Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XVI >> Page 175

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 175

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
discharging their pieces. This unworthy example was
followed by the North Carolina militia, with the ex-
ception of a single corps under major Dixon. The
cavalry of Armand, which had behaved with so little
resolution in the encounter of the night, increased the
panic by a second and irretrievable flight ; and the con-
tinentals stood alone, abandoned by the militia, and
maintaining their ground against the entire force of the
British army. The artillery was lost; the cavalry �a
miserable apology for a legion, made up of the worthless
outcasts of foreign service�were swallowed up in the
woods and the regular infantry, reduced to a mere point
in the field, and numbering but nine hundred men, were
now compelled to bear the undivided pressure of two thou-
sand men. But they resisted this pressure nobly, and
their bayonets locking with those of the foe, bore them
back upon the field in many places, yielding them pris-
oners from the very heart of the _British line. This tri-
umph was momentary only these gallant men were un-
supported. DeKalb had already fallen under eleven
wounds, Gates had fled or was borne from the field by the
flying militia ; and Cornwallis, observing that there was
no cavalry opposed to him, poured in his dragoons, now
returning from pursuit of the fugitives, and ended the con-
test. Never did men behave better than the continentals ;
but they were now compelled to fly. The only chance
that remained to avoid a surrender on the field, and escape
from the sabres of the dragoons, in whom tie British were
very strong, was to break away for the morass in their rear,
into which they could not be pursued by cavalry. This
was done, and by this measure, alone, did any part of this