Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XXI >> Page 231

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Page 231

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
A discharge of cannon at noon was the signal for the
parties to move. A blaze of artillery and small arms,
directed to the point of attack, covered the forlorn hope
in its smoke. Under its shade, this gallant band leapt
into the ditch and commenced the work assigned them ;
but. the enemy was prepared for them, and met the assault
with valor and determination.Bayonets and pikes
bristled above the parapet, and from the loop holes in the
sand bags, poured an incessant stream of fire, which
swept the slender ranks of the assailants. The form of
the redoubt gave the defenders a complete command of
the ditch ; and their coolness, and the comparative safety
of their cover, enabled them to use it with complete
Under the cross fire from opposite sections of the
redoubt, the little band of Americans were mowed down
with fearful havoc. Their leaders had both fallen, severely
wounded, and two-thirds of their number lay bleeding
and in death around them ; yet was the strife maintained
for near three quarters of an hour, and the assailants,
as if resolved on no other issues than death or victory,
only retreated at length, at the express orders of their
commander. In this conflict they obtained possession of
the curtain, and in their retreat, though still under a
galling fire from the garrison, they brought off the greater
number of their wounded comrades. Lord Rawdon, with
twenty-five hundred fresh troops, appeared soon after in
the neighborhood, and nothing was left to the American
general but retreat. Had a few days of time been allow-
ed to his approaches on Ninety-Six, or had the supplies
of militia promised from Virginia reached him, the