Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter XXVI >> Page 281

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Page 281

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
But before the place could be put in perfect security,
Greene conceived it necessary to drive the British from
John's island, one of the inner chain of islands which
stretch along the coast from Charlestown to Savannah,
separated from the main by creeks and marshes, and
from each other by estuaries of the rivers, generally
denominated sounds and inlets. John's and James'
islands, with the city and the Neck, were now the only
footholds left to the British, of all their conquests in
South Carolina.
On John's island, which is secure, fertile and exten-
sive, they maintained a force of five hundred men, under
colonel Craig. The island was also guarded at all ac-
cessible points, by gallies carrying heavy guns. These
gallies, at a favorable time of the tide, might easily ap-
proach Jacksonborough, which is not beyond striking
distance from John's island ; while the communication
with Charlestown being open through James Island, made
it easy for the British, unperceived, to throw re-inforce-
ments into the former. Greene resolved to drive the
enemy from this important position. It was soon ascer-
tained, not only that the island was accessible, but that
the British, unapprehensive of danger, were comparatively
unprepared for attack. Laurens and Lee, knowing the
desire of Greene, and having examined the approaches,
solicited his permission to enter upon the undertaking.
Their plan was to pass by night between the gallies, and
surprise the force under Craig. There was one point
between the Stono and Edisto, at which the island was
formerly connected with the highland by a piece of hard
marsh, To complete the inland communication between