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Battle Of Eutaw Springs

September 8, 1781

Final Battle of the Carolinas - provoked Yorktown

Battle of Camden - A Klos Family Project - Revolutionary War General

Extract of a letter from Williamsburg, October 10.

"I have seen a letter from Brigadier General Jones, of North Carolina, to the Marquis de Lafayette, which says that on the 8th of September General Greene had a very severe and successful action with a body of the British, commanded by Colonel Stewart, at the Eutaw Springs, 60 miles from Charlestown. - Our troops were hard pushed at first and lost two field pieces; but the General making a spirited stroke recovered them both and took two others from the enemy - he followed up the blow, routed and pursued them six miles: Colonel Lee, with two fresh regiments, was pushed after the enemy, and came up with them, as a brisk firing was heard the next morning. The enemy left on the field 250 killed, 360 wounded; and 400 prisoners were taken, among which were 20 commissioned officers. Total 1010. Our loss was 250 total of killed and wounded, among them some valuable officers. Colonel Washington cavalry behaved bravely, but are mostly cut to pieces."

BY a gentleman who arrived yesterday from South Carolina, we have the following intelligence from undoubted authority.

Extract of a letter, dated Congress, September 14.

"I congratulate you on our success of the 8th inst. at Eutaw, in which action the enemy lost, in killed, wounded and taken prisoners, upwards of eleven hundred men, and upwards of twenty officers are taken prisoners."

Extract of another letter of a later date.

"The enemy have retreated towards Monk Corner, our Head Quarters by the last accounts was at Martins. General Marion, Colonels Lee and Mahum advanced in their front with their cavalry, and are picking up prisoners hourly. Major Hyne (Commissary of Prisoners) has an account of 537 British regulars in our possession, prisoners.


Burdell, September 9, 1781.

THE General presents his most grateful thanks to all the officers and soldiers of the army, for their extraordinary exertions in the well fought battle of yesterday: He has infinite pleasure in the opportunity of acknowledging himself satisfied, in the highest degree, with the troops in general.

The militia, commanded by Brigadier Marion and Pickens, and Colonel Malmedy, answered his most sanguine expectations. The State troops, commanded by Colonels Henderson, Hampton, Myddleton, Polk, and Hammond, behaved with that gallantry and firmness which characterize the advocates for liberty. The North Carolina brigade, commanded by Brigadier General Sumner, consisting of three battalions, commanded by lit Colonel Ash, Majors Armstrong and Blount, discovered a confidence which doth honor to young soldiers.

The Maryland brigade, commanded by Col. Williams, consisting of the first and second regiments, commanded by Lieut. Col. Howard, and Major Hardman; and the Virginia brigade, commanded by Col. Campbell, consisting of the first and second regiments, commanded by Major Snead and Capt. Edmonds, exhibited lively examples of that intrepidity and military perfection, which is seldom equaled by the oldest troops.

The light infantry corps, commanded by Captains Kirkwood and Rudolph, deserves the highest applause for their great activity. The cavalry, commanded by Lieut. Cols. Washington and Lee, supported in the most courageous manner, that high reputation which they have acquired by repeated and gallant services. And the corps of artillery, commanded by Captains Brown and Gaines (tho' unfortunate) merit particular notice, for the cheerful execution of all orders.

The very great advantage of a strong brick house, was the strong hold of preserving the remains of the British army from captivity; and though the want of water made it requisite, after the action, to retire to this place, yet the victory is complete, and we have only to lament the loss of several of our brave officers and soldiers, whose glorious deaths are to be envied.

The General presents his hearty thanks to Major Hyrne, Captains Pearce, Pendleton and Shubrick, his Aid de Camps, from whose activity material services were derived. The General conceives himself particularly obliged to Colonel Kosciosko and Major Forsyth, for their volunteer services in the field; and as he cannot be more particular at present, he hopes that the other gentlemen in the several staff departments, will consider that he cannot be unmindful of their respective endeavors to promote the service.

The officers of the army will please make returns of the names, rank, &c. of the British officers paroled in the field; returns of the killed, wounded and missing, immediately.

The following account is given by a gentleman who left the army in Virginia on the 30th ult. at two o, P.M.

On Friday, September 28, the whole army marched from Williamsburg to within one mile of the enemy works at York, and formed the first line of circumvallation without any loss. On the 29th out troops had a few skirmishes with the enemy, and but little damage done on either side. In the night the enemy evacuated Pigeon quarter, and three other redoubts, which are so high as to be able to command the town. These were taken possession of on Sunday morning at sunrise, under a heavy cannonade from York Town. The enemy next fled from a stockade, when the French grenadiers had advanced within fifteen yards of it, and retreated under cover of their shipping, with the loss of ten taken prisoners. It was expected our troops would break ground on the first inst. Cornwallis forces in York are supposed to be 6000 troops including refugees, besides 1000 armed Negroes. He has possession of the river, and Gloucester strongly fortified and garrisoned by about 1000 men --- these are hemmed in by General Wheeden with 1500 men, the Duke de Lucerne, with his legion, and 2000 marines from the fleet, to prevent any escape that way, --- one shop of 44 guns, two frigates and a 20 gun packet, lie at Birwell Landing in James river; one of 50, one of 40, two frigates, and a store ship in the mouth of that river --- five ships of the line off Cape Henry; 32 ships of the line and several frigates are drawn up across the mouth of York river, and three ships of considerable force are in that river below the wind. General Washington sent in a flag to Lord Cornwallis directing him not to destroy his shipping or warlike stores, as he would answer it at his peril. The easy capture of our posts will greatly accelerate the future operations of our army. Lieut. Col. John Conolly was taken near York Town by two militia men, and is paroled to Hanover in Virginia."

Extract of a letter from a gentleman of veracity at Shrewbury, September 30, 1781.

"I was on the Beach when Admiral Digby arrived, and so near as to count the ports of his ships, viz. One of 96 guns and two of 74, which were all he had with him, and none have since arrived that I have heard of gut a 50 gun ship from Halifax, with a few cruising frigates. The Admiral, with these ships, has joined Graves fleet, and now all lay within the Hook. The crippled ships, nine in number (and confoundedly crippled they are) are gone up to New York to repair, which, tis said, will take them two weeks to accomplish; `tis also said they expect to sail more, but I do not learn where they are to come from. The troops that were embarked fell down to the Narrows, and are landed on Staten Island, where they still remain."

By the UNITED STATES in CONGRESS assembled,

October 2d, 1781.

A LETTER of the first, from the Superintendent of Finance, was received, with sundry papers enclosed, stating his proceedings in the execution of the secret service committed to him, and informing that the vessels in which he had remitted sundry bills, for account of the United States, had been captured by the enemy; in consequence of which, fearing the bills might have fallen into the enemy hands, he had written to Mr. Jay, on whom the bills were drawn, and desired him to protest them, in case of their being presented.

Whereupon ordered, That the President inform the Superintendent of Finance, that Congress approve his conduct, and are well satisfied with his attention to the public interest in directing the protest of the bills.

Extract of the minutes,


A gentleman from North Carolina informs, that the disaffected of that State, in number about 300, under command of Mc Neal and Fanning, surprised the Governor and a few gentlemen, at Hillsborough, the 12th Sept. and were carrying them towards Cross Creek; that Col. Mebaine pursued them, and killed 66, took 180 horses, with the loss of only 20 killed and wounded. Some of the prisoners escaped in the action, but unfortunately for that State the Governor was not amongst those that escaped. The Tories have since discharged on parole all the gentlemen except the Governor, and it was supposed they would endeavor to carry him to the enemy at Wilmington.

On Tuesday, the 2d instant, departed this life, Mrs. MARY FISHBOURNE, relict of Mr. WILLIAM FISHBOURNE, deceased, in the 55th year of her age: Her death was sudden and unexpected, and exhibits an awful lesson to mortality, in the uncertainty of human life, and the necessity of a divine preparation against the tremendous change! She has left a numerous and worthy offspring to bewail the loss of so excellent a mother: For in that station, she manifested, during the most piercing afflictions, all the duties of a religious and indulgent parent. In her social character, she was a kind neighbor and a warm friend. In her political one, she bore a steady and zealous regard to the rights of her country; and as to her religion, as it was untinctured with bigotry and full of charity, so it breathed universal love to mankind. Her remains were interred in Friend burial ground the Thursday following, accompanied by a numerous and respectable concourse of citizens.

At the General Anniversary Election, held at New Castle, for the county of New Castle, in the Delaware State, the following Gentlemen were elected, viz.

Assemblymen. Nicholas Vandyke, Thomas Duff, George Read, George Lattimer, Joshua Clayton, John Clark, and Robert Bevan, Esquires.

Counsellors. John Dickinson and Peter Hyatt, Esquires.

Sheriffs. Samuel Smith and Joseph Stidham, Esquires.

Coroners. Samuel Ruth and John Thilwell, Gentlemen.


Yesterday morning arrived here, Captain PIERCE, Aid-de- Camp to General GREENE, with the following dispatches for his Excellency the President of Congress.

Head Quarters, MartinTavern, near Ferguson Swamps, South Carolina, September 11, 1781.


IN my dispatch of the 25th of August I informed your Excellency, that we were on our march for Friday Ferry, to form a junction with the State troops and a body of militia collecting at that place, with an intention to make an attack upon the British army laying at Col. Thompson, near McCord Ferry. On the 27th, on our arrival near Friday Ferry, I got intelligence that the enemy were retiring.

We crossed the river at Howell Ferry, and took post at Motte plantation. Here I got intelligence that the enemy had halted at the Eutaw Springs, about 40 miles below us; and that they had a reinforcement, and were making preparations to establish a permanent post there. To prevent this I determined rather to hazard an action, notwithstanding our numbers were greatly inferior to theirs. On the 5th we began our march, our baggage and stores having been ordered to Howell Ferry under a proper guard. We moved by slow and easy marches, as well to disguise our real intention, as to give General Marion an opportunity to join us, who had been detached for the support of Col. Harding, a report of which I transmitted in my letter of the 5th, dated at Maybrick Creek. General Marion joined us on the evening of the 7th, at Burdell plantation, 7 miles from the enemy camp.

We made the following disposition, and marched at 4 o'clock the next morning to attack the enemy. Our front line was composed of four small battalions of militia, two of North and two of south Carolinians; one of the latter was under the immediate command of Gen. Marion, and was posted on the right, who also commanded the front line; the two North Carolina battalions, under the command of Col. Malmady, were posted in the center, and the other South Carolina battalion, under the command of Gen. Pickens, was posted on the left. Our second line consisted of three small brigades of continental troops, one from North Carolina, one from Virginia, and one from Maryland. The North Carolinians were formed into three battalions, under the command of Lieut. Col. Ash, Majors Armstrong and Blount, the whole commanded by General Sumner, and posted upon the right. The Virginians consisted of two battalions commanded by Major Snead and Captain Edmonds, and the whole by Lieut. Col. Campbell, and posted in the center. The Marylanders also consisted of two battalions, commanded by Lieut. Col. Howard and Major Hardman, and the brigade by Col. Williams, Deputy Adjutant General to the army, and were posted upon the left. Lieut. Col. Lee with his Legion covered our right flank, and Lieut. Col. Henderson with the State troops, commanded by Lieut. Cols. Hampton, Middleton and Polk, our left. Lieut. Col. Washington with his horse, and the Delaware troops under Capt. Kirkwood, formed a corps de reserve. Two three pounders under Capt. Lieut. Gaines, advanced with the front line, and two sixes under Capt. Browne with the second.

The Legion and State troops formed our advance, and were to retire upon the flanks upon the enemy forming. In this order we moved on to the attack. The Legion and State troops fell in with a party of the enemy horse and foot about four miles from their camp, who mistaking our people for a party of militia charged them briskly, but were soon convinced of their mistake by the reception they met with, the infantry of the State troops kept up a heavy fire, and the Legion in front under Captain Rudolph charged them with fixed bayonets, they fled on all sides, leaving four or five dead on the ground, and several more wounded. As this was supposed to be the advance of the British army, our front line was ordered to form and move on briskly in line, the Legion and State troops to take their position upon the flanks. All the country is covered with timber from the place the action began to the Eutaw Springs. The firing began again between two and three miles from the British camp. The militia were ordered to keep advancing as they fired. The enemy advanced parties were soon driven in, and a most tremendous fire began on both sides from right to left, and the legion and state troops were closely engaged. General Marion, Col. Malmady and Gen. Pickens conducted the troops with great gallantry and good conduct, and the militia fought with a degree of spirit and firmness that reflects the highest honor on this class of soldiers. But the enemy fire being greatly superior to ours, and continuing to advance, the militia began to give ground. The North Carolina brigade under Gen. Sumner was ordered up to their support. These were all new levies, and had been under disciplined little more than a month; notwithstanding which they fought with a degree of obstinacy that would do honour to the best of veterans; and I could hardly tell which to admire most, the gallantry of the officers, or the bravery of the troops. They kept up a heavy and well directed fire, and the enemy returned it with equal spirit, for they really fought worthy of a better cause, and great execution was done on both sides. In this stage of the action the Virginians under Lieut. Col. Campbell, and the Maryland troops under Col. Williams, were led on to a brisk charge with trailed arms, through a heavy cannonade and a shower of musket balls. Nothing could exceed the gallantry and firmness of both officers and soldiers upon this occasion --- they preserved their order, and pushed on with such unshaken resolution, that they bore down all before them. The enemy were routed in all quarters. Lieut. Col. Lee had with great address, gallantry and good conduct, turned the enemy left flank, and was charging them in rear at the same time the Virginia and Maryland troops were charging them in front. A most valuable officer Lieut. Col. Henderson got wounded early in the action, and Lieut. Col. Hampton, who commanded the State cavalry, and who fortunately succeeded Lieut. Col. Henderson in command, charged a party of the enemy, and took upwards of 100 prisoners.

Lieut. Col. Washington brought up the corps de reserve upon the left, where the enemy seemed disposed to make further resistance, and charged them so briskly with the cavalry and Captain Kirkwood infantry, as gave them no time to rally or form.

Lieutenant Colonels Polk and Middleton, who commanded the State infantry, were no less conspicuous for their good conduct than their intrepidity; and the troops under their command gave specimens of what may be expected from men naturally brave, when improved by proper discipline.

Captain Lieutenant Gaines, who commanded the three pounders with the front line, did great execution, until his pieces were dismounted.

We kept close at the enemy heels after they broke, until we got into their camp, and a great number of prisoners were continually falling into our hands, and some hundreds of the fugitives ran off towards Charlestown. But a party threw themselves into a three story brick house which stands near the Spring; others took post in a picquetted garden, and in the impenetrable shrubs; and the rear also being secured by the springs and deep hollow ways, the enemy renewed the action.

Every exertion was made to dislodge them: Lieut. Col. Washington made most astonishing efforts to get through the thicket to charge the enemy in the rear, but found it impracticable, had his horse shot under him, and was wounded and taken prisoner.

Four six pounders were ordered up before the house, two of our own, and two of the enemy which they had abandoned; and they were pushed on so much under the command of the fire from the house and the party in the thickets, as rendered it impracticable to bring them off again when the troops were ordered to retire. Never were pieces better served, most of the men and officers were either killed or wounded.

Washington failing in his charge upon the left, and the legion baffled in an attempt upon the right, and finding our infantry galled by the fire of the enemy, and our ammunition mostly consumed, though officers and men continued to exhibit uncommon acts of heroism, I thought proper to retire out of the fire of the house, and draw up the troops at a little distance from the woods, not thinking it advisable to push our advantages further, being persuaded the enemy could not hold the post many hours, and that our chance to attack them on the retreat was better than a second attempt to dislodge them, in which, if we succeeded, it must be attended with considerable loss.

We collected all our wounded, except such as were under the command of the fire of the house, and retired to the ground from which we marched in the morning, there being no water nearer, and the troops ready to faint with the heat and want of refreshment, the action having continued near four hours. I left on the field of action a strong picket, and early in the morning detached Gen. Marion, and Lieut. Colonel Lee with the legion horse between Eutaw and Charlestown, to prevent any reinforcements from coming to the relief of the enemy, and also to retard their march should they attempt to retire, and give time for the army to fall upon their rear, and put a finishing stroke to our successes. We left two pieces of our artillery in the hands of the enemy, and brought off one of theirs.

On the evening of the 9th the enemy retired, leaving upwards of 70 of their wounded behind them, and not less than a 1000 stand of arms that were picked up on the field, and found broke and concealed in the Eutaw springs. They stove between 20 and 30 puncheons of rum, and destroyed a great variety of other stores which they had not carriages to carry off. We pursued them the moment we got intelligence of their retiring. But they formed a junction with Major McArthur at this place, Gen. Marion and Lieut. Col. Lee not having a force sufficient to prevent it. But on our approach they retired to the neighborhood of Charlestown. We have taken 500 prisoners, including the wounded the enemy left behind; and I think they cannot have suffered less than 600 more in killed and wounded. The fugitives that fled from the field of battle spread such an alarm that the enemy burnt their stores at Dorchester, and abandoned the post at Fair Lawn, and a great number of Negroes and others were employed in falling trees across the road for some miles without the gates of Charlestown. Nothing but the brick house, and the peculiar strength of the position at Eutaw, saved the remains of the British army from being all made prisoners.

We pursued them as far as this place, but not being able to overtake them we shall halt a day or two to refresh, and then take our old position on the high hills of Santee. I think myself principally indebted for the victory we obtained to the free use of the bayonet made by the Virginians and Marylanders, the infantry of the legion, and Capt. Kirkwood; light infantry; and tho' few armies ever exhibited equal bravery with ours in general, yet the conduct and intrepidity of these corps were peculiarly conspicuous. Lieut. Col. Campbell fell as he was leading his troops to the charge, and tho' he fell with distinguished marks of honor, yet his loss is much to be regretted: He was the great soldier and the firm patriot.

Our loss in officers is considerably more from their value than their number, for never did either men or officers offer their blood more willingly in the service of their country. I cannot help acknowledging my obligations to Col. Williams for his great activity on this and many other occasions in forming the army, and for his uncommon intrepidity in leading on the Maryland troops to the charge, which exceeded any thing I ever saw. I also feel myself greatly indebted to Captains Pierce and Pendleton, Major Hyrne and Capt. Shubrick, my Aids de Camp, for their activity and good conduct throughout the whole of the action.

This dispatch will be handed to your Excellency by Capt. Pierce, to whom I beg leave to refer you for further particulars. I have the honor to be, with great respect,

Your Excellency most obedient,
and most humble servant,


His Excellency the President of Congress.

Names of continental commissioned officers killed and wounded in the action of Eutaw, September 8, 1781.

Maryland Brigade. Captains Dobson and Edgerly, and Lieutenants Dewall and Gould, killed. Lieut. Col. Howard, Capt. Gibson, Capt. Lieut. Hugon, Lieuts. Ewing, Woolford, Lynn, and Ensign Moore, wounded.

Virginia Brigade. Lieut. Col. Campbell, Captain Oldham, and Lieut. Wilson, killed. Capts. Edmonds and Morgan, Lieuts. Miller and Jarritt, wounded.

North Carolina Brigade. Capts. Goodman, Goodwin and Porterfield, and Lieut. Dillon, killed. Capt. Hadley, Lieuts. Dixon, Andrews, Dudley, Ensigns Lamb and Moore, wounded.

South Carolina Line. Lieut. Col. Henderson wounded. Cavalry. Lieut. Col. Washington wounded and prisoner of war; Capt. Watts, Lieuts. Gordon, Simons, King, and Steward, wounded. Mr. Carlisle, volunteer, killed.

Artillery, Capt. Lieut. Finn, wounded; Lieut. Carson ditto mortally; Lieut. Drew wounded; Lieut. McGuire wounded and prisoner of war.

Legion Infantry. Lieut. Manning wounded; Mr. Carrington, volunteer, wounded.

South Carolina State Officers, Major Rutherford, Lieut. Polk, and Adjutant Lusk, killed. Lieut. Col. [ ] commandant of brigade, Lieut. Col. [ ], Capts. Moore, Giles, N. Martin, Cowan, Lieuts. Eakins, Culpepper, Hammond, and Spragins, wounded.

South Carolina Militia. Lieuts. Holms and Simons, killed. Brigadier Gen. Pickens, Lieut. Col. Horry, Capts. Gee and Pegee, and Lieut. Boon, wounded.

Return of the Continental Troops.

Killed, 1 Lieutenant Colonel, 6 Captains, 4 Subalterns, 4 Serjeants, 98 Rank and File. Wounded, 2 Lieutenant Colonels, 7 Captains, 20 Subalterns, 24 Serjeants, 209 Rank and File. Missing, 1 Serjeant, 32 Rank and File. Total 408.

Return of State Troops and Militia.

Killed, 1 Major, 4 Subalterns, 4 Serjeants, 16 Rank & File. Wounded, 3 Lieut. Colonels, 6 Captains, 5 Subalterns, 8 Serjeants, 91 Rank and File. Missing, 8 Rank and File. Total 146.

Total killed, wounded and missing, of Continental and State Troops, and Militia, 554.


Published by Order of Congress,




By the UNITED STATES in CONGRESS, assembled,

OCTOBER 29, 1781.

Resolved, THAT the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled be presented to Major General Greene, for his wise, decisive and magnanimous conduct in the action of the 8th of September last, near the Eutaw Springs, in South Carolina; in which, with a force inferior in number to that of the enemy, he obtained a most signal victory.

That the thanks of the United states in Congress assembled be presented to the officers and men of the Maryland and Virginia brigades, and Delaware battalion of Continental troops, for the unparalleled bravery and heroism by them displayed, in advancing to the enemy through an incessant fire, and charging them with an impetuosity and ardour that could not be resisted.

That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled be presented to the officers and men of the Legionary corps and artillery, for their intrepid and gallant exertions during the action.

That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled be presented to the brigade of North Carolina, for their resolution and perseverance in attacking the enemy, and sustaining a superior fire.

That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled by presented to the officers and men of the state corps of South Carolina, for the zeal, activity and firmness by them exhibited throughout the engagement.

That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled be presented to the offices and men of the Militia, who formed the front line in the order of battle, and sustained their post with honor, propriety, and a resolution worthy of men determined to be free.

Resolved, That a British standard be presented to Major Genera Greene, as an honorable testimony of his merit, and a golden medal emblematical of the battle and victory aforesaid.

That Major General Greene be desired to present the thanks of Congress to Captains Pierce and Pendleton, Major Hyrne and Captain Shubrick, his Aids de Camp, in testimony of their particular activity and good conduct during the whole of the action.

That a sword be presented to Captain Pierce, who bore the General dispatches giving an account of the victory, and that the Board of War take order herein.

Resolved, That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled be presented to Brigadier General Marion of the South Carolina Militia, for his wise, gallant and decided conduct, in defending the liberties of his country, and particularly for his prudent and intrepid attack on a body of the British troops on the 30th day of August last, and for the distinguished part he took in the battle of the 8th of September.

Extract from the Minutes,


By the UNITED STATES in CONGRESS assembled,

NOVEMBER 23, 1781.

Resolved, THAT Major General the Marquis de la Fayette have permission to go to France, and that he return at such time as shall be most convenient to him.

That he be informed, that on a review of his conduct throughout the past campaign, and particularly during the period in which he had the chief command in Virginia; the many new proofs which present themselves of his zealous attachment to the cause he has espoused, and of his judgment, vigilance, gallantry and address in its defence, have greatly added to the high opinion entertained by Congress of his merit and military talents.

That he make known to the officers and troops whom he commanded during that period, that the brave and enterprising services with which they seconded his zeal and efforts, and which enabled him to defeat the attempts of an enemy far superior in numbers, have been beheld by Congress with particular satisfaction and approbation.

Extract from the Minutes,


SIR, Philadelphia, November 25, 1781.

I HAVE been honored with your Excellency letter of yesterday, enclosing the resolutions which Congress have been pleased to pass in my favor.

Testimonies of their esteem and of their confidence, that are so very flattering to me, could not but excite those exalted sentiments of gratitude which I am unable sufficiently to express.

My attachments to America, the sense of my obligations, and the new favors conferred upon me, are so many everlasting ties that devote me to her; at every time, in every part of the world, my heart will be panting for opportunities to be employed in her service.

With unspeakable pleasure I shall transmit the resolve of Congress to the brave and virtuous troops whom it has been my happiness to command.

While I beg you will present Congress with the most respectful homage of my gratitude, give me leave, Sir, to acknowledge the polite manner in which your Excellency has been pleased to announce their favors, and permit by best thanks to be joined to the assurance of the high respect with which I have the honor to be, Your Excellency most obedient humble servant,

His Excellency

John Hanson,
President of Congress.

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