Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter I: The Curtain Rises >> Page 11

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE CURTAIN RISES. 11
the southern cities, with the flight of the sister month of Sep-
tember.
The hurry of Major Proctor was in vain. He came too late
to retrieve the fortunes of the fight. The partisans had
melted away like so many shadows. Vain were all his efforts,
and idle his chagrin. He could only gaze in stupid wonder-
ment upon the condition of the field, admiring and deploring
that valor which had eluded his own., and set at naught all his
precautions. Never had surprise been more complete ; never
had enterprise been better planned or more perfectly executed,
with so much hazard, and with: so little loss. The whole
affair was one to annoy the British commander beyond all
calculation. There was nothing to remedy there was no
hope of redress. The rebels were beyond his reach ; and,
even were they not, the force under Proctor was quite too
small, and the condition of his trust, in and about Dorchester,
of too much hazard and importance, to permit of his pursuing
them. Convinced of this, he turned his attention to the field
of battle, every step in the examination of which only con-
tributed the more to his mortification and regret. Several of
his best soldiers lay around him in the last agonies or the final
slumbers .of death ; several were maimed or wounded, and
the few who survived and had fled from the unlooked-for com-
bat, had not, in every instance, escaped unhurt. But few of
the partisans had fallen, and their wounds had all been fatal.
They were no longer at the mercy of any human conqueror.
There was none upon whom the mortified commander, had he
been so disposed, could wreak his. vengeance, and punish for
the audacity of his rebel leader. The bitterness of his mood
increased with the conviction that there was no victim upon
whom to pour it forth. Revenge and regret were alike
unavailing.
While thus he mused upon the gloomy prospect and the
bloody field, the soldiers, who, meanwhile, had been dispersed
about in the inspection of the adjoining woods and scene of
strife, came before him, bringing an individual whom they had
found, the only one who seemed to have escaped -unhurt in the
combat. Yet he was found where the strife appeared to have