Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XXVI >> Page 282

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Page 282

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
Charlestown and Edisto, by the way of Stono, a canal had
been cut through this marsh, and was known by the name
of New Cut. At low water this is fordable, and to guard
this pass, the British had moored two gallies at convenient
distances ; but to avoid exposure to grounding, they were
placed in positions which were necessarily somewhat
remote ; and this circumstance suggested the project of
passing between them.
Greene sanctioned the plan of these enterprising
young officers, and the night of the 13th of January was
fixed on for its execution. The main army moved on
the 12th to Wallace's bridge, with the view of diverting
the attention of the enemy from the real point of attack ;
while two light detachments, under the command of Lau-
rens, crossing the country from Ashley river, waded the
north branch of the Stono, and advanced to New Cut,
which is at the head of the southern branch. The rest
of the army was put in motion after dusk, and advanced
to cover and support its detachment. Greene himself, reached the " cut" before the time of low water, at which,
alone, the canal is fordable. Here he found his attack-
ing party in strange embarrassment. The detachment of
Lee and Laurens, forming separate columns on the
march, had been led, the first by Lee, and the second by
major Hamilton. Lee's column was in advance, and
Laurens, as commander of the whole party, accompanying
it in person. But Hamilton, through the desertion of his
guide, lost his way to the ford, and his column was com-
pletely lost to the enterprise. The time for striking the
blow had passed. The first column had crossed over to
the island, but was necessarily recalled before the height