Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XV >> Page 155

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Page 155

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
neighborhood. Flushed with the belief that the fall of
Savannah was certain, the Americans turned out with
alacrity, and on the 16th of September, 1779, Savannah,
beleaguered by the united force of Lincoln and D'Estaing,
was summoned to surrender. The garrison requested
twenty-four hours to consider the demand. Unhappily,
this delay was allowed, and the fortunate moment lost, in
which an assault might have proved effectual. In that
time, a detachment of British troops, which had been sta-
tioned at Beaufort, under the command of lieutenant colo-
nel Maitland, succeeded in throwing itself into the belea-
guered city.
The arrival of such a re-inforcement determined the
garrison to risk an assault. The besiegers were reduced
to the necessity either of storming or regularly besieging
the place. The former measure was resolved upon.
On the evening of the 23d, they broke ground, and on
the 4th of October following, opened a fire upon the city
from nine mortars and thirty seven pieces of cannon from
the land side, and sixteen from the river. These contin-
ued to play with little intermission for four days, but
without making any serious impression on the defences
of the place. Preparations were then made for an as.
sault. This measure was forced on D'Estaing, by the
necessity of withdrawing his fleet without delay from a
coast which is so dangerous to shipping at such a season
of the year. The morning of the 9th of October was
fixed upon for the attack. Two feints were made with
the country militia, and a real attack on the Spring Hill
battery, with 2500 French troops, 600 continentals and
350 of the Charlestown militia ; the whole being led by