Wlliam Gilmore Simms
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War >> III. >> Page 159

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Page 159

Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
What must be the effect of such declarations upon the citi-
zens—what was the effect upon the officers ? We are, as the
reader perceives, in possession of papers which Ramsay had
never seen. What does Gen. McIntosh tell us ? That the
first council of war to which he was summoned was one in
which Lincoln, having suffered the enemy almost entirely to
close him within their meshes, coolly invites the officers to an
evacuation. Who resisted this ? The citizens—and well they
might, since, up to this moment, every confidence had been
expressed that the works were tenable, and that the place
could be successfully defended. Yet, before a gun was fired,
we find Commodore Whipple offering to bet that the salt
meat of the garrison was deficient, and proposing to inquire
into the quantity in store. All this time, the proper authori-
ties assure us of ample supplies. By whose neglect was this
deficiency ? Ample time for its remedy, abundant resources
for supply were to be had in the surrounding country ; yet
no attempt was made to procure them. Let us hear what
Tarleton says of this defence :
" The garrison, under the orders of Major Gen. Lincoln,
was composed of ten weak continental and state regiments ;
of militia drawn from the Carolinas and Virginia, and of in-
habitants of the town ; amounting, in the whole, to near six
thousand men, exclusive of the sailors.* The body of regu-
lar troops destined for this service, though assisted by the
militia and by the inhabitants, was scarcely adequate to the
defence of such extensive fortifications, and could have been
more usefully employed in the field, where judicious opera-
tions, assisted by the resources to be found in the country,
and by the approaching heat of the season, would have pro-
tected the greatest part of the fertile province of South-Caro-
lina, would have soon overbalanced the present superiority of
the British forces, and would have effectually prevented the
co-operation of the royal army and navy."
* The British return of prisoners, exclusive of sailors, makes the number only 4,704.