Life of Major General Thomas Sumter
Cecil B. Hartley

[Notes: Chapter 3]

[1] The inhabitants of these three counties, among the most populous in the state, were true and zealous in their maintenance of the revolution; and they were always ready to encounter any and every peril to support the cause of their hearts. Contiguous to the western border over the mountains, lived that hardy race of mountaineers equally attached to the cause of our common country, and who rolled occasionally like a torrent on the hostile territory. The ground was strong, and the soil rich and cultivated. In every respect, therefore, it was adapted to the American general until he had rendered himself completely ready for defence.

[2] Armand was one of the many French gentlemen who joined our army, and was one of the few who were honored with important commands. His officers were generally foreign, and his soldiers chiefly deserters. It was the last corps in the army which ought to be entrusted with the van post; because, however, unexceptionable the officers may have been, the materials of which the corps was composed did not warrant such distinction.

[3] Mr. Marshall, in his life of Washington, gives a summary of the principal events in the southern war. This faithful historian tells us, that in the night, as soon as the skirmish terminated, some prisoners were brought to Gates; from whom he learnt that the British army was in front. The general officers were immediately assembled. The intelligence received from the prisoners was communicated to them, and their opinions asked on the measures to be adopted.

General Stevens, of the Virginia militia, answered, that “It was now too late to retreat.” A silence of some moments ensued; and General Gates, who seems himself to have been disposed to try the chance of a battle, understanding silence to be an approbation of the sentiments delivered by Stevens, broke up the council by saying, “Then we must fight, gentlemen, please to take your posts.”

[4] General Gates did not, in his disposition, conform to the judicious principle which we find observed by General Lincoln; or our continentals would have been posted on the left to oppose the British right. Indeed, such seems to have been Gates’ hurry, from the moment he was called to the command of the south, as to forbid that full inquiry into his enemy’s and his own situation, as well as intimate acquaintance with the character of his own and his enemy’s troops, so necessary to the pursuit of right measures in war.

[5] Lee’s Memoirs.