Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XXIV >> Page 264

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Page 264

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
tervals of which, they could fire with security and effect.
The whole British line was now in full flight before the
American bayonet. Their retreat lay directly through
their own encampment, where their tents were all stand-
ing, and a thousand objects scattered around in grateful
profusion, which, to the famished troops of Greene, were
too tempting to be withstood. Fatigued and almost naked,
panting with heat and suffering from thirst at the same
time believing their victory to be secure, the pursuing
Americans fell into acts of insubordination, to which the
fire of the British from the contiguous houses eminently
contributed. The shelter of the tents from this fire,
became an excuse, of which these brave men did not
scruple to avail themselves. Here the American line
got into irretrievable confusion.Its officers, nearly
abandoned by their soldiers, became conspicuous marks
for the British party, who now poured their fire from the
windows of the house. In vain did they seek to rescue
their men from the baneful consequences which had fol-
lowed their entrance into the encampment. They had
dispersed without order among the tents, had fastened
upon the intoxicating liquors, and had now become utterly
The British officers availed themselves promptly of
this miserable condition of things. Majoribanks and
Coffin made simultaneous movements ; the one from his
thicket on the left, the other from the wood on the right
of the American line. Greene soon saw the dangers
that threatened him, and issued orders to Lee, of the
legion, to fall upon Coffin. In the absence of Lee, major
Eggleston, with a detachment of the legion cavalry, pro-