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BRITISH SUCCESS IN THE SOUTH.
six days' provisions in advance, and was, on several occa- CHAP,
XXXVI. sions, for sundry successive days, without meat ; was destitute of forage ; that the medical department had neither 1780. sugar, tea, chocolate, wine, nor spirits." No other principle than true patriotism could have held men together in the midst of privations and sufferings such as these. In preparation for the ensuing campaign, Congress made great exertions to increase the army ; large bounties were offered, yet recruits came in slowly.
The winter was exceedingly severe. The waters around New York were frozen, communication with the sea was cut off, so that the garrison and the citizens suffered for provisions. Knyphausen was alarmed lest the Americans should pass on the ice and attack the city ; his ships of war were frozen fast, and no longer useful to defend it. He transferred the seamen to the shore, and formed them into companies, and placed the entire male population under arms. But his apprehensions were groundless, as Washington was too deficient in men and means to make a successful attack upon the garrison.
In the South, the British were very successful. When Clinton arrived at Savannah, he immediately went North for the purpose of blockading Charleston. General Lincoln made every exertion to fortify the city. Four thousand of its militia enrolled themselves; but the assistance received from the surrounding country numbered only two hundred men. South Carolina had represented to Congress her utter inability to defend herself, "by reason of the great number of citizens necessary to remain at home to prevent insurrection among the negroes, and their desertion to the enemy." The only hope of Charleston lay in the regiments then on their march from Virginia and North Carolina. These regiments increased Lincoln's
CHAP; force to seven thousand, only two thousand of whom were
continentals. 1780. The British occupied so much time in their approach, Feb.
that an opportunity was given to fortify the harbor and city. It was of no avail ; the superior English fleet passed by Fort Moultrie without receiving much damage, though four years before the same fort had repulsed a similar attempt. The channel, at this time, was deeper, and the vessels could pass.
Sir Henry Clinton had lost nearly all his horses on the voyage ; but he had with him Lieutenant-colonel Banastre Tarleton, a native of Liverpool. Let us take a glance at the colonel, who figures so largely in these southern campaigns. He was at this time only twenty-six years of age. He is described as short of stature, broad shouldered and muscular, of swarthy complexion, with a countenance lighted up by small, keen black eyes,
the embodiment of ardent, prompt energy, and indomitable perseverance, that never pursued without overtaking ; always in front of his men ; as insensible to weariness as he was to fear. To be scrupulous was not one of his virtues. He soon, from friends or enemies, by money or by force,
obtained horses for his dragoons. April Thirty miles from Charleston, at Monk's Corner, Gen14.
eral Huger and Colonel William Washington had two regiments of continental cavalry to guard the passes to the north country. On a dark night, Tarleton, guided by a negro, pounced upon them with his dragoons, and scattered them. Huger and Washington escaped, with some of their officers and men, but Tarleton took a hundred prisoners, and four hundred wagons laden with stores. Fort Moultrie surrendered, and soon after another division of American cavalry was almost annihilated by Tarleton, and Charleston was now completely invested.
As the defences of the town continued to fail in succession, Lincoln thought to abandon the place, and force
his way through the enemy; but the superiority of the CHAP.
XXXVI besiegers in number and position rendered that impossible. The British fleet was ready to pour ruin upon the devoted 1780. town. Clinton had thrown up intrenchments across the neck, and at this crisis Cornwallis arrived from New York with three thousand fresh troops.
18. On the ninth of May commenced a terrible cannonade from two hundred cannons. All night long bombshells poured upon the town, which at one time was on fire in five different places. The morning dawned, but no hope dawned for the besieged. Their guns were nearly all dismounted, their works in ruins, the soldiers exhausted by fatigue. The fleet moved to a position much nearer. The following night an offer to capitulate was sent to Clinton. Negotiations commenced, which resulted in the surrender of the garrison as prisoners of war ; the militia were to be dismissed on their parole, not to engage again in the war; with the promise, that so long as they kept their parole, their persons and property should be secure. The whole number of prisoners was about six thousand.
May This was an irreparable loss to the patriots. Immediately after Clinton sent off three expeditions ; one to intercept Colonel Beaufort, who was approaching with a Virginia regiment to the aid of Charleston ; a second toward Augusta, and the third toward Camden. He also issued a proclamation, threatening terrible punishments on those who would not submit. This was soon after followed by another, which offered pardon to all those who would return to their allegiance, and assist in restoring the royal authority.
When Beaufort heard of the loss of Charleston he commenced to retreat ; but there was no escaping Tarleton, who made a forced march of one hundred and five miles in fifty-four hours. He surprised Beaufort at Waxhaw's, on the boundary of North Carolina, and scattered his men, giving them no quarter, but treating them in the
CHAP. most cruel and barbarous manner. This act has left a XXXVI.
stain upon his reputation. 1780. The other detachments passed through the country,
meeting with no resistance, as the people felt it would be useless to attack them. In a short time another proclamation was issued, calling upon all, except those actually taken in arms, to renounce their parole, and take the oath of allegiance. During this time, the negroes in great
numbers deserted their masters and fled to the British. Juce. South Carolina thus conquered, Clinton returned to New
York, leaving Cornwallis to hold the country in subjection.
Incidents show the spirit of the times. The Rev. James Caldwell, a Presbyterian clergymán, was pastor of a church at Elizabethtown. He had excited the ire of the Tories and British by his ardent appeals in the cause of his country. When he preached he would lay his pistols beside him : his eloquence stirred the people, with whom his popularity was unbounded. His church, a sort of rallying point, had been used by the American soldiers as a shelter, while its bell gave the alarm when the enemy approached. The Tories called him a “frantic priest," and “rebel firebrand;" but the people spoke of him as “a rousing gospel preacher.” During the winter a marauding company of the British and Tories from New York burned the church, and Caldwell removed his family to Connecticut Farms.
After Knyphausen heard of the capture of Charleston, thinking that event would have an influence upon the people of Jersey, he set out on an expedition, landing at Elizabethtown, and penetrated as far as Connecticut Farms. He met, at every step, with the most determined opposition ; but, nevertheless, the village was sacked and burned. Mrs. Caldwell, in the midst of the terror and confusion, retired to a room in the rear of the parsonage, and knelt in prayer, having by the hand one of her chil.
THE MURDER OF MRS. CALDWELL.
dren. Presently some one fired through the window, and CHAP.
XXXVI. she fell dead, pierced by two balls. The church and parsonage were both burned. Knyphausen, harassed by the 1780 militia, made an inglorious retreat.
Meantime, the atrocious murder of Mrs. Caldwell roused a spirit of revenge, unprecedented in its influence. She was highly connected and universally beloved ; the murder was thought to have been designed. Caldwell preached more “ rousing” sermons than ever. Three weeks later, Washington moved some of his forces toward the Highlands, and Knyphausen once more landed in Jersey, and pushed on toward Springfield, hoping to gain the passes beyond Morristown; but alarm-guns spread the news of his approach, and General Greene, who had been left in command, was on the alert. Knyphausen found as much opposition as on the other occasion. The Jersey regiment, commanded by Dayton, and of which Caldwell was chaplain, was engaged in the battle. The soldiers were in want of wadding, and the chaplain galloped to the Presbyterian church, and brought a quantity of Watts' psalm and hymn books and distributed them for the purpose among the soldiers.
Now,” cried he,“ put Watts into them, boys!" The Americans increasing, Knyphausen, after burning the village of Springfield, effected another inglorious retreat.
The Baron De Kalb was sent, soon after the surrender of Lincoln, to take command of the army South, and all the continental troops south of Pennsylvania were detached for that service. In the midst of these discourage- March ments, Lafayette returned from his visit to France. He brought intelligence that a French fleet, with an army on board, had sailed to America, and also there might be