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first to Sullivan's island, and afterward to Charleston, where, as already men. tioned, the ships were dismantled and the crews employed on the works. On the 9th of April Admiral Arbuthnot, taking advantage of a strong southerly wind and a flowing tide, passed Fort Moultrie, and anchored just without reach of the guns of Charleston. The fort kept up a heavy fire on the fleet while passing, which did some damage to the ships, and killed or wounded twenty-seven men.
On the 29th of March, the British army reached Ashley river, and crossed it ten miles above the town without opposition; the garrison being too weak to dispute the passage. Having brought over his artillery, baggage, and stores, Sir Henry Clinton marched down Charleston Neck; and, on the night of the 1st of April, broke ground at the distance of 8,000 yards from the American works.
The fortifications of Charleston were constructed under the direction of Mr. Laumoy, a French engineer of reputation in the American service; and, although not calculated to resist regular siege, were by no means contemptible: and the British general made his approaches in due form. Meanwhile the garrison received a reinforcement of 700 continentals under General Woodford ; and, after this accession of strength, amounted to somewhat more than 2,000 regular troops, besides 1,000 militia of North Carolina, and the citizens of Charleston. Governor Rutledge made every effort to raise the militia of the province, but with little success; for not more than 200 of them were in the capital.
On the 9th of April, the British commander finished his first parallel, forming an oblique line between the two rivers, from 600 to 1,100 yards from the American works, and mounted his guns in battery. He then, jointly with the admiral, summoned General Lincoln to surrender the town. Lincoln's answer was modest and firm : “ Sixty days," said he,“ have passed since it has been known that your intentions against this town were hostile, in which time was afforded to abandon it; but duty and inclination point to the propriety of supporting it to the last extremity.”
On receiving this answer, Sir Henry Clinton immediately opened his batteries; and his fire was soon felt to be superior to that of the besieged. Hitherto the communication with the country north of the Cooper was open, and a post was established to prevent the investiture of the town on that side. After the summons, Governor Rutledge, with half of his council left the town, for the purpose of exercising the functions of the executive government in the state, and in the hope of being able to bring a large body of the militia to act on the rear or left flank of the besieging army: but the militia were as little inclined to imbody themselves as to enter the town.
For the purpose of maintaining the communication with the country north of the Cooper, of checking the British foragers, and of protecting supplies on their way to the town, the American cavalry, under General Huger, had passed the river and taken post at Monk's corner, thirty miles above Charleston. Posts of militia were established between the Cooper and Santee, and at a ferry on the last-named river, where boats were ordered to be collected in order to facilitate the passage of the garrison, if it should be necessary to evacuate the town. But the British general defeated all those precautions ; for as the possession of the harbor rendered the occupation of the forts to the southward unnecessary, Sir Henry Clinton resolved to call in the troops which had been employed in that quarter, to close the communication of the garrison with the country to the northward, and to complete the investiture of the town. For those purposes, as the fleet was unable to enter the river Cooper, he deemed it necessary to dislodge the American posts, and employed Lieutenant-Colonel Tarleton to beat up the quarters of the cavalry at Monk's corner. Conducted during the night, by a negro slave, through unfrequented paths, Tarleton proceeded toward the American post; and, although the commander of the party had taken the precaution of pla
cing sentinels a mile in front of his station, and of keeping his horses saddled and bridled, yet Tarleton advanced so rapidly that, notwithstanding the alarm was given by the outposts, he began the attack before the Americans could put thernselves in a posture of defence, killed or took about thirty of them, and dispersed the rest. The arrival of three thousand men from New York greatly increased the strength of the besiegers.
The second parallel was completed; and it daily became more apparent that the garrison must ultimately submit. An evacuation of the town was proposed, and General Lincoln seems to have been favorable to the measure; but the garrison could scarcely have escaped, and the principal inhabitants entreated the general not to abandon them to the fury of the enemy.
The British troops on the north of the Cooper were increased, and Cornwallis was appointed to command in that quarter. On the 20th of April, General Lincoln again called a council of war to deliberate on the measures to be adopted. The council recommended a capitulation; terms were offered, but re
jected; and hostilities recommenced. After the besiegers had begun their third parallel, Colonel Henderson made a vigorous sally on their right, which was attended with some success; but, owing to the weakness of the garrison, this was the only attempt of the kind during the siege.
After the fleet passed it, Fort Moultrie became of much less importance than before, and part of the garrison was removed to Charleston. The admiral, perceiving the unfinished state of the works on the west side, prepared to storm it. On the 7th of May, everything being ready for the assault, he summoned the garrison, consisting of 200 men, who, being convinced of their inability to de fend the place, surrendered themselves prisoners-of-war, without firing a gun. On the same day, the cavalry which had escaped from Monk's corner, and which had reassembled under the command of Colonel White, were again surprised and defeated by Colonel Tarleton. After Cornwallis had passed the Cooper, and made himself master of the peninsula between that river and the Santee, he occasionally sent out small foraging parties. Apprized of that circumstance,
and despatched an express to Colonel Buford, who commanded a regiment of new levies from Virginia, requesting him to cover his retreat across the Santee at Lanneau's ferry, where he had ordered some boats to be collected to carry his party over the river. Colonel White reached the ferry before Buford's arrival, and thinking himself in no immediate danger, halted to refresh his party. Cornwallis, having received notice of his incursion, despatched Tarleton in pursuit, who, overtaking him a few minutes after he had halted, instantly charged him, killed or took about thirty of the party, and dispersed the rest.
Charleston was now completely invested; all hopes of assistance had been cruelly disappointed ; and the garrison and inhabitants were left to their own resources. The troops were exhausted by incessant duty, and insufficient to man the lines. Many of the guns were dismounted, the shot nearly expended, and the bread and meat almost entirely consumed. The works of the besiegers were pushed very near the defences of the town, and the issue of an assault was extremely hazardous to the garrison and inhabitants. In these critical circumstances General Lincoln summoned a council of war, which recommended a capitulation. Terms were accordingly proposed, offering to surrender the town and garrison, on condition that the militia and armed citizens should not be prisoners-of-war, but should be allowed to return home without molestation. These terms were refused ; hostilities recommenced, and preparations for an assault were in progress. The citizens, who had formerly remonstrated against the departure of the garrison, now became clamorous for a surrender. In this hopeless state, General Lincoln offered to give up the place, on the terms
which Sir Henry Clinton had formerly proposed. The offer was accepted; and the capitulation was signed on the 12th of May.
The town and fortifications, the shipping, artillery, and all public stores, were to be given up as they then were ; the garrison, consisting of the continenta) troops, militia, sailors, and citizens who had borne arms during the siege, were to be prisoners-of-war ; the garrison were to march out of the town, and lay down their arms in front of the works, but their drums were not to beat a British march, and their colors were not to be uncased; the continental troops and sailors were to be conducted to some place afterward to be agreed on, where they were to be well supplied with wholesome provisions till exchanged ; the militia were to be allowed to go home on parole ; the officers were to retain their arms, baggage, and servants, and they might sell their horses, but were not permitted to take them out of Charleston ; neither the persons nor property of the militia or citizens were to be molested, so long as they kept their parole.
On these terms the garrison of Charleston marched out and laid down their arms, and General Leslie was appointed by the British commander-in-chief to take possession of the town. The siege was more obstinate than bloody. The besiegers had 76 men killed, and 189 wounded; the besieged had 92 killed, and 148 wounded; about twenty of the inhabitants were killed in their houses by random shots. The number of prisoners reported by the British commanderin-chief amounted to upward of 5,000, exclusive of sailors; but in that return all the freemen of the town capable of bearing arms, as well as the continental soldiers and militia, were included. The number of continental troops in the town amounted only to 1,777, about 500 of whom were in the hospital. The effective strength of the garrison was between 2,000 and 3,000 men. The besieging army consisted of about 9,000 of the best of the British troops.
After the British got possession of the town, the arms taken from the Americans, amounting to 5,000 stand, were lodged in a laboratory, near a large quantity of cartridges and loose powder. By some means the powder exploded and blew up the house; and the burning fragments, which were scattered in all directions, set fire to the workhouse, jail, and old barracks, and consumed them. The British guard stationed at that place, consisting of fifty men, was destroyed, and about as many other persons lost their lives on the disastrous occasion.
The fall of Charleston spread a deep gloom over the aspect of American affairs. The southern army was lost; and, although small, it could not soon be replaced. In the southern parts of the Union there had always been a considerable number of persons friendly to the claims of Britain. The success of her arms roused all their lurking partialities, encouraged the timid, drew to the British cause all those who are ever ready to take part with the strongest, and discouraged and intimidated the friends of congress.
Sir Henry Clinton was resolved to keep up and deepen the impression on the public mind, by the rapidity of his movements and the appearance of his troops in different parts of the country. For that purpose he sent a strong detachment, under Cornwallis, over the Santee, toward the frontier of North Carolina. He despatched a second, of inferior force, into the centre of the province; and sent a third up the Savannah to Augusta. These detachments were instructed to disperse any small parties that still remained in arms, and to show the people that the British troops were complete masters of South Carolina and Georgia.
Soon after passing the Santee, Cornwallis was informed that Colonel Buford was lying, with 400 men, in perfect security, near the border of North Carolina. He immediately despatched Colonel Tarleton, with his legion, to surprise that party. After performing a march of*104 miles in fifty-four hours, Tarleton, at the head of 700 men, overtook Buford on his march, at the Waxhaws, and ordered him to surrender, offering him the same terms which had been granted to the garrison of Charleston. On Buford's refusal, Tarleton instantly charged the party, who were dispirited, and unprepared for such an onset. Most of them threw down their arms, and made no resistance; but a few continued firing; and an indiscriminate slaughter ensued of those who had submitted as well as of those who resisted. Many begged for quarter, but no quarter was given. Tarleton's quarter became proverbial throughout the Union, and rendered some subsequent conflicts more fierce and bloody than they would otherwise have been. Buford and a few horsemen forced their way through the enemy and escaped ; some of the infantry, also, who were somewhat in advance, saved themselves by flight; but the regiment was almost annihilated. Tarleton stated that 113 were killed on the spot; 150 left on parole, so badly wounded that they could not be removed; and 53 brought away as prisoners. The brutal slaughter on this occasion, and the violation of every principle of humanity and the rights of the vanquished, excited much indignation in America.
After the defeat of Buford, there were no parties in South Carolina or Georgia capable of resisting the royal detachments. The armed force of congress in those provinces seemed annihilated ; and the spirit of opposition among the inhabitants was greatly subdued.
In order to secure the entire submission of that part of the country, military detachments were stationed at the most commanding points ; and measures were pursued for settling the civil administration, and for consolidating the conquest of the provinces. So fully was Sir Henry Clinton convinced of the subjugation of the country, and of the sincere submission of the inhabitants, or of their inability to resist, that, on the 3d of June, he issued a proclamation, in which, after stating that all persons should take an active part in settling and securing his majesty's government, and in delivering the country from that anarchy which for some time had prevailed, he discharged from their parole the militia who were prisoners, except those only who had been taken in Charleston and Fort Moultrie, and restored them to all the rights and duties of inhabitants ; he also declared that such as should neglect to return to their allegiance should be treated as enemies and rebels.
It might easily have been foreseen that the proclamation was to awaken the resentment and alienate the affections of those to whom it was addressed. Many of the colonists had submitted in the hope of being allowed, under the shelter of the British government, to attend to their own affairs in a state of peaceful tranquillity ; but the proclamation dissipated this delusion, and opened their eyes to their real situation. Neutrality and peace were what they desired ; but neutrality and peace were denied them. If they did not range themselves under the standards of congress, they must appear as militia in the royal service. The colonists sighed for peace; but, on finding that they must fight on one side or the other, they preferred the banners of their country, and thought they had as good a right to violate the allegiance and parole which Sir Henry Clinton had. imposed on them, as he had to change their state from that of prisoners to that s of British subjects without their consent. They imagined that the proclamation : released them from all antecedent obligations. Not a few without any pretence
of reasoning on the subject, deliberately resolved to make professions of submis:sion and allegiance to the British government so long as they found it convenient, but with the resolution of joining the standards of their country on the first opportunity. Such duplicity is always to be reprobated ; but the unsparing rapacity with which the inhabitants were plundered by the foriegn soldiery and hired Hessians made many of them imagine that no means of deception and vengeance were unjustifiable. · Hitherto the French fleets and troops had not afforded much direct assistance to the Americans, but they had impeded and embarrassed the operations of the