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ing to them being situate thereon: That on the 3d, it is probable the king of Spain will conquer the Floridas during the course of the present war, and in such event every cause of dispute relative thereto, between Spain and these United States, ought to be removed: That on the 4th, the lands lying on the east side of the Mississippi, whereon the settlements were prohibited by the said proclamation, are possessions of the crown of Great Britain, and proper objects against which the arms of Spain may be employed for the purpose of making a permanent conquest for the Spanish crown; that such conquest may be made probably during the present war ; that therefore it would be adviseable to restrain the southern states from making any settlements or conquests in these territories : that the council of Madrid consider the United States as having no claims to these territories, either as not having had possession of them before the present war, or not having any foun: dation for a claim in the right of the sovereign of Great Britain, whose dorninion they have abjured:-That his most Christian majesty, united to the Catholic King by blood, and by the strictest alliances, and united with these states in treaties of alliance, and feeling toward them dispositions of the most perfect friendship, is exceedingly desirous of conciliating between his Catholic majesa ty and the United States the most happy and lasting friendship:
That the United States may ropose the utmost confidence in his good will to their interests, and in the justice and liberality of his Catholic majesty: and That he cannot deem the revolution which has set up the independence of these United States, as past all danger of unfavourable events, until his Catholic majesty and the said states shall be established on those terms of confidence and amity, which are the objects of his most Christian majesty's very earnest wishes,”
The information you are now entering upon, inay appear singular after reading the answer of Congress to the minister of France, on the article of provision. In the middle of December, a part of general Washington's army was several days without bread; and for the rest he had not, eitheron the spot or within reach, a supply sufficient for four days. Reckoning back from January the 8th, and both officers and men were almost perishing through want for a fortnight. The deficiency proceeded from the absolute emptiness of the American magazines in every place, and the total want of money or credit to replenish them. So that the general was obliged to call upon the magistrates of the Jersey state ; to expose his situation to them; and to declare in plain terms, that he and his army were reduced to the alternative of disbanding or catering forthemselves, unless the inhabitants would
afford them aid. He" allotted to each county a certain propore' tion of flour or grain, and a certain number of cattle to be deLivered on certain days. To the honor of the magistrates and the good disposition of the people, be it added, that his requisitions were punctually complied with, and in many counties exo ceeded. Nothing but this greatand patriotic exertion, which claims the particular consideration, and the warmest acknowledgments' of the public, could have saved the army from dessolution or starya' ing, as the troops were bereft of every hope from the commissa ries. At one time the soldiers eat every kind of horse food but hay: buck wheat, common wheat, rye and Indian corn, formed' the composition of the meal that made their bread. As an army they bore it with heroic patience: but such sufferings, accompanied with the want of clothes, blankets, &c. produced frequent desertions, though not a single niutiny. Would you have ex. pected, that the commander in chief should have been under the necessity of inserting ia general orders of January 29th- The general is astonished and mortified, that notwithstanding the lasť order, the inhabitants in the vicinity of the camp are absolutely a prey to the plundering and licentious spirit of the soldiery. From daily complaints, and a formal representation of the magistrates, a night scarcely passes without gangs of soldiers going outof camp. and committing every species of robbery, depredation, and the grossest personal insults. These violences are committed on the property and persons of those, who, on a very late alarming occasion for the want of provision, manifested the warmest attachment to the army, by affording it the most generous and plentiful relief.” - Congress have given the public a state of the expenditures for the last year. The sums advanced to exchange bills of the emis- . sions of May 20, 1777, and April 11, 1778, were 15,321,897 dollars. No more than five millions sre specified in their journals for each of such dates. There must therefore have been issued from their own presses more than five millions and a half beyond what was specified, or their agents who were to exchange the genuine ones, had not the means of detecting the counterfeits ; the last.is-scarce conceivable. They have also settled a small pension on an Elizabeth Bengin, late an inhabitant of New.' York, who was indefatigable in relieving the American prisoners, and in facilitating their escape. The British at length suspected, or had proof of her conduct, and sent a party to secure her. She begged leave to dress herself before she was carried to the com
* George Walkington's letters of January and February,
mander, and withdrew to an adjoining room, from whence she, made her escape to a friend, and lay secreted till an opportunity offered of quitting the city. She had a trusty waterman acting. in concert with her, who in dark nights safely conveyed away, by the help of muffled oars, the officers and privates whom her; friendship had concealed. When she had gotten clear off, her, circumstances were so distressing, that gen. Washington hcaring of it, and knowing the part she had taken, and the risk she had run, recommended her to Congress.
Sir H. Clinton's expedition to South Carolina is next to be considered. Though the fleet and convoy sailed from New-York on the 26th of December, they did not arrive at Savannah till the end of January. The voyage was also very unprosperous. Through the tempestuousness of the weather, great mischief was. done among the transports and victualers. Several were lost, others damaged, and a few taken by the Americans. An ordnance ship went down with all her stores; and most of the horses, . whether for draught, or appertaining to the cavalry, were lost," various delays prevented, so that the troops did not land before the 11th of February, on the south part of John's island, about 30 miles distant from Charlestown. A week before, gen. Lincoln had dispatched lieut. col. Ternant to the Havannah, with. solicitations to the Spanish governor to contribute his assistance against the British. The colonel was authorised to promise 2000 men to co-operate with the Spaniards in reducing St. Augustine, if they would lend a sufficient force of ships and troops for the,. defence of Charlestown. The South-Carolina assembly was sit , ting when the British landed, and directly delegated, till ten days. after the next session, to gov. Rutledge, and such of his council as he could conveniently consult, a power to do every thing new , cessary for the public good, except the taking away the life of a. citizen without a legal trial, and then adjourned. The govern- . ; or immediately ordered the militia to rendezvous. Though the: necessity was great, few obeyed the pressing call. A proclamation: was soon issued, requiring the militia that were regularly draughted, and all the inhabitants and owners of property in the town, to repair to the American standard, and join the garrison, with out delay, under pain of confiscation. This severe measure pro..." duced little effect. The country was greatly dispirited through the repulse at Savannah the preceding October, and the higli ideas which that had produced of the power of Britain and had Sir H. Clinton pushed at once for the town, he would probably have possessed himself of it in four days after landing; but his caution put him upon proceeding by a regular attack, Pre
vious to the debarkation of his troops, he had taken care to have the harbour blocked up, so that had the Americans evacuated the place, they must have given up not only their ships, but their baggage, field artillery and stores, as they could not have pro. cured a number of waggons sufficient for the transportation of the same. It was the wish of the inhabitants to save their capital, and they were in hopes of effecting it. Gen. Lincoln was desirous of their being gratified, and acted accordingly. Though he had then but about 1400 continentals fit for duty, including those of South-Carolina, North-Carolina and Virginia, together with about 1000 North-Carolina militia ; yctas he had been assured of succours to complete his force to near 10,000, he promised himself that when further opposition could no longer avail, an evacuation would be practicable. The apparent design of Sir Henry Clinton to risk nothing, induced him to proceed slowly. He formed a depot on James-Island, and erected fortifications there and on the main, opposite to the southern and western extremities of the town. On the 29th of March, his grenadiers, light troops, and two battalions of infantry, crossed AshleyRiver; and on the next day appeared before the American lines, and encamped about 3000 yards in front of them. The works thrown up in the spring of 1779, had been strengthened and extended, and lines of defence and redoubts continued across Charleston-neck from Cooper to Ashley-River. Gen. Lincoln had early pressed upon the state the certainty of an intended invasion, and the necessity of strenuous and timely exertions to provide against it. He ever turned out himself, not only to assist on the works, but to set an example of emulation, that no one might think it beneath him to give his assistance. This was his constant practice, going out with the foremost in the morning, and returning with the last in the evening, until the near approach of the enemy called him to other duties. In front of the lines was a strong abbatis and a wet ditch, picketed on the nearest side. Between the abbatis and the lines deep holes were dug at short distances froni each other. The lines were made particularly strong on the right and left, and so constructed as to take the wet ditch in almost its whole extent. In the centre a strong citadel was erected. Works were thrown up on all sides of the town where a landing was practicable. That gen, Lincoln did not oppose the enemy's crossing the river, was owing to his not having suficient force: his whole strength at that time amounted only to 2225, beside the sailors in the batteries. It was found, upon examination, that the ships meant for the defence of Charleston, could not be possibly so stationed as to defend the
bar; and that the enemy, with a leading easterly wind, and flood making in, would enter the harbour, and under full sail pass the continental frigates lying in Five-Fathom-Hole. Coinnio. dore Whipple, therefore, with his small fleet, consisting of the Bricole, of 44 guns, the Providence and Boston, each of 32, the Queen of France, of 28, l'Avantur and the Truite, each of 26, the Ranger, and brig Gen. Lincoln, each of 20; and; the brig Notre Dame of 16 guns, abandoned the defence of the bar, and retreated to Fort Moultrie. On the 20th of March
adm. Arbuthnot, with the Renown, of 50 guns, the Romulus · and Roebuck, each of 44, the Richmond, Le Blond and Raleigh,
each of 32, and the Sandwich armed ship, crossed the bar iry frontof Rebellion-Road,and anchored in Five-Tathom-Hole. The American fleet retreated to Charleston, and the crews and gung of all the vessels, except the Ranger, were put on shore to re. inforce the batteries. An enquiry should have been made before the British fleet appeared off the harbour, whether the Ameri, can ships could defend the bar, and upon the discovery of their incapability, they should have been sent away in time. When the captains and pilots, in their joint letter of February the 27th to gen. Lincoln, assigned such incapability as the reason for their abandoning the defence of it, the resolution should have been taken to evacuate Charleston, and to retreat into the open cou. try, and there wait for reinforcements, without running the risk of being completely invested by the enemy.
It appeared (April 1.] that the British had broken ground inz several places, about 1100 yards in front of the Americans. Though the lines were no more than field works, yet Sir H. Cline ton treated them with the respectful homage of three parallels, and made his advances with the greatest circumspection. By the 10th, the first parallel was completed, and directly upon it the town was summoned to surrender, without effect. The same day 700 continentals, under gen. Woodford, who had marched 500 miles in 28 days, arrived in Charleston. But while the siege was pending, near the same number of North-Carolina militia quitted the lines and went off, the time of their service being expired. The day before the summons adni. Arbuthnot weighed anchor, and taking advantage of a strong southerly wind and flowing tide, passed Fort Moultrie, which kept up a brisk and sem vere fire on the ships in their passage, and did them some damage, beside killing or wounding 27 seamen. A transport ran aground and was burnt by the crew. The royal fleet anchored within long shot of the town batteries. To prevent the ships runding up Cooper-River from which they might have enfiladed the lines,