« AnteriorContinuar »
hope of receiving a single recruit. In this gloomy situation, there were not wanting persons who advised general Greene to leave the state, and retire with his remaining forces to Virginia. To arguments and suggestions of this kind he nobly replied, 'I will recover the country, or die in the attempt.' This distinguished officer, whose genius was most vigorous in those extremities, when feeble minds abandon themselves to despair, adopted the only resource now left him, of avoiding an engagement, until the British force should be divided."
Some skirmishes, of no great moment, took place between the detached parties of both armies in July and August. September the 9th, general Greene having assembled about two thousand men, proceeded to attack the British, who, under the command of colonel Stewart, were posted at Eutaw Springs. The American force was drawn up in two lines: the first, composed of Carolina militia, was commanded by generals Marion and Pickens, and colonel de Malmedy. The second, which consisted of continental troops, from North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland, was commanded by general Sumpter, lieutenant colonel Campbell, and colonel Williams; lieutenant colonel Lee, with his legion, covered the right flank; and lieutenant colonel Henderson, with the state troops, covered the left. A corps de reserve was formed of the cavalry, under lieutenant colonel Washington, and the Delaware troops under captain Kirkwood. As the Americans came forward to the attack, they fell in with some advanced parties of the enemy, at about two or three miles a head of the main body. These being closely pursued, were driven back, and the action soon became general. The militia were at length forced to give way, but were bravely supported by the second line.
In the hottest part of the engagement, general Greene ordered the Maryland and Virginia continentals, to charge with
This decided the fate of the day. “Nothing," says Dr. Ramsay, “could surpass the intrepidity of both officers and men on this occasion. They rushed on in good order through a heavy cannonade, and a shower of musquetry, with such unshaken resolution, that they bore down all before them." The British were broken, closely pursued, and upwards of five hundred of them taken prisoners. They, however, made a fresh stand, in a favourable position, in impenetrable shrubs and a picquetted garden. Lieutenant colonel Washington, after having made every effort to dislodge them, was wounded and taken prisoner. Four six pounders were brought forward to play upon them, but they fell into their hands; and the endeavours to drive them from their station, being found impracticable, the Americans retired, leaving a very strong picquet on the field of battle. Their loss was about five hundred; that of the British upwards of eleven hundred.
General Greene was honoured by congress with a British standard, and a gold medal, emblematical of the engagement. " for his wise, decisive, and magnanimous conduct, in the action at Eutaw Springs, in which, with a force inferior in number to that of the enemy, he obtained a most signal
In the evening of the succeeding day, colonel Stewart abandoned his post, and retreated towards Charleston, leaving behind upwards of seventy of his wounded, and a thousand stand of arms, He was pursued a considerable distance, but in vain.
The battle of Eutaw produced most signal consequences in favour of America.
The British, who had for such a length of time lorded it absolutely in South Carolina, were, shortly after that event, obliged to confine themselves in Charleston, whence they never ventured but to make predatory excursions, with bodies of cavalry, which in general, met with a very warm and very unwelcome reception.
In Dr. Caldwell's memoirs of the life of general Greene, we have the following interesting story, as connected with the severe conflict at Eutaw Springs:
“Two young officers, bearing the same rank, met in personal combat. The American, perceiving that the Briton had a decided superiority, in the use of the sabre, and being himself of great activity, and personal strength, almost gigantic, closed with his adversary and made him his pri
“Gentlemanly, generous, and high minded, this event, added to a personal resemblance which they were observed to bear to each other, produced between these two youthful warriors, an intimacy, which, increased in a short time, to a mutual attachment.
“Not long after the action, the American officer returning home, on furlough, to settle some private business, obtained permission for his friend to accompany him.
"Travelling without attendants or guard, they were both armed and well mounted. Part of their route lay through a settlement highly disaffected to the American cause.
6.When in the midst of this, having, in consequence of a shower of rains thrown around them their cloaks, which concealed their uniforms, they were suddenly encountered by a detachment of tories.
"The young American, determined to die rather than become a prisoner, especially to men whom he held in abhorrence for disloyalty to their country, and the generous Briton resolved not to survive one by whom he had been distinguished and treated so kindly, they both together, with great spirit and self possession, charged the royalists,
having first made signals in their rear, as if directing others to follow them; and thus, without injury on either side, had the address and good fortune to put the party to flight.
“Arriving in safety at their place of destination, what was their surprise and augmented satisfaction, on finding from some questions proposed by the American officer's father, that they were first cousins!
"With increasing delight, the young Briton passed several weeks in the family of his kinsman, where the writer of this narrative saw him daily, and often listened, with the rapture of a child, to the checkered story of his military adventures.
"To heighten the occurrence, and render it more romantic, the American oflicer had a sister, beautiful and accomplished, whose heart soon felt for the gallant stranger, more than the affection due to a cousin. The attachment was mutual.
“But here the adventure assumes a tragical cast. The youthful foreigner, being exchanged, was summoned to return to his regiment.
The message was fatal to his peace. But military honour demanded the sacrifice; and the lady, generous and high minded as himself, would not be instrumental in dimming his laurels.
"The parting scene was a high-wrought picture of tenderness and sorrow. On taking leave, the parties mutually bound themselves, by a solemn promise, to remain single a certain namber of years, in the hope that an arrangement contemplated might again bring them together. A few weeks afterwards the lady expired under an attack of
The fate the officer we never learnt." It has already been mentioned that Greene's army was in a deplorable situation, and suffered under every privation. In his letters to the Secretary at war, he says, “We have three hundred men without arms, and more than one thousand so
naked, that they can be put on duty only in cases of a desperate nature. We have been all winter in want of arms and clothing. The subsistence of the army is wretched, and we are without rum or any kind of spirits."
Again, he says, “Our difficulties are so numerous, and our wants so pressing, that I have not a moment's relief from the most painful anxieties. I have more embarrassment than it is proper to disclose to the world. Let it suffice to say that this part of the United States has had a narrow escape. I have been seven months in the field withoạt taking off my clothes."
Judge Johnson, in his life of general Greene, says “At the battle of the Eutaw Springs, Greene says, “that hundreds of my men were as naked as they were born. Posterity will scarcely believe, that the bare loins of many brave men who carried death into the enemy's ranks, at the Eutaw, were galled by their cartouch-boxes, while a folded rag or a tuft of moss protected the shoulders from sustaining the same injury from the musket. Men of other times will enquire, by what magic was this army kept together? By what supernatural power was it made to fight?"
During the relaxation that followed, a dangerous plot was formed by some turbulent and mutinous persons in the army, to deliver up their brave general to the British. This treasonable design owed its rise to the hardships, wants and calamities of the soldiers, who were ill paid, ill clothed, and ill fed. The conspirators did not exceed twelve in number; and a providential discovery defeated the project.
The surrender of lord Cornwallis, whose enterprising spirit had been by the British ministry expected to repair the losses, and wipe away the disgrace, which had been incurred through the inactivity and indolence of other generals, having con