Page:Life of Francis Marion.djvu/61

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49
LIFE OF MARION

which no less than twenty-one of this fated band were prostrated.[1] Fortunately their leader was not among them. He seems, like Washington, to have been the special care of Providence. The residue were only saved from destruction by the proximity of the advance, whose hurried approach, while giving them safety, brought on the main action. The battle was fought with great carnage on both sides. The Cherokees were not only well posted, but they were in great numbers. Repeatedly dislodged by the bayonet, they as repeatedly returned to the attack; and, driven from one quarter, rallied upon another, with a tenacious and unshaken valor becoming in men who were defending the passes to the bosom of their country. From eight in the morning until noon, the fight was continued, not only without intermission, but seemingly without any decisive results on either side. But, at length, the patient resolution of the whites prevailed; and, about two o'clock in the day, the field was yielded by the reluctant Cherokees to their superior foes. This victory determined the fate of Etchoee, a town of considerable size, which was reduced to ashes

The result of this fierce engagement seems to have broken the spirit of the nation. They had chosen the position of greatest strength to make their stand, and brought to the struggle their best spirits and bravest warriors. In the issue, they had shown, by their dogged and determined valor, the great importance which it carried in their eyes. The day once decided against them, they appeared to be equally without heart and hope ; they no longer appeared in arms — no longer offered defence — and the army of the Carolinians marched through the heart of the nation, searching its secret settlements, and everywhere

  1. Weems, pp. 21. Horry's MS. Memoir, pp. 58