Wlliam Gilmore Simms
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War >> III. >> Page 175

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Page 175

Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
Transcription SOUTH-CAROLINA IN THE REVOLUTION. 175
to have exercised the ordinary degree of energy under the
circumstances in which he was found. One of the first mis-
takes which seems to have been made, was that which related
to the inaccessibility of the harbour to large ships of war.
On this conviction, without inquiry or explanation, the parties
rely who have the town in their keeping. They calculate
that, with the fort (Moultrie) on one hand, their own little
fleet in front, and certain physical obstructions thrown between,
to retard the passage of the enemy, white the fort and the
fleet within shall do the necessary amount of cannonading
and it will be impossible for the British to reach the city
The plan was a good one. Floating batteries, constructed of
ranging timber, of successive layers, with empty air-tight
casks let down into the sections, grappled by chains together,
and anchored directly in the channel, might have afforded the necessary obstructions. The manufacture of such chevaux de
frise is exceedingly simple, and called for very little time. In
our day, we should probably fill the open sections between
the timbers with cotton bags, build a battery of cotton bags
upon the rafts, and plant a few pieces of heavy cannon upon
them. These, however, employed as obstructions simply, and
moored between the advancing enemy and the city, imme-
diately in the channel, would have sufficed, in giving all the
time necessary for the shore and fleet batteries to have blown
the British out of the water. But everything is put off, until,
suddenly, the big ships, the 64's of the enemy, get over the
bar, and scare Com. Whipple out of all his conceit. The
obstructions are not in readiness, and the place is abandoned,
while the fleet, consisting of some excellent vessels, are de-
graded to the work of hulks, and sunk as obstructions to a
river which might be tapped at both extremities. Well—the
entrance of the British fleet is securely effected, with the big