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winds they soon reached the mouth of North Edisto, a river which empties itself into the sea at a short distance from the Isle of St. John, upon the coast of South Carolina. After having reconnoitred the places and passed the bar, the British army landed, and took possession first of the above mentioned island, and next, that of James, which stretches to the south of Charleston harbor. It afterwards, by throwing a bridge over Wappoo Cut, extended its posts on the main land to the banks of Ashley river, which washes the walls of Charleston. From Wappo Cut it was intended to pass the troops in gallies and flat boats to the left bank of the Ashley, upon which Charleston stands. But the delays occasioned by the events of the passage having given the Americans time to erect new sortiscations and to reenforce the garrison, Clinton determined not to undertake the siege till after having drawn a reenforcement from general Prevost, stationed at Savannah, whom he accordingly directed to send him twelve hundred men, including the greatest number of cavalry possible. He had likewise written to Kynphausen, who, after his departure commanded in the state of New York, to forward him with all expedition, reenforcements and munitions. A few days aster, general Patterson joined him with the troops from Georgia, after having endured excessive fatigues, and surmounted the numerous obstacles thrown in his way not only by swoln rivers and miry roads, but also by the enemy, whose light detachments had hung on his left flank from Savannah to far within the frontiers of Carolina. Meanwhile, Clinton intrenched himself upon the banks of the Ashley and of the adjacent arms of the sea, in order to secure. his communications with the fleet. During this interval colonel Tarleton, of whom there will be frequent mention in the course of this history, an officer of cavalry, as skilful as enterprising, had repaired to the fertile island of Port Royal, where employing money with the disaffected and force with the patriots, he spared no exertions for the acquisition of horses to replace those lost in the passage. If he could not collect as many as the exigencies of the service demanded, yet the success much surpassed his expectations. Thus, about the last of March, every thing was in preparation for commencing the siege of Charleston; the British army was separated from the place only by the waters of the river Ashiey. On the other hand, the Americans had omitted none of those preparations, whether civil or military, which they deemed the most suitable for a vigorous defence ; although, in truth, it had not been in their power to effect all that was requisite to meet the danger of the emergency. The paper currency was so out of credit with the inhabitants of South Carolina, that it was excessively difficult to purchase with it the necessaries of war. The want of soldiers was felt with equal severity. The militia, impatient to enjoy repose aster the painful operations of Georgia, during the preceding winter, had disbanded and retired to their habitations.
Another motive also discouraged them from marching to the succour of Charleston; and that was, the fear of the smallpox, which it was known prevailed in that city. Moreover, the six regiments of the line, belonging to the provinces were so enfeebled by desertions, discases, battle, and the expiration of engagements, that all together did not amount to a thousand soldiers. It should be added, that many of the Carolinians were induced to profit of the amnesty offered by general Prevost, at Savannah, some through loyalty towards the king, others to preserve their effects from pillage. In effect, the English put to sack and devastation, without lenity, the property of all those who continued to serve under the banners of Congress; and, besides, the victory of Savannah had penetrated minds with a great terror of the British arms. The major part were reluctant to immure themselves within a city which they believed little capable of resisting the assaults of so audacious an enemy.
Such was the penury of means to which South Carolina was reduced; the Congress displayed not much more energy. They had been seasonably apprised of the designs of the English, and would sain have averted the storm they saw going to burst upon South Carolina. But, on the one hand, the weakness of the army of Washington, which a great number of his soldiers had abandoned at the termination of their engagement; on the other, the force of the garrisons which Clinton had left in the state of New York, rendered it unadvisable to detach any effective succour to Charleston. Nevertheless, to support by words those whom they were unable to assist by deeds, or under the persuasion that the people, reanimated at the peril which menaced South Carolina, would voluntarily fly to arms, the Congress wrote to the chiefs of that province, to arm themselves with constancy, for it was intended to send them a reenforcement of nine thousand men. But the fact proved that they could only send fisteen hundred, of the regular troops of North Carolina and Virginia. The Congress despatched, besides, two frigates, a corvette, and some smaller vessels, to maintain, if possible, a communication by sea with the besieged city. The Carolinians were also exhorted to arm their slaves; a scheme, however, which was not put in execution, whether because of the universal repugnance that was felt to such a measure, or because there was not at hand a sufficiency of arms for the purpose. Notwithstanding this coldness of the citizens, the magistrates of Charleston, encouraged by the presence and words of general Lincoln, who directed all that concerned the military part, held a general council, in which it was resolved to defend the city to the last extremity. Yet more, knowing how important in the operations of war, and especially in all cases of emergency, is the unity of measures and power, they conferred a sort of dictature on John Rutledge, their governor, giving him authority to do whatever he should think necessary to the safety of
the republic. They withheld, however, the power over the life of citizens; as he could punish none with death without a legal trial. Vested with such an authority, Rutledge called out the militia ; but few displayed their colors. He then issued a proclamation, summoning all persons inscribed on the military rolls, or having property in the city, to muster and join the garrison; their disobedience 'forseited their estates. At so rigorous an order, some made their appearance ; but still the number of those who took arms was sar from answering the wishes of the governor. The inhabitants of the country seemed plunged in a kind of stupor; they wished, before they took their side, to see what would be the fate of events; in brief, the garrison of so considerable a city scarcely amounted to five thousand men, inclusive of regulars, militia and seamen. The first, who were principally relied on for the defence of the place, were to the number of about two thousand. Meanwhile, the fortifications were pushed with indefatigable industry. They consisted, on the land side, in a chain of redoubts, lines and batteries, extending from one river to the other, and covered with an artillery of eighty cannon and mortars. In the front of either flank, the works were covered by swamps, originating from the opposite rivers, and tending towards the centre ; through which they were connected by a canal passing from one to the other. Between these outward impediments and the works were two strong rows of abattis, the trees being buried slanting in the earth, so that their heads facing outwards, formed a kind of fraise work against the assailants; and these were further secured by a ditch double picketted. In the centre, where the natural defences were unequal to those on the flanks, the Americans had constructed a horn work of masonry, as well to remedy that defect, as to cover the principal gate. Such were the fortifications which, stretching across the neck behind the city, and from the Ashley river to Cooper's river, defended it on the part of the land. But on the two sides where it is washed by these rivers, the Americans had contented themselves with erecting numerous batteries, constructed, the better to resist shot, of earth mingled with palmetto wood. All parts of the shore, where it was possible to land, had been secured by strong palisades. To support the defences on shore, the Americans had a considerable marine force in the harbor, consisting in eight of their own frigates, with one French frigate, besides several smaller vessels, principally gallies. These were judiciously moored at a narrow pass, between Sullivan's island and the middle ground ; and if they had continued in this position, they might have severely annoyed the British squadron, on its approach to Fort Moultrie, situated on Sullivan's island, so much celebrated for the obstinate and successful defence which it made against the attack of the English in 1776. But when admiral Arbuthnot advanced with his ships to Charleston bar, the American flotilla, abandoning its station, and WOL. II. 33
leaving Fort Moultrie to its own fortune, retired to Charleston; where most of the ships, with a number of merchant vessels, being fitted with chevaux-de-frize on their decks, were sunk to obstruct the channel of Cooper's river, where it flows between the left part of the town and a low sand bank called Shute's Folly. Thus, with the exception of Fort Moultrie, there remained nothing to prevent the British fleet from entering the harbor, to cooperate with the land forces. In this manner the inhabitants prepared to defend themselves valiantly against the attack of the enemy ; but they still founded their hope on the succours of their neighbors of North Carolina and Virginia. Lincoln and Rutledge exhibited a rivalship of zeal and talent in their efforts to impart fresh confidence to the besieged, and new strength to the works. They were admirably seconded by two French engineers, de Laumoy and de Cambray. The troops of the line were charged with the defence of the intrenchments, as the post of peril, and the militia had the guard of the banks of the river. - As soon as Clinton had completed all his preparations, the twentyninth of March, having left a detachment to guard his magazines at Wappoo Cut, he passed the Ashley river without opposition, twelve miles above Charleston. Inmediately after his debarkation he sent a body of infantry and cavalry to occupy the great road and scour the country to within cannon-shot from the place. The army then followed and took post across the isthmus behind the city at the distance of a mile and a hals. From this moment, the garrison lost all communication with the land, the enemy being masters of both sides of the Ashley, there remained no way open for succours of men and provision but across the Cooper on their left. The royalists had soon transported to their camp, through the assistance of captain Elphinstone with his boats and armed gallies, all the heavy artillery, stores, and baggage. On the night of the first of April, they broke ground within eight hundred yards of the American works; and in a week their guns were mounted in battery. In the meantime, admiral Arbuthnot had made his dispositions for passing the bar in order to gain the entrance of Charleston harbor. The frigates, as drawing less water, passed without any difficulty; but the ships of the line could not be got over till after having been lightened of their artillery, munitions, and even their water; the whole squadron passed on the twentieth of March, Arbuthnot came to anchor at Five Fathom Hole ; he had still however to surmount, before he could take an active part in the siege of Charleston, the obstacle of Fort Moultrie, occupied by colonel Pinckney with a respectable force. The English admiral profiting of a south wind and flood tide, weighed anchor on the ninth of April, and passing it under a press of sail, took his station within cannon-shot from the
city near James Island. Colonel Pinckney had opened all his artillery upon the British vessels, at the moment of their passage; but such was the rapidity of their way, that it did them little damage. The dead and wounded were less than thirty ; a solitary transport was abandoned and burned. In this state of things, the batteries ready to be opened, and the place already invested by sea and land; Clinton and Arbuthnot sent a joint summons to general Lincoln ; holding out the fatal consequences of a cannonade and storm, and stating the present as the only favorable opportunity for preserving the lives and property of the inhabitants. The American answered spiritedly, that he was determined to defend himself. The English immediately commenced their fire; the place answered it briskly. But the besiegers had the advantage of a more numerous artillery, particularly in mortars, which made great ravages. The pioneers and miners, under the direction of the same Moncrieffe who had gained so much honor in the defence of Savannah, pushed forward the works with extreme rapidity. The second parallel was already completed and furnished with its batteries; every thing promised the English an approaching victory; but the Americans had assembled a corps on the upper part of Cooper river, at a place called Monk's Corner. They were under the conduct of general Huger; and, from that position they could invest the besiegers on their rear, revictual Charleston, and in case of extremity, enable the garrison to evacuate the place, and retreat with safety into the country. Besides, however feeble was this corps, it might serve as an incentive and rallying point for continual accessions. North Carolina had already despatched to their camp a great quantity of arms, stores and baggage. Under these considerations, general Clinton detached fourteen hundred men, under lieutenant-colonel Webster, to strike at this body of republicans before it should become more considerable, to break in upon the remaining communications of the besieged, and to seize the principal passes of the country. Colonel Webster was accompanied by Tarleton and Ferguson, both partisans of distinguished gallantry. The Americans had established their principal cantonments on the left side of the Cooper, and being masters of Biggins Bridge, on that river, they had passed all their cavalry to the right bank. This position was strong, the bridge being accessible only by a causeway through an impracticable morass; but they were off their guard, having neglected to post videttes, and to reconnoitre the environs. Moreover, their dispositions were defective; they had placed the cavalry in front, and the infantry in rear. The English arrived unexpectedly, at three in the morning; their attack was impetuous, it routed the Americans in a few instants ; all perished save those who sought safety by flight. General Huger, and the colonels Washington and Jamieson, threw themselves into