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BOLD STAND OF COLONEL COATES.
arrival of Sumter with the main body, determined to make a desperate defence.
It was not until three o'clock in the afternoon, that Sumter with his forces appeared upon the ground, having had to make a considerable circuit on account of the destruction of the bridge.
By four o'clock the attack commenced. Sumter, with part of the troops, advanced in front under cover of a line of negro huts, which he wished to secure. Marion, with his brigade, much reduced in number, approached on the right of the enemy, where there was no shelter but fences; the cavalry, not being able to act, remained at a distance as a reserve, and, if necessary, to
cover a retreat.
Sumter's brigade soon got possession of the huts, where they used their rifles with sure effect. Marion and his men rushed up through a galling fire to the fences on the right. The enemy retired within the house and garden, and kept up a sharp fire from doors and windows and picketed fence. Unfortunately, the Americans had neglected to bring on their artillery; their rifles and muskets were not sufficient to force the enemy from his stronghold. Having repaired the bridge, they sent off for the artillery and a supply of powder, which accompanied it. The evening was at hand; their ammunition was exhausted, and they retired in good order, intending to renew the combat with artillery in the morning. Leaving the cavalry to watch and control the movements of the enemy, they drew off across Quimby bridge, and encamped at the distance of three miles.
Here, when they came to compare notes, it was found that the loss in killed and wounded had chiefly fallen on Marion's corps. His men, from their exposed situation, had borne the brunt of
the battle; while Sumter's had suffered but litte, being mostly sheltered in the huts. Jealousy and distrust were awakened, and discord reigned in the camp. Partisan and volunteer troops readily fall asunder under such circumstances. Many moved off in the night. Lee, accustomed to act independently, and unwilling, perhaps, to acknowledge Sumter as his superior officer, took up his line of march for head-quarters without consulting him. Sumter still had force enough, now that he was joined by the artillery, to have held the enemy in a state of siege; but he was short of ammunition, only twenty miles from Charleston, at a place accessible by tide water, and he apprchended the approach of Lord Rawdon, who, it was said, was moving down from Orangeburg. He therefore retired across the Santee, and rejoined Greene at his encampment.
So ended this foray, which fell far short of the expectations formed from the spirit and activity of the leaders and their men. Various errors have been pointed out in their operations, but concerted schemes are rarely carried out in all their parts by partisan troops. One of the best effects of the incursion, was the drawing down Lord Rawdon from Orangeburg, with five hundred of his troops. He returned no more to the upper country, but sailed not long after from Charleston for Europe.
Colonel Stuart, who was left in command at Orangeburg, moved forward from that place, and encamped on the south side of the Congaree River, near its junction with the Wateree, and within sixteen miles of Greene's position on the high hills of Santee. The two armies lay in sight of each other's fires, but two large rivers intervened, to secure each party from sudden attack. Both armies, however, needed repose, and military oper
LETTER OF WASHINGTON.
ations were suspended, as if by mutual consent, during the sultry summer heat.
The campaign had been a severe and trying one, and checkered with vicissitudes; but Greene had succeeded in regaining the greater part of Georgia and the two Carolinas, and, as he said, only wanted a little assistance from the North to complete their recovery. He was soon rejoiced by a letter from Washington, informing him that a detachment from the army of Lafayette might be expected to bring him the required assistance; but he was made still more happy by the following cordial passage in the letter: "It is with the warmest pleasure I express my full approbation of the various movements and operations which your military conduct has lately exhibited, while I confess to you that I am unable to conceive what more could have been done under your circumstances, than has been displayed by your little, persevering, and determined army."
WASHINGTON DISAPPOINTED AS TO REINFORCEMENTS-FRENCH ARMAMENT DESTINED FOR THE CHESAPEAKE ATTEMPTS ON NEW YORK POSTPONEDMARCH OF THE ARMIES TO THE CHESAPEAKE-STRATAGEMS TO DECEIVE THE ENEMY-ARNOLD RAVAGES NEW LONDON-WASHINGTON AT PHILADELPHIA-MARCH OF THE TWO ARMIES THROUGH THE CITY-CORNWALLIS AT YORKTOWN-PREPARATIONS TO PROCEED AGAINST HIM-VISIT TO MOUNT
AFTER the grand reconnoissance of the posts on New York Island, related in a former page, the confederate armies remained encamped about Dobbs Ferry and the Greenburg hills, awaiting an augmentation of force for their meditated attack. To Washington's great disappointment, his army was but tardily and scantily recruited, while the garrison of New York was augmented by the arrival of three thousand Hessian troops from Europe. In this predicament he despatched a circular letter to the governments of the Eastern States, representing his delicate and embarrassed situation. "Unable to advance with prudence beyond my present position," writes he, "while, perhaps, in the general opinion, my force is equal to the commencement of operations against New York, my conduct must appear, if not blamable, highly mysterious at least. Our allies, who were made to expect a very considerable augmentation of force by this time, instead of seeing a prospect of advancing, must conjecture, upon
EMBARRASSMENTS OF WASHINGTON.
good grounds, that the campaign will waste fruitlessly away. It will be no small degree of triumph to our enemies, and will have a pernicious influence upon our friends in Europe, should they find such a failure of resource, or such a want of energy to draw it out, that our boasted and extensive preparations end only in idle parade. * The fulfilment of my engagements must depend upon the degree of vigor with .which the executives of the several States exercise the powers with which they have been vested, and enforce the laws lately passed for filling up and supplying the army. In full confidence that the means which have been voted will be obtained, I shall continue my operations."
Until we study Washington's full, perspicuous letters, we know little of the difficulties he had to struggle with in conducting his campaigns; how often the sounding resolves of legislative bodies disappointed him; how often he had to maintain a bold front when his country failed to back him; how often, as in the siege of Boston, he had to carry on the war without powder !
In a few days came letters from Lafayette, dated 26th and 30th of July, speaking of the embarkation of the greatest part of Cornwallis's army at Portsmouth. "There are in Hampton Roads thirty transport ships full of troops, most of them red coats, and eight or ten brigs with cavalry on board." He supposed their destination to be New York, yet, though wind and weather were favorable, they did not sail. "Should a French fleet now come into Hampton Roads," adds the sanguine Marquis, "the British army would, I think, be ours."
At this juncture arrived the French frigate Concorde at Newport, bringing despatches from Admiral the Count de Grasse.