Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XXII >> Page 238

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Page 238

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
out the British in such force, that the party engaged in
destroying the bridge were compelled to fall back upon
the main body. Sumter, believing that the British had
marched out to give him battle, retired behind a defile, at
a little distance in the rear, and prepared to receive the
attack in the most advantageous position.
But the British colonel had no such purpose. In pro-
portion as the confidence of the Americans rose in the
conflict, that of the invaders invariably fell. The pur-
pose of Coates was simply to wear out the day. With
the approach of night, he accumulated the stores of the
garrison within the church, and having set fire to them,
moved off on his flight to the eastward, by Wadboo
and Quinby. The flames bursting through the roof
of the sacred edifice, first informed Sumter of the flight
of the enemy. The pursuit was immediately commen-
ced ; but, unfortunately, lieutenant Singleton, with a piece
of artillery, was ordered to remain upon the ground, that
he might not delay the movements of the infantry. Lee
and Hampton led the pursuit, until, having passed the
Wadboo, they discovered that the cavalry of the enemy
had separated from the infantry, and had taken the route
to the right. Hampton diverged in this direction, urging
his panting horses to the utmost, in the hope to overtake
them before they could effect their passage of the river.
In this he was unsuccessful, and he returned only to wit-
ness the equally fortunate escape of the enemy's infantry,
the only remaining object of pursuit. Marion's cavalry
had joined the legion cavalry of Lee, and about a mile
to the north of Quinby creek, they overtook the rear guard
of the retreating army, consisting of one hundred men.