Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XXVI >> Page 292

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Page 292

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
of the latter as an officer�Mayhem separated his corps from the brigade, which lay at Wambaw, posted them higher up the river, and then proceeded to the legislature, of which he was also a member. In this affair colonel Mayhem was unquestionably in fault. Greene and Marion endeavored to reconcile the discontented officer, but without success ; and while the dispute was pending, and, perhaps, in consequence of the withdrawal of Mayhem's horse from the command of Horry, the latter was surprised by a strong detachment of infantry, artillery and cavalry, under colonel Thomson; afterwards more renowned and generally known as count Rumford and the brigade dispersed. On hearing this intelligence, Marion put himself at the head of Mayhem's regiment, which he had reached but a few hours before, and hurried on towards Wambaw, the scene of the surprise, to check the enemy and collect the fugitives. Arrived within five miles of the British, he halted to refresh his men and horses, and while the latter were unbitted and feeding, the whole of the enemy's cavalry made their appearance.
If the Americans were unprepared for the encounter-. and it was Mayhem's opinion that a charge of the British, if ordered immediately on coming into view, would have dispersed the regiment�the enemy seemed as little disposed to take advantage of their surprise. Seeing that they not only halted, but exhibited appearances of indecision and alarm, Marion, though with a force only half as numerous, resolved to attack them. The indecision of the British had allowed the Americans full time to mount their horses and recover ; and they moved to the extremity of a lane, through which they were to