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General Green, perceiving lord Cornwallis re- BOOK duced to a state of reluctant inaction, immediately, by a bold and decisive maneuvre, directed his march to the southward, and unexpectedly attacked the Green's important post of Camden. This was gallantly conducí. maintained by lord Rawdon ; but the surrounding stations of Fort-Motte, Orangeburg, Congarees, and Augusta, being successively forced, his lordship was compelled to evacuate Camden, and retire to the south of the Santee. General Green then laid close siege to the town or township of Ninety-six*, which was considered as commanding the whole of the back country; and on the approach of lord Rawdon, who had recently received great reinforcements from England, attempted to storm the garrison, but was repulsed with loss by colonel Cruger, the governor, and retired with his army behind the Saluda. Being advised by divers of his officers, on this misfortune, to retreat back to Virginia, he replied with true military enthusiasm, “ I will recover the country, or die in the attempt.” Thus, in situations where feeble minds droop and languish, the ardor of genius burns with redoubled lustre. No sooner was the British army divided and weakened by the several detachments necessary to occupy their former posts, than general Green again crossed the
* This singular name had its origin in the number of miles which denoted the distance of the settlement from the town of Kecowee in the Cherokee country.
BOOK Saluda in force. Lord Rawdon, surprised and an. XX.
prepared for action, retired to Orangeburg; and the important post of Ninety-six, so gallantly defended, was now evacuated. The garrison joining lord Rawdon, with other troops drawn from the advan. ced posts, general Green took a strong position on the high hills of Santee, whence he detached different parties to intercept the convoys and beat up the quarters of the English between Orangeburg and Charlestown.
The British, now under the command of colonel Stuart, having advanced to the point of junction between the Wateree and Congaree, in order to cover the country to the south and south-east of those rivers, general Green passed the Congaree with a view to inclose the British army. in its present insulated situation, or compel them to retreat towards Charlestown. Colonel Stuart immediately. fell back forty miles, to a place called Eutaw Springs, where he took an advantageous position, his right extending to the Eutaw, and his left to a rising ground which was occupied by a corps de reserve. General Green, with the American army, advanced, September 8, 1781, to the attack with the greatest resolution. The Virginian and Maryland continentals charged the left wing of the British with trailed arms through a heavy cannonade and shower of musquetry, and bore down all before them. The American cavalry, at the same tiine, turned the left
Aank of the British, and attacked them in the rear. BOOK The whole army gave way
great confusion; but in their retreat, gaining an open field, they were, with much address, rallied by colonel Stuart, and formed again under protection of an effective and well-directed fire from a large and moated house, which served them in the stead of a redoubt; and from whence the Americans, after repeated efforts, were not able to dislodge them. And the right wing of the British pressing on the left flank of the Americans, general Green thought proper to order a retreat, leaving four pieces of artillery in the hands of the British, two of which had been taken by the Americans in the early part of the engagement. The English were in no condition to pursue, and general Green carried off with him all his wounded, and several hundred prisoners. Also about five hundred men were killed and wounded on the part of the British, by the account of colonel Stuart, in this well-contested battle, in which the officers on each side fought hand to hand, and sword to sword. The loss of the Americans in all these respects was much inferior; but as colonel Stuart was left in possession of the field and several pieces of cannon, he claimed, agreeably to military etiquette, the honor of the victory;—but he might well exclaim with the monarch of Epirus, “Such another victory, and I am undone!"
In the evening of the next day he abandoned the Eutaw, and moved towards Charlestown, after destroying a great part of his stores, leaving behind him many of his wounded, and about a thousand stand of arms.
This engagement was decisive of the fate of the war in the southern colonies--the British not being able from this time to appear in the open field, and scarcely could they maintain their posts in the vicinity of Charlestown and Savannah; and in the course of the next year those
towns were finally evacuated.
that, notwithstanding a succession of what in mili-
Lord Cornwallis, to whose operations it is now BOOK necessary to revert, on the march of general Green's army to the southward, found himself reduced to Lord Corna perplexing dilemma--either to abandon the Caro-wallis's suclinas to their fate, or sacrifice his hopes of future Virginia, conquests, and entirely disappoint the high and sanguine expectations, which he knew to be formed in England, of the result of the present campaign, His pride at length overbalancing his prudence, he determined to prosecute his march to Virginia.
The Roanoke, the Meherrin, and the Nottaway rivers were successively crossed by the British army with trifling opposition; and on the 20th of May his lordship arrived at Petersburg, where he was joined by the powerful detachment recently conducted thither by generals Arnold and Philips. The force under his lordship’s command was now very formidable; and the marquis de la Fayette, who was at the head of the troops collected for the de fence of the province, was compelled to keep a guardedi distance, and conducted himself with so much judgment, that no considerable advantage could be obtained against him. From Petersburg lord Cornwallis advanced to James River, which he crossed at West Town; and, thence marching through Hanover County, crossed the South Anna or Pamunky river, whence by a rapid movement colonel Tarleton had nearly surprised the assembly of Virginia, now sitting at Charlotte-ville.