Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XV >> Page 159

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Page 159

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
Transcription THE HISTORY OF SOUTH CAROLINA.159
was commissioned to see that the "republic sustained no
harm." With these powers, he issued a proclamation
commanding the militia to repair to the garrison ; but this
proclamation produced very little effect. The people of
the country were unwilling to leave their plantations
unprotected, and have always been particularly averse to
being cooped up in a besieged town. Had Sir Henry
Clinton, the commander-in-chief of the invading army,
at once advanced against the city, it must have fallen in
a few days. But that cautious commander, a good sol-
dier, but one not formed for brilliant or prompt achieve-
ments, adopted the slow mode of regular investiture.
At Wappoo, on James island, he formed a depot and built
fortifications. More than a month elapsed after his first
landing, before he crossed Ashley river. On the first of
April he broke ground at the distance of eleven hundred
yards, and at successive periods erected five batteries on
Charlestown neck. His ships of war about the same
time crossed the bar, and passing Fort Moultrie with a
fair wind, avoided a second regular combat with that
fortress. They were not, however, suffered to pass with-
out a heavy penalty. Colonel Pinckney, who commanded
at the fort, kept up a brisk and severe fire upon them,
and did great execution. The ships generally sustained
considerable damage. Twenty-seven seamen were kil-
led or wounded. The fore-top-mast of the Richmond
was shot away, and the Acetus ran aground near Had-
drell's point, and was destroyed by her crew, under a
heavy fire from two field pieces commanded by colonel
Gadsden. The crew escaped in boats. The royal fleet
came to anchor within long shot of the town batteries.