Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter III: The Companions >> Page 28

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Page 28

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 4
28 MELLICHAMPE.
direction to Camden, and thence in another line, including the
Santee river, again to Charleston. This circuit comprehended
the most wealthy and populous portion of the state, and could
not, under existing circumstances, have been intrusted to better
hands. And yet, not a foot of it but was in actual possession
and under the swfiy of the invader. His forts and garrisons
at moderate intervals, covered its surface, and his cavalry,
made up chiefly of foreign and native mercenaries, constantly
traversed the entire space lying between them.
The worthy governor of South Carolina, thus liberal in
appropriating this extensive province to the care of the parti-
san, dared not himself set foot upon it unless under cover of
the night ; and the brave man to whom he gave it availed
himself of the privileges of his trust only by stratagem and
stealth. Fortunately, the physical nature of the country so
bestowed was well susceptible of employment in the hands of -
such a warrior as Marion. It afforded a thousand natural and
almost inaccessible retreats, with the uses of which the partisan
had been long familiar. The fastnesses of river and forest,
impervious to the uninitiated stranger, were yet a home to the
"swamp fox." He doubled through them, night and day, to
the continual discomfiture and mortification of his pursuers.
From the Santee to the Black river, from the Black river
the two Peedees, through the Kaddipab, to thence to Wacca-
mah, and back again to the Santee, be led his enemies a long
chase, which wearied out their patience, defied their valor, and
eluded all their, vigilance. Availing himself of their exhaus-
tion, be would then suddenly turn- upon the pursuing parties,
watch their movements, await the moment of their neglect or
separation, and cut them up in detail by an unlooked-for blow,
which would amply compensate by its consequences for all the
previous annoyance to which he might have been subjected
in the pursuit.
It was to his favorite retreat at Snow's island that Major
Singleton followed his commander, after the successful on-
slaught at Dorchester. Himself familiar with the usual hiding-
places, he had traced his general with as much directness as
was possible in following one so habitually cautious as Marion.