Wlliam Gilmore Simms
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War >> II. >> Page 67

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Page 67

Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
fair has been but little commented upon by our historians ;
yet the fire of Thompson's marksmen, with rifles, and from
two small field-pieces, was such—and the British flotilla, ad-
vancing from Long Island upon the eastern end of Sullivan's,
were so raked by the fire—that the men could not be kept to
their guns. The decks were cleared, the flotilla dispersed, the
enterprise abandoned ; yet the force of Clinton consisted of
2,000 British infantry, exclusive of some 600 or 700 marines
and boatmen, supplied from the fleet ; while Thompson's
strength lay in his two cannon, a small redoubt of palmetto
logs, and 700 rifles. Surely, these events are enough to de-
cide the republicanism and the zeal of Carolina. But farther :
8. At this very juncture,- the emissaries of Great Britain
had brought the savage and the scalping-knife down upon the
frontier population, and several hundred persons, men, women
and children, sunk under their barbarities. To quell these,
joined with the British and loyalists, the whigs had to take the
field, at the opposite extremity of the State, at the same per-
ilous juncture. They did so, chastised the savages, drove
them to their mountain fastnesses, while the loyalists fled to
Florida, or promised submission, and implored and received
These were prodigious exertions for South-Carolina, utterly
unexampled in the case of a State so small of population,
and with its settlements so far asunder, and so much exposed.
The consequence of this vigour and enterprise was a season of
security ; but, in these achievements, Carolina was exhausting
her resources and her strength, incurring a mountainous load
of debt, and diminishing in numbers. Her spirit, always
greater than her strength, led to one result, which operated
injuriously in subsequent periods, as well to her reputation as
to her safety. It prompted friend and foe, alike, to over-
rate her strength. The consequence was, that she received