Songs & Ballads Of the American Revolution

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340                           king's mountain.
their rifles, giving a clear mark above the bushes; and as each man threw his leg over his horse, he fell dead on the other side. Fergu­son, with a gallantry that seemed to rise with his desperate condi­tion, rode from rank to rank, and from post to post, encouraging, cheering, and driving his men. At length, he found his army pressed, and actually huddled together near the summit of the moun­tain, and falling as fast as the Americans could load and shoot. He determined on one more charge, and, taking his position at the head of his cavalry, and with a voice that was heard loud above the roar of battle, summoned his men to ' crush the damned rebels into the earth.' There was a pause for a moment, and one round of the Americans was stopped. Instead of the roar of their rifles, there was heard only the click of the lock—it was the serpent's low warn­ing of coming death. The pause was but for a moment, when Fer­guson and Dupoistre, horse and foot, burst like an avalanche down the mountain's side. Before they came within sixty paces of the American line, every rifle was loaded and under deadly aim. Fer­guson was in front, and fell at the first discharge, with seven mortal wounds. The patriots rushed forward to meet the shock as Du-poistre's regulars, with set bayonets and sabres in rest, came crush­ing down upon them. Not Agincourt nor Cressy, with all their chivalry, ever felt a shock more fearfnl than that; but had the heavens rained British bayonets, it would not have stopped these patriots. The destinies of America, perhaps of mankind, depended on their muscle. Like martyrs, they went to the death—like lions they rushed to the carnage. Officer and soldier, with blood-shot eyes and parched tongues, bounded upon the huddling enemy until their fierce glare and hot breath could be seen and felt by the cra­ven Tory and his bull-dog master; and at the moment they were crouching together for the last spring, a wild, terror-stricken shriek rose above the battle—a yell for quarter. A white flag was run up, anns thrown down, and God's champions shouted, ' Victory! Liberty !' That shout echoed from the mountain to the sea, and far along the shore to where the majestic Washington sat almost weeping over the sad horrors of the South. His great heart leaped

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III