Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XIV >> Page 151

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 151

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
Moultrie had been left in command at Purysburg with
one thousand militia. With this inferior force, he threw
himself in the path of the British general, striving, while
retreating to the defence of the city, to impede his pro-
gress as much as he could, and gain time for the citizens
to improve their fortifications. Lincoln could not be per-
suaded that the march of Prevost was any more than a
feint by which to divert him from his operations in
Georgia. When the real object of the enterprising
enemy was ascertained, the American general set forth
with all possible expedition on his return. But for the
firmness of Moultrie, and the zeal of the citizens, he
would have arrived too late. When Prevost crossed the
Savannah river, Charlestown was almost defenceless.
Invasion on the land side, while Moultrie lay at Purys-
burg, and Lincoln was in Georgia, was an event so
unexpected, that no provision had been made against it ;
but zeal compensated for past remissness, and a brief
delay of Prevost along the road, lost him the prize he
aimed for.
This delay enabled the citizens to fortify Charleston
neck with lines and an abbatis. The militia in the
vicinity were collected. The whole ,country was in
commotion. Five several armies were marching for
the capital. Moultrie, with his thousand men, pressed
by Prevost, was hurrying in, le6s with the view to his
own safety than to throw himself into the city. Lincoln,
with four thousand men, seeking to recover lost ground
and time, was pressing on the footsteps of Prevost.
Rutledge, governor of the state, with six hundred militia
from Orangeburg, and colonel Harris with a detachment