Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXXV: Before the Battle >> Page 298

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Page 298

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 298JOSCELYN
"The further report now is, that Richardson's force will be fully
two thousand men, and one-third of them horse."
"Nonsense! Hardly one thousand, as I know. Drayton had but
one hundred and twenty-five all told, when first he pushed Fletchall
from his quarters below."
"Besides four swivels and eighty horse from the Savannah river."
"The swivels scared Fletchall."
"But they have had large increase swelling their strength, and I
apprehend that our former estimates will scarcely do justice to their
present numbers, which have had large accessions from the sea-board.
Richardson has been joined by Thompson, with his rangers from
Orangeburg and the Santee country. This we know from a person
brought in last night. The intelligence is certain."
"Well, well, your present estimate?"
"Would make them quite two thousand men."
"Impossible! impossible! But whether two thousand or twenty
thousand, matters nothing. We must fight. Show them a bold front,
and these sea-coast nabobs will be apt to show their heels. They will
hardly stand a second fire."
Cunningham shook his head, doubtingly.-
"At all events, Cunningham, we know what's to be done. The
duty is before us let us about it like men, and you need not fear
what will happen."
A busy two hours passed, but the revolutionary troops did not yet
appear. Meanwhile, Browne and Cunningham reviewed all the
ground, chose the most elevated ridges for their defence, sent out
scouts and videttes, placed sentinels, and, out of the small force left
them, detached small squads for covering the nearest passes, some of
which had been left entirely uncovered by the withdrawal of Fletch-
all's and Pearis's regiments. This done, and all precautions taken,
Browne seemed to abandon himself to a leisurely and composed cal-
culation of his resources, and the chances of his situation. He quaffed
his Jamaica, meanwhile, without a scruple; and in his deportment
exhibited that savage riancy of the Hun, rioting, as it were, in the
suggestive fancies of the rapturous strife before him. He was a
savage, a brute, in many respects, ferocious and cruel; but cool even
in his most fiery moods of passion, and capable of an audacity that