Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XIX >> Page 201

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History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
lis, with a remissness which has been censured by Tarle-
ton, hesitated to decide. In war, the delay of moments is
the defeat of hosts. He stopped to destroy his baggage,
and make some preparations which could have been re-
served for another time, and which consumed two days ;
and thus lost a prize, which, had he pursued promptly, he
could scarcely have failed to secure. He reached the
Great Catawba river just after the American general had
passed in safety ; but he no longer possessed the power to
follow him. The swollen waters of the stream, which
barely suffered the passage of Morgan, rose up, foaming
and threatening, in the face of Cornwallis. The Ameri-
cans exulted in the conviction that a miracle had been
performed in their behalf, like that which saved the He-
brews from the pursuit of the Egyptian tyrant. The
British commander was not, indeed, swallowed up by the
waters ; but they stayed his march�they baffled his pur-
suit ; and Morgan joined his commander, bringing off in
safety, the prisoners and baggage, the whole rich spoils
of his valor and good conduct.
As soon as the Catawba was fordable, Cornwallis
prepared to cross it, which he did successfully, though
resisted by a part of Greene's army under the command
of general Davidson. It was a wise resolution on the
part of the British general to attempt the passage in the
night. A stream five hundred yards wide, foaming among
the rocks, and frequently overturning men and horses in
its progress, might, in day-light, have discouraged the
hearts of his men. Nor would they then have been so
safe from the unerring riflemen, who were posted among
the trees and bushes which thickly covered the margin