Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

CHAP. XIX.

1781.

CHAPTER XIX.

General Gates furrenders the Command of the Southern Army to General Greene, on his Arrival in South Carolina.-Action between General Sumpter and Colonel Tarleton.-General Morgan's Expedition-Meets and defeats Colonel Tarleton.-Lord Cornwallis pursues General Morgan.-Party of Americans cut off at the Catawba.-Lord Cornwallis arrives at Hillsborough Calls, by Proclamation, on all the Inhabitants of the State to join him.-Battle of Guilford-Americans defeated. Lord Cornwallis marches towards Wilmington-General Greene purfues him-General Greene returns towards Camden.-Action at Camden.-Lord Rawdon evacuates Camden, and returns to Charleston. -Barbarous State of Society among the Mountaineers, and in the back Settlements of the Carolinas.-Attack on Ninety-Six-Repulfe-General Greene again obliged to retreat.-Execution of Colonel Hayne.-Lord Rawdon leaves the State of South Carolina, and embarks for England.-Action at the Eutaw Springs.— General Greene retires to the High-Hills of Santee.— Governor Rutledge returns to South Carolina, and refumes the Reins of Government.

AFTER the misfortune and fufpenfion of general Gates, immediate fteps were taken by congrefs and the commander in chief, to restore the reputation of the American arms, to check the progrefs of the British, and defeat their fanguine hopes of speedily fubduing the fouthern

colonies. Major general Greene was ordered CHAP. XIX. on to take the command in that quarter. He 1781. arrived about the middle of autumn, one thoufand seven hundred and eighty, at the headquarters of general Gates; foon after which, every thing Teemed to wear a more favorable appearance, with regard to military arrangements and operations in the American army.

General Gates furrendered the command with a dignity and firmness becoming his own character, confcious that his difappointment and defeat did not originate in any want of courage or generalfhip, but from the unavoida ble and complicated difficulties of exifting circumstances. General Greene fucceeded him, received the charge of the army, and took leave of general Gates, with a delicacy and propriety that evinced the high refpect he felt for his predeceffor.

All the prudence and magnanimity, valor and humanity, that adorned the character of general Greene, were neceffary in the choice of dif ficulties that attended his new command. He had fucceeded a brave, but unfortunate officer, whofe troops were intimidated by recent defeat, difpirited by their naked and destitute fituation, in a country unable to yield fufficient fubfiftence for one army, and which had for feveral months been ravaged by two.

CHAP. XIX.

1781.

Lord Cornwallis's army was much fuperior in number and difcipline, his troops were well clothed and regularly paid, and when general Greene first arrived, they were flufhed by recent fucceffes, particularly the defeat of general Gates. It is true, the death of major Ferguson and the rout of his party, was a ferious disappointment, but not of fufficient confequence to check the defigns and expectations of a British army, commanded by officers of the first military experience.

The inhabitants of the country were indeed divided in opinion; bitter, rancorous, and cruel, and many of them without any fixed political principles. Fluctuating and unftable, fometimes they were the partifans of Britain, and huzzaed for royalty; at others, they were the militia of the state in continental fervice, and profeffed themselves zealots for American independence. But general Greene, with remarkable coolness and intrepidity, checked their licentious conduct, and punished desertion and treachery by neceffary examples of feverity; and thus in a fhort time, he established a more regular difcipline.

Skirmishing parties pervaded all parts of the country. No one was more active and busy in these scenes, than the vigilant Tarleton. An affray took place in the month of November, between him and general Sumpter. After vic

tory had several times feemed to change fides, the continental troops won the field without much lofs. General Sumpter was wounded, but not dangerously. The British loft in wounded and killed, near two hundred.

The British troops had yet met with no check, which had in any degree damped their ardor, except the defeat of major Ferguson. The most important movement which took place for fome time after this affair, was an action between general Morgan on the one part, and colonel Tarleton on the other, in the month of January, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-one. General Morgan was an early vol. unteer in the American warfare: he had marched from Virginia to Cambridge, at the head of a body of riflemen, to the aid of general Washington, in one thousand seven hundred and feventy-five. He continued to stand ready to enter on the post of danger, in any part of the continent, where the defence of his country required the affiftance of the most valorous leaders. General Greene, convinced that no man could more effectually execute any command with which he was entrusted, ordered general Morgan with a confiderable force, to march to the weftern parts of South Carolina.

Lord Cornwallis having gained intelligence of this movement, difpatched colonel Tarleton in purfuit of general Morgan. In a few days,

CHAP. XIX.

1781.

CHAP. XIX.

1781.

they met near the river Pacolet. General Mor gan had reason to expect, from the rapid advance of colonel Tarleton, that a meeting would have taken place fooner; but by various manœuvres he kept his troops at a distance, until a moment of advantage might prefent, for acting with decided fuccefs. The Americans had rather kept up the appearance of retreat, until they reached a spot called the Cow-pens: fortunately for them, Tarleton came up, and a refolute engagement enfued; when, after a short conflict, to the great joy of the Americans, the British were routed, and totally defeated.

Colonel Tarleton, as one of the most resolute and active of the British partifans, was particularly felected by lord Cornwallis, and ordered to march with eleven hundred men, to watch the motions of Morgan, impede his defigns, and keep in awe the diftrict of Ninety-Six, toward which he found a detachment of the American army was moving. The unexpected defeat of Tarleton, for a time threw him into the back ground in the opinion of many of the British officers; nor was lord Cornwallis himfelf much better fatisfied with his conduct.*

Sir Henry Clinton obferved afterwards, "that the "unfortunate action at the Cow-pens, diminished lord "Cornwallis's army nearly one fourth." If this was true,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »