Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XXIV >> Page 261

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Page 261

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
was impossible for human courage longer to continue a
conflict which human wisdom could no longer approve.
They had fired seventeen rounds before they hesitated,
and were then succored by the North Carolinians, under
Sumner. With the appearance of Sumner's relief, colonel
Stewart brought up the infantry of his reserve into line
on his left, and the struggle between these fresh troop
began with renewed fury. At length Sumner's brigade,
after sustaining the conflict with numbers far superior to
their own, fell back also. Elated at this result, and
conceiving the victory to be now sure, the British rushed
forward in pursuit, and their line became deranged in
consequence. At this important crisis, the American
commander issued his orders to colonel Williams, who
remained in command of the second line, to advance and
sweep the field with his bayonets. This order was
promptly obeyed. The two brigades received it with a
shout, and advanced with a degree of impatience which
scarcely heeded the deliberate and measured guidance of
their officers. When within forty yards of the enemy,
the Virginians of the line delivered a destructive fire, and
the whole body, with trailed arms, rushed forward to the
charge, through showers of grape from the British artillery,
and seemingly unmoved by the stream of fire that blazed
incessantly before them. The advanced left of the
enemy recoiled beneath the desperate resolution of this
charge. Their disorder became visible, and was con-
firmed by the prompt movement of colonel Lee. Wheel-
ing the legion infantry round from its position on the
extreme right, he poured in upon the British left a close
enfilading fire, and their confusion became irretrievable.