Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XXIII >> Page 251

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Page 251

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
sudden dash which he made upon the outpost of the
enemy in the immediate neighborhood of Charlestown, he
succeeded in making general Williamson a prisoner.
This man was a traitor to the state, and his life was for-
feited to the gallows. To rescue him from this probable
fate, the British commandant in Charlestown ordered
out his whole cavalry, which succeeded in overtaking
the party of Hayne, dispersed it, and rescued Wil-
liamson. Colonel Hayne, unfortunately, fell also into
their hands. He was carried to Charlestown and kept in
close custody, until Rawdon, leaving Stewart at Orange-
burg, arrived in the city. He was then brought before a
court of inquiry. The members of the court upon this
examination were not sworn, nor were the witnesses ;
yet, in consequence of this examination, Lord Rawdon
and the commandant, lieutenant colonel Nesbitt Balfour,
resolved upon his execution, for having been found under
arms, and employed in raising a regiment to oppose the
British government, though he had become a subject, and
accepted the protection of that government after the re-
duction of Charlestown."
Such were the terms and reasons for this sentence,
which was ordered to be carried into effect two days af-
ter. This sudden, unlooked-for, and unjust sentence, was
equally unexpected by the prisoner himself and by the
citizens. It was not supposed that a mere court of inquiry
could be resolved into one of final trial and condemnation.
The men of the city pleaded in his behalf, the women
petitioned in person, and implored on bended knees for
remission of the sentence ; but Rawdon and Balfour
were inexorable.