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stockaded fort was taken, but the troops were repulsed from the main works.
Greene retreated across the Saluda, and halted at Bush River, at twenty miles distance, to observe the motion of the enemy. In a letter thence to Washington, he writes: "My fears are principally from the enemy's superior cavalry. To the northward cavalry is nothing, from the numerous fences; but to the southward, a disorder, by a superior cavalry, may be improved into a defeat, and a defeat into a rout. Virginia and North Carolina could not be brought to consider cavalry of such great importance as they are to the security of the army and the safety of a country."
Lord Rawdon entered Ninety Six on the 21st, but sallied forth again on the 24th, taking with him all the troops capable of fatigue, two thousand in number, without wheel carriage of any kind, or even knapsacks, hoping by a rapid move to overtake Greene. Want of provisions soon obliged him to give up the pursuit, and return to Ninety Six. Leaving about one half of his force there, under Colonel Cruger, he sallied a second time from Ninety Six, at the head of eleven hundred infantry, with cavalry, artillery, and field-pieces, marching by the south side of the Saluda for the Congaree.
He was now pursued in his turn by Greene and Lee. In this march more than fifty of his lordship's soldiers fell dead from heat, fatigue and privation. At Orangeburg, where he arrived on the 8th of July, his lordship was joined by a large detachment under Colonel Stuart.
Greene had followed him closely, and having collected all his detachments, and being joined by Sumter, appeared within four miles of Orangeburg, on the 10th of July, and offered battle.
SUMTER TO ATTACK BRITISH POSTS.
The offer was not accepted, and the position of Lord Rawdon was too strong to be attacked. Greene remained there two or three days; when, learning that Colonel Cruger was advancing with the residue of the forces from Ninety Six, which would again give his lordship a superiority of force, he moved off with his infantry on the night of the 13th of July, crossed the Saluda, and posted himself on the east side of the Wateree, at the high hills of Santee. In this salubrious and delightful region, where the air was pure and breezy, and the water delicate, he allowed his weary soldiers to repose and refresh themselves, awaiting the arrival of some Continental troops and militia from North Carolina, when he intended to resume his enterprise of driving the enemy from the interior of the country.
At the time when he moved from the neighborhood of Orangeburg (July 13th), he detached Sumter with about a thousand light troops to scour the lower country, and attack the British posts in the vicinity of Charleston, now left uncovered by the concentration of their forces at Orangeburg. Under Sumter acted Marion, Lee, the Hamptons, and other enterprising parti
They were to act separately in breaking up the minor posts at and about Dorchester, but to unite at Monk's Corner, where Lieutenant-colonel Coates was stationed with the ninth regiment. This post carried, they were to reunite with Greene's army on the high hills of Santee.
Scarce was Sumter on his march, when he received a letter from Greene, dated July 14th, stating that Cruger had formed a junction with Lord Rawdon the preceding night; no time, therefore, was to be lost. "Push your operations night and day: station a party to watch the enemy's motions at Orangeburg. Keep Colonel Lee and General Marion advised of all matters from
above, and tell Colonel Lee to thunder even at the gates of Charleston."
Conformably to these orders, Colonel Henry Hampton with a party was posted to keep an eye on Orangeburg. Lee with his legion, accompanied by Lieutenant-colonel Wade Hampton, and a detachment of cavalry, was sent to carry Dorchester, and then press forward to the gates of Charleston; while Sumter with the main body, took up his line of march along the road on the south side of the Congaree, towards Monk's Corner.
As Lee approached Dorchester, Colonel Wade Hampton, with his cavalry, passed to the east of that place, to a bridge on Goose Creek, to cut off all communication between the garrison and Monk's Corner. His sudden appearance gave the alarm, the garrison abandoned its post, and when Lee arrived there he found it deserted. He proceeded to secure a number of horses and waggons, and some fixed ammunition, which the garrison had left behind, and to send them off to Hampton. Hampton, kept in suspense by this delay, lost patience. He feared that the alarm would spread through the country, and the dash into the vicinity of Charleston be prevented—or, perhaps, that Lee might intend to make it by himself. Abandoning the bridge at Goose Creek, therefore, he set off with his cavalry, clattered down to the neighborhood of the lines, and threw the city into confusion. The bells rang, alarm guns were fired, the citizens turned out under arms. Hampton captured a patrol of dragoons and a guard, at the Quarter House; completed his bravado by parading his cavalry in sight of the sentinels on the advanced works, and then retired, carrying off fifty prisoners, several of them officers.
Lee arrived in the neighborhood on the following day, but too
1781.] EXPLOITS OF SUMTER, LEE AND HAMPTON. 301 late to win any laurels. Hampton had been beforehand with him, made the dash, and "thundered at the gate." Both now hastened to rejoin Sumter on the evening of the 16th, who was only waiting to collect his detachments, before he made an attack on Colonel Coates at Monk's Corner. The assault was to be made on the following morning. During the night Coates decamped in silence; the first signal of his departure, was the bursting of flames through the roof of a brick church, which he had used as a magazine, and which contained stores that could not be carried away. A pursuit was commenced; Lee with his legion, and Hampton with the State cavalry, took the lead. Sumter followed with the infantry. The rear-guard of the British, about one hundred strong, was overtaken with the baggage, at the distance of eighteen miles. They were new troops, recently arrived from Ireland, and had not seen service. On being charged by the cavalry sword in hand, they threw down their arms without firing a shot, and cried for quarter, which was granted. While Lee was securing them, Captain Armstrong with the first section of cavalry pushed on in pursuit of Coates and the main body. That officer had crossed a wooden bridge over Quimby Creek, loosened the planks, and was only waiting to be rejoined by his rear-guard, to throw them off, and cut off all pursuit. His troops were partly on a causeway beyond the bridge, partly crowded in a lane. He had heard no alarm guns, and knew nothing of an enemy being at hand, until he saw Armstrong spurring up with his section. Coates gave orders for his troops to halt, form, and march up; a howitzer was brought to bear upon the bridge, and a fatigue party rushed forward to throw off the planks. Armstrong saw the danger, dashed across the bridge, with his section, drove off the artillerists, and cap
tured the howitzer before it could be discharged. The fatigue men, who had been at work on the bridge, snatched up their guns, gave a volley and fled. Two dragoons fell dead by the howitzer; others were severely wounded. Armstrong's party, in crossing the bridge, had displaced some of the planks, and formed a chasm. Lieutenant Carrington with the second section of dragoons leaped over it; the chasm being thus enlarged, the horses of the third section refused. A pell-mell fight took place between the handful of dragoons who had crossed, and some of the enemy. Armstrong and Carrington were engaged hand to hand with Colonel Coates and his officers, who defended themselves from behind a waggon. The troops were thronging to their aid from lane and causeway. Armstrong, seeing the foe too strorg in front, and no reinforcement coming on in rear, wheeled off with some of his men to the left, galloped into the woods, and pushed up along the stream to ford it, and seek the main body.
During the melée, Lee had come up and endeavored with the dragoons of the third section to replace the planks of the bridge. Their efforts were vain; the water was deep, the mud deeper; there was no foothold, nor was there any firm spot where to swim the horses across.
While they were thus occupied, Colonel Coates, with his men, opened a fire upon them from the other end of the bridge; having no fire-arms to reply with, they were obliged to retire. The remainder of the planks were then thrown off from the bridge, after which Colonel Coates took post on an adjacent plantation, made the dwelling-house, which stood on a rising ground, his citadel, planted the howitzer before it, and distributed part of his men in outhouses and within fences, and garden pickets, which sheltered them from the attack of cavalry. Here he awaited the