James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

September 8

Eutaw Springs

By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)

  • A Revolutionary battle fought in South Carolina on Sept. 8, 1781. Technically a victory for the British, though their loss was greater than that of the Americans, and they retreated the next morning, pursued for thirty miles by the American forces.

  • AT Eutaw Springs the valiant died:

    Their limbs with dust are covered o’er—

    Weep on, ye springs, your tearful tide;

    How many heroes are no more!

    If in this wreck of ruin they

    Can yet be thought to claim a tear,

    O smite thy gentle breast, and say

    The friends of freedom slumber here!

    Those who shall trace this bloody plain,

    If goodness rules thy generous breast,

    Sigh for the wasted, rural reign;

    Sigh for the shepherds, sunk to rest!

    Stranger, their humble graves adorn;

    You too may fall and ask a tear;

    ’Tis not the beauty of the morn

    That proves the evening shall be clear—

    They saw their injured country’s woe;

    The flaming town the wasted field;

    Then rushed to meet the insulting foe;

    They took the spear,—but left the shield.

    Led by the conquering genius, Greene,

    The Britons they compelled to fly;

    None distant viewed the fatal plain,

    None grieved, in such a cause to die—

    But, like the Parthian, famed of old,

    Who, flying still their arrows threw;

    These routed Britons, full as bold,

    Retreated, and retreating slew.

    Now rest in peace, our patriot band;

    Though far from Nature’s limits thrown,

    We trust they find a happier land,

    A brighter sunshine of their own.