Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XVI >> Page 167

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Page 167

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
Transcription THE HISTORY OF SOUTH CAROLINA.167
caused the retreat of several small bodies of Americans,
that had approached with the view to the relief of Charles-
town. One of these, commanded by colonel Buford, con-
sisting of three or four hundred men, was pursued by
Tarleton, with a force about double that number. Tarleton
came upon Buford near the Waxsaws. A battle ensued,
in which Buford was defeated. The cry of his troops
for quarter, produced no effect upon the assailants. The
battle ended in a massacre, in which, according to Tarle-
ton's own account of the bloody business, five in six of the
whole body of the Americans, were either killed or so
badly mangled, as to be incapable of removal from the
field of battle.
To the errors of Buford, may be ascribed the defeat of
his party ; but the effect of this wanton massacre was
beneficial to the country. The Americans were taught
to expect no indulgence from their foes. " Tarleton's
quarter," became proverbial, and a spirit of revenge in all
subsequent battles, gave a keener edge to the military
resentments of the people.
The British commander-in-chief followed up these se-
vere and sanguinary lessons, by proclamations which
denounced vengeance against all who still continued in
arms ; while offering to the inhabitants, with a few excep-
tions, pardon for their past treasonable offences, and a
reinstatement in the possession of all those rights and
immunities which they had enjoyed under the British
government, exempt from taxation, except by their own
legislatures." Suffering from the sword, their armies
overthrown, the state every where in the hands of the foe,
the people listened to these specious offers, and abandon-