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in all their strength, and hastened to join the British commanders, as they severally drew nigh their provinces.
The news of the fall of Charleston did not lessen the necessity or the desire of DeKalb to push forward. It was only partially hoped not expected that he would reach the scene of action in season to influence the result. The city was by no means the country, and did not necessarily imply its loss. Accordingly, every exertion was made, in Virginia, to expedite the march of the Baron's detachment. He proceeded, with some celerity, on the direct route from Petersburg, in Virginia, for Camden, South-Carolina. His detachment was in excellent spirits, and reached Deep River, in North-Carolina, halting at Coxe's Mills, on the 6th July. Here the Baron began those precautions and preparations which were essential to the safety of the army, and by which he exhibited equal forethought and experience. The subsistence of an army is the first essential to its usefulness. To procure this subsistence, in the region where he now found himself, was matter of great embarrassment and difficulty. The country was naturally sterile and sparsely settled. It had been traversed by both parties, whig and loyalist, and nearly drained of its resources. The crop of the last year was nearly exhausted, and the new crop, though a promising one, was not yet matured. The government of the State was feeble. It was a house divided against itself. Whole districts of country, settled by foreigners, were disaffected to the American cause, either up in arms against it, or keeping in reserve for future demonstrations, under better auspices for the British. To fill the ranks of the State, these people were dragooned into a service which they loathed, and they strove reluctantly, or not at all. It would be absurd to deal in the language of censure, with regard to such a population. Their sympathies were not with the cause. They were naturally hostile. DeKalb very soon became conscious of the embarrassments by which he was surrounded. He wrote to Congress, and to the Executives of North-Carolina and the neighbouring States - but without any good results, urging the necessity of immediate supplies and succours. He was constrained to exact his whole subsistence from the country-a necessity which implied coercion, waste, and an increase of the popular disaffection. But his ne
cessities justified his action. This was prompt and vigoruos. His provisions were gleaned from the inhabitants, who had none to spare, by detachments carefully selected, and confided to discreet and indulgent officers; but his efforts were crowned with very meagre success, and, labouring to establish magazines, he found that his supplies were scarcely adequate to his daily wants. These supplies were of grain and lean beef. In spite of these embarrassments, it is reported that he succeeded in preserving harmony and order in his camp, while inspiring his troops with a genuine passion for the service.
It is among the subjects of complaint with Col. Otho Williams, his aid-de-camp, from whom we have a full report of the expedition, thai, General Caswell, in command of the militia force of the State, hung off, and neither brought the troops nor the provisions which had been promised by the Executive. It is imputed to Caswell, by Colonel Williams, that he kept aloof, seeking some opportunity to distinguish himself in a separate command, and falsely urging his own want of provisions. But these suspicions and imputations are to be received with great reserve and caution, and were probably, in most respects, utterly unfounded. Caswell was a brave man, had already done good service to the State, and possessed the confidence of the whig inhabitants. Officers in the regular servirre, in all periods, are very apt to disparage the militia. Gates and Greene both did so—the latter, indeed, spoke very slightingly, in his letters, of Marion and Sumter, to others, while using very different language when writing id themselves. In this very narrative of Colonel Williams, he adopts the British mode of sneer, and speaks of General as Mr. Caswell-a sufficient indication of that temper of mind which, seeing its object through a prejudice, is seldom likely to do justice to its real merits. We are of opinion that Caswell better knew what he was about than either DeKalb, Gates or Williams. “It was in vain,” says the latter, “ that the Baron required General Caswell to join his command.” Suppose Caswell had joined the command, at this juncture, what would have been the effect of increasing the number of mouths, in a region where DeKalb's own forces could not find adequate food for themselves? “The Baron, therefore, hesitated whether he had better march to join the militia, in hopes
to find that Caswell's complaints of a want of provisions for himself were fictitious; or to move up the country, and gain the fertile banks of the Yadkin." These suspicions were in very bad taste, and were, we have no doubt, utterly unfounded. To one who knows the character of that region of country, in the period referred to, there can be little doubt that Caswell was quite as much straightened as DeKalb, and that the proper process, so long as no enemy was nigh to threaten, was to occupy separate cantonments, the better to procure supplies for both. It was admitted that Caswell“ employed his men in detachments, against small parties of disaffected inhabitants." And what better service could he be engaged in? for if these small bodies of the disassected should be suffered to unite, and join the British, the task of overcoming them would be a thousandfold greater. Caswell, employing himself in a most useful and necessary occupation, is sneered at, as ambitious of signalizing himself. Allow the loyalists to emerge from the swamps into which he has driven them, and what share of the grain and lean beef of the country would be left to the continentals of DeKalb? The complaint of Williams is, that it was impossible for DeKalb “to expect much longer to find subsistence for his soldiers, in a country where maraud'ag parties of militia swept all before them.” A common sense view of the case, to say nothing of homesty and charity, requires us to believe that Caswell spoke the truth, and found it as difficult to feed his troops, as DeKalb felt it in his own case. But there is a clue that we may trace in this discontent of the cc itinental officers, such as does not appear upon the records. The force of DeKalb was unaccompanied by cavalry. It was impossible, therefore, to draw supplies from any great distance. The militia forces of the South, on the contrary, were rarely without a strong body of horse. The people all rode, and one of the blunders of Gates and other strangers, who commanded in this region, was that of not employing a larger force of the inhabitants in a manner to which they were so well accustomed, and which, in a plain country, and one so sparsely settled, was one, of all others, likely to prove most efficient. The secret of Tarle ton's frequent successes was in his cavalry, the number of men he could mount at a moment's warning, and the
rapidity with which he rode down the separate parties of militia men, before they could unite. The object so much desired, in getting Caswell's militia to a starving camp, was to keep them, day and night, on the road, gathering stores and provisions. Respite was seldom given to the partizan cavalry, in this service. Throughout the whole of the war of the South, they were kept busy, winter and summer, in immense forays, in incessant hard duties; and, while the continentals were dozing in camp, during the hot months, they were scouring swamp and thicket, in a service, the commanders of which never seemed to think that they could tire. The history of this whole war, in the South, requires to be re-written, if only to do justice to a class which it has been the policy of the military martinet to disparage in every service, but which, bating some natural deficiencies, the result of inexperience, during the revolution in the South, performed the most efficient labours, endured most of the hardest blows, and, without whom, the whole history of the country's defence would have been a blank. But to return.
While the Baron DeKalb was meditating whether to march to Caswell, or ascend the country, he was relieved of all the responsibilities of the command, by the arrival of General Gates, who had succeeded Lincoln in command of the army of the South. He reached the camp of DeKalb on the 25th July. The Baron fell back upon the command of the Maryland division, which included the Delaware regiment.
" Besides these two corps," says Williams, the army consisted only of a small legionary corps, which formed a junction with them a few days before, under the command of Colonel Armand--being about sixty cavalry and as many infantry-and Lieut. Colonel Carrington's detachment, of three companies of artillery, which had joined in Virginia.”
The estimate of Gates's ability, as a general, is now sufficiently settled to leave us without necessity for saying anything on this subject. Enough that, inflated by vanity, by successes doubtfully deserved, and by the homage of a circle of selfish sycophants, he fancied himself in the possession of the talisman of Julius Cæsar, and felt that he had only to come and conquer. He had scarcely had the troops turned over to him, when he confounded all parties with the order to hold themselves in readiness to NEW SERIES, VOL. VI.—No. 11.
march at a moment's warning. Rum and rations, enough to gladden the appetites of any army, were, he assured them, en route, to reach them in a day or two.
The rum and rations never did reach them ; but the army moved, nevertheless, on the 27th July, with the head of columns addressed for the advanced post of the enemy, at Lynch's Creek, on the direct route to Camden, a strongly fortified position. Baggage and two brass field-pieces were left behind, wanting horses to carry them. Williams, "presuming on the friendship of the general, ventured to expostulate with him.” We need not give his arguments against the rash and ill-advised step of Gates. They were answered by something like a sneer. General Gates will confer with the general officers when the troops shall halt at noon. Williams never heard of any consultations. The army proceeded, feeding upon unripe corn, lean beef, and green peaches. There was no saltno bread. Hair powder, of which the fashion of the times required bountiful provision among the officers, was actually employed to thicken soup. From such a march, through such a country, at such a season of the year, and with such food, it will be easy to conceive the sickness and suffering which soon followed among the troops. They were unfit to fight, long before they saw the enemy.
On the 3d of August, the army crossed the Pee Dee river, at Mask's Ferry, and there found Colonel Porterfield, with his small detachment of Virginians. A few days before this, the army had been joined by Marion, then a colonel, with probably twenty followers, “all mounted,” but “so miserably equipped” as to provoke the ridicule only, of the continental gentlemen, who had learned the various uses of hair powder! To escape the ridicule of these gentry, Marion left the grand army, and, with his ridiculous followers, was the first to begin the work of repairing its blunders. It was while Marion was in the camp of Gates that Weems reports the conversation of DeKalb, with respect to the mad progress of his superior. Of Gates, and to Gates, he is reported by the rhetorical parson, as speaking very freely. This, if the reader has noted the tone and manner of the Baron's letters, was by no means his characteristic. On the contrary, everything he says shows caution, deliberation, and a conciliatory temper throughout; great forbearance, and