Benson J Lossing. The Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1852. Vol. II, footnote #2, pp. 694-5.
The setting of Lossings account: Gen. Greene abandoned his siege of the British outpost at Ninety-Six on the evening of June 19, 1781, and retreated across the Saluda, Enoree, and Tyger rivers, then crossed the Broad river eastward to "the cross roads above Winnsborough" in modern Fairfield County. In the meantime, Gen. Rawdon and his 2000 British and Tory reinforcements had reached Ninety-Six on the morning of June 21, after a 14-day forced march from Charlestown. Rawdon and a detachment of his troops set out in pursuit of Greene that evening. They rode as far as the Enoree before Rawdon realized that they could not catch up with Greene, so they returned to Ninety-Six.
Greene then set up his camp in Fairfield district, while sending Lt. Col. Lee to follow Rawdon back to Ninety-Six and attempt to discover his plans. Lee was successful, and told Greene that Rawdon planned to abandon Ninety-Six, and would send half of his troops along the northern road, just south of the Saluda River, to meet other British troops coming from Charlestown under Lt. Col. Stewart. They planned to meet at Fridays Ferry in Granby (modern Cayce SC). The other half of Rawdons forces would take the southern road from Ninety-Six directly to Orangeburgh.
However, Gen. Sumter had intercepted a British courier, so knew that Stewarts forces had been recalled, and would not be there to meet Rawdon at Fridays Ferry. Sumter informed Greene, who decided that his combined armies could defeat the portion of Rawdons troops (around 850 men) who were retreating towards Fridays Ferry, if he sent word to Sumter and Marion to join Lee there before Rawdon arrived.
This is the point at which Lossing inserted his footnote about a traditional story: "It is said" that Greenes message to Sumter was delivered by Emily Geiger, a young woman of the Fairfield district. On June 25, Greene sent a dispatch to Lee that Sumter and Marion had been contacted, and were mustering their forces in order to come to Fort Granby and help stop Rawdon.. However, neither Sumter nor Marion arrived at Fridays Ferry in time to reinforce Lees troops: Gen. Rawdon was able to push past the American forces on July 3 and march south to Orangeburgh.
Lossings 1852 footnote is a close paraphrase of the account of Emily Geigers ride published in Elizabeth Ellets 1848 "Women of the Revolution." Lossing acknowledges Ellet as his source for other material, and is obviously dependent upon her account of Emily Geigers ride. Lossing added a single item of additional information, the name of the "rich planter on the Congaree" whom Emily was believed to have married. Lossing visited Columbia SC from Jan. 19-23, 1849, and may have heard the name at that time. He repeated Ellets statement that Gen. Sumter was "on the Wateree" when Greene planned to send him an order to stop Rawdon at Fridays Ferry. Since Sumters messages clearly said that he was "on the Congaree", Gen. Greene knew that Sumter was not 30 miles to the east near Camden on the Wateree river, and would not have sent a messenger in that direction.
Oddly enough, the "error" actually adds a note of authenticity to this earliest-known report of Emily Geigers ride. In the late 1840s, when Ellett and Lossing collected their material, there was only one Wateree River, and it was 30 miles east of Columbia. Just before the time of the Revolution, the local residents of Orangeburgh district used different names for the rivers that bounded the Dutch Fork community northwest of Granby (and Columbia). They called the northern one the "Wateree" as often as the "Broad", and called the southern one the "Congaree" as often as the "Santee" or "Saluda". The common usage of "fork of the Congaree and Wateree" to refer to Dutch Fork appears in the list of civic officials of the region in 1758-66, as printed in A.S. Salley, Jr., "History of Orangeburg County, South Carolina" (1898), pp. 249-251. It also appears frequently on wills, deeds and land-grants issued to early settlers of Saxe-Gotha Township (the area around Fort Granby) and of the Dutch Fork community. Gen. Sumter could be located simultaneously "on the Wateree" and "on the Congaree" if he were camped somewhere near the Dutch Forkas he wasbut only if the story were reported by local residents who used the earlier names of their neighborhood rivers. The "geographic error" in Mrs. Ellets account, and Lossings paraphrase of it, indicates a very earlyand very localorigin for the Emily Geiger story.
"It is related that the message to Sumter from Greene was conveyed by Emily Geiger, the daughter of a German planter in Fairfield District. He prepared a letter to Sumter, but none of his men appeared willing to attempt the hazardous service, for the Tories were on the alert, as Rawdon was approaching the Congaree. Greene was delighted by the boldness of a young girl, not more than eighteen years of age, who came forward and volunteered to carry the letter to Sumter. With his usual caution, he communicated the contents of the letter to Emily, fearing she might lose it on the way. The maiden mounted a fleet horse, and crossing the Wateree at the Camden Ferry, pressed on toward Sumters camp. Passing through a dry swamp on the second day of her journey, she was intercepted by some Tory scouts. Coming from the direction of Greenes army, she was an object of suspicion, and was taken to a house on the edge of the swamp, and confined in a room. With proper delicacy, they sent for a woman to search her person. No sooner was she left alone, than she ate up Greenes letter piece by piece. After a while, the matron arrived, made a careful search, but discovered nothing. With many apologies, Emily was allowed to pursue her journey. She reached Sumters camp, communicated Greenes message, and soon Rawdon was flying before the Americans towards Orangeburg. Emily Geiger afterward married Mr. Thurwits [Threewits], a rich planter on the Congaree. The picture of her capture, here given, I copied from the original painting by Flagg, in possession of Stacy G. Potts, Esq., of Trenton, New Jersey."
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