To Win By Losing, or The Battle of Guilford Courthouse, Part II
...Through the woodlands the riflemen did steam,
reinforcing General Greene’s second line,
the British pressed on, still on the attack,
but they had quite the devil of a time.
Marching through forest that broke up their ranks,
while Americans poured on musket balls,
the dead and wounded kept piling up,
they paid dearly just to advance at all.
When the British threatened to turn the flank,
the patriots all fell back to the main force,
the Redcoats were bleeding from the losses,
and now only faced the prospect of more.
But onwards still they pushed the assault,
with their artillery joining the fray,
then in the chaos some guns were misaimed,
and blew some of their own soldiers away.
Forwards and back the two sides kept surging,
dragoons dismounting to fight on their feet,
but Nathaniel Greene was a thinking man,
and ordered his soldiers to all retreat.
He knew as long as his army survived
the King would have no victory in the south,
so he marched away, and Cornwallis faced
some big questions about what to do now?
Because as he counted up his losses
more than five hundred were wounded, or dead,
a quarter of his entire force…
the realization echoed in his head.
He had not the numbers to go on offense,
and the rebels had escaped mostly unscathed,
Nathaniel Greene’s army was still intact,
could still attack and devastate large swathes.
Cornwallis moved his men to Wilmington,
to resupply, reinforce, and fit out,
but the ‘beaten’ Greene did not wait for him,
in fact his army reinvaded the south!
One-by-one they picked off the garrisons,
freeing both Carolinas’ back-country,
driving forth until the British were left
holding just some small cities by the sea.
Cornwallis had not the numbers to challenge,
like Pyrrhus he had ground his army down,
so he march north to await his comrades,
at a small, seaside village called Yorktown…
Copyright © David Welch | Year Posted 2020
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