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GREENE IN SUMMER-QUARTERS.
And now Greene and Rawdon changed their relative positions, the former becoming the pursuer of the latter, in his march toward Orangeburg. Finding Rawdon strongly entrenched there, Greene deemed it prudent not to attack him; and the sickly season approaching, he crossed the Congaree with his little army, and encamped upon the High Hills of Santee, below Camden, where pure air and water might be found in abundance.
Considering the post at Ninety-Six quite untenable, Rawdon ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Cruger to abandon it and join him at Orangeburg. There Rawdon was met by Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart, who had come up from Charleston with an Irish regiment. As Greene had gone into summer-quarters apparently, and the American partisans were just then quiet, his lordship left all his forces in charge of Stewart, went down to Charleston, and embarked for Europe to seek the restoration of his health.
Soon after encamping on the High Hills of Santee, Greene detached Sumter with about a thousand light troops to scour the lower country and beat up the British posts in the vicinity of Charleston. His assistants were those bold partisans, Lee, Marion, Horry, the Hamptons, and other brave republican leaders, with troops accustomed to the swamps and sandy lowlands.
These performed excellent service in preparing the way for the expulsion of the enemy from the interior of South Carolina.
Early in August Greene was reinforced by North Carolina troops, under General Sumner; and toward the close of the month, he broke up his encampment, crossed the Wateree, and marched upon Orangeburg Stewart, who had been joined by Cruger, immediately retreated to Eutaw Springs, near the southwest bank of the Santee, and there encamped. Greene followed, and on the morning of the eighth of September, a very severe battle commenced. The British were finally expelled from the camp, leaving their tents standing, and almost everything but their arms behind them.
Greene's troops, unmindful of their commander's orders, had spread themselves through the abandoned camp to plunder, eat, and drink, when the enemy unexpectedly and suddenly renewed the battle. After a bloody conflict of four hours the Americans were compelled to give way. “ It was by far the most obstinate fight I ever saw,” Greene wrote to Washington. Stewart feeling insecure, for the American partisan legions were hovering around him, retreated toward Charleston that night.
On the morning of the ninth Greene advanced and took possession of the battle-field, and sent detachments in pursuit of Stewart. A victory was claimed by both parties. Washington seemed to consider it as such for Greene. “Fortune,” he said, in a letter to him,
must have been coy indeed, had she not yielded at last to so persevering a pursuer as you have been." Yet there was no victory in the case.
The advantage evidently lay with the Americans. The contest had been a most sanguinary one. The loss of the Americans in killed, wounded, and missing, was five hundred and fifty-five; that of the British six hundred and ninety-three. The bravery, skill, and caution of Greene, and the general good conduct of his troops, were applauded by the whole country. Congress ordered a gold medal to be struck in commemoration of the event, and presented to Greene. A British standard captured on that occasion was also presented to him.
Many of his troops being sick, Greene again retired to the High Hills of Santee, where he remained until the middle of November, There, on the thirtieth of October, he was informed of the glorious events at Yorktown, and the day was made jubilant with the rejoicings of the army.
The whole upper country of the Carolinas and Georgia was now in possession of the republicans. Nothing remained to be done, but to drive in the British outposts, and hem them within the narrow precincts of their lines at Charleston and Savannah. Marion, Sumter, Lee, and other partisans, performed this service effectually
Greene finally crossed the Congaree and moved with his army to the vicinity of Charleston. The object of his campaign was accomplished. He had driven the enemy to the margin of the sea, and he was prepared to keep them there. Marion and his men