« ZurückWeiter »
ward of two thousand negroes were shipped off at one embarkation.. ationen Charleston hud sittende
When Charleston had surrendered, the next object with the British was to secure the general submission of the inhabitants. To this end they posted garrisons in different parts of the country, and marched a large body of troops over the Santeę toward that extremity of the state which borders on the most populous settlements of North-Carolina, This caused an immediate retreat of some American parties that had advanced into the upper parts of South Carolina, with the expectation of relieving Charleston The total rout or capture of all the southern continental troops in the state, together with the universal panic occasioned by the surrender of the capital, suspended for about six weeks all military opposition to the progress of the British army.
Sir Henry Clinton, a week before the defeat of colonel Byford by Tarleton, had in a proclamation denounced vengeance against those of the inhabitants who should continue, by force of ams, to oppose the re-establishment of British government. On the ist of June, he and admiral Arbuthnot, as commissioners for restoring peace to the revolted colonies, offered, by proclamation, to the inhabitants, with a few exceptions, pardon for past offences, and a reinstatement in the possession of all the rights and immunities they had heretofore enjoyed under a free British government, exempt from taxation, except. by their own legislature, as soon as the situation of the province would admię. These offers, in the present situation of affairs, induced the people in the country to abandon all'schemes of further resistance. The militia to the southward of Charleston sent in a flag to the
British commanding officer at Beaufurt, and obtained termas simi·lar to those granted to the inhabitants of the capital. At Cam.
den the inhabitants met the British with a flag, and negociated for themselves. The people of Ninety-Six assembled to delibere. ate what course they should take. Being informed that the British were advancing, they sent a flag to the commanding officer, from whom they learned, that Sir Henry Clinton had delegated full powers to captain Richard Pearis to treat with them. Articles were proposed and soon after ratined, by which they were promised the same security for their persons and property which British subjects enjoyed. They submitted under a mistaken opi nion, that agreeable to a proclamation previous to the surrender of Charleston, they were to be' either neutrals or prisoners on parole. Excepting the extremities of the state bordering on North-Carolina, the inhabitants continuing in the country preferred submission to resistance,
Sir Henry Clinton, about the time that Charleston surrendere ed, received intelligence, that a large number of land forces and a French fleet commanded by M. de Ternay, might soon be expected on the American coast. This induced him to reimbark. for New-York early in June with the greatest part of his arıny, which otherwise was to have remained, and been employed in the conquest of the adjacent states. But before he sailed, all the inhabitants of the province and prisoners upon parole, and not in the military line (excepting those taken by capitulation, or in confinement at the surrender of Charleston) were, by proclamation of June the 3d, freed from all such paroles, from and after the 20th of the month; and in case of their afterward neglecting to return to their allegiance and his inajesty's government, were to be considered as enemies and rebels to the same, and to be treated accordingly. It was designed, by this arbitrary change of their relative condition, to oblige them, without their consent, to take an active part in settling and securing the royal government. Prior to this proclamation, the submission of the South Carolina: inhabitants was accepted on easy terins. All, with a few exceptions, on applying obtained either paroles as prisoners, or pros? tections as British subjects; the latter were required to subscribe a declaration of their allegiance to the king; this, however, was. frequently omitted in the hurry of business. An unusual calm followed. But the proclamation produced astonishment and con-fusion, especially as the parties referred to were required.to enrol themselves as militia under the royal standard. Numbers, considering themselves as released from the parole by the prow clamation, conceived that they had a right to arm against the : British ; and were induced so to do, from the very menace used against them, that they who did not enrol themselves as British subjects, must expect to be treated as enemies. Many more, however, for convenience, exchanged their paroles for protections, and enrolled themselves as militia ; several undoubtedly with an intention of breaking through the compulsory tie, as soon as a proper opportunity presented.
When Sir H. Clinton departed froni Charleston, lord Corne wallis was left in command with abont 4000 men, who were deemed fully sufficient for extending the British conquests, after the adoption of the above measures to oblige the inhabitants of the country to be active in securing the royal government now established. On the 5th, two days before he sailed, two hundred : and ten of the principal inhabitants congratulated him and the · admiral upon their successes. The greater part of them had been in arms against the British during the siege, and a few had been
leaders in the popular government. In answer to their address, they were promised the privileges and protection of British subjects,' on subscribing a test of their allegiance and willingness to support the royal cause. Many of their fellow-citizens soon fol. lowed their example of exchanging paroles for protections. Those who owned estates in the country, had no security by capitula. tion, for any property out of the lines, unless they became subjects. Such as declined doing it, met with every discouragement. A numerous class of people were reduced to the alternative of starving or guing for protection. Traders and shopkeepers, after having contracted large debts by purchasing of the British mer. chants who came with the conquering army, were precluded by lord Cornwallis's proclamation of July the 25th, from selling the goods they had purchased, unless they assumed the name and character of British subjects. Thus were multitudes pressed into a service which they were ready to desert upon every occasion. But its triumphant state made the royalists in both Carolinas, confident of British protection, and greatly incrcased them by accessions from those who alway side with the strongest. A large body of theni collected under the cominand of col. Moore, in North-Carolina, on the 22d of June. The greatest part had taken-the-oath of allegiance to that state, and many had done mi. Jitia duty in the American service. Their premature insurrection, contrary to lord Cornwallis's advice to his friends, which was to remain inactive till he had advanced into their settlements, subjected them to an immediate dispei zion. Gen. Rutherford instantly marched against these insurgents, but was so short of lead that he could arm only 300 men. Col. Lock advanced with this detachment twenty-five miles a-head to observe them, while the inain body halted for a supply of ammunition. The colonel, though greatly inferior in force, was reduced to the necessity of attacking or being attacked. He chose the former; and capt. · Falls, with a party of horse, rushed into the middle of the royalists, and threw them into confusion. Twenty-two of the whig militia were killed or wounded; among the former were six of their officers, who were singled out by riflemen among the insurgents. The captain was one of the slain. Col. Moore proposed to col. Lock a cessation of all hostilities for an hour, which being agreed to, the former ran off with his whole party. Şcarce „Was this insurrection quelled, ere another party of North-Caro
lina royalists, under col. Brian, marched down on the east side of Yadkin, and joined the British army at Camden.
As the British advanced to the upper part of South-Carolina, a considerable number of the determined friends of independence
retreated before them, and took refuge in North-Carolina. In this class was col. Sumpter, who formerly commanded a conti, nental regiment, and was known to possess a great share of bra. very and other military talents. Soon after he had left his home, a British detachment turned his wife and family out of doors and burned his house and every thing in it. A party of SouthCarolina exiles, who had convened in North Carolina, made choice of him for a leader. At the head of this little band of patriots, he soon returned to his own state, and took the field against the victorious British at a time when the inhabitants had generally abandoned the idea of supporting their own indepen dence. Col. Sumpter had every difficulty to encounter. His fola lowers were in a great measure unfurnished with arms and am, munition, and had no magazines from which they could draw a supply. The iron tools on the neighboring farms, were worked up for their use by common blacksmiths into rude weapons of war. They supplied themselves with bullets, by melting the pewter with which they were furnished by private house-keepers When the colonel, at the head of these volunteers, penetrated into his own state, and recommenced a military opposition to the British, after it had been suspended about six weeks, all the indignant passions of the royal officers were roused against the inhabitants. Without taking any share of the blame to theniselves for their mistaken policy in constraining men to an involuntary submission, they charged them with studied duplicity and treacher ry, and laid aside lenient measures for those that were dictated by revenge. They were further irritated by a suspicion that the inhabitants connived at, if not facilitated the escape of deserters who were become numerous. An apprehension of that kind wrought so upon lord Rawdon, that he threatened (July 1.] to punish either by whipping, imprisonment, or transportation to The West-Indies, there to serve his majesty, any person who should meet a soldier straggling, without a written pass, beyond the pickets, and not do his utmost to secure him, or who should shek ter such straggling soldiers, serve them as a guide, or furnish them with any other assistance. To encourage the country people in putting a stop to desertions, he promised to give them ten guineas for the head of any deserter belonging to the Volunteers of Ireland, and five guineas only if they brought him in alive; and a reward, though not to that amount, for such deserters as they might procure belonging to any other regiment.
Colonel Sumpter having taken the field, a party of his corps (July 12.) consisting of 133 men, engaged a detachment of the British troops and a large body of tories, commanded by capte
Huck, in the unpper parts of South-Carolina. The royalists were posted in a lane, both ends of which were entered at the same time by the Americans. They were speedily routed and dis. persed, Col. Ferguson of the British 'militia, capt. Huck, and several others were killed. This was the first advantage gained over the royal forces since their landing in the beginning of the year. At the moment the attack was made, a number of women were on their knees vainly soliciting capt. Huck in beha}f of their families and property. During his command, he in a very particular manner displayed his enmity to the presbyterians, by burning the library and dwelling-house of their clergymen, and all bibles containing the Scotch translation of the psalms, which is held in the highest veneration by the generality of the Scotch and Irish presbyterians, and their descendants through the United States. These proceedings inspired the riumerous devout peo ple of the district with an unusual animation. They generally ará ranged themselves under col. Sumpter, and opposed the Britisha with the enthusiasm of men called upon to defend, not only their civil liberties but their holy religion. The effects of this ardor were very sensibly felt, for the colonel was soon reinforced to the number of 600 men. .
No sooner did gen. Gates hear of the commencement of Sir H. Clinton's operations to the southward, but he wrote in the beginning of March to Mr. Matthews, a South-Carolina delegate at Congress," From the arrival of Sir H. Clinton and lord Cornwallis in the Savannah, and their landing the army upon the Carolina side of the river, it can be no longer doubted, that it has been resolved at St. James's, to remove the theatre of the war to the southern states." He then pointed out as the measures to be immediately taken--the sending all the troops raised west of the Delaware instantly by the water route to James river, and marching them directly cross North-Carolina to meet the enemy. Mr. Matthews received the letter on the 13th of March just as he was going to the house ; when there, he stated the contents of it as a matter of information and not of opinion with a view of attracting more effectually the attention of con gress. He then took the liberty of proposing the plan of operas tions for the southern campaign agreeable to Gates's ideas. The proposal was not duly regarded, and it was not till afterward that the resolution was taken to send forward the Maryland and Delaware lines. These amounted only to 1400 effective men. They marched from head-quarters at Morris-town on the 16th of April, under the conimand of Baron de Kalb; embarked at the head of Elk in May, landed soon at Petersburgh in Virginia,