Sunday, June 26, 2022

ARP249 Saint Louis


In our last episode, we covered the fall of Charleston, which began the southern campaign that would occupy most of the fighting for the rest of the war.  It’s important, however, to remember that fighting remained a constant danger all over the continent, and even in other parts of the world.  Once Britain was battling France and Spain, colonies and territories of all combatant countries were up for grabs whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Cumberland Compact

The war also presented an opportunity for Americans to push westward once again.  Under the King, the Proclamation of 1763 prevented colonists from moving west of the Appalachian Mountains.  Not only would pioneers have to contend with angry Indian tribes who objected to encroachments on their land, London could opt to send in regulars to clear out illegal squatters on western lands.

St Louis attack as portrayed on Mo. Capitol
Recall that back in Episode 102, I discussed efforts by colonists to establish claims in what would later become Tennessee.  In 1772, the Watauga Association had negotiated a ten-year lease with the Cherokee, and in 1775 made an outright purchase of the land in what became known as the treaty of Sycamore Shoals.  Many Cherokee chiefs refused to recognize the treaty and argued that the other chiefs had no authority to sell this land.

British officials in London did not recognize the legality of this purchase, and still required colonists to remain east of the mountains.  But since the purchase took place about a month before the battle of Lexington, British attention was focused elsewhere.  The British did encourage Cherokee attacks led by Dragging Canoe.  The colonists defeated the Cherokee, who were forced to accept the sale of lands from the treaty of Sycamore Shoals in another treaty in 1777.  

James Robertson
A group of North Carolinians under the leadership of James Robertson traveled into what is today central Tennessee and established Fort Nashborough along the Cumberland River.  It was named after Francis Nash, a Continental general from North Carolina, who had just been killed at Germantown.  Robertson had lived in western Tennessee.  He had made earlier trips over the Appalachians to explore the region.  In 1769 he had made such a trip with Daniel Boone.  Robertson was not a fan of the North Carolina government, having fought at the Battle of Alamance in 1771. 

It was after Alamance that Robertson moved his first group of families over the mountains, with the hope of settling outside the reach of the colonial government.  In 1779 after North Carolina had its independent patriot government, Robertson briefly took on a post as the state’s agent with the Cherokee, but he soon resigned that post.  

With others, Robertson formed the Watauga Association as a somewhat informal governing body. These early settlers, along with others who had violated the British prohibition on settling west of the mountains, later became known as the Overmountain men.

Robertson’s community at Fort Nashborough was one of several tiny outposts in the region, still surrounded by Cherokee, many of whom were hostile to their presence.  In May of 1780, these families agreed to the Cumberland Compact.  Signed by 256 colonists, the Compact established a governing council of 12 judges, elected by free men aged 21 or older.  It allowed voters the right to remove judges at any time.  It also paid the judges and a few other officials in animal skins.  The primary purpose of the Compact was to establish a system of defense.  All males 16 or older were obliged to be members of the militia.  Crimes that could involve the death penalty would require the accused to be transferred to the east, where he could be judged by North Carolina Courts.

The Cumberland Compact created a relatively simple government, but it remained in place until Tennessee became an independent state many years later.  The British army never sent any regulars into the region during the war, but many of the militia would later march east and participate in the Battle of King’s Mountain.

Saint Louis

Of greater interest to the British was control of the Mississippi River.  In earlier episodes, I noted that the land west of the Mississippi was under the control of Spain.  France had turned over this territory to Spain at the end of the Seven Years War.  Although Spain had nominally taken control of the Louisiana Territory in 1763, St. Louis was founded within that territory by French settlers from Canada and named in honor of a former King of France.  Although Louis XV was king at the time, the city was named after King Louis IX, who had led France during the Crusades and who had been declared a saint in the Catholic Church.  

Much like the American settlers in Tennessee, the French settlers at St. Louis were mostly left to fend for themselves.  They established their own government and ran the area under French legal traditions. Spanish officials did not bother to arrive in the city until 1770. Even after they did, the town mostly spoke French and retained much of its French culture, giving only a nominal nod to Spanish rule.  The Spanish sent Don Pedro Piernas to be the lieutenant governor of upper Louisiana.  Piernas established residency at St. Louis with a small garrison of Spanish soldiers.

In 1775, Piernas was replaced by Francisco Cruzat, another Spanish military officer.  He, in turn, was replaced by Fernando de Leyba in 1778.  Governor de Leyba was aware of fighting between British and American forces on the other side of the river, and wanted to be prepared for the war to spill over into Spanish territory.  

Fort San Carllos
He began to build up defenses at St. Louis including Fort San Carlos - named in honor of King Carlos III of Spain. The plans for the fort included four large stone towers, and a large trench around the entire village perimeter.  Although Spain declared war on Britain in June 1779, de Leyba did not receive word of this until February of 1780, only a few months before the attack began. He realized Saint Louis would not have time to build the entire stone fort that he wanted.  He had one of the towers ready and put up log walls.  He distributed five canons at various points to discourage any direct land attack.

Several weeks before the attack, de Leyba received intelligence that a raid was coming soon, but he never got detailed information about exactly when it would strike or how large a force he would face.

British Plan of Attack

In the early years of the war, both Americans and British did all they could to respect Spanish authority along the river.  Neither side wanted to push neutral Spain into joining the enemy. With Spain’s entry into the war in 1779, that drastically changed British attitudes toward Spanish possessions.  Britain hoped to take control of the Mississippi River, although since Spain controlled the mouth of the River at New Orleans, the British never devoted much resources to this goal.

Up until this time, British efforts along the Mississippi had not gone very well.  Recall back in Episode 210, I talked about British Lieutenant Governor Henry Hamilton’s efforts to secure the region from his base in Detroit.  Hamilton had contended with Virginians under the command of George Rogers Clark during the winter of 1778-79, and had ended up being taken prisoner that spring.

After Hamilton’s capture, another British Lieutenant Governor, Patrick Sinclair of Michilimackinack assumed responsibility for retaking the region.  Sinclair was also an experienced military officer, having served under Amherst in America during the French and Indian war.  He remained in Canada after the war, gaining experience as a young officer exploring the wilderness areas around the Great Lakes.

Peacetime, however, was not a time for advancement.  At age 36, Sinclair retired from service as a captain in 1772.  His career took on a new chapter three years later when in 1775, he was appointed lieutenant governor and superintendent of Michilmakinack, then part of the Quebec territory.  He attempted to travel to Canada soon after his appointment, but several failed voyages left him still in England in 1778.  He finally managed to make it to Halifax, but then took another year getting to Quebec.  He did not present his credentials to Governor Haldimand until late 1779, over four years after receiving his commission.  He spent the next couple of years relocating a poorly positioned fort onto Mackinac Island.

As a civilian officer, Sinclair was not in command of military forces in the area.  That fell to Major Arent Schuyler DePeyster, who outranked Captain Sinclair in the British army.  DePeyster was soon transferred to Detroit, giving Sinclair command authority over the small military garrison.

Following Spain’s entry into the war, London dispatched orders to the British leadership in Canada from Secretary of State Lord Germain.  The instructions called on local leaders to plan and execute attacks on Spanish possessions.  Sinclair focused his sites on St. Louis.

Sinclair only had command of a tiny garrison at Michilimackinac, and he was not going to get any reinforcements.  An attack by regulars was out of the question.  Instead, it would consist of local volunteers supplemented by native warriors.  Sinclair offered local fur traders opportunities to control the fur trade along the territory as an incentive to participate in the campaign.  Native warriors were always up for the opportunity for plunder and also received generous gifts from Sinclair to encourage participation.

Command of this local military force was given to Emanuel Hesse, an experienced fur trader who had good relations with the native tribes and also had some experience as a militia captain.  There seems to be little in the way of exact numbers or written records for this campaign, but it appears that Hesse was joined by about two dozen other fur traders, lured by opportunities to control the fur trade in the captured territories.

Wahpasha
The bulk of the fighting force would be native warriors.  About 200 Sioux (aka Dakota) warriors commanded by a war chief named Wahpasha made up the largest single contingent.  The Sioux, however, were not really British allies.  They had been staunch allies of the French for many years and had been rather stand-offish once the British took control of Canada.  It’s not clear exactly why they joined this campaign, but likely it was based on the relationships they had with the French speaking fur traders who recruited them.

Warriors from quite a few other tribes also joined the campaign.  Warriors from the Chippewa, Menomminee, Winnebago, Sac, and Fox nations all participated.  Because the British did not entirely trust the Sioux, their Chief Wapasha had to cede overall command of the Indian force to Matchekewis, a Chippewa Chief.  The Sioux and Chippewa were traditional enemies, but the two chiefs managed to establish an understanding during the course of the campaign that allowed the warriors to remain on good terms.  In total there were probably around 1000 native warriors from at least ten different tribes joined together on the campaign.

St. Louis Raid

The mostly native force marched for a little over three weeks before reaching the vicinity around St. Louis.  Captain Hesse sent out scouts to get a look at the Spanish defenses, but could not get close enough.  He wanted to maintain the element of surprise, and there were too many farmers in the area for a group to get close enough to the village undetected.

On May 26, Hesse deployed his warriors.  He opted to divide his warriors in order to attack the American controlled town of Cahokia on the eastern bank and St. Louis on the Western Bank.  Cahokia was under the command of George Rogers Clark.

Raid on St. Louis
Despite wanting the element of surprise, the attackers launched their raid around mid-day.  The Spanish defenders fired a warning shot from their stone tower to let them know they had been spotted.  The Sioux and Winnebego warriors led the attack, backed up the Sac and Fox warriors. The French fur traders, including Captain Hesse, made up the rear.  The battle raged over several hours. 

The Spanish defenders were well outnumbered, with only about 200-300 men to defend the village, most of them inexperienced militia.  The attacking warriors attempted to draw out the Spanish defenders into open combat.  This included executing some captives in front of the enemy.  The natives hoped the defenders would rush to the aid of their friends and family, so that they could be attacked by the warriors in an open field.

Some of the defending militia asked to make a sortie and rescue the captives, but de Lebya refused, knowing it was a trap.  The defenders remained behind their defenses.  They used their cannons effectively to discourage a frontal attack by the enemy.

The Spanish commander later reported that the defenders took about 100 casualties, the majority of whom were captured as prisoners by the attacking force.

Cahokia Raid

At the same time Hesse launched the raid on St. Louis, one of his other associates, Jean-Marie Ducharme launched the raid against Cahokia, with a force of about 300 warriors.  Cahokia did not have cannons but had set up defensive barriers in anticipation for an attack.  Clark had traveled to St. Louis to coordinate with Spanish authorities over a defense strategy ,and lobby for a joint offensive against the British.  Clark and his officers rushed back to Cahokia after receiving word that the enemy was close.  They arrived shortly before the attack began.

The defenders stood their ground, behind defensive barricades.  Clarke’s arrival with reinforcements shortly after the attack began discouraged the attackers.  Clark’s combined force was about 400 men.  The attack did not last long.  Clarke reported the loss of only one Virginia officer, three soldiers, and five of his men taken prisoner.  The attack was poorly organized and was quickly repulsed.  The attackers gave up and began to retreat north.

Aftermath

The attackers gave up on taking either town and moved back toward British lines to the north in a rather scattered and disorganized movement.  Native raiders sacked all the farms and isolated homes they came across, murdering the inhabitants.  In some stories, those captured were burned alive.  Warriors stole what they could and burned whatever they could not take with them.

George Rogers Clark

A few weeks after the attacks Clark organized an offensive raid with about 350 men, mostly Virginians.  They attacked Indian villages at Rock River and Prairie du Chien, burning crops and homes, and paying back the same sort of devastation that the warrior force had inflicted on their people.  The Spanish, who had relied almost entirely on local militia for defense, opted to remain in St. Louis, and did not conduct any retaliatory raids by land.  The Spanish did, however, later send gunboats up the Mississippi, raiding villages of natives who were friendly with the British they seized furs and other valuable supplies, 

The Sac  tribe, which was within the Spanish sphere of influence, tried to make up for participation in the raid.  In June, they sent a delegation to St. Louis, bringing six prisoners, three French-speaking militia and three slaves.  The Fox would also soon try to repair their relationship with Spanish authorities.  Other tribes, particularly the Sioux, remained in active warfare against the Spanish.

Because of the hostile environment, de Leyba sent letters to Governor de Galvez in New Orleans, stating that unless the Spanish could complete a defensible fort at St. Louis with a garrison of at least 200 regulars, they might have to abandon the region as too dangerous.  This threat to leave was probably more of an attempt to get the military support he wanted.  

Death of de Leyba

We don’t know if de Leyba would have made good on his threat to withdraw, because he died in late June from an illness.  The King sent congratulations for his defense of St. Louis, and granted him a promotion to lieutenant colonel, but those honors did not arrive until after his death.

His successor, Lieutenant-Governor Cartabona took a different tact, blaming much of the losses on de  Leyba’s inability to build proper defenses quickly enough.  This was during a period of panic since the Spanish defenders had pretty much used up all their available ammunition and were receiving reports that the Sioux might launch an even larger raid on the city very soon.

Governor Galvez was too busy with his campaign against West Florida to provide much of anything to St. Louis.  He did send Fransisco Cruzat back to take command of St. Louis. Cruzat had been de Leyba’s predecessor in command of the region.  He would take command by September.  Fortunately, none of the rumors of a second major Indian attack proved true before his arrival.

Cruzat spent most of his time trying to secure alliances with all of the local tribes, to ensure they would hot join another attempted raid on the region, and perhaps would be part of any Spanish attempt should the British instigate another raid from northern tribes.  He also continued construction of a better fort at St. Louis.

Despite receiving continued rumors that the British might encourage another Indian attack, St. Louis would never again face a large-scale attack on the city.

Next Week: John Johnson and Joseph Brant lead attacks into the Mohawk Valley.

- - -

Next Episode 249 Mohawk Raids (Available July 10, 2022)


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Further Reading

Websites

James Robertson: https://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entries/james-robertson

James Robertson: https://www.ncpedia.org/biography/robertson-james

Dick, Jimmy “The Battle of St. Louis” Journal of the American Revolution, February 10, 2014: https://allthingsliberty.com/2014/02/the-battle-of-st-louis

Battle of St. Louis: https://revolutionarywar.us/year-1780/battle-st-louis

Battle of St. Louis: https://www.myrevolutionarywar.com/battles/800525-st-louis

Battle of Fort San Carlos: https://www.distilledhistory.com/battlefortsancarlos

Drumm, Stella M. “The British-Indian Attack on Pain Court (St. Louis).” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (1908-1984), vol. 23, no. 4, 1931, pp. 642–51. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40187703

Nasatir, A. P. “The Anglo-Spanish Frontier in the Illinois Country during the American Revolution 1779-1783.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (1908-1984), vol. 21, no. 3, 1928, pp. 291–358. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40187598

Peterson, Charles E. “Notes on Old Cahokia: Part Two: Fort Bowman (1778-1780).” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (1908-1984), vol. 42, no. 2, 1949, pp. 193–208. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40188370

Free eBooks
(from archive.org unless noted)

James, James Alton (ed) George Rogers Clark Papers, Springfield, Ill., Trustees of the Illinois State Historical Library, 1912. 

Matthews, Thomas E. General James Robertson, Father of Tennessee, Nashville: Parthenon Press, 1934.  

McDermott, John Francis (ed) Old Cahokia: a narrative and documents illustrating the first century of its history, St. Louis : St. Louis Historical Documents Foundation, 1949. 

Putnam, A.W. History of Middle Tennessee; or, Life and Times of Gen. James Robertson, Nashville: self-published, 1859. 

Snyder, Ann E. On the Watauga and the Cumberland, Nashville, M.E. Church, 1895. 

Spencer, Thomas E. The Story of Old St. Louis, St. Louis: 1914. 

Books Worth Buying
(links to Amazon.com unless otherwise noted)*

Bays, Bill, James Robertson, Father of Tennessee and Founder of Nashville, West Bow Press, 2013. 

Goodstein, Anita S. Nashville, 1780-1860: From Frontier to City, Univ. Press of Florida, 1989. 

Harrison, Lowell H. George Rogers Clark and the War in the West, Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1976. 

Kling, Steven L. Jr. (ed) The American Revolutionary War in the West, THGC Publishing, 2020.

Kling Stephen L. Jr., Kristine Sjostrom & Marysia T. Lopez The Battle of St. Louis, the Attack on Cahokia, and the American Revolution in the West, THGC Publishing, 2017. 

Nester, William R. George Rogers Clark: I Glory in War, Univ. of Okla Press, 2012. 

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.




Sunday, June 12, 2022

ARP248 Charleston Falls


In our last episode, we left the British having positioned themselves around Charleston.  General Henry Clinton, along with General Cornwallis and Admiral Arbuthnot, had positioned their forces around the city - ready, by the end of April 1780 to blast the American defenses and take Charleston for the king.

Monck’s Corner

The American Commander, General Benjamin Lincoln, remained in Charleston, awaiting the British attack.  Lincoln had assigned Lieutenant Colonel William Washington to command the light infantry forces outside of the city, to skirmish with the advancing British and Hessians.

William Washington
Colonel Washington was from Virginia, a distant cousin of the Commander-in-Chief.  He had some combat experience, one of the few Americans wounded at Trenton during a daring cavalry charge.  In 1780, Washington was still in his late twenties.  General Lincoln believed he would serve as an effective commander of the light infantry around Charleston.

Also outside of Charleston was Brigadier General Isaac Huger.  Although Huger was a Continental General, he was given command of about 500 South Carolina militia who had been called up to oppose the British attack. 

With these forces, Huger secured a position at Monck’s Corner, a crossroad along the Cooper River, a little more than 30 miles north of Charleston.  American control kept supply lines and communications lines from Charleston open to the north.  

Despite the importance of this position Huger found that his militia were woefully inadequate to face any attack.  He reported that two of his companies did not even have muskets.  A third company had muskets but no ammunition.  These men were largely untrained and untested in battle.  Huger put his militia in reserve on the far bank of the river, relying on Colonel Washington to engage with the enemy with his Continentals, and on the militia as backup.  

British General Clinton wanted to take Monck’s Corner, as a way of further isolating the American defenders inside Charleston.  He deployed Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, still in command of a loyalist cavalry that did not have enough horses for all of the men.  With them was a loyalist infantry regiment commanded by another regular officer Major Patrick Ferguson.  Both men were experienced combat officers. Tarleton had gained a reputation during the fighting around New York and Philadelphia as an aggressive commander.  Ferguson, inventor of the Ferguson rifle, had been badly wounded at Brandywine, but had returned to service.  With them Lieutenant Colonel James Webster led two regiments of British regulars.  Although Colonel Webster was the senior officer, he kept his regulars in reserve and gave Colonel Tarleton order to lead the strike on the enemy.

On the evening of April 13, Tarleton’s legion and Ferguson’s volunteers moved forward in a night march, planning to attack the Americans before dawn.  During their advance, they captured an American courier with a letter from Huger to Lincoln, which described the deployment of the American defenses at Monck’s Corner.  Tarleton moved quickly, advancing 18 miles in a five hour night match. At around 3:00 AM, the British reached the American Camp.

Isaac Huger

The Americans were taken completely by surprise.  General Huger and Colonel Washington fled into the nearby swamps with some of their men, abandoning their horses and equipment.  One French officer with the Americans, Chevalier Pierre-Francois Vernier attempted to surrender but was struck down by the British attackers and killed.  The Americans put up almost no defense as they fled in terror.  One company of Americans simply fell in line behind the British and pretended to march along with them as allies until they had an opportunity to flee into the swamps before first light.

The British managed to kill or wound thirty-three Americans, and captured another 63, with the remainder fleeing into the swamps.  The British suffered only three wounded among the attackers.  It was a complete route. The British captured the camp and all of its contents.  Charleston was now cut off from the north.  Colonel Tarleton also happily reported that he had captured enough horses that he could finally mount his entire cavalry regiment.

Tarleton, never one to rest on his laurels, moved his cavalry back toward the coast, along the eastern side of Charleston, where he managed to capture nine sloops carrying patriot supplies, including twenty canons.

Defense of Charleston

The British had spent months slowly encircling Charleston, giving its defenders time to react.  Up until this time, General Benjamin Lincoln, commander of the southern army, had been frustrated by the lack of cooperation that he had received from the local political leaders. But with the threat of British invasion literally staring at them from across the river, the political leaders finally fell in line and gave the Continental general the support he needed to defend the city.  I’m joking of course.  The political leadership in South Carolina continued to bicker with the military commander and even with disaster on the horizon, refused to make certain compromises.

Gov. John Rutledge

South Carolina leaders had repeatedly rejected any plans to arm slaves for defense of the state. Lincoln had called on state leaders to raise 2000 white militia.  But if they could not, then fill the ranks with black soldiers.  The response was… nothing.  The President of South Carolina, John Rutledge, refused even to respond to the request.  Allowing blacks to use guns, even if they were freed afterwards, would put a dangerous element in the state that could eventually harm them. Those soldiers could form the core of a future slave uprising to liberate their fellow laborers.  So with armed blacks off the table, Lincoln suggested at least created a pioneer force from slaves.  Pioneers would handle the dirty work of digging tunnels and entrenchments.  It was common labor that slaves were used for all the time.  These men would not learn to fire guns, or even touch combat weapons.  Again, the answer was no.  Even training black people to work as a unit and giving them any sort of training was simply unacceptable.

A frustrated Lincoln told officials that if he could not get support of local militia, either black or white, that he would have to abandon the city to the British.  Rutledge’s response was that Lincoln was bluffing.  Charleston was too important to the cause of the United States and he would never abandon the city.  The state could not raise enough white soldiers, would not provide any black soldiers, and Lincoln would have to find a way to make the defense of the city work anyway.

Rutledge was correct.  Lincoln had direct orders from Congress to hold Charleston at all costs.  Any attempt to abandon the city without a fight would have meant an ignominious end to this military career, much like it did for Generals Phillip Schuyler and Arthur St. Clair, who had abandoned Fort Ticonderoga without a fight a few years earlier.  Beyond that, Lincoln has spent a year building up the defenses around the city.  The British force outnumbered his by about two to one. If Lincoln retreated now, he would likely have to face the British in the open field. It was better to engage from behind their entrenchments.  The arrival of 750 Virginia Continentals in April had boosted spirits, but that only gave Lincoln about 2500 regulars, supplemented by another 3000 or so militia and sailors from the wrecked ships.

British General Clinton commented on the arrival of American reinforcements as good news - more prisoners when the Americans surrendered.  The British navy had established itself in the inner harbor.  British artillery was poised to decimate the city, and British infantry and cavalry was well on its way toward surrounding the city.  

Lincoln advised Governor Rutledge to leave the city with the rest of the civilian leadership.  Rutledge left town with three councilmen, but Lieutenant Governor Christopher Gadsden and others remained in Charleston.  Gadsden, you may recall, had been appointed a brigadier in the Continental Army, but resigned his commission when he grew frustrated at his inability to give orders to major generals in his state.  As acting governor, however, Gadsden believed could use his civilian leadership to instruct the army on the defense of Charleston.

Lincoln called a council of war to discuss an attack on a relatively isolated post of 750 enemy soldiers near Wappetaw.  His officer unanimously opposed the action, and instead suggested consideration of evacuating the city.  General Lachlan McIntosh argued for immediate evacuation of the Continental Army, so that it could survive to fight another day, preferably further inland - once the British army was more spread out and unsupported by its navy.  Delay meant the likelihood that they would be surrounded.  Lincoln, however, could not bring himself to abandon the city without even a fight.

A few days later, on April 18, 2600 British and Hessian reinforcements arrived from New York, only increasing the imbalance of forces.  Lincoln gathered a council of war a few days later on April 20, to once again consider their options.  McIntosh still believed that evacuation was possible.  Other officers believed Lincoln should simply ask for terms of surrender.  

Christopher Gadsden

Gadsden joined the council for a time, asked that they not take any action until he could discuss the situation with South Carolina’s Privy Council, and left. As the officers continued their discussions, Gadsden returned with several Privy Council members.  The exact words exchanged were not recorded but one witness noted that the civilians “used the council rudely” and insisted that they not try to abandon the city.  They claimed that the South Carolina militia, most of whom had never stood in battle before, were willing to fight to the last man, and that the Continentals should be willing to do so as well.  One member of the Privy Council even threatened that if the Continentals attempted to abandon the city, that Charleston would throw open the gates to the British and help them capture the Continentals.

Lincoln did not make any final decision that night.  But the next morning, he summoned his officers once again.  They agreed to ask the British for terms of surrender.  The Army would be slaughtered if it attempted to retreat across waterways that the British had already blocked.  On April 21, Lincoln ordered a soldier to go to the British lines under a flag of truce to request a six-hour cessation of hostilities so that the Americans could propose terms of surrender.  

Lincoln proposed that the Continental Army be permitted to leave the city with its arms and equipment, and march north for at least ten days unmolested, that Continental ships be permitted to depart the harbor, and that all citizens be protected in their persons and property.  Clinton countered with the proposal that they all surrender unconditionally, so that the British would not have to kill them and level the city.  Unable to agree on terms, the two sides continued the siege.

Both sides kept up fire on each other day and night.  On the morning of April 24, two hundred Continentals attacked a Hessian work party that was digging advanced works close to the enemy lines.  The Americans managed to kill about 15 of the enemy with bayonets, and take almost as many prisoners.  However, General Moultrie’s brother Thomas was killed in the attack.

General Louis Duportail arrived from Washington’s headquarters the following day.  The experienced French engineer who had taken a commission in the Continental Army years earlier.  He had arrived too late, however, to assist with the Charleston defenses.  He also arrived with the bad news that Washington would not be sending any more reinforcements.  The Continental leaders once again considered a risky evacuation, but decided against it.

The siege continued for another couple of weeks.  The Americans had to slow their rate of fire to conserve ammunition.  The British pounded away at the American defenses and slowly moved their lines closer together.  The Americans could no longer bring food into the city and could not even send couriers.

Surrender

On May 7, Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan’s Island, surrendered to the British. The following day, Clinton called on Lincoln, once again, to surrender, adding that failure to do so would mean that any “vindictive severity” that fell on the city after its capture, would be Lincoln’s fault.  In further discussion, the Americans requested, while the Continentals would be prisoners of war, they be allowed to keep their baggage and side arms, and that the militia be allowed to go home on parole. Clinton refused the terms.

Charleston, SC
Inside the city, the situation only grew more desperate.  Food and ammunition was running out.  The British began firing hot shot into the city, setting dozens of houses on fire.  The South Carolina militia still in the city, petitioned General Lincoln to accept any terms of surrender.  Many militia simply abandoned their posts and tried to slip away.  Even Gadsden agreed it was time to negotiate a surrender.

On May 8, General Lincoln informed General Clinton that he would accept the term Clinton had offered in his last letter, and the guns fell silent on both sides.  On May 12, the defenders marched out of Charleston.  Clinton had denied them the honors of war and prohibited them from flying their regimental flags.  The defenders stacked the muskets and marched off to their fates as prisoners of war.  Only 500 militia surrendered with the army. The remainder had fled or hid inside the city, hoping to blend in with the civilians.  

Clinton appointed General Alexander Leslie to serve as military governor of Charleston.  Leslie’s threat to have grenadiers search private homes encouraged many more militia to turn out and surrender their arms.  Moultrie noted that it seemed more militia surrendered than had ever appeared under arms during the siege. Apparently, many older or infirm residents surrendered as militia in order to protect younger men.

In total, more than 5000 Americans surrendered in the city, the largest American loss of the entire war.  Roughly half were Continental soldiers, many of whom were doomed to die in British captivity.  The Americans also surrendered 391 artillery pieces, 6000 muskets, and 33,000 rounds of ammunition.  During the siege, the Americans had suffered 89 killed and 138 wounded.  The British suffered 76 killed and 189 wounded.  The surrender had kept the battle deaths rather light, but the loss of the army was devastating to the American cause.

Aftermath

Charleston’s fall to the British was seen as a great victory in London and among loyalists in America.  Even if there were still difficulties in the northern states, the fall of Charleston seemed to foretell that at least the southern colonies would return to crown authority.  

Unlike the fall of northern towns, where the capture of a city seemed to have little impact on the surrounding countryside, the fall of Charleston seemed to mean that the fall of all of South Carolina was close at hand.  Garrisons in other parts of the state surrendered without a fight.  Ninety-six, Camden Beaufort, and Georgetown all surrendered without a fight.  South Carolina General Andrew Williamson gave his soldiers the choice of surrendering, or retreating to the mountains to continue the struggle.  His men opted for surrender.

Under the terms of surrender, militia were given immediate parole and permitted to return home.  They only had to promise never again to take up arms against the king. Clinton attempted a carrot and stick policy in a series of decrees after the fall of Charleston.  Anyone who continued to bear arms against the king’s troops, or convince others to do so, would suffer imprisonment and confiscation of all property.  On the other hand, a separate decree declared that anyone taking an oath of allegiance would receive a full pardon, despite any past participation in the rebellion.  The offer of a pardon and fear of losing property led many in South Carolina to return to the fold as loyal colonists.

Several leading citizens of around Georgetown even sent a note to  to General Cornwallis stating 

that as the original cause of the disputes between Great Britain and her colonies was our being taxed without being represented -- and by a Proclamation of the 1st June last issued by His Excellency Sir Henry Clinton Knight of the Bath General and Commander in Chief of his Majesty's Forces in America, and Mariot Arbuthnot Esquire Vice Admiral of the Blue and Commander in Chief of his Majesty's Ships, We are assured that we shall not be taxed but by our representatives in General Assembly, We are therefore desirous of becoming British Subjects in which capacity we promise to behave ourselves with all becoming fidelity and loyalty.

General Clinton wrote confidently to Lord Germain in London that South Carolina had been secured.  He stated that “there are few men in South Carolina who are not our prisoners or in arms with us.”  Within a few weeks General Clinton granted parole to General Lincoln allowing him to report to Philadelphia to brief Congress on the loss. Then, under the terms of his parole, he would be restricted to New England until properly exchanged.  Other top generals, including Georgia native Lachlan McIntosh, remained in custody.  North Carolina General James Hogan refused parole, preferring to stay in prison with his men, ostensibly to prevent them from joining loyalist regiments in an attempt to get out of prison. Hogan would die in prison a few months later.

Clinton himself returned to New York, leaving Charleston in early June.  He turned over command to General Cornwallis. Although the two men did not really get along, Cornwallis’ rank and experience made him the obvious choice for the command. Clinton had accomplished his goal of taking Charleston.  Any remaining campaign would be left up to subordinates.

Clinton had not gotten along well with Cornwallis ever since he found out that Cornwallis had betrayed his confidence by telling then-commander General Howe that Clinton had expressed frustration at serving under Howe.  Clinton left Cornwallis with instructions to keep South Carolina secure, but also gave him authority to move into North Carolina if he could do so without putting South Carolina at risk.  Clinton also took more than a third of the army he had brought south, back to New York, along with Arbithnot and the bulk of the naval fleet.  Cornwallis had his independent command to do with it what he could.

Next Week: we head west as the war comes to St. Louis, in present day Missouri

- - -

Next Episode 249 Saint Louis Raid


 Contact me via email at mtroy.history@gmail.com

 Follow the podcast on Twitter @AmRevPodcast

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American Revolution Podcast Merch!

T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, pillows, totes, notebooks, wall art, and more.  Get your favorite American Revolution logo today.  Help support this podcast.  http://tee.pub/lic/AmRevPodcast


American Revolution Podcast is distributed 100% free of charge. If you can chip in to help defray my costs, I'd appreciate whatever you can give.  Make a one time donation through my PayPal account. You may also donate via Venmo (@Michael-Troy-20), Zelle, or popmoney (send to mtroy1@yahoo.com)


Click here to see my Patreon Page
You can support the American Revolution Podcast as a Patreon subscriber.  This is an option making monthly pledges.  Patreon support will give you access to Podcast extras and help make the podcast a sustainable project.

An alternative to Patreon is SubscribeStar.  For anyone who has problems with Patreon, you can get the same benefits by subscribing at SubscribeStar.

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Further Reading

Websites





Free eBooks
(from archive.org unless noted)

Lincoln, Benjamin Original papers relating to the siege of Charleston, 1780,  Charleston, S.C., Press of Walker, Evans & Cogswell Co. 1898.

Peck, John Mason Lives of Daniel Boone and Benjamin Lincoln, Boston : C.C. Little and J. Brown, 1847. 

Smith, Paul Hubert, Gephart, Ronald M. Letters of delegates to Congress, 1774-1789, Vol 14, Washington: Library of Congress, 1987. 

Books Worth Buying
(links to Amazon.com unless otherwise noted)*

Buchanan, John The Road to Guilford Courthouse: The American Revolution in the Carolinas, Wiley, 1999. 

Edgar, Walter B. Partisans and Redcoats: The southern conflict that turned the tide of the American Revolution, New York: Morrow, 2001 (or borrow on archive.org).

Ferling, John Winning Independence: The Decisive Years of the Revolutionary War, 1778-1781, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2021.

Mattern, David B. Benjamin Lincoln and the American Revolution, Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1998  (borrow on archive.org)

Russell, David Lee. The American Revolution in the Southern Colonies, McFarland & Company, 2000.

Ward, Christopher The War of the Revolution, Macmillan Company, 1952 (borrow on archive.org). 

Willcox, William B. Portrait of a General; Sir Henry Clinton in the War of Independence, Knopf, 1964 (borrow on archive.org). 

Wilson, David K. The Southern Strategy: Britain’s Conquest of South Carolina and Georgia 1775-1780, Univ. of S.C. Press, 2005. 

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Sunday, May 29, 2022

ARP247 Siege of Charleston

It’s been a while since we've discussed the war in the south. We last left them in Episode 234 when a combined French and American Force attempted to recapture Savannah Georgia from the British Outpost there. The British managed to hold out and the French sailed for New England. Continental General Benjamin Lincoln was stuck with a relatively small Southern Army, with which he hoped to protect South Carolina and hopefully find a way to recapture Georgia for the Americans. 

Charlestown Defenses

Lincoln, of course, was well aware that the British had their eyes on Charleston South Carolina. They had already attempted a half-hearted attack on the city and almost succeeded in taking it. A big part of Lincoln's time was spent building and reinforcing the defenses in and around Charleston, which was seen as the key to holding the state of South Carolina. 

Sullivan's Island, Charleston Harbor
Lincoln had never wanted the southern command, and had already tried to resign several times. He faced the same frustrations that his predecessors in commanding the southern Continental Army had already faced. The southern governors refused to support the Continental Army, to provide them with the necessary supplies, or to give them command authority over the state militia. The southern colonies also categorically refused to raise much-needed recruits from the enslaved population, which in South Carolina made up A majority of the population. Not only that, many white South Carolinians could not afford to leave their farms for fear that their slaves escape to the British, or perhaps even rise up in rebellion on their own.

General Lincoln hoped that Washington would send more continental soldiers from the north.  He wrote to Washington that “We remain unsupported by troops, unsupplied wt. many essential articles, and uncovered wt. works—and what adds to the unhappiness, is the little prospect that our affairs will speedily be in a better channel.”  Washington, however, was watching his own northern army dwindle in the winter at Morristown, and receiving nothing but unfulfilled promises of new recruits.

Congress did approve some additional support for Charleston after the failed attack on Savannah.  It sent three frigates to help supplement harbor defenses, and a couple of thousand soldiers from Virginia and North Carolina.  But with the northern army strapped for men as well, many of the other states resented having to send assistance to South Carolina.  The state had consistently refused to provide soldiers to northern states in their times of distress, and refused to turn out its people in significant numbers for its own defense.  It was only the fact that the loss of South Carolina would also prevent any hope of retaking Georgia, would probably mean the loss of North Carolina, and would put Virginia at great risk, that convinced those states to the north that they needed to assist South Carolina, even if the people of that state did not seem willing to make make much sacrifice to defend themselves

Massachusetts delegate James Lovell, captured the sentiment of many in Congress, when he wrote: 

The State of Sth. Cara, have thought we neglected them, we know they neglected themselves. They will not draught to fill up their Battalions, they will not raise black Regiments, they will not put their militia when in Camp under continental Rules. However, [he noted with frustration]we must exert ourselves for them in every Way.

To add to Lincoln’s woes, a smallpox epidemic broke out in Charleston. Slave owners refused to allow their valuable property to work on defenses within the city for fear that they might catch the disease and die, thus depriving their masters of valuable property.  

Benjamin Lincoln

Lincoln corresponded with the Spanish governor in Cuba over the idea of raiding the British colonial capital at St Augustine in Florida, in hopes of forcing the British to focus on the defensive rather than new offensive goals. Those negotiations, however, came to nothing. This was, in part, because the Americans had no sufficient forces to send to St. Augustine, nor ships to send them on. The Spanish were also still under orders not to work directly with the Americans.  

Lincoln's hope of defending Charleston was that the size of the British Garrison at Savannah was nowhere near large enough to capture Charleston. The real fear for the Americans was that the British would send a larger force from elsewhere, either to reinforce the Garrison at Savannah, or to launch a larger attack against Charleston from another location.

British Plan of Attack

That fear was very well founded. As I discussed back in Episode 240, the British were very much considering a larger all out assault on South Carolina. Their success in capturing Savannah Georgia, and the hope that a much larger loyalist population in the southern colonies would turn out to support the crown if a British army established a presence, led them to think that they could have a chance of retaking the southern colonies with a relatively small force of regulars. 

Gen. Henry Clinton

British General Henry Clinton had been planning for an invasion of Charleston for nearly two years.  General Clinton’s first foray in the war had been at the head of an invasion fleet in 1776 where he tried to take Charleston, and failed.  He was unable to land his army and the fleet was pounded by Fort Sullivan, later called Fort Moultrie, until they were forced to withdraw, then heading up to New York to participate in the invasion of New York under General Howe (see Episode 96).  Clinton was mortified by his inability to take Charleston in 1776.  He spent years obsessively writing about it and blaming others.  He feared for the longest time that it would end his military career. So capturing Charleston was a personal obsession, and one that he absolutely could not fail at a second time.

Clinton would lead the invasion force personally, bringing with him this top General, Charles Cornwallis, and all of the best soldiers he still commanded in America.  He had abandoned Newport, Rhode Island a few months earlier to consolidate his forces.  He would leave a relatively small force in New York City, under the command of Hessian General Wilhelm von Knyphausen.  

Invasion Fleet

Clinton had left New York on December 26, 1779 with more than 8000 soldiers.  These included several regiments of mounted cavalry, and a large contingent of artillery.  A fleet of 90 ships carried his force southward, accompanied by another fourteen naval warships, six of which were large ships of the line, all commanded by Admiral Marriot Arbuthnot, the new naval commander in America and with crews totaling another nearly 5000 sailors.  Leaving little to chance, Clinton was bringing an overwhelming force to take the city.

Marriot Arbuthnot

The voyage south was not an easy one.  On December 27, the first full day at sea, a storm struck the fleet and battered the ships for four days. A couple of days later, the winds began blowing to the northeast, and grew stronger, as the day wore on, not only was the wind blowing the fleet in the wrong directions, the winds toppled masts and inflicted other damage.  Rain, hail, and snow pelted the ships as soldiers and sailors endured brutal cold and seasickness brought on by the stormy ocean.  

Many of the horses suffered broken legs from being thrown about and had to be tossed overboard.  My thoughts go out to the soldiers assigned to carry the 700 pound horse corpse up to the deck, while the ship was rocking violently, then through the pelting snow and hail to throw the horse overboard while avoiding plunging into the sea themselves, then repeat that many more times -- the joys of army life, I guess.

After several weeks of brutal storms, the fleet was scattered all over the Atlantic Ocean.  One ship full of Hessians ended up being blown all the way to England, where it put into port for repairs.

By the end of January, the fleet managed to gather about two-thirds of its ships off the coast of Florida, having well overshot their target in South Carolina.  There, ships got caught up in the gulf stream and got pulled further out to sea.  Finally on February 1, after more than a month at sea, the fleet spotted the lighthouse at Tybee Island and dropped anchor off the Georgia coast near Savannah.  There, the fleet reunited with another 18 ships that had been split off from the fleet during the storms.

At a council of war, held aboard ship, some officers recommended getting off the ships while they could and marching from Savannah to Charleston overland.  Clinton thought it best to sail up using inland waterways.  But the majority of officers strongly objected. Clinton ended up taking their advice to remain at sea.  With the weather improved. Clinton would try his luck on the water for a bit longer.  

He did drop off part of his force at Savannah.  Colonel Banstre Tarleton was tasked with taking his dismounted cavalry to find new horses, since all of his had died during the voyage.  Also leaving the fleet were 1400 infantry soldiers under Brigadier General James Paterson.  His mission was to march toward Augusta as a feint, in hopes that some of the Continentals or militia that might be defending Charleston could be drawn inland to northern Georgia to challenge the British offensive there.  Among Paterson’s brigade was Major Patrick Ferguson, who commanded a regiment of loyalists who had been recruited in the New York area.

After just over a week, on February 9, the fleet departed Savannah, heading north up the coast.  They reached Trench’s Island, known today as Hilton Head, that night.  Two days later, British forces landed on John’s Island just south of Charleston.  For those unfamiliar the southern approach to Charleston is a mess of islands, swamps and waterways, even more so in the 18th century than it is today.  Moving ships through this region was fraught with danger of being caught on a sandbar or otherwise getting hopelessly stuck.

Admiral Arbothnot gave responsibility for the landing to a young captain named George Keith Elphinstone.  Captain Elphinstone came from an old Scottish family. His father was a lord.  Two of his older brothers were British officers. Elphinstone followed the path of a third brother by joining the navy at the age of 15, in time to see combat in America near the end of the French and Indian War.  He spent his career sailing all over the world, including a trip to China for the East India Company.  Elphinstone knew the Carolina coast well and assured his superiors he could get the army ashore without difficulty.

The captain managed to guide the fleet into the outer harbor and offload the army unopposed by any rebel forces.  The quick debarkation was critical since another storm was approaching.  Fortunately for the British they managed to get the men ashore before the storm hit that evening.

The Landing

Generals Clinton and Cornwallis personally landed with the troops, and set about making the approach to Charleston.  Clinton had left a portion of his army in Savannah, so he only had about 6000 soldiers with him by this time.  The British army under General Prevost had occupied this area a few months earlier, but had abandoned it just prior to the Siege of Savannah.  This time, they were back, and in greater numbers.

Johann Ewald
One of the best accounts that we have of the British approach on Charleston comes from Captain Johann Ewald, a Hessian commander whose detailed journal paints an eloquent picture of the British attack.  Ewald’s jaegers marched with a larger division commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James Webster.  The column marched out on February 14, struggling through the swampy terrain in an attempt to reach Stono Ferry. 

At one point, the column stumbled out of the woods to come face to face with what they thought was an ambush.  The column saw a fortified village just on the other side of a river, with armed patriot soldiers.  Ewald noted that the Americans could have cut the column to pieces since they were already within rifle range, were not formed in a line of battle, and had no way of charging the enemy due to the river.

Fortunately for the British it was not an ambush. The patriots defending the area were just as surprised at the presence of the enemy as the British were. Colonel Webster ordered the column to about face and marched out of rifle range while the stunned defenders simply sat and observed, with no one firing.

Ewald then returned to the enemy with one other officer, waiving a white handkerchief.  He approached the enemy, saying that he recognized them as part of Pulaski’s legion and asked about a man he knew who was a member of the legion.  In fact, it was a ruse.  Ewald wanted to get a better look at the defenses and to see if the enemy had boats that might be captured in order to carry the British up river.  The two officers conversed with the enemy and were permitted to return. An American officer even politely warned them to be careful as the swamps they were marching through had alligators as large as sixteen feet.

That night, the Americans retreated.  The British were able to march to Stono on James Island unopposed.  In their new position, General Clinton’s forces were directly across the river from Charleston.

The British forces moved slowly but deliberately.  Although they had begun their landing in early February, they moved cautiously through the swamps and tributaries below Charleston.  General Clinton spent days building up fortifications at Stono Ferry in preparation for his next move forward.  Sending out patrols to gain intelligence or to seize slaves or livestock was fraught with danger.  British patrols fell under ambush.

By March 1, Britain had secured all of James Island, but still was not ready to begin the siege.  Admiral Arbuthnot failed to bring his ships over the sandbar into Charleston Harbor, fearing that his fleet would be subject to attack and unable to escape at low tide.  

On March 10, Lord Cornwallis began crossing his army onto the mainland, fearing an American attack at any time.  The attack never came.  The British Navy managed to send some supply ships up Stono Creek to provide the advancing army with much needed food and supplies.

The British put captured slaves to work as laborers, building fortifications opposite those of the enemy in Charleston.  British engineers then mounted artillery to shell any American ships that attempted to use the waterway between the British and the Americans, and to shell the American fortifications directly.

Rather than attacking the Americans in Charleston directly, the British moved northward to the west of Charleston, with an eye towards surrounding the city. On March 22, General Alexander Leslie led a force of mostly Hessian Jaegers toward two nearby plantations, Middleton Place and Drayton Hall.  There, the British came under American artillery fire. Rather than charge the lines, Leslie had Hessian Captain Ewald take a group of about 50 Jaegers further upriver, cross through a difficult swamp, and attack the American line from the rear.  The Americans withdrew in good order, resulting in the Hessians having only a minor firefight with the American rearguard.

The British continued to move forward.  They met with a few rifle shots now and then, but the soldiers seemed more concerned with the alligators, snakes, and relentless mosquitoes than any human enemies.  The bulk of the Continental Army and militia remained inside Charleston awaiting the inevitable attack, rather than confronting the British out in the swamps.

Although the Americans had built up impressive defenses at Ashley Ferry on the Ashley River, the British managed to sail a small fleet of flatboats right past them at night, without a shot fired.  British light infantry and Hessian Jaegers continued moving around the perimeter of Charleston, capturing key plantations and occasionally skirmishing with American riflemen.

The Boston
By April 1, the British were within 800 yards of the main American lines at Charleston.  The British Navy still had not entered the harbor. The American naval commander, Commodore Abraham Whipple, however, decided his small fleet of frigates: the Providence, Boston, Queen of France, and Ranger and a few smaller sloops would be no match for the British men of war.  The entire fleet had only 112 guns, fewer than two British ships of the line.  Commodore Whipple opted to scuttle most of his ships inside the harbor, creating barriers for the British fleet, and moved his canons to the land defenses around Charleston.

The suicide of the American fleet was enough to convince British Admiral Arbuthnot to enter the harbor.  On April 8, the British fleet sailed past Fort Moultrie, taking only minor damage from the fort’s canons.

It had been more than three months since the British had left New York to begin the campaign. It had taken fifty days to move the British the last thirty miles to get into position. They had yet to fight a major battle. General Clinton moved slowly and cautiously to get his men into a position where they could batter the American defenses relentlessly and compel a surrender.  

By Mid-April, Clinton was ready to begin this new phase of the siege.  Given the superiority of British armaments, the Americans would be forced to retreat, surrender, or die.  In any of those scenarios, General Clinton would finally take Charleston, erasing what he saw as the greatest blemish on his military record.

Next week: the fall of Charleston.

- - -

Next Episode 248 Charleston Falls 


 Contact me via email at mtroy.history@gmail.com

 Follow the podcast on Twitter @AmRevPodcast

 Join the Facebook group, American Revolution   Podcast: https://www.facebook.com/groups/132651894048271

 Join American Revolution Podcast on Quora 


American Revolution Podcast Merch!

T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, pillows, totes, notebooks, wall art, and more.  Get your favorite American Revolution logo today.  Help support this podcast.  http://tee.pub/lic/AmRevPodcast


American Revolution Podcast is distributed 100% free of charge. If you can chip in to help defray my costs, I'd appreciate whatever you can give.  Make a one time donation through my PayPal account. You may also donate via Venmo (@Michael-Troy-20), Zelle, or popmoney (send to mtroy1@yahoo.com)


Click here to see my Patreon Page
You can support the American Revolution Podcast as a Patreon subscriber.  This is an option making monthly pledges.  Patreon support will give you access to Podcast extras and help make the podcast a sustainable project.

An alternative to Patreon is SubscribeStar.  For anyone who has problems with Patreon, you can get the same benefits by subscribing at SubscribeStar.

Help Support this podcast on "BuyMeACoffee.com"



Visit the American Revolution Podcast Bookshop.  Support local bookstores and this podcast!





Signup for the AmRev Podcast Mail List

* indicates required

Further Reading

Websites




Free eBooks
(from archive.org unless noted)

Lincoln, Benjamin Original papers relating to the siege of Charleston, 1780,  Charleston, S.C., Press of Walker, Evans & Cogswell Co. 1898.

Peck, John Mason Lives of Daniel Boone and Benjamin Lincoln, Boston : C.C. Little and J. Brown, 1847. 

Smith, Paul Hubert, Gephart, Ronald M. Letters of delegates to Congress, 1774-1789, Vol 14, Washington: Library of Congress, 1987. 

Books Worth Buying
(links to Amazon.com unless otherwise noted)*

Buchanan, John The Road to Guilford Courthouse: The American Revolution in the Carolinas, Wiley, 1999. 

Edgar, Walter B. Partisans and Redcoats: The southern conflict that turned the tide of the American Revolution, New York: Morrow, 2001 (or borrow on archive.org).

Ferling, John Winning Independence: The Decisive Years of the Revolutionary War, 1778-1781, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2021.

Mattern, David B. Benjamin Lincoln and the American Revolution, Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1998  (borrow on archive.org)

Russell, David Lee. The American Revolution in the Southern Colonies, McFarland & Company, 2000.

Ward, Christopher The War of the Revolution, Macmillan Company, 1952 (borrow on archive.org). 

Willcox, William B. Portrait of a General; Sir Henry Clinton in the War of Independence, Knopf, 1964 (borrow on archive.org). 

Wilson, David K. The Southern Strategy: Britain’s Conquest of South Carolina and Georgia 1775-1780, Univ. of S.C. Press, 2005. 

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.