Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XIX >> Page 203

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Page 203

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
of necessity as it had before been one of choice.The
Americans were gathering strength by daily accessions.
The tories were growing cold in a contest, which, how-
ever successful at first, had been pregnant with defeats
and dangers; and the severe lessons which the British had
received at King's Mountain and at Cowpens, had taught
them to indulge in gloomy anticipations, which needed but
the maturing influence of time for fullest confirmation.
Numberless minor events, small combats, and skillful
manceuverings, while they emboldened the Americans
and their general, prepared the way for the more important
issue which was to follow. The two main armies, after
various marchings and counter-marchings, prepared to
stake the issue finally on the sword. The scene of action
was at Guilford Court House. The battle was fought on
the 15th of March, 1781. It was waged with great ob-
stinacy and valor, and the victory remained long in sus-
pense. Discipline, at length, achieved its natural tri-
umph over the irregular force of the Americans. Half
of Greene's force were untried militia. But five hundred
of his men had ever seen service. The veteran volun-
teers under Pickens, had been dispatched some time
before to South Carolina, where they were imperatively
demanded to meet the black brigades which the British
were seeking to embody in that quarter; and the regular
troops that remained, consisting of the infantry of the
legion, a little corps of Delawares, and the 1st regiment
of Maryland, formed the only portion of the American
army that could be compared with the British. These
did not exceed two hundred and eighty-one in number ;
yet, unassisted, they drove from the field in the first in-