Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXXVI: The Battle >> Page 302

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 302

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 302JOSCELYN

revolutionists had worked their way equally to flank and rear of
Browne's position, while the main body came on in front.
From the defiles the firing, at first scattering, became fast and
furious. Soon the small bodies of Browne's men, occupying the
passes, were driven in, fighting as they gave ground, with resolute
courage, and only overborne by numbers. Anon, a random fire was
opened in the rear, which found corresponding echoes from the flanks,
and Browne discovered fully that he was in a net. His foot soldiers
gradually came dropping in from the heights, bearing occasionally a
comrade upon their shoulders. Their places were supplied by new
bodies from the slender reserve which Browne had kept in the back
ground; but it was very soon evident that this resource would be
quickly exhausted. The troops of the patriots were everywhere rising
to the heights, and pressing back the small bodies whom they en-
countered. Already a considerable column had crossed one of the
several ridges in front, and they, seeming to hesitate, were supposed
to do so, simply to mass themselves more effectually before making
their charge down into the area, which had been occupied as the
camp of Browne. The latter observed all the signs around him, and
his eye continued calmly to take in the aspects and events with which
he had to contend. He was never more cool, resolute or inflexible
of purpose than at the present moment. Cunningham rode up to him
at this juncture.
"Should I not charge them at once, before they are massed for the
"Not yet!´┐Żnot yet! We must spare your troopers as much as
possible for the final effort. Meanwhile, see that our rifles keep up a
brisk fire upon the body on yonder ridge, thinning out the epaulettes
as fast as possible. We must do all the mischief we can before making
our final dash."
A trooper now rode up.
"Captain Bergman is killed, sir, and his men are falling back.
Lieutenant Cox begs that you'll send him some help. The rebels are
rising over the `Red Hill' now."
"What numbers?"
"I reckon about three hundred, mostly foot soldiers, but I saw,
just as I rode off, a troop of cavalry coming out of the `scrubby oak
thicket,' and making towards the `Rocky Hollow.' "