Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXIII: The Threatened Sacrifice >> Page 211

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE THREATENED SACRIFICE. '211
steps. Advance, sir, and charge forward. You should know
the ground by this time. Away !"'1o. another he cried striking the neck of his steed impa-
tiently with the broad side of his sabre
" Captain Kearney, to yon wood ! Sweep it, sir, with your
sabres ; and meet me in the rear of the garden !"
The officers thus commanded moved to the execution of their
charges with sufficient celerity. The commands and move-
ments of Major Singleton were much more cool and not less
prompt. He hurried along by his scattered men, as they lay
here and there, covered by this or that bush or tree.
" Carry off no bullets that you can spare them, men fire
as soon as they reach the garden, and, when your pieces are
clear, take down the hill and mount."
Three minutes did not elapse before the rifles had each
poured forth its treasured death ; and, without pausing to be-
hold the effects of their discharge, each partisan, duly obe-
dient, was on his way, leaping off from cover to cover through
the thick woods to the hollow where their horses had been
fastened.
The furious Tarleton meanwhile led the way through the
garden, the palings of which were torn away to give his cav-
alry free passage. With a soldier's rage, and the impatience
of one not often baffled, he hurried forward the pursuit, in a
line tolerably direct, after the flying partisans. But Singleton
was too good a soldier, and too familiar with the ground, to
keep his men in mass in a wild flight through woods be-
coming denser at every step. When they had reached a knoll
at some little distance beyond the place where. his horses had
been fastened, he addressed his troop as follows :
" We must break here, my men. Each man will take his
own path, and we will all scatter as far apart as possible.
Make your way, all of you, for the swamp, however ; where,
in a couple of hours, you may all be safe. Lance Frampton,
you will ride with me."
Each trooper knew the country, and, accustomed to individ-
ual enterprise and the duties of the scout, there was no
hardship to the men of Marion in such a separation. On a.11