Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

dering them as enemies, in the event of their Chap.vi. refusing to accede to the proposition he had 1776. made.

Moore, knowing that the provincial forces were collecting and marching from all quarters, protracted the negotiation in the hope that M'Donald might be completely surrounded. When at length it became necessary .to speak decisively, he in his final answer declared, that he and his followers were engaged in a .cause, the most glorious and honourable in the world, the defence of the liberties of mankind; and in return for the proclamation of the governor, he sent the test proposed by congress, with a proffer that, if they subscribed it and laid down their arms, they should be received as friends; but if they refused to comply, they must expect consequences similar to those with which they had threatened his people.

M'Donald now perceiving the danger he was in of being inclosed, suddenly decamped, and endeavoured with much dexterity, by forced marches, by the unexpected passing of rivers, and great celerity of movement, to disengage •himself. ."

His primary object was to join governor Martin, lord William Campbell, and general Clinton who had now arrived in this colony, and to penetrate with them the interior of the province; by which means it was expected, that all the back settlers of the southern colo

Chap, vt. nies would* be united in support of the royal 1776. cause, and the Indians be also induced to take up arms in their favour.

The provincial parties, however, were so close in the pursuit, and so alert in every part of the country, that he at length found himself under the necessity of engaging colonels Caswell and LillingtOn, who, with about one thousand minute men and militia, had intrenched themselves directly in his front at a place called Moore's

Actions* creek bridge. The royalists were greatly supe

cr«kbridge. rior in number, but were under the disadvantage of being compelled to cross the bridge, the planks of which were partly taken up, in the face of the intrenchments occupied by the provincials. They commenced the attack, however, with'great spirit; but colonel M'Cleod, who, in consequence of the indisposition of M'Donald, commanded them, and several others of their bravest officers and men, having fallen in the first onset; their courage deserted them, and they fled with the utmost precipitation in all directions, leaving behind them their general, and several others of their leaders, who fell into the hands of the provincials.'

This victory was of eminent service to the American cause in North Carolina. It broke the spirits of a great body of men, who would have constituted a very formidable re-enforcemcnt to an invading army; it increased the

1 Annual Register....Gordon....Ramsay....Gazette.

confidence of the provincials in themselves, and Chap.vi. attached to them the timid and the wavering, 1776. who form a large portion of every community.

General Clinton, who was to command in the south, had left Boston with a force too inconsiderable to attempt any thing until the arrival of the troops expected from Europe. After parting with governor Tryon in New York, he had proceeded to Virginia, where he' passed a few days with lord Dunmore; but finding himself too weak to effect any thing in that province, he set out for North Carolina, and remained with governor Martin in cape Fear, Until the arrival of sir Peter Parker. That officer had sailed about the close of the last year from Portsmouth, to take on board some regiments stationed in Ireland; but had been detained so long, .first by delays in that kingdom and afterwards by contrary winds, that he did not arrive on the coast of North Carolina until the beginning of May. Fortunately for that province, the unsuccessful insurrection of M'Donald had previously broken the strength and spirits of the loyalists, and deprived them of their most active chiefs; in consequence of which the operations which had been meditated against the provincials were for the present deferred. Clinton continued at cape Fear, probably undetermined respecting his future measures, until near the end of that month; when, hearing nothing certain from general

Chap, vr. Howe, it was determined to make an attempt 1776. on Charleston, the capital of South Carolina.

A letter from the secretary of state to mr. Eden, the royal governor of Maryland, disclosing the designs of administration against the southern colonies, was fortunately intercepted in the Chesapeak, early in the month of April, and thus South Carolina became apprized of the danger which threatened its .metropolis. Mr. Rutledge, a gentleman of vigour and

talents, who, on the dissolution of. the regal

Ma>- government, had been chosen president of that province, adopted the most energetic means 'for placing it in a posture of defence. In addition to a great number of slaves belonging to non-associators, who were impressed *and brought in from the country for the purposes of labour, all ranks of citizens were employed on the works; and gentlemen of independent fortunes prided themselves on being among the first to use the hoe and the spade. The defence of Charleston was strengthened, and a new fort, afterwards called fort Moultrie, was constructed on Sullivan's island, an advantageous position, from whence ships of war approaching the town might be greatly annoyed, , in which were mounted abo'ut thirty pieces of heavy artillery.1 J"nc- In the beginning of June, theBritish fleet came to anchor off the harbour of Charleston, and

"Annual Register.

couriers were immediately dispatched, by pre- Chap.vi . sident Rutledge, through the country, to order 1776. in all the militia of the colony for the defence JJKiS of the capital. The streets were in differentCaroliaaplaces strongly barricaded, and the stores on the wharves, though of great value, were pulled down, and lines of defence continued along the water's edge.b

The British admiral experienced some difficulty in crossing the bar; and although all their guns were taken out and the vessels lightened as much as possible, the two large ships touched the ground, and struck several times on the way. This object being at length accomplished, it was determined to commence

their operations by silencing the fort on Sulli- Junc 10van's island.0

During the interval between passing the bar, and attacking this fort, the continental troops of Virginia and North Carolina, who had been ordered to the assistance of their sister colony, arrived in Charleston; and the American force collected at that point, amounted to between five and six thousand men, of whom two thousand five hundred were regulars. This army was commanded by general Lee, whose fortune . it had been to meet general Clinton at New York, in Virginia, in North Carolina, and now at Charleston. Viewing the situation of

^Ramsay..,,Gordon. e Annual Register.

« ZurückWeiter »