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of each others situation or destination; but this would probably not long have been the case, but for a violent storm which dispersed the Count's fleet, and otherwise did them considerable damage. This was the third time that Providence seems to have interfered to prevent the meeting of the two hostile fleets. Commodore Hotham was more fortunate with his fleet, which all arrived in safety at Barbadoes-on the 10th December, from which an expedition was immediately undertaken against St. Lucia, without suffering the troops to land. The Count D’Estaing, having some days afterwards arrived at Martinique, heard for the first time of the movements of the enemy, and immediately prepared to go to the succour of the invested island. A considerable addition was made to his force at Martinique; but the Count was no favourite of the Goddess of fortune. Before his arrival at St. Lucia, all the fortresses on the island were in possession of the enemy; and after several vain efforts to recover it, and three desperate engagements by sea and land, he was compelled to abandon it to its fate, and draw off his whole force. It was not until the fall of the present year, that Major Generals Schuyler and St. Clair were brought to trial on the charges alleged against them, for the abandonment of Ticonderoga. They were both acquitted of each and every charge, with the highest honour. With regard to the sentence of the Court Martial passed on Major General Lee, of which we have before taken notice, Congress after a suspense even more cruel and tedious than in the cases of Schuyler and St. Clair, passed a resolution that it should be
carried into eacecution. In this again we have an example of the singular and unjust effect produced by the mode of voting. The resolution was voted for by four states only out of the thirteen, and yet this small minority were enabled by their decision to cast a stain upon the military fame and prowess of one of the bravest and best Generals of the age. Two of the states were not represented; and the representatives of five others were so divided as to have no vote.
Thus ended the third year of the struggle for independence, leaving the United States, notwithstanding some brilliant successes, in a situation infinitely more deplorable, than at any time since the first blow was struck. Georgia was in the hands of the enemy; the capital of South Carolina was threatened with a similar fate; rankling jealousies and disputes distracted their councils; their treasury was exhausted; their credit lost, even in the estimation of their best friends; and their illustrious ally beginning to think their demand was too high, when they asked for an acknowledgment of their independence. All the states however, had agreed to the confederation, with the single exception of Maryland; and there were still some determined friends of liberty who were willing to hope all things, and endure all things for the sake of securing that inestimable blessing. Peace was yet viewed through a gloomy vista of doubts and dangers; but there were spirits among the fathers of American freedom, to whom the glimmerings of hope shone amid the gloom, and whose bright examples were destined to lead to the glorious consummation of her promises.
WOL. II. 29
Events of 1779-General Lincoln is sent to take command in the southern department.—General Prevost attempts to gain Port Royal, and is repulsed.—Colonel Boyd at the head of the tories defeated by Colonel Pickens.—Colonel Campbell abandons Jiugusta-General Ashe defeated at Briar Creek-Brave stand of General Elbert.—Lincoln is reinforced and crosses the Savannah.-General Prevost attacks JMoultrie, who retreats to Charleston.—Siege of Charleston.—Prevost retires without attacking—Lincoln arrives at Dorchester—attacks the British van at Stono—is compelled to retreat—General Prevost establishes a post at Beaufort, and retires to Savannah-Sir Henry Clinton sends an expedition into the Chesapeake–They enter Elizabeth River, and destroy the American shipping and stores, and retire to JWew-York.
SoME time before the expedition for the south, under Colonel Campbell, sailed from New-York, Congress had appointed Major General Lincoln to the command of the southern department. This had been done at the request of the southern representatives who, it seems, had formed a plan for the conquest of the Floridas, and had not sufficient confidence in the talents of General Howe to entrust the enterprise to him. Howe had distinguished himself at a very early period of the revolution, by the noble stand which he had made against the forces of Lord Dunmore, at the head of the Dismal Swamp in Vir. ginia. This raised a party in his favour in the Virginia House of Burgesses, at the expense of his superiour officer, Colonel Patrick Henry, who was then commander in chief of the united forces of Wirginia and the Carolinas, which led to the resignation
of the latter, and consequent promotion of the former. He was a brave and enterprising partizan officer, but had neither sufficient talents nor experience to command an army to advantage. Major General Lincoln, though his military experience extended no further back than the commencement of the revolution, had seen a great deal of hard service, had been successful in several plans that indicated military talents, and was the only general of. ficer on the field of battle on the 49th of September, at Saratoga. Lincoln arrived at Charleston on the 4th of December, where, instead of meeting, as he expected, with an army sufficient to invade the enemy's country, scarcely a man had arrived; nor was it until after he had heard of the landing of Colonel Campbell and the defeat of Howe, that he was enabled to move with a force adequate even to defence. On the 7th of January he established himself at Perrysburg, on the north side of the Savannah, and about 15 miles from the British commander, General Prevost. The remnant of Howe's force, which he met with here, united to his own, made his number about 1400; but he had neither field pieces, arms, tents nor ammunition. The forces of General Prevost were fortunately scattered over a long line of posts, extending from Savannah to Augusta, with a view to preserve possession of the conquered Province, and there seemed to be no disposition to disturb the arrangements of the American general. By the end of January the arrival of the North Carolina militia under General Ashe increased General Lincoln’s force to about 3000 men, and with this number he began to think of offensive operations. General Prevost in the mean time attempted to make an establishment in South Carolina by the possession of Port-royal Island. For this purpose he detached Colonel Gardner with 200 men, who effected a landing; but being met by General Moultrie, (the brave defender of the fort of his name,) at the head of a like number, he was driven off with considerable loss. In pursuance of his determination to act offensively, General Lincoln, early in February, sent General Ashe with about 1500 men to take post opposite Augusta, where Colonel Campbell had fixed himself, as the most convenient rendezvous for the tories and loyalists of the State. Here he had collected a force composed of this denomination of persons to the amount of 2000; the greater part of them were persons of infamous character, who lived chiefly by robbery and plunder. A party of them, with Colonel Boyd at their head, having crossed the Savannah, Colonel Pickens, with about 300 militia collected from the district of 96, followed them, and on the 14th had a desperate eni. with them of three quarters of an hour. aving lost their leader, and about 40 killed, they took to fight in every direction; a few of them were enabled to reach the British posts in safety, but the greater part, being citizens of South Carolina, were as prehended and brought to trial for treason, and five of the ringleaders executed. This check, together with the threatening attitude which General Lincoln had assumed, induced Colonel Campbell to abandon his position at Augusta on the very night of General Ashe’s arrival. In order to prevent if possible his conjunction with Prevost, General Lincoln advised Ashe to cross the river, follow the enemy, and take post at Briar creek. In obe