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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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History by William Moultrie concerning military action in North and South Carolina [Extracts]
Moultrie, William, 1730-1805
1802
Volume 17, Pages 1040-1041

-------------------- page 1040 --------------------

[Reprinted from Moultrie's Memoirs, Vol. 2, Pages 212 & 213.]

∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ The State of North Carolina ordered a detachment of their militia to take the field and to be relieved every three months; this army was intended to raise the siege of Charlestown, but too late for that purpose, they were however a very great check to the British and stopped their rapid progress over North and South Carolina. Upon Col. Tarleton's near approach with his detachment to Mecklenburgh county, Gen. Rutherford took the field, and in three days raised fifteen hundred men, which obliged Col. Tarleton immediately to retreat, and the militia returned to their homes; soon after, Lord Rawdon took post at Waxsaws; Gen. Rutherford again raised a body of militia of eight hundred men, and obliged his lordship to retreat.

The North Carolinians were always active and ready to defend their country, but they were badly provided with suitable armor for defence; they were obliged to turn their implements of husbandry, into those of war, by hammering up their scythes and sickles, and forming them into swords and spears; powder and lead was also scarce with them.

The war was now carried from the lower to the upper part of South Carolina, and into North Carolina, and the friends of independence were obliged to retreat before them into North Carolina; among the most conspicuous and useful of these was Colonel Sumpter, who had formerly commanded the fifth South Carolina continental regiment; a brave and active officer, and well acquainted with the interior parts of North and South Carolina; the exiles from South Carolina joined their friends in North Carolina and made choice of Colonel Sumpter to command them; at the head of this small body of republicans, he returned into South Carolina, almost without arms or ammunition, and no stores to supply their wants, and when most of the inhabitants had given up the idea of supporting their independence; in this situation did he oppose himself to the victorious British army; they sometimes began an action with not more than three rounds per man, and were obliged to wait to be supplied with more, by the fall of their friends or enemies in battle; when they proved victorious, they supplied themselves with arms and ammunition, from the killed and wounded. . . . . .

-------------------- page 1041 --------------------

∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ General Marion, who as Lieutenant Colonel commandant of the second South Carolina continental regiment, was in Charlestown at the beginning of the siege by Sir Henry Clinton, by some accident sprained his ankle, which rendered him unfit for service; he therefore came under that general order issued by General Lincoln—that all supernumerary officers and all officers who were unfit for duty must quit the garrison and retire into the country. Fortunately for Carolina, he went out, and when he went was so lame that he was obliged to skulk about from house to house among his friends, and sometimes hide in the bushes until he grew better. He then crept out by degrees, and began to collect a few friends; and when he got ten or twelve together he ventured out, and upon hearing of Gen. Gates' army, he moved on and joined them. After the defeat of Gen. Gates, he was obliged to quit the State and go into North Carolina for a few days; when he returned he had about seventy volunteer militia with him, but most of them quite unarmed. ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗