Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XIII >> Page 134

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Page 134

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
founded. Camps were soon formed of the opposite par-
ties, and hostile bodies were quickly gathered in arms.
The tories, or loyalists, who dwelt in the forks between
Broad and Saluda rivers, were headed by two brothers,
named Patrick and Robert Cunningham, both remarkably
well calculated, by courage, strength, and intelligence, to
be popular leaders in a time of commotion. Robert hav-
ing shown himself remarkably active in opposition to the
revolutionists, was arrested by the authority of the coun-
cil of safety, and committed to the jail of Charlestown.
This aroused Patrick, who, arming a body of his friends,
pursued, with the expectation of rescuing his brother.
He seized, on this occasion, and while in this pursuit,
a thousand pounds of powder which was passing through
the settlement at this juncture, and which had been sent
by the council of safety, as a present to the Cherokee
Indians. A report which had been industriously spread,
that the powder was sent to inflame the Indians to rise
upon and massacre all those who refused to sign the asso-
ciation, exasperated the ignorant multitude, and roused
them to the commission of those acts which placed them
openly in arms against the country.
Major Williamson, who commanded the militia on the
part of congress, went in pursuit of the loyalists who
had seized the powder ; but he was compelled to retreat
before superior numbers. They pressed the pursuit, and
Williamson retreated to a stockade fort, where he was
besieged, and where he suffered from want of water and
provisions for several days. He was relieved by a truce,
under the terms of which both parties retired to their
homes. But the popular leaders were not satisfied with