Page images
PDF
EPUB

no state of defence. They next proceeded to the bay of Honduras, where the British logwood cutters were sellled. These, finding themselves too weak lo resist, applied to the governor of Jamaica for assistance, who sent them a supply of men, ammunition, and military stores under captain Dalrymple.

Before the arrival of this detachment, the principal settlement called St. George's Key, had been taken by the Spaniards, and retaken by the British. Captain Dalrymple in bis way, fell in with a squadron from admiral Parker's fleet, in search of some register-ships richly laden; but they retreated into the harbour of Oinoa, under the protection of a fort that was too strong to be attacked on the water side with safety.

A project was then formed, in conjunction with the people of Honduras, to reduce this fort ; but the artillery they had with them were too light to make any impression. It was then determined to try the success of an escalide ; and this was executed with so much spirit, that the Spaniards were so astonished that they made no resistance.

The soldiers threw down their arms and surrendered. The spoil was very great, being valued at three millions of dollars. The Spaniards chiefly lamented the loss of two hundred and fifty quintals of quick-silver, a commodity indispensably necessary in the working of their gold and silver mines ; so that they offered to ransom it at any price ; but this was refused : as also the ranson of the foit, notwitlistanding the governor offered three hundred thousand dollars for it. A small garrison was left in it by the British, but it was soon after attacked by a fornilable force, and they were obliged to evacuate it. But before they retired, they destroyed every thing that couid be of use to the enemy; the guns were spiked, and they even lockeci the gates, and carried off the keys, in siglt of the besiegers ; after which the garrison embarked without the loss of a man.

The war in America was now transferred to the southern colonies, where the operations becaine at last decisive. Towards the end of the year 1779, sir llenry Clinton Sailed from New York, with a considerable body of troops, in tended for an attack on Charleston, in South Carolina, ! in a fleet of ships of war and transports, under the command

[ocr errors]

of vice-admiral Arbuthnot. After a tedious voyage, in wlich Chrey suffered some losses, they arrived at the Havan. na, where they endeavoured to repair the damages they had sustained during the voyage. From thence they proc. eded to North Edisto, on the tenth of February, 1780. The passage thither was speedy and prosperous. The transports all entered the harbour the next day ; and the army took possession of St. Johns's island about thirty miles from Charleston, without any opposition.

Preparations were immediately made for passing the squadron over Charleston bar ; but no opportunity offered of going into the harbour, until the twentieth of March ; when it was effected without any accident, though the American gallies continually attempted to prevent the English boats from sounding the channel.

The British troops had previously removed from St. John's to St. Jame's island; and, on the twenty-vinth of the same montii, they effected their landing on Charleston neck. They broke ground on the first of April, within eight hundred yards of the American works ; and, by the eighth, the guns were mounted in battery.

Admiral Arbuthnot in passins Sullivan's island, sustain. ed a severe fire froin the American batteries erected there, and suffered some damage in his rigging, twenty-seven seamen were killed and wounded, the Acetus transport, having on board some naval stores, grounded within yun. shot of the island, and was so much damaged, that she was abandoned and burnt. Sir Henry Clinton and the admiral on the 10th of April, surmoned the town to surrender in his majesty's arms. But general Lincoln, who commanded in Charleston, answered with a declaration of his intertion to defend the place. The batteries were then opened against the town, and after a short time, the fire from the American advanced-works abated. The troops in the town, were not sufficient in point of numbers, for defending works of such extent as those of Charleston; many of them had not been much accustomed to military ser. vice, and very badly provided with clothes, and other necessaries. Supplies and reinforcements which were ansieus. ly expected by general Lincoln from Virginia, and oibe! places, were intercepted by Earl Cornwallis, and lieutenant colonel Tarleton. They totally defeated a body of cavalry

and militia, as they were proceeding to the relief of the town ; they likewise secured certain posts which commanded the adjacent country, by which means they often prevenied supplies of provisions from entering into the town.

Tarleton, however, was defeated by colonel Washington, at the head of a regular troop of horse; which circumstance afforded the ladies in Charleston, who were Warmly attached to the cause of their country, an opporlunity of rallying the British officers, and Tarleton in particular, who affecting to make liis court to one of them, by commending the bravery of colonel Washington, addica he should like to see him ; she wittily replied, he might have had that gratification, had he looked behind him when he fled from the battle of the Cowpens.

On the 18th of May, general Clinton again summoned the town to surrender, upon the same terms as he had offered before. General Lincoln then proposed articles of capitulation, but they were not agreed to by general Clinton. At length the town being closely invested, and preparations made for storming it, and the ships consisting of the Roebuck, Richmond, and Romulus, Blonde, Virginia, Raleigh, and Sandwich armed ship, and the Renown, all ready to move to the assault. General Lincoln, at the earnest entreaty of the inhabitants, surrendered it on such articles as had been proposed by the British general. This was on the 4th of May, the town having held out one month and two days, since it had first been summoned to surrender.

A large quantity of ordnance, arms, and animunition, were found in Charleston, and according to Sir Henry Clinton's account, the number of prisoners amounted to -five thousand six hundred and fifteen men, but according to the account transmitted to Congress by general Lincoln, amounted only to two thousand four hundred and eistyseven : to account for the great difference in the two statements, in the most satisfactory inanner, must be, by supposing that general Clinton included the militia and ivi abitants of the town. Several American frigates were also taken, and destroyed in the harbour of Charleston. 11 After the surrender of the town, general Clinton issued two proclamations, and a hand bill was circulated anong the inhabitants of South Carolina ; the design of wlich, was to induce them to return to their allegiance, and to be ready to join the King's troops. It imported, that the helping hand of every man was wanted to establish peace and good order, and that as the commander in chief, wished not to draw the king's friends into danger, while success remained doubtful, so now, a's all doubts upon this head were removed, he trusted that one and all would heartily join to effect such necessary measures, as from time to time, might be pointed out for that purpose."

Those who had families, were to form a militia to remain at home, and assembled occasionally in their own districts, when required, under officers of their own chusing. Those who had no families, and could be conveniently spared for a time, it was presumed, would cheerfully assist his majesty's troops in driving their oppressors acting under the authority of congress, and all the miseries of war, far from that colony.

For this purpose it was said to be necessary, that the young men should be ready to assemble when required, and serve with the king's troops for any six months of the ensuing twelve, that might be requisite, under proper regulations. They might chuse officer's to each company to command them, and were to be allowed, when on service, pay, ammunition, and provisions, in the same manner as the king's troops. When they joined the army, each man was to be furnished with a certificate, declaring, that he was only engaged as a militia-man for the term specified, that he was not to be marched beyond North Ca. rolina and Georgia ; and that when the time was expired, he was freed from all claims whatever of military service, excepting the common and usual militia duty where he liv. ed. He would then, it was said, have paid his debt to his country ; and be entitled to enjoy undisturbed, that peace, liberty, and property, at hone, which he had contributed to secure.

The proclamations and publications of general Clinton produced some effect in South Carolina. A number of ibe inhabitants of Charleston, who were considered as pri. soners on parole, signed an address to general Clinton and admiral Arbuthnot, amounting to two hundred and ten persons, soliciting to be re-admitted to the character!

and condition of British subjects, declaring their disapprobation of the doctrine of American independence, and expressing their regret, that after the repeal of those statutes which gave rise to the troubles in America, the overtures made by his majesty's commissioners had not been regarded by congress. .

Before we proceed any further with the transactions in South Carolina, it will be necessary to take a view of the war in another part of the continent. On the tenth of July, 1780, . M. 'Ternay with a fleet consisting of seven ships of the line, besides frigates and transports, with a large body of French troops commanded by count Rochambeau, arrived at Rhode Island ; and the following day, six thousand men were ; landed there; a committee of the general assembly of Rhode Island was appointed to congratulate the French general upon bis arrival : whereupon he returned an answer, in which he informed them, that the king, his master, had sent him to the assistance of his good and faithful allies, the United States of America. At present, he said, he only brought over the vanguard of a much greater force destined for their äid ; and the king had ordered him to assure them that his whole power should be exerted for their support. He added, that the French troops were under the strictest discipline ; and were to act under the orders of general Washington, and that they would live with the Americans as bre.thren.

A scheme was soon after formed, of making a combin. ed attack with English ships and troops under the command of Sir Henry Clinton and admiral Arbuthnot, against the French fleet and troops at Rhode Island. Accordingly a considerable part of the troops were cmbarked at New York for that purpose. As soon as general Washing. ton received information of their design, by a rapid rove. ment, he passed the North River, and with all army of twelve thousand men proceeded to King's-Bridge, in order to attack New York ; but learning that the British gene. ral had changed his intentions, and disembarked lis troops on the twenty-first of the month, he re-crossed the river, and returned to his former station.

AD unsuccessful attempt was also made about thi: time in the Jerseys, by general knyplauzen, with gerek

YOL, II.

« PreviousContinue »