Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXI: The Maiden's Gift >> Page 194

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Page 194

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 194 MELLICH.AMPE.
to the west of the avenue, within sight and hearing of tho
mansion-house, but beyond reach of fire-arms from that quarter.
It was a moment of sweet sorrow, that which Mellichampe and
Janet enjoyed in the brief interview which the necessities of
the time permitted them. The cheerful and stimulating
sounds of the trumpet recalled him to his duties, and, with a
word of encouragement and hope, which was answered by her
tears, he hurried away to the field of strife, and the presence
of the energetic Singleton.
" Lieutenant Mellichampe, take your men, throw down yon-
der panels, ancrcross into the garden ; keep them under cover
where the shelter is sufficient to conceal your movement, and
have your horses then fastened at the foot of the hill rising on
the right. A couple of sentries will guard them there. This
done, return to the post assigned you in the garden, covering
the dwelling on the rear with your rifles."
Mellichampe moved promptly, in obedience to his orders,
and soon succeeded in securing possession of the garden.
Dividing his command in such a manner as to place a similar
body of men in watch over each quarter of the building,
Singleton proceeded to try the effect of his rifles upon such of
the defenders as were more than necessarily exposed. His
men were dismounted for this purpose, their horses secured in
safety, and each man was put in possession of his tree.
To the rifles of Singleton the muskets of Barsfield's party
readily responded, and, for a few moments, the din and uproar
were continued with no little spirit. The musketry soon
ceased, however. Barsfield discovered that it was not his
policy to risk his men, two of whom had fallen in this overture,
in any such unequal conflict. The certainty of the rifle, in
such hands as those of the partisans, was too great a danger
to be wantonly opposed by musket-men. There was no ne-
cessity for any such exposure on. the part of the besieged : all
that they were required to do was to keep watch upon the
area below, and prevent the nearer approach of the beleaguer-
ing party. After a few rounds, therefore, had shown what re-
sults must follow such a combat, Barsfield forbade the firing from
the house, and commanded that his men should lie close, only