Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XVII >> Page 182

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Page 182

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
which was to bring them into renewed activity. It is
probable that the knowledge of the existence of these par-
ties, drew the attention of the British commander to this
part of the country. Colonel Ferguson, a brave and effi-
cient leader of the seventy-first British regiment, appear-
ed among these brave borderers with a strong and disor-
derly force, consisting of loyalists and British, nearly fif-
teen hundred in number. His march through the coun-
try was distinguished by every sort of atrocity and vio-
lence. The lively representations of those who had suf-
fered at the hands of these marauders, awakened the
mountaineers to a sense of their own danger. Hitherto,
they had only heard of war at a distance ; and, in the
peaceable possession of that independence for which
their countrymen along the seaboard had been contend-
ing, they had probably been rather more indifferent to the
issue than their own interests and sympathies could well
have justified. The approach of Ferguson aroused them
from their apathy, and they determined to embody them-
selves for their own defence. Being all mounted men,
and unincumbered with baggage, their movements were
prompt and rapid, Each man set forth with his blanket
and rifle, in the manner of a hunter, and as if in pursuit
only of the wild beasts of the forest. The earth was his
couch at night, and the skies his covering. The running
stream quenched his thirst, and the wild game of the
woods, or the cattle which he drove before him, supplied
him with food. They rendezvoused at length among the
passes of the mountains.
Nine hundred picked riflemen overtook the British
commander on the 7th of October, 1780. His encamp-