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GREENE ON THE HIGH HILLS OF SANTEE THE ENEMY HARASSED-GREENE MARCHES AGAINST STUART--BATTLE NEAR EUTAW SPRINGS.
FOR some weeks in the months of July and August, General Greene had remained encamped with his main force on the high hills of Santee, refreshing and disciplining his men, and awaiting the arrival of promised reinforcements. He was constantly looking to Washington as his polar star by which to steer, and feared dispatches from him had been intercepted. "I wait with impatience for intelligence," said he, "by which I mean to govern my own operations. If things are flattering in the North, I will hazard less in the South; but, if otherwise there, we must risk more here." In the mean time, Marion with his light troops, aided by Colonel Washington with his dragoons, held control over the lower Santee. Lee was detached to operate with Sumter's brigade on the Congaree, and Colonel Harden with his mounted militia was scouring the country about the Edisto. The enemy was thus harassed in every quarter; their convoys and foraging parties waylaid; and Stuart was obliged to obtain all his supplies from below.
Greene was disappointed as to reinforcements. All that he received were two hundred North Carolina levies and five hun
dred South Carolina militia; still he prepared for a bold effort to drive the enemy from their remaining posts. For that purpose, on the 22d of August he broke up his encampment on the "benign hills of Santee," to march against Colonel Stuart. The latter still lay encamped about sixteen miles distant in a straight line; but the Congaree and Wateree lay between, bordered by swamps overflowed by recent rains; to cross them and reach the hostile camp, it was necessary to make a circuit of seventy miles. While Greene was making it, Stuart abandoned his position, and moved down forty miles to the vicinity of Eutaw Springs, where he was reinforced by a detachment from Charleston with provisions.
Greene followed on by easy marches. He had been joined by General Pickens with a party of the Ninety Six militia, and by the State troops under Lieutenant-colonel Henderson; and now moved slowly to give time for Marion, who was scouring the country about the Edisto, to rejoin him. This was done on the 5th of September at Laurens' place, within seventeen miles of Stuart's camp. Here baggage, tents, every thing that could impede motion, was left behind, and on the afternoon of the seventh the army was pushed on within seven miles of the Eutaws, where it bivouacked for the night, Greene lying on the ground wrapped in his cloak, with the root of a tree for a pillow.
At four o'clock in the morning his little army was in motion. His whole force at that time did not exceed two thousand men ; that of the enemy he was seeking, about twenty-three hundred. The Americans, however, were superior in cavalry. Owing to the difficulty of receiving information, and the country being covered with forests, the enemy were not aware of Greene's approach until he was close upon them.
GREENE NEAR EUTAW.
His army advanced in two columns, which were to form the two lines of battle. The first column, commanded by General Marion, was composed of two battalions of North and two of South Carolina militia. The second column of three brigades; one of North Carolina, one of Virginia, and one of Maryland Continental troops. Colonel Lee with his legion covered the right flank, Colonel Henderson the left. Colonel Washington, with his dragoons and the Delaware troops, formed the reserve. Each column had two field-pieces.
Within four miles of Eutaw they met with a British detachment of one hundred and fifty infantry and fifty cavalry under Major Coffin, sent forward to reconnoitre; it was put to flight after a severe skirmish, in which a number were killed and wounded, and several taken prisoners. Supposing this to be the van of the enemy, Greene halted his columns and formed. The South Carolinians in equal divisions formed the right and left of the first line, the North Carolinians the centre. General Marion commanded the right; General Pickens, the left; Colonel Malmedy, the centre. Colonel Henderson with the State troops covered the left of the line; Colonel Lee with his legion the right.
Of the second line, composed of regulars, the North Caroli nians, under General Sumner, were on the right; the Marylanders, under Colonel Williams, on the left; the Virginians, under Colonel Campbell, in the centre.
Colonel Washington with his cavalry followed in the rear as a corps de reserve.
Two three-pounders moved on the road in the centre of the first line. Two six-pounders in a like position in the second line.
In this order the troops moved forward, keeping their lines as well as they could through open woods, which covered the country on each side of the road.
Within a mile of the camp they encountered a body of infantry thrown forward by Colonel Stuart, to check their advance while he had time to form his troops in order of battle. These were drawn up in line in a wood two hundred yards west of Eutaw Springs. The right rested on Eutaw Creek (or brook), and was covered by a battalion of grenadiers and infantry under Major Majoribanks, partly concealed among thickets on the margin of the stream. The left of the line extended across the Charleston road, with a reserve corps in a commanding situation covering the road. About fifty yards in the rear of the British line was a cleared field, in which was their encampment, with the tents all standing. Adjoining it was a brick house with a palisadoed garden, which Colonel Stuart intended as a protection, if too much pressed by cavalry.
The advanced party of infantry, which had retired firing before the Americans, formed on the flanks of Colonel Stuart's line. The Carolinian militia had pressed after them. About nine o'clock the action was commenced by the left of the American line, and soon became general. The militia fought for a time with the spirit and firmness of regulars. Their two field-pieces were dismounted; so was one of the enemy's; and there was great carnage on both sides. The militia fought until they had expended seventeen rounds, when they gave way, covered by Lee and Henderson, who fought bravely on the flanks of the line.
Sumner, with the regulars who formed the second line, advanced in fine style to take the place of the first. The enemy
BATTLE OF EUTAW SPRINGS.
likewise brought their reserve into action; the conflict continued to be bloody and severe. Colonel Henderson, who commanded the State troops in the second line, was severely wounded; this caused some confusion. Sumner's brigade, formed partly of recruits, gave way under the superior fire of the enemy. The British rushed forward to secure their fancied victory. Greene, seeing their line disordered, instantly ordered Williams with his Marylanders to "sweep the field with the bayonet." Williams was seconded by Colonel Campbell with the Virginians. The order was gallantly obeyed. They delivered a deadly volley at forty yards' distance, and then advanced at a brisk rate, with loud shouts and trailed arms, prepared to make the deadly thrust. The British recoiled. While the Marylanders and Virginians attacked them in front, Lee with his legion turned their left flank and charged them in rear. Colonel Hampton with the State cavalry made a great number of prisoners, and Colonel Washington, coming up with his reserve of horse and foot, completed their defeat. They were driven back through their camp; many were captured; many fled along the Charleston road, and others threw themselves into the brick house.
Major Majoribanks and his troops could still enfilade the left flank of the Americans from their covert among the thickets on the border of the stream. Greene ordered Colonel Washington with his dragoons and Kirkwood's Delaware infantry to dislodge them, and Colonel Wade Hampton to assist with the State troops. Colonel Washington, without waiting for the infantry, dashed forward with his dragoons. It was a rash move. The thickets were impervious to cavalry. The dragoons separated into small squads, and endeavored to force their way in. Horses and riders were shot down or bayoneted; most of the officers were either VOL. IV.-15