Wlliam Gilmore Simms
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War >> III. >> Page 156

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Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
to be released. During the confusion, the British much
alarmed. Patrols in the streets till the fire was extinguished.
Their whole garrison under arms." [Subaltern.]
This terrible explosion was, in some degree, due to the
Americans. We have it from an aged relative, who saw her
father return from the lines with some of his comrades, who,
being ordered to deposit his arms at the arsenal, deliberately
thrust into his musket all the cartridges which remained in his
cartouch box, eight or nine in number. His example was
followed by his companions, and the feeling of vexation which
prompted this proceeding was that of many more. The arms
were thrown recklessly upon the heap, and probably many of
them were on cock at the moment. The consequences might
have been predicted. Moultrie thus describes the event,
though he accounts for it in another way. No doubt nume-
rous concurrent circumstances brought about the result.
" When the British received their arms, they put them in
wagons and carried them to a store-house, where we had de-
posited our fixed ammunition (about 4,000 pounds) ; and
although they were informed by some of our officers that the
arms were loaded, and several of them went off before the
explosion took place, yet, in taking them out of the wagons,
they threw them so carelessly into the store, that some at last
set fire to the powder, which blew up the whole guard of
men, and many officers that were standing by—their carcases,
legs and arms were seen in the air, and scattered over several
parts of the town. One man was dashed with violence against
the steeple of the new Independent Church, (Gilman's) which
was a great distance from the explosion, and left the marks of
his body there for several days. The houses in the town re-
ceived a great shock, and the window sashes rattled as if they
would tumble out of the frames. Most of our militia men
were still together. After delivering up their arms, they went
i n a body to assist in extinguishing the fire, that had commu-
nicated itself to the neighbouring houses ; and while they
were working they were under the most dreadful apprehension