Life of Major General Thomas Sumter
Cecil B. Hartley

[Notes: Chapter 4]

[1] This consolation was necessarily mingled with acute remorse. It must have reminded the general of the advantages once in his command, by pursuing the prudent system of striking his adversary in detail; and if victory with him was only pleasant by being immediate, it would bring to his recollection the propriety of having brought Sumter to him, instead of detaching Woolford from him.

Lord Cornwallis, hearing from his commander at Camden of the success of Sumter, in the midst of his prosperity turned his mind to the recovery of the loss he had sustained,—an example meriting imitation froma ll who may command in war. Small as was the advantage gained, had it been enjoyed, great would have been the good derived in its consequences. The British general, foreseeing this, did not indulge even in the proud moments of victory, but gave his mind and time to prepare Sumter’s destruction.

[2] The officer adventuring, as did General Sumter, must never be satisfied with common precautions: they will not do.

It is difficult to prescribe rules upon the subject; because every single case is to be regarded, and must suggest its own regulations to a meditating mind. One fixed principle however we may venture to lay down: viz., that the captured, with a portion of the victorious corps, ought to be immediately despatched, with orders to move night and day until out of reach; while the commander, with the least fatigued troops, should hold himself some few hours in the rear, sweeping with the best of his cavalry all the country between him and his enemy, thus procuring correct information, which will always secure a retiring corps

[3] This rapid withdraw of General Gates has been generally supposed to diminish his reputation. Not so, in truth. It does him honor; as it evinced a mind capable, amidst confusion and distress, of discerning the point most promising to renew with expedition his strength: at the same time incapable of being withheld from doing his duty, be regarding the calumny with which he was sure to be assailed.