Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XXV >> Page 277

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Page 277

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
The desertion of the mountaineers, who formed so
large a portion of Marion's command, might have been of
the most pernicious consequence to the several divisions
of the American army, but for the alarm which the
movement of Greene across the Congaree, had occasion-
ed in the mind of Stewart. Greene had advanced too
far to recede ; Marion had passed the Santee, and any
disaster to him would have compelled an immediate
retreat of the main army, to avoid worse consequences.
The ignorance of the British commander of the real
condition of his foe, and, perhaps, a consciousness of his
own weakness´┐Żof which the Americans were equally
ignorant at the time by prompting his retreat towards
Charlestown, induced Greene to undertake an enterprise
calculated to confirm the enemy's fears of the American
strength, and, by forcing him into Charlestown, without
risking an action, to get the entire command of the
With this object, he left the army on its march, under
the command of colonel Williams ; and at the head of
two hundred cavalry, and as many infantry, moved
briskly towards Dorchester. The cavalry consisted of
Lee's and Washington's, and one hundred men drawn
from the command of Sumter. The infantry were those
of the legion, and detachments from the lines of Maryland
and Virginia. The command of this detachment was
given to colonel Wade Hampton. Greene flattered
himself with the hope of being able to surprise the post
at Dorchester ; but the enemy received notice of his
approach, and lay upon their arms all night. Not
seeing the Americans appear as soon as they expected,