Wlliam Gilmore Simms
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War >> South-Carolina in the Revolution >> Page 48

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Page 48

Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
l y, repulsive temper which prevailed between the southern
and eastern troops, and the selfish, clannish spirit, testified on
all occasions by the latter, there would be nothing very revolt-
ing in the imputation of such motives ; in which, also, the
historian in the Annual Register might find a clue to the so-
lution of the enigma, why an operation on so large a scale,
should be committed to a colonel." Colonel Magaw was in-
trusted with the defence of Fort Washington, having under
him a force of 2500 men. "It was, at any rate, a current
opinion among us who were taken, that we had been sacrificed
to selfish feeling ; nor, upon a cool consideration of all the cir-
cumstances, after a lapse of four and thirty years, can I see
full cause to renounce that opinion. I do not believe—at
least if we had been New England men—that we should have
been left there. If Greene really knew no better at this era,
he was deeply instructed by his error, since whatever was the
character of his subsequent generalship, it never disclosed
symptoms of a rash audacity." To Greene's discretion it had
been left to determine whether Fort Washington should be
kept or abandoned. IIe decided on the former fatal course,
which resulted in the defeat and capture of the garrison, in a
position which was neither well chosen nor properly manned.
Further, to illustrate the ungenerous and selfish character of
the New England influence, the author remarks that it was
never more strikingly shown than in " the partial exchange of
prisoners, continually carried on in favour of the eastern offi-
cers, to the cruel discouragement of the southern."
In the desire to help Mr. Sabine in the laudable contrast
which he gives us between the alacrity of the New England
troops, and the reluctance of the southern to seek the enemy,
we have somewhat wandered from our subject. To this sub-
ject we now return, calling Mr. Sabine to the stand again, as a
willing witness.