Wlliam Gilmore Simms
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War >> III. >> Page 174

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Page 174

Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
natural, gradual and successive progresses of the seasons,
The influences of his life are pacific. They never hurry him.
His life is one of musing, and he is slow to action, which is
the habitual life of the dense community, where the very
density compels a constant activity and watchfulness to avoid
starvation, and where the incessant daily attrition of rival
minds produces sharpness, eagerness and rapidity in the
movements and objects of the mind. Even the hunter is
one whose course is rather steady than swift. He has to
circumvent a prey whose habits undergo no caprices, and his
wants are too few to stimulate his enterprise. Our population
were, at the beginning of the. war, always caught napping.
Their movements were slow, and they never seemed to appre-
hend an exigency. All of the successes of the British in
Carolina, seem to have arisen from two things,—the tardiness
of our movements, and the absence of the necessary caution
which prevents surprise. It was only after repeated disas-
ters, arising from carelessness and sluggishness of movement,
that our partisans were able to impress upon their followers
the necessity of being at once quick and vigilant. But on
this head we need not dwell. The subsequent histories of
Marion, Sumter and Pickens, show how little was wanting to
convert our militia into the best guerilla troops in the world.
Good officers, whom they knew, who had their confidence,
soon furnished an adequate amount of proof to silence all
cavil at the expense of the valour and patriotism of Carolina,
in a fair comparison with any of the States of the Union.
Without pretending that Charleston should not have been
defended, we do say that the management of the defence was
exceedingly unhappy. In the first place, the preparations for
the siege, as we have seen, were not really made till the last
moment. The lines were worthless ; the engineers employed
do not seem to have known their business, nor the commander