Wlliam Gilmore Simms
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War >> South-Carolina in the Revolution >> Page 33

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Page 33

Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
enabling the entire male white population to engage actively
in the conflict, for which the constant use of weapons and
horses has particularly prepared them. This was the re-
markable history during the revolution. South-Carolina actu-
ally furnished the food for both armies, not only within her own
borders but those of Georgia, during the last three years of
the war. Her granaries fed equally the whig and tory, the
Briton and the American. Her slaves produced this immense
supply, and, in the majority of cases, were faithful to their
masters. But a small body deserted voluntarily to the Brit-
ish, and were uniformed in their service. The greater number
who passed into their possession, and were carried from the
state into West Indian bondage, were victims to the cupidity
of the enemy, and were made captive by force of arms.
While the greater part of the negro population were engaged
in the tillage of the fields, their owners, of both parties, were
struggling in the fields of conflict. And this relation between
the slave and his master was favourable to military strength.
It secured protection for the one who toiled, and sustenance
and food for him who fought. While the slave was peculiar-
ly endowed for the staid and uniform employments of agri-
culture, the white man of the South was quite as remarkably
constituted for the life of activity and adventure which be-
longs to the requirements of war. IIe was born, we may
almost phrase it, on horseback, and with the rifle in his grasp.
His ordinary exercise made these his familiar companions.
His ordinary amusement was the chase ; and, as a hunter,
horseman, and rifleman, he was almost naturally trained to
war. It is in these possessions, indeed, that we may boast of
a militia in the South. such as the world has never elsewhere
seen. These possessions combine the most powerful elements
and agents of the military—habitual stratagem and adroit-
ness in snaring and baffling game—a perfect mastery of the