Page images



set sail for Savannah, where on Sep- of the French fleet, however, Prevost tember 1, 1779, he arrived with called in his outposts. So slow were twenty-two ships of the line and a the movements of the French and number of smaller vessels. Upon his Americans that, before the former arrival, the Experiment, a 50 gun

had landed or the latter had crossed ship, and several other British ships the river, all the British detachments were captured.* Upon learning of the in Georgia had assembled at Savanarrival of d'Estaing, General Lincoln, nah, thus bringing the number of the with about 1,000 men, marched to British troops up to nearly 2,500. Zubly's Ferry on the Savannah, but Upon his arrival before the city, had great difficulty in crossing the d'Estaing summoned Prevost to surriver and its marshes. On the even- render, but being anxious to gain ing of September 13, however, he time, the British general, under some reached the southern bank and en- pretext, persuaded the French comcamped on the heights of Ebenezer, mander to suspend hostilities for about twenty-three miles from Sa- twenty-four hours. During this time vannah. At this place Colonel McIn- he pushed forward the work of tosh with his detachment reinforced strengthening his defences with all him, and shortly afterward Pulaski's possible speed, and before the twentylegion arrived. On the same day that four hours had elapsed, Colonel MaitLincoln passed Zubly's ferry, d'Es- land with his detachment had arrived taing landed 3,000 men at Beaulieu, from Beaufort. Thereupon the Britand on September 16 the two armies ish general announced his intention to united before Savannah.† At Savan- defend the city to the last extremity. I nah was General Prevost in command

The French and American generals of the British troops in the Southern determined to lay siege to the town provinces, and, apprehending no and began their preparations with danger from the Americans, he

that end in view. Several days were had detached a considerable portion consumed in bringing up heavy arof his troops to establish outposts in tillery and stores from the feet and Georgia; a strong detachment was ground was broken before the town left also under Colonel Maitland at on September 23, 1773. By October Beaufort, on the island of Port Royal, South Carolina. On the appearance

* Stedman, American War, vol. ii., p. 123.

† Lee, Memoirs of the War, p. 137; Stedman,

vol. ii., p. 127; Moultrie's Memoirs, vol. ii., p. * Stedman, American War, vol. ii., pp. 121-123;

41. Fisher, Struggle for American Independence, vol. I Carrington, Battles of the Revolution, pp. 478– ii., p. 257.

479; McCrady, South Carolina in the Revolution, † Lossing, Field-Book of the Revolution, vol. ii., pp. 403–407; Lossing, Field-Book of the Revolupp. 528–529,

tion, vol. ii., pp. 529-530.



1 the lines had been advanced to to expel the British entirely from the within 300 yards of the British province. During his absence in works; for several days the various America, the French West Indies batteries, mounting 33 pieces of heavy were exposed to danger from the cannon and 9 mortars, bombarded the British fleet; the worst season of the fortifications, and a floating battery year was now setting in; a superior of 16 guns constantly played upon British fleet might at any time put in

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small]



consequently it became necessary finally compelled to retreat. The either to abandon the siege or to French lost in killed and wounded storm the works. The besiegers de- about 640 men and the Americans termined upon the latter alternative. 450, while the British loss was comOn the morning of October 9 a heavy paratively small.* bombardment was begun against the No hope of taking the town now town, and 3,500 French and 950

remained, and on October 18 after Americans, led by d'Estaing and d'Estaing had removed the heavy Lincoln, advanced in three columns to

artillery, both armies abandoned the the assault.* Meanwhile the garrison siege. d'Estaing

marched away had not been idle, but had consider- slowly, so as to protect General Lin ably strengthened the fortifications

coln's retreat and to secure him from and had skillfully placed their bat

pursuit from the garrison. The teries. As a result, when the French

Americans recrossed the Savannah at and Americans advanced to the as

Zubly's Ferry and took a position in sault, they met with a warm recep

South Carolina. The French immetion. The batteries opened upon them with a well directed and destructive diately embarked, but hardly were

they aboard when a violent storm fire, but they resolutely advanced and finally succeeded in mounting the dispersed the fleet. While the results parapet. Both the French and Ameri

of this expedition were exceedingly cans planted a standard on a redoubt, discouraging, yet the French fleet but when they attempted to force

rendered material aid to the Ameritheir way inside the works the can cause by disconcerting the plans slaughter was terrible.f In addition, of the British. Even this under the while the opposition in front was present conditions was of great servgreat, their flanks were galled by the fire of the batteries. At the head of Georgia Historical Society Collections, vol. v.,

pt. i.; Alfred T. Mahan, The Influence of Sea 200 troops Pulaski galloped between

Power. upon History, pp. 374-375; Fisher, Strug. the batteries toward the town so as to gle for American Independence, vol. ii., pp. 257take the garrison in the rear, but he

260; Stevens, Facsimiles, no. 2010; Bancroft, vol.

v., pp. 372–374; Carrington, Battles of the Revowas killed and his squadron dis

lution, pp. 481-482; Korry and Weems, Life of persed. For nearly an hour the Marion, chap. viii. Estimates of the losses vary French and Americans stood the

greatly. The above figures are from Moultrie's

Memoirs, vol. ii., p. 41; Lossing (Field-Book of terrific fire from the British, but were the Revolution, vol. ii., p. 522) gives practically

the same figures — 637 and 457. Lee (Memoirs Carrington, Battles of the Revolution, p. 480; of the War, p. 142) states the American loss to McCrady, South Carolina in the Revolution, pp. have been 240; Stedman (American War, vol. 409-414.

ii., p. 131) says 264; Ramsay (Revolution in † Among the killed was Sergeant Jasper, the South Carolina, vol. ii., p. 45) says 257; and hero of Moultrie Horry and Weems, Life of McCrady (South Carolina in the Revolution, p. Marion, pp. 75-79.

417) says 250 Americans and 337 French.



ice to the American army. Neverthe- genious enterprise of partisan warless the Ainericans had anticipated fare. Before the French fleet arrived, such brilliant results from the co- a British captain with 111 men had öperation of the French fleet that the taken post near the Ogeeche River, failure of the expedition threw a deep about twenty-five miles from Savangloom over the Southern provinces nah. At this place .were also five and it seemed as if the cause of in- British vessels, four of which were dependence were more desperate at armed - the largest with 14 guns and the present time than at any former the smallest with 4. Late on the night period of the war. General Lincoln of September 30, White with six folasked for help and Congress took lowers, including a servant, kindled a every step in its power to give the number of fires in different places, so succor so imperatively needed, but as to give the appearance of a large the paper money had now become so encampment. He then went forward depreciated that only the most ardent to the British encampment, with a patriots would take it, and conse- supposed summons from the Ameriquently it was almost impossible to can commander to the British to surfurnish supplies and munitions of render. Believing that a superior war to the army. On the other hand, force was in the neighborhood, the the successes of the British had raised British officer deemed it wise to subhigh the hopes of the Tories.

mit without making any defence. By While the siege of Savannah was this ruse all were taken prisoners and in progress, Colonel John White of conducted to the American post at the Georgia line executed an in- Sunbury, twenty-five miles distant.*




Condition of American army - Clinton captures Stony Point and Fort Lafayette — Tryon's expedition into

Connecticut - Wayne captures Stony Point - Stony Point abandoned by Americans — British attack on Penobscot — Major Henry Lee at Paulus Hook — Army goes into winter quarters — Life in campStirling's attempt on Staten Island – Discontent among soldiers — Knyphausen's raid in Jersey — Lafayette arrives in Boston — Washington's letter to Congress regarding embarrassments — French fleet arrives at Newport — Washington confers with French at Hartford — Major Tallmadge's exploit on Long Island Irruption of Major Carleton in northern New York - Battle between the Bonhomme Richard and the Serapis.

At this time the American army terrupted by calls to military duties was in sore straits, for both clothing and the depredations of various deand food were deficient. During 1779 tachments of the army.

Furtherand 1780, crops had been poor; the labors of the farmers had been in- * Thacher, Military Journal, pp. 179–180.



more, those farmers who had suc- force; he was between the two probceeded in raising good crops were lems of supplying the army and at the loathe to part with them for the con- same time protecting the property of tinental paper money then in circula- the inhabitants; and to supply the one tion, because of its great depreciation without offending the other seemed in value as compared with coin. almost an impossibility. On the other Finally, however, the necessities of hand, Washington experienced much the army became so urgent that difficulty in maintaining discipline Washington called upon the magis- among the soldiers and in restraining trates of the adjacent counties for them when dispatched for provisions specified quantities of provisions, to from plundering the houses of the inbe delivered to the army within a cer- habitants. To preserve order and tain time. He also was compelled to subordination in an army like that send out detachments of troops to under Washington, even if well fed, take provisions from the farmers promptly paid, and properly clothed, and citizens by force, but at length would have been a task of no little this expedient failed, for there were difficulty; but when they were destino more supplies in the country ad- tute not only of the comforts, but also jacent to the quarters of the army. of the necessities of life, the task beBeside this, the morals and discipline came doubly difficult, and required of the army were endangered and the capabilities which are rarely found in affections of the people were much any one man. Nevertheless, Washalienated by these impressments. ington displayed the firmness and Prior to this time the inhabitants had ability necessary in this crisis and leaned toward the American cause, not only retained the services of the chiefly because of the fact that they greater part of the army, but also kept had experienced much better treat- the good will of the major portion of ment from the Americans than from the inhabitants. the British. They had looked up to In June, 1779, the army Washington as their protector, and to cheered by the news that after much a great extent had willingly supplied hesitation Spain had joined France in him with the provisions he needed. the war against Great Britain. In its But when Continental money began attempt to settle the various questo depreciate so rapidly, the in- tions arising in connection with this habitants lost their ardor for the new alliance, Congress found great cause and would not send supplies, difficulty, for both France and Spain unless reimbursed in coin. Washing- seemed bent upon obtaining conceston was now confronted with the sions which the Americans were unalternatives either of disbanding his willing to give. Because of her astroops or of supporting them by sistance, the French minister at


« PreviousContinue »