« ZurückWeiter »
GATES'S MARCH TO THE SOUTH.
warfare which, for a long time, spread terror and desolation through the southern country.
This partisan war commenced on the 12th of July, two months after the fall of Charleston, when 133 of Colonel Sumter's corps attacked and routed a detachment of the royal forces and militia at Williamson's plantation. This success brought in new volunteers, and Sumter soon found himself at the head of 600 men. With this increase of force he made a spirited attack on a party of the British at Rocky Mount, but as they were entrenched, and he had no artillery, he was obliged to retreat. Determined to keep his militia employed, he next attacked another royal detachment consisting of the Prince of Wales's regiment, and a large body of tories, posted at Hanging Rock. The Prince of Wales's regiment was nearly annihilated, being reduced from 278 to 9. The tories were dispersed.
A body of Maryland and Delaware troops sent forward in March for the relief of Charleston, under the command of Baron de Kalb, had been delayed and had only reached Petersburg on the 16th of April. General Gates, whose victory at Saratoga had given him a brilliant reputation, was ordered by congress to take command of this force, and the chief direction of the southern campaign. On joining the army, in North Carolina, Gates was advised by De Kalb to proceed by a circuitous route, to the southward, where he would find plenty of provisions; but conceiving it to be his duty to hasten with all speed to the scene of action, he preferred the straight forward road to Camden, which led through a desert pine barren.
In traversing this dreary tract of country, his forces were exhausted with fatigue and hunger. The few cattle which his commissariat had provided having been consumed, his only resource for meat was the lean beasts which were accidentally picked up in the woods. Meal and grain were also very scarce; and as substitutes for bread, the soldiers were obliged to have recourse to the green corn and fruits which they met with on their line of march. The consequence of unwonted diet was, that the army was thinned by dysentery and other diseases usually caused by the heat of the weather, and by unwholesome food.
What was the commencement of this | His next success ? new kind of war?
Who now took command of the What was the effect of Sumter's first southern army? success?
What hardships were endured by the What was his next movement?
soldiers in their march southward.
OPERATIONS OF GENERAL GATES
The soldiers at first bore these hardships with impatience, and symptoms of dissatisfaction and even of mutiny began to appear amongst them.
But by the conciliatory exertions of the officers, who shared in all the privations of the common men, the spirit of murmuring was repressed, and the troops pursued their weary march with patience and even with cheerfulness.
On their arrival at the place called Deep creek, their distresses were alleviated by a supply of good beef, accompanied by a distribution of half a pound of Indian corn meal to each
Invigorated by this welcome refreshment, they proceeded to the cross roads, where they were joined by a respectable body of militia under the command of General Caswell.
Though Gates was aware that another body of militia was hastening to his assistance from Virginia, he was prevented from waiting for their arrival by want of provisions, and, after staying for one day only at the cross roads, finding that the enemy intended to dispute his passage at Lynch's creek, he marched to the right towards Clermont, where the British had established a defensible post. On his approach to the latter place, however, Lord Rawdon, who commanded the advance of the British, concentrated all his forces at Camden, whilst Gates mustered the whole of his army at Clermont, which is distant from Camden about 13 miles.
These events occurred on the 13th of August, and on the next day the American troops were reinforced by a body of 700 of the Virginia militia under General Stevens. At the same time Gates received an express from Colonel Sumter, who reported that he had been joined by a number of the South Carolina militia, at his encampment on the west side of the Wateree, and that an escort of clothing, ammunition, and other stores belonging to the British was proceeding from Charleston to Camden, and must of necessity, on its way to its destination, cross the Wateree at a ferry about a mile from that place.
On receiving this intelligence, Gates sent forward a detachment of the Maryland line, consisting of 100 regular infantry,
How were the soldiers reconciled to | Where did General Gates muster his these hardships ?
army ? Where were they relieved, and where What further reinforcement did he reinforced?
receive? Where did Lord Rawdon concentrate What intelligence did he receive frore his forces ?
and a company of artillery, with two brass field pieces, and 300 North Carolina militia, all under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Woodford, who was instructed to join Sumter, and assist him in intercepting the convoy.
At the same time, Gates made preparations for advancing still nearer to Camden, in the expectation that, if Lord Rawdon did not abandon that post as he had done that of Clermont, his supplies would be cut off by the body of militia that were expected to pour forth from the upper counties, and he would thus be compelled to a surrender.
On reaching the frontiers of South Carolina, Gates had issued a proclamation, inviting the inhabitants to join his standard, and offering an amnesty to such of them as, under the pressure of circumstances, had promised allegiance to the British government. Though this proclamation had not been without effect, it had not called forth the numbers upon which the American general had been led to calculate, and after the departure of Woodford's detachment, Gates could muster no more than between 4,000 and 5,000 disposable men.
Determined, nevertheless, to persevere in his plan of offensive operations, he marched, about 10 at night, on the 15th of August, to within half a mile of Sander's creek, about halfway between his encampment and Camden. Lord Cornwallis, who, the day before, had repaired to his head quarters at Camden, and had taken command of the British army, was also resolved, though his forces amounted to only 2,000 men, of whom 1,700 were infantry, and 300 cavalry, to attack the enemy in their camp, and, advancing for that purpose at half past two in the morning, encountered their advanced parties near Sander's creek. Here some firing took place, with various success; but on the whole, the British had the advantage in this night encounter, and the militia were not a little dispirited at this result.
Early on the ensuing morning both armies prepared for battle. On the side of the Americans, the second Maryland brigade occupied the right, which was flanked by a morass ; the Virginia militia and the North Carolina infantry, also covered by some boggy ground, were posted on the left,
What did he expect ?
What did he resolve ? What had he offered to the people ? What then took place? Did they come i. as freely as he had What was the result of the night enanticipated ?
counter ? What was his whole force after send How were the Americans arranged
ing off Woodford's detachment ? for commencing the battle of CamWho arrived at Camden August 15th? den ? What was his force ?
whilst General Caswell, with the North Carolina division and the artillery, appeared in the centre. A corps de reserve, under the orders of General Smallwood, was posted about 300 yards in the rear of the American line.
In arranging the British forces, Lord Cornwallis gave the command of the right to Lieutenant Colonel Webster, with the 230 and 33d regiments of foot. The left was guarded by some Irish volunteers, the infantry of the legion, and part of Hamilton's regiment, under the command of Lord Rawdon. The cavalry of the legion was stationed in the rear, where also the 71st regiment was stationed as a reserve.
The respective armies being thus disposed, the action began by the advance of 200 of the British in front of the American artillery, who received them with a steady fire. Gates then ordered the Virginia militia to advance under the command of Colonel Stevens, who cheerfully obeyed the orders of his commander in chief, and when he had led his men within firing distance, urged them to charge the enemy with their bayonets. This portion of the army, however, did not emulate the gallantry of their leader.
Lord Cornwallis, observing their movement, ordered Colonel Webster to attack them. This order was obeyed with a loud cheer. Intimidated by this indication of determined daring, the militia were panic-struck, and the Virginians and Carolinians threw down their arms and hastened from the field. Deserted by the centre and left wing of the army, the continental troops of the right wing, with the Baron de Kalb at their head, maintained their position with great firmness. They were charged by Lord Rawdon, the bayonet was resorted to by both parties, and the conflict continued for threequarters of an hour. During this time the regiment on the left of the second Maryland brigade gained ground and made prisoners.
The reserve, having its left exposed, was attacked by the British left wing, under Webster, and thrown into some disorder. The soldiers, however, soon rallied, and renewed the action with unimpaired spirit. A second time, overpowered by numbers, they were broken, and a second time rallied, so as to cover the flank of the second brigade, who were still valiantly fighting, in hopes of obtaining the victory The fire of the whole British army was
The British ?
What caused the panic of the militia?
DEATH OF BARON DE KALB.
against these two brigades. They had not yielded an inch of ground, when Cornwallis, observing that they were without cavalry, pushed his dragoons upon them, and at the same instant charged with the bayonet. This charge broke their line; and as they did not give way until they were intermingled with the enemy, they dispersed and fled in confusion.
Before they were reduced to this last extremity, the Baron de Kalb, who fought on foot with the Maryland brigade, fell under eleven wounds. His aid-de-camp, Lieutenant du Buysson, received him in his arms, announced his rank and nation to the surrounding foe, and begged that they would spare his life. While thus generously exposing himself to save his friend, he received several wounds, and, with his general, was taken prisoner. The baron expired in a few hours, and spent his last breath in dictating a letter, expressing the warmest affection for the officers and men of his division, and the most exalted admiration of their courage and good conduct.*
The whole of the baggage and artillery of the Americans fell into the hands of the enemy, and the sugitives were pursued by the British cavalry for the space of 20 miles. So complete was this defeat, that, on the second day after the engagement, General Gates could only muster 150 of his soldiers at Charleston, a town in the south of North Carolina, whence he retreated farther north to Salisbury, and afterwards to Hillsborough.
To add to the misfortunes of the Americans, the defeat of Gates was immediately followed by the surprise and dispersion of Sumter's partisan corps.
This brave officer had succeeded in capturing the convoy with the British stores, already mentioned ; but hearing of Gates's defeat, he began to retreat with his prisoners and stores. Tarleton, with his legion and a detachment of infantry, pursued with such celerity as to overtake and surprise him at Fishing creek. All the artillery and stores fell into the hands of the British, and the whole detachment was either killed, captured, or dispersed. Their prisoners were, of course, all retaken.
The sickliness of the season prevented Lord Cornwallis from attempting to pursue the remains of General Gates's army; but he employed the leisure now afforded him in How did Cornwallis proceed ? What prevented Cornwallis from folWhat was the result?
lowing up his victory? What is said of de Kalb?
How did he employ his leisure ? What followed the battle?