21 June 2014

It Happened Near Georgetown, SC

Captain Merritt [was] "one British Officer [who] beat off three Americans."

Colonel Herry [Peter Horry] served under General Marion in the Revolutionary War.  His encounter with Captain Merritt was related below.


From the Illustrated American Advertiser:..

The following incident in which he [Colonel Horry] was a participant we will let him relate himself:

"I was sent by Gen. Marion to reconnoitre Georgetown."

"I laid in ambuscade with thirty men and their officers near the road. About sunrise a chair appeared with two ladies escorted by two British officers. I was ready in advance with an officer to cut them off, but reflecting that they might escape and alarm the town which would prevent my taking greater numbers, I desisted."

"Nothing appearing and men and horses having eaten nothing for thirty-six hours, we were hungered and retired to a plantation of my quartermaster's, a Mr. White, not far distant. There a curious scene took place**** four ladies appeared, two of whom were Mrs. White and her daughter. I was asked what I wanted. I answered, food---refreshment. The other two ladies were those whom I had seen escorted by the British officers."

"I kept my eye on Mrs. White and saw she had a smiling countenance but said nothing. Soon she left the room, and I left it also, and went into the piazza; laid my cap, sword and pistols on the long bench, and walked the piazza when I discovered Mrs. White behind the house chimney beckoning me. I got to her undiscovered by the young ladies when she said 'Col. Herry be on your guard; these young ladies are just from Georgetown; they are much frightened, and I believe the British are leaving it and may soon attack you. As to provisions, which they make such a rout about, I have plenty for your men and horses in yonder barn but you must affect to take them by force. Hams, bacon, rice, and fodder are there. You must insist on the key of the barn, and threaten to split the door with an axe unless immediately opened.' "

"...no time was allowed him, however, to extort the provisions. He [Colonel Horry] had scarcely arrived at the piazza when his videttes gave the alarm of an approaching enemy, and forgetting that his cap, sword, and pistols lay upon the bench, he mounted left the enclosure and rushed into the melee."

"The enemy proved to be a party of seventeen British dragoons, under command of a Captain [Thomas] Merritt, a brave and nettlesome young fellow. By the time Herry reached the scene his troopers were engaged in a severe hand-to-hand conflict with the dragoons, and it was not until he was about to engage with the captain, that Herry discovered that he was weaponless."

"My officers in succession, continues Herry, came up with Capt. Merritt end engaged him. Baxter, with pistols, fired at his breast and missing him, retired; [John] Poslett and Greene engaged him with swords; both were beaten off. Green nearly lost his head. I almost blush to say that this one British officer beat off three Americans.

No comments: