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their equals. All this, as yet, was but little understood or appreciated by the troops from the South, among whom military rank was more defined and tenaciously observed, and where the officers were men of the cities, and of aristocratic habits.
We have drawn out from contemporary sources these few particulars concerning the sectional jealousies thus early springing up among the troops from the different States, to show the difficulties with which Washington had to contend at the outset, and which formed a growing object of solicitude throughout the rest of his career.
John Adams, speaking of the violent passions, and discordant interests at work throughout the country, from Florida to Canada, observes: "It requires more serenity of temper, a deeper understanding, and more courage than fell to the lot of Marlborough, to ride in this whirlwind."*
* Am. Archives, 4th Series, v. 1113.
SOUTHERN CRUISE OF SIR HENRY CLINTON.-FORTIFICATIONS AT CHARLESTON. -ARRIVAL THERE OF GENERAL LEE.-BATTLE AT SULLIVAN'S ISLAND.— WASHINGTON ANNOUNCES THE RESULT TO THE ARMY.
ETTERS from General Lee gave Washington intelligence of the fate of Sir Henry Clinton's
expedition to the South; that expedition which had been the subject of so much surmise and perplexity. Sir Henry in his cruise along the coast had been repeatedly foiled by Lee. First, as we have shown, when he looked in at New York; next, when he paused at Norfolk in Virginia; and lastly, when he made a bold attempt at Charleston in South Carolina; for scarce did his ships appear off the bar of the harbor, than the omnipresent Lee was marching his troops into the city.
Within a year past, Charleston had been fortified at various points. Fort Johnson, on James Island, three miles from the city, and commanding the breadth of the channel, was garrisoned by a regiment of South Carolina regulars under Colonel Gadsden. A strong fort had recently been constructed nearly opposite, on the southwest point of Sullivan's Island, about six miles below the
city. It was mounted with twenty-six guns, and garrisoned by three hundred and seventy-five regulars and a few militia, and commanded by Colonel William Moultrie of South Carolina, who had constructed it. This fort, in connection with that on James Island, was considered the key of the harbor.
Cannon had also been mounted on Haddrell's Point on the mainland, to the northwest of Sullivan's Island, and along the bay in front of the town.
The arrival of General Lee gave great joy to the people of Charleston, from his high reputation for military skill and experience. According to his own account in a letter to Washington, the town on his arrival was " utterly defenseless." He was rejoiced therefore, when the enemy, instead of immediately attacking it, directed his whole force against the fort on Sullivan's Island. "He has lost an opportunity," said Lee, "such as I hope will never occur again, of taking the town."
The British ships, in fact, having passed the bar with some difficulty, landed their troops on Long Island, situated to the east of Sullivan's Island, and separated from it by a small creek called the Breach. Sir Henry Clinton meditated a combined attack with his land and naval forces on the fort commanded by Moultrie; the capture of which, he thought, would insure the reduction of Charleston.
The Americans immediately threw up works on the northeastern extremity of Sullivan's Island, to prevent
ATTACK ON FORT MOULTRIE.
the passage of the enemy over the Breach, stationing a force of regulars and militia there, under Colonel Thompson. General Lee encamped on Haddrell's Point, on the mainland, to the north of the island, whence he intended to keep up a communication by a bridge of boats, so as to be ready at any moment to aid either Moultrie or Thompson.
Sir Henry Clinton, on the other hand, had to construct batteries on Long Island, to oppose those of Thompson, and cover the passage of his troops by boats or by the ford. Thus time was consumed, and the enemy were, from the 1st to the 28th of June, preparing for the attack; their troops suffering from the intense heat of the sun on the burning sands of Long Island, and both fleet and army complaining of brackish water and scanty and bad provisions.
At length on the 28th of June, the Thunder Bomb commenced the attack, throwing shells at the fort as the fleet, under Sir Peter Parker, advanced. About eleven o'clock the ships dropped their anchors directly before the front battery. "I was at this time in a boat," writes Lee, "endeavoring to make the island; but the wind and tide being violently against us, drove us on the main. They immediately commenced the most furious fire I ever heard or saw. I confess I was in pain, from the little confidence I reposed in our troops; the officers being all boys, and the men raw recruits. What augmented my anxiety was, that we had no bridge finished for retreat or
communication; and the creek or cove which separates it from the continent is near a mile wide. I had received, likewise, intelligence that their land troops intended at the same time to land and assault. I never in my life felt myself so uneasy; and what added to my uneasiness was, that I knew our stock of ammunition was miserably low. I had once thought of ordering the commanding officer to spike his guns, and, when his ammunition was spent, to retreat with as little loss as possible. However, I thought proper previously to send to town for a fresh supply, if it could possibly be procured, and ordered my aide-de-camp, Mr. Byrd (who is a lad of magnanimous courage), to pass over in a small canoe, and report the state of the spirit of the garrison. If it had been low, I should have abandoned all thoughts of defense. His report was flattering. I then determined to maintain the post at all risks, and passed the creek or cove in a small boat, in order to animate the garrison in propria personâ; but I found they had no occasion for such an encourage
"They were pleased with my visit, and assured me they never would abandon the post but with their lives. The cool courage they displayed astonished and enraptured me, for I do assure you, my dear general, I never experienced a better fire. Twelve full hours it was continued without intermission. The noble fellows who were mortally wounded, conjured their brethren never to abandon the standard of liberty. Those who lost their limbs