Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XX: Sharp Passages at Arms >> Page 188

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 188

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 18 8 MELLICHAMPF.
Well, Airnest, jist as you say. You know best, if you
like it ; and so, knock away's the word."
Two or three brief sentences between the friends conveyed
the difficulties and dangers of the scene and the spirit of the
combatants. The partisans fought well, but they grew weaker
in numbers and individual strength with every movement of
the protracted battle. They had not well calculated the dif-
ference of personal capacity for strife and endurance of fatigue
between drilled men and volunteers ; and, though the spirit
of the latter for a time, is more than a match for the harden-
ing practice of the former, yet it very seldom endures so well.
" I will perish on this field�I will not leave it, and show
my back to that scoundrel ! Come on, men ! �. come on, With-
erspoon ! let us pluck up spirit for another�a last �a des-
perate charge. I must meet with Barsfield, now ; there are
too few on either side to keep us long apart."
A brief pause in the combat, as if by tacit consent, enabled
Mellichampe, in the breathing time which it afforded, to con-
vey this suggestion and resolve to the few fierce spirits still
gathering around him driven back, but not yet defeated
dispirited, perhaps, but far from subdued. They freely pled g-
ed themselves to the resolution, and, with a cheer, as if they
had been going to a banquet, they drove the 'owels into their
jaded steeds, and joined once more in the struggle. But the
weapons had scarcely crossed, and the close strife had' not yet
begun when the shrill notes of a bugle rang through the wood
to the left of the combatants.
It is Singleton's trumpet," cried Mellichampe aloud to his
men ; and a cheer of encouragement involuntarily went up from
their lips as they listened to the grateful music. In the next
moment, at full gallop, the reinforcement of Singleton came
plunging forward to the rescue from the woods on every side,
while the full-toned voice of their gallant leader shouted to
the fainting combatants to strike on without faltering. Bars-
field, so lately confident of his triumph over his enemy, and
of his vengeance upon the one foe, in _particular, about to be
realized, was compelled to forego the prey almost within his
grasp.