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A drummer, who deserted on the morning after Greene's return, and betore he was rejoined by Lieutenant Colonel Carrington, gave information to Lord Rawdon that the artillery and militia had been detached. His lordship determined to seize this favourable occasion for fighting his enemy to advantage, and, at the head of nine hundred men, marched out of town on the morning of the twenty-fifth to attack the American army. Lieutenant Colonel Carrington had arrived in camp that morning, and brought with him a supply of provisions which had been issued to the troops, some of whom were employed in cooking and others in washing their clothes. Notwithstanding those occupations, they were in reach of their arms, and were in readiness to take their ground and engage at a moment's warning. By keeping close to the swamp, and making a circuit of some distance, Lord Rawdon gained the American left without being perceived; and about eleven, his approach was announced by the fire of the advanced piquets, who were half a mile in front of Greene's encampment. Orders were instantly given to form the American line of battle. The Virginia brigade commanded by General Huger, consisting of two regiments under Campbell and Hawes, was drawn up on the right of the great road. The Maryland brigade commanded by Colonel Williams, consisting also of two regiments, under Gunby and Ford, was on the left, and the artillery was placed in the centre. The North Carolina militia under Colonel Read formed a second line; and Captain Kirkwood with the light infantry was placed in front for the purpose of supporting the piquets, and retarding the advance of the enemy. General Greene remained on the right, with Campbell's regiment. Captain Morgan of Virginia, and Captain Benson of Maryland, who commanded the piquets, gave the enemy a warm reception; but were soon compelled to retire. Captain Kirkwood also was driven in, and the British troops appeared in view. Rawdon continued his march through the wood along the low ground in front of the Maryland brigade which was in the act of forming, until he reached the road, where he displayed his column. Perceiving that the British advanced with a narrow front, Greene ordered Colonel Ford, whose regiment was on the extreme left, and Lieutenant Colonel Campbell, whose regiment was on the extreme right, severally to attack their flanks, while Gunby and Hawes should advance upon their front with charged bayonets. To complete their destruction by cutting off their retreat to the town, Lieutenant Colonel Washington was ordered to pass their left flank and charge them in the rear. The regiments commanded by Ford and Campbell, being composed chiefly of new levies, did not change their ground, and perform the evolutions necessary for the duty assigned to them, with the requisite rapidity and precision; in consequence of which Rawdon, who instantly perceived the danger that threatened his flanks, had time to extend his front by bringing the volunteers of Ireland into his line. This judicious movement disconcerted the design on his flanks, and brought the two armies into action fronting each other. But the regiments of Ford and Campbell were thrown into some confusion by the abortive attempt to gain the flanks of the British. Colonel Washington too was compelled by the thick underwood and felled trees which obstructed his direct course, to make so extensive a circuit, that he came into the rear of the British at a greater distance from the scene of action than was intended, in consequence of which he fell in with their medical and other staff, and with a number of the followers of the army and idle spectators, who took no part in the action. Too humane to cut his way through this crowd, he employed so much time in taking their verbal parole, that he could not reach the rear of the British line until the battle was ended. These casualties disappointed this very interesting part of Greene's intended operations.” The artillery, however, played on the enemy with considerable effect; and the regiments of Gunby and Hawes advanced on the British front with resolution. Some companies on the right of the Maryland regiment returned the fire of the enemy, and their example was followed by the others. Notwithstanding this departure from orders, they continued to advance with intrepidity, and Greene entertained sanguine hopes of victory. His prospects were blasted by one of those incidents against which military prudence can make no provision. Captain Beaty, who commanded on the right of Gunby's regiment, was killed, upon which his company with that adjoining it got into confusion and dropped out of the line. Gunby ordered the other companics, which were still advancing, to fall back, and form, with the two companies, behind the hill which the British were ascending. This retrograde movement was mistaken for a retreat, and the regiment gave way. Encouraged by this circumstance, the British pressed forward with increased ardour, and all the efforts of Colonel Williams, and of Gunby and Howard, to rally the regiment were, for a time, ineffectual. This vete* This account of the battle of Hobkirk's Hill varies in several particulars from that contained in the first edition. In making the alteration the author has followed the letter of General Davie, published in Mr. Johnson's biography of General Greene. General Davie was known to the author to be a gentleman in whose representations ran regiment, distinguished alike for its discipline and courage, which with the cavalry of Washington, had won the battle of the Cowpens, and nearly won that at Guilford court house, was seized with an unaccountable panic which, sor a time, resisted all the efforts of their officers. The flight of the first Maryland regiment increased the confusion which the change of ground had produced in the second; and, in at tempting to restore order, Colonel Ford was mortally wounded. Lor Rawdon improved these advantages to the utmost. His right gained the summit of the hill, forced the artillery to retire, and turned the flank of the second Virginia regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Hawes, which had advanced some distance down the hill. By this time the first Virginia regiment, which Greene had endeavoured to lead in person against the left flank of the British, being also in some disorder, began to give ground. Perceiving this reverse in his affairs, and knowing that he could not rely on his second line, Greene thought it most adviseable to secure himself from the hazard of a total defeat by withdrawing the second Virginia regiment from the action. The Maryland brigade was in part rallied; but Lord Rawdon had gained the hill, and it was thought too late to retrieve the fortune of the day. Greene determined to reserve his troops for a more auspicious moment, and ordered a retreat. Finding that the infantry had retreated, Colonel Washington also retired with the loss of only three men, bringing with him about fifty prisoners, among whom were all the surgeons belonging to the British army. The Americans retreated in good order about four miles from the field of battle, and proceeded, next day, to Rugeley's mills. The pursuit was continued about three miles. In the course of it, some sharp skirmishing took place, which was terminated by a vigorous charge made by Colonel Washington on a corps of British horse who led their van. This corps being broken and closely pursued, the infantry in its rear retreated precipitately into Camden. The number of continental troops engaged in this action amounted to about twelve hundred” men, and the loss in killed, wounded, and miss
great confidence is to be placed on every account, and his situation in the army enabled him to obtain the best information.
• There is some variance between this statement and that which has been made by Mr. Ramsay and Mr. Gordon, although their estimates are supposed to have been formed on the same document—the field return made by the adjutant general of the southern army, dated the 26th of April. This return contains a column of the present fit for duty, and also exhibits the killed, wounded, and missing, but contains no column of total numbers. Mr. Ramsay and Mr. Gordon are supposed to have taken the column of present fit for duty as exhibiting the strength of the army on the day of the battle; but as this return was made the day after the action, the author has sup
ing, to two hundred and sixty-six. Among the killed was Captain Beaty of Maryland, who was mentioned by General Greene as an ornament to his profession; and among the wounded was Colonel Ford, of Maryland, a gallant officer, whose wounds proved mortal. The militia attached to the army amounted to two hundred and sixty-six, of whom two were missing. The total loss sustained by the British army has been stated at two hundred and fifty-eight, of whom thirty-eight were killed in the field. o The plan which the strength of Camden and his own weakness had induced General Greene originally to adopt, was still substantially pursued. He remained in the vicinity of that place, and by the activity of his cavalry, straightened the communication of the garrison with the neighbouring country. Their distress for provisions had been considerably increased by the progress of Marion and Lee. Lieutenant Colonel Lee joined Marion a few days after he was detached from the camp on Deep river; and these two officers commenced their operations against the line of communication between Camden and Charleston, by laying siege to sort Watson, which capitulated in a sew days. The acquisition of this fort afforded the means of interrapting the intercourse between Camden and Charleston, and opposed an obstacle to the retreat of Lord Rawdon which he would have found it difficult to surmount. From the increasing perils of his situation, his lordship was relieved by the arrival of Colonel Watson. In attempting to obey the orders, which were given by Lord Rawdon on the approach of Greene, to join him at Camden, that officer found himselfopposed by Marion and Lee, who had seized the passes over the creeks in his route; and had thus completely arrested his march. To elude these vigilant adversaries, Watson returned down the Santee, and crossing that river near its mouth, marched up its southern side, and recrossing it above the American detachment, and, eluding all the measures taken to intercept him, accomplished his object with much toil and hazard. This reinforcement gave the British general a decided superiority; and Greene entertained no doubt of its being immediately employed. On the day of its arrival, therefore, he withdrew from the neighbourhood of Camden, and took a strong position behind Sawney's creek. On the night of the seventh, as had been conjectured, Rawdon passed the Wateree at Camden ferry, intending to turn the flank of his enemy, and to attack his rear, where the ground was less difficult than in front. On being informed that the American army had changed its position, he followed it to its new encampment. This was so judiciously chosen that he despaired of being able to force it; and, after some ineffectual manoeuvres to draw Greene from it, returned to Camden. Lord Rawdon had been induced to relinquish, thus hastily, his de signs upon Greene, by the insecurity of his situation. The state of the British power in South Carolina was such as to require a temporary surrender of the upper country. Marion and Lee, after completely destroying his line of communication on the north side of the Santee, had crossed that river, and permitted no convoy from Charleston to escape their vigilance. On the eighth of May, after Watson had passed them, they laid siege to a post at Motte's house, on the south side of the Congaree, near its junction with the Wateree, which had been made the depot of all the supplies designed for Camden. From the energy of this party as well as from the desection of the inhabitants, Lord Rawdon had reason to apprehend the loss of all his lower posts, unless he should take a position which would support them. He had therefore determined to evacuate Camden, unless the issue of a battle with Greene should be such as to remove all fears of future danger from that officer. Having failed in his hope of bringing on a general engagement, he evacuated Camden, and marched down the river on its north side to Neilson's ferry. Among the objects to be obtained by this movement was the security of the garrison at Motte's house. But the siege of that place had been so vigorously prosecuted that, on crossing the river, his lordship received the unwelcome intelligence that it had surrendered on the twelfth, and that its garrison, consisting of one hundred and sixtyfive men, had become prisoners. On the preceding day, the post at Orangeburg had surrendered to Sumpter. On the evening of the fourteenth, Lord Rawdon moved from Neilson's ferry, and marched to Monk's Corner, a position which enabled him to cover those districts from which Charleston drew its supplies. While the British army was thus under the necessity of retiring, the American force was exerted with a degree of activity which could not be surpassed. After the post at Motte's house had fallen, Marion proceeded against Georgetown, on the Black river, which place he reduced and Lee marched against fort Granby, a post on the south of the Congaree, which was garrisoned by three hundred and fifty-two men, prin
posed that the killed, wounded, and missing, must be added to the numbers fit for duty on the day of the return, to give the actual strength of the army at the time of the cogagement.