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he had erected at Hillsborough. This experiment had little success. The friends of government were in general timid, and diffident of his lordship’s power ultimately to protect them.
Their terrors were confirmed, when they learned that the indefatigable Greene had recrossed the Dan, and had cut off a body of tories who were on their march to join the royal forces, and that he had compelled Tarleton to retreat from the frontier of the province to Hillsborough. For seven days, the American commander maneuvered within ten miles of the British camp; and at the end of that time, having received reinforcements from Virginia, he resolved to give Lord Cornwallis battle. The engagement took place on the 15th of March, at Guildford. The American
army consisted of 4400 men, and the British of only 2400; but notwithstanding this disparity of numbers, disciplined valor prevailed. The American militia gave way with precipitation, and though the regulars fought with spirit, they were obliged to retreat, but only to the distance of three miles. Lord Cornwallis kept the field, but he had suffered such loss in the action, that he was unable to follow up his victory, and soon afterwards marched towards Wilmington, leaving behind him his sick and wounded. On this march he was pursued by Greene as far as Deep river.
With what success? Why?
What the British?
CAMPAIGN OF 1781 CONTINUED_DEFEAT OF LORD RAWDON,
BY GENERAL GREENE.
At Wilmington, Lord Cornwallis made a halt for three days, for the purpose of giving his troops some rest; and at the end of that time, resolving to carry the war into Virginia, he marched to Petersburgh, an inland town of that province, situated on James river. Hither it was expected that he would have been followed by the enemy; but Greene being aware that his lordship had by this movement approahed nearer to the main army of the Americans, and confident that his motions would be closely watched by the Virginia militia, after mature consideraation adopted the bold measure of again penetrating into South Carolina. That province was in the military occupation of the British, who were, indeed, harassed by the partisan troops of Marion and Sumpter, but were in such apparent strength, that there was reason to fear that the republicans, if not aided by further support, would abandon the cause of their country in despair.* The British had
** There were yet some citizens, who, in all fortunes, adhered with firmness to the cause of independence. Of these, in one part of the State, General Sumpter was the leader, in another, General Marion. The cavalry of the latter were so destitute of the weapons of war, that they were obliged to cut their swords from the saws of the saw mills. He was so successful in concealing himself in woods and marshes, that the enemy were never able to attack or discover him. From these dark retreats he often sallied forth, and fell unexpectedly upon parties of the enemy, when marching through the coun: try, or posted in garrisons to overawe the inhabitants. In one of these sal. lies, he released one hundred and fifty continentals captured at Camden.
What did Cornwallis resolve?
formed chains of posts, which extending from the sea to the western extremity of the province, maintained a mutual communication by strong patrols and bodies of horse. The first of these lines of defence was established on the Wateree, on the banks of which river the British occupied the well-fortified town of Camden, and fort Watson, situated between that place and Charleston. The attack of the fort, Greene intrusted to Marion, who soon compelled its garrison to surrender on capitulation. In encountering Lord Rawdon, near Camden, Greene was not so fortunate. In consequence of the unsteadiness of a few of his troops, he was defeated, but moved off the ground in such good order that he saved his artillery, and though wounded, he took up a position, at the distance of about five miles from Camden, from which he sent out parties to intercept the supplies, of which he was apprised that his antagonist was in the utmost need. In consequence of the vigilance of Greene, in cutting off his resources, and of the loss of Fort Watson, which had been the link of his communication with Charleston, Lord Rawdon, after having in vain endeavored to bring on a second general engagement with the Americans, was reduced to the necessity of destroying a part of his baggage, and retreating to the south side of the river Santee. This retrograde movement encouraged the friends of Congress to resume their arms, and hasten to reinforce the corps of Marion, who speedily made him
repeated and successful excursions preserved alive the spirit of resistance, and his high fame as a partizan was never tarnished by any violation of the laws of war or humanity.”
How were the British posts situated?
self master of the British posts on the Congaree, the garrisons of which were in general made prisoners, whilst those which escaped that fate by a timely evacuation of their positions, made good their retreat to the capital of the province. Savannah river now presented the last line of defence held by the British, who there possessed the town of Augusta and the post of Ninety-six. The former of those places was attacked by Lieutenant-Colonel Lee, and after a defence of unprecedented obstinacy on the part of its commander, Colonel Brown, it surrendered on honorable terms. The important post of Ninety-six, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Cruger, was strongly fortified, and defended by 500 men. On reconnoitering the place, General Greene, whose army was not much more numerous than the garrison, determined to besiege it in form. He accordingly broke ground on the 25th of May, and pushed his works with such vigor, that he had approached within six yards of the ditch, and had erected a mound thirty feet high, from which his riflemen poured their shot with fatal aim upon the opposite parapet of the enemy, who were hourly expected to beat a parley. But this bright prospect of success was at once overclouded by the arrival of intelligence that Lord Rawdon, having received reinforcements from Ireland, was hastening to the relief of his countrymen, at he head of 2000 men. In this extremity, Greene made a desperate effort to carry the place by assault, but was repulsed, and evacuating the works which he had constructed with so much labor, he retreated to the northward
Of what posts did Marion make himself master?
across the Saluda, from whence he was chased by Lord Rawdon beyond the Ennoree.
The feelings of the American commander on seeing the fruit of his toils thus suddenly and unexpectedly torn from his grasp, must have been of a most agonizing nature. But Greene was gifted with an elasticity of spirit which prevented him from yielding to the pressure of misfortune, and his opponents seldom found him more dangerous than immediately after suffering a defeat. On the present occasion, when some of his counsellors, in the moment of despondency, advised him to retreat into Virginia, he firmly replied, that he would save South Carolina, or perish in the attempt. On maturely deliberating on the object of the campaign, and on the relative situation of himself and the enemy, he was well aware that though Lord Rawdon was superior to him in the number as well as the discipline of his troops; yet, if his lordship kept his army concentrated, he could afford no encouragement, or even protection, to the royalists, and that if it were divided, it might be beaten in detail. As he expected, the British commander, finding that he could not bring him to an engagement, took the latter course, and withdrawing a detachment from Ninety-six, re-established himself on the line of the Congaree. Within two days, however, after his arrival at the banks of that river, he was astonished to find his indefatigable enemy in his front, with numbers so recruited, that he thought it prudent to decline the battle which was offered him, and retreated to Orangeburgh, where he was joined
What were the feelings of Gen. Greene at this time?