Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XIII / The Bride of the Battle. A Tale of the Revolution. >> Page 280

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 280

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 280 SOUTHWARD HO CHAPTER V.
THE little party of Richard Coulter consisted of four persons
besides himself. It was, perhaps, an hour before this that he sat
apart from the rest conversing with one of his companions. This
was no other than Elijah Fields, the methodist preacher. He
had become a volunteer chaplain among the patriots of his own
precinct, and one who, like the bishop of Beauvais, did not scru-
ple to wield the weapons of mortal warfare as well as those of
the church. It is true he was not ostentatious in the manner of
the performance ; and this, perhaps, somewhat increases its mer-
it. He was the man for an emergency, forgetting his prayers
when the necessity for blows was pressing, and duly remember-
ing his prayers When the struggle was no longer doubtful. Yet
Elijah Fields was no hypocrite. He was a true, strong-souled
man, with blood, will, energies and courage, as-well as devotion,
and a strong passion for the soil which gave him birth. In plain
terms, he was the patriot as well as the preacher, and his man-
hood was required for both vocations.
To him, Richard Coulter, now a captain among the partisans
of Sumter, had unfolded the narrative of his escape from Dun-
bar. They had taken their evening meal ; their three compan-
ions were busy with their arms and horses, grouped together in
the centre of the camp. Our two principal persons occupied a
little headland on the edge of the river, looking up the stream.
They were engaged in certain estimates with regard to the num-
ber of recruits expected daily, by means of which- Coulter was
in hopes to turn the tables on his rival ; becoming the hunter
instead of the fugitive. We need not go over the grounds of
their discussion, and refer to the general progress of events
throughout the state. Enough to say that the Continental army,
defeated under Gates, was in course of reorganization, and re-
approaching under Greene ; that Marion had been recently ac-
tive and successful below ; and that Sumter, defeated by Tarle-
ton at Fishing creek, was rapidly recruiting his force at the foot
of the mountains. Richard Coulter had not been utterly unsuc-
cessful in the same business along the Edisto. A rendezvous of
his recruits was appointed to take place on the ensuing Satur-