Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXIII: The Threatened Sacrifice >> Page 209

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE THREATENED SACRIFICE. 209
The sight of these figures acid the insulting shouts stimulated
his advance, and aroused his natural appetite for strife. With
habitual impetuosity, he hurried forward in a quick trot, making
for the point which most immediately promised him an encoun-
ter with his foe.
He found them much sooner than he had expected. His
enemy was prepared for him. Singleton was apprized of the
approach of Tarleton quite as soon as Barsfield in the avenue,
and he now prepared to execute the orders of Marion, for which
the present condition of things gave him a favorable opportu-
nity. He threw his men without the park. The fences lay be-
tween the two parties. One half of his force he immediately
sent down the bill to prepare the horses, putting them in read-
iness for instant flight. His riflemen, who had been too late
to check the retreat of Barsfield, were nevertheless just in time
on the outer edge of the park, and skirting one side of the
avenue, with its thick copse interposing sufficiently to protect
them from a charge of cavalry, to gall the advance of Tarle-
ton. They received their orders, and stood prepared to exe-
cute them. Covered by the trees, each man stood in silence,
prepared to single out his enemy, and immediately after scud
off along the fences, and join his comrades at the foot of the
hill. Cool and watchful, Singleton remained at hand to watch
the progress of both parties. He himself had prepared to do
a like duty with his men. He had thrown aside the sabre, and
a favorite rifle in his hands was quite as deadly a weapon as
in that of any other of his troop. The legion came bounding
forward, and the signal for their hostile reception came from
the rifle of the partisan commander. It had its echoes each
an echo of death�and the advancing column of Tarleton in
that narrow avenue, reeled and recoiled under the fatal dis-
charge. A dozen troopers fell from their saddles with the fire,
stiffening in the. fast embrace of death, and scarce conscious
of their wounds. But in another instant the fierce voice of
Tarleton, clamorous and shrill, rose like that of a trumpet
above all other sounds �
Scoundrels, forward ! Wherefore do ye pause ? Through
the bush to the right�charge, rascals, ere I cleave ye down