صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


THE ATTACK ON CHARLESTON REPULSED. [CHAP. III. The attack was made before day on the ninth of October, in three columns. Though the besieged were prepared for the assault, and their fire was very destructive, the assailants pressed on, and planted the standards of both nations on the walls; but the contest being still obstinately continued, the assailants were brought to a pause, when Count Pulaski received a mortal wound; and Major Glaziers, who commanded the garrison, rushing at the head of a body of grenadiers and marines, drove back the allied troops, who were then ordered to retreat. The French lost seven hundred men; the Americans two hundred and thirty-four. The British garrison lost only fifty-five in killed and wounded. On the sixteenth of October the siege was raised by the Count, who thus, for the third time, failed in his co-operation with the Americans, after the fairest prospects of success. The French troops were re-embarked, and the Americans recrossed the Savannah into South Carolina.

[ocr errors]

Congress then requested General Washington to order the troops from North Carolina, and such as could be spared from the Northern army, to aid General Lincoln.

General Sullivan, with the largest division of the Western army, reached Wyoming in June; but for want of the requisite supplies of provisions and ammunition, it was the last of July before he could leave it. On the twenty-second of August, being joined by another division, his whole force amounted to five thousand men. With this he penetrated to the heart of the Indian country on the Susquehanna.

The savages, apprised of Sullivan's movements and strength, determined to risk a general action. They had from eight to fifteen hundred Indians, and five companies of whites, of two hundred men each; and they had constructed a breastwork on a rising ground. This work




was attacked, on the twenty-ninth of August, by Sullivan, and while one part of his force guarded the rear, another assailed in front. The Indians fought bravely, retreating from tree to tree, but finding they were likely to be surrounded, they precipitately fled. The victory cost the Americans thirty men, and only eleven Indians were found on the field. The whole country of the Six Nations was then laid waste, according to the severe policy that necessity seemed to dictate. There was no other mode of preventing the repetition of such tragedies as that of Wyoming. A similar course, with similar success, was adopted by Colonel Brodhead against the Mingo, Munsey, and Seneca tribes.

Sullivan obtained the thanks of Congress; but he had given so much dissatisfaction by his censures and complaints, that when, at the close of the campaign, he sent in his resignation on account of ill-health, a motion to request him to continue in the service, and to allow him a temporary retirement, was lost.

In the latter part of this year, Spain decided on joining France in the war, anxious as she was to take the chance of recovering Gibraltar, Jamaica, and the Floridas. She had previously hesitated to take this course, from a dread of the effect this example of the British colonies might have on her own. She first offered her mediation to the belligerents, which France readily accepted, but Great Britain first evaded, and subsequently rejected. Though Spain declared war against Great Britain after her offer of mediation was rejected, she did not acknowledge American Independence.

The minister of France professing himself anxious to effect a treaty between Spain and the United States, suggested the terms of such a treaty. They were: the exclusive navigation of the River Mississippi to Spain; the



[CHAP. III. retrocession of the Floridas, and the right to the lands on the east of the Mississippi as far as the settlements of the United States. To the two last propositions a majority of Congress was decidedly opposed.

After the failure of the attack on Savannah was learned by Sir Henry. Clinton, he sent a large additional force to the South. Reinforcements were also sent on to Lincoln, while the main body of the American army went into winter quarters near Morristown, in New Jersey.

Sir Henry Clinton, as soon as his forces, which had been dispersed by a storm, had been collected at Savannah, proceeded to invest Charleston; but as he advanced cautiously, the people of Charleston had time to increase the strength of their fortifications.

To enable General Lincoln to defend Charleston, the command of the harbor was deemed important; and with this view four frigates had been sent thither, which, with the marine of the State and two French vessels of twentysix and eighteen guns, were deemed sufficient; but it was found that the water was too shallow in the harbor for the frigates to act with effect. It was therefore decided to co-operate with the fort on Sullivan's Island. Meanwhile the British brought their ships over the bar, and anchored in five fathoms water. When they had passed Fort Moultrie, which could not be prevented, they were able to rake the batteries on the shore.

Clinton was now in undisturbed possession of Ashley River; and, ascending about ten miles, he transported his artillery across the river, and moved down the neck within eight hundred yards of the American lines. While Clinton was making his approaches, Tarleton surprised a corps at Monk's Corner. Thirty were killed, and the rest escaped by flight. This celebrated partizan leader had, a short time before, met with a check. In one of



253 his excursions he had encountered Colonel William Washington, and engaging with him, was compelled to retreat.

The British were reinforced by three thousand men from New York, after which Charleston was completely invested. Fort Moultrie, when on the point of being assaulted, surrendered with its garrison of two hundred men. Tarleton, too, obtained other successes. At length Lincoln, finding himself incapable of defending Charleston, decided on capitulating; and he acceded to the terms which the besiegers had first offered. The fortifications, shipping, artillery, and public stores were all surrendered. The garrison, and all who had borne arms, were prisoners of war. The militia were allowed to return home on parole. In the siege the British lost seventy-six killed, and one hundred and eighty-nine wounded. The Americans about an equal number. The prisoners, exclusive of sailors, amounted to five thousand six hundred and eighteen, counting all the adult males of the town.

To bring the country entirely under subjection, Clinton sent forth three detachments. The first and largest in the northern part of the State, was under Lord Cornwallis. He detached Colonel Tarleton with his legion of cavalry and mounted infantry, to disperse Colonel Buford, then encamped near the North Carolina line. He was overtaken at the Waxhaws, and on his refusal to surrender, Tarleton made a furious charge on Buford's men, when some, in dismay, threw down their arms and asked for quarter, and some fired on the enemy. After this partial resistance, no quarter was given. Colonel Buford, with a few of the horse, and about one hundred infantry, escaped. One hundred and thirteen were killed on the spot; one hundred and fifty so badly wounded as to be incapable of being moved; and fifty-three were brought away as prisoners. The American officers deny (what the



British assert, that any who had laid down their arms had again taken them up. All further resistance to the enemy in South Carolina and Georgia seems then to have ceased. The two other detachments of the British army every where received the submission of the inhabitants, who either gave their parole not again to bear arms against the king, or took the oath of allegiance.

In a proclamation for settling the government, Sir Henry Clinton required all to return to their allegiance on pain of being treated as rebels and enemies. He then returned to New York, leaving Lord Cornwallis in command, with four thousand troops. This General, intending to make an expedition into North Carolina, wrote to the loyalists there to collect provisions and remain quiet until he arrived; but, disregarding his advice, they engaged in several fruitless enterprises; and a body of eight hundred, under a Colonel Bryan, marched on the east side of the Yadkin, until they reached Camden, in South Carolina, a principal magazine of the British.

Lord Cornwallis, considering South Carolina as entirely reannexed to Great Britain, would admit of no neutrality among the inhabitants; but insisted on their taking the oath of allegiance, which, however, was generally taken with reluctance by the people of the lower country. This part of the State was still further alienated by the licentious and plundering habits of the British soldiers over a conquered country, and by the seduction of many of the slaves from their masters.

A considerable force, under Baron de Kalb, had been ordered for the Southern army by Congress; but, for want of money, and a sufficient Commissary department, they were so delayed in their march, that it was late in July before they reached Cape Fear River. Here they were joined by General Gates, who had been appointed

« السابقةمتابعة »