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A M E R I C A N REV OL V T I 0 Is. 17I
the killed of these, lieut. col. Campbell of the Virginia 1^81. line was the theme of universal lamentation. While ■with great firmness he was leading on his brigade to that charge which determined the fate of the day, he received a mortal wound, After his fall he inquired who gave way, and being informed the British were fleeing in all quarters, he added—" I die contented"—and im- \ mediately expired.
The success of the American army in the first part of. the engagement, spread such an alarm, that the British, burned their stores at Dorchester, and evacuated their posts near Monk's Corner. The gates of Charlestown were shut, and a number of negroes employed in felling trees across the road on the neck. The number of Greene's force actually engaged was 1400 regulars and 500 militia, in all 1900: of these 547, including 72 su-. balterns and sergeants were killed or wounded. Such, was the heat of the action, that die officers on each side fought hand to hand, and sword to sword. The Britisfr could not compel the continentals to give way, though the militia were obliged to retire. Greene however has a high opinion of the British and their valor, and fays— "They fight a devilish hard battle, as every one who fights them will know." On October the 29th, congress, resolved to honor him with a British standard and a gold medal; and voted their thanks tp the different corps and their commanders.
After the action, \he Americans retired to their fois mer position on the High Hills of Santee, and the British took post in the vicinity of Monk's Corner. While they lay there, a small party of American cavalry took Upward of 80 prisoners within sight of their main army.
1781. They no more acted with their usual vigor. On the' slightest appearance of danger, they discovered a disposition to flee, not much inferior to what was exhibited
- the year before by the American militia.
Such were the promising prospects prior to the battle at Eutaw, that John Rutledge esq; set out from Phila* delphia on the 28th of June, to resume the reins of government in South Carolina. As soon as circumstances would admit after his arrival, in retaliation for Balfour's conduct in exiling such numbers from their homes, he ordered the brigadiers of militia to drive the families of all who adhered to the royal cause, within the British lines. The wives and children of those inhabitants who had retreated with the retreating British to avoid the resentments of their countrymen, were now compelled to take shelter within their posts. In exchange for their comfortable plantations in the country, many of them were reduced in a little time to the necessity of living in clay huts in the vicinity of Charlestown. In this forlorn situation, numbers speedily perished, being destitute of the comforts of life and overwhelmed with diseases.
While gen. Greene's troops were on the High Hills of Santee, a dangerous spirit made its appearance among the Maryland soldiers. They were uneasy that some of the old officers had been sent away, and wished for an opportunity of seeing their friends at home. They sent several petitions to Greene, complained of want of clothing, and recapitulated their services. In one of them they mentioned, that out of seven regiments there were scarce two hundred remaining, and that they had never received any pay, They became discontented, left off
their usual sports, talked seriously in squads, and ofn8'* their pay. All this did not pass unnoticed by the officers, who watched their conduct, and endeavoured to sooth them, but ineffectually. On the evening os the aist of October, numbers were seen to go privately out Oct. of camp with their arms, &c. The officers alarmed at 21' the circumstance, ordered their corps to parade, and called over their rolls. Old soldiers manage dexterously among themselves. They had put spies upon their officers while they were making an experiment, and the moment they discovered that they were likely to be detected and apprehended for mutiny, they stole into camp as secretly as they went out: some of them were observed, but suffered to pass unnoticed. It is not alway best to punish intended faults before actually committed. A luckless incident which happened to a Timothy Griffin of the only South Carolina company then in the army, set all this affair right. While the officers were calling their rolls, and admonishing some of the men for apparent irregularities, Timothy came on the parade drunk; and having heard what the soldiers had previously whispered among one anodier, and supposing the officers were altercating with the men on that subject, very imprudently cried cut—" Stand to it boys* D—n my blood, if J would give an inch"—and othex words to the fame effect. Capt. M'Pherfon of the Maryland line knocked him down, knowing the evil tendency of such language. He was instantly sent to the provost; the next day tried by a general court-martial for encouraging mutiny and desertion; was found guilty; sentenced to suffer death; and shot about five o'clock in the -afternoon in presence of the whole army. ExtJ' ample?
,J78l«amples are never more necessary in an army than updri such dangerous occasions; and no example was ever more effectual. The general orders of Greene in consequence of this, represented the crime of the sufferer in such striking colours, as fully to justify the sentence of the coiirt. Greene at the same time passed over the conduct of die Maryland troops (which was not public) in such a manner as to exonerate them from any participation of the crime. Speaking of unworthy characters he said-1-" One or two of artful dispositions are sufficient to betray hundreds of well disposed men into errors. But the general is happy to find, that the Ma* ryland line has nobly withstood the secret machinations of such as have attempted to mislead them j nor can he believe that soldiers who have fought so bravely, and whose character is universally admired, will ever tarnish their glory by an improper conduct."
The gen. wrote on the 9th of November to gen. Gould—" I should betray my trust, and fail in my duty, was I to be silent upon the barbarous custom which prevails in your army, of burning houses and desolating the country. I am informed that a party under col. Brown and major Maxwell lately burnt all the buildings upon Hilton Head. The instances of burning which have taken place are no less savage than unnecessary, and cannot be justified by the general principles of modern war* nor by the particular circumstances that mark your mi* litary operations.—You have endeavoured to persuade the world, that the body of the people are. in your interest. The cartel was an appeal to them, and it is from your disappointment, that the inhabitants feel the cruel strokes of pointed resentments.—I have made it my study
to to conduct the war upon the most humane principles, >7S,« and it is my wish to continue it so: but if your people continue in the practice of burning, I will change that plan, and let savage cruelty rage in all the horrors of war.—It is painful to contemplate the miseries incident to giving no quarter but shocking as it may be to humanity, we had better expose ourselves to this evil, where our enemies will feel it in common with us, than to suffer them to inflict a punishment, little less severe, from which they are secure.—I wish you, Sir, to consider this matter seasonably, and put a stop to the evil we complain of, and not drive us to the disagreeable necessity of adopting measures, no less repugnant to our feelings than our wishes."
The American army was too weak needlessly to risk another general action; but it was necessary to move into the lower country, to cover the collection of provisions for subsistence 1 through the winter; and to improve any accidental opportunities. Greene therefore Nov-, quitted the High Hills on the 18th of November. jS* Three days after, he wrote to gen. Washington—" I. wifli something decisive may be done respecting col. Hayne. I wish your excellency's order and the order of congress thereon; the latter have signified their approbation of the measures I took. But as retaliation did not take place immediately, (nor did I think myself >; at liberty on a matter of such magnitude, but from the most pressing necessity) and as the enemy did not repeat the offence, I have been at a loss how to act, with respect to the original, not having any officer of equal rank with col. Hayne in my posiession. I am ready to execute whatever may be thought advisable.":.. On the t v 27th