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1780. they must have given up not only their ships, but their baggage, field artillery and stores, as they could not have procured a number of waggons sufficient for the transportation of the same. It was the wish of the inhabitants to save their capital, and they were in hopes of effecting it. Gen. Lincoln was desirous of their being gratified, and acted accordingly. Though he had then but about 1400 continentals fit for duty, including those of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, together with about 1000 North Carolina militia; yet as he had been assured of succours to complete his force to near 10,000, he promised himself, that when further opposition could no longer avail, an evacuation would be practicable. The apparent design of Sir Henry Clinton to risk nothing, induced him to proceed flowly. He formed a depot on James island, and erected fortifications there and on the main, opposite
to the southern and western extremities of the town. On Mir. 29. the 29th of March, his grenadiers, light troops, and two
battalions of insantry, crossed Ashley river: and on the next day appeared before the American lines, and encamped about 3000 yards in front of them. The works thrown up in the spring of 1779, nad been strengthened and extended: and lines of defence and redoubts continued across Charlestown neck from Cooper to Ashley river. Gen. Lincoln had early pressed upon the state, / the certainty of an intended invasion, and the necessity of strenuous and timely exertions to provide against it. He ever turned out himself, not only to assist on the works, but to set an example of emulation, that no one might think it beneath him to give his assistance. This was his constant practice, going out with the foremost in the morning, and returning with the last in the even
ing; until the near approach os the enemy called him 1780. to other duties. In front of the lines was a strong abbatis, and a wet ditch picquetted on the nearest side. Between the abbatis and the lines, deep holes were dug at short distances from each other. The lines were made particularly strong on the right and left, and so constructed as to rake the wet ditch, in almost its whole extent. In the centre a strong citadel was erected. Works were thrown up on all fides of the town where a landing was practicable. That gen. Lincoln did not oppose the enemy's crossing the river, was owing to his not having sufficient force; his whole strength at that time amounted only to 2225, beside the sailors in the batteries. It was found upon examination, that the ships meant for the defence of Charlestown, could not possibly be so stationed as to defend the bar; and that the enemy, with a leading easterly wind and flood making in, would enter the harbour, and under full fail, pass the continental frigates lying in Five Fathom Hole. Commodore Whipple therefore, with his small fleet, consisting of the Bricole of 44 guns, the Providence and Boston each of .32, the Queen of France of 28, L'Avanture and the Truite each of 26, the Ranger and brig Gen. Lincoln each of 20, and the brig Notre Dame of 16 guns, abandoned the defence of the bar, and retreated to fort Moultrie. On the 20th of March, adm. Arbuthnot, with the Renown of 50. guns, the. Romulus and Roebuck each of 44, the Richmond, Le Blonde and Raleigh each of 32, and the Sandwich armed ships, crossed the bar in front of Rebellion road, and anchored in Five Fathom Hole. The American fleet retreated to Charlestown: and the crews and guns of all the vessels,
r78o. except the Ranger, were put on shore to reinforce the batteries. An inquiry should have been made before the British fleet appeared off the harbour, whether the American ships could defend the bar, and upon the discovery of their incapability, they should have been sent away in time. When the captains and pilots, in their joint letter of February the 27th to gen. Lincoln, assigned such incapability as a reason for their abandoning the defence of it, the resolution should have been taken to evacuate Charlestown, and to retreat into the open country, and there wait for reinforcements, without running the risk of being completely invested by the enemy. April I£ appeared that the British had broken ground in 1• several places about n00 yards in front of the Americans. Though the lines were no more than field works, yet Sir H. Clinton treated them with the respectful homage of three parallels, and made his advances with the greatest circumspection. By the 10th, the first parallel was completed, and directly upon it the town was summoned to surrender without effect. The same day 700 continentals, under gen. Woodford, who had marched 500 miles in 28 days, arrived in Charlestown. But while the siege was pending, near the same number of North Carolina militia, quitted the lines and went oflv the time of their service being expired. The day before the summons, adm. Arbuthnot weighed anchor, and taking advantage of a strong fouthe/fy wind and flowing tide, passed fort Moultrie i which kept up a brisk and severe fire on the ships in their passage, and did them some damage beside killing or wounding 27 seamen. A transport ran aground, and was burnt by the crew.
The royal fleet anchored within long shot of the town 178a batteries. To prevent the ships running up Cooper river, from which they might have enfiladed the lines, eleven vessels were funk in the channel. The Ranger frigate and two gallies were stationed so as to co-operate with the batteries on shore, in defending these obstructions, and to attack any armed vessels that might attempt a passage through Hog-istand channel. .
On the 12th the British opened their batteries, and a ra. , constant fire was kept up between both parties until the 20th, when their second parallel, within 300 yards of the American lines, was completed. But the fire of the besiegers was sar superior to that of the besieged. The former had the advantage of 21 mortars and royals; the latter only of two, and by the 20th their lines had sustained great damage in many places. About the time the British opened their batteries, gov. Rutledge took post in the country between the Cooper and the Santee rivers'. a work was ordered to be thrown up on the Wando, nine miles from town, and another at the point of Lampriere's, to preserve the communication with the country by water: a post was also ordered at a ferry over the Santee, to collect and secure the boats necessary for the crossing over of the expected succours with dispatch, and for effecting a retreat with sacility when requisite.
For a few moments the narrative must be retrospective. The horses destined to mount the British cavalry were lost on the passage from New York. When lieut. col. Tarleton was landed, he soon obtained a fresh supply; and having mounted his cavalry, joined a body of about 1000 men, who marched through the country from Savannah. On the 18th of March a detachment from 1780. his corps surprised about 80 American militia, killed and wounded several, and dispersed the remainder. Five days after, Tarleton with his legion, fell in with another small party of mounted militia, who instantly retreated; but in the pursuit three were killed, one wounded, and four taken prisoners. On the 27th he had a rencounter with lieut. col. Washington, at the head of his regular corps of horse. The Americans had the advantage, took seven prisoners, and drove back the cavalry of the British legion; but durst not pursue them for want of insantry. At the beginning of the siege, gen. Lincoln ordered the 300 regular cavalry to keep the field, and the country militia were to act as insantry in their support. On various pretences the militia refused to attach themselves to the cavalry. The American body of horse, intended to cover the country, and to preserve the communication between that and the town, was furApril prised at Monk's Corner, by a strong party of British, led by lieut. cols. Tarleton and Webster. A negro slave, for a sum of money, conducted the British from Goosecreek, in the night, through unfrequented paths. Although the commanding officer of the American cavalry had taken the precaution of having his horses saddled and bridled, and the alarm was given by his videttes, posted at the distance of a mile in front; yet, being entirely unsupported by insantry, the British advanced so rapidly, notwithstanding the opposition of the advanced guard, that they began their attack upon the main body before the men could put themselves in a posture of defence. About twenty-five were killed or taken: and they that escaped were obliged for several days to conceal themselves in the swamps. The British instantly fell