Page images
PDF
EPUB

158

MEASURES PROPOSED BY CONGRESS.

as

soon

Congress now advised the States to without the necessity of imposing new repeal all laws which made the old taxes." * bills legal tender, at the same time Those who held commissary certifioffering to receive gold and silver at cates for supplies furnished to the the rate of forty for one in charge of army now complained because they the unpaid State quotas. A scheme would be compelled to pay Continenwas adopted which, it was hoped, tal taxes while the certificates were would give the Federal treasury a still unpaid. Congress therefore remoderate supply, and also draw in solved that these commissary cerand cancel the outstanding bills of

tificates might be used at their nomcredit. “As the bills came in, in pay

inal value for paying all Continental ment of the fifteen millions already taxes. Congress endeavored also to called for, they were to be cancelled; satisfy the complaining element in the but, for every twenty dollars so can

army by passing a resolution in April, celled, one dollar was to be issued in

1780, that the deficiency of pay occa'new tenor,' bearing interest at five

sioned by the depreciation of the curper cent., and redeemable in specie

rency would be made up to the troops within six years; these new bills to be

as the condition of the guaranteed by the confederacy, but to

finances would allow, but this resolube issued on the credit of the in

tion gave no immediate relief. dividual states in proportion to their

Shortly afterward, a committee was payments of the old tenor; each state

appointed to investigate the condition to provide for redeeming its own issues at the rate of a sixth part

of the army and in May it reported

that “the army was five months unyearly, and to receive for its own use six-tenths of the new issue, the other · paid; that it seldom had more than four-tenths to belong to Congress.

six days' provisions in advance, and This process, if fully carried out,

was on several occasions, for sundry would substitute for the outstanding successive days, without meat; that two hundred millions of old bills, ten

the army was destitute of forage; that millions in new tenor,' of which six the medical department had neither would go to the states paying in the sugar, tea, chocolate, wine, nor bills, and four to the federal treasury. spirits; and that every department While a better, and, it was hoped, a

was without money or

even the stable currency would thus be pro

shadow of credit.” + Under these vided in place of the old tenor, the trying conditions the campaign in the states would be furnished with means

South was begun. to purchase the specifics' demanded by Congress. The federal treasury,

Hildreth, vol. iii., p. 302; Bancroft, vol. v., pp. also, would be moderately supplied, ^ See Hildreth, vol. iii., p. 304.

442-443.

SAVANNAH CAPTURED BY THE BRITISH.

159

CHAPTER XXV.

1779.

OPERATIONS IN THE SOUTH.

British under Campbell land at Savannah - Americans defeated and Savannah captured — Mnderation of

Colonel Campbell — General Lincoln arrives at Charleston — Plundering of the Tories - Campbell compelled to retreat from Augusta - General Ashe defeated by Prevost -The latter's irruption into South Carolina — Lincoln pursues Prevost — Prevost retreats from Charleston — Battle of Stono Ferry American army goes into summer encampment — Desertion of the soldiers - General Matthews in Virginia — French fleet arrives at Savannah French and American forces defeated in attack upon Savannah — Count Pulaski killed — Enterprise of Colonel John White.

As their operations in the North troops, a negro carried the informahad resulted in little less than failure, tion to Campbell and apprized him of the British determined to transfer the a by-path by which he could gain the scene of operations to the South. As rear of the American encampment Georgia was now one of the weakest and attack the American detachment States in the Union and at the same simultaneously from both sides. time abounding in provisions of all Campbell thereupon sent a force kinds, it was decided to begin the against the Americans, and in the southern campaign from Savannah. conflict 100 of the latter were killed Toward the close of November, 1778, and wounded and between 400 and Colonel Archibald Campbell sailed 500 made prisoners.* Thus within a from New York, and after a voyage few hours after landing, the British of three weeks, landed near the mouth had possessed themselves of the fort of the Savannah River. From the and of the stores it contained, tolanding place a narrow causeway, 600 gether with the shipping in the river yards in length, with a ditch on each and a large quantity of provisions. In side, led through a swamp, and here a addition, they were in possession of small party of Americans attempted the capital of Georgia. Such of the to dispute the passage of the British. American forces as escaped fled up but unsuccessfully. Between the morass and the city, General Robert

* Fiske, American Revolution, vol. ii., pp. 166–

167; Carrington, Battles of the Revolution, p. Howe, to whom the defence of

460; Stedman, American War, vol. ii., p. 68 et Georgia had been committed, placed seq.; Moultrie's Memoirs, p. 251 et seq.; Lossing, himself with a force of about 800

Field-Book of the Revolution, vol. ii., pp. 525–

526; McCrady, South Carolina in the Revolution, Americans and prepared to make a pp. 326–329; Sullivan's letter of January , 1779, resolute defence. Having knowledge

to Washington, in Sparks, Correspondence of the

Revolution, vol. ii., pp. 244-247; Lowell, Res. of the situation of the American

sians in the Revolution, pp. 239-240.

160

CAMPBELL'S MODERATION; LINCOLN IN COMMAND.

the Savannah River and crossed into In command of the American forces South Carolina.*

in the Southern department was GenShortly after the fall of Savannah, eral Benjamin Lincoln, who toward the fort at Sunbury, commanded by the close of 1778, arrived at CharlesLieutenant-colonel Lachlan Mc- ton and began vigorous preparations Intosh, surrendered to the British. † to resist British encroachments. The Troops had also been rushed to the troops in the Southern department British from St. Augustine, and in were not only badly disciplined but command of the combined forces from miserably furnished, and it was some these places and from New York was time before Lincoln could place an placed General Augustine Prevost. army in the field which was capable Some time prior to his arrival, a of making any strenuous resistance to proclamation had been issued re- the British. In compliance with the questing the inhabitants to submit to recommendation of Congress, North British authority with promises of

Carolina had raised 2,000 men, who protection, provided they would arm were sent under command of Gento support the British cause. In his erals John Ashe and Griffith Ruthertreatment of the inhabitants, Colonel ford to join Lincoln.* Upon receiving Campbell displayed great modera word of Howe's defeat at Savannah, tion, and by his humane methods

Lincoln established his headquarters probably accomplished more in a at Purrysburg on the Savannah; his short time toward reëstablishing

forces at this time numbered between British authority in that vicinity than

2,500 and 3,000 men, many of whom all the other officers who had preceded

were new levies and militia. The

British him. He not only subdued all at

army under Prevost was

somewhat larger and greatly superior tempts at opposition, but for a time completely obliterated every trace of

in equipment and training. Never

theless, Prevost found that it was no republican government, paving the way for the revival of royal au

easy task to advance into South Carothority. In fact, Georgia was the only lina, for the Savannah River lay be

tween the two armies. For about 100 State in the Union in which, after the

miles from its mouth this river flowed proclamation of the Declaration of Independence, a legislative body was

through a marshy country, and at no convened under the authority of the

place was there any solid ground on

both sides of the river that made a crown.

crossing possible. There were only

a few narrow causeways through the * Fisher, Struggle for American Independence, vol. ii., pp. 229-230.

† McCrady, South Carolina in the Revolution, * McCrady, South Carolina in the Revolution, pp. 324, 336; Lossing, Field-Book of the Revolu- pp. 314, 330-332; Lossing, Field-Book of the Rer. tion, vol. ii., pp. 526-527.

olution, vol. ii., p. 552.

PICKENS DEFEATS TORIES UNDER BOYD.

161

marsh where it could be passed, and a guard at the Cherokee fort to preon many occasions even these could vent the Tories from crossing the not be crossed by an army. Thus, Savannah, Pickens departed upon both the American and British gen- some other service, and during the erals were unable to attack each absence the Tories succeeded in other or to cross the river for the crossing the river. With 300 men, purpose of attacking isolated posts. however, Pickens immediately set out General Prevost did, however, send in pursuit, and on February 14 the out detachments along the coast; two forces met. After an engagement among these being a detachment of lasting about three-quarters of an 200 men under Major Gardiner, who hour the Tories gave way and were were sent to take possession of the utterly routed — their loss being 40 Island of Port Royal. But early in killed, including Colonel Boyd, while February, Gardiner was attacked by Pickens lost only 9 killed and several General Moultrie and compelled to wounded. Those Tories who escaped retreat with severe loss. For the quickly dispersed all over the counpresent, therefore, General Prevost try, some going to North Carolina decided to make no further attempts and others returning home, where on South Carolina.*

they threw themselves upon the The British confined their opera- mercy of their State government. tions to Georgia and endeavored to

Being citizens of South Carolina they recruit their army from the Tories of

were tried in the regular manner and South Carolina. About 700 of these

70 condemned to death, but only five banded together under command of

of the principals were executed and Colonel Boyd and marched along the

the others were pardoned.* western frontier of South Carolina, General Lincoln fixed his encampintending to join the British at

ments at Black Swamp, and nearly Augusta, Ga. Their whole jour- opposite to Augusta on the north side. ney was marked by plunder and

In order to strengthen the last and to outrage, and the inhabitants of the

take advantage of any opportunity country through which they passed

which might offer for crossing the were thoroughly aroused. The Whig river and limiting the British operamilitia of the district of Ninety Six

tions to the sea-coast of Georgia, Linassembled under Colonel Andrew

coln sent General Ashe to the upper Pickens to prevent further outrage parts of the country. On February on the part of the Tories, but leaving

* McCrady, South Carolina in the Revolution, * Carrington, Battles of the Revolution, p. 464; pp. 337–338; Lossing, Field-Book of the RevoluMcCrady, South Carolina in the Revolution, pp. tion, vol. ii., pp. 505-506; Stedman, American 339–340; Lossing, Field-Book of the Revolution, War, vol. ii., p. 108; Ramsay, American Revoluvol. ii., p. 553.

tion, vol. ii., p. 15.

162

MOVEMENTS OF CAMPBELL, ASHE AND PREVOST.

!

10 Ashe set out with about 1,500 morning of the 27th arrived at the North Carolina militia and the re- lower bridge on Briar Creek; Ashe mains of the Georgia Continentals, now having gone to meet Lincoln, arriving three days later at the camp General Brian and Colonel Samuel of General Andrew Williamson, oppo- Elbert placed the troops in camp.* site Augusta. Upon the approach On March 2 the outposts of the of the American forces, Colonel enemy were reported as having been Campbell hastily retreated from

seen, and on the following day the Augusta and early the next morning commanders were informed that one placed fourteen miles between his

of the soldiers had been shot; but little army and the enemy. Undoubtedly

or no notice was taken of these Campbell's great haste was due to

occurrences. Nor was anything done either one of two facts, that he had

toward repairing the bridge which received false intelligence regarding Campbell had destroyed on his march the strength of Ashe's force, or had

downward, though it was reported learned of the arrival of a large body that the repairs would take but a few of Continentals at Charleston. This

hours. Within an hour after the reintelligence was credited by Campbell, port was made regarding the shooting who saw that, if he did not make a

of this soldier, word was sent from hasty retreat, escape would be cut off.

the outposts that 500 British regulars Ascertaining that Campbell had aban

were at the ferry. Soon after four doned Augusta, Lincoln on February

o'clock, a few of the American horse 16 instructed Ashe that, were the

returned from skirmishing with the enemy out of the upper part of the

enemy and orders were given that the country, he should follow them down

troops be formed into platoons from as fast as possible and prevent a

the right and composed into a column. junction with the British forces below.

Shortly after this the British light He was ordered to attack the small

infantry appeared. While the small British force before it could join the

body of British regulars was making other, and thus be in a position to de

a feint in front, Lieutenant-colonel cisevely defeat him. On the 22d Lincoln sent Ashe the following word:“I

Prevost, after a circuitous march of

about 50 miles, came unexpectedly on think that Briar Creek will be a good

Ashe's rear with about 900 troops, instand for you until some plan of cooperation be digested, for which pur

cluding some horse.t Upon the ap

pearance of the British light infantry, pose, as soon as you arrive there, I will meet you at the Two Sisters, you

* On these movements see Lossing, Field-Book appointing the time.” With 1,200 of the Revolution, vol. ii., pp. 506-507. troops and 200 light horse, Ashe

† Carrington, Battles of the Revolution, pp. 464

465. Lossing, Field-Book of the Revolution, vol. crossed the Savannah, and on the

ii., p. 507, says Prevost had 1,800 men.

« PreviousContinue »