Stories of American Life and Adventure - Edward Eggleston


"Marion's Men" were famous in the Revolution for their bold adventures. The best known of all these bold men was Sergeant Jasper. At the battle of Fort Moultrie, when the flag of the fort was shot away, Jasper jumped down outside of the works, and picked it up. The balls were raining round him all the time he was outside, but he coolly fastened the flag to a rod which was used to wipe out the cannon, and then stuck it up in the sand of the breastworks.

When General Moultrie saw what he had done, he took off his own sword and gave it to Sergeant Jasper.

When Moultrie and his men were hiding in the swamps of South Carolina, Moultrie would send Jasper to find out what the British were doing. Jasper could change his looks so that nobody would know him. He often went into the British camp, pretending to be on that side.

Once he took a friend with him, and paid a visit to the British soldiers. While he was there, a small party of American prisoners were brought in. The wife of one of the prisoners had come with her husband, carrying her child. As these men had once fought on the English side, they were all likely to be put to death. Jasper felt sorry for them, and resolved to deliver them if he could.

Marion's Men

The prisoners were sent to Savannah for trial. Jasper and his friend left the British camp soon afterward, but they went in the opposite direction. When they got far enough away, they turned about and followed the party with the prisoners. But what could they do for these poor fellows? There were ten men with muskets to guard the prisoners. Neither Jasper nor his friend had a gun.

But they knew that near Savannah there was a famous spring of water. They thought the party would stop there to eat and drink. So Jasper and his friend went on swiftly, by a path little known. When they came near the spring, they hid in the bushes.

When the soldiers with their prisoners came to the spring, they halted. The prisoners sat down on the ground. The woman sat down near her husband. Her baby fell asleep in her lap. Six of the soldiers laid down their arms, and four stood guard.

Two of these went to the spring to get water, and, in doing this, they were obliged to put down their guns. In an instant Jasper and his friend leaped out of the bushes and seized the two guns. They killed the two guards who had guns, before the latter could shoot them. Then they knocked down every man who resisted them, and got possession of all the rest of the guns of the British. With these they took the eight soldiers prisoners. They now gave guns to the American prisoners, and marched away with the eight British soldiers in captivity.

Jasper was one of the boldest of men. He did many brave things, but at last he lost his life in saving the flag of his company in battle.