« ZurückWeiter »
16th and 18th, were 4 lieutenant-colonels, 3 niajors, 14 captains, 4 captain-lieutenants, 16 lieutenants, 3 ensigns, 4 staff, 18 subal terns, and 604 rank and file. The impossibility of accounting with certainty for those who fell in battle, and tắose who fell into the hands of the enemy, obliged the officers to make many missing who were probably killed or prisoners. Though Corna wallis's victory was complete, yet from the accounts which the British gave of the action, it may be inferred that it was dearly bought. Gates apprehended early in September, that he liad established it as a certain fact, that more than 500 of their old troops were killed and wounded.
On the 17th and 18th of August, brigadiers Smallwood and Gist, with several other officers, arrived at Charlotte (full 80'niles from the place of action) whére upward of an hundred regular infantry, col. Armand's cavalry, and a major Davie's small parti. zan corps of horse froin the Waxhaw settlement had collected. Smallwood had been separated from the first Maryland brigade, after the men had been engaged a while, by the interposal of the enemy; and finding it impracticable to rejoin them, as well as apprehending they must be overpowered and could not retreat, rode off for personal safety. The little provision whichi the troops met with at Charlotte, proved a most seasonable refreshment. The drooping spirits of the officers began to revive ; and hopes were entertained that a respectable force mighč soon be again assembled from the country militia and from the *addition of col. Sumpter's victorious detachment. All these
prospects however, were soon obscured, by intelligence on the - 19th, of the complete dispersion of tliat corps. On hearing of gen. Gates's defeat, col. Sumpter began to retreat up the south side of the Wateree, with his prisoners and captured stores. Lord Cornwallis, on the morning of the 17th, dispatched Tarleton with his legion and a detachment of infantry to pursue lini. This was done with so much celerity and address, that he was overtaken the next day at Fishing-creek. The British horse
gode into the camp before he was prepared for defence. The * Americans having been four days without sleep or provisions, were more obedient to the calls of nature, than attentive to her first law of self-preservation. Col. Sumpter had taken every prudent precaution to prevent a surprise, but his videttes were so fatigued that they neglected their duty. With much difficulty he got a few of his corps to make a short stand, but the greater part Hed to the river or to the woods. The British prisoners, about 300, were all retåken and conducted to Camden. The colonel lost all his artillery, and the whole detachment was either killed, captured or dispersed.
Ety of um
Every hopected to a lotte begane had yerche
and soldiciscated to assemble in being thus banish
Every, hope from that quarter being thus banished, and the mir litia not expected to assemble in less than three days, the officers and soldiers at Charlotte began to think their situation again dangerously critical. No order had yet taken place among those who had fortuitously met there. The troops were half famished; and there was no store of provisions in the town, which was open on all sides, and no more defensible than a plain, There was nothing to oppose or impede the approach of the enemy, for the Wateree was fordable. In fact there was reasons sufficient to apprehend that the wretched remnant of an. unfortunate army might be cut to pieces before night. The officers therefore were generally of opinion, that no time should be lost in making a retreat toward Salisbury; and the whole were prepared to march at the moment when gen. Smallwood, who quartered at a small distance from the town, came to take the command. Col. Williams, the deputy-adjutant-general, and one of the brigade-majors, took the route toward Camden, to direct those coming that road to file off for Salisbury, as also to get für ther intelligence of the enemy. The necessary information was sent by express to maj. Anderson. The troops were followed. by a number of whig families and the whole tribe of the Cawtaba Indians, in number about 300, of which there were about 60. warriors. There was greater plenty of provisions in this part of the country, than in that through which the army had ads, vanced. The troops supplied themselves, under the direction of the officers, there being no magazines. In such circumstances, a strict regularity could not be preserved, and the inhabitants necessarily felt the effects of the general distress. . A minute representation of the retreat from Charlotte to Sas lisbury, would be the image of complicated wretchedness. Care; anxiety, pain, humiliation and dejection, poverty, hurry and confusion, promiscuously marked the shocking scene. Painful objects presented themselves to view-several men without art, arm--some with but one-and many standing in need of kind and powerful assistance.
The exertions of col. Williams, of Ninety-Six, on the side of congress, have been already noticed; it must now be mentioned, that on the day Sumpter was surprised, he engaged a considera- .. ble party of British and tories at Musgrove's mills, on the EnoTee river. Onthe 17th he marched with colonels Shelby and Clark, and a party of about 200 South Carolinians and Georgians, to attack a body of about 200 tories. These were reinforced at night by 100 more and 200 regulars." The next day they advanced upon the whig party; every man of which was or- . dered to take his tree for defence; not to fire till the enemy
was within 8 yards, and then to be sure of his object. A warna fire bégan': after a while the eneiny was obliged to retreat, hava ing 60 men killed, mostly British, and 70'wounded: the others had 3 killed and 8 wounded.intr. . . mind * * Major Anderson, having obtained intelligence of lieut. col. Tarleton's retiring after surprising Sumpter, moved slowly in order to give the fugitive soldiers an opportunity of joining him; and continued his march toward Charlotte as the nearest place of repose and refreshment, of which his little party was in great want," From Charlotte the major sent an express to gen. Smallwood at Salisbury, to inform him of liis arrival, the situation of the enemy, and the wish of the people in that neighbourhood that he would continue with his party among then. He also acquainted the general, that it was the request of the militia that he would return and take the conmand of them, Caswell having left Charlotte before the time appointed for their meeting. The general declined the honor of the invitation, considering the feebleness of his force, that the men were worn down with fatigue and fasting, were destitute of all necessaries, and therefore inadequate to the needful assistance in case the British should advance. He sent also the particular friend of major Ans derson to hasten his departure from Charlotte, and to conduct him to Salisbury, where he continued with the effective soldiers who had joined him from time to time.' After the major's arri. val at Salisbury, Sinallwood'received an order from Gates to ad." vance toward Hillsborough, wliich order he had anticipated by having crossed the river before he received it. The troops were halted for a day or two at Guildford court-house, and then upon freslí orders from Gates marched on to Hillsborough, where they arrived the 6th of Septeniber. A few officers and men had arsived there before by a different route.*
" to Lord Cornwallis, notwithstanding the completeness of his vice : tory, was restrained for some time from pursuing his eonquests, through the loss he had sustained in the battle, the extreme heat of the weather, the sickliness of the season, and the want of ne- * cessary supplies, he therefore reinained at Camden." But he dispatched proper people to North-Carolina the day after the aca: tion, with directions to the loyalists to take arms and assemble immediately, and proinised to march without loss of time to their support. Till he could advance toward that state, his attention was engaged in adopting measures to crush all future opposión *. T
raditionen . * In compiling the above narrative from July the 28th, recourse has been had to a detail of lacts written by the deputy adjutanı general col. Otho Hots
to the royal government, which betrayed him into a still severer policy than had hitherto deen adopted.
On the 18th of August he thus addressed lieut. col. Cruger, the commandant of the British garrison at Ninety-Six-" I have given orders that all the inhabitants of this province who had sub. mitted, and who have taken a part in this revolt, should be pu. nished with the greatest rigor, that they should be imprisoned, and their whole property taken from them or destroyed. I lrave likewise directed, that compensation should be made out of their effects to the persons who have been plundered and oppressed by them. I have ordered, in the most positive manner, that every nilitia man, who had bore arms with us, and had afterward joined the enemy, should be inmediately hanged. I have now, Sir, only to desire, that you will take the most vigorous measures to extinguish the rebellion in the district in which you command, and that you will obey in the strictest manner the directions I have given in this letter relative to the treatment of this country."* Similar orders were addressed to the commanders of different posts. Executions and severities followed, which instead of extinguishing what his lordship pronounces rebellion, will ons ly cause it to rage in the breasts of the determined friends to congress, till it bursts forth with redoubled fury whenever a promising opportunity offers.
Notwithstanding the triunıph of the British arms in the con quest, first of the capital and then of the state of South-Carolina, several of the inhabitants, respectable for their numbers, but more so for their weight and influence, had continued firin to the cause of independence : though restrained by iheir paroles from doing any thing injurious to the interest of his Britannic majesty, yet by their silent example they had induced many to decline ex. changing their paroles as prisoners, for the protection and privi leges of British subjects. To remove every bias of this kind, and to enforce a general submission to royal government, lord Cornwallis gave orders to send out of the state a number of such principal persons, prisoners on parole in Charleston. On the 27tli of August, Christopher Gadsden, esq. the lieutenant-governdr, most of the civil and militia officers, and some others of the hearty friends of America, were taken early in the morning out of their houses and beds by armed parties, and brought to the .exchange, from whence, when collected together, they were removed on board the Sandwick guardship, and from thence transported in a few days to St. Augustine. The manner in which the order was
* It was sent to gen. Greene as a genuine copy of the order of hia-lordtips in a letter of December 271780.
executed, was not less painful to the feellings of gentlemen, than the order itself was injurious to the rights of prisoners entitled to 'the benefits of a capitulation. Guards were left at their respective houses. The private papers of some were examined. Reports were immediately circulated to their disadvantage, and every circumstance managed so as to induce a general belief, that they were all apprehended for viotating their paroles, and for concert, ing a scheme for burning the town and massacreing the loyal sub jects. On the very day of their confinement they remonstrated to lieut. col. Balfour, the commandant of Charleston, asserting their innocence, and challenging their accusers to appear face to face with their charges against them. To this a message from the commandant was delivered officially, in which he acknowledged that this extraordinary step had been taken “ from motives of policy.” On the first of September gen. Moultrie, as the senior *Continental officer that was a prisoner under the capitulation, de manded a release from the prison-ship, of those gentlemen particularly who were entitled to the benefit of that act; and request ed, that if the demand could not be complied with, he might 'have leave to send an officer to congress to represent the grievance. The commandant, under the pretence that the terms of the letter were very exceptionable and unwarrantable, declined returning an answer; and cleared himself of a business that he was not capable of defending, by declaring, in a note from a 'major of brigade, that he would not receive any further appli*cation from the general on the subject. ' * The British endeavored to justify the sending of the citizens to St. Augustine, by alledging the right of captors to remove prisoners whithersoever they please, without regarding their con. veniense. It was generally conceived, that the right of the citis zens of Charleston to reside at their homes, was not only strongTy implied, but plainly expressed in the capitulation ; however as the article respecting the inhabitants of the town, only promised that they should be prisoners on parole, and did not immediately add in Charleston, the British commanders took the advana tage of it for removing gentlemen charged with no breach of the capitulation from their houses, wives and children, by offering 'them that parole in St. Augustine, to which they had an un. 'doubted right in Charleston, upon the established rule among civilized nations, to construe capitulations, where ambiguous, ia favor of the vanquished. The suffering individuals might justly complain upon the occasion ; but, congress could not, considering what had taken place with regard to the convention troops under gen. Burgoyne.