Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XVII >> Page 178

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Page 178

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
foe was at a distance. Not a drum was beat to arms,
and no alarm given which could apprize the Americans
of the approach of danger. The rout was total. A few
of the regulars maintained a fire from behind the wagons
for a while, in hopes of rallying the militia, but without
success. Their opposition only served to infuriate the
dragoons. The carnage was dreadful, and the aggregate
loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners, was very little short
of that sustained by Gates in his defeat of the 16th.
Sumter had the good fortune to escape ; but very few of
his officers or men got off Of the prisoners taken in
these two battles by the British, several were selected,
bound with cords and carried to Camden, where they
were hung without trial, as rebels, under the express or-
der of lord Cornwallis. Nor was this the only measure
of severity adopted by the invaders. In almost every
section of the state, their progress was marked with
blood, and with other deeds of equal atrocity. Many of
the militia were executed on various and worthless pre-
texts, and most frequently without even the form of trial.
Private citizens were made close prisoners on board
of prison ships, where they perished of foul diseases and
without attendance. From Charlestown alone, after the
defeat of Gates, sixty of the principal inhabitants were
transported to St. Augustine, where they were subjected
equally to bondage and every form of indignity. The
determination of the British commander, seemed to be, to
annihilate the spirit of independence by trampling upon
the persons of its best asserters. This was a short sighted
policy. True manhood is never more resolute than when
it feels itself wronged, and the Carolinians were never