Wlliam Gilmore Simms
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War >> III. >> Page 77

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Page 77

Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
Conress consisted of fifteen hundred Virginia and North-
Carolina continentals, and four small vessels of war, under
Commodore Whipple. The only hope was in the citizens of
the place besieged, and the country militia. The force might
be three thousand, all told, of whom most of the British sub-
jects were secretly friendly to the invader, and proved of great
service to him during the progress of the siege ; and the
country militia were not to be persuaded to the defence of a
beleaguered city, from which there was no escape, and within
whose walls a pestilence was said to rage, of which they had
always entertained a feeling of the profoundest fear and hor-
ror. An attempt was made to negotiate for succours with
the Governor of Havana, but it failed ; and, according to
Ramsay, had Sir Henry Clinton pushed forward boldly with
a force so overwhelming as that under his command, he
might have possessed himself of the place in four days after
he approached it. But Sir Henry was one of the cautious
captains of the old school, lacking—as did most of the mili-
tary men of that period, as well British as American—of that
first of all soldierly virtues, an active military enterprise. The
age was a fighting one, unquestionably, but its military genius
was not remarkable. There was no fit successor to Eugene
and Marlborough. Certain, Sir Henry Clinton was not a
representative of any, the least of the endowments of these
great men. He felt, rather than forced his way ; and was
content to make himself sure by perseverance, rather than
achieve the same results by bold and brilliant adventure.
We now propose to supersede our own as well as the nar-
ratives of the regular historians, by the details afforded by
our several journalists, to whom reference has been already
made in the list of authorities which form the caption of this
article. The first of these from whom we propose to draw, is
Monsieur De Brahm, of whom we know little, but who has