Franklin Benjamin Hough.

The siege of Charleston : by the British fleet and army, under the command of Admiral Arbuthnot and Sir Henry Clinton, which terminated with the surrender of that place on the 12th of May, 1780 online

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and I cannot but obferve, in Addition to what I have faid in my
official Letter, the general Readinefs in moft of the Refugees, to
facilitate thefe important Objedls.

I flatter myfelf after this Enumeration, your Lorddiip will
concur in the Impradlicability of Effaying Anything againll the
Enemy. Wafhington remained m his FaftnelTes at the High-
lands ; and fo pofted as to be able to ufe the Hudfon to the
greateft Advantage, in making his Impreffion on our Left; while
every Advantage of Water was alfo in his Power by the Sound,
and under Protedlion of the French Fleet, expofed us to the moft
perplexing Embaraflments. Aflailable in fo many Points, and
every Inftant expedling D'Eftaing, we had but Time to look
towards and take Meafures for our own Defence: and the occa-
fion required us to put forward our beft Exertions.

I do not reckon, my Lord, among the lefler Misfortunes of
the laft Year, the Operations of D'Eftaing on the American
Coaft ; the vaft Relief thereby given to the Rebel Trade, and

Siege of Char left on. 53

f lilting their JJnderJlandiiigs, by fuchfreqiieiit
impofitions upon their Credulity.

the Injury which it brought upon ours; the Impreflion it car-
ried Home to the IVlinds of the People of our loft Dominion of
the Sea, and the Difpofition of the French to give them every
Affillance reconcilable with the general Objects ot the War, to
complete our Ruin on the Continent ; the Reduftion of the
King's Force in Georgia, by the combined Operations in that
Quarter, and its confequent EfFefts ; for although our brave Gar-
rifon efcaped, yet the greater Detachment from New York be-
came indifpenfable, than as at firft intended, and neceflarily
placed it in a Condition much below your Lordlhip's Expefta-
tions. The Expenfe it has accumulated by the Sinking of Ships,
to obftru6l the Entrance of that Harbour, and the raifing of new
Works, and improving of old Ones, which will be ufelefs, unlefs
an Army as large as what was then at New York (hould be kept
there for its Defense. Thefe are Confidcations, my Loi'd,
while they fill me with the utmoft Mortification, will convey to
your LordHiip, the Caufes that delayed fo long the Entrance on
the Execution of a Plan with which I have the Honour to be

In the ofiicial Letter of the 25th Inftant, you will find a Detail
of the diftrcfied and fhattered State of the Fleet, by a Succefllon
of the moft fevere Storms. I enumerated the feveral Tranfports
with Troops, taken by the Enemy, as far as they had come to
my Knowledge ; with our lofles in ftore Ships, Horfes, Cavalry,
and the Military Attarail, abfolutely efiential to the Enterprife
againft Charleftown. But a very few of the miffing Veflbls have
arrived fince.

By this laft Misfortune, our Affairs are not only deranged,
but nearly at a Stand ; prefled by my Inclination to go forward ;

54- Siege of Charlejion.

Few of the rejuote Inhabitants even within
the Sphere of the Ufiirpation, are fiiffered to

ftimulated by the Danger that hangs over the Floridas, to advert
to their Protedlion; unwilling to divide a Force, in its prefent
Situation, incompetent to the original Purpofe ; diftrafted between
Calls the molT: urgent; our Numbers decreafing by the Un-
healthinefs of the Climate, even when I am writing to your
Lordfhip. In fuch a Situation, can I, my Lord, but exprefs
myfelf feelingly ? and I iruft your Sympathy is not to be the only
Confolation I am to expeft from my Country. Hitherto, a train
of Incidents, peculiar and beyond human Forefight, have fet in
againft the Army of my Royal Mafter; but as they were beyond
our Foreicnowledge, no Precautions of ours could have counter-
adled them. It is this which will be our Apology for what we
have not done, and I flatter myfelf, that when we come to aft,
we fhall want none for what we (hall do.

But to be in a Capacity to proceed on the original Plan, I
have difpatched a Packet Boat to New York, with a Demand on
that Garrifon, of which the inclofed is a Copy. Your Lord-
fhip will perceive that the Succour of Men only is made provi-
fional. I hefitated on the Meafure I have take!). I hefitated be-
tween the Danger to which New York would be expofed, and
the Neceflity for profecuting the Views of Government, in fuch
a Manner as to give them a moral Certainty of Succefs; and I
cannnot but perfuade myfelf, that my Decifion on this Matter
will meet the Sanftion of your Sentiments.

Till the Refult of this Difpatch is felt, I fear leaft every move
we (hall make, fhould fall (hort of the original Purpofe ; and in
this Cafe, every Move will be a real Misfortune. And yet, un-
happily as we are circumftanced, it appears of the utmoft Expe-

Siege of Charlejion. 55

know, that of their boafted Army, Wajhington
finds it impofiible to prevent hourly defertiotis,

diency that we fhould do Something; that we fhould approach
Charleftown, and either make a fudden Attack upon the Place,
or await favourable Conjunctures in its Vicinity. We are re-
pairing for this Purpofe, and with every poflible Expedition, for
every Day raifes frefh Bars to our Expeftations.

My Advice, from all Quarters, ferve only to confirm what I
forefaw previous to our landing in this Province. We no longer
reft upon our firft Foundation. Our bad Fortune has afforded
Carolina Leifure to think, and to adapt itfelf to the Degree and
Nature of the Danger with which it is threatened. It has re-
ceived Aids from North Carolina; Reinforcementsof Cavalry have
alfo arrived from 'General Walliington, and other Reinforcements
are alfo on their March. Lincoln has been induftrious and fuc-
cefsful in putting Charlefton in the beft Pofture of Defence. A
very rcfpettable Line of Abattis is nearly completed. The ad-
vance Ditch is enfiladed on Right and Left, by 24 Pounders, and
its Scarp armed with fallen Trees, the Trunks of which are ob-
liquely funk into the Earth, in the mannerof a Fraife Work. The
Profiles of the Batteries are of the firft Rate and the whole
formidable by its Artillery.

The Approach on either Side of the Neck will be oppofed
by a Number of armed Veflels and movable Batteries, capable
of giving us extreme Annoyance. A Defcent on the fouthern
Side of the Town can only be attempted in flat-bottomed
Boats; and without any on our Part to cover the Debarcation.
When we have forced the Fafles of Aftiley River, and formed
the Siege; thefe are but a few of the Obftruftions we muft
encounter in a land Attack. But ftiould we fucceed in deftroying

56 Siege of Char left on.

mid that it is reduced to a Ha7idful, out of
ivhich he cayi fcarce colleB a Life-guard, de-

the naval Strength within the Bar, we fhould have little to appre-
hend from thefe. The Garrifon in this Cafe muft evacuate the
Town, or become Prifoners. The naval Force in the Harbour
conlifts of four continental Frigates, two French armed Ships,
two provincial Ships, and fix Veflels, moft of which are mounted
with heavy Cannon. Now, my Lord, the Continental Frigates
only, anchored within Diftance for defending the Bar, are at
leaft formidable, if not fuperior to any naval Force that can be
brought againft them. Your Lordfhip is well informed that
nothing larger than Frigates can enter with their Guns on board,
and even Frigates muft approach fingly, and be fucceffively fub-
jeft, for a confiderable Time, to the Broadfides, which will rake
them fore and aft, whilft the leaft falfe Movement is fufficient to
throw them on the Breakers.

This, my Lord, is but an incomplete Specification of the
Change in their Circuihftances. The Policy which youfo much
dreaded, is at Length embraced by South Carolina. The Peo-
ple feem to have got over their vain Apprehenfions, and are
refolved on making Soldiers of a Proportion of their working
Negroes. They now perceive that their Fears on this Head
were vifionary, or founded on the deftrufti\e Principle of Self-
intereft, which yields even lefs than the Widow's Mite with
Reluflance. They are now convinced that a fuperior Influence
in the Ofiicer will, in every Conjunfture, be the fame over Men
of black Colour, as over thofe of a different Complexion. Nay,
that this Influence will have a greater Scope, as the Intellefts of
thofe it direfts have been deprived of the Advantages of Im-
provement. That there are no better Reafons for prefuming

Siege of Charlejlon. 57

fervmg of his Confidence, a?id feiver fill that
the Slaves m the South Country are, by the

that the Negroes would be averfe from refiiming their old Em-
ployments in the Field, than that the Men which compofed the
American Army would not, at the Conchifion of the War,
return to their former Occupations. That while the black Sol-
diers would augment the military Strength of the rebel State,
they at the fame Time would guard the Allegiance of thofe that
remained on t:he Farms : And fo far from leading to their
Defertion, that they would ftand as an unlurmountable Barrier
between them and us. That the Blacks on the Plantations would
be flattered by feeing a Part of their Brethren fharing the Dan-
gers and Honours of the Whites; And that while this would ferve
to reconcile thofe at Home to their Situation, it would form thofe
who were to become Soldiers to Sentiments of Country, by
interefting them in the Soil which they were called out to defend.

Thus, my Lord, we are deprived of another principal Sup-
port. But you may be aflurcd, that all and each of thefe
Sentiments have been feverally and feparately combated ; and
that all and every Means have been practiced againft what has
happened; and that Neceffity, more than the Reafoning of our
Enemy, has forced the Meafure upon Carolina. There are
Moments which will operate to the Good of the Community,
notwithftanding the utmoil Policy to the Contrary.

Under the prefent Circumftances of this People, even the
Loft of Charlefton will but inconfiderably afFeft the Province.
In this Cafe we (hall only have gained a healthy Situation for an
unhealthy one; or a Place where we might fpend the hot Months
with lefs Interruption. If we cannot, my Lord, dejiroy the
Spirit and Refouries of the Province, by exerting ourfelves to the


58 Siege of Char left on.

Hiwianity of the BritiJJj Cotmnander, 7-eJlramed
from embruing their Hands in the Blood of

utmoft Limit of your Lordfhip's Tnftruftions, wc fhall accom-
plifh Nothing fubftantial for Great Britain. The Strength of
North Carolina and the neighboring Provinces will keep gathering
round us, till we fhall become contemptable in the Eyes of Eu-
rope, or fall an eafy Prey to a combined Operation.

In thefe, my confidential Communications, I would hope to
be conlidered as only difcharging a Part of my Duty to the State.
I may regret, I may lament, but it ill becomes a Servant of his
Majefty to mifreprejent.

It is neceflary, my Lord, that I fhould attach to the State of Re-
bel Affairs, tranfmitted in my confidential Letter of laft September
[No. 14.] my Obfervations fince that Period, down to the Pre-
fent. The Amount of my Information does not leave a Doubt,
but that Wafhington's Army, altho' crumbling away by the Ex-
piration of the Times of Service of his oldell and beft Soldiers,
will be vigoroufly recruited. Orders, Adminiftration may rely
upon, have been ifTued from Congrefs for the filling up and
compleating the Quotas apportioned to the different States, and
which I do myfelf the Honour to enclofe. And I fear that the
Rebels will not leave a fingle Expedient untried to effeft their
Bufiness They find themfelves impelled by the moft powerful
Motives to be in a Condition to force us from the Continent, or
in a Capacity to cope with the King's Army now afting in Ame-
rica, when joined by the Succours which may be expedled from
Europe. Experience has taught, from the Precarioufnefs of that
Situation which is without a fuperior Army for its Support. And
I am obliged to fay of thefe People, that when they have once
afcertained the true Policy, none are more obftinate in itsPurfuit.

Siege of Cha?~leJlon. 59

their Majiers ; a?id indeed, that there is not
any Thing that tnaterially refpeBs their IJfiies,

Calculating, my Lord, upon this, and my preceding Information,
it is, that I do not think a lefs Number of Troops fhould be fcnt
for the Objedls of the prefent Year, than what I have before fpe-
cificd. But (hould no Reinforcements be fent; and fhould a
Naval Armament co-operate with the Americans, under the Cir-
cumftances I have defcribed, your Lordfhip, at leaft, will have
had Prelufions of the Refult.

I fliould be wanting to my Civil Commiffion, in clofing this
Letter without a few Refledions on the prefent State of the Mo-
ney of America.

Every Day teaches me the Futility of Calculations founded on
its Failure. No Experiments fuggefted by your Lordfhip; no
Afliflance that could be drawn from the Power of Gold, or the
arts of Counterfeiting, have been left unattempted. But llill ;he
Currency, like the Widow's Cruife of Oil, has not failed the
Congrefs. My Hopes on this Head, I mufl acknowledge, were
much higher twelve Months fince than To-day.

With the Appearance of an enormous Quantity, ftill it is all
the Debt which the People have to itagger with. And in this
View, and when compared with that of other Nations, it fhrinks
into a very inconfiderable Sum. The People begin to be fenfible
of this. But on the other Hand, all Men, even the Friends of
the Britifh Government refiding in the Rebel States, would be
immenfe Sufferers, did the Money fall to the Ground without a
Subflitute. The different Afts of the States, which made it a
lawful Tender, forced it into every Pocke.. The Continuance
of the War; the almoft total Difappearance of Specie, and the
Neceffity there was for employing fome Medium of Trade, or

6o Siege of Charlejion.

and depreciated State of the Rebel Funds, their
pitiful Commerce, exhaufted Supplies, and the
Abhorrence the mam Body of the Americans
have to the Views and PraBices of the Lead-
ers, of which the King's Generals, and indeed
Majority of the Loyalijls within the Britijlj
Lines are now daily ififormed, by Intellige?ice
f owing hither as to a common Centre, from all
Parts of the Contijient.


Auxiliary in the way of Barter, affifted further in its general Pro-
mulgation, till at length, every One found his Intereft fo clofely con-
nefted with its Value, that it is candidly mv Sentiment, no EiForts
of ours can make it lefs. If it is to be deftroyed at all, it can only
be by Congrefs; and in this Cafe, it will undoubtedly be fuc-
ceeded by fome Subftitute, more valuable and permanent. I
fhall, neverthelefs, my Lord, continue, while I have the Honour
to command in America, affiduous in the Application of thofe
Means entrufted to my Care. If they cannot work its Deftruc-
tion, yet they may embarrafs Government, and make the carry-
ing on of the War more precarious, burdenfome and energetic.
I have the Honour to be, with every Sentiment of Refpeft,
My Lord,
Your Lordfliip's moft obedient and very humble Servant,
The Right Honourable Lord George Germaine,

One of his Majeftfs Principal Secretaries of State.

Siege of Charlejlon, 6i

MARCH 13, 1780.

[From ihe Pennfylvania Packet, April i 5. j

" A S to News, we can tell you little
/~\ more than the Public Papers do.
The Englifli are ftill on John's and
James Ifland and the Main, between Afli-
ley Ferry and Wappoo Creek. Night be-
fore laft, they raifed a lix Gun Battery on
Right Hand, at the Mouth of the Creek,
at Mr. Fenwick's Store, oppofite Cum-
min's Point. They had one 32 Pounder,
Brafs mounted. By Day Light, our two
Gallies and a Brigantine went up to fire
upon them. What Damage they did, we
can not tell ; but the Notre-'Da7ne Brigan-
tine, received a Shot by her main Chains
that bent in two of her Knees, and they
have all come down again. The Night
before, two Englifh Gallies got over the
Bar, but were obliged to cut and run, leav-
ing their two Flags on the Buoys of their

62 Siege of Charlejion.

Anchors, One at each edge of the Bar, for
a Direftion to the Others to come in by.
They are Hghtening the Roebuck, and ano-
ther, feven Sail in all. They fortify every
Place and leave Guards. My Opinion is,


TowN Neck, about the Quarter House.
If they are permitted to do that,


Troops from Virginia and North Car-
olina." — Royal Gazette, April 22.


[From Rivington's Royal Gazette, No. 373, April 24, 1780.]

ON Monday, [April 17.] the Mary-
land Line marched from Camp
for the Southvi'ard."
* * * "On the 28th of March laft.
General Prevofl: received Intelligence that
a Body of Rebels had croffed the Oge-
chee River, within twenty Miles of Savan-
nah, and had plundered and burned the
Buildings on the Plantation of Sir James

Siege of Charlejlori. 63

Wright' and feveral Others, and as the Ge-
neral knew the Situation of the Ground,
he ordered lixty Men from the firlf Batta-
Hon oi General De Lancey's, who marched
immediately, under the Command of Capt.
Con.klin ; crolled the Ogechee, and pre-
fently difcovered the Enemy, who no fooner
faw his Majefty's Troops marching up the
Caufeway, than they faftened a Gate that
was acrofs it (a Swamp being on the Right
and Left), and fired through the Bars on
the advancing Troops. Capt. Conklin had
but juft Time to order his Men to Charge
upon the Enemy, when he received their
firfi: Fire, which brought him to the Ground.
" Capt. Conklin delired Lieut. Rooney
to take the Command, who was likewife
wounded at the Enemy's fecond Fire. The
Command then devolved on Enfign Supple,
who bravely charged and routed the Enemy.
The Rebels had fix Men killed, the Reft
mounted their Horfes (which were held by

' The Englifh Civil Governor of Georgia.

64 Siege of Charlejlon.

Negroes while they were engaged), and
rode ofF. Enfign Supple hearing that there
were three Hundred of the Enemy not far
from him, very prudently recroiled the
River, and arrived in Town with his De-
tachment, not having a Man killed,, and
bringing in the wounded Capt. Conklin
and Lieut. Rooney. The former died the
next Evening ; the latter's Wound is very
Ihght. One Private was mortally wounded
and Four others it is thought will recover.
" On Monday Morning, arrived at Sandy
Hook, a Fleet of near fifty Sail of VelTels
from Georgia, under Convoy of his Majes-
ty's Ships Delaivare and Iris, confifting of
Cork Victuallers and the following Ships
from England (all by the Way of the Weft
Indies), viz : The Trelawney, Moore ; the
Refohition, Welch ; the Hope, Smith ; the
Peggy, Arnot ; and the Smaragda, Byrne.
By Letters and other Accounts from Gen-
tlemen arrived in this Fleet, we have col-
lefted the following Particulars : That a
VelTel with Difpatches for the Commander

Siege of Charlejlon. 65

in Chief, and Letters from England, dated
as late as the 19th of January, had arrived
at Head Quarters in feven Weeks ; but that
the Letters from New York, having been
put on board the ABi-ve, Captain Quarme
(formerly the Rofe Bud), (he was, on Ker
Paffage hither, attacked and taken by the
Pickering, Privateer, of 22 fix and nine
Pounders ; Capt. Quarme took care to fink
all the Letters before the ABive ftruck.

Letters have been received by Sir James
Wright, from Gov. Tryon, with the follow-
ing important Information : — That he had
by Exprefs from Governor Chefter of Pen-
facola. Intelligence that a Fleet with three
thoufand Spanifli Troops, on their Palfage
from Havanna to New Orleans, had met with
a fevere Gale ot Wind, which occafioned
many of their Velfels to founder, and 700
Spanifh Soldiers were drowned. On the
Arrival of the Armament at New Orleans,
a Defcent was made upon Mobile, where
General John Campbell, Commander of his
Majefty's Troops in Weft Florida, fuddenly

66 Siege of CharleJlo7i.

fell upon and totally routed the whole

" Two Spanifli Frigates and a Number
of Tranfports were fliipwrecked in the

, " The Fleet that arrived here Yefterday,
left Charleflown Bar on the 8th of this
Month, on which Day Vice Admiral Ar-
buthnot, in his Majefty's Ship Roebuck, of
44 Guns, with the Renown, of 50 Guns, and
the Rotmihis, of 44 Guns, and feven Fri-
gates, viz. : Le Blonde, 32 Guns; Richt?iond,
32 Gwns; . Raleigh, 32 Guns; Virginia, 32
Guns ; Perfeus, 20 Guns ; Camilla, 20 Guns ;
Germaine, 10 Guns; and feveral Gallies,
with a top gallant Breeze and a drizzling
Rain, without fuftaining any material In-
jury from their Fire, palfed all the Rebel
Batteries on Sullivan's Illand. On the Sixth,
his Excellency General Sir Henry Clinton,
having fcarcely the Lofs of a Man, advanced
the Army within Gun Shot of the Rebel
Abattis, the Town was completely inverted,
and, as the firing, which had been con-

Siege of Chaj'lejlon. 67

tinued very brifkly from the Town, intirely
ceafed about i 2 O'clock in the Night of the
eighth Inftant, it was prefumed the Place
had been then furrendered to the Com-
mander in Chief, as Mr. Lincoln, the Rebel
General, had defired that the Private Pro-
perty and the Inhabitants might be lliipped
off for the Weft Indies, on Condition of his
furrendering the Town and marching his
Garrifon out with the Honours of War ;
an Overture that met with the Contempt
due to fuch Prefumption.

" We have the Mortification to find that
the Earl of Caithnefs, as his Lordihip was
proceeding upon Service over Alliley River,
was unfortunately {hot through the Body
by a ikulking Party of the Enemy, but
happily the gallant Peer was left in a fair
Way of Recovery. The Britifli and Hef-
lian Troops were in high Health, and fo
were the Ship's Companies, enjoying every
Necelfary and Comfort of Life.

" His Majefty's Ship Rainbow, with her
Convoy, confifting of the fecond Embarka-

68 Siege of Charlejion.

tion of Troops for South Carolina, was
fpoke with by the 'Delaware and Iris, on
the I 3th Inll:., in Latitude 36, and the Wind
then, and it long continued fo, favourable,
as to afford a tolerable Affurance of their
Arrival at Charleftown, on the i6th In-
ftant. * * *

" The following Veffels are taken by his
Majefty's Ships Delaware, Iris, Galatea and
Delight, viz : The Ship Hetty, Brigs Gen.
Wayne, Gen. Read, faid to belong to Phila-
delphia, another Ship, a Brigantine and a
Schooner, their Names not known."


[From Dunlop's Packet, of April 18, 1780.]

WiLLiAMSBURGH, in Virginia, April 8.
"^"^N the 5th Ult., was hanged at
»^ m Charleftown, South Carolina, Col.
Hamilton Ballendine, for drawing
Draughts of the Town and Fortifications.
He was taken by a Picquet Guard which
Gen. Lincoln had fent out that Night to

Siege of Charlejion. 69

Stono, as he was making his Way to the
Enemy ; and when he was hailed by the
Guard, his Anfwer was, ' Col. Hamilton
Ballendine.' The Guard told him that
would not do, and carried him to the Com-
mander of the Picquet ; upon which he
pulled out of his Pocket the Draughts.
The Officer told him he was miftaken, and
had him carried to General Lincoln, who
ordered him for Execution." — Royal Ga-
zette, April 16.


fFrom the Providence Gazette, ot'April Z2, 1780.]

ExtraSf of a Letter frofn an Officer on board
the Conti?iental Frigate Providence, dated
CharleffowJi Harbour, March 14, 1780.

'• 'W HAVE only Time to inform you,
I that the Enemy are before us and
we exped: to be attacked by Sea, the
next Spring Tides, which will be Monday
next. We are not under any Apprehenlions
of lofing the Town as yet ; and hope we

70 Siege of Charlejlon.

fliall be able to repulfe them by Water, with
the Help of Fort Moultrie. We mufter
feven Ships, two Brigs and three Gallies, all
of which form a Line acrofs the Channel,
half a Gun Shot above the Fort." — Royal
Gazette, May 3.


[From the Pcnnfvlvania Gazette]

Philadelphia, May 3, 1780.
" "yrX Y a Gentleman (faid to be Mr.

I"j Cannon), who arrived here laft
Sunday, from Charleftown, which
Place he left the loth Ult., we have the
following Intelligence :

" Some Time before, the Enemy crofTed
Afliley River. Col. Wafliington, with a
Party of Horfe, reconnoitering, came up
with a light Party of the Enemy, on which
an Engagement enfued, when our People
took a Col. Hamilton, of the North Caro-
lina Refugees, a Dr. Smith and feven Pri-
vates, and it is faid they had leven killed.

Siege of Charlejion. 71

On our Side, we had only one Man badly

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Online LibraryFranklin Benjamin HoughThe siege of Charleston : by the British fleet and army, under the command of Admiral Arbuthnot and Sir Henry Clinton, which terminated with the surrender of that place on the 12th of May, 1780 → online text (page 3 of 10)