Abbildungen der Seite

intrepidity of the officers who coinmanded in them, and the cx cellent use they made of their artillery, the besiegers, who rushed on to take advantage of the confusion and to storm the place, were in their first onset repulsed. By this brave exertion, time was obtained to carry off the wounded, and such artillery as was not burried in the ruins. But the enemy bringing on their whole force to attack the flank works, they were necessarily abandoned, In these circumstances and without the most distant hope of relief, it would have been madness to contend longer. An honor: able capitulation was obtained by Mr. Chester the governor, and general Campbell. The place was delivered up on the 9th of May. The British troops were allowed to march out with the honors of war; were to be conducted to one of the ports belonging to Great-Britain, the port of Augustine, and the island of Jan maica only excepted; and were not to serve against Spain or her allies until properly exchanged. The Americans are not pleased that the exception was not extended; as it left the British at li. berty to send them to New-York, where a part of them arrived · in a polacre on the 4th of July.

Sir George Rodney, in consequence of information concern. ing the French fleet under the Count de Grasse, detached the ad. mirals, Sir Samuel Hood and Drake, with 17 sail of the line, to cruise off Fort-Royal for the purpose of intercepting him. On the 28th of April, some of Sir Samuel's headınost ships returned hastily in sight, and with signals announced the appearance of a seperior fleet and a numerous convoy to the windward of Point Salines. The admiral made the signal for a general chase to wind. . ward : and at night it was determined by the admirals to continue the line a-head (which had been previously formed) so that getting as much as possible to windward, they might close in with Fort-Royal at day-light, and cut off the enemy from the harbour. In the morning the French appeared, their convoy keeping close in with the land, while Count de Grasse drew up his fleet in a line of battle a-breast for their protection ; 'notwithstanding the utmost excrtions of the British, he was joined by four ships of the line and a fifty from Fort-Royal harbour The British cominanders used every manoeuvre to bring him to close action ; but he being to windward, and so having the choice, preferred a long shot distance. A partial engagement commenced; the van and the nearest ships in the centre of the British were exposed to a long and heavy weight of fire in their struggles to close the French and get to the windward: but suffered chiefly in their masts, hulls and rigging. The action lasted about three hours; when Sir Samuel, finding that not one shot in ten of the French reached, and that his


attempts to gain the wind were fruitless, ceased firing. Five ships were rendered unfit for immediate service; and the Russel received so many shots between wind and water, that she was obliged to bear away for Statia. The count de Grasse had now a decided superiority; and the following day would have brought on a close engagement, which was prevented by the unexpected manæuvres of Sir Samuel. After various movements on the part of the two fleets through the day, the British bore away in the night for Antigua. The French pursued in the morning, came up with the Torbay (which received several shot and some damage before she could be relieved) and continued the pursuit. through the rest of the day, but languidly. • The arrival of the Russel indicated to Sir George Rodney the danger of attending longer to the sale of the effects of Statia. She was repaired with the utmost expedition, and in three days after her arrival, Adm. Rodney and general Vaughan, with the Sandwich, Triumph, Russel, and some land forces, proceeded to join Sir Samuel Hood and to protect the islands. After some time the British fleet sailed from Antigua to Barbadoes. Meanwhile the Marquis de Bouille, with a body of troops under the -viscount Damas, landed (May 10.] in the night at St. Lucie, whose garrison was weak. The accidental arrival of a frigate, and of two sloops of war, who instantly landed their seamen and marines to man the batteries, contributed much to the preservation of the island. The most vigorous preparations were made by gen. St. Leger for the defence of the different posts. The French Heet, of 25 sail of the line, bore down with a view of anchoring in Gross Islet Bay ; but were received with so severe a fire, that they retired to leeward. The marquis reimbarked his troops in the night, and the whole fleet stood over to Martinico the next morning. region. On the day [23d) Sir George Rodney arrived at Barbadocs with the fleet, a small French squadron with about 1200 land forces, appeared off Tobago, and the troops were landed the next day. Gov. Ferguson immediately dispatched the Rattlesnake with intelligence to the admiral; and the captain had the good fortune to deliver the dispatch at 12 o'clock on the night of the 26th. . Rodney not conceiving aright either of the force of the invaders, or the strength of the garrison, contented himself with sending Drake with six sail of the line, some frigates, a regi. mént, and two additional companies to the relief of the island. Drake was instructed, after landing the forces, and endeavoring to destroy the squadron by which Tobago was invested, to rejoia Rodney without a moment's loss of time. On the day [29th] ha

[ocr errors]


left Barbadoes, Sir George received information that the French grand fleet was apparently standing toward Tobago. When Drake made it, on the morning of the 30th, he discovered de Grasse with several ships to leeward, between him and the island. He explored the count's situation and strength, and on observing that it consisted of 27 sail of the line, so that it was impossible to afford any relief to the island, he hauled his wind and sailed back; but was pursued to a considerable distance, while two of his swiftest frigates were dispatched to inform Rodney of his return. Drake arrived in sight of Carlisle-Bay on the 2d of June, but the remainder of the British Heet did not come out till the following day. The French had landed on the 31st of May, another body of 1200 men ; while the force employed for the defence of Tobago, including regulars, militia and seainen, amounted only to 427 whites, beside a small party of 40 armed negroes. These were encamped on Mount Concordia, where they remained from the 25th of May to the Ist of June, when they evacuated the post at one in the morning, and retired to their last fastness, the way to which was extremely difficult. The marquis Bouille pursued the garrison with the utmost eagerness; but finding his troops overcome by the heat, while the fugitives were still four miles a-head of him, and that he could not even procure any person . who would conduct his troops through the intricate ways they had to pass, he determined upon making terror unite with force in the shortening of a business which might be not only tedious, but prove an hindrance to other great objects still in view. He accordingly ordered two capital plantations, which were nearest at hand, to be reduced to ashes; and perceiving that their destruction did not produce the desired effect, he ordered that four more should meet with a similar fate at the commencement of every four hours, till a surrender should be made to the morning summons he had sent to the garrison. The militia now absolutely refused to hold out any longer. Al the governor's remonstrances were in vain. The commands ing officer of the regulars refused to obey his orders, and the soldiers determined to capitulate. Tlie governor was at length prevailed on to consent to a capitulation, which took place on the 2d of June. The conditions were exceedingly favorable and advantageous to the island.

The British fleet, amounting to 20 or 21 ships of the line, were soon informed on their arrival off Tobago, of the loss of the island. The next day they were in sight of the French fleet, consisting of 24 sail of the line. The British ships were cleared with the utmost alacrity for action. Count de Grasse was to leeward, and


seemed more disposed to seek than to shun an engagement; the option was on tlie side of Sir George Rodney, who in the present instance declined fighting, and probably on very warrantable grounds. Soon after, the count sailed for Martinico.

Certain acts of congress here deserve to be noticed..

On the 26th of May, Mr. Morris, twelve days after he had siga nified his acceptance of the office of superintendant of finance had the satisfaction of learning, that the congress had that day approv: cd of the plan for establishing a national bank in the United States, which lie had submitted to their consideration of the 17th. They resolved to promote and support it; and that the subscribers should be incorporated under the name of The president, directors and company of the bank of North-America. They also recommended to the several states the making of proper laws for the prevention of other banks or bankers being established or allowed withio the

said states respectively during the war. It is ihought that this bank · will be of eminent service to the United States, and teod greatly to lessen their embarrassments; and that it will be no less bence. ficial to the public than to the individual subscribers.. . i

Congress agreed (June 14.] “ That the minister plenipotentiaty at Versailles, be auihorized to offer lieut. gen. Burgoyne in exchange for the honorable Henry Laurens. On July the 23d, they resolved --- that five suitable persons be appointed and authorized to open a subscription for a loan of 30,000 dollars, for the support <if such of the citizens of South Carolina and Georgia, as have hcen driven from their country and possessions by the enemy, the said states respectively, by their delegates in congress, pledging their faith for the payment of the suns so fent, with interest, in proportion to the sums which shall be received by their respective citizens, as soon as the legislatures of the said states shall severally be in condition to make provision for so doing, and congress hereby guaranteeing this obligation—that the said five persons do also receive voluntary and free donations, to heap. plied to the further relief of the said sufferers-Ordered, That the president send a copy of the above resolution to the executive of the several states not in the power of the enemy, requesting them to promote the success of the said loan and donation in such way as they shall think best." .

To your comprehending this resolution, you must be informed of the following particulars: In June a general exchange of priSoners was agreed to for the southern states, in which the militia on both sides were respectively exchanged for each other. Nota withstanding every difficulty, a considerable number of theinhabitants had perseveringly refused tobecome british subjects. These Vol. In


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

being exchanged, were delivered, as well as the continental of ficers, at the American posts in Virginia and Pennsylvania. The suffering friends of independence exulted at the prospect of their being released from confinement and restored to activity in their country's cause;. but their prospects were obscured by the distresses brought on their families by this otherwise desira ble event. On the 25th of June, the British commandant at Charleston, lieut. col. Balfour, issued the following order— As, many persons lately exchanged as prisoners of war, and others who have long chose to reside in the colonies now in rebellion, have, notwithstanding such their absence, wives and families still remaining here, the weight of which, on all accounts, it is equally impolitic as inconsistent should longer be suffered to rest on the government, established here, and the resources of it and The commandant is therefore pleased to direct, that all such women, children and others as above described, should quit this town and province on or before, the first day of August next ensuing;, of which regulation all such persons are hereby ordered to take notice, and to remiove themselves accordingly.'

Here let me introduce an account of the manner in which inost of the whig ladies conducted while they remained in Charleston. They showed an amazing fortitude, and the strongest attachment to the cause of their country, and gloried in the appellation of rebel ladies. Neither soothing persuasions, nor menacing hints, not their own natural turn for gaiety and amusement, could prevail on them to grace the ball or assembly with their presence, to oblige the British officers with their hand in a dance, or even to accompa: ny them, notwithstanding the engaging, qualities that many of them possessed. Butno sooner was an American officer introduced as a prisoner, than his company was sought for and his person. treated with every possible mark of attention and respect. They even visited the prison-ships and other places of confinement; tô. solace their suffering countrymen. At other seasons they retired in a great measure from the public eye, wept over the distresses of their country, and gave every proof of the warmest attachinent to its suffering cause. In the height of the British conquests, when poverty and ruin seemed the unavoidable portion of every: adherent to the independence of America, they discovered more firmness than the men. Many of them, like guardian angels, pre.. served their husbands from falling in the hour of temptation, when interest and inconvenience had almost gotten the better of: honor and patriotism. Many examples could be produced of their cheerfully parting with their sons, husbands and brothers (among those who were banished, and whose property was seized.


« ZurückWeiter »