Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XX >> Page 216

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History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
tention in another quarter. Urging his horse up the emi-
nence, he saw for the first time the utmost extent of his
misfortune. But a single regiment remained entire ; his
artillery was uncovered on the summit of the hill. To
bring his troops off in order, and to save the artillery, were
the only remaining objects; and, amid a shower of bullets,
the American general delivered his commands with
composure, to draw off the right and left regiments and
form them on that of Gunby, which was now rallied ;
while their retreat should be covered by the second
Virginia. This order, well executed, left to Greene the
choice of deliberate retreat or a renewal of the battle.
During its execution, the main efforts of the British were
to secure possession of the artillery. Horse and foot
were ascending the hill, and the matrosses were about to
fly, when the American general applied his own hand to
the drag ropes. This example was not to be withstood.
A little band rallied to their rescue, bearing their loaded
muskets in one hand while applying the other to the
ropes. The fight was renewed in this endeavor. A
British corps appeared on the hill moving to the charge.
Dropping the ropes, the little troop, forming in the rear of
the artillery, met them with a fire, which, repeated with
deliberate resolution until escape was impossible, was
terribly destructive. Thrice was the attempt renewed
and with the same effect. The assailants were driven
off with loss, until an overpowering force of infantry and
riflemen came to their assistance, and every man of this
gallant little band, but forty-five in number, was either
killed or taken. The artillery now seemed lost ; but at
this crisis, colonel Washington charged in upon the road