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inconvenient to the Americans. The armament destined against it was so expeditiously fitted out, that colonel Maclane, the commanding officer at Penobscot, was obliged to content himself with putting the works already constructed, in as good a posture of defence as possible. The Americans could not effect a landing, or bring the guns of the largest vessels to bear upon the shore, without much difficulty.
As soon as this was done, they erected several batteries, and kept up a brisk fire, for the space of a fortnight; after which they proposed to give a general assault ; but before this could be effected Sir George Collier with a British fleet was seen sailing up the river to attack them. On this they instantly embarked their artillery and stores, sailing up the river as far as possible, to avoid being taken. But they were so closely pursued, that not a single vessel escaped ; thus the American fleet consisting of nincteen armed vessels and twenty-four transports were des troyed. The soldiers and sailors were obliged to wander through immense desarts, where they suffered much for want of provisions; and to add to their calamities a quarrel between the seamen and soldiers broke out, concerning the cause of their misfortunes; a violent affray ensued, in which a great number were killed.
. Thus the arms of France and America being every where unsuccessful, the independency of the latter seemed yet to be in danger, notwithstanding the assistance of so powerful an ally.
The hopes of the Americans were again revived by the accession of Spain to the confederacy against Great Britain., The eager desire of Spain to humble Great Britain appeared to have deprived her of that cautious reserve which seems interwoven with the constitution of the Spanish government. They certainly did not consider that by establishing an independent empire so near them, their rich possessions in South America would be in danger, and open to the incursions of a powerful and enterprizing people, whenever they chose to extend their territory.
The first act of hostility against Great Britain, by the Spaniards was an invasion of West Florida, in September, 1779. They easily made themselves masters of the whole, as there was little or no opposition; the country being in
no state of defence. They next proceeded to the bay of Honduras, where the British logwood cutters were settled. These, finding themselves too weak to 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 his 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 Omoa,under the protec: tion 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 escalade ; 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 inillions 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 ransom of the fort, notwithstanding 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 formidable force, and they were obliged to evacuate it. But before they retired, they destroyed every thing that could be of use to the enemy; the guns were spiked, and they even locked the gates, and carried off the keys, in sight of the besiegers ; after which the garrison einbarked without the loss of a man.
The war in America was now transferred to the southern colonies, where the operations became at last decisive. Towards the end of the year 1779, sir Henry Clinton sailed from New York, with a considerable body of troops, intended for an attack on Charleston, in South Carolina ; in a fleet of ships of war and transports, under the command
of vice-admiral Arbuthnot. After a tedious voyage, in which they suffered some losses, they arrived at the Havanna, where they endeavoured to repair the damages they had sustained during the voyage. From thence they proceeded to North Edisto, on the tenth of February, 1780. Tne passage thither was speedy and prosperous. The transports all entered the harbour the next day; and the army took possession of St. John'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 James's island; and, on the twenty-ninth of the same month, 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 passing Sullivan's island, sustained a severe fire from 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 gunshot 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, summoned the town to surrender to his Majesty's arms. But general Lincoln, who commanded in Charleston, answered with a declaration of his intention 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 service, and very badly provided with clothes, and other necessaries. Supplies and reinforcements which were anxiously expected by general Lincoln from Virginia, and other 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 prevented 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 cir. cumstance afforded the ladies in Charleston, who were warmly attached to the cause of their country, an opportunity of rallying the British officers, and Tarleton in particular, who affecting to make bis court to one of them, by commending the bravery of colonel Washington, addel, 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 ammunition, 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 eighty-seven ; to account for the great difference in the two statements, in the most satisfactory manner, must be, by supposing that general Clinton included the militia and inhabitants of the town. Several American frigates were also taken, and destroyed in the harbour of Charleston.
After the surrender of the town, general Clinton issued two proclamations, and a hand bill was circulated among
the inhabitants of South Carolina ; the design of which, 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, as 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 assemble 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 found requisite, under proper regulations. They might chuse officers 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 Carolina 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 lived. 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 home, which he had contributed to secure.
The proclamations and publications of general Clinton produced some effect in South Carolina. A number of the inhabitants of Charleston, who were considered as prisoners 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