Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XX >> Page 217

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Page 217

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
and put an end to the strife around it. This gentleman,
in addition to the rescue of the artillery, captured more
than two hundred prisoners. His humanity is alledged
by the British to have been detrimental to his objects.
A severe military judgment insists that he should have
cut down instead of making captives. His prisoners
encumbered his movements, and the time lost in taking
them might have been of lasting benefit if it had been
employed mercilessly upon the British rear.
Rawdon was not in a condition to pursue the Americans
far. The latter halted at a distance of two miles to recov-
er stragglers and take refreshment. At noon, the retreat
was resumed, and the army finally encamped at Sanders'
Creek, about four miles from the scene of action, to which
place Washington was ordered back to reconnoitre. As
he proceeded in obedience to this order, he was told that
Rawdon had returned to Camden, leaving captain Coffin
with his cavalry, and a body of mounted infantry in charge
of the field of battle. This intelligence suggested to Wash-
ington the prospect of a new achievement. Returning
with his cavalry into a thicket on the road side, he pushed
forward a small detachment, with orders to approach
under covert, until within a short distance of the enemy's
position. His stratagem produced the desired effect ;
Coffin's whole troop pursued and fell into the ambuscade.
Washington rose from his hiding place as they reached
it, and the whole party were either cut to pieces or com-
pelled to save themselves by flight. The field of Hobkirk,
thus actually remained in possession of the Americans.
The loss of the two armies in the main battle was nearly
equal ; that of the British, by reason of the artillery which