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that they would lofe more than they could gain in this 1781. last state; and that did he remain in it, they would hold their poffeffions in both. He discharged all his militia ; refreshed his regular troops; collected a few days pro- April vifion; marched on the 5th of April toward Camden; and in the morning of the 20th, encamped at LogI town within fight of the enemy's works. On this march


lieut. col. Lee, with his partizan legion, was detached
to join gen. Marion with a few volunteer South Carolina
militia on a fecret expedition. To fecure the provisions
that grow on the banks of the Santee and Congaree
rivers, the British had erected a chain of posts in their
vicinity. One of the most important was on Wright's-
bluff, and called Fort Watson. To the surprise of the
British it was closely invested on the 15th. Neither Lee
nor Marion had any other means of annoyance or defence
but mufketry. The ground on which the fort ftood
was an Indian mount, 30 or 40 feet high: the befiegers
however erected, in a few days, on an unusual plan, a
work much higher. From thence the American rifle-
men fired into the fort with fuch execution, that the be-
fieged durft not fhow themfelves. On the 23d, the 23.
garrifon of 114 men furrendered by capitulation.

Camden was covered on the fouth and east fides by
the Wateree, and a creek which empties itself into that
river on the western and northern by fix ftrong re-
doubts. It was defended by lord Rawdon with about
900 men.
The American army confifted of 843 con-
tinental infantry, befide 56 cavalry and 31 difmounted
dragoons; together with 254 North Carolina militia
who had joined them by the 25th. It was unequal to
the task of carrying the place by ftorm, as alfo of com-


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1781. pletely investing it. On the 21ft Greene received intelligence, that lieut. col. Watson, who had made an incurfion to Peedee, was on his return to Camden with 4 or 500 men: upon which he fent his baggage and artillery, which could not follow him, under a guard of militia, to a secure pofition, and threw all his regular troops below the town, where appearances indicated more forcible hoftilities against the garrifon; and frequent skirmishes evinced the enemy's apprehenfions of danger upon that quarter: but the principal defign of Greene, to intercept Watson, was prevented by his delay, and a report of his having croffed the Santee.

On the 24th the army returned to the north fide of the town, orders being previously fent for the artillery and baggage to rejoin it at Hobkirk's hill, about a mile from Camden. The army took post on the hill, the better to improve the opportunity that any fortie might afford; and by its being more remote than the position formerly occupied, to imprefs the enemy with an idea of the Americans beginning to be apprehenfive of their own danger. The precaution of calling the rolls often was taken, notwithstanding which, one Jones, a drummer, eluded the attention of the officers and the vigilance of the guards, and got fafe into town. thing was apprehended from that circumftance, as the army was well posted, and defired nothing more than a field action.

But no



On the morning of the 25th this order was iffued "The troops are to be furnished with two days provifion, and a gill of fpirits per man as foon as the stores arrive." The provisions were iffued; but the fpirits being in the rear of the baggage train, did not arrive at


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the moment when they were most neceffary. Lord Raw- 1781. don concluding that gen. Greene was not prepared for an action, and that a favorable moment offered, marched out to attack him. The Americans were cooking their victuals, and Greene was at breakfast, about ten o'clock, when fome of his advanced fentinels, half a mile in front of the camp, fired upon the van of the British. The American troops were foon formed, and waited with cheerful countenances the approach of the enemy: col. O. Williams then rode to head quarters, 2 or 3c0 yards in the rear of the line, and returned before they engaged. All the baggage, as is customary in general. actions, was ordered off. The cavalry (which was unfaddled and feeding, on the first alarm) was now ready; and fo certain was Greene of fuccefs, that without the least hesitation, he ordered lieut. col. Washington to turn the right flank of the British, and to charge in their rear. By this time the fire between the British. van, and the American light infantry picquets became. very lively; and the Maryland troops (who had been ordered to fit down) ftood up and made ready. The fecond regiment, being on the left of the line, was or dered to advance and attack the British on their right flank, which was done by lieut. col. Ford, who received a mortal wound in the action: the firft regiment, commanded by col. Gunby, was ordered to charge the enemy in front. The two Virginia regiments were ordered to act in a similar manner upon the left of the British, and were led on by Greene in perfon, aided by gen. Huger, lieut. cols. Campbell and Hawes. The artillery was well posted and doing great execution, and a small body of militia was coming into action, when fuddenly a G 2



1781. number of the Americans began to retire, though the danger was not apparently great, and every body feemed ignorant of the caufe. Col. Williams was at this inftant near the centre of the Maryland brigade, and with the affiftance of col. Gunby and other officers, endeavoured to rally the men. They halted and gave a few fires; but could not be brought again to charge. A general retreat took place. Washington, in the execution of the order given him, had at one time poffeffed himself of near 200 prifoners: but he relinquished the greatest part on feeing the army retire. The officers he paroled on the field of battle; and then collecting his men, wheeled round, made his own retreat good with the lofs of three men, and carried off with him fifty prifoners. The fortune of the day was irretrievable: but Greene, with his ufual firmness, inftantly took measures to prevent Rawdon's improving the fuccefs he had obtained. The retreat was conducted with fuch order and deliberation, that most of the American wounded, all their artillery and all their baggage, were fafely carried off, together with fix royal commiffioned officers, befide Washington's prifoners. The action was continued with intervals, till about four in the afternoon, and till the Americans had retreated about four miles; when a detachment of the infantry and cavalry, under Washington, were ordered to advance and annoy the British. The York volunteers, a handfome corps of horfe, being a little advanced of the British infantry, Washington, with great intrepidity, inftantly charged them, killed a `number and difperfed the reft. The British army, without attempting any thing further, retired to Camden, and Greene encamped the Americans about five miles


from their former pofition. The field of battle was oc- 1781. cupied only by the dead. The lofs of the Americans in killed, wounded and miffing, was 264 *. Among the first was capt. Beatty of the Maryland line, one. of the best of officers, and an ornament to his profeffion. Many of the miffing returned.

The next day Greene in general orders commended the exertions of feveral corps; but implicitly and by filence cenfured the infantry of the battalions; which would not have been done had he known the real cause of their apparent mifconduct. The virtual cenfure was feverely felt, and the diffatisfaction of the troops upon the occafion, who faid they were ordered to retire, and the complaints of many of the officers who acknowledged they had communicated fuch orders, at length produced, at the inftance of col. Gunby, a court of inquiry. It then appeared that Gunby received orders to advance and charge bayonets without firing: this order was inftantly communicated to the regiment; which advanced cheerfully for fome distance, when a firing began on the right, and in a fhort time became general through the whole regiment. Soon after, two of the right hand companies gave way, when Gunby ordered the other four to be brought off. This was done, and they joined Gunby at the foot of the hill, where he was exerting himself in rallying the other two companies, and at length effected it. The regiment was again formed, and gave a fire or two as above related. Greene in general orders pronounced Gunby's spirit and activity unexceptionable; but his order for the regiment to retire extremely improper and unmilitary; and declared that The return to the Board of War.

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