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Transactions in South Carolina and Georgia-Defeat
of Ferguson-Lord Cornwallis enters North Carolina-Retreats out of that State-Major Wemys attacks and is defeated by Sumpter-Greene appointed to the command of the Southern Army- Arrives in Camp--- Detaches Morgan over the CatawbaBattle of the Cowpens—Pursuit of the American Army through North Carolina into Virginia—Lord Cornwallis retires to Hillsborough-Greene recrosses the Dann-Party of Loyalists commanded by Colonel Pyle cut to pieces—Battle of Guilford-Lord Cornwallis retires to Ramsay's Mlills, and afterwards to Wilmington-Greene advances to Ramsay's Mills, with a determination to enter South CarolinaLord Cornwallis resolves to march to Virginia.
N the south, where interests of the utmost
magnitude were to be decided by armies consisting of a few diminished regiments; and where the fate of an immense extent of valuable country depended on battles which, in European wars, would be deemed skirmishes almost too inconsiderable for the notice of history; Lord Cornwallis, after having nearly demolished the American army at Camden, found himself under the necessity of
suspending, for a few weeks, the new career of conquest on which he had intended to enter. His army was much enfeebled by sickness, as well as by action; and the intense heat of the weather was scarcely supportable. He had not brought from Charlestown those stores which were deemed necessary for the meditated expedition ; and a temper so hostile to the British interest had lately discovered itself in South Carolina, that it appeared unsafe to withdraw any considerable part of his present force from that state, till he should have subdued the spirit of insurrection against his authority which had been extensively displayed.
The exertions of Sumpter in the North-west have already been noticed. In other parts of the state, similar efforts were made. Colonel Marion, a valuable officer, had been compelled by the wounds which he received in Charlestown during the siege of that place, to retire into tl:e country. With Sumpter he had been promoted by Governor Rutledge to the rank of a brigadier-general: and as the army of Gates approached South Carolina, he had entered the north-eastern parts of that state with only sixteen men; had penetrated into the country as far as the Santee; and was successfully rousing the inhabitants to arms, when the defeat of the 16th of August chilled the growing spirit of resistance which he had contributed to increase.
With the small force he had collected, he rescued about one hundred and fifty continental troops, who had been captured at Camden, and were on their way to Charlestown. Though compelled for a short time to leave the state, he soon returned to it, and at the head of a few spirited men made repeated excursions from the swamps and marshes in which he concealed himself, and skirmished successfully against the militia who joined the British standard, and the small parties of British regulars by whom they were occasionally supported.
His talents as a partisan were so great, that he eluded every attempt to seize him ; and such was his humanity, as well as respect for the laws, that no violence or outrage of any sort was ever attri. buted to the party under his command,
The interval between the victory of the 16th of August and the expedition into North Carolina, was employed in quelling what was termed the spirit of revolt in South Carolina, which Lord Cornwallis seems to have considered as a conquer ed province, reduced completely under allegiance to its ancient sovereign. Their efforts to re-establish their independance seem to have been considered as new acts of rebellion; and a degree of severity was used towards them, policy which was supposed to dictate, but which certainly gave a new and keener edge to the resentments which civil dis
cord never fails to engender. Several of the most active militiamen, who had taken protections as British subjects, and engaged in the British militia, having been afterwards found in arms, and made prisoners at Camden, were executed as traitors. Orders to proceed in the same manner against persons of a similar description were given to the officers commanding at Augusta in Georgia, and at different posts in South Carolina, and were in many instances carried into execution. A proclamation was issued conformable to directions perviously given, for sequestrating the estates, both real and personal, of all those inhabitants of the province who were actually in arms with the Ame. ricans, or who had abandoned their plantations to join or support them; of all those, not included in the capitulation of Charlestown, who were in the service, or acting under the authority, of Congress; and of all those who, by an open avowal of what were termed rebellious principles, or by other notorious acts, should manifest a wicked and desperate perseverance in opposing the re-establishment of the royal authority.
While taking these measures to break the spirit of independance, Lord Cornwallis was indefatigable in urging his preparations for the expedition into North Carolina.
The day after the battle of Camden, emissaries had been dispatched into that state, where it was
supposed the royalists might now assemble without danger, for the purpose of inviting the friends of the British government to take up arms, and to seize the most violent of their enemies, as well as the magazines and stores which might have been collected for the use of the Ainericans. These emissaries also carried with them assurances, that the British army would, without loss of time, march to their support.
Meanwhile, the utmost exertions were continued to embody the people of the country as a British militia ; and Major Ferguson, a partisan of distinguished merit, was employed in the district of Ninety-six, to train the most loyal inha. bitants, and to attach them to his own corps, from which important services were expected.*
To keep up the spirits of the royalists in the back parts of North Carolina, and to embody them for co-operation with his army, Lord Cornwallis directed Major Ferguson to enter the western part of that state near the mountains. He was ordered to hazard nothing; but immediately to inform his lordship if an enemy, from whom any apprehension could be entertained, should approach him.
The route marked out for the main army was from Camden, through the settlement of the