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ATTACK ON FORT MOULTRIE.
deserted not their posts. Upon the whole, they acted like Romans in the third century."
Much of the foregoing is corroborated by the statement of a British historian. "While the continued fire of our ships," writes he, "seemed sufficient to shake the fierceness of the bravest enemy, and daunt the courage of the most veteran soldier, the return made by the fort could not fail calling for the respect, as well as of highly incommoding the brave seamen of Britain. In the midst of that dreadful roar of artillery, they stuck with the greatest constancy and firmness to their guns; fired deliberately and slowly, and took a cool and effective aim. The ships suffered accordingly; they were torn almost to pieces, and the slaughter was dreadful. Never did British valor shine more conspicuous, and never did our marine in an engagement of the same nature with any foreign enemy experience so rude an encounter." *
The fire from the ships did not produce the expected effect. The fortifications were low, composed of earth and palmetto wood, which is soft, and makes no splinters, and the merlons were extremely thick. At one time there was a considerable pause in the American fire, and the enemy thought the fort was abandoned. It was only because the powder was exhausted. As soon as a supply could be forwarded from the mainland by General Lee, the fort resumed its fire with still more deadly effect.
* Hist. Civil War in America, Dublin, 1779. Annual Register.
Through unskillful pilotage, several of the ships ran aground, where one, the frigate Acteon, remained; the rest were extricated with difficulty. Those which bore the brunt of the action were much cut up. One hundred and seventy-five men were killed, and nearly as many wounded. Captain Scott, commanding the Experiment, of fifty guns, lost an arm, and was otherwise wounded. Captain Morris, commanding the Acteon, was slain. So also was Lord Campbell, late governor of the province, who served as a volunteer on board of the squadron.
Sir Henry Clinton, with two thousand troops and five or six hundred seamen, attempted repeatedly to cross from Long Island, and cooperate in the attack upon the fort, but was as often foiled by Colonel Thompson, with his battery of two cannons, and a body of South Carolina rangers and North Carolina regulars. "Upon the whole," says Lee, "the South and North Carolina troops and Virginia rifle battalion we have here, are admirable soldiers."
The combat slackened before sunset, and ceased before ten o'clock. Sir Peter Parker, who had received a severe contusion in the engagement, then slipped his cables, and drew off his shattered ships to Five Fathom Hole. The Acteon remained aground.
On the following morning Sir Henry Clinton made another attempt to cross from Long Island to Sullivan's Island; but was again repulsed, and obliged to take shelter behind his breastworks. Sir Peter Parker, too, giving up all hope of reducing the fort in the shattered
A CALL FOR CAVALRY.
condition of his ships, ordered that the Acteon should be set on fire and abandoned. The crew left her in flames, with the guns loaded, and the colors flying. The Americans boarded her in time to haul down her colors, and secure them as a trophy, discharge her guns at one of the enemy's ships, and load three boats with stores. They then abandoned her to her fate, and in half an hour she
Within a few days the troops were reëmbarked from Long Island; the attempt upon Charleston was for the present abandoned, and the fleet once more put to sea.
In this action, one of the severest in the whole course of the war, the loss of the Americans in killed and wounded, was but thirty-five men. Colonel Moultrie derived the greatest glory from the defense of Sullivan's Island; though the thanks of Congress were voted as well to General Lee, Colonel Thompson, and those under their command.
"For God's sake, my dear general," writes Lee to Washington, "urge the Congress to furnish me with a thousand cavalry. With a thousand cavalry I could insure the safety of these Southern provinces; and without cavalry, I can answer for nothing. From want of this species of troops we had infallibly lost this capital, but the dilatoriness and stupidity of the enemy saved us."
The tidings of this signal repulse of the enemy came most opportunely to Washington, when he was apprehending an attack upon New York. He writes in a famil
iar vein to Schuyler on the subject. "Sir Peter Parker and his fleet got a severe drubbing in an attack upon our works on Sullivan's Island, just by Charleston in South Carolina; a part of their troops, at the same time, in attempting to land, were repulsed." He assumed a different tone in announcing it to the army in a general order of the 21st July. "This generous example of our troops under the like circumstances with us, the general hopes, will animate every officer and soldier to imitate, and even outdo them, when the enemy shall make the same attempt on us. With such a bright example before us of what can be done by brave men fighting in defense of their country, we shall be loaded with a double share of shame and infamy if we do not acquit ourselves with courage, and manifest a determined resolution to conquer or die."
PUTNAM'S MILITARY PROJECTS.-CHEVAUX-DE-FRISE AT FORT WASHINGTON.— MEDITATED ATTACK ON STATEN ISLAND.-ARRIVAL OF SHIPS.-HESSIAN REINFORCEMENTS.-SCOTCH HIGHLANDERS.-SIR HENRY CLINTON AND LORD CORNWALLIS.—PUTNAM'S OBSTRUCTIONS OF THE HUDSON. THE PHOENIX
ROSE ATTACKED BY ROW GALLEYS AT TARRYTOWN.-GENERAL ORDER OF WASHINGTON ON THE SUBJECT OF SECTIONAL JEALOUSIES.-PROFANE SWEARING PROHIBITED IN THE CAMP.-PREPARATIONS AGAINST ATTACK.-LEVIES OF YEOMANRY.-GEORGE CLINTON IN COMMAND OF THE LEVIES ALONG THE HUDSON.-ALARMS OF THE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK.BENEVOLENT SYMPATHY. OF WASHINGTON.—THE "PHENIX GRAPPLED BY A FIRE-SHIP.-THE SHIPS EVACUATE THE HUDSON.
ENERAL PUTNAM, beside his bravery in the field, was somewhat of a mechanical projector. The batteries at Fort Washington had proved ineffectual in opposing the passage of hostile ships up the Hudson. He was now engaged on a plan for obstructing the channel opposite the fort, so as to prevent the passing of any more ships. A letter from him to General Gates (July 26th) explains his project. "We are preparing chevaux-de-frise, at which we make great despatch by the help of ships, which are to be sunk-a scheme of mine which you may be assured is very simple; a plan of which I send you. The two ships' sterns