Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XIII / The Bride of the Battle. A Tale of the Revolution. >> Page 307

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE MELEE. 30 7
nal for Coulter. He naturally feared that his comrade had been,
shot down, and, in the same instant his rifle gave the signal to
his followers, wherever they had been placed in ambush. Almost
simultaneously the sharp cracks of the fatal weapon were heard
from four or five several quarters, followed by two or three scat-
tering pistol-shots, Coulter's rifle dropped Clymes, just as he
was about to ascend the steps of the piazza. A second shot
from one of his companions tumbled the provost, having in charge
old Sabb. His remaining keeper let fall the rope and fled in
terror, while the old Dutchman, sinking to his knees, crawled
rapidly to the opposite side of the tree which had been chosen
for his gallows, where he crouched closely, covering his ears
with his hands, as if, by shutting out the sounds, he could shut
out all danger from the shot. Here he was soon joined by
Brough, the African. The faithful slave bounded toward his
master the moment he was released, and hugging him first with
a most rugged embrace, he proceeded to undo the degrading
halter from about his neck. This done, he got the old man on
his feet, placed him still further among the shelter of the trees,
and then hurried away to partake in the struggle, for which he
bad provided himself with a grubbing-hoe and pistol. It is no
part of our object to follow and witch his exploits ; nor do we
need to report the several results of each ambush which had
been set. In that where we left the four gamblers busy at Old-
Sledge, the proceeding had been most murderous. One of Coul-
ter's men had been an old scout. Job Fisher was notorious for
his stern deliberation and method. He had not been content to
pick his man, but continued to revolve around the gamblers until
be could range a couple of them, both of 'Avllom fell under his
first fire. Of the two others, one was shot down by the com-
panion of Fisher. The fourth took to his heels, but was over-
taken, and brained with the butt of the rifle. The scouts then
hurried to other parts of the farmstead, agreeable to previous
arrangement, where they gave assistance to their fellows. The
history, in short, was one of complete surprise and route�the
dragoons were not allowed to rally ; nine of them were slain
outright�not including the captain ; and the rest dispersed, to
be picked up at a time of greater leisure. At the moment when
Coulter's party were assembling at the dwelling, Brough had