his infantry in the centre, and his cavalry on
the wings, advanced to the charge with the horrid yells of infuriated demons.
They were received with firmness, and completely checked, until the cavalry
were gaining the rear. Buford now perceiving that further resistance
was hopeless, ordered a flag to be hoisted and the arms to be grounded,
expecting the usual treatment sanctioned by civilized warfare.
This, however, made no part of Tarleton's creed. His ostensible pretext,
for the relentless barbarity that ensued, was, that his horse
was killed under him just as the flag was raised. He affected to believe
that this was done afterwards, and imputed it to treachery
on the part of Buford; but, in reality, a safe opportunity was presented
to gratify that thirst for blood which marked his character
in every conjuncture that promised probable impunity to himself.
Ensign Cruit, who advanced with the flag, was instantly cut down.
Viewing this as an earnest of what they were to expect,
a resumption of their arms was attempted, to sell their lives
as dearly as possible; but before this was fully effected,
Tarleton with his cruel myrmidons was in the midst of them,
when commenced a scene of indiscriminate carnage never surpassed
by the ruthless atrocities of the most barbarous savages.
The demand for quarters, seldom refused to a vanquished foe,
was at once found to be in vain; -- not a man was spared --
and it was the concurrent testimony of all the survivors,
that for fifteen minutes after every man was prostrate.
They went over the ground plunging their bayonets into every one
that exhibited any signs of life, and in some instances, where several
had fallen one over the other, these monsters were seen to throw off
on the point of the bayonet the uppermost, to come at those beneath.
Capt. Carter,* who commanded the artillery and who led the van,
continued his march without bringing his guns into action;
this conduct excited suspicions unfavourable to the character of Carter,
and these were strengthened by his being paroled on the ground,
and his whole company without insult or injury being made prisoners of war.
Whether he was called to account for his conduct, I have never learnt.
These excepted, the only survivors of this tragic scene were Capts. Stokes,
Lawson and Hoard, Lieuts. Pearson and Jamison, and Ensign Cruit.
* Not Capt. Benjamin Carter, of Camden.
To consign to oblivion the memory of these gallant suffering few
would be culpable injustice. When men have devoted their lives
to the service of their country, and whose fate has been
so singularly disastrous; there is an honest anxiety concerning them,
springing from the best and warmest feelings of our nature,
which certainly should be gratified. This is peculiarly the truth
in regard to Capt. John Stokes, although in his military character
perhaps not otherwise distinguished from his brother officers,
than by the number of his wounds and the pre-eminence of sufferings.
He received twenty-three wounds, and as he never for a moment
lost his recollection, he often repeated to me the manner and order
in which they were inflicted.
Early in the sanguinary conflict he was attacked by a dragoon,
who aimed many deadly blows at his head, all of which
by the dextrous use of the small sword he easily parried;
when another on the right, by one stroke, cut off his right hand
through the metacarpal bones. He was then assailed by both,
and instinctively attempted to defend his head with his left arm
until the forefinger was cut off, and the arm hacked in eight or ten places
from the wrist to the shoulder. His head was then laid open
almost the whole length of the crown to the eye brows.
After he fell he received several cuts on the face and shoulders.
A soldier passing on in the work of death, asked if he expected quarters?
Stokes answered I have not, nor do I mean to ask quarters,
finish me as soon as possible; he then transfixed him twice with his bayonet.
Another asked the same question and received the same answer,
and he also thrust his bayonet twice through his body. Stokes had his eye
fixed on a wounded British officer, sitting at some distance,
when a serjeant came up, who addressed him with apparent humanity,
and offered him protection from further injury at the risk of his life.
All I ask, said Stokes, is to be laid by that officer that I may die
in his presence. While performing this generous office the humane serjeant
was twice obliged to lay him down, and stand over him to defend him
against the fury of his comrades. Doct. Stapleton, Tarleton's surgeon,
whose name ought to be held up to eternal obloquy, was then dressing
the wounds of the officer. Stokes, who lay bleeding at every pore, asked him
to do something for his wounds, which he scornfully and inhumanely refused,
until peremptorily ordered by the more humane officer,
and even then only filled the wounds with rough tow, the particles of which
could not be separated from the brain for several days.
Capt. Stokes was a native of Pittsylvania county, Virginia.
He was early intended for the bar, and having gone through the usual course
of classical and other preparatory studies, he commenced the practice
with the most flattering indications of future eminence.
But the calm pursuits of peace not comporting with the ardour of his mind,
he relinquished the fair prospect of professional emolument,
and accepted a captaincy in Buford's regiment.
At this catastrophe, he was about twenty-seven years of age.
His height was about the common standard; his figure and appearance,
even in his mangled situation, inspired respect and veneration;
and the fire of genius that sparkled in his dark piercing eye,
gave indications of a mind fitted not only for the field,
but for all the departments of civil life.
Shortly after the adoption of the constitution of the United States,
he was promoted to the bench in the Federal Court -- married Miss Pearson --
and settled on the Yadkin river, where the county is called Stokes,
after his name.
The following letter from Major Keating Simons, was received too late to be
inserted either in the body, or in a note to this work, although it contains
one of the finest traits of the character of Gen. Marion. --
Major Muller and Major Simons acted as brigade majors to the general,
and both were high in his confidence.
After the war Major Simons engaged in the useful business of a factor,
and received the patronage and approbation of numerous friends.
While himself labouring under many difficulties, arising from the war,
he extended his helping hand to his old friend the general,
struggling from the same cause under still greater embarrassments,
and had the satisfaction to assist in extricating him from many of them.
This debt of gratitude was not forgotten; when Mrs. Marion was dying
she left the one half of her fortune to the late Keating Lewis Simons, Esq.
eldest son of the major: but two short years since the ornament of the bar
and of his country.
~Charleston, November 17th, 1821.~
The anecdote of Gen. Marion you requested me to relate to you, I now take
the first opportunity to mention. It occurred late in the year 1782,
when the British troops were preparing to evacuate Charleston:
they had a covering party on James' island to protect their wood-cutters,
and another on Lamprere's point to protect their getting water
for their shipping. Col. Kosciusko, a Polander, solicited Gen. Greene
to afford him an opportunity of distinguishing himself;
and as the covering party to the wood-cutters was the only one
which now presented itself, the general gave him a command to attack them,
which he did, and was defeated with the loss of a great many men,
and among the slain was the gallant Capt. Wilmot.
About the same time that Gen. Greene gave Kosciusko this command,
he wrote to Gen. Marion, "that he understood the watering party
at Lamprere's point was so situated as to afford him
an opportunity of attacking it with success. Gen. Marion replied,
"that he had not overlooked the situation of the British at that spot,
but he viewed the war in Carolina as over, and as the enemy
were preparing to go away, he had sent a party to protect them
from being annoyed by his own men; that he commanded his fellow citizens
who had already shed blood enough in the cause of freedom,
and that he would not spill another drop of it, now when it was unnecessary;
no, not for the highest honours that could be conferred upon him."
If you think this anecdote worth mentioning in the biography
of that great man, it is quite at your service.
With much respect and esteem,
I am, dear Sir,
Yours very truly,
Gen. Lincoln to Lieut. Col. Marion, at Sheldon.
~Head Quarters, Charleston, Jan. 31, 1780.~
The state of affairs is such as to make it necessary that we draw our force
to a point as much and as soon as possible. No troops will be kept
in the field except two hundred light infantry and the horse.*
You will, therefore, please to select from the three regiments with you,
two hundred of your best men, and those who are best clothed,
and organize them into corps with proper officers. All the remainder
with the baggage of the whole (saving such as is absolutely necessary
for light troops) will march immediately to this town. You will please
take the command of the light infantry, until Lieut. Col. Henderson arrives,
which I expect will be in a few days. After that I wish to see you
as soon as possible in Charleston. -- Cross will deliver you this
with a letter to Col. Parker, and another to Major Jamieson.
You will send them towards Augusta in the common route by four horsemen.
Two will guide Col. Parker to this town by the shortest way,
the other two will guide Major Jamieson to your camp.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
Col. Marion to Col. P. Horry.
~Lynch's Creek, Aug. 17, 1780.*~
* Written about a week after Gen. Marion took command of the militia.
You will take the command of such men as will be collected
from Capts. Bounneau's, Mitchell's and Benson's companies,
and immediately proceed to Santee, from the lower ferry to Lenud's,
and destroy all the boats and canoes on the river, and post guards at
each crossing place, to prevent persons from crossing to or from Charleston,
on either side of the river. -- You will give all necessary intelligence,
and the number of men you may have collected as early as possible.
You will procure about twenty-five weight of gunpowder,
and a proportionable quantity of ball or swanshot, also flints,
and send them up to me immediately, to the Kingstree, by an express.
I am with esteem,
Your obedient servant,
N. B. -- You will also take the command of Capt. Lenud's company,
and furnish your men with arms, wherever you can find them, giving receipts.
Extract of a Letter from Col. Marion to Col. P. Horry.
~Lynch's Creek, Aug. 27, 1780.~
I am sorry to acquaint you that Gen. Gates is defeated with great loss;
he was obliged to retreat to Charlotte, which obliges me also to retreat.
You will without delay retreat with what men you can get, to Briton's neck,
where I have encamped. It is necessary to obtain ammunition,
arms and accoutrements, and as many horses as you can get;
also stores from Georgetown, which you will send if possible up the river
to Briton's neck.
On the 20th inst. I attacked a guard of the 63d and Prince of Wales' regiment,
with a number of tories, at the Great Savannah, near Nelson's ferry.
Killed and took twenty-two regulars, and two tories prisoners,
and retook one hundred and fifty continentals of the Maryland line;
one waggon and a drum; one captain and a subaltern were also captured.
Our loss is one killed, and Capt. Benson is slightly wounded on the head.
Brig. Gen. Marion to Adjt. Postell.*
* Major John Postell.
~Snow's Island, Dec. 30, 1780.~
You will proceed with a party down Black river, from Black Mingo
to the mouth of Pedee, and come up to this place; you will take
all the boats and canoes from Euhaney up, and impress negroes to bring them
to camp; put some men to see them safe; you will take every horse,
to whomsoever he may belong, whether friend or foe. You will take
all arms and ammunition for the use of our service. You will forbid
all persons from carrying any grains, stock or any sort of provisions
to Georgetown, or where the enemy may get them, on pain of being held
as traitors and enemies to the Americans. All persons who will not join you
you will take prisoners and bring to me. You will return as soon as possible.
Let me know any intelligence you may gain of the enemy's
strength or movements.
I am, your obedient servant,
N. B. -- You will bring up as much rice and salt in the boats as possible.
Gen. Marion to Capt. John Postell.
~Goddard's Plantation,* Pedee, Jan. 19, 1781.~
* Snow's Island.
I send Lieut. King with fifteen men, to reinforce you. I would have
all the flats and boats you can collect, loaded with rice,
and sent to Mr. Joseph Allston's plantation, on Bull's creek,
to the north of Pedee, where there is a ferry to Euhaney;
and the rice is to be there stored, and the boats kept going
until all that is beat out in your district is carried.
From there I will send for it up higher. You must take such negroes
for the boats as belong to those persons who may be with the enemy,
or from those estates which the enemy think forfeited.
Gen. Greene is in want of a number of negroes -- say fifty --
for the use of the army. You will collect them in your district,
and send them to me; taking care not to distress any family,
but taking them where they can be best spared. I shall detain those negroes
that came up with the boats you have sent. One boat has arrived,
and I have sent to assist in getting up the others. I beg you would give me
intelligence of the movements of the enemy in Georgetown,
and, if possible, their particular strength: what corps of horse and foot,
and how many militia, and if there are any cannon mounted on their redoubt,
and whether they are making any new works. You will send Capt. W----,
and Mr. S----, and all such men (who have taken, or are suspected
of having taken part with the enemy) to me. You must not suffer any person
to carry property where the enemy has possession, or have any intercourse
I am, with regard, dear Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Extract of a Letter from Gen. Marion to Capt. Postell.
~January 19, 1781.~
Your father may keep the canoe you mention. I have received the prisoners,
by Mr. M`Pherson,* and shall give them the pleasure of seeing head quarters.
* Depeyster's company of grenadiers.
I am, dear Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Gen. Greene to Gen. Marion.
~Camp, on Pedee, Jan. 19, 1781.~
The enclosed letter, from Capt. Odingsells, came to hand last evening,
I have directed him to apply to you for orders on the subject.
I have detached Major Anderson, with one thousand regulars,
and one hundred Virginia militia, to attack and disperse the tories
at Mr. Amy's mill, on Drowning creek. The party marched yesterday,
with orders to endeavour to surprise them; perhaps you might be able
to make some detachment that would contribute to their success.
By the last accounts, Lieut. Col. Tarleton was in motion, with about
one thousand troops, towards Gen. Morgan, who is in the fork of Broad river.
Lord Cornwallis is moving in force to cover him. I wish your answer
respecting the practicability of surprising the party near Nelson's;
the route, and force you will be able to detach. This inquiry is a matter
that requires the greatest secrecy.
I am, dear Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
Gen. Greene to Gen. Marion.
~Camp,* Jan. 22, 1781.~
* Camp Hicks.
I have received your letter of the 18th, containing an account
of the several little skirmishes between your people and the enemy,
which were clever and do them much honour. I am sorry that so few horses
fit for service are to be had in your quarter, as we are in great want.
Get as many as you can, and let us have fifteen or twenty sent to camp
without loss of time, they being wanted for immediate service.
Major Hyrne who is appointed deputy commissary general of prisoners,
has settled the business with Mr. Walter. I beg you will please
to favour me with weekly returns of the militia serving under you,
and the number of horses you have in service, and the particular duties
on which they are employed, to be made every Monday morning.
I also wish separate returns of the continental troops serving with you,
the rank and names of the officers, and the corps to which they belong.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
Brig. Gen. Marion to Capt. John Postell.
~January 23, 1781.~
Particular circumstances make me desire that you will immediately
march all the men under your command to join me at the Kingstree;
you must proceed by forced marches until you come up to me,
for no time is to be lost. Leave your post as secretly as possible,
without letting any one know where you are going, or of your intention
to leave it.
I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
[Six days after this date Gen. Marion detached Major Postell on the expedition
which we have mentioned, page 91.]
[Chapter III Paragraph 7 -- the party of supernumerary officers,
who captured and destroyed British supplies. -- A. L.]
Gen. Greene to Gen. Marion.
~Camp, on Pedee, Jan. 23, 1781.~
I have the particular pleasure to congratulate you on the entire defeat
of the enemy under Lieut. Col. Tarleton. Major Giles, this moment arrived,
brings the glorious intelligence, which I have the pleasure to transmit.
On the 17th, at day-break, the enemy consisting of eleven hundred and fifty
British troops, and fifty militia, attacked Gen. Morgan,
who was at the Cowpens, between Pacolet and Broad river, with two hundred
and ninety infantry, eighty cavalry and about six hundred militia.
The action lasted fifty minutes and was remarkably severe. Our brave troops
charged the enemy with bayonets, and entirely routed them, killing near
one hundred and fifty, wounding upwards of two hundred, and taking
more than five hundred prisoners, exclusive of the prisoners with two pieces
of artillery, thirty-five waggons, upwards of one hundred dragoon horses,
and with the loss only of ten men killed and fifty-five wounded.
Our intrepid party pursued the enemy upwards of twenty miles.
About thirty commissioned officers are among the prisoners.
Col. Tarleton had his horse killed and was wounded, but made his escape
with two hundred of his troops. This important intelligence
I wish you to communicate to Lieut. Col. Lee if possible.
I have not time to write him. If he has not attacked Georgetown,
I wish he could privately transmit it to the garrison.
I am with esteem,
Your most obedient humble servant,
Extract of a Letter from Gen. Greene to Gen. Marion.
~Camp, on Pedee, Jan. 25, 1781.~
Your letter of the 20th is before me; before this I hope you have received
the agreeable news of the defeat of Lieut. Col. Tarleton by Gen. Morgan;
after this nothing will appear difficult.
Gen. Huger to Brig. Gen. Marion.
~Camp, Hick's Creek, Jan. 28, 1781.~
Gen. Greene wishes that you will attempt to cross the Santee,
and if possible reach some of the enemy's magazines and destroy them.
I am persuaded you will not leave any practicable measure unattempted
to effect this business. The execution is left entirely
to your judgment and address.
I am, dear Sir,
With much esteem,
Your most obedient humble servant,
Gen. Marion to Capt. John Postell.
~Cordes' Plantation, Jan. 29, 1781.~
You will cross Santee river with twenty-five men, and make a forced march
to Watboo bridge, there burn all the British stores of every kind;
it is possible you will find a small guard there, which you may surprise,
but bring no prisoners with you. You will return the same way,
and recross the river at the same place, which must be done
before daylight next morning. After effecting my purpose at Watboo,
it will not be out of your way to come by Monk's corner,
and destroy any stores or waggons you may find there. You can learn
from the people at Watboo what guard there is at the corner;
if it should be too strong you will not attempt that place.
In going to Watboo, you must see if there is a guard at the church;
if there is you will shun it; you will consider provisions of all kinds
British property. The destruction of all the British stores
in the above-mentioned places is of the greatest consequence to us,
and only requires boldness and expedition. Take care that your men
do not get at liquor, or clog themselves with plunder so as to endanger
I am with regard, dear Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Gen. Greene to Gen. Marion.
~Camp, at Guilford Court House, Feb. 11, 1781.~
I received your favour of the 31st ult. and request you to give
my particular thanks to Major and Capt. Postell for the spirit and address
with which they executed your orders over the Santee.
Your crossing the Santee must depend upon your own discretion.
I think it would be attended with many advantages, if it can be
executed with safety. Gen. Sumter is desired to call out
all the militia of South Carolina and employ them in
destroying the enemy's stores and perplexing their affairs in the state.
Please to communicate and concert with him your future operations
until we have a better opportunity to have more free intercourse.
Great activity is necessary to keep the spirits of the people from sinking,
as well as to alarm the enemy respecting the safety of their posts.
We formed a junction at this place last night, but our force
is so much inferior to the enemy's that we dare not hazard a general action
if it can be avoided, but I am not certain that it can.
The enemy are within thirty miles of us, up towards the shallow ford
on the Yadkin.
I am, dear Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
Gen. Greene to Gen. Marion.
~Camp, at Halifax Court House, Virginia, Feb. 16, 1781.~
I have seen your letter to Gen. Huger of the 6th inst. and am surprised
that Col. Baker or Capt. Snipes should pretend that they had my directions
for crossing the Santee. I beg you will encourage the militia and engage them
to continue their exertions. -- If the supplies expected from the northward
arrive in season, we shall be able to assist you. The movements of the enemy
were so rapid, that few of the militia joined us on our march from Pedee,
which reduced us to the necessity of passing the Dan, or risking an action
on very unequal terms. The enemy are upon the banks of the river,
but the people of this country appear to be in earnest.
I hope we shall soon be able to push Lord Cornwallis in turn.
I wrote to you from Guilford, which I hope you have received.
I am, dear Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
Gen. Marion to Lieut. Col. Balfour.
~Santee, March 7, 1781.~
I sent Capt. John Postell with a flag to exchange some prisoners,
which Capt. Saunders, commandant of Georgetown, had agreed to, but contrary
to the law of nations, he has been seized and detained as a prisoner.
As I cannot imagine that his conduct will be approved of by you,
I hope orders will be immediately given to have my flag discharged,
or I must immediately acquaint congress of this violation.
The ill consequence of which it is now in your power to prevent.
I am sorry to complain of the ill treatment my officers and men meet with
from Capt. Saunders; the officers are closely employed in a small place,
where they can neither stand or lie at length, nor have they
more than half rations. I have treated your officers and men
who have fallen into my hands in a different manner. Should these evils
not be prevented in future, it will not be in my power to prevent retaliation.
Lord Rawdon and Col. Watson have hanged three men of my brigade
for supposed crimes, which will make as many of your men in my hands suffer.
I hope this will be prevented in future, for it is my wish
to act with humanity and tenderness to those unfortunate men,
the chances of war may throw in my power.
I have the honour to be
Your obedient servant,
Gen. Marion to Col. Watson, of the British.
~Santee, March 7, 1781.~
Enclosed is a letter which I wish may be forwarded as soon as possible.
I make no doubt but that you will be surprised to see a flag
sent at the head of an armed party. The reason of it is,
that Capt. Saunders, commandant of Georgetown, has violated
the law of nations, by taking, detaining and imprisoning Capt. Postell,
who carried prisoners to exchange, which was agreed to by him.
The hanging of prisoners and the violation of my flag will be retaliated
if a stop is not put to such proceedings, which are disgraceful
to all civilized nations. All of your officers and men who have fallen
into my hands, have been treated with humanity and tenderness;
and I wish sincerely that I may not be obliged to act
contrary to my inclinations; but such treatment as my unhappy followers,
whom the chances of war may throw in the hands of my enemies receive,
such may those expect who fall in my hands.
I have the honour to be
Your obedient servant,
Extract of a Letter from Gov. J. Rutledge to Gen. Marion.
~Camp, at Haw River, March 8, 1781.~
I have not yet received the blank militia commissions I expected out.
If I do not get some before I arrive at Richmond, I will there
have some printed and transmitted to you. In the mean time
you will give brevets, ~and in order that you may carry sufficient authority
over the several officers in your brigade, you may remove any of them,
and appoint others in their stead, from time to time, as you think proper.~
Col. N. Balfour to Brig. Gen. Marion.
~Charleston, March 12, 1781.~
I have received your letter of the 7th inst. respecting the detention
of Capt. John Postell, when charged with a flag of truce to Georgetown,
and complaining of the same as a breach of the law of nations.
The best answer I can return to which is the transmission of his parole,
which will clearly evince that the breach of such law,
as well as those of honour, rest solely with that gentleman,
who has acted in a military capacity when engaged by the most solemn ties
to remain in a state of neutrality.
Col. Balfour to Gen. Marion.
~Charleston, March 21, 1781.~
I am greatly astonished to find that you have detained one of our officers,*
sent out with a flag of truce to you, and acting under its sanction;
this is indeed an infraction of the laws of nations and of war,
as you complain of in the case of Capt. Postell, and such a one
as if not immediately redressed I shall be obliged to punish
in the most exemplary manner by the severest retaliation.
If in this action you could have alluded to the case of Capt. Postell,
my letter of the 12th inst. must surely have convinced you,
how truly dissimilar they are in every respect; but as from such conduct
I must conceive, Sir, this letter may not have reached you,
I now enclose a copy for your information and conviction. Let me observe,
as faith had been violated by Capt. Postell, he naturally became to us
an object for capture and punishment, under whatsoever circumstances
he might be met, and to argue from his justifiable detention, a right
to extend the like to those most unimpeachably upright in their conduct,
is a confounding of right and wrong, and a violation of all principles
under which any intercourse can subsist between powers at war with each other.
* Capt. Merritt.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
Col. Watson to Gen. Marion.
~Blakely's, March 15, 1781.~
The very extraordinary method you took of sending the letter
I received from you, makes it rather difficult to guess
in what way you mean to carry on this war, and therefore induces me
to take the mode of addressing you through a neutral person.
The bearer is a little boy of John Witherspoon's. We have an officer
and some men wounded, whom I should be glad to send where they could be
better taken care of. I wish therefore to know if they will be
permitted to pass, without interruption from any of your parties,
P.S. -- If you have no objection to their going, you will be so good
as to send a pass for them.
Col. Watson to Gen. Marion.
~Blakely's, March 16, 1781.~
I do not think it necessary to enter into a detail of your conduct,
or by words to justify our own. Your mentioning that you wished
to carry on the war as usual with civilized nations, led me to mention
the circumstance I did. Care is taken to prevent any thing being taken
from those who do not bear arms against us, or who do not directly
assist our enemies; whatever other people are deprived of
we do not call plunder, but property fairly taken from the enemy;
and what cannot be carried away conveniently we destroy, if we think proper.
~The burning of houses and the property of the inhabitants,
who are our enemies, is customary in all civilized nations.~
But further than the distress that is occasioned to their families,
the distressing women and children, is so far from being countenanced
by any officers in our service, that on the contrary every assistance possible
is afforded them.
I am, Sir,
Capt. John Saunders to Gen. Marion.
~Georgetown, March 24, 1781.~
The enclosed were received from Lieut. Col. Balfour, with orders
to forward them to you. There is such an apparent dissimilarity
in the cases of Mr. Merritt and Mr. Postell, that I am confident that
Mr. Merritt will be immediately sent in. I am happy to hear by Capt. Spencer,
who fell into my hands yesterday, that the detention of Mr. Merritt
is occasioned equally by that act as by sending an improper person
with a flag.
I am, Sir,
Gen. Greene to Gen. Marion.
~Camp, Deep River, April 4, 1781.~
This will be handed to you by Capt. Conyers,* who will inform you
what we have contemplated. He is sent forward to collect provisions
for the subsistence of the army, and I beg you will assist him
in this necessary business. The army will march tomorrow,
and I hope you will be prepared to support its operations
with a considerable force; Gen. Sumter is written to, and I doubt not
will be prepared to cooperate with us. The captain can give you
a full history of Lord Cornwallis' manoeuvers in this state,
and of the several skirmishes as well as the battle of Guilford,
which finally terminated in a retreat of the enemy, and his lordship
was obliged in turn to run hastily.
* Soon after Major Conyers.
I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.
Gen. Greene to Gen. Marion.
~Head Quarters, Widow Shoemaker's, April 17, 1781.~
We are on our march for Camden, and shall be there the day after tomorrow.
I am greatly in the dark respecting the enemy's strength and situation
in South Carolina, and also of Lord Cornwallis' motions.
This last circumstance is of the highest importance to the safety of our army,
and I beg you to communicate to me all the intelligence you can obtain,
and take measures to get all you can. Lieut. Col. Lee is gone
towards the Santee; intelligence to him is as equally necessary as to me.
You will please therefore to send him information accordingly.
Do not spare either time or pains, and forward it as soon as possible.
Your present force and situation I should be glad to have a particular
account of. Please give me an official account of Col. Horry's attack
upon a party of Watson's detachment.
I am, dear Sir,
Extract of a Letter from Col. Harden to Gen. Marion.
~Camp, on Saltketcher, April 17, 1781.~
I marched on, and got within sight of Fort Balfour, at Pocotaligo,
at twelve o'clock in the day; I placed my men, and sent ten of the best horses
to draw them out, but luckily Cols. Fenwick and Letchmere were at Vanberst,
and were taken with seven of the dragoons, and brought to me;
the rest were in the fort. I then sent Capt. Harden with a flag,
to demand a surrender of the fort and the men in it; they sent for answer,
they would not give it up. I sent the second time, and told them
that if I was obliged to storm the fort, that I would give no quarter.
Col. Kelsel then desired half an hour to consider. I gave him twenty minutes:
they then agreed to give up the fort on terms which I granted;
and in two hours, the fort with one militia colonel, one major,
three captains, three lieutenants and sixty privates of Col. Fenwick's,
one lieutenant and twenty-two dragoons with their horses, gave up to me,
and they marched out and piled their arms without the abbatis;
and I marched in and took possession of it; and during that night
and the next day had it destroyed.
Gen. Marion to Gen. Greene.
~Fort Watson, (Scott's Lake) April 23, 1781.~
Lieut. Col. Lee made a junction with me at Santee, the 14th inst.
after a rapid march from Ramsay's mill, on Deep river, which he performed
in eight days. The 15th we marched to this place and invested it.
Our hope was to cut off their water. Some riflemen and continentals
immediately took post between the fort and the lake. The fort is situated
on a small hill, forty feet high, stockaded, and with three rows of abbatis
around it. No trees near enough to cover our men from their fire.
The third day after we had invested it, we found the enemy had sunk a well
near the stockade, which we could not prevent them from;
as we had no entrenching tools to make our approach, we immediately determined
to erect a work equal in height to the fort. This arduous work
was completed this morning by Major Maham, who undertook it.
We then made a lodgment on the side of the mount near the stockade.
This was performed with great spirit and address by Ensign Johnson
and Mr. Lee, a volunteer in Col. Lee's legion, who with difficulty
ascended the hill and pulled away the abbatis, which induced the commandant
to hoist a flag; and Col. Lee and myself agreed to the enclosed capitulation,
which I hope may be approved of by you. Our loss on this occasion
is two killed, and three continentals and three militia wounded. I am
particularly indebted to Col. Lee for his advice and indefatigable diligence
in every part of these tedious operations, against as strong a little post
as could be well made, and on the most advantageous spot
that could be wished for. The officers and men of the legion and militia,
performed every thing that could be expected, and Major Maham, of my brigade,
had, in a particular manner, a great share of this success,
by his unwearied diligence, in erecting a tower which principally
occasioned the reduction of the fort. In short, Sir, I have had
the greatest assistance from every one under my command.
Enclosed is a list of the prisoners and stores taken, and I shall,
without loss of time, proceed to demolish the fort; after which
I shall march to the High Hills of Santee, encamp at Capt. Richardson's,
and await your orders.
Extract of a Letter from Gen. Greene to Gen. Marion.
~Camp, before Camden, April 24, 1781.~
I thank you for the measures you have taken to furnish us with provisions,
and for the intelligence you communicate. A field piece is coming
to your assistance, which I hope will enable you and Col. Lee
to get possession of the fort. With the artillery you will receive
one hundred pounds of powder and four hundred pounds of lead;
I wish my present stock would enable me to forward you a larger supply,
but it will not, having sent you nearly half we have.
Gen. Greene to Gen. Marion.
~Head Quarters, before Camden, April 26, 1781.~
I have to acknowledge the receipt of your two letters,
dated 23d and 25th inst. I congratulate you on your success
against Fort Watson. The articles of capitulation I highly approve of,
and feel myself particularly indebted to you, and all the officers and men
under you, for their spirit, perseverance and good conduct upon the occasion.
The enemy advanced upon us yesterday and gave us battle. The conflict