Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution, Vol. II., Chapter XVIII.







Departure from Camden. – The High Hills of Santee. – Passage of the Wateree Swamp. – Fort Motte. – Remains of the Revolution. – Position of the Americans there. – General Marion. – The Song of Marion’s Men. – Marion in Gates’s Camp. – Description of his Regiment. – Rebecca Motte. – Her House fortified and garrisoned. – American Battery. – Siege of Fort Motte. – Lee’s Expedient. – Patriotism of Mrs. Motte. – Rawdon’s Retreat. – Belleville. – A Slave "Pass." – Trial of a Slave. – Columbia. – Fort Granby and its Garrison. – Mr. Friday and Colonel Maxwell. – Capture of Fort Granby. – Terms of Surrender. – Greene’s Army at Fort Granby. – The Locality. – Ninety-Six. – Ninety-Six Fortified. – Its Garrison and Works. – Capture of Fort Galphin. – The "Galphin Claim." – Greene before Ninety-Six. – Siege commenced by Kosciuszko. – A Sally. – Plan of the Siege. – Rawdon informed of the Siege. – His march toward Ninety-Six. – Attempt to destroy the Stockade. – Beale and Cunningham. – Cruger advised of Rawdon’s approach. – Assault on the Star Redoubt. – Capture of the Stockade. – A bold Prisoner. – Raising the Siege of Ninety-Six. – Arrival of Rawdon. – His pursuit of Greene. – Movements of the two Armies. – Courage and Arrest of Emily Geiger. – Rawdon foiled. – Camp at Orangeburg. – Greene on the Santee Hills. – Orangeburg. – Old Court-house. – Orangeburg taken by Sumter. – Sumter and Lee. – Rawdon’s Departure. – Movements of the two Armies toward Eutaw. – Journey thither. – Four-hole Swamp. – General Sumner. – A Yankee Schoolmaster. – Road to Eutaw. – Locality and Appearance of the Springs. – Remains of the "Citadel" at Eutaw. – Greene joined by Marion. – American Encampment before the Battle. – Captain Coffin. – Deserters. – Stuart’s fancied Security. – Arrangement of the Americans for Battle. – Colonel William Polk. – Arrangement of the British Forces. – The Citadel. – Skirmishes. – Commencement of the Battle at Eutaw. – Williams’s Bayonet Charge. – Death of Campbell and Duval. – Defeat and Capture of Washington. – Retreat of the British. – Folly of the Americans. – Bravery of Lee’s Legion. – Contest at the "Citadel." – Retreat of Greene. – Honors awarded to Greene and his Officers. – The Loss. – Retreat of Stuart. – Attacked by Marion and Lee. – Retirement of the Americans to the Santee Hills. – Mutiny. – Relic from the Battle-field. – Nelson’s Ferry. – Success of Marion at Nelson’s Ferry. – Site of Fort Watson. – Movements of Colonel Watson. – Fort Watson attacked by Marion and Lee. – Mayham Tower. – Sketch of Colonel Mayham. – Marion’s Residence. – The Wife of Marion. – Return to Orangeburg. – Sketch of Marion’s House.


Marion. Friends! fellow-soldiers! we again have heard

The threats of our proud enemies; they come,
Boasting to sweep us, like the chaff, away.
Shall we yield? shall we lie down like dogs beneath
The keeper’s lash? Then shall we well deserve
The ruin, the disgrace that must ensue.
Ne’er dream submission will appease our foes;
We shall be conquered rebels, and they’ll fear
The spirit of liberty may rouse again;
And therefore will they bind us with strong chains,
New cords, green withes, like those which Samson bound,
And we, alas! shall have been shorn and weak,
On Folly’s lap, if we yield up our freedom.


It was a brilliant, frosty morning when I left Camden to visit the scenes of some of the exploits of Marion and his partisan compatriots. Soon after crossing the Big Swift and Rafting Creeks, we reached the high hills of Santee, whereon General Greene encamped before and after the battle at the Eutaw Springs. They extend southward, in Sumter District, from the Kershaw line, twenty-two miles, parallel with the Wateree. They are immense sand hills, varying in width on the summit from one to five miles, and are remarkable for the salubrity of the atmosphere and for medicinal springs. Just at sunrise, while swiftly skirting the base of these hills, with the Wateree Swamp between us and the river on the west, we saw the sharp pencilings of the few scattered houses of Statesburg against the glowing eastern sky. There was the residence of General Sumter after the war, and in his honor the surrounding district was named. 1 After skirting the Wateree Swamp some distance, the road passes through a high sand bluff, and then crosses the great morass to the river, a distance of four miles. Beyond that stream, it joins the rail-way from Columbia. Through the swamp, the iron rails are laid upon a strong wooden frame-work, high enough to overtop a cane-brake. The passage is made at a slow rate to avoid accidents. The scenery was really grand, for below were the green canes waving like billows in the wind, while upon either side of the avenue cut for the road, towered mighty cypresses and gum-trees, almost every branch draped with long moss. Clustered around their stately trunks were the holly, water-oak, laurel, and gall-bush, with their varied tints of green; and among these, flitting in silence, were seen the gray mocking-bird and the brilliant scarlet tanniger. Here, I was told opossums and wild cats abound, and upon the large dry tracts of the swamp wild deers are often seen.


We arrived at the junction station at a little past eight o’clock, and, crossing a narrow part of the Congaree Swamp and River, reached Fort Motte Station, on the southern side of that stream, before nine, a distance of forty-four miles from Camden.


The plantation of Mrs. Rebecca Motte, whose house, occupied and stockaded by the British, was called Fort Motte, lies chiefly upon a high rolling plain, near the Buck’s Head Neck, on the Congaree, a little above the junction of that river with the Wateree, 3 thirty-three miles below Columbia, the capital of the state. This plain slopes in every direction, and is a commanding point of view, overlooking the vast swamps on the borders of the Congaree. It is now owned by William H. Love, Esq., with whom I passed several hours very agreeably. His house (seen in the engraving) is built nearly upon the site of Mrs. Motte’s mansion, desolated by fire at her own suggestion, while occupied by the British. The well used by that patriotic lady is still there, close by the oak-tree seen on the right; and from it to the house there is a slight hollow, which indicates the place of a covered way, dug for the protection of the soldiers when procuring water. The other large tree seen in the picture is a blasted sweet-gum, and in the extreme distance is seen the Congaree Swamp. This house was built by Mrs. Motte immediately after the close of the war. The Americans, whose exploits we shall consider presently, were stationed upon an eminence about a quarter of a mile northeast of the house, toward the Congaree, in the direction of M‘Cord’s Ferry. A little eastward of the house there was an oval mound, when I was there in 1849, about twelve feet in height, and dotted with the stumps of trees recently cut down. This is the vestige of a battery, upon which the assailants planted a field-piece to dislodge the British. We shall better understand these localities after consulting the oracle of history.


Among the bold, energetic, and faithful patriots of the South, none holds a firmer place in the affections of the American people than General Francis Marion. 4 His adventures were full of the spirit of romance, and his whole military life was an epic poem. The followers of Robin Hood were never more devoted to their chief than were the men of Marion’s brigade to their beloved leader. Bryant has sketched a graphic picture of that noble band, in his


Our band is few, but true and tried,
Our leader frank and bold;
The British soldier trembles
When MARION’S name is told.
Our fortress is the good green wood,
Our tent the cypress-tree;
We know the forest round us,
As seamen know the sea.
We know its walls of thorny vines,
Its glades of reedy grass;
Its safe and silent islands
Within the dark morass.

Woe to the English soldiery,
That little dread us near!
On them shall light at midnight,
A strange and sudden fear;
When, waking to their tents on fire,
They grasp their arms in vain,
And they who stand to face us
Are beat to earth again;
And they who fly in terror deem
A mighty host behind,
And hear the tramp of thousands
Upon the hollow wind.

Then sweet the hour that brings release
From danger and from toil;
We talk the battle over,
And share the battle’s spoil.
The woodland rings with laugh and shout,
As if a hunt were up,
And woodland flowers are gather’d
To crown the soldier’s cup.
With merry songs we mock the wind
That in the pine-top grieves,
And slumber long and sweetly
On beds of oaken leaves.

Well knows the fair and friendly moon
The hand that MARION leads –
The glitter of their rifles,
The scampering of their steeds.
’Tis life to guide the fiery barb
Across the moonlight plain;
’Tis life to feel the night wind
That lifts his tossing mane.
A moment in the British camp –
A moment – and away
Back to the pathless forest.
Before the peep of day.

Grave men there are by broad Santee;
Grave men with hoary hairs,
Their hearts are all with MARION,
For MARION are their prayers.
And lovely ladies greet our band
With kindliest welcoming,
With smiles like those of summer,
And tears like those of spring.
For them we wear these trusty arms,
And lay them down no more,
Till we have driven the Briton
Forever from our shore.

When Gates was pressing forward toward Camden, Marion, with about twenty men and boys, was annoying the Tories in the neighborhood of the Pedee. With his ragged command, worse than Falstaff ever saw, he appeared at the camp of Gates, and excited the ridicule of the well-clad Continentals. 5 Gates, too, would doubtless have thought lightly of him, if Governor Rutledge, who was in the American camp, and knew the partisan’s worth, had not recommended him to the notice of that general. Gates listened to his modestly-expressed opinions respecting the campaign, but was too conceited to regard them seriously, or to offer to Marion a place in his army. While he was in Gates’s camp, the Whigs of Williamsburg District, who had arisen in arms, sent for him to be their commander. Governor Rutledge gave him the commission of a brigadier on the spot, and he hastened to organize that brigade, which we shall hereafter meet frequently among the swamps, the broad Savannahs, and by the water-courses of the South. 6

Fort Motte, where the brave Marion exhibited his skill and courage, was the principal depôt of the convoys between Charleston and Camden, and also for those destined for Granby and Ninety-Six. The British had taken possession of the fine large mansion of Mrs. Rebecca Motte, 7 a widow of fortune, which occupied a commanding position. They surrounded it with a deep trench (a part of which is yet visible), and along the interior margin of it erected a high parapet. Mrs. Motte and her family, known to be inimical to the British, were driven to her farm-house, upon a hill north of the mansion, and their place was supplied by a garrison of one hundred and fifty men, under Captain M‘Pherson, a brave British officer. After Colonel Watson eluded the pursuit of Marion and Lee, and crossed the Congaree (see page 474), those indefatigable partisans moved upon Fort Motte. A few hours before their arrival at that place, M‘Pherson was re-enforced by a small detachment of dragoons sent from Charleston with dispatches for Lord Rawdon. They were on the point of leaving, when Marion and Lee appeared upon the height at the farm-house where Mrs. Motte was residing.

After cautiously reconnoitering, Lee took position at the farm-house, and his men, with the field-piece sent to them by Greene, occupied the eastern declivity of the high plain on which Fort Motte stood. This gentle declivity is a little southwest of the rail-way station, in full view of passengers upon the road. Marion immediately cast up a mound (see page 477), upon which he planted the six-pounder, in a position to rake the northern face of the parapet of the fort, against which Lee prepared to approach. M‘Pherson had no artillery, and his safety depended upon timely extraneous aid, either from Camden or Ninety-Six.

Between the height on which Lee was posted and Fort Motte is a narrow vale, which allowed the assailants to approach within four hundred yards of the fort. From that vale they began to advance by a parallel, which, by the assistance of some negroes from neighboring plantations, was sufficiently advanced by the tenth [May, 1781.] to warrant the Americans in demanding a surrender. A flag was accordingly dispatched, with a formal summons, but M‘Pherson gallantly refused compliance. That evening, intelligence of Rawdon’s retreat from Camden toward Nelson’s Ferry was communicated to the Americans, and in the course of the night a courier from Greene confirmed the report. Delay would be dangerous, for Rawdon, with his superior force, could easily repulse them. Early on the morning of the eleventh, the light of his beacon-fires were seen on the high hills of Santee, and that night their gleamings upon the highest ground of the country, opposite Fort Motte, gave great joy to the beleagured garrison. To batter down the enemy’s works with the field-piece, or to approach by a trench, was too slow for the exigency of the case. The fertile mind of Lee, full of expedients, suggested a quicker plan for dislodging the garrison. The mansion of Mrs. Motte, in the center of the enemy’s works, was covered with shingles, now very dry, for no rain had fallen for several days, and the rays of the sun were powerful. To communicate fire to this mansion was Lee’s expedient. That officer had enjoyed the hospitality of Mrs. Motte during the siege, and her only marriageable daughter was then the wife of his friend, Major Thomas Pinckney. These circumstances made it a painful duty for him to propose the destruction of her property. Her cheerful acquiescence, and even patriotic desire to be able to serve her country by such a sacrifice, gave him joy and, communicating his plan to Marion, they hastened to execute it. It was proposed to hurl ignited combustibles upon the roof of the house, by arrows. These were prepared, when Mrs. Motte, observing their inferiority, brought out a fine bow and a bundle of arrows which had been brought from the East Indies, and presented them to Lee. On the morning of the twelfth [May, 1781.], Lee sent Dr. Irvine, of his cavalry, with a flag, to state truly the relative position of the belligerents; that Rawdon had not yet crossed the Santee, and that immediate surrender would save many lives. M‘Pherson still refused compliance and at meridian, when the ditch was advanced within bow-shot of the fort, several arrows from the hand of Nathan Savage, a private in Marion’s brigade, winged their way, with lighted torches, toward the house. Two struck the dry shingles, and instantly a bright flame crept along the roof. Soldiers were ordered up to knock off the shingles and put out the fire, when one or two shots from Marion’s battery, raking the loft, drove them below. M‘Pherson hung out a white flag, the firing ceased, the flames were extinguished, and at one o’clock the garrison surrendered themselves prisoners of war. By invitation of Mrs. Motte, both the victorious and the captive officers partook of a sumptuous dinner from her table, while she presided with all the coolness and easy politeness for which she was remarkable when surrounded by friends in the enjoyment of peace. 8

The prisoners were treated with great humanity, notwithstanding some of them were Tories of a most obnoxious stamp. As soon as paroled, they were sent off to Lord Rawdon, then crossing the Santee at Nelson’s Ferry, near Eutaw Springs. The fall of Fort Motte greatly alarmed that officer, and two days afterward [May 14.], he blew up the fortifications at Nelson’s Ferry, and hastened toward Charleston. During the day of the capitulation, Greene arrived with a small troop of cavalry, being anxious to know the result of the siege, for he was aware Rawdon was hastening to the relief of the garrison. 9 Finding every thing secure, he returned to his camp, then on the north side of the Congaree, after ordering Marion to proceed against Georgetown, toward the head of Winyaw Bay, near the coast, and directing Lee with his legion, and Captain Finley with his six pounder, to attack Fort Granby, thirty-two miles above Fort Motte, near the present city of Columbia. Thither we will presently proceed.

About a mile eastward of Fort Motte is the residence of Charles Thomson, Esq., known as Belleville. It was taken possession of, stockaded, and garrisoned by the Loyalists for a while. The fine old mansion, which I am told exhibits many bullet-marks made by some Whigs, who attacked a party of Tories stationed in the house, was owned by William Thomson, who, next to Moultrie, was most conspicuous in the battle on Sullivan’s Island, at the entrance to Charleston harbor, in 1776. I intended to visit Belleville, but it was so late when I had finished dinner with Mr. Love, that I was obliged to mount one of his horses and hasten to the station to take passage for Columbia. While waiting for the cars, the overseer of a plantation near requested me to write a pass for a sick female slave, whom he was about to send to her master at Columbia for medical aid. Regardless of the penalty, 10 I wrote upon a card from my port-folio, "PASS DIDO TO COLUMBIA, January 19, 1849. J. SMOKE." Two hours afterward I was there also, but did not again see the namesake of the Queen of Carthage.

Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, is a fine town, handsomely located upon a high plain three or four miles in extent, a little below the junction of the Broad and Saluda Rivers, where they form the Congaree. It was laid out in 1787, when the region around it was very sparsely populated. The Legislature first met there in 1790. There was a settlement on each side of the river, about two miles below, called Granby, which was a point of departure for the wilderness of the Cherokee country. The climate is mild and salubrious; and Columbia promises to be, from its geographical and political situation, a large inland city. It is the favored seat of learning in the state, the South Carolina College and Theological Seminary of South Carolina and Georgia being located there.


The morning after my arrival in Columbia was very inclement. A cold drizzle, which iced every thing out of doors, made me defer my visit to Fort Granby until noon, when, seeing no prospect of abatement, I procured a conveyance, and crossing the great bridge over the Congaree, rode to the house of James Cacey, Esq., the "Fort Granby" of the Revolution, two miles below. It is a strong frame building, two stories in height, and stands upon an eminence near the Charleston road, within three fourths of a mile of Friday’s Ferry, upon the Congaree. It overlooks ancient Granby and the country around. Several houses of the old village are there, but the solitude of desolation prevails, for not a family remains. Mr. Cacey was a hopeless invalid, yet he was able to give me many interesting reminiscences connected with that locality, 11 and I passed an hour very pleasantly with him and his family.

The dwelling of Mr. Cacey was originally built by some gentlemen of Pine Tree (Camden) as a store-house for cotton and other products of the country, whence they were sent upon flat-boats down the river to the sea-board. When the chain of military posts from Camden to Charleston was established, this building, eligibly located, was fortified, and called Fort Granby. A ditch was digged around it; a strong parapet was raised; bastions were formed; batteries were arranged; and an abatis was constructed. The garrison consisted of three hundred and fifty men, chiefly Loyalists, with a few mounted Hessians, under the command of Major Maxwell (a refugee from the eastern shore of Maryland), of the Prince of Wales’s regiment. He was neither brave nor experienced, and the want of these qualities of the commandant being known to Lee, he felt no hesitation in attacking him in his strong position. Detaching a small troop of cavalry, under Captain Armstrong, to watch the movements of Rawdon, Lee pushed forward with his usual celerity, to the investment of Fort Granby. Sumter, instead of joining Greene before Camden, had made a demonstration against Fort Granby, a few days before, but finding it too strong for his small arms, had retired, and marched to attack the British post at Orangeburg, fifty miles below. Lee arrived in the vicinity of the fort on the evening of the fourteenth of May [1781.], the day on which Sumter took possession of Orangeburg; and in the edge of a wood, within six hundred yards of the fort, he began the erection of a battery. A dense fog the next morning enabled him to complete it, and mount the six pounder brought by Captain Finley from Fort Motte, before they were discovered by the garrison. When the fog rolled away, Captain Finley discharged his cannon, and, at the same moment, the legion infantry advanced, took an advantageous position, and opened a fire upon the enemy’s pickets. This sudden annunciation of the presence of an enemy, and his imposing display, alarmed Maxwell excessively, and he received Captain Eggleston, who was sent with a flag to demand a surrender, with great respect. After a brief consultation with his officers, the major agreed to surrender the fort, on condition that private property of every, sort, without an investigation of title, should be left in the hands of its possessors; 12 that the garrison should be permitted to retire to Charleston as prisoners of war, until exchanged; that the militia should be held in the same manner as the regulars; and that an escort, charged with the protection of persons and property, should attend the prisoners to Rawdon’s camp. Lieutenant-colonel Lee’s practice was always to restore plundered property, when captured, to the rightful owners; yet, knowing the danger of delay, with Rawdon so near, he acquiesced, on the condition that all the horses fit for public service should be left. To this the mounted Hessians objected, and the negotiations were suspended. During this suspense, Captain Armstrong arrived with the intelligence that Rawdon had crossed the Santee, and was moving upon Fort Motte. Lee waved the exception; the capitulation was signed, and before noon Captain Rudulph raised the American flag on one of the bastions, and the captive garrison marched, with its escort, for Rawdon’s camp. 13 Among the spoils of victory were two pieces of cannon, and a considerable quantity of ammunition, salt, and liquor. It was a glorious, because almost a bloodless victory, for no life was lost.

On the surrender of the fort, Lee dispatched a messenger to Greene, who with great expedition had pressed forward, and was within a few miles of Friday’s Ferry. He crossed that ferry, and on the evening of the fifteenth [May, 1781.] encamped upon Ancram’s plantation, near the river, where the victors and the main army had a joyous meeting. During the night a courier from Fort Motte announced the fact that Rawdon had retreated, after a day’s march, toward that post, destroyed the works at Nelson’s Ferry, and was pushing on toward Charleston. Early in the morning another courier came with the cheering intelligence of Sumter’s success at Orangeburg [May 14.], and the seventeenth of May was a day of rejoicing by the little American army at Fort Granby.

Resting one day, General Greene moved toward Ninety-Six, which place he reached on the twenty-second of May. In the mean while, he strengthened Lee’s legion by the addition of some North Carolina levies under Major Eaton, and then directed him to hasten toward Augusta, on the Savannah River, to join Pickens, who, with a body of militia, was in the vicinity of that post. We will follow them presently.

The house of Mr. Cacey yet bears many "honorable scars" made by the bullets of Lee’s infantry; and in the gable toward the river, between the chimney and a window (indicated by a black spot in the engraving), is an orifice, formed by the passage of a six-pound ball from Finley’s field-piece. In one of the rooms are numerous marks made by an ax when cutting up meat for the use of the garrison; and an old log barn near, which stood within the intrenchments, has also many bullet scars.

I returned to Columbia at four o’clock, where I remained until Monday morning.

While at Columbia, I met a gentleman from Abbeville District, in the vicinity of old Fort Ninety-Six. He informed me that the traveling was wretched, and quite dangerous in that direction, and that nothing of Revolutionary interest worth visiting yet remained at that military post, now the pleasant village of Cambridge, seventy-nine miles westward of Columbia. He also informed me that a gentleman of Cambridge, who was familiar with every historical event in his neighborhood, would cheerfully communicate all I could possibly learn by a personal visit. Willing to avoid a long and tedious journey unless it was necessary, I wrote to that gentleman, and by his kind and prompt compliance I am furnished with all necessary details respecting the locality, together with the plan of the fortification, printed on page 485 {original text has "691".}. We will here consider the events which render Ninety-Six historically famous.

Old Ninety-Six was so called because it was within ninety-six miles of the frontier fort, Prince George, which was upon the Keowee River, in the present Pickens District. Its locality is in the eastern part of Abbeville District, near the borders of Edgefield, and within six miles of the Saluda River. No portion of the state suffered more during the war than the district around Ninety-Six. Like the neutral ground in West Chester, New York, Whig nor Tory could dwell there in peace, for armed bands of each were continually disturbing the inhabitants, and in close proximity were the hostile Cherokees, ready, when they dared, to scourge the settlers.

The little village of Ninety-Six was stockaded to defend it from the incursions of the Indians; and when, after the fall of Charleston, the British established several posts in the interior, its location and salubrity indicated it as an important point for a fortification. It was in a position to maintain a communication with the Indians, keep in check the Whig settlements west of it, and cover those of the Loyalists in other directions; and it afforded an excellent recruiting-station for the concentration of Tory material in that quarter.

Ninety-Six was garrisoned by about five hundred and fifty Loyalists, three hundred and fifty of whom were from New York and New Jersey, 14 and the remainder were South Carolina Tories, under Colonel King, the whole commanded by Lieutenant-colonel John Cruger, a native of the city of New York. Cruger was an energetic officer, and possessed the entire confidence of his superiors in the royal army. He did not receive instructions from Rawdon when that officer abandoned Camden, for Sumter cut off all communications; therefore, he had not prepared to evacuate Ninety-Six and join Colonel Browne at Augusta, as Rawdon desired him to do. When he learned that Greene was approaching Camden, he began to strengthen his works; and when informed that Lee, with his legion, had got between him and the post at Augusta, and that Greene was approaching to besiege him, his garrison labored night and day still further to strengthen the defenses. Already he had built a stockade fort on the borders of the village, in addition to a star redoubt. This was strengthened; a parapet was raised; a ditch was dug around it, and a covered way, communicating with the palisaded village, was prepared. Block-houses, formed of notched logs, were erected on the northeastern side of the village, near where a star redoubt was constructed. Before Greene reached there, Cruger’s energy and skill had so directed the efforts of the garrison, under the superintendence of Lieutenant Haldane, one of Cornwallis’s aids, that the place presented an apparently insurmountable strength against the attacks of Greene’s little army of a thousand men.

In the mean while, Marion and Sumter were directed to keep watch between the Santee and Edisto Rivers, and hold Rawdon in check, if he should attempt to march to the relief of either Ninety-Six or Augusta, now menaced by the Americans; while Lee, who left Fort Granby, with his legion, in the evening after its capture, was scouring the country between those two posts, and proceeding to form a junction with Pickens. Informed that quite a large quantity of powder, balls, small arms, liquor, salt, blankets, and other articles, intended for the Indians, and much wanted by the Americans, were deposited at Fort Galphin (sometimes called Fort Dreadnought), a small stockade at Silver Bluff, upon the Carolina side of the Savannah, twelve miles below Augusta, 15 he hastened thither to capture them. On the morning of the twenty-first of May [1781.], he reached the vicinity, and Captain Rudulph, with some of the legion infantry, gallantly rushed upon the fort, while a small body of militia attacked the garrison from another quarter. With the loss of only one man, the fort, with all its contents, was captured by the Americans. After resting a few hours, Lee ordered Major Eggleston, who was a Continental officer, to cross the Savannah, join bodies of militia in that neighborhood, proceed to Augusta with a flag, inform Colonel Browne of the approach of Greene, and demand an instant surrender of Forts Cornwallis and Grierson, at that place. The events which followed will be detailed in another chapter.


This plan is from a sketch sent to me by James M. M‘Cracken, Esq., of Cambridge, South Carolina. a indicates the spring, with a rivulet running from it; b, a stockade fort; c, the old jail, which was also fortified; d, the court-house; e, star redoubt; f, first mine, traces of which are yet visible; g g g g, the besieging encampments; h h h, stockades inclosing the village; i, the covered way from the stockade fort to the lines around the village.

Greene arrived before Ninety-Six on the twenty-second of May [1781.], with less than one thousand regulars 17 and a few undisciplined militia. He found quite a strong fort, well situated. On the left of the village, in a valley, was a spring and rivulet, which furnished water to the garrison. On the western side of this rivulet, upon an eminence, was a stockade fort, and upon the other side, near the village, was a fortified jail. These were to defend the water of the rivulet, for none could be had within the town. Eastward of the village stood the principal work, a star redoubt, consisting of sixteen angles, salient and re-entering, with a ditch and abatis, and furnished with three pieces of cannon. Every thing was judiciously arranged for defense, and Lieutenant-colonel Cruger defied Greene when he appeared.

Colonel Kosciuszko was with Greene, and under his direction the besiegers began approaches by parallels. They broke ground near the star redoubt on the evening of the twenty-second. Perceiving this, Cruger placed his three cannons upon a platform, in that direction, before noon the next day, and manned the parapet with infantry. Under cover of these, a sally party, under Lieutenant Roney, rushed out upon the besiegers, drove the guards back toward the lines, bayoneted all who fell in the way, destroyed the American works as far as they had progressed, and carried off all of the intrenching tools. Lieutenant Roney was mortally wounded, and that was all the loss the enemy sustained. All this was accomplished with great gallantry, before a detachment sent by Greene to re-enforce Kosciuszko, arrived upon the ground. Kosciuszko now commenced another approach to the star redoubt. He broke ground on the night of the twenty-third, under cover of a ravine, and day by day slowly approached the fortress. In the mean while, Pickens and Lee besieged and captured Forts Cornwallis and Grierson at Augusta, and hastened to the assistance of Greene. Lee arrived on the eighth of June [1781.], and Pickens soon afterward joined him. These active partisans were directed to attack the enemy’s works on the west. They immediately commenced regular approaches to the stockade to cut off the enemy’s supply of water; and at a proper distance from it erected a battery to cover further approaches, and planted a six pounder upon it, under the direction of Lieutenant Finn. Cruger saw the inevitable destruction of the garrison when these parallels, made slowly, day by day, should be completed. He had found means to inform Lord Rawdon of his critical situation, and hourly he expected aid from him. To gain time for this succor to arrive, he made nightly sallies, and bloody encounters frequently occurred, while almost daily the American foraging parties were attacked by bands of Tories. 18 Yet slowly and surely the Americans approached; and when the second parallel was completed, Greene sent Colonel Williams to demand a surrender, with promises of kind treatment. Cruger promptly replied that he should defend the fort till the last extremity, and regarded neither the threats nor the promises of the American general. A battery, constructed in the second parallel, now opened upon the redoubt, and under its cover Kosciuszko pressed forward his approach with vigor. On the eleventh [June 1781.], Greene received a dispatch from Sumter, announcing the startling intelligence that on the third, a fleet arrived from Ireland with re-enforcements for Rawdon, consisting of three regiments, a detachment from the Guards, and a considerable body of volunteers, under the command of Lieutenant-colonel Gould. Rawdon had been anxiously awaiting at Monk’s Corner, near Charleston, this propitious event. He had heard of the fall of Fort Cornwallis at Augusta and the investment of Ninety-Six, but with his small force, and Marion and Sumter before him, he dared not march to the aid of Cruger. On the arrival of these troops, he repaired to Charleston, and on the seventh [June.] marched to the relief of Ninety-Six, with seventeen hundred foot and one hundred and fifty horse. A few other troops from his camp at Monk’s Corner joined him, and with more than two thousand men he proceeded toward Orangeburg. Greene dispatched Pickens to the aid of Sumter, and ordered Marion from the lower country to joint them in retarding the advance of the royal army. They could do little to oppose him, and Greene began to despair of reducing the garrison to submission before Rawdon’s arrival.

The besiegers now deplored the fact that earlier attention had not been bestowed upon attempts on the western side to deprive the garrison of water, and thus force a capitulation. To this object the chief efforts were now directed, and the most effectual step to accomplish it was to destroy the stockade. The method of approaches was too slow, and it was resolved to endeavor to burn it. A dark storm was gathering, and toward evening, covered by its impending blackness, a sergeant and nine privates, with combustibles, cautiously approached, and four of them gained the ditch. While in the act of applying the fire, they were discovered. A volley of musketry was immediately opened upon them, and the sergeant and five of his party were killed; the other four escaped. The attempt was unsuccessful.

On the evening of the nineteenth, a countryman was seen riding along the American lines south of the town, talking familiarly with officers and soldiers. It was a circumstance too common to excite special notice. At length, reaching the great road leading directly into the town, he put spurs to his horse, and, amid a storm of bullets, rode safely to the gate, holding a letter in his raised hand. He was received with the greatest joy, for he was the bearer of a dispatch from Lord Rawdon, announcing his approach with a large force. The beleaguered garrison, almost on the point of surrendering (for this was the first intelligence Cruger had received from Rawdon since his evacuation of Camden), were animated with fresh hope, while the besiegers, aware of the approach of succor for the besieged, were nerved to greater exertions. They completed their parallels, and commenced the erection of a Mayham Tower, 19 from which to fire into the star redoubt. To guard against this advantage of height, Major Greene, the commander of the redoubt, piled bags of sand upon the parapets. On the morning of the seventeenth, a general fire was opened upon the works, and so effectual was it upon the stockade and its vicinity, that the garrison was deprived of water from the rivulet. Had this advantage been maintained, and Rawdon been delayed thirty hours longer, Cruger must have surrendered.

Rawdon managed to elude the vigilance of Sumter, after passing Orangeburg, and now approached Ninety-Six. Greene perceived that he must either storm the works at once, fight Rawdon, or retire. He determined upon the former; and at noon on the eighteenth [June, 1781.], the Mayham Tower being completed, and two trenches and a mine nearly let into the enemy’s ditch, the center battery opened upon the star, as a signal for a general attack. Lieutenant-colonel Campbell, of the first Virginia regiment, with a detachment from the Maryland and Virginia brigades, led the attack on the left; Lieutenant-colonel Lee, with Kirkwood’s Delawares, advanced on the right; Lieutenants Duval, of Maryland, and Selden, of Virginia, commanded the forlorn hope of Campbell; and Captain Rudulph that of Lee. Riflemen were stationed in the tower, fascines were constructed to fill the ditch, and long poles, with iron hooks, were prepared to pull down the sand-bags from the parapets. Campbell and Lee rushed to the assault simultaneously. Cruger received the attack with firmness, and, from apertures between the sand-bags, Colonel Greene’s riflemen did great execution. Duval and Selden boldly entered the ditch, and commenced pulling down the sand-bags. The parapet bristled with pikes and bayonets, yet they could not reach the assailants. Rapidly the bags were disappearing in the ditch below, and Campbell was pressing to ascend the parapet and fight hand to hand with the garrison, when Captain French, of Delancey’s corps, and Captain Campbell, of New Jersey, issued from a sally-port of the star redoubt with a few men, and taking opposite directions in the ditch, fiercely assailed Duval and Selden, at the same time, with bayonets. Terrible was the conflict which followed. The brave patriots were assailed both in front and overhead, yet they maintained their ground for some minutes. At length both leaders of the forlorn hope were wounded, and the whole party retreated to the trenches.

While this bloody scene was transpiring at the star redoubt, one more successful effort for the besiegers occurred at the stockade. Rudulph made his way into the fort, and the enemy, with some prisoners, 20 hastily retreated to the main works. This advantage Lee intended to follow up, by entering the town, assailing the fortified jail, and then to assist in reducing the star redoubt; but General Greene, perceiving the slaughter in the ditch, and desirous of saving his troops, ordered Lee to do nothing more than to hold the stockade he had gained. Greene then sent a flag to Cruger, proposing a cessation of hostilities for the purpose of burying the dead. Cruger refused, claiming that service for the victor, whoever he might be. Believing the reduction of the post to be doubtful before the arrival of Rawdon, and unwilling to encounter that general’s superior force, Greene withdrew the detachment from the stockade, and prepared for a general retreat. Thus ended the siege of Ninety-Six, which continued twenty-seven days. During this siege, the Americans lost about one hundred and fifty men in killed, wounded, and missing. Captain Armstrong, of the Maryland line, a most valuable officer, was shot through the head, during the assault on the eighteenth, and fell dead. He was the only American officer who was killed. Captain Benson, also of the Maryland line, was severely wounded in the neck and shoulder. The exact loss of the besieged was not reported.

On the evening of the nineteenth, Greene raised the siege, crossed the Saluda, [June 20, 1781.] and rapidly retreated toward the Ennoree. 21 He had communicated to Sumter notice of the events of the eighteenth, advised him of the route of his retreat, and ordered the corps in his front, with the cavalry of Washington, to join him as speedily as possible.

On the morning of the twenty-first, Rawdon and his army reached Ninety-Six, and were welcomed with every expression of joy. Cruger was greatly and justly applauded for his gallant defense. On the same evening, when their mutual congratulations had ceased, and his army, after forced marches for fourteen days, were rested, Rawdon started in pursuit of Greene. He was eager to strike and utterly destroy or disperse his little army; regain the various posts he had lost; scatter the partisan forces of Marion and Sumter; revive the hopes and energies of the Loyalists, and thus strengthen the power of Cornwallis, who at this time was devastating Lower Virginia. Rawdon crossed the Saluda in quest of Greene (who had now got beyond the Tyger, in Union District), and gained the banks of the Ennoree, where he acquired information which convinced him that further pursuit would be useless, and with his wearied troops he returned to Ninety-Six.

When Greene heard of the retrograde movement of Rawdon, he halted, and ordered Lieutenant-colonel Lee to follow the enemy with his corps, for the purpose of obtaining intelligence. Greene had intended to retreat to Charlotte, but now his future movements depended upon those of his adversary. Lee soon ascertained that Rawdon had determined to abandon Ninety-Six, and to join a force under Colonel Stewart, whom he had ordered to advance from Charleston to Friday’s Ferry at Granby; while Colonel Cruger, with his garrison and those Loyalists, with their property, who might choose to follow, were to march directly to Orangeburg. While Rawdon was thus preparing to abandon the upper country, Sumter intercepted a letter to that officer from Colonel Balfour at Charleston, informing him that he had recalled Stewart after he had commenced his march for Friday’s Ferry. This letter was sent to Greene, who immediately directed his hospital and heavy baggage, then at Winnsborough, to be forwarded to Camden, while he prepared to pursue Rawdon with all his force. He sent Lee to gain the front of the British army before it should reach Friday’s Ferry, and dispatched messages to Marion and Sumter, ordering them to take a similar position. 22 Lee accomplished his purpose, and in a skirmish with a part of his corps, under Captain Eggleston, a foraging party of fifty or sixty dragoons, with some wagons, were captured and sent to Greene’s camp, then on the banks of the Saluda, near its junction with the Broad River at Columbia. Rawdon, not meeting with Stuart, and ignorant of the cause of his delay, was baffled, and turning southward, pushed on toward Orangeburg, unwilling now to encounter the Americans, for he had only a thousand men with him. In the mean while, Stuart had again marched from Charleston; and Marion and Lieutenant-colonel Washington being engaged in retarding his progress, did not join Lee until the morning of the tenth of July, when that officer and his corps were upon Beaver Creek, in the present Lexington District.

Rawdon halted at Orangeburg, with the intention of establishing a post there, and awaiting the arrival of Cruger and his Loyalists. Greene, advancing rapidly, approached that place with a force now augmented to almost two thousand men, before the British general had time properly to arrange his camp and cast up defenses. Rawdon’s force, though inferior to Greene’s, was so strongly posted and furnished with artillery, that the latter was unwilling to hazard an assault, particularly as Cruger was hourly expected at Orangeburg. As the heat of the season was oppressive, provisions scarce, and sickness increasing among his troops, he crossed the Congaree, and encamped upon the high hills of Santee, where salubrious air and excellent water soon restored the vigor of his army. Sumter, Marion, and Lee were ordered to make rapid marches toward Charleston, beat up the British quarters at Dorchester and Monk’s Corner, cut off convoys between Rawdon and the capital, and then join the main army upon the Santee Hills. Here we will leave the belligerents for a moment.

I left Columbia at seven o’clock on Monday morning [Jan. 23, 1849.], and was at Orangeburg, fifty-one miles distant, at half past nine. The weather was delightful. A dreamy haziness was in the atmosphere, and the air was as mild as early June. Leaving my baggage at the rail-way station, I strolled over that village and vicinity, for an hour, with a gentleman from Columbia, who was familiar with its historical localities. The village (which was settled as early as 1735) is beautifully situated upon a gently-rolling plain, near the banks of the Edisto (which is here skirted with swamps), and contains about four hundred inhabitants. There are several elegant dwellings standing upon each side of the broad street extending from the rail-way to the heart of the village, all shaded by lofty trees. It is about eighty miles west of Charleston, and being the seat of justice, is the largest town in Orange District. It has a handsome court-house and jail, and is regularly laid out. The old jail, which the British fortified while they occupied the place, was built of brick, in 1770, and stood upon the crown of the gentle hill, a few yards northwest of the old court-house (represented in the picture), which is yet standing.


The court-house is a frame building, and was used for a blacksmith’s shop when I was there. The two trees seen on the left are venerable Pride-of-Indias, choice shade-trees of the South. This edifice exhibited several bullet-marks, the effect of Sumter’s assault in 1781. After sketching this – the only remaining relic of the Revolution at Orangeburg, except some vestiges of the works cast up by Rawdon, half a mile westward, near the Edisto – I hired a horse and gig to visit Eutaw Springs, about forty miles distant, near the south bank of the Santee. It was with great difficulty that I could ascertain their probable distance from Orangeburg; and the person from whom I procured a conveyance supposed it to be twenty-five or thirty miles. His price was determined by the distance, and he was agreeably surprised, on my return, to learn that I had traveled eighty miles. Before departing on this journey, let us consider for a moment the Revolutionary events which distinguish Orangeburg.

Orangeburg was one of the chain of military posts established by the British after the fall of Charleston [May, 1780.]. The jail was fortified and garrisoned by about seventy militia and a dozen regulars. Sumter, when marching to join Greene at Camden, according to orders, conceived a plan for capturing Fort Granby, and therefore did not re-enforce his general. He began the siege successfully, when, learning the fact that Rawdon had ordered the evacuation of Orangeburg, he left Colonel Taylor, with a strong party, to maintain the siege of Fort Granby, while he should strike the garrison at the former place, before it should retire. By a rapid march he reached Orangeburg on the morning of the eleventh of May [1781.], and, after one or two volleys, the garrison surrendered themselves unconditional prisoners of war. Paroling his prisoners, Sumter hastened toward Fort Granby; but before his arrival, Lee had invested and reduced it, allowing, as we have seen (page 483), the most favorable terms. Sumter was incensed at the conduct of Lee, for he felt that he had not only snatched from him the laurels he had almost won, but that he had hastened the capitulation, and allowed favorable terms, in order to accomplish the surrender before Sumter could arrive. No doubt the garrison would have surrendered unconditionally, if besieged a day or two longer. Sumter sent an indignant letter of complaint to Greene, inclosing his commission. Greene, knowing his worth, returned it to him with many expressions of regard, and Sumter, sacrificing private resentment for the good of the cause, remained in the army.

On the day after Rawdon’s arrival at Orangeburg, he was joined by Lieutenant-colonel Stewart, with the third regiment from Ireland, called the Buffs, whom Rawdon had ordered from Charleston. The retirement of Greene to the high hills of Santee, and the rendezvous there of the several corps of Marion, Sumter, and Lee, indicating a present cessation of hostilities, Lord Rawdon proceeded to Charleston, and embarked for Europe, for the purpose of recruiting his health. 23 The command of all the troops in the field now devolved upon Colonel Stuart. That officer soon left Orangeburg, and, moving forward, encamped upon the Congaree, near its junction with the Wateree. The two armies were only sixteen miles apart by air line, but two rivers rolled between, and they could not meet without making a circuit of seventy miles. Stuart’s foraging parties soon spread over the country. Marion was detached toward the Combahee Ferry, and Washington went across the Wateree to disperse them. Many brisk skirmishes ensued. In the mean time, Greene was re-enforced by a brigade of Continental troops from North Carolina, under General Sumner. 24 Intent upon the recovery of South Carolina, he determined, with his augmented strength, to attack the enemy. He left the Santee Hills on the twenty-second of August [1781.], with about twenty-six hundred men (only sixteen hundred of whom were fit for active service), crossed the Wateree at the Camden Ferry, and made rapid marches to Friday’s Ferry, on the Congaree. There he was joined by General Pickens, with the militia of Ninety-Six, and a body of South Carolina state troops recently organized, under Colonel Henderson. On hearing of Greene’s approach, Stuart decamped from Orangeburg, and pitched his tents at Eutaw Springs, forty miles below, vigorously pursued by the Americans. Thither let us proceed, where we shall meet the two armies in terrible conflict.

I left Orangeburg for Eutaw Springs at eleven o’clock [Jan. 26, 1849.]. The day was so warm that the shade of the pine forests was very refreshing. My horse was fleet, the gig light, the road level and generally fine, and at sunset I arrived at the house of Mr. Avinger (Vances’s Ferry post-office), thirty miles distant. About fourteen miles from Orangeburg I crossed the Four-hole Swamp, 25 upon a narrow causeway of logs and three bridges. The distance is about a mile, and a gloomier place can not well be imagined. On either side was a dense undergrowth of shrubs, closely interlaced with vines; and above, draped with moss, towered lofty cypresses and gums. At two o’clock I passed one of those primitive school-houses, built of logs (for portrait, see next page), which the traveler meets occasionally in the South. It stood in the edge of a wood, and in front was a fine Pride-of-India Tree, under which the teacher sat listening to the efforts of half a dozen children in the science of orthography. The country is very sparsely populated, and many of the children, living four or five miles away from the school-house, are conveyed on horseback by the negro servants. I stopped a moment in conversation with the pedagogue, who was a Vermonter, one of those New England people described by Halleck as

"Wandering through the Southern countries, teaching

The A B C from Webster’s Spelling-book;
Gallant and godly, making love and preaching."

He appeared satisfied with his success in each vocation, and hinted that the daughter of a neighboring planter had promised him her heart and hand. When obtained, he intended to cultivate cotton and maize, instead of the dull intellects of other people’s children.


I passed the night at Mr. Avinger’s, and very early in the morning departed for Eutaw, ten miles distant. I was now upon the Congaree road, and found the traveling somewhat heavier than upon ways less used. About three miles from Avinger’s, I passed Burdell’s plantation, where the American army encamped the night before the battle of Eutaw. It was another glorious morning, and at sunrise I was greeted with the whistle of the quail, the drum of the partridge, the sweet notes of the robin and blue-bird, and the querulous cadences of the cat-bird, all summer tenants of our Northern forests. They appeared each to carol a brief matin hymn at sunrise, and were silent the remainder of the day. I saw several mocking-birds, but they flitted about in silence, taking lessons, I suppose, from their Northern friends, to be sung during their absence.

"Winged mimic of the woods! thou motley fool!

Who shall thy gay buffoonery describe?
Thine ever ready notes of ridicule
Pursue thy fellows still with jest and gibe:
Wit, sophist, songster, YORICK of thy tribe,
Thou sportive satirist of Nature’s school!"

Occasionally a wild turkey would start from a branch, or a filthy buzzard alight by the wayside, until, as I came suddenly upon a water-course, a wild fawn that stood lapping from the clear stream wheeled and bounded away among the evergreens of the wood.

At about eight o’clock, I arrived at the elegant mansion of William Sinkler, Esq., upon whose plantation are the celebrated Eutaw Springs. It stands in the midst of noble shade-trees, half a mile from the high-way, and is approached by a lane fringed with every variety of evergreen tree and shrub which beautify Southern scenery in winter. I was courteously received by the proprietor; and when the object of my visit was made known, he ordered his horse and accompanied me to the springs and the field of battle, which are about half a mile eastward of his mansion. The springs present a curious spectacle, being really but the first and second apparition of the same subterranean stream. They are a few rods north of the forks of the Canal and the Monk’s Corner roads, at the head of a shallow ravine. The first spring is at the foot of a hill, twenty or thirty feet in height. The water bubbles up, cold, limpid, and sparkling, in large volumes, from two or three orifices, into a basin of rock-marl, and, flowing fifty or sixty yards, descends, rushing and foaming, into a cavern beneath a high ridge of marl 26 covered with alluvium and forest-trees. After traversing its subterraneous way some thirty rods, it reappears upon the other side, where it is a broader stream, and flows gently over a smooth rocky bed toward the Santee, its course marked by tall cypresses, draped with moss. The whole length of the Eutaw Creek, in all its windings, is only about two miles. Where it first bubbles from the earth there is sufficient volume to turn a large mill-wheel, but the fountain is so near the level of the Santee at Nelson’s Ferry, where the Eutaw enters, that no fall can be obtained; on the contrary, when the Santee is filled to the brim, the waters flow back to the springs.


Just at the forks of the road, on the side toward the springs, was a clump of trees and shrubbery, which marked the spot where stood a strong brick house, famous as the citadel of the British camp, and a retreat for some of the warriors in the conflict at Eutaw. Nothing of it now remains but the foundation, and a few broken bricks scattered among some plum-trees. Let us sit down here, in the shadow of a cypress, by the bubbling spring, and consider the event when human blood tinged the clear waters of the Eutaw, where patriots fought and died for a holy principle.

"They saw their injured country’s woe,

The flaming town, the wasted field;
Then marched to meet the insulting foe;
They took the spear, but left the shield!
Led by thy conquering standards, GREENE,
The Britons they compelled to fly:
None distant viewed the fatal plain,
None grieved in such a cause to die;
But, like the Parthians, famed of old,
Who, flying, still their arrows threw;
These routed Britons, full as bold,
Retreated, and retreating, slew. – PHILIP FRENEAU.

At Orangeburg, General Greene was informed that Stuart had been re-enforced by a corps of cavalry, under Brevet-major John Coffin 28 (whose real rank was captain), which Rawdon had formed on his arrival at Charleston. He immediately issued an order [Sept. 4, 1781.] for Marion (who was then, with his command, scouring the country toward the Edisto, in rescuing Colonel Harden from the toils of Major Fraser) to join him, and then pressed forward toward Eutaw. Marion, by a forced night march, reached Laurens’s plantation, 29 a few miles from Eutaw, in advance of the American army, on the fifth. In the mean while, Greene’s army slowly approached the British camp, preceded by Lee’s legion and Henderson’s South Carolina corps. The main army reached Burdell’s plantation, on the Congaree road, within seven miles of Eutaw, on the afternoon of the seventh [Sept., 1781.], and there it encamped for the night.

While the Americans were reposing, two men of Sumner’s North Carolina conscripts deserted to the British lines, and gave Colonel Stuart the first intimation of the close proximity of the Republican army. Stuart regarded them as spies, and would not listen to their information, for his scouts, who were out upon the Congaree road the day before, brought him no intelligence of the approach of Greene. His feelings of security were not disturbed by the deserters, and he sent out his foraging parties in the morning [Sept. 8.], as usual, to collect vegetables. Prudence, however, dictated caution, and he detached Captain Coffin, with his cavalry, as a corps of observation, and, if necessary, to call in the foraging parties.

At dawn on the morning of the eighth, the Americans moved from Burdell’s in two columns, each composed of the troops intended to form the respective lines of battle. Greene’s whole force, according to Lee, 30 amounted to twenty-three hundred men, of whom the Continentals, horse, foot, and artillery, numbered about sixteen hundred. The front or first line was composed of four small battalions of militia – two of North, and two of South Carolinians. One of the South Carolinians was under the immediate command of Brigadier Marion, who commanded the whole front line.

The two North Carolina battalions, under the command of Colonel Malmedy, were posted in the center; and the other South Carolina battalion, under the command of General Pickens, was placed on the left. The second line consisted of three small brigades of Continental troops, one each from North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. The North Carolinians were formed into three battalions, under the command of Lieutenant-colonel Ashe, and Majors Armstrong and Blount; the whole commanded by General Sumner, and posted on the right. The Virginians consisted of two battalions, commanded by Major Snead and Captain Edmonds, and the whole by Lieutenant-colonel Campbell, and were posted in the center. The Marylanders also consisted of two battalions, commanded by Lieutenant-colonel Howard and Major Hardman, the whole brigade by Colonel Otho H. Williams, the deputy adjutant general, and were posted on the left.

Lieutenant-colonel Lee, with his legion, covered the right flank; and Lieutenant-colonel Henderson, with the State troops, commanded by Lieutenant-colonels Polk, 31 Wade Hampton, and Middleton, the left. Lieutenant-colonel Washington, with his horse, and the Delaware troops, under Captain Kirkwood, formed a reserve corps. Two three pounders, under Captain-lieutenant Gaines, advanced with the front line, and two sixes, under Captain Brown, with the second. The legion and the State troops formed the advance.

The British army, under Stuart, at Eutaw, was drawn up in a line extending from the Eutaw Creek, north of the Congaree or Charleston road, near Mr. Sinkler’s mansion, across that high-way and the road leading to Roche’s plantation, an eighth of a mile southward. The Irish Buffs (third regiment) formed the right; Lieutenant-colonel Cruger’s Loyalists the center; and the 63d and 64th veteran regiments the left. Near the creek was a flank battalion of grenadiers and infantry, under Major Majoribanks. These were partially covered and concealed by a thicket on the bank of the stream. To the cavalry of Coffin, and a detachment of infantry held in reserve in the rear, were assigned the support of the left. The artillery was distributed along the front of the line. About fifty yards in the rear of the British line, at the forks of the present Canal and Monk’s Corner roads, was a cleared field. There was their camp, and so certain was Stuart of victory, that he left his tents all standing. Close by the road was a two-story brick house (mentioned on page 493), with servant’s huts around it. This was palisaded, and so likewise was the garden, extending to the Eutaw Creek. 32 This house was intended as a citadel if their line should be forced back. Such was the situation of the two armies at sunrise on the morning of the eighth of September, 1781.

At about eight o’clock, when the Americans were within four miles of Eutaw, Lee fell in with Captain Coffin, who was acting as an escort for a foraging party of about four hundred men. Ignorant of the proximity of the main army of Greene, Coffin attacked Armstrong, who led Lee’s advance. Armstrong fell back to the van, and Lee and Henderson received the assault with spirit. A severe skirmish ensued, when Lee’s cavalry, under Major Eggleston, gained Coffin’s flank, and attacked him in the rear. The firing drew out the foraging party into the road, when the whole fled precipitately, pursued by Lee’s dragoons. Many of Coffin’s infantry were killed, and the captain and forty men were made prisoners. Some of the cavalry were also slain, and many of the foraging party were captured.

This little success inspirited the Americans, and they pushed forward with vigor. Within a mile of the British camp they encountered another detachment of the enemy, whom Stuart had sent out to aid Coffin and the foragers. It was a surprise for both. While the British fell back a little, Greene quickly prepared for battle, and, pressing forward, the action commenced with spirit in the road and fields, very near the present entrance gate to the seat of Mr. Sinkler. The enemy’s cannon swept the road with a destructive fire until Colonel Williams brought up the artillery of Gaines, in full gallop, and returned their fire with severe effect. The British detachments soon yielded and fell back to their lines, dividing right and left, and taking position on the flanks. The Americans, with their line extended on either side of the road, continued to advance, and at a little past nine opened a sharp fire with musketry and artillery upon the British line. The latter received the attack with great gallantry, and a bloody conflict ensued. The artillery of both parties played incessantly, and a continual fire ran from flank to flank, along the whole line of the militia, while it continued to advance. Stuart was now fully convinced that Greene and his whole army were upon him, and every portion of his line was brought into action. In the mean while, Lee’s legion infantry were warmly engaged with the veteran 63d of the enemy, when the 64th advanced with a part of the center and fell furiously upon Malmedy and his corps. They soon yielded to the pressure, and the enemy’s left pushed forward. Now the corps, under Henderson, sustained not only the fire of the British right, but also of the flank battalion, under Majoribanks. At this moment one of the British field pieces was disabled, and both of Gaines’s three pounders were dismounted. Yet the militia, even when unsupported by artillery, fought with all the skill and bravery of veterans. They faced the storm of grape-shot and bullets until they had fired seventeen rounds, when the 64th and center, who had borne down Malmedy, pressed so powerfully upon inferior numbers, that the militia gave way, while Lee and Henderson continued fighting manfully upon the wings of the retiring patriots.

Greene now ordered up the second line, under General Sumner, to fill the space occupied by the militia. At the same time, the British reserved infantry were brought into action, and these fresh troops fought each other desperately. Colonel Henderson received a wound that disabled him, and temporary confusion ensued. Order was soon restored by Hampton, Polk, and Middleton; but Sumner’s brigade, which was composed chiefly of recruits from the militia, gave way before the fire of superior numbers, and retreated in much confusion. The British pursued so eagerly that their ranks became disordered. The vigilant eye of Greene perceived this, and he instantly issued the order, "Let Williams advance and sweep the field with bayonets." Like a full-winged storm, pregnant with destruction, the Virginians and Marylanders advanced, the former led by Colonel Campbell, the latter by Colonel Williams. When within forty yards of the British, these Continentals delivered their fire, and the whole second line of the Americans rushed forward, with trailed arms and loud shouts, to a bayonet charge.

The confusion of the British was increased by this blow; and as the smoke rolled away and exposed their broken lines, Captain Rudulph, of Lee’s legion, wheeled upon its flank, and swept down many with an enfilading fire. In so close that some of the combatants were mutually transfixed with bayonets. The Marylanders, under Williams, with the Virginians, now pressed upon the British right and center so furiously that the line gave way, and they retreated in confusion. Loud arose a shout of victory from the Americans; but there was, at the same time, occasion for a voice of wail. In the shock which scattered the British line, Colonel Campbell fell, mortally wounded. Informed of the rout of the enemy, he exclaimed, with a faltering voice, like Wolfe at Quebec. "I die contented!" and expired.

When the second line advanced, Majoribanks was ordered to the conflict, and terribly annoyed the American flank. Colonel Washington, with the reserve, and Colonel Wade Hampton, with his corps, were directed to dislodge him. The thicket behind which Majoribanks was covered was impervious to cavalry. Washington perceived a small space between him and Eutaw Creek, and determined, by a quick movement, to gain his rear at that point. Without waiting for Hampton, he divided his cavalry into sections, and, ordering them to wheel to the left, attempted this bold enterprise. It was a fatal step to many of his brave horsemen, for they were brought within range of the enemy’s fire. A terrible volley from behind the thicket rolled many horses and their riders in the dust. They laid strewn upon the ground in every direction. Lieutenant Stuart, of Maryland, who commanded the first section, was badly wounded, and many of his corps were killed or maimed. Lieutenants Simmons and King were also wounded. Washington’s horse was shot dead under him, and as he fell himself, he was cruelly bayoneted. A moment more, and he would have been sacrificed. A British officer kindly interposed, saved his life, and made him prisoner. Of his whole cavalry corps, one half were killed or wounded, with all the officers except two.

Hampton, in the mean time, covered and collected the scattered cavalry; and Kirkwood, with his Delawares, fell upon Majoribanks. The whole British line were now retreating, and Majoribanks fell back to cover the movement. They abandoned their camp, destroyed their stores, and many fled precipitately along the Charleston road; while some rushed for immediate safety into the brick house near the great springs. Majoribanks halted behind the palisades of the garden, with his right upon Eutaw Creek; and Captain Coffin, with his cavalry, took post in the road below, to cover the British left. During the retreat, the Americans captured more than three hundred prisoners and two pieces of cannon. Upon one of these field pieces, Lieutenant Duval, who fought so bravely in the fossé of the star redoubt at Ninety-Six (see page 487), leaped, and, taking off his hat, gave three hearty cheers. A bullet from a retreating soldier brought him to the ground, and, he expired within half an hour afterward.

Although a large portion of the British had retreated, yet the victory was far from complete. Majoribanks was at the garden; a large number of Cruger’s New York Volunteers, under Major Sheridan, were in the brick house; and Stuart was rallying the fugitives in considerable force a little below, on the Charleston road. The American soldiers, considering the conflict over, could not be made to think otherwise by their officers; and instead of dislodging Majoribanks, and pursuing the enemy far away from his camp, they stopped to plunder the stores, drink the liquors, and eat the provisions found in the tents. Many became intoxicated; and others, by over-indulgence in eating, and drinking cold water (for the day was very warm), were disabled. Irretrievable confusion followed; and before order could be restored, the British were forming to regain their lost advantage. A heavy fire was poured from the house upon the Americans in the British camp, and at the same time Majoribanks moved from his covert upon the right, and Coffin upon the left of the disordered Americans.

Fortunately, Lee and his legion had not been tempted to indulge in the sensualities of the camp; and so closely had they followed upon those who fled to the house, that the fugitives prevented the entrance of the Americans only by shutting the doors upon them. By so doing, several of their own number were shut out, among whom were two or three officers. Those of the legion who had followed to the door seized each a prisoner, and interposing him as a shield, retreated back beyond the fire from the windows. 33 The two six pounders belonging to the second line were now brought to bear upon the house, but, being in range of a swivel in the second story, and of the muskets, a large portion of the artillerymen were soon killed or wounded, and they were obliged to withdraw the cannons. At the same time, Coffin was advancing on the left. He had fallen upon Captain Eggleston, and drove him back, and was about to attack those who yet lingered among the British tents, when Colonel Hampton, who had been ordered up to the support of Eggleston, charged upon him so vigorously that he was compelled to retreat. The legion cavalry pursued with so much eagerness that they were in front of Majoribanks, and received a murderous volley from his ranks before they were aware of danger. A great number fell, and the remainder were thrown into confusion. Majoribanks perceived this, sallied out, seized the two field-pieces, and ran them under the windows of the house. One of these was soon rescued by Lieutenant Gaines, and remained with the Americans, a trophy of victory.

At every point success now seemed to be turning against the Americans. Colonel Howard, who had just commenced an attack upon Majoribanks with Oldham’s company, was wounded near the Great Spring, and his troops fell back. At the same time, the broken ranks of Stuart had been united, and were marching up the Charleston road to renew the battle. Despairing of success in the present crippled condition of his army, his battalions all broken, his artillery gone, his cavalry shattered, and many of his best officers wounded, 34 Greene deemed it prudent to retreat. Leaving Colonel Hampton near the British camp with a strong picket, he withdrew, with the remainder of the army, to Burdell’s plantation, seven miles in the rear. The British were contented to repossess themselves of their camp, and did not attempt a pursuit. Both parties claimed the honor of victory; it belonged to neither, but the advantage was with the Americans. The conflict lasted four hours, and was one of the most severely contested battles of the Revolution. Congress and the whole country gave warm expressions of their appreciation of the valor of the patriots. 35


The skill, bravery, caution, and acuteness of Greene was highly applauded; and Congress ordered a gold medal, emblematical of the battle, to be struck in honor of the event, and presented to him, together with a British standard. 37 The loss of both parties, considering the number engaged, was very heavy. The Americans had one hundred and thirty rank and file killed, three hundred and eighty-five wounded, and forty missing; in all, five hundred and fifty-five. There were twenty-two officers killed, and thirty-nine wounded. The loss of the British, according to their own statement, was six hundred and ninety-three men, of whom eighty-five were killed on the field. Including seventy-two wounded, whom they left in their camp when they abandoned it the day after the battle, Greene took five hundred prisoners.

On the day succeeding the battle, Lieutenant-colonel Stuart, confident that he could not maintain his position, decamped for Charleston, after destroying a great quantity of his stores. So precipitate was his retreat, that he left seventy-two of his wounded to be taken care of by the Americans. He also left behind him one thousand stand of arms. He was pursued for some distance, when intelligence being received that Major M‘Arthur was advancing with re-enforcements for Stuart, the Americans returned to their camp. It was fortunate for M‘Arthur that he met Stuart [Sept. 10, 1781.] as soon as he did, for Marion and Lee had been dispatched to fall upon any detachment coming up from Charleston, and were then only a few miles off. Even with this re-enforcement Stuart did not feel strong enough to meet Greene in battle, and he continued his retreat to Monk’s Corner, twenty-five miles from Charleston, leaving the Americans the acknowledged victors at Eutaw.

When Greene was apprised of the positive retreat of Stuart, he followed and pursued him almost to Monk’s Corner. Perceiving the strength of the enemy there, he returned to Eutaw, and having a vast number of his troops sick, he proceeded from thence, by easy marches, to his favorite retreat upon the high hills of Santee [Sept. 18, 1781.]. 38 There he remained until the eighteenth of November, when the health of his army being recruited, he marched into the low country, where he might obtain an abundance of food. In the mean while, the army of Cornwallis had been captured at Yorktown [Oct. 19.]; St. Clair had driven the British from Wilmington; and the whole upper country of the Carolinas and Georgia were in possession of the patriots. Nothing now remained but to drive in the British outposts, and hem them within the narrow precincts of their lines at Charleston and Savannah. With this view, Greene, at the head of his cavalry, and about two hundred infantry, proceeded toward Dorchester, a British post in the neighborhood of Charleston, while the main army, under Colonel Williams, crossed the Santee, and marched to the fertile plains upon the Four-hole Creek, a tributary of the Edisto. Here we will leave the two armies for the present, to meet many of the troops again upon other fields of conflict.

As there were no works of consequence thrown up at Eutaw, not a vestige of the camp or of the battle remained when I visited the spot in 1849, except the few scattered bricks of the "citadel" already referred to. On returning to his house, Mr. Sinkler showed me a gold watch which one of his negroes found ten years before, while making holes with a stick in planting cotton seed, in the field where Washington was defeated. The negro hit a hard substance, and as there are no stones in the field, he had the curiosity to search for the obstruction, when he drew forth the watch. The hands were almost destroyed by rust; otherwise the watch is well preserved.


Guided by one of Mr. Sinkler’s servants, I crossed the Eutaw Creek, near his house, and rode down to Nelson’s Ferry, at the mouth of the stream, about a mile and a half distant. At its entrance into the Santee, the bateau of the ferryman was moored, and almost filled its narrow channel. Beneath the moss-draped trees upon the bank of the river, some negro women were washing clothes, and when they found themselves portrayed in my drawing, in all the dishabille of a washing-day, they wanted to arrange their dresses and caps, and be sketched in better plight. Time was too precious to allow compliance, for I wished to get as far toward Orangeburg that evening as possible. Promising to improve their toilet when I got home, I closed my port-folio, and, taking the reins, hastened toward Vance’s Ferry.

Nelson’s Ferry, the spot here portrayed, was an important locality during the Revolution. It was the principal crossing-place of the Santee for travelers or troops passing between Camden and Charleston, and as such, commanded the attention of the British after they captured the latter city. A redoubt was cast up there upon the north side of the Santee, and garrisoned by a small detachment; and to that point, as we have seen, Lord Rawdon retreated from Camden.

We have noticed, on page 479, that Marion, while in the camp of Gates, was called to the command of the patriots of Williamsburg District, and went to duty in the lower country. Ignorant of the operations of the Americans under Gates, that brave partisan was striking successful blows against the enemy here and there, while his commander-in-chief was becoming ensnared in the net of disaster which gathered around him near Camden. On the day after Gates’s defeat [Aug. 17, 1780.], Marion had placed Colonel Peter Horry in command of four companies of cavalry, which he had just formed and sent to operate against the British in the vicinity of Georgetown, while he, with a small band of followers, marched rapidly toward the Upper Santee. On his way, he was informed of the defeat of Gates, but withheld the sad intelligence from his men, fearing its effects upon their spirits. That night his scouts advised him of the approach to Nelson’s Ferry of a strong British guard, with a large body of prisoners from Gates’s army. Though much inferior in numbers, he resolved to attack them. Just before daylight, he detached Colonel Hugh Horry, with sixteen resolute men, to occupy the road at the Horse Creek Pass, in a broad swamp, while with the remainder he should fall upon the enemy’s rear. The maneuver was successfully performed at dawn [Aug. 20, 1780.], and on that day the brave partisan wrote the following dispatch to Colonel Peter Horry: "On the 20th instant, I attacked a guard of the 63d and Prince of Wales’s regiment, with a number of Tories, at the Great Savannah, near Nelson’s Ferry; killed and took twenty-two regulars and two Tories prisoners, and retook one hundred and fifty Continentals of the Maryland line; 39 one wagon and a drum; one captain and a subaltern were also captured. Our loss is one killed; and Captain Benson is slightly wounded on the head."

It was past meridian when I reached Vance’s Ferry, about ten miles above Eutaw, and one from Mr. Avinger’s, where I lodged the night before. I crossed the Santee into Sumter District in a bateau; and driving about five miles up the river, reached Scott’s Lake, an expansion of the Santee, a few miles below the junction of the Congaree and Wateree. Upon the north side of the lake, upon the land of Mr. Rufus Felder, at Wright’s Bluff Post-office, is an ancient tumulus, almost fifty feet in height, and now covered with trees. Upon the top of this mound the British erected a stockade; and in honor of Colonel Watson, under whose direction it was built, it was called Fort Watson. Its elevated position, and its close proximity to the water, made it a strong post, yet not sufficiently impregnable to resist the successful assault of Marion and Lee in April, 1781. Let us consider that event.


We have noticed the junction of the forces of Marion and Lee, in the swamps of the Black River, in Williamsburg District [April 14, 1781.]. Lee immediately laid the plans of General Greene before Marion; and a scheme of operations was decided upon within a few hours. Colonel Watson, with about five hundred infantry, was near the site of the present town of Marion, on Cat-fish Creek, in Marion District. He had received orders to re-enforce Lord Rawdon at Camden. For some time he had been greatly annoyed by Marion, who would appear on his flank or rear, strike a severe blow, and then as suddenly disappear among the interminable swamps of the low country. Marion was preparing to smite Watson once more, when he was informed of the approach of Lee. He sent a guide to conduct that partisan over the Pedee, in boats which he kept concealed; and on the day after their forces were united, they started toward Fort Watson [April 15.], 40 leaving Captain Gavin Witherspoon on the trail of Watson, then fleeing toward Georgetown. They sat down before Fort Watson on the evening of the same day.

Fort Watson was garrisoned by eighty regulars and forty Loyalists, under the command of Lieutenant M‘Kay, a brave and active young officer of the British army. Marion immediately sent a flag demanding the unconditional surrender of the fort and the garrison. M‘Kay promptly refused, for he doubtless hourly expected the approach of Watson with his large force, who, he knew, was on his march thither from Georgetown. Perceiving the garrison to be well supplied with water from Scott’s Lake, that resource was cut off by the besiegers; but M‘Kay and his men opened another communication with the lake three days afterward. They sunk a well within the stockade to a depth below the level of the lake, and dug a trench at the base of the mound from the well to the water, and secured it by an abatis. This circumstance perplexed the assailants, for they had no cannons, and the stockade was too high to be seriously affected by small arms. To the fertile genius of Lieutenant-colonel Maham, 41 of Marion’s brigade, this disadvantage was overcome. Near the fort was a small wood. The trees were cut down, carried upon the shoulders of the men within rifle shot of the fort, and piled up so as to form a quadrangular tower of sufficient height to overlook the stockades. Upon the top of this, a parapet was made of smaller trees, for the defense of those upon the top of the tower. All of this work was accomplished during the darkness of the night, which was intensified by a cloudy sky; and at dawn the garrison were awakened by a deadly shower of balls from a company of sure marksmen upon the top of the tower. At the same moment, a party of volunteers of Marion’s militia, under Ensign Johnson, and another from the Continentals, of Lee’s legion, ascended the mound and attacked the abatis with vigor. Resistance was vain; and the fort thus assailed was untenable. M‘Kay had anxiously awaited the approach of Watson, but that officer, unwilling to allow any thing to impede his progress toward Camden, left this post to its fate. The garrison, no longer able to hold the fort, surrendered by capitulation [April 23, 1781.], and Marion with his prisoners and booty, pushed forward and encamped upon the high hills of Santee, to await further orders from Greene, while Lee turned his attention to the movements of Watson. The loss of the Americans was only two killed, and three Continentals and three militia-men wounded. The subsequent movements of Marion and Lee, in efforts to prevent Watson’s junction with Rawdon, have been noticed in the preceding chapter.

I tarried at the site of Fort Watson only long enough to make the sketch on page 500, when I hastened back to Vance’s Ferry, and pushed on toward Orangeburg. Late in the evening I reached the house of Mr. M‘Ance, within fifteen miles of Orangeburg, where I was hospitably entertained. There I met an elderly lady who had been very intimate with the wife of Marion for several years previous to her death. She informed me that Mrs. Marion (whose maiden name was Videau, one of the Huguenot families) was much younger than the general. She was a large woman, weighing, a year or two before her death, two hundred and thirty pounds. My informant had often visited her at her residence, built by the general at Pond Bluff, on the Santee (near the Nelson’s Ferry road to Charleston), about three miles below Eutaw Springs. Miss Videau brought wealth to her husband, and their dwelling was always the abode of liberal hospitality.


I left M‘Ance’s before daylight on the following morning, traversed the narrow causeway across the Four-hole Swamp by the feeble light of the stars, and arrived at Orangeburg in time to enter the cars for Augusta, on the Savannah River, eighty-five miles distant.



1 I was informed that the house of General Sumter and several others, with a large tract of land, was owned by a mulatto named Ellison, who, with his wife and children, were once slaves. He was a mechanic, and with the proceeds of his labor he purchased the freedom of himself and family. He is now (1850) about sixty years of age, and owns a large number of slaves. His sons and daughters are educated, and the former occupy the position of overseers on his plantation. Mr. Ellison is regarded as one of the most honorable business men in that region.

2 This little sketch is from the pencil of J. Addison Richards, one of our most accomplished landscape painters. The cypress "knees," as they are called, are here truthfully shown. They extend from the roots of the trees, sometimes as much as two feet above the earth or the water, but never exhibit branches or leaves. They appear like smooth-pointed stumps.

3 The Congaree is formed by the junction of the Broad and Saluda Rivers at Columbia. Its junction with the Wateree (the Catawba of North Carolina), at the lower end of Richland District, forms the Santee, which name is borne by the whole volume of united waters from that point to the ocean. Buck’s Head Neck is formed by a sweep of the Congaree, of nearly eight miles, when it approaches itself within a quarter of a mile. The swamp land of this neck has been reclaimed in many places, and now bears good cotton. At the rundle of this bow of the river is the ancient M‘Cord’s Ferry, yet in use.

4 Francis Marion was born at Winyaw, near Georgetown, South Carolina, in 1732. He was so small at his birth, that, according to Weems, "he was not larger than a New England lobster, and might easily enough have been put into a quart pot." Marion received a very limited share of education, and until his twenty-seventh year (1759), he followed agricultural pursuits. He then became a soldier, by joining an expedition against the Cherokees and other hostile tribes (see page 440) on the Western frontier of the Carolinas. When the Revolution broke out, he was found on the side of liberty, and was made captain in the second South Carolina regiment. He fought bravely in the battle at Fort Sullivan, on Sullivan’s Island. He was afterward engaged in the contest at Savannah, and from that period until the defeat of Gates, near Camden, in the summer of 1780, he was an active soldier. Soon after that affair, he organized a brigade, having passed through the several grades to that of brigadier of the militia of his state. While Sumter was striking heavy blows, here and there, in the northwestern part of North Carolina, Marion was performing like service in the northeastern part, along the Pedee and its tributaries. In 1781, he was engaged with Lee and others in reducing several British posts. After the Battle at Eutaw, Marion did not long remain in the field, but took his seat as senator in the Legislature. He was soon again called to the field, and did not relinquish his sword until the close of the war. When peace came, Marion retired to his plantation, a little below Eutaw, where he died on the twenty-ninth of February, 1795, in the sixty-third year of his age. His last words were, "Thank God, since I came to man’s estate I have never intentionally done wrong to any man."

Marion’s remains are in the church-yard at Belle Isle, in the parish of St. John’s, Berkeley. Over them is a marble slab, upon which is the following inscription: "Sacred to the memory of Brigadier-general FRANCIS MARION, who departed this life on the twenty-ninth of February, 1795, in the sixty-third year of his age, deeply regretted by all of his fellow-citizens. History will record his worth, and rising generations embalm his memory, as one of the most distinguished patriots and heroes of the American Revolution; which elevated his native country to Honor and Independence, and secured to her the blessings of liberty and peace. This tribute of veneration and gratitude is erected in commemoration of the noble and disinterested virtues of the citizen, and the gallant exploits of the soldier, who lived without fear and died with out reproach."

5 Colonel Otho H. Williams, in his Narrative of the Campaigns of 1780, thus speaks of Marion and his men, at that time: "Colonel Marion, a gentleman of South Carolina, had been with the army a few days, attended by a very few followers, distinguished by small leather caps and the wretchedness of their attire; their numbers did not exceed twenty men and boys, some white, some black, and all mounted, but most of them miserably equipped; their appearance was, in fact, so burlesque, that it was with much difficulty the diversion of the regular soldiery was restrained by the officers; and the general himself was glad of an opportunity of detaching Colonel Marion, at his own instance, toward the interior of South Carolina, with orders to watch the motions of the enemy, and furnish intelligence."

6 So certain was Gates of defeating Cornwallis, that when Marion departed, he instructed him to destroy all the boats, flats, and scows, which might be used by the British in their flight.

7 Rebecca Brewton was the daughter of an English gentleman. She married Jacob Motte, a planter, in 1758, and was the mother of six children. General Thomas Pinckney, of South Carolina, married in succession her two eldest daughters; the third married Colonel William Alston, of Charleston. Her other three children did not live to reach maturity. Mrs. Motte died in 1815, at her plantation on the Santee. The portrait here given is copied, by permission of the author, from Mrs. Ellet’s Women of the Revolution. The original is in the possession of Mrs. Motte’s descendants.

8 Lee’s Memoirs, 229-32. Simm’s Life of Marion, page 236, 239. In this siege Marion lost two of his brave men, Sergeant M‘Donald and Lieutenant Cruger. The British did not lose a man killed, and the prisoners were all paroled. Colonel Horry, in his narrative, mentions some pleasing incidents which occurred at the table of Mrs. Motte on this occasion. Among the prisoners was Captain Ferguson, an officer of considerable reputation. Finding himself near Horry, Ferguson said, "You are Colonel Horry, I presume, sir." Horry replied in the affirmative, when Ferguson continued, "Well, I was with Colonel Watson when he fought your General Marion on Sampit. I think I saw you there with a party of horse, and also at Nelson’s Ferry, when Marion surprised our party at the house. But," he continued, "I was hid in high grass, and escaped. You were fortunate in your escape at Sampit, for Watson and Small had twelve hundred men." "If so," replied Horry, "I certainly was fortunate, for I did not suppose they had more than half that number." "I consider myself," added the captain, "equally fortunate in escaping at Nelson’s Old Field." "Truly you were," answered Horry drily, "for Marion had but thirty militia on that occasion." The officers present could not suppress laughter. When Greene inquired of Horry how he came to affront Captain Ferguson; he answered, "He affronted himself by telling his own story." – Horry’s MS. Narrative, quoted by Simms, Life of Marion, p. 239.

9 Some writers attribute Greene’s presence at Fort Motte on this occasion to other motives than here represented. An unsatisfactory correspondence had recently taken place between Greene and Marion, the former having blamed the latter for not furnishing cavalry horses when in his power to do so. Marion, conscious of having been eminently faithful, felt deeply wronged, and tendered the resignation of his commission to Greene. The latter soon perceived the injustice of his suspicions, and took this, the first opportunity, for a personal interview to heal the wound.

10 A slave found in the streets of a town after dark, without a pass, is liable to be locked in prison until morning, and this was written to prevent such an occurrence. The laws of South Carolina inflict the penalty of fine and imprisonment upon a person found guilty of writing a pass for a slave without authority. I was informed of a curious circumstance connected with this fact, which occurred near Fort Motte, a few days previous to my visit there. Two slaves, carpenters, had escaped from their home, and were found near Camden with well-written passes or permits to find work, signed by the name of their master. Who wrote the forged passes, was a question which puzzled the neighborhood. A mulatto on the plantation was suspected, and, on being accused, confessed that he wrote them, having been secretly taught to write by an overseer. A jury was called to try him for the offense, but as the law did not contemplate the ability of a slave to write, and as the term person did not apply to a negro, no punishment could be legally awarded. The jury simply recommended his master to flog him.

11 Mr. Friday, the father-in-law of Mr. Cacey, and his brother, were the only Whigs of that name in the state, and often suffered insults from their Tory kinsman. Mr. Friday owned mills at Granby, and also a ferry called by his name; and when the British fortified that post, the garrison supplied themselves with flour from his establishment. He gave the British the credit of dealing honorably, paying him liberally for every thing they took from him – flour, poultry, cattle, &c. On one occasion, when called to the fort to receive his pay, Major Maxwell, the commandant of the garrison, said to him, "Mr. Friday, I hope you are as clever a fellow as those of your name who are with us." "No!" shouted his Tory uncle, who was standing near, "he’s a damned rebel, and I’ll split him down!" at the same time rushing forward to execute his brutal purpose. Colonel Maxwell protected the patriot, but dared not rebuke the savage, for fear of offending his Tory comrades. After the battle at Eutaw, Colonel Maxwell, and two or three other officers, passing through Granby, stopped one night at Mr. Friday’s. Early in the morning, Maxwell said to Mr. Friday, "You Dutchmen are celebrated for fine gardens; let us go and look at yours." When a little distance from the other officers, the colonel remarked, "Mr. Friday, you are a friend to your country. Remain so. We have not conquered it yet, and never will, and your name will yet be honored, while those of your countrymen who are with us will be despised." I gladly record the patriotism of Mr. Friday, in fulfillment of this prediction.

12 Lee says, in his Memoirs (page 234), that Maxwell, "zealous to fill his purse, rather than to gather military laurels, had, during his command, pursued his favorite object with considerable success, and held with him in the fort his gathered spoil." This fact accounts for the major’s desire to have all private property confirmed to its possessors "without investigation of title."

13 The garrison had only sixty regulars (the Hessians); the remainder were Tory militia.

14 According to M‘Kenzie, in his Strictures on Tarleton’s History, there were one hundred and fifty men of Delancey’s battalion (Loyalists of New York), and two hundred Jersey volunteers. Lieutenant-colonel Cruger was Colonel Delancey’s son-in-law. Colonel Cruger died in London in 1807, aged sixty-nine. His widow died at Chelsea, England, in 1822, at the age of seventy-eight years.

15 The house of George Galphin, deputy superintendent of Indian affairs, inclosed within stockades, was used for barracks, and as a store-house for various Indian supplies. The land is now owned by Ex-governor Hammond, of South Carolina.

Previous to 1773, Galphin, by his dealings with the Creek Indians, had made them indebted to him in the sum of $49,000. To secure the payment of this and other debts, the Creeks conveyed to the British government, in 1773, a large tract of land lying within the present limits of Georgia. At the close of the Revolution, this land belonged to that state, and to the local Legislature Galphin applied for the payment of his claim. It was refused. In 1847, Milledge Galphin, surviving heir and executor of the Indian agent, petitioned Congress for a payment of the claim, principal and interest; and in 1850, the general government allowed what the local government had pronounced illegal. The "Galphin claim" took a large sum from our National Treasury, for interest had been accumulating for about seventy years.

16 Mr. M‘Cracken observes, "The trees and shrubbery on the battle-ground are considered by the inhabitants too sacred to be molested. The land is now (1849) owned by John C. M‘Gehee, of Madison county, Florida. The present village of Cambridge is within a few hundred yards of the battle-ground, and the road leading through it, north and south, is the great thoroughfare from Hamburg (opposite Augusta) to Greenville. I have three small cannons in my possession, one six and two four pounders, taken from the enemy at the siege of Ninety-Six."

17 Colonel Williams, deputy adjutant general, in his returns stated them thus: Fit for duty, rank and file, Maryland brigade, 427; Virginia ditto, 431; North Carolina battalion, 66; Delaware ditto [under Captain Kirkwood], 60; in all, 984. The number of the militia is not mentioned.

18 Among the most active of these parties was the "Bloody Scout," under the notorious Bill Cunningham. They hovered around the American camp like vultures, and picked off the patriots in detail. The most active opponent of this scoundrel was William Beale, of Ninety-Six. He formed a scouting party of Whigs, and soon they became a terror to the Tories. On one occasion, Cunningham and his party plundered the house of Beale’s mother, during his absence. On his return, Beale went in pursuit, and approaching Cunningham, that marauder wheeled and fled. The race continued for almost three miles, when Cunningham turned, and with a pistol, shot Beale’s horse dead. Beale retreated backward, daring the Tory to follow. The latter, fearing a Whig ambush, rode off. On another occasion, Cunningham and his party surrounded a house where Beale and a Whig were stopping. They heard the approach of the Tories, when, rushing to their horses and rattling their swords, Beale gave command as if to a troop. It was dark, and Cunningham, who had thirteen men with him, fled in great haste. Cunningham was so mortified, when he learned that they had been frightened away by a couple of Whigs, that he swore vengeance against Beale. – Letter of James M. M‘Cracken, Esq., to the Author.

19 For description of the Mayham Tower, and the origin of its name, see an account of the attack upon Fort Watson, page 501.

20 Mr. M‘Cracken relates, that among the prisoners in one of the redoubts was one named Benjamin Eddins. Lieutenant-colonel Cruger frequently visited him, and often importuned him to eschew Republicanism and join the British army. Eddins at length became tired of these importunities, and one day said to Cruger, "Sir, I am a prisoner in your power; you may cut out my heart (baring his bosom), or you may drag my limbs and body asunder with ropes and horses; all this will I endure rather than desert my country’s flag." Charmed by his boldness and patriotism, Colonel Cruger replied, "Sir, you are too true a rebel to remain here; you are liberated from this moment."

21 The wives of Lieutenant-colonel Cruger and Major Greene were at a farm-house in the neighborhood of Ninety-Six when the American army arrived. General Greene soon quieted their fears, and as they preferred to remain where they were, to joining their husbands in the beleaguered town, he placed a guard there to protect them. This kindness Mrs. Cruger reciprocated on the day when the Americans left, by informing some light troops who had been out scouting, and were passing by the farm-house toward the post, of the termination of the siege and the direction taken by General Greene in his retreat. Without this timely information, they would have been captured.


22 It is related that the message to Sumter from Greene was conveyed by Emily Geiger, the daughter of a German planter in Fairfield District. He prepared a letter to Sumter, but none of his men appeared willing to attempt the hazardous service, for the Tories were on the alert, as Rawdon was approaching the Congaree. Greene was delighted by the boldness of a young girl, not more than eighteen years of age, who came forward and volunteered to carry the letter to Sumter. With his usual caution, he communicated the contents of the letter to Emily, fearing she might lose it on the way. The maiden mounted a fleet horse, and crossing the Wateree at the Camden Ferry, pressed on toward Sumter’s camp. Passing through a dry swamp on the second day of her journey, she was intercepted by some Tory scouts. Coming from the direction of Greene’s army, she was an object of suspicion, and was taken to a house on the edge of the swamp, and confined in a room. With proper delicacy, they sent for a woman to search her person. No sooner was she left alone, than she ate up Greene’s letter piece by piece. After a while, the matron arrived, made a careful search, but discovered nothing. With many apologies, Emily was allowed to pursue her journey. She reached Sumter’s camp, communicated Greene’s message, and soon Rawdon was flying before the Americans toward Orangeburg. Emily Geiger afterward married Mr. Thurwits, a rich planter on the Congaree. The picture of her capture, here given, I copied from the original painting by Flagg, in possession of Stacy G. Potts, Esq., of Trenton, New Jersey.

23 While Rawdon was in Charleston preparing to sail for Europe, the execution of Colonel Hayne occurred. This foul stain upon the character of Rawdon and Colonel Balfour, the commandant at Charleston, we shall consider hereafter.

24 Although the name of General Jethro Sumner does not appear very conspicuous in the general histories of the War for Independence, his services in the Southern campaigns were well appreciated by his peers and compatriots in the field. He was a native of Virginia, and as early as 1760 his merits caused him to be appointed a paymaster in the provincial army of that state, and commander of Fort Cumberland. In 1776, he lived in North Carolina, was appointed colonel of a regiment of Continental troops, and joined the army at the North, under Washington. He went South with General Gates, and was in the battle at Sander’s Creek (Camden) when the Americans were defeated. He was actively engaged when Greene took command of the army, and continued in North Carolina until he marched to re-enforce Greene upon the High Hills of Santee. When Greene heard of the abduction of Governor Burke, after the battle at Eutaw, in which Sumner was engaged, he sent that officer into North Carolina to awe the Tories and encourage the Whigs. After the war, General Sumner married a wealthy widow at Newbern. He died in Warren county, North Carolina, and was buried near old Shocco Chapel, and Bute old Court House. The following inscription is upon his tomb-stone: "To the memory of GENERAL JETHRO SUMNER, one of the heroes of ’76." – See Wheeler’s History of North Carolina, page 425.

25 This swamp derives its name from the fact that the deep and sluggish stream, a branch of the South Edisto, which it skirts, disappears from the surface four times within this morass. Plunging into one pit, the water boils up from the next; disappearing again in the third, it reappears in the fourth, and then courses its way to the Edisto. These pits are about half a mile apart, and are filled with remarkably fine fish which may be taken with a hook and line at the depth of thirty feet.

26 This marl appears to be a concretion of oyster-shells, and is said to be an excellent fertilizer when crushed into powder. In this vicinity, many bones of monsters, like the mastodon, have been found.

27 This is a view of the reappearance of the stream (or lower spring) from the marl ridge thirty feet in height. These springs are in Charleston District, near the Orangeburg line, about sixty miles northwest of Charleston. It is probable that a subterranean stream here first finds its way to the surface of the earth.

28 John Coffin was a native of Boston, and brother of Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin, of the Royal Navy. He accompanied the British army in the action on Breed’s Hill. He soon obtained a commission, rose to the rank of captain in the Orange Rangers, and finally, effecting an exchange into the New York Volunteers, went with that corps to Georgia in 1778. In the campaigns of 1779 and 1780, his conduct won the admiration of his superiors. His behavior in the battle of Eutaw attracted the attention of Greene and his officers. He retired to New Brunswick at the close of the contest. In the war of 1812, he commanded a regiment. He filled several civil offices in the province until 1828, when he retired from public life. He had been a member of the Assembly, chief magistrate of King’s county, and a member of the council. He died at his seat in King’s county in 1838, at the age of eighty-seven years. He held the rank of lieutenant general at the time of his death. – Sabine’s Lives of the Loyalists.

29 This plantation belonged to Henry Laurens, who was one of the presidents of the Continental Congress.

30 Memoirs, 331. See, also, Greene’s Dispatch to the President of Congress, September 11, 1781.

31 William Polk, son of Colonel Thomas Polk, of Mecklenburg, North Carolina, was born in that county in 1759. He was present at the celebrated Mecklenburg convention, in May, 1775. He joined the army early in 1777, and went to the North with General Nash, who was killed at Germantown. He was in the battles on the Brandywine and at Germantown, and was wounded at the latter place. He went South with General Gates, and was with him in the battle at Sander’s Creek, near Camden. He was with Greene at Guilford and Eutaw. In the latter battle he received a wound, the effects of which he felt until his death. At the close of the war, he returned to Charlotte, his native place, and in 1787 represented his county in the North Carolina Legislature. He subsequently removed to Raleigh, where he resided until his death. In 1812, President Madison offered him the commission of a brigadier, but, being opposed to the war, he declined the honor. He died on the fourteenth of January, 1835, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. Colonel Polk was the last surviving field officer of the North Carolina line. Bishop Leonidas Polk, of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Louisiana, and General Thomas G. Polk, of Mississippi, are his sons.

32 Stuart’s dispatch to Lord Cornwallis, September 9th, 1781; Stedman, ii., 378; Lee, 333.

33 Major Garden relates an amusing anecdote in connection with this affair. Among the prisoners captured outside the house was Captain Barré, a brother of the celebrated Colonel Barré, of the British Parliament. He was taken by Captain Manning, who led the legion infantry. In the terror of the moment, Barré began solemnly to recite his titles: "I am Sir Henry Barré," he said, "deputy adjutant general of the British army, captain of the 52d regiment, secretary of the commandant at Charleston – " "Are you, indeed?" interrupted Manning; "you are my prisoner now, and the very man I was looking for; come along with me." He then placed his titled prisoner between himself and the fire of the enemy, and retreated.

34 Colonel Otho H. Williams and Lieutenant-colonel Lee were the only officers, of six Continental commanders of regiments, who were not wounded. Washington, Howard, and Henderson were wounded, and Campbell was killed.

35 On the twenty-ninth of October, Congress adopted a series of resolutions, expressive of its high appreciation of the services of Greene and his officers and soldiers. In these resolutions, the various corps engaged in the battle were named; also Captains Pierce and Pendleton, Major Hyrne, and Captain Shubrick, his aids-de-camps. Marion was also thanked for the part he had taken in this battle, and also for his gallant conduct on the thirtieth of August, in attacking the British at Parker’s Ferry. Congress ordered the Board of War to present a sword to Captain Pierce, who bore Greene’s dispatches to that body – See Journals of Congress, vii., 166. On the same day, Congress adopted the complimentary resolutions in honor of the defeat of Cornwallis at Yorktown.

36 This is a representation of each side of the medal, the full size of the original. On one side is a profile of Greene, with the words, NATHANIELI GREENE EGREGIO DUCI COMITIA AMERICANA; "The American Congress to Nathaniel Greene, the distinguished leader." Upon the other side is a figure of Victory, lighting upon the Earth, and stepping upon a broken shield. Under her feet are broken weapons, colors, and a shield. The legend is, SALUS REGIONUM AUSTRALIUM; "The Safety of the Southern Department." Exergue – HOSTIBUS AD EUTAW DEBELLATIS VIII SEPT. MDCCLXXXI; "The Foe conquered at Eutaw, 8th of September, 1781."

37 Journals of Congress, vii., 167.

38 A mutinous spirit was soon manifested in the camp upon the hills, chiefly among the Marylanders. They wished to go home, complained of want of pay and clothing, and in petitions to Greene set forth their various grievances. Finally, some stole away from the camp with their arms, when stringent measures were deemed necessary to prevent open disorder. Things were brought to a crisis by a South Carolina soldier, named Timothy Griffin. He had heard whispers of disaffection, and one day, while drunk, went up to a group of soldiers who were talking to an officer, and said, "Stand to it boys – damn my blood if I’d give an inch!" He supposed they were altercating with the officer, which was not the fact. Griffin was instantly knocked down by Captain M‘Pherson, of the Maryland line, and then sent to the provost. The next day he was tried for mutinous conduct, found guilty, and at five o’clock in the evening was shot in the presence of the whole army. This terrible example suppressed all mutinous proceedings – Gordon, iii., 246

39 "It will scarcely be believed," says Simms (Life of Marion, page 126), "that, of this hundred and fifty Continentals, but three men consented to join the ranks of the liberator. It may be that they were somewhat loth to be led, even though it were to victory, by the man whose ludicrous equipments and followers, but a few weeks before, had only provoked their amusement." The reason they gave was, that they considered the cause of the country to be hopeless, and that they were risking life without an adequate object.

40 Marion was very anxious to pursue Watson, who, to facilitate his march toward Camden, had sunk his two field-pieces in Cat-fish Creek, burned his baggage, and was making forced marches toward Georgetown. It was evident, from the circuitous direction of his march, that Watson feared Marion excessively; for, instead of making a direct line westward toward Camden, across the Great Pedee, he crossed the Little Pedee eastward; marched southward through the present Horry District; crossed the Waccamaw at Greene’s Ferry, and Winyaw Bay where it was three miles wide; traversed its western border to Georgetown, and from thence crossed the country toward the Santee, following that stream up as far as the junction of the Congaree and Wateree. Greene’s instructions to operate against the British posts below Camden prevented a pursuit.

41 Hezekiah Maham was born on the twenty-sixth of June, 1739. We have no record of his early life. He was a member of the first Provincial Congress of South Carolina; and in the spring of 1776 was elected a captain in Colonel Isaac Huger’s regiment. He was with that officer at the siege of Savannah, and at the battle of Stono. As lieutenant colonel of an independent corps of cavalry, he performed many daring exploits in the low country of the Carolinas. At the close of the campaign of 1781, he was obliged to leave active service on account of sickness. While at home, he was made a prisoner and paroled, by which he was not allowed to enter the army again during the war. He died in 1789, at the age of fifty years. His descendant, J. J. Ward, Esq., living near Georgetown, erected a handsome monument to his memory in 1845, upon which are the following inscriptions:

FRONT SIDE. – "Within this Cemetery, and in the bosom of the homestead which he cultivated and embellished while on earth, lie the mortal remains of COLONEL HEZEKIAH MAHAM. He was born in the parish of St. Stephen’s, and died A. D. 1789, æt. fifty years; leaving a name unsullied in social and domestic life, and eminent for devotion to the liberties of his country, and for achievements in arms, in the Revolution which established her independence."

RIGHT SIDE. – "Impelled by the spirit of freedom which animated his countrymen, he devoted himself to its support, and promoted the cause of American Independence, by his service in the state committees, instituted by recommendation of the General Congress, in the Jacksonborough Assembly, and in various other civil capacities."

LEFT SIDE. – "Successively a captain in the first rifle regiment, a commander of horse in Marion’s brigade, and lieutenant colonel of an independent corps of cavalry, raised by authority of General Greene, he bore an efficient and conspicuous part in the capture of the British posts, and in the series of skillful maneuvers and gallant actions, which resulted in the final extinction of the British dominion in South Carolina, and secured to her and to the confederacy the blessings of Peace, Liberty, and Independence."

ON THE BACK. – "His relative, Joshua John Ward, of Waccamaw, unwilling that the last abode of an honest man, a faithful patriot, and a brave and successful soldier, should be forgotten and unknown, has erected this memorial, A. D. 1845."

42 This mansion was demolished a few years before my visit to Eutaw and vicinity (1849), and this drawing was made from a minute description given me by a gentleman with whom I rode in the mail-coach from Augusta to the Ninety-mile station, on the great central rail-way, in Georgia. His brother had resided there for many years and he was perfectly familiar with its appearance. At the station I made this sketch, and my informant pronounced it an excellent representation of the residence of General Marion.



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