Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XVIII >> Page 187

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Page 187

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
my on the field of New Orleans. Little was it imagined
that the obscure stripling who was sabred by a British offi-
cer for refusing to clean his boots, should be honored,
thirty-five years after, with the greatest triumph ever ob-
tained in America over a British army.
The retreat of Cornwallis still farther encouraged the
Americans, who began to repair in considerable numbers
to the camps of their respective commanders. An incur-
sion of colonel Washington, into South Carolina, was
attended with singular good fortune. On the 4th of
December, 1780, he appeared before the British post
near Camden, which was held by one colonel Rugely.
It was a stockade, but garrisoned by an hundred men.
Washington was without artillery; but a pine log, which
was ingeniously hewn and arranged so as to resemble a
field piece, enforced, to the commander of the post, the
propriety of surrendering to the first summons of the
American colonel. This harmless piece of timber, ele-
vated a few feet from the earth, was invested by the
apprehension of the garrison with such formidable power,
that they were exceedingly glad to find a prompt accept-
ance of their submission. Colonel Rugely's hope of
becoming a brigadier was forever cut off by his too ready
recognition of this new instrument of warfare.
About this time, general Greene took command of the
southern army. He found his troops few in number,
oppressed with severe and active duties, without tents
or blankets, and but imperfectly supplied with clothing.
The British army in Carolina numbered five thousand men,
exclusive of loyalists, and were strongly stationed so as to
cover the most important routes in the state, and to over-