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GW_151-200.indd 194 5/2/12 7:38 AM CHAPTER 17 Disasters and Misjudgments in South Carolina (January to August 1780) South Carolina invaded. - The British fleet passes the bar and enters the harbor of Charleston. - Opinion ofGeneral Washington that the place should be evacuated. Sir Henry Clinton invests the town. - Tarleton surprises an American corps at Monk's Corner. -Fort Moultrie surrendered.- Tarleton defeats Colonel White. - Charleston capitulates.-Buford defeated. -Arrangements for the government ofSouth Carolina and Georgia.-Sir Henry Clinton embarks for New York.- General Gates takes command ofthe southern army. -Is deflated near Camden. -Death ofDe Kalb. -Success ofSumter.- He is deflated. r78o ADMIRAL ARBUTHNOT arrived offSavannah on the 31st of]anuary. One of his transports had been brought into Charleston harbor, on the 23d ofthat month; and the prisoners gave the first certain intelligence that the expedition from New York was destined against the capital of South Carolina. Before the middle of February, the fleet entered the inlet of North Edisto; and the troops were landed on St. John's Island. A part of the fleet was sent round to blockade the harbor ofCharleston, while the army proceeded slowlyand cautiously from Stano creek toWappoo cut, and through the islands of St. John and St. James. This delay was employed to the utmost advantage in improving the defences ofCharleston. Six hundred slaves were employed on the works; and vigorous though not very successful measures were taken by the executive to assemble the militia. The American army being too weak to make any serious opposition to the progress of the enemy through the country, the cavalry, with a small corps of infantry, were directed to hover on their left flank, and the other 194 GW_151-200.indd 195 5/2/12 7:38 AM ~ Disasters andMisjudgments in South Carolina :>a> troops, consisting of about fourteen hundred regulars and a few militia, were drawn into the town, and employed on the works. Lieutenant-Colonel Tarleton 1 had been ordered to cover the march of March 17so a reinforcement from Georgia, under the command of General Patterson. In one of the excursions ofthis active officer to disperse the militia, his cavalry encountered Lieutenant-Colonel Washington? who commanded the remnant of Baylor's regiment, and was driven back with loss; but the want of infantry prevented Washington from pressing his advantage. The command of the harbor is of great importance to the defence of Charleston. To procure this advantage, Congress had ordered four frigates to South Carolina,which, with the marine force ofthe state, and two French vessels, were placed under the command of Commodore Whipple. It had been understood that the bar was impassable by a ship ofthe line, and that even a large frigate could not be brought over it without first taking out her guns, or careening her so much that the crew would be unable to work her. This naval force, it was hoped, might defend the entrance into the harbor ; but, on sounding within the bar, it was discovered that the water was too shallow for the frigates to act with effect, and that they would be exposed to the batteries which the assailants had erected. The intention ofdisputing the passage over the bar was abandoned, and Commodore Whipple moved his squadron in a line with fort Moultrie, in a narrow passage between Sullivan's Island and the middle ground. The British ships, without their guns, passed the bar, and anchored in fivefathom hole.3 1. Banastre Tarleton (1754-1833), from 1778 the highly effective Lieutenant Colonel in command of the British Legion, an irregular (or partisan) force of light infantry and cavalry skilled in reconnaissance, covering operations, and harassing and skirmishing with the enemy; like their American counterpart, Lee's Legion, Tarleton's force wore a distinctive green uniform. 2. William Washington (1752-1810) of Virginia, a distant relative (the son of a second cousin) of George Washington; from 1778 Lieutenant Colonel in the Third Dragoons (light infantry), and by 1779 a full Colonel in command of a Continental cavalry regiment of VirgmJans . 3ยท The Middle Ground is a deep passage just within the mouth of Charleston Harbor, lying in between Fort Moulrrie on Sullivan's Island and Fort Johnson on James Island; Five Fathom Hole is a deep area just within the bar also, but to the south, adjacent the southern tip of Morris Island. 195 GW_151-200.indd 196 5/2/12 7:38 AM ~ COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE REVOLUTION ~ It...


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