Wlliam Gilmore Simms
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War >> III. >> Page 76

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Page 76

Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
without provisions, without credit, without men enough to
man the works—with pestilence within the walls—no succour
from without, and in spite of the almost total disregard of
Congress, (under the great powers of New England absorp-
tion,) from whom neither men, nor money, nor munitions,
were to be acquired., The bare , statement of the fact is con-
clusive of the spirit and patriotism of those to whom the
keeping of the State had been confided, and entirely refutes
the unjust and ungenerous insinuations that the Carolinians
shrunk from the defence of their chief city. But this matter
has been sufficiently considered in preceding pages.
The royal army destined for the reduction of Charleston
was embarked in the fleet of Admiral Arbuthnot, in Decem-
ber, 1799. The departure had been delayed until the French
fleet of' D'Estaing had disappeared from the Southern coasts.
The passage was a long and tedious one. Touching at Sa-
vannah for refreshments, they sailed for North Edisto, and,
landing about thirty miles from Charleston, made their ap-
proaches gradually, taking possession of the several islands
which lay between, and, finally, of James Island and Wappoo Cut. On the approach of this fleet and army, the Assembly
of South-Carolina, which was then in session, delegated the
most ample powers to John Rutledge, the Governor, and such
of his Council as he could conveniently consult in exigency,
by which he was authorized " to do every thing necessary for
the public good"—in other words, in the old Roman phrase,
to see "that the republic sustained no harm." Rutledge,
thus armed, proceeded with due energy to the business of
defence. But his mean* and appliances were wretchedly
few and feeble. The South-Carolina continentals had, in the
three years of the war already passed, been reduced from six
regiments of twenty-four hundred, to but little more than a
regiment of one-third that number. The force obtained from