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1779-Ashley river, and to avoid Lincoln's army, now in his rear, filed off from the main land to the islands on the sea coast. Both armies encamped within 30 miles of June Charlestown, watching each other's motions till the 20th 20- of June, when a part of the British army intrenched at Stoho ferry was attacked. By a preconcerted plan, a feint was to have been made from James island with a body of militia from Charlestown, at the moment when gen. Lincoln began the attack from the main; but from mismanagement they did not reach their place of destination till several hours after the action.—The American army consisted of about 1200 men, only half continentals, who were posted on the left, while the North and South Carolina militia occupied the right. Col. Malmedy led a corps of light infantry on the right, and lieut. col. Henderson on the left. The Virginia militia and the cavalry formed a corps of reserve. The British force consisted of 6 or 700 men. They had redoubts, with a line of communication, and field pieces advantageously posted in the intervals, and the whole secured with an abbatis. That they might be harassed, or lulled into security, they were alarmed by small parties-, for several nights preceding the action. When the attack was made, two companies of the 71st regiment sallied out to support the picquets. Henderson ordered his light infantry to charge them, on which they instandy retreated: only nine of them got safe within their lines. All the men at the British field pieces, between their redoubts, were either killed or wdunded. The attack was continued for an hour and twenty minutes, and the assailants had manifestly the advantage; but the appearance of a reinforcement, to prevent which the feint from
James island was intended, made a retreat necessary. ,779The whole garrison sallied out on the Americans: their light troops however so effectually retarded the British, that they not only retreated with regularity, but brought ( off their wounded with safety. Lincoln lost in killed and wounded 146, beside 155 miffing. This attack accelerated the retreat of the enemy, who with great assiduity and fatigue, passed over from island to island until they arrived at Beaufort, from whence they had an open and free communication with Georgia by water, whither most of them went, leaving a sufficient garrison under col. Maitland.
This incursion into South Carolina added much to the wealth of the officers, soldiers and followers of the camp, and still more to the distresses of the inhabitants. The negroes, allured with hopes of freedom, repaired in great numbers to the royal army; and to recommend themselves to their new masters, discovered where their owners had concealed their property. It is supposed, that the British carried out of the state about 3000 slaves, many of whom were shipped off and fold in the West Indies; but the inhabitants lost upward of 4000, each worth on an average about fifty-six pounds sterling. Several hundreds of them died of the camp fever; and numbers, laboring under diseases and afraid to return home, perished in the woods. The royal army also plundered the planters of several rice barrels full of plate. They spread over a considerable extent of country, and small parties visited every house, stripping it of whatever was most valuable, and rifling the inhabitants of their money, rings, jewels and other personal ornaments; and yet what was destroyed by the soldiers was supposed to
1779.be os more value than what they carried off". The devastations committed by them were so enpr.mous0 as that a particular relation of them would scarcely be credited by people at a distance, though, the same, could be attested by hundreds of eye-witnesses. It will be nearly as difficult to credit another species of depredation which certain Americans have committed upon gen. Washington's property. His debtors have been, discharging in paper currency (at the rate of a shilling in the pound, through the depreciation) bonds, which, ought to have been paid him, and would have been realized before he left Virginia, but for his indulgence. Seven thousand pounds sterling would not compensate the losses he might have, avoided, by remaining at home, and attending a little to his owa concerns. Alas! what is virtue come to! What a. miserable change has four years produced in. the temper and disposition of many of the sons of America! It.almost surpasses belief!
Sir, He.nry. Clinton dispatched Sir George Collier and gen. Matthew, wish, about 2000 men.beside 500 marines, to make a descentupon Virginia. They.sailed for Portsmouth, and upon their arrival landed the troops at a distance; then marched and took immediate possession
I0* of the town, which was defenceless. The remains of Norfolk, on the opposite side of the river fell of course into their hands. On the approach of the fleet and army the Americans burnt several vessels; others were saved and possessed by the British. The guards were pushed forward 18 miles by night to Suffolk, where they arrived by day light, and proceeded to destroy a magazine of provisions, together with the vessels and naval stores found there* A similar destruction was carried on at
Kemp's Kemp's landing, Gosport, Tanner's Creek, and other *7/$* i places in that quarter; nor were the frigates and armed vessels less active or successful in their service. Within the fortnight that the fleet and army continued upon the coast, the loss of the Americans was prodigious. Above 130 vessels of all forts, including some privateers and ships of force, were destroyed or taken by them; 17 prizes were brought away, beside 3000 hogsheads of tobacco, which fell into their possession at Portsmouth. Except^the house of a widow ahdthe church, they burnt every house in Suffolk; and all the principal houses of gentlemen in their route shared the same sate. The Virginia assembly resolved, "that the governor be required to remonstrate to the British commander against such a cruel and unprecedented manner of waging war, not authorized by any civilized nation:" but a sufficient military force to back it was wanting. The fleet and army, with their prizes and booty, arrived safe at New York before the expiration of the month. The troops 30* were joined to others going up the North river to attack the posts of Stoney-point and Verplank, where the Americans had begun to construct strong works, for keeping the lower communication open between the eastern and southern states. Gen. Vaughan landed with the greater part on the east side; while the remainder, accompanied by Sir H. Clinton, advanced farther up, landed on the west side, and took possession of Stoney-point without opposition. Directly opposite, the Americans had completely finished a strong fort, which was defended by four pieces of artillery, and a garrison of abouf 70 men. But it was commanded by Stoney-point; to the summit of whose rocks cannon and mortars were
1779' dragged up during the night. By five in the morning, a battery was opened, which poured a storm of fire over on the fort; while Vaughan with his division, making a long circuit through the hills, arrived, and closely invested it by land. The garrison finding themselves totally overpowered, surrendered prisoners of war. Sir H. Clinton moving his main body up the North River, occasioned the American army's moving from their encampment at Middle Brook toward West-point, for which they were in no small apprehension, the garrison being few, and the fort not completed. Sir H. Clinton gave immediate direction for perfecting the works of both posts, and particularly for putting Stoney-point in the strongest state of defence: for their better support, and with a view to further operations, he encamped his army at Phillipsburgh, about half way down the river to New York island. By the loss of these posts, the Jersey people were obliged to make a circuit of about 90 miles through the mountains, to communicate with . the states east of Hudson's river.
We must here suspend our account of the operations under the direction of Sir Henry, and attend to very different expeditions,
One was ordered to be set on foot by lieut. governor Hamilton of Detroit, who was to be joined in the spring of this year by 200 Indians from Mechijimainoi, and 500 Cherokeesand Chickafaws, and other nations: these were to penetrate up the Ohio to Fort Pitt, sweeping Kentucky on their way, having light brass cannon for the purpose. He was to be joined by all the Indians that couldJbe procured; and had no doubt of forcing , all West Augusta. Destruction from every quarte