Page images
PDF
EPUB

them forth in the most despicable light. To suppose that General Clinton and his officers should have been nineteen days in that sınall island, without ever examining until the very time of action the nature of the only paffage by which they could render any service to their friends, and answer the purpose of their landing and the end of the expedition, appears an intolerable want of military prudence and circumspecrion. In the way the Gazette tells this story, General Clinton deserved to have been severely censured and punished for his negligence and inattention ; for provided he had intended to have driven a flock of sheep over the continent, it would have been neceffary to have founded the depth of the water, before hand, to have found whether it was possible to pass them over without drowning of them. There might perhaps be reason for concealing the true state of this affair, and probably no blame to be imputed to the commander and officers. General Clinton certainly acted wisely in not attempting to pass over to the continent, for there was such a force under General Lee, and so well posted, that had our men advanced, as was expected, it would have been imposible to have saved them from a total overthrow. The commander in chief in that expectation was never believed to have written these accounts that were written in his name concerning his mistake about the depth of the water : this was always considered as a ministerial apology framed by those who manufactured the Gazette, who for want of common sense, put in that absurdity into the paper.---- They were not willing to allow that the colonists had either force or courage to oppose our men, and therefore they created feven feet of water to preserve their power and courage,

and

1

and to support their own idea of the American pufilanimity. It was not the depth of the water that prevented General Clinton from attacking Sullivan Fort, but his own prudence and fagacity, who when he perceived upon a nearer inspection the force of the enemy, and that to attack then would be attended with certain deftru&ion to his own army, he wisely defifted from an experiment that could do no good, but would have been attended with much evil, botli to himself, and the cause he was engaged in. It has been the happiness of these brave officers who have served the present government in this ruinous war, never to have their actions fairly stated in the public ac. counts of their proceedings. They have at one time been extolled beyond all the limits of discretion, as herocs of extraordinary magnitude, and by the very

fame authority lessened and depriciated to the lowest degree, of character:

By comparing all accounts concerning the attack opon Sullivan's Island, it appears that our people had. been inistaken in estimating the force and strength of the colonists, and that they found that they had much more to do than subdue Sullivan fort. An army rea. dy appointed and well posted was prepared to receive them, which if they had proceeded to attack, they must have fallen a sacrifice to their own folly and ralho ncs.

This acion cretinued till the darkness of the night compelled the afhailants to defilt; they liowever shewed much eagerness, notwith a ading their weariness, loss, and fatigue, to give up the enterprise. Sir Peter Parker after using every eTort which bravery is capable of, finding that all hope of success was at an end, and the ebbing tide near spent, withdrew his shat

tered

tered vefrels between nine and ten o'clock of the evening, after an engagement which had been supported for above ten hours with uncommon courage and bravery. The Bristol had 111, and the Experiment 79 killed and wounded, and both ships had received so much damage, that the provincials conceived hopes that they could not have been got over the bar. The frigates did not suffer so severely, for the provincials pointed their fire principally at the great ships. The bomb vefsel did little service upon this occasion; there appeared to be a real want of art in the management of the mortars, for some were overcharged, and the beds [o fhattered and loosed that they were rendered uselets.

It was not expected that their sınall insignificant fort would have been able to have withstood the heavy fire of our fhips the space of one hour, though upon trial it was found that after ten hours severe cannonade, it was as far from being reduced as at the be. ginning. The provincials fhewed on this occasion both skill and intrepidity, which would have done honour to veteran troops; both officers and men performed their duty to the amazement of their enemies, and conducted their fire with such deliberation and design, that almost every fhot did execution. The carnage aboard the Bristol and Experiment was dreadful, and the ships were hulled in a terrible man. ner. The guns of the fort are faid to have been 42 pounders, and were formerly those that belonged to the Foudroyant man of war, which had been former, ly taken froin the French : these did dreadful execution. The British sailors did all that brave men could do, but as the land forces could not possibly

M

alhin

and to support their own idea of the American pufilanimity. It was not the depth of the water that prevented General Clinton from attacking Sullivan Fort, but his owa prudence and fagacity, who when he perceived upon a nearer inspection the force of the enemy, and that to attack then would be attended with certain destruction to his own army, he wisely defifted from an experiment that could do no good, but would have been attended with much evil, botli to himself, and the cause he was engaged in. It has been the happiness of these brave officers wlio have ferred the present government in this ruinous war, never to have their actions fairly stated in the public acó counts of their proceedings. They have at one time been extolled beyond all the limits of discretion, as heroes of extraordinary magnitude, and by the very fame authority leffened and depriciated to the lowest degree. of character

By comparing all accounts concerning the attack opon Sullivan's land, it appears that our people had, been mistaken in estimating the force and strength of the colonills, and that they found that they had much more to do than subdue Sullivan fort.

An army rea. dy appointed and well poted was prepared to receive them, which if they had proceeded to attack, they must have fallen a sacrifice to their own folly and rashness.

This acion continued till the darkness of the night compelled the aftalants to defilt; they lowever shewed much eagerness, notwith qading their weariness,. loss, and fatigue, to give up the enterprise. Sir Peter Parker after using every efort which bravery is capable of, finding that all hope of success was at an end, and the ebbing tide near spent, withdrew his shat

tered

tered vefsels between nine and ten o'clock of the evening, after an engagement which had been supported for above ten hours with uncommon courage and bravery. The Bristol had 111, and the Experiment 79 killed and wounded, and both ships had received so much damage, that the provincials conceived hopes that they could not have been got over the bar. The frigates did not suffer fo feverely, for the provincials pointed their fire principally at the great ships. The bomb vefsel did little service upon this occasion ; there appeared to be a real want of art in the management of the mortars, for some were overcharged, and the beds [o fhattered and loosed that they were rendered uselets.

It was not expected that their finall insignificant fort would have been able to have withstood the heavy fire of our fhips the space of one hour, though upon trial it was found that after ten hours severe cannonade, it was as far from being reduced as at the be. ginning. The provincials fhewed on this occasion both kill and intrepidity, which would have done honour to veteran troops; both officers and men performed their duty to the amazement of their enemies, and conducted their fire with such deliberation and design, that almost every fhot did execution. The carnage aboard the Bristol and Experiment was dreadful, and the ships were hulled in a terrible manner. The guns of the fort are said to have been 42 pounders, and were formerly those that belonged to the Foudroyant man of war, which had been former, ly taken froin the French: these did dreadful execu

The British failors did all that brave men could do, but as the land forces could not possibly

M

affil

tion.

« PreviousContinue »