Wlliam Gilmore Simms
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War >> III. >> Page 155

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Page 155

Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
this State, whose legislative body, instead of pushing forward
to remove the evil from their neighbouring State, which, in
fact, was keeping destruction out of their own, were disputing
who should be the greatest man, the governor or an idol of
their own creation. I dare say you are no stranger to the
proceedings of this late assembly, which, I think, verifies the
old adage : ' after the steed is stolen, shut the stable door.' I am sorry I cannot give v ou any intelligence of the northern
(Virginia, Maryland and Delaware) troops. . . . I think that
Charleston (if ever) must fall before the men can be raised
from this State for her assistance."" 15th May. Troops paraded according to order this day.
Gen. Leslie attended. The enemy very much surprised at the
smallness of our numbers. While the men were on parade
at the barracks, the arsenal where we used to keep our fixed
ammunition—where our arms, and the pistols and swords of
the militia were deposited this day by the enemy—was blown
up accidentally. As near as we could learn, two hundred
lives were lost—one-half, the enemy's guard and artillery,
with three officers ; the other, the inhabitants who resided
near, and the lunatics and negroes that were chained in gaol
for trifling misdemeanours. Some * * * men of the
enemy imagined it was perpetrated by our party ; but the
more sensible are certain it was occasioned by the forcing of
one of the guns which they were laying in the store, as most
of our soldiers' guns, when delivered, were loaded, and one
had fired in the same place yesterday, by being too roughly
handled in a removal. Contiguous to this arsenal, there was
a magazine which contained thirty thousand weight of pow-
der, which it was expected would take fire. The inhabitants
were much alarmed, and both they and the British who were
quartered at that end of the town removed their effects.
During the confusion which this fire occasioned, both
who were on parade, were strongly guarded by a detachment
of Hessians. However, when the danger abated and peace
was restored, Gen. Leslie returned, made some apologies for
our detention from quarters, and we, as prisoners, were glad