Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XVII >> Page 179

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Page 179

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
more determined for their liberties than in the moment of
their greatest denial.
General Gates, after several ineffectual attempts to
rally his men, finally retired to Hillsborough, in North Car-
olina, to solicit the support of the state legislature, then in
session. Here, upon bringing together the remnant of his
little army, it was found to number little more than one
thousand men. In North Carolina, after the dispersion
of Sumter's command, there did not remain a man in
arms, except a small band embodied by Marion. This
able partisan maintained his ground below and along the
Santee river, and managed, among the defiles and swamps
of that region, to elude all the activity of his enemies.
His force had been collected chiefly among his own
neighbors, were practised in the swamps, and familiar
with the country. Like Sumter, utterly unfurnished
with the means of war at first, he procured them by
similar means. He took possession of the saws from
the mills, and converted them into sabres. So much was
he distressed for ammunition, that he has engaged in
battle when he had not three rounds of powder to each
man. of his party. At other times, without any, his men
have been brought in sight of the foe simply that their
numbers might be displayed. For weeks his force did
not exceed seventy-five ; sometimes they were reduced
to one third that number, all volunteers from the militia.
Yet, with this inconsiderable band, he maintained his
ground, secure amidst hundreds of tory enemies, who
hung around his footsteps with all that watchful hostility
which the peculiar animosities of civil warfare is so
likely to sharpen into personal hatred. Various were the