Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XXVII >> Page 306

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Page 306

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
fleet of the enemy, general Greene did not think it ad-
visable to withdraw Laurens from a post so highly
confidential and important ; and, accordingly, issued no
orders to the latter to join his brigade. But the ardor of
Laurens was not to be restrained when the prospect was
open for active operations against the foe. When made
acquainted with the orders of Gist,"to strike at the
enemy wherever he might meet them," he resolved to
share in the enterprise ; and, rising from a sick bed, he
hurried after the brigade, which he overtook on the
north bank of Combahee river near the ferry. Colonel
Laurens solicited from his commander an opportunity for
immediate enterprise ; and, fatally fortunate in his appli-
cation, he obtained his wish.
The enemy had landed from their boats on the opposite
side of the river, and the cavalry, under major Call, had
been ordered round by Salkehatchie bridge, to join the
militia who had collected in that quarter. Twelve miles
below the ferry, on the north side of the Combahee, the
extreme end of Chehaw neck approaches the bed of the
river, which generally, between these points, is bordered
by extensive swamps and rice fields. At this point,
general Gist had ordered a work to be thrown up, for the
purpose of annoying the enemy in their retreat, and the
command of this post was conferred on Laurens. With
fifty infantry, some matrosses and a howitzer, he moved
down the river on the evening of the 26th of August, near
enough to take post at Chehaw point by the dawn of the fol-
lowing day. At the place of Mrs. Stock he spent the night,
in the enjoyment of company, and in the utterance of feel-
ings and sentiments which heighten the melancholy inter-