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INTRODUCTION TO THE ORIGINAL EDITION
Being persuaded that a few hints in relation to the scenes in which I bore a part, in that glorious and memorable struggle for Independence which has signalized us among the nations of the earth, would not be unacceptable to my friends and the general reader, I have precipitately thrown together the following facts, which are submitted without further comment.
Y father, William Brown, was a planter in Albemarle county, Virginia, where I was born on the 5th day of April, 1757. Flattering inducements being held forth to settlers
in the rich region of South Carolina, contiguous to the Savannah river, and my uncle Bartlet Brown having already moved, and settled himself two miles above Matthew's Bluff, on the Savannah river, my father brought out some negroes, and left them with his brother to make a crop; and in 1769, a year afterwards, my father
; and family, consisting of eleven persons, emigrated to this country and settled on Brier's Creek, opposite to Berton's ferry. We found the country in the vicinity very thinly inhabited. Our own shelter for several weeks, to protect us from the weather, was a bark tent which served for our use until we could erect a rude dwelling of logs.
Having cleared a piece of land, we planted, and found the soil to be exceedingly fertile in the river swamp, producing abundant crops. The country was literally infested with wild beasts, which were very annoying to the inhabitants; killing the stock and destroying the crops, and were so bold, daring and ravenous that they would come into our yards and before our doors take our sheep and poultry. Indeed it was dangerous to venture out at night beyond the precincts of our yards, unarmed. We used every device to exterminate them, and ultimately effected our object by setting traps and poisoned bait.
The forest abounded with all kinds of game, particularly deer and turkeys--the former were almost as gentle as cattle. I have seen fifty together, in a day's ride in the woods. The latter were innumerable, and so very fat that I have often run them down on horseback. The range for cattle was excellent; it was a very common thing to see two hundred in a gang in the large ponds. In any month in the year, beeves in the finest order for butchering might be obtained from the forest. It was customary then to have large pens or enclosures, for cattle under the particular charge or direction of some
person or persons. I was informed by one of those who kept a pen at King Creek, that there had been marked that spring seven hundred calves. Our produce for market was beef, pork, staves and shingles. There was but little corn planted int hat section then; and indeed there was scarcely any inducement to plant more than sufficed for our own consumption, there being but few mills in the country, and consequently very little demand for the article.
From the fact of the new and unsettled state of the country, it may readily be inferred that the roads were very inferior; in truth they were not much better than common bridle paths; and I feel confident in asserting that there were not, in the whole Barnwell District, any conveyances superior to carts of common wood slides. There were a great many wild horses running at large in the forest when we first settled in the district, a number of which were caught and sold by various individuals, who pursued exclusively the business for a livelihood.
In 1775 the war broke out in South Carolina, and troops were required for the service-a draft was accordingly ordered in our section, and being one among the drawn number, we forth with took up the line of march for Pocotaligo, then under command of General Bull, where we were stationed about seven weeks. Nothing of importance requiring our attendance at that place, our company was discharged, and we returned to our homes, where we had scarcely arrived when another draft was ordered, for the first siege of Savannah, Georgia. On this occasion I escaped being drawn, but was employed by William Bryant to act in his place.
We embarked in an open boat on the Savannah river, Capt. Moore commanding our company. After three days' passage down the river we arrived at Savannah, in good health and in fine spirits, all eager to engage in the contest and to assert our rights as freemen through the muzzles of our muskets, and at the points of our swords. We passed some heavy and mortal shots at the enemy, which were returned with equal fierceness and more deadly effect. During the