Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XVII >> Page 184

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Page 184

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
ed before the charge of the British bayonet, to which they
could oppose nothing but the American rifle. They fled
down the hill ; but, obeying the directions of their com-
mander, they availed themselves of every shelter, to stop,
reload, and throw in their fire. They were soon relieved
by the appearance of the party under Shelby, who, by
this time, had made the circuit of the mountain. Fergu-
son was compelled to turn and encounter a new foe.
The fresh party, under Shelby, poured in a well directed
fire ; but sunk back, like that of Cleveland, under the
charge of the British. The plans of the mountaineers,
though simple, were singularly effective, and the party of
Shelby was relieved by the approach of another band,
whose unerring rifles compelled the British commander
once more to change his front. While busy with these,
a fourth came upon the ground. As often as one of the
American divisions was driven down the mountain,
another rose in the rear or on the flank of the enemy.
Ferguson's valor was unavailing. The mountain was en-
circled by- foes. as bold and deliberate, as they were prompt,
active and skillful. His men were falling around him
on every side ; the success of his bayonets gave him
barren ground, which he could only for a moment retain.
Still he refused to surrender. The conflict was ended
only by his fall. The second in command sued for quar-
ters. The havoc had been terrible on the side of the
British. Thirteen hundred men were killed, wounded,
and prisoners. But two hundred escaped. Fifteen hun-
dred stand of arms fell into the hands of the Americans.
They lost but few men, but among these was the brave
colonel Williams. The bloody conflict was marked by