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CHAP. X.

Rhode Island evacuated. Drjtgn agairst New York frustrated by D'FJlaing's failure at Savannah. Expedition a-'airjl Charles Town. Sir Henry Clinton lands with the army in South Carolina; taies pofseffin of tbt islands of John and Jam's; passes AJhl/y River to Charles 'town Meet; siege of that city. Aimir'.l Arhuthnot safes the Bar with difficulty. American and French marine free abandon their fattens, and retire to the tou~n, where rr.ojl of the former are funk to bar a passage. The admiral prss-s the heavy fire of the fort on Sullivan's I/land, and takes pejj'esjion of the harbour. General Li'coin summoned without efse3. State of the defences on Cha'lrs Town Neck. Colonel Tarleton cuts off a parly of the rebels. Col. Mibjhr pases Cooper River with a detachment, by "which the ciiy is clejely invested. Lord Cornvjallis takes the command on that fide. Siege prefei •with greet vigour. Admiral Arbuthnot taies Mount Pleasant, a fid reduces Fort Moultrie. Tarleton defeats and d'firoyt the rebel Cavalry. Cafitiilalion of Charles Town. Garrison, artillery, frigates, 13c, Rebels again defeated by Tarleton, at Waxaw. Regulations by Sir Henry Clinton for the security of the province. Departure for Netti York. Earl Corniva/lii reduces the ivhjle colony. Unexpected danger to which the severity of the winter had exposed New York, Gallant defence made by Capt. Cornvaallis, aoainst a French superior naval force. Three naval acJions between Sir George Rcdney, and M. dt Guichen, productive of no decisive consequences. Insurrections of the loyalists in North Carolina quelled. Baron dt Kalbe marches into that province with a continental force. Is followed by General Gates, who takes the chief command. State of affairs in the two Carolina's. Battle cf Camdest. Complete victory gamed by Lord Cornvaallis. Sumpter routed by Tarleton.

TH E appearance and continuance of D'Eltaing on the coast of North America, in the autumn of the year 1779, necessarily suspended all active operations on the side of New York; where none but defensive measures could be thought of, under the well-founded apprehension of a formidable attack by sea and land, which had been evidently concerted between that commander and General Washington. The latter had collected a strong force for that purpose i:i the Highlands, to which the northern colonies 7

had largely contributed, hoping to end the war by one decisive ltroke; and being in possession of the North River, the cloud seemed ready to break upon the islands, as soon as the French fleet should appear in sigiit; an event that did not seem to be far distant, as it was expected en both sides by the new allies, that the taking of the Savannah could be little more than the work of a day; and that the success could not only inspire confidence, but even afford means, for the attainment of the grand object.

Under

Under these apparent circumstances of danger, it was sound advisable, besides adopting every other means of a vigorous defence against a greatly superior force, to withdraw the garrison and marine from Rhode Island, and to suffer that place to fall again into the hands of the Americans.

But the defeat of D'Estaing, and still more the Ios? of time, which attended his ill conducted enterprize, having totally frustrated the views of the enemy, served equally to extend those of General Sir Henry Clinton, and of Admiral Arbuthnot, to active md effective service, by an expedition to the southern colonies. Washington's army was already in a great measure broken up. The auxiliaries had returned home; the term of enlistment of a great number of the continental soldiers was expired -, and the filling op of the regiments, by waiting for recruits from their respective states, must necessarily be a work of considerable time.

South Carolina was the immediate and great object of enterprize. Besides the numerous benefits to be immediately derived from the possession of that province of opulence and staple product, and the unspeakable loss which it would occasion to the enemy, its situation rendered it still more valuable from the security which it would not only afford to Georgia, but in a very considerable degree, to all that southern point of the continent which stretches beyond it.

Sir Henry Clinton's land force being now whole and concentrated by the evacuation of Rhode Island, it afforded means as well

as incitement to enterprize. The army was likewise in excellent condition; the reinforcements from England had not been impaired by any service; and it was abundantly provided with artillery, and with all the other engines, furniture, and provision of war. Nor was the naval force, less competent to i's purpose; there being nothing then in the American- seas, which could even venture to look at i;. On the other hand, the distance of South Carolina, from the center of force and action, cu: it off from all me^ns of prompt support in any case; while the present state of the American army, along with, many circumstances in the situation of their public affairs, rendered the prospect of any timely or effectual relief extremely faint.

Although every thing had been for some time prepared tor the expedition, and the troops even embarked, yet through the defect of any certain intelligence, as to the departure of D'Estaing from the coast of North America, it was not until within a few days of the close of the year, ^ , ,

that the fleet and con- UeCt 2bth' vx>y proceeded from New York. The voyage from thence to the Savannah, (where they did not arrive until the end of January) was very unproiperous. Besides its extreme tediousness, the sea was so rough, and the weather so tempestuous, that great mischief was done among the transports and victuallers. Several were lost; others dispersed and damaged; a few were taken by the Americans; ah ordnance sliip went down, with all her stores;

and and almost all the horses, whether of draught, or appertaining to the cavalry, were lost.

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From Savannah, the fleet and army proceeded before the middle of February, to the inlet or harbour of North Ediilo, on the coast of South Carolina, where the army was landed without opposition or difficulty; and took possession with equal facility, first of John's Island, and next, that of James, which stretches to the south of Charles Town Harbour. We have already had occasion, in cur account of Gen. Prcvoil's expedition, to take some notice as the .geography and nature of this flat and insulated country. The army aftetwards, by throwing a bridge over the Wappoo cut, extended its posts on the mainland, to the banks of Afliley River, between which and Cooper's River Charles Town stands; the approach to it being called the Neck."

The general is not explicit in his information, as to the nature 9s the difficulties, or rather wants, which were the cause of detaining tlje army in this position, until near the end of March; he seeming to consider these circunistances as matters already well understood by the Secretary of State. We only learn, that a train pf heavy artillery supplied by the large ships of the fleet, with a body of sailors, under the conduct of Capt. Elphinstone of {he navy, were of singular service in the prosecution of the siege, and that the general found jnnecessary to draw a reinforcerrerit from Georgia, which joined him, without any other interruption, tiian the natural difficulties

of the country, (which were not small) during a toilsome march of twelve days.

The passage of „ fc Alhley River was «'

effected with great »

facility, thro' the aid of the naval officers and seamen, with their boats and armed gallies; and the army, with its artillery and stores, was landed without opposition on Charles Town Neck. On the nig'«t of the ist of April, they broke ground within 800 yards of, the enemy's works; and in a week their guns were mounted in battery.

In the mean time, Admiral Arbathnot had not been deficient in his endeavours for the passing of Charles Town Bar, in order effectually to second the operations of the army. For this purpose he shifted his flag from the Eu. ropa of the line, to the Roe Buck of 44 -guns, which, with the Renown and Romulus, were lightened of their guns, provisions, and water; the lighter frigates being capable of pasting the bur, without that preparation. Yet so difficult was the taflt in any state, that they lay in that situation, exposed on an open coast, in the winter season, to the danger of the seas, and to the insults of the enemy, for above a fortnight, before a proper opportunity offered. The bar was, however, then passed (on the 20th of March) without loss; and the entrance of the harbour gained without difficulty.

The enemy bad a considerable marine force in the harbour, which might have been expected to contribute more tp ih,e defence, pf the

town

town and passage than it actually did. This consisted of an American (hip, built since the troubles, gnd pierced for 60 guns, but mounting only 44.; of seven frigates of the fame country, from 32 to 16 guns; with a Fiench

The passage was ef- . .. . fected, under a severe APnl 9thaad impetuous sire, with less lose of lives than could have been well expected; the number of seamen killed and woiirided being under thirty. The fleet, however, suf.

frigate of 26 guns, and a polacre fe-reci .in other respects from the fire

of eighteen. These, at first, upon the admiral's getting over the bar, (hewed a disposition to dispute the passage ug the river; and accordingly, they were moored with, some armed gallies, at 3 nar

of the enemy; and a transport, with some naval stores, was of necessity abandoned, and burnt, But the great object was now gained j they were in possession of the harbour, and took such effectual mea

Iow pass, between Sullivan's Island sures for blocking up or securing

and the middle ground, in a po sition which would have enabled them to rake his squadron on its approach to Fort Moultrie.

This appearance of resolution, however, gave way to more timid, and it should seem, less wife coun

the various inlets, that the town was little less than completely invested. As the enemy had placed their principal trust in the defence of the passage up the river, and thereby keeping the harbour free, and their back secure, nothing could

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cU. For abandoning every idea os be more terrible to them than this

situation of the fleet; whereby their defences were greatly multiplied, their attention diverted from the land fide, and their means of relief, or even of escape, considerably straitened.

In this state of things, the batteries ready to be opened; the commanders by sea and land sent a joint summons to General Lincoln, iv ho commanded in CharlesTown; holding out the fatal consequences of a cannonade and storm, stating the present, as the only favourable opportunity for preserving the lives and property of the inhabitants, and warning the commander that he sliould be responsible for all those .calamities which might be the fruits ot his obstinacy. Lincoln igainst the long, fierce, and bloody/ answered, that the lame duty and attack of Admiral Sir Peter Par- inclination which had prevented kcr. him from abandoning Charles

Ipwn, /

Town, during sixty days knowl:dge of their hoitile intentions, operated now with equal force, in prompting him to dtfcnd it to the last extremity.

The defences of Charles Town, on the neck, were, for their nature and standing, very considerable. They consisted of a chain of redoubts, line*,' 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 ri. vers, and tending towards the center; through which th;y were connected by a canal pasting from one to the other, between these outward impediments and the works, were two strong rows of abbatis, the trees being buried slanting in the earth, so that their heads facing outiyards, formed a kind of fraize-work against the assailants; and these were farther secured, by a ditch double picketted. In the center, where the natural defences were unequal to those on the flanks, a ho:n-work of masonry had been constructed, as well to remedy that defect as to cover the principal gate; and'this during the siege had been closed in iuch a manner as to render it a kind of citadel, or independent fort.

The siege was carried on with great vigour; the batteries were loon perceived to acquire a superiority over those of the enemy; and the works were pushed /forward wilh unremitted industry. Soon after the middle of April, the (e, cond parallel was compktTM' ed; the approaches to it secured; and it was carried within

4$o yards of the main works of the besieged. Major Moncrieffe, , who had gained so much honour in the defence of the Savannah, acquired no less applause, from the very superior and masterly manner in which he conducted the offensive operations of the present siege.

The town had kept its communication open with the country, on the farther side of Cooper's river, for some time after it had been invested on other sides by the fleet and army; and some bodies of militia cavalry end infantry began to assemble on the higher parts of th.it river, who being in possession of the bridges, might at least have become troublesome to the foraging parties, if not capable of disturbing the operations of the army. The general, as soon as his situation would permit, detached 1400 men under Lieutenant-colonel Webster, in order to strike at this corps which the enemy were endeavouring to form in the field, to break in upon their remaining communications, and to seize the principal passes of the country. On this expedition Lieutenant colonel Tarleton, at the head of a corps of cavalry, and seconded by Major Ferguson's light infantry and marksmen, afforded a striking specimen of that active gallantry, and of those peculiar military talents, which have since so highly distinguistied his character. With a very inferior force, he surprised, defeated, and almost totally cut off the rebel party; and having thereby gained posseflion of Biggin's Bridpe on the Cooper River, opened the way to Colonel Webster to advance nearly to the head of the Wandoo River, and to occupy

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