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and afterwards sent to St. Augustine. And now it was, that Congress began to feel the impropriety of their conduct with regard to the convention troops of Burgoyne; they dared not complain of Cornwallis's. sending his prisoners wherever he pleased; he had as much right to be influenced by motives of policy, as they had, and was quite as excuseable for giving that name to his own whims and caprices. The only difference in the two cases, was, that the prisoners in Charleston were sent away from their homes, their wives and children, whereas the troops of Burgoyne had already left all these endearments and consolations before they became prisoners. Thus does injustice punish itself.
We left General Gates with the wretched remnant of his army at Hillsborough. They were so reduced in numbers, that the whole were arranged in two battalions, the first under the command of Major Anderson; the second under Major Hardeman-thus forming one regiment, the command of which was given to Colonel Otho H. Williams, with Lieutenant Colonel John E. Howard, both of whom had distinguished themselves in the hard-fought battle of Cambden. They were destitute of every thing necessary for of fensive or active operations, being without provision, clothing or pay: but their spirits remained unsubdued, and their fidelity to the cause unshaken by a thousand temptations daily offered to seduce them to the ranks of their enemies. On the 16th of September, this little army was augmented by the arrival of about 300 men from Virginia; consisting of the remains of Colonel Buford's regiment, and a small body of Porterfield's light infantry. These were formed into a second regiment under Colonel Buford, and 46
the command of the two was given to General Smallwood. By the beginning of October, the army was further reinforced by the arrival of Colonel Morgan, who was in himself a host, and the cavalry under Washington and White. The arrival of Morgan made some change in the disposition of the troops necessary. Four companies of infantry under Lieutenant Colonel Howard, the cavalry, and a small body of Virginia riflemen, were formed into a separate corps, and placed under Morgan, who was ordered to march with them towards Salisbury, to cooperate with the North Carolina militia, the command of which had been given by the legislature to General Smallwood.
Lord Cornwallis, having at length received the necessary supplies, prepared to enter upon active operations for the conquest of North Carolina. He despatched Colonel Ferguson with his corps of light infantry and militia to the frontiers of North Carolina, and Tarleton with his legion to scour the country west of the Waterec, while his lordship moved on the 8th of September to the Waxhaws, where he halted until Tarleton joined him. Colonel Davie who was stationed in this settlement with his partizan corps, was compelled to move off on the approach of Cornwallis, and establish himself at Providence. From this place he conducted a successful enterprise against a foraging party of the enemy, consisting of light troops and loyalists, on the southern banks of the Catawba. He came upon them unperceived on the morning of 21st of September, at a plantation which belonged to Wahab, one of his captains, and compelled them to fly in great confusion, with the loss of 60 of their number killed and wounded, 96 horses,
and 120 stand of arms. But the British army were too near to remain long in ignorance of this transaction; a sufficient number speedily collected, and Colonel Davie, in his turn, was compelled to retreat, while the enraged enemy, in view of the unhappy Wahab, set fire to his house and left his helpless wife and children without a shelter.
In the mean time, Colonel Ferguson having advanced beyond the frontiers of North Carolina into Tryon county, ravaging and laying waste the whole country on his march, received intelligence from Lord Cornwallis of an unsuccessful attack upon Augusta, by Colonel Clarke, and orders to intercept him in his retreat. Colonel Clarke, of whose enterprising spirit, we have before had occasion to speak, had never lost sight of the hope of recovering Augusta, and haying collected a body of hardy mountaineers, determined upon attacking it, while defended only by a weak garrison of 150 men under Colonel Brown. The latter officer on the approach of Clarke withdrew his garrison from the town and retired towards Garden Hill, where, in spite of the vigorous attack of Clarke with 700 men, he succeeded in establishing himself in a strong position. All the efforts of Colonel Clarke to reduce this brave officer with his little band to submission were unavailing; cut off from provisions and water, Colonel Brown still maintained his position for four days, when the arrival of Colonel Cruger with a reinforcement from NinetySix, relieved him from his unpleasant situation, and forced Colonel Clarke, whose ammunition was exhausted, to withdraw his troops. Colonel Ferguson, who believed himself safe from the attack of any enemy in his neighbourhood, posted himself on King's
Mountain, and quietly waited to intercept Clarke on his return. His security, however, was but of short continuance for a numerous body of hardy troops from the western parts of Virginia and North Carolina, having been collected under Colonels Williams, (of Ninety-Six) Campbell, Cleaveland, Shelby and Sevier, for the purpose of moving upon Augusta, hearing of the failure of Clarke, and receiving intelligence at the same time, of Ferguson's situation, determined upon turning their arms against him. They halted for this purpose at Gilberttown, and selecting 1500 of their bravest men, formed them into three divisions, and ascended the thickly wooded summit of King's Mountain. Cleaveland, with his division, was the first to gain sight of the enemy's pickets, and halting his men, he addressed them in the following simple, affecting and animating terms: "My brave fellows, we have beat the tories, and we can beat them; they are all cowards. If they had the spirit of men, they would join with their fellow-citizens in supporting the independence of their country. When engaged, you are not to wait for the word of command from me. I will show you by my example how to fight. I can undertake no more. Every man must consider himself as an officer, and act from his own judgment. Fire as quick as you can, and stand your ground as long as you can. When you can do no better, get behind trees, or retreat; but I beg of you not to run quite off. If we are repulsed, let us make a point to return, and renew the fight. Perhaps we may have better luck in the second attempt than in the first. If any of you are afraid, such have leave to retire, and they are requested immediately to take themselves off."
This address, which would have done honour to the hero of Agincourt, being ended, the men rushed upon the enemy's pickets, and forced them to retire; but returning again to the charge with the bayonet, Cleveland's men gave way in their turn. In the mean time Colonel Shelby advanced with his division, and was in like manner driven back by the bayonets of the enemy; but there was yet another body of assailants to be received: Colonel Campbell moved up at the moment of Shelby's repulse, but was equally unable tô stand against the British bayonet, and Ferguson still kept possession of his mountain. The whole of the division being separately baffled, determined to make another effort in cooperation, and the conflict became terrible. Ferguson still depended upon the bayonet ; but this brave and undaunted officer after gallantly sustaining the attack for nearly an hour, was killed by a musket ball, and his troops sopu after surrendered at discretion. The enemy's loss on this occasion was 300 killed and wounded, 800 prisoners, and 1500 stand of arms. Our loss in killed was no more than about 20, among whom was Colonel Williams, one of our most active and enterprising officers: our number of wounded was very considerable.
Lord Cornwallis' had, in the mean time, advanced towards Salisbury, little dreaming of the reverse of fortune in store for him. He had been so long and so invariably successful, that he had begun to think, the terrour of his name was sufficient to quell every thing like rebellion. But the intelligence of Ferguson's defeat, and the death of an officer on whom so much of his hopes depended for the discipline of the royalists, as well as the reduction of the friends of government on the confines of the two disputed states, gave a check