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the ships grappled, yard arm and yard arm, so that the muzzles of the gun9 were nearly in close contact. In this position they lay vomiting forth death, and strewing the decks with carnage and destruction, about two hours; both ships were frequently on fire; but the Serapis not less than 10 or 12 times, and both maintained the desperate conflict, determined to conquer or die, and both seemed devoted to destruction. The Alliance attempted to co-operate in the action, and with some good effect, until the darkness of the evening rendered it impossible to distinguish correctly, and she killed 11 men, and wounded several others on board Commodore Jones' ship. At this critical moment, the Serapis struck, after having secured the escape of her convoy, and closed the sanguinary scene. At the close of the action, the Bon Homme Richard, was so much of a wreck, as to have about 7 feet water in her hold, which rendered it necessary to remove the crew on board the Serapis, and the wounded on board the Pallas ; on the 24th, the pumps of the Bon Homme Richard were closely plied through the day and night; but on the 24th she went down. Fortunately no lives were lost.
The Pallas engaged and took the Countess of Scarborough, at the same time, and Commodore Jones sailed with his prizes, for the coast of Holland, and anchored off the Texel. This naval action was highly honourable to Commodore Jones, and the brave captains under his command, and gave great eclat to the naval prowess of America.
GENERAL OPERATIONS OF THE REVOLUTION CONTINUED.
I shall pass over the expedition of Gen. Sullivan against the unfriendly tribes of the Six Nations, together with the general operations of this Indian war; also the expedition of Maj. Lee against the fortress at Powles Hook, together with the appointment of John Jay, Esq. then President of Congress, as minister plenipotentiary to the court of Madrid, and the Hon. Samuel Huntington of Connecticut as bis successor in office, as well as the appointment of the .Hon. John Adams as minister plenipotentiary to the court of St. James', to negociate a peace, and pursue the subject of the southern war.
Gen. Lincoln did not attempt to pursue Gen Prevost, in liis flight into Georgia, but contented himself to remain at Charleston, and devote his whole strength to the fortifications necessary for the defence of that place, in case of another attack from the enemy.
Pending these operations, he learnt the successes of the French fleet in the West-Indies under the Count de Estaing, and that after the conquest of Grenada, he had retired to Cape Francois. Gov. Rutledge, Gen. Lincoln, and the Frerich consul at Charleston, wrote the Count de Estaing, pressing him to come onto the coast, and co-operate with the American army in driving the British from Savannah. The count obeyed the invitation, as being agreeable to his instructions, and on the 1st of September, he arrived ofF Charleston with a fleet of 20 sail of the line, 2 of SO guns, and eleven frigates. The British man of war of 80 guns, under the command of Sir James Wallace, with three frigates, were surprised and captured.
Gen. Lincoln, upon the first intelligence of the arrival of the count, marched with his whole force for Savannah,
Vol. III. 35
and left orders for the South-Carolina militia to follow him. with all possible speed. The citizens of Charleston exerted themselves in sending such small craft as was necessary to assist the French in landing their troops; but such was the necessary delay, that it could not be effected until the 12th, and in the mean time, the British had exerted themselves in obstructing the river, strengthening their works, and thus preparing for their defence.
In this state of things Count de Estaing summoned Gen. Prevost to surrender to the arms of the king of France. Gen. Lincoln remonstrated against this, particularly as the Americans were acting in conjunction; the count persisted, and Gen. Prevost demanded a cessation of hostilities for 24 hours to deliberate, this the count granted; during this period the troops from Beaufort arrived, to the number of 4 to 800, and Gen. Prevost. thus reinforced, determined to defend the place to the last extremity. The count now saw his error, and in a consultation with Gen. Lincoln, concluded to set down before the place, and carry it by a regular siege; and they proceeded to co-operate in landing the necessary cannon, and constructing the necessary works.
Gen. Prevost employed several hundred negroes at this time, in carrying forward his works of defence; and on the 23d, the allies broke ground, and commenced the operations of the siege. The besieged sallied forth, from time to time, to interrupt the operations of the besiegers; but were repulsed with loss.
On the 4th of October the besiegers opened their batteries, and began to play upon the town, with 9 mortars, and 54 pieces of cannon, which continued for four or rive days, with very little intermission; but without any apparent effect. On the morning of the 8th, Maj. Le Enfant, wi*h five men, braved the fire of the enemy ; marched up to the abbatis, and attempted to set it on fire; but this bold adventure failed; the weather was moist, and the materials were green. General Prevost next requested that the women and children might be removed ; this, considering the late stratagem of the general, was denied; and the two commanders resolved on carrying the town by storm. This became necessary to close the operations, and relieve the French fleet from its exposed situation, both from an attack from the enemy, as well as from the storms to which it lay exposed.
The morning of the 9th was fixed upon to begin the work of death, and carry the town by storm; but a deserter fled in the night, and carried the plan of attack to General Prevost, who was prepared in the morning to receive the assailants; and although, the attack was well concerted, and bravely executed by the allied commanders, at the head of their troops, supported by the brave Count Pulaski with his legion ; yet the fire of the enemy was so destructive that the troops gave way, after having planted the French and American standards on the British redoubts; at this critical moment the brave Count Pulaski fell with a mortal wound, at the head of his legion, when charging the enemy in the rear, in the full career of victory. The allies supported this desperate conflict 55 minutes, under a deadly fire from the enemy's batteries; and then made g od their retreat with the loss of 637 French, and 234 continentals killed and wounded, and of the 380 Charleston militia, who all fought bravely, 6 were wounded, and one captain was killed.
General Prevost conducted this defence like an able general, and deserved well of his country.
Count de Estaing embarked his troops, cannon, baggage, &c. in about ten days, and was immediately dispersed by a violent storm, and although 7 ships had been ordered to repair to the Chesapeake, but one solitary ship was able to gain that station; the others stood off for the WestIndies.
Pending these operations, a Colouel John White of the Georgia militia, with six men, including his servant, surprised a battalion of Captain Delancey's royal refugees, near the river Ogeechee, consisting of 100 men, besides about 40 regulars, and by a masterly stratagem secured the whole, and conducted them safely through the country 25 miles to an American post.*
Congress resolved that a monument be erected to the memory of Count Pulaski, who died in October, of the wound received in the attack upou Savannah on the 9th. Thus fell Count Pulaski, whose services did honour to his nation, and the cause of America in which he was engaged.
When the news of the arrival of the French fleet upon the American coast reached New-York, it gave a general alarm, notwithstanding Sir Henry Clinton had been reinforced by the fleet of Admiral Arbuthnot in August, and Sir Andrew Hammond in September, with 1500 troops from Cork. To secure the port of New-York the more effectually against the suspected attack, Sir Henry Clinton dispatched a fleet of transports to Rhode-Island, on the 26th of September, to bring off the garrison to New-York. On the 25th of October, the whole British force at Newport embarked for New-York, where they arrived safe on the 27th. General Gates, who commanded the American forces in the vicinity of Newport, watched the movements of the enemy critically during the period of evacuation, expecting to witness the same ravages that had so generally marked the progress of the British of late; but to the honour of General Pigot they did not appear at Newport. The general drew off his troops in great good order, and left the town and adjacent country in as good condition as when he landed. , , • *
♦ Dr. Ramsay ; Vol. II. pag« 35—43.