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Full text of "Strictures on Lt.-Col. Tarleton's History "of the campaigns of 1780 and 178l, in the southern provinces of North America" ... : wherein military characters and corps are vindicated from injurious aspersions, and several important transactions placed in their proper point of view ; in a series of letters to a friend"

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IttwrBttH 0f pttfiburgtj 

^Darlington Memorial Library 

$S£ EL24SV •• 

i„ k XULzia 

"Written in defence of Cornwallis against Col. Tarleton's Strictures. 

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in 2010 with funding from 

University of Pittsburgh Library System 


O N 

Lt. Col. Tarleton's Hiftory, 


O N 

Lt. Col. Tarleton's Hiftory 


u Parturiunt monies, nafcetur ridiculus mus." — Hor. 



B Y 






L O N D ON: 














1 HE following let- 
ters were written at the requeft of 
a friend in the country, for the fole 
purpofe of detecting error, and ren- 
a dering 

( n ) 

dering juftice to many of the firfi 
charadters in the Britifh army. 

The attention fhewn by your 
Lordfhip to the officers wounded 
at the difaftrous affair of Cowpens, 
among whom the author had the 
misfortune to be, contributed to im- 
prefs him with the fame exalted 
ideas of your humanity that he had 
before entertained of your military 
talents. To your Lordfliip's can- 
dour he fubmits his motive for en- 
gaging in this undertaking, and to 
your judgment the obfervations con- 
tained in the following fheets ; con* 
vinced, that if they meet with your 
approbation, it will enfure that of 


( iii ) 

every officer who ferved during the 
late war in America— one only ex- 

With all that refpeft and defer- 
ence which powers of mind, no lefs 
than exalted birth claim, I have 
the honour to be. 

My Lord, 
Your Lordfhip's 
Moft obedient and 
mod humble fervant, 

King-ftreet, St. James's -fquare, 
November, 17874 


QTRUCK with the numerous in- 
*** coherencies, mifreprefentations, and 
contradictions, contained in the work 
which is the fubjedfc of the enfuing let- 
ters, the author had given way to the 
firft emotion of his mind, and fub- 
mitted to publick infpe6tion feveral cur- 
fory remarks, through the medium of 
the Morning Pofl, under the fignature 
of " An Officer on that Service. 1 ' But 
now, that he has taken a fuller furvey 

3 of 

( vi ) 

of the fubjefit, he confider? himfelf at 
liberty to refume fuch ^r his former 
arguments as he may find conducive to 
the elucidation of fafts i .1 this publica- 


Page 93, for " fo as to form in the line," read " fo as to 

M form with the line." 
Page 153, for "pitiful recourfe" read M pitiful refource" 


O N 



Anxious to revive 

a correfpondence which has ever afforded 
.me the mod cordial fatisfaftion, and em- 
boldened by your indulgent opinion, in- 
clination ftrongly impels me, however 
diftruftful of my own talents, to comply 
with your requeft. Let. me apprize you. 
B then, 


then, not to expert that elegant concife- 
nefc, which marks the didtion of a fine 
writer. The following letters contain 
only plain obfervations ; but thefe are de- 
duced from fuch ftubborn fa£ts, as will, 
it is hoped, fully imprefs your mind with 
conviction. v In place of nervous descrip- 
tion, accept remarks, which do not in- 
fringe the dictates of truth; and fuch, 
you will readily allow, are moft con- 
genial to the feelings of a generous 

Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton's HIJlory 
of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781, in 
the Southern Provinces of North Ame- 
rica, has been perufed with an avidity 
proportionate to the ideas once formed of 
his military capacity. The very title 
ftrongly awakens curiofity; but when 
the firft transports are allayed, when the 
ftorm of paffion fubfides, a fucceeding 
calm leaves full fcope to the judgment, to 
fcrutinize the fubject with the ftri&eft 
impartiality, and by placing the defign 
in its cleared point of view, enables us, 



on the mofl folid grounds, to confirm or 
reverfe our firft opinion. 

This elaborate performance, though 
ingenioufly worked up, abounds with 
milreprefentation and error; it does in- 
juftice to a number of refpedtable officers; 
wantons in reflecting unmerited difgrace 
on entire corps of the army, and is re- 
plete with palpable inconfiftencies. When 
public opinion is thus mifled by con- 
fummate artifice, it becomes neceffary to 
detedt the fophiftry which produced the 

The work before us would have ap- 
peared with better grace, and a jufter title 
to general favour, if felf-importance had 
been lefs predominant with the author ; 
if the magnanimity and fall of many in- 
valuable officers had been candidly record- 
ed, and their names tranfmitted to pofte-* 
rity, as men confpicuous for having ex- 
erted themfelves in the fervice of their 
country. All inftances of military prow- 
efs fhould have been diftindtly pointed 
B 2 out, 


out, in a performance calculated to at-* 
tra6t public attention. When even the 
ableft artift is too partial to any particu- 
lar figure in a landfcape, an accurate and 
perfpe&ive view of its component parts, 
muft fix the criterion for decifion. 

You know that I ferved on the cam^ 
paigns which this gentleman defcribes ; 
you have heard me bear teftimony to his 
perfonal courage and activity; and you 
alfo know, that having quitted the 
army fince the peace, I have nothing ei- 
ther to hope or fear from Lieutenant 
Colonel Tarleton on the one hand, or 
from the characters he traduces on the 
other. You will allow me, therefore, to 
be difinterefted, and not actuated by any 
finifter intention. It is no reflection on 
a Britifh foldier, that he does not poflefs 
the difcriminating talents of a Hume, a 
Stewart, or a Gibbons, to colour his ac- 
tions with that perfuafive fkill and po- 
liihed diftion, which are the fatellites of 
true genius; but when he defcribes the 
progrefs of a war, and ventures to expa- 
% tiatc 


tiate on the primary motives which in- 
fluenced oppofing commanders, we na-» 
turally expe6t, at leaft, obfervations 
founded on experience and judgment. 

Without dwelling too much on punc- 
tilios, or making particular inquiry, wher 
ther a narrative of military events, evi- 
dently deficient in point of information, 
and frequently erroneous, can merit the 
dignified epithet -of history, I ihall con- 
fider this work, merely, as a journal of 
the war in the Southern provinces ; and 
viewing it on this ground folely, it is im- 
poffible to avoid being ftruck with its 
partiality and incorre<5tnefs. Some fafts 
have been withheld, and fome mutilated; 
while others are raifed to a pitch of im-? 
portance, to which, if hiftorical juftice 
had been the author's objedt, they are by 
no means entitled. Prejudice and party 
fpirit are alfq fon^e of its moft prominent 

Nothing is more falfe than an opinion 

which once prevailed in the world, that 

B3 the 


the truth of an hiftorical narrative, is in 
proportion to the nearnefs of the hifto- 
rian's life, to the times of the feveral 
tranfactions which he relates, and confe- 
quently, that every hiftorian, cotempo^ 
rary with the agents and actions which 
he defcribes, has the beft chance of brings 
ing out the truth : on the contrary, the 
fprings of human actions, and efpecially 
of thofe which are governed by the intri- 
cate and fecret motives of Princes and 
Privy Councils, are not to be developed 
but by time, patience, labour, and ma^ 
ture difcernment. The annals of hiftory 
will fhew, that all fenfe of perfonal in- 
jury, and party refentment, muft be 
obliterated from the mind, and men muft 
recover themfelves from the Ihocks which 
diffolved the bonds of fociety, before the 
fprings of any revolution can be traced 
to their primary fource, and before the 
true characters of the principal agents 
can be clearly delineated. For the truth 
of thefe obfervations, we need only have 
recourfe to a comparifon of the earlieft 
^nd lateft accounts of the reign of the 



unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots. In 
the former, factions, calumny, and igno- 
rance, exhibited her as a beautiful de- 
mon ; and it was only after the lapfe of 
near two centuries, that writers of ho- 
nour, difcernment, and veracity*, were 
enabled to penetrate the thick cloud of 
mifreprefentation, and to place that 
much-injured Princefs in the genuine 
light, which juft and impartial hifiory 

The perufal of the following letters 
will difcover, that our author was defti- 
tute of many qualifications effential to 
his undertaking; and tofupply thefe ma- 
terial defefts, he appears to fubftitute a 
profeffional experience, fo limited, as 
fcarcely to exceed the duration of a but- 
terfly's exiftence t. 

* Goodall, Tytler, Steuart, and Whi taker. 
. f Natural Hiflorians relate, that this infect is, in the 
fi rft period of its exiftence, a crawling grub ; in the 
fecond, a fluttering ufelefs By ; and that in the third- 
it dies. 

B4 Witk 


With refpeft to the charges exhibited 
againft Earl Cornwallis, it is neither my 
province to enter into a full vindication 
6f his Lordfhip's condu£t, nor to inquire 
into the caufes of thofe charges being 
brought forward, with an acrimony fo 
ftrongly marked, at fo late a period. Si- 
milar indulgence is however expected in 
inveftigating fome accufations preferred 
againft that nobleman, as when defend* 
ing officers under his command. Indiredt 
cenfures are frequently ufed againft his 
Lordfhip; fuch wound more deeply than 
fpecifick attacks, becaufe their poignancy 
is artfully concealed, and often produces 
a much more dangerous effe£t, than 
avowed and implacable refentment. To 
afperfe his Lordfhip's military capacity, 
is infidious to a degree ; and to condemn 
the meafures which he purfued in Ame- 
rica, at a time, when the unlimited con- 
fidence of his country has again fingled 
him out for a truft of the higheft impor- * 
tance, and placed him at fuch a diftance* 


* Earl Cornwallis was, at the time that Lieutenant 



from all poflibility of defending himfelf, 
is truly ungenerous. It is equally unbe^ 
eoming to point fuch unmerited cenfures, 
at fo refpeftable a foldier, fo invaluable a 
patron, and fo fincere a friend. 

Trufting to your candour and judg- 
ment, I fubmit the following strictures 
on this work to your confideration,and 
have no doubt but you will coincide with 
me in opinion, that nothing can com- 
penfate for want of veracity in an hifto- 
rian, and that the blandishments of 
di&ion are but wretched fubftitutes for 
the language of truth. 

With every fentiment of friendfhip, 
I am 
Your mod faithful 
And obedient fervant, 

polonel Tarleton publjfhed his Hiftory, and is at pre- 1 
fenj, Governor General in India. 





\ OU are now for* 
nifhed with my general fentiments, re-* 
fpe£ting the performance before ua; the 
merits and demerits of its pofitions and 
Conclufions, next claim our attention, 

The important difplay of political 
knowledge/ affedrted in the exordium, is, 
doubtlefs, intended to fhew the author's 
fuperior judgment and information* He 
would be thought as great in the cabinet 
as in the field. He appears familiar with 



the defigns of foreign powers, and treats 
Lord North's adminiftration, in condu£fc* 
ing the American war, with great free^ 
dom*\ Eor my part, I am unacquainted 
with the arcana imperii ; the deep difcern- 
ment of a Machiavel is not, however, 
Wanted to deteft the extreme abfurdity 
of the following conclufions* After dis- 
claiming farther political difquintion, he 
reafons thus, pages 2 and 3 : 

* 6 In the autumn of the year 1779, 

" Congrefs was confiderably advanced in 
u credit and power by the military com- 
iC bination in Georgia. The appearance 
f 6 of the French, although the attack 
u upoii Savannah was not crowned with 
" fuccefs, reanimated the expiring vigour 
*' of the defponding Americans, and con- 
u firnjed the attachment of the pa* 
£ fteady." 

The combination to which our author 

? Vide page 2. 



alludes, is conceived to mean, that of the 
French army under the Count deEftaign, 
with the Americans commanded by Ge-> 
neral Lincoln, in the month of Septem-* 
ber 1779, The Count failed from Cape 
Fran$ois, in the ifland of Hifpaniola, 
With a formidable armament, and landed 
in Georgia at the head of five thoufand 
regular troops, and an adequate train of 
artillery. He was foon joined by, per- 
haps, an equal number of Americans, 
This united force was repulfed and to- 
tally routed, by lefs thap three thoufand 
foldiers and feamen, before the unfinifhed 
works of Savannah, It is therefore 
highly inconfiftent to infer, that the 
taufe of America could have derived fupr 
port from fuch difafter and difgrace. 

The author's pofitions being admitted^ 
we muft believe that the gallant Tawfe 
fell, and Prevoft, Maitland, Glazier, 
Cruger, Hamilton and Moncreif fought, 
in vain ; and from fuch conclufions we 
are to learn, that the brilliant fuccefs of 


IA Col. f ARLEtON's HISTORY. i£ 

his Majefty's arms tended only to ag- 
grandize his enemies, Doftor Ramfey 
was at that time, and probably now is, a 
delegate to the Continental Congrefs. 
He has publifhed a work, entitled, " An 
V Hiftory of the Revolution of South 
" Carolina." I by no means fubfcribe to 
all his conclufions, but in the prefent 
inftance, he, from his fituation, muft 
have been a competent judge of the ftate 
of American affairs, and in what manner 
they were affe£ied by this cataftrophe. 
The Do&or fays, Vol. II. page 42, 
" The fiege being raifed, the Continental 
«* troops retreated over the river Savan- 
" nah. A depreffion of fpirits fucceeded, 
" much increafed by the preceding ele- 
" vation. The Georgian exiles, who had 
" arrived from all quarters to re-poffefs 
" themfelves of their eflates, were a fe- 
" cond time obliged to abandon their 
" country, and feek refuge among ftran- 
" gers. The currency depreciated much 
*' fafter than ever, and the mod gloomy 
u apprehenfions refpefiting the Southern 

" ftates 


46 flates generally took pofieffion of the 
i£ minds of the people." — And again, page 
46, " The repulfe at Savannah, on the 9th 
€C of the preceding October, impreffed 
^ the inhabitants with high ideas of the 
* c power of Britain." 

Diveft yourfelf now of prejudice in fa-* 
vour of either of thefe gentlemen, and 
then decide whether the power and cre- 
dit of Congrefs could poffibly derive fup- 
port, or the expiring vigour of the Ame- 
ricans, reanimation, from the overthrow 
of their friends and ailies. But I forbear 
farther remarks on the firft five pages of 
this work, which are entitled to peculiar 
delicacy; for, upon examination of the 
whole performance, it will be found, 
that he feldom fuffers an equal number 
of fucceeding ones to pafs, without ex- 
hibiting himfelf, as the principal figure 
in the fore-ground of the picture. 

The author, in reafoning on fome fub- 
fequent operations of the American army, 



is as unfortunate as in his preceding re- 
mark. He fays, pages 13 and 14, " The 
u body of regular troops, deftined for 
" this fervice (the protection of Charlef- 
" town), though aflifted by the militia 
" and inhabitants, was fcarcely adequate 
" to the defence of fuch extenfive forti- 
" fications, and could have been more 
" ufefully employed in the field, where 
u judicious operations, affifted by the re- 
" fources to be found in the country, and 
Ci by the approaching heat of the feafon, 
" would have protected the greateft part 
a of the fertile province of South Caro- 
" lina, wx>uld have^ foon over-balanced 
" the prefent fuperiority of the Britifh 
" forces, and would effectually have pre- 
" vented the co-operation of the Royal 
" navy and army. General Wafhington 
a adopted this line of adlion, when he 
" abandoned New- York Ifland for the 
* Jerfies." 

The misfortunes of General Lincoln, 
Who commanded at Charleftown, cer- 


tainly entitle him to fome tendernefs 
from a generous obferver of his adtions. 
He undertook the defence of that place, 
by the direction of thofe in whofe fervice 
he was engaged, nor did his mode of con- 
ducting it do him any difcredit. The 
Congrefs was fo attentive to the fafety of 
this important garrifon, that they pro- 
pofed the remarkable expedient of arming 
the flaves; and the legiflature of South 
Carolina inverted Mr. Rutledge with the 
unlimited powers of a Di6tator, to give 
energy to his government, upon this ex- 
traordinary emergency*. Of the poli- 
tical propriety of maintaining this poft, 
£he Americans muft have been more 
proper judges than our author, whofe 
jeafoning upon the fubjeft appears ex- 
tremely erroneous. It cannot by any 
gleans be admitted, that fix thoufand 
American troops, indifferently difciplined* 
Should in any fituation be able to coun- 
ter^ the meafures of a Britilh force, 

* Vid$ Ramfey. 



confifting of ten thoufand ; and to affert 
that a few regiments, the weak ftate of 
which is acknowledged by himfelf, 
would have actually prevented the co- 
operation of the Royal navy and ar- 
my, is an abfurdity hitherto unparal- 
leled. Whatever the faults of the Ame- 
rican General might have been, it is ob- 
vious that his army, by quitting the only 
garrifon, and principal fea-port in the 
province, and by retiring into the inte- 
rior country, could not have retarded the 
above-mentioned co-operation. Such a 
meafure, inftead of dividing, would have 
enabled the Britiih to concentrate their 

The author's illuftration is equally 
erroneous with his pofition. General 
Wafhington garrifoned the fortrefs which 
bore his name upon New-York Ifland, 
with three thoufand troops under General 
Magaw ; he furnifhed it with magazines, 
and forty-one pieces of cannon of dif- 
ferent calibers, befides howitzers. The 

G place 


place was fummoned in vain, and then 
attacked by General Kniphaufen, Earl 
Percy/ General Mathew, and Colonel 
Stirling, at the head of four feparate di- 
vifions of the Britifh army. The affail- 
ants had near four hundred men killed 
and wounded, and the fortrefs was not 
reduced, until Earl Percy carried one of 
the outworks by aflault, Colonel Stirling 
another, and until Kniphaufen, having 
advanced clofe to the parapet, was pre- 
pared to enter fword in hand-. When 
thefe circumftances are confidered, it will 
appear, that General Wafhington did not 
abandon New- York Ifland for the Jer- 
fies, from motives of policy, as this au- 
thor afferts, but of neceffity. 

When falfe inferences like thefe, fup- 
ported by erroneous illuftrations, appear 
in the front of a performance, we liften 
with caution to the fequel, which indeed 

• Vide General Howe's Official Letter of the 30th 
of November, 1776. 



is the more neceffary, when it is confi- 
dered, that official difpatches and private 
letters are adduced as vouchers, though 
thefe were written under impreffions 
from erroneous reports, founded on mif- 
reprefentations by our author himfelf; 
the confequence of which has been, that 
whole garrifons have fired vollies, bells 
have rung, and bonfires have been raifed, 
to commemorate advantages which never 

Be allured that I am, 

Yours, &c. 






JVl Y laft Was princi- 
pally levelled at the erroneous ftatement 
of the confequences which refulted from 
the fuccefsful defence of Savannah, and 
the effe£l which our author fays an early 
evacuation of Gharleftown by General 
Lincoln would have produced. The. 
advance of the Britifti to that garrifon, 
its reduction, with fome fubfequent ope- 
rations, have been defcribed in his Excel- 
lency Sir Henry Clinton's difpatches, 
with an accuracy which fuperfedes the. 



neceffity of the very imperfect account 
publifhed by Lieutenant Colonel Tarle- 

It is generally admitted, that the love 
of fame is, or ought to be, the ruling paf- 
fion of every foldier; and, perhaps, it 
has in a greater or leffer degree, had a 
manifeft influence in impelling this order 
of men to glorious actions, from a Le- 
onidas at Thermopylae, to our immortal 
. Wolfe at the heights of Abraham, Of 
this the Corfican Chief Paoli, when 
defending his native ifland from the at- 
tacks of a mercenary republick, appear§d 
truly fenfible. " He devifed an excellent 
" method of promoting bravery among 
" his countrymen. He wr6te a circular 
*< letter to the priefts of every parifli in 
«< the ifland, defiring a lift to be made 
€C out of all thofe who had fallen in 
u battle. No inftitution was better con- 
< c trived ; it might be adopted by every 
" nation, as it would give double courage 
H to foldiers, who would have their fame 
C 3 " preferred. 


u preferved, and at the fame time leave 
" to their relatives the valuable legacy of 
" a claim to the kindnefs of the date*." 
In addition to this firft principle, it cer- 
tainly affords a melancholy fatisfa6lion, 
to find in the page of hiftory, that juftice 
is done to the memory of the dead ; it 
mingles fympathy with the tears of the 
widow and orphan; it may encourage 
future foldiers to emulate the aftions of 
their predeceffors, whofe lives may have 
been facrificed in the fervice of their 
country ; it alfo gives to the relations of 
thefe brave men, that claim to the kind- 
nefs of the ftate, which the Corfican 
hiftorian has defcribed. Liberal minds 
only are influenced by thefe exalted max- 
ims ; but let us confider the light in 
which they have been viewed, by the 
journalift of the Southern American cam- 

* BofwePs Account of Corfica. 



Defcribing* the attack of the lerion-in- 
fantry, when they miftook the corps un- 
der the command of Major Ferguion for 
enemies, pages 7 and 8 ? he entirely neg- 
lects to mention the wounds which that 
active officer received, though thefe were 
attended by a peculiarity of circumftances, 
that long furniihed the whole army with 
a melancholy topic k of converfation. 
The Major had fignalized himfelf in a 
confpicuous manner at Brandywine ; his 
right arm had been fo much fnattered in 
that action, as to be for ever after ren- 
dered ufelefs ; this misfortune, however, 
did not deprive him of his talents for vi- 
gorous exertion : he rendered himfelf 
mafter of the fword with his left. On 
the prefent occafion he defended himfelf 
againft three foldiers, who oppofed him 
with fixed bayonets^ but receiving a 
wound in his only arm, he was on the 
point of falling, when Major Cochran, 
fortunately recognizing his voice, the 
miftake was cleared up, and his invalu- 
able life was for this time preferved. 

C 4 Our 


Our author is equally remifs iri his 
account of the lofs fuftained by the ac-? 
cident which befel the magazine in 
Charleftown, page 23, as he has totally 
omitted to mention the deaths of Lieu- 
tenant Gordon of the royal artillery, and 
Lieutenant Macleod of the 42d regiment, 
who, as well as Captain Collins, perifhed 
in that explofion. 

An aftion which a detachment from 
the garrifon of Ninety Six had with an 
American corps, upon the 19th of Au- 
guft, 1780, would certainly have excited 
the attention of a correct hiftorian. 

Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton's forte as 
an author, feems to be compilation; he 
might therefore have given the American 
account of this affair, either from Ram- 
fey, or from the Scots Magazine of De- 
cember, 1780 ; but as it has entirely 
efcaped his attention, you may depend 
upon the following flatement, as it comes 
from unqueftipnable authority. 

1 The 

&. Col. TA RLE TON's HISTORY. 25 

The Americans, under Colonels Wil- 
liams, Shelby, and Clarke, were ftrongly 
ported on the Weftern banks of the 
Enoree; their numbers have not been 
precifely afcertained, probably five hun- 
dred. The detachment of Britifh troops, 
commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Innes, 
confided of a light infantry company of 
the New-Jerfey volunteers, a captain's 
command of Delancy's, and about one 
hundred men of the South Carolina re- 
giment mounted. The troops paffed the 
river, the infantry drove the enemy at 
the point of the bayonet, and the horfe, 
though but lately raifed, and indiffer- 
ently difciplined, behaved with great gal- 
lantry ; but in the moment of viftory, 
the commandant, Major Frafer, Cap- 
tain Campbell, Lieutenants Chew and 
Camp, five out of the feven officers 
prefent, were wounded by a volley from 
the Americans. The Britifh troops, con- 
fequently unable to avail themfelves of 
the advantages which now offered, w r ere 
conducted by Captain Kerr to the Eaftern 



fide of the river, where they remained 
till reinforced by Lieutenant Colonel 

In our author's description of the ac- 
tion at Hanging Rock, the partiality 
which he entertains for his own corps 
is evident ; the gallantry of officers, and 
of a detachment with which he was not 
immediately connected, is configned to 
oblivion. This affertion is juftified by his 
filence on the lofs of Lieutenant Brown 
of the North Carolinians, who fell in a 
defperate charge, which the crifis of the 
a6lion rendered inevitable; and befides 
him, not lefs than feventy men of the 
fame regiment were killed and wounded, 
of which, however, no mention is made, 
as it would appear a participation of the 
credit afcribed to the legion. 

From too great attention to his own 
exploits, Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton 
pays not that decent regard to thofe of 
others, which historical truth indifpenf- 



ably requires. He has not recorded the 
fall of feveral officers at the fiege of Au~ 
gufta; and the whole of thofe who dif- 
played fuch diftinguifhed bravery in the 
defence of Ninety Six, are, without ex- 
ception, pafled over in filence. Of the 
former of thefe fieges, he appears to know 
little indeed; and of the latter, though 
one of the moft brilliant affairs which 
occurred during the war, he feems to the 
full as ignorant, as he poffibly may be of 
thofe of Candia or Rhodes. 

Exclufive of thofe already mentioned, 
the death of Captains Kelly and Hewlet, 
the wounds of Captains Nifbet and Ro- 
binfon, of Lieutenants Toriano, Cowel, 
Mackay, Robinfon, and others, certainly 
merited attention; and his negle6t, in 
not particularifing the officers who were 
facrificed immediately under his own eye 
at Cowpens, is ftill more unpardonable. 

In page 505, he afferts, " Two officers, 
ft with forty dragoons and their horfes, 

u were 


*' were all taken without a blow ;" but 
the fact is, that Lieutenant Sutherland 
of the South Carolina dragoons, one of 
the officers thus cenfured, being on a 
foraging party, fell in with a confiderable 
corps of the enemy's cavalry, and de- 
fended himfelf, when attacked, with a 
degree of valour, bordering on excefs; 
he was fo defperately wounded in this 
rencounter, that the infantry, who had 
now advanced to his fupporfcj left him on 
the field for dead. This gentleman, 
however, ftill lives, though his recovery- 
is held by the medical faculty, as an event 
next to a prodigy. So far was he from 
not exchanging blows with the fuperior 
force by which he was attacked, that a 
confiderable portion of his fcull was 
found to have been cut out with a fabre, 
the manifeft proof of which is difplayed 
by the perception of the movements of 
the brain, upon an application of the 
hand : he is now in Nova Scotia, and our 
author probably conceived that he might 
hazard fuch a reflection upon his con- 


duct, as he has made upon that of other 
abfent officers, without the rifque of con- 

To the names already fpecified, thofe 
of many American Loyalifts might have 
been added; men, whofe integrity was 
incorruptible, undifmayed in the hour of 
danger, who facrificed their private in- 
tereft to publick good, and who, though 
they knew that the internal peace of 
their families was deftroyed, by the ra- 
vages of relentlefs war, fought and bled 
with manly fpirit ; maintained their alle- 
giance to their- lateft moments, and 
evinced a probity of mind under every 
reverfe of fortune, which mud endear 
them to pofterity. Such names, a gen- 
tleman who undertook to write an Hif- 
tory of the Southern Campaigns of 1780 
and 1781, ihould have known, and fuch 
merit he ought to have recorded. But 
let us follow our author to his own at- 
chievements, where no charge of omiffion 
can poffibly be brought againft him. 



Page 17, " with five horfes killed and 
" wounded." Page 20, " The Britifh 
" dragoons loft two men and four horfes 
" in the a£tion, but returning to Lord 
" Cornwallis's camp the fame evenings 
" upwards of twenty horfes expired with 
" fatigue." Page 30, " And thirty-one 
" horfes killed and wounded." Page 115, 
" And twenty horfes were killed and 
"wounded." Page 180, "With thirty 
" horfes killed and wounded." Page 226, 
" And twenty horfes fell." Page 287, 
" Three men wounded, and a few horfes 
" killed and wounded." 

From fuch anxiety in our author not 
to omit recording the fmalleft lofs fuf- 
tained by his own corps, this refledtion 
naturally occurs, that the fall of horses, 
in actions wherein he was concerned, is 
entitled to a preferable attention in his 
work, to officers of equal, perhaps fu- 
perior, merit to himfelf, who fufFered 
upon other occafions!!! 

3 You 


You will keep this trait continually 111 
view, as we follow him through his cam- 
paigns; it is a diftinguifhing one, and 
will enable you to form a proper judg- 
ment of matters which would otherwife 
appear inexplicable. 

I am, &c. 





IN fupport of the 
maxim contained in the clofe of my laft 
letter, I proceed to fhew, that, through 
this performance, the author, in general, 
either appears as his own panegyrift and 
hero of his tale, or as the detra6lor and 
cenfor of the condu£t of others; his 
mole-hills are raifed into mountains, 
while the moft fplendid aftions of thofe 
who came neareft to the fummit of per- 
feftion, are either depreciated by avowed 
ceniure, oblique infmuation, or entirely 



patted over in filence. Even a Lord 
Rawdon efcapes not the acrimony of his 
pen ! Accordingly, in his relation of cir- 
cumftances which occurred during this 
nobleman's encampment at Lynch's 
Greek, he obferves, page 99, " The hof* 
" pital, the baggage, the provifions, the 
" ammunition, and the ftoires, remained 
a under a weak guard at Camden. Ge- 
" neral Gates advanced to the Creek op- 
u pofite to the Britifh camp, and fkir- 
u mifhes enfued between the advanced 
u parties of the two armies. The Ame- 
u rican commander difcovered that Lord 
" Rawdon's pofition was ftrong, and he 
" declined an attack ; but he had not 
" fufficient penetration to conceive, that 
€i by a forced march up the Creek he 
u could have paiTedLord Rawdon's flank* 
u and reached Camden, which would 
u have been an eafy conqueft, and a fatal 
u blow to the Britifh." And page 109, 
" The firft mifconception imputable to 
" General Gates, was the not breaking in 
" upon the Britifh communications as 
D " foon 


€C foon as he arrived near Lynch's Creek* 
" The move up the Creek, and from 
" thence to Camden, was practicable and 
a eafy before the King's troops were con- 
" centered at that place; or he mighty 
*' without the fmallejl difficulty ', have occu- 
a pied a ftrong pofition on Saunders's 
" Creek, five miles from Camden, be- 
" fore Earl Cornwallis joined the Royal 
" forces.' 5 

The m'oft ftrongly marked features m 
the military chara6ler of Lord Rawdon* 
are, a fmgular talent for enterprize, an 
acute discernment, and unremitting vi- 
gilance. The army under his command 
lay for feveral days within one mile of 
General Gates's encampment, and dire£t- 
ly between him and Camden, the pro- 
tection of which place, was the great and 
immediate obje£t of his Lordfhip's atten- 
tion, and. to accomplish which, he (hewed, 
no difinclination to come to an a6tion. 
Thus fituated, and fo determined, it is 
ridiculous to fuppofe that he would have 


L*. Col. TARLETON's HISf ORY. 3s 

fuffered the American army to pafs on 
either flank, or by any means to pofTefs 
themfelves of Camden, which was then 
the only depot of the Britiih army in 
that part of the country. The incon- 
fiftency of thefe infmuations have been 
expofed, even by gentlemen, who, though 
unacquainted with local fituations, juftly 
conclude, " That it muft fuppofe a fu- 
u pinenefs in Lord Rawdon, by no means 
" confiftent with his abilities and military 
" talents*" But to put the matter be- 
yond a doubt, here, as ufual, our author 
furnifhes a decided argument in contra- 
diction to his own affertions. Page ior, 
he tells us, " A patrole, fent by General 
" Gates to Rugely's Mills on the 12th, 
" occafioned a report that the American 
" commander was moving to his right. 
* The fituation of the Britiih hofpital 
*< and magazine, and the prefent diftance 
u of the army, pointed out to Lord Raw- 
" don the propriety of falling back from 

* Critical Review, May, 1787. 

D 2 " Lynches 


" Lynch's Creek, and of concentrating 
" his force near Camden. The move 
u was accordingly made." If then, as 
the author himfelf acknowledges, even a 
patrole of the enemy failed not to excite 
the attention of Lord Rawdon, was it to 
be fuppofed that the movement of a 
whole army would efcape his vigilance 
and circumfpeftion ? 

Our author, in arraigning the pene- 
tration of General Gates, is rather unfor- 
tunate ; his animadverfions unluckily 
falling upon an officer who had, before 
that, proved to all mankind, that he 
neither wanted inclination nor ability to 
be a principal inftrument of the ruin of 
the Britifh intereft in America*. From 
his known character there is not left a 
fhadow of doubt, that if the meafures 

* General Gates had attained the rank of Major in 
the Britifh fervice. Upon the commencement of the 
American war, he took an active part in the affairs of 
that country, and was the officer who captured an army 
at Saratoga. 



fuggefted by this author had been the 
mofh proper, they would not have been 

While one {lender thread runs through 
the whole labyrinth of this incoherent 
performance, influencing its author in 
every aflertion, and while he never quits 
the idea of railing himfelf, and finking 
the other officers of the Britilh army 
in the eftimation of his readers ; to ren- 
der this fcheme more complete, he ex- 
tends his animadverfions to the com- 
manders of the enemy, attributing to 
their mifconduft the moft brilliant at- 
chievements of the beft Britilh officers, 
and imputing to want of ability in the 
latter, every misfortune which befel 
them. But the whole execution is ac- 
companied with fuch a wavering incon- 
fiftency, and difplays fuch a feeblenefs of 
judgment throughout, as to juftify the 
application to his cafe of the words of a 
celebrated poet : 

D 3 " He 


i — u He now to fenfe, now nonfenfe leaning, 

V Means not, but blunders round about a meaning.** 

And he has left us to lament, with Gan^ 
ganelli, that there are fome authors, 
>vho in their attempts to rife into the 
uncommon, have fallen into the abfurd. 

The following pafTages are fele£led to, 
fhew the felf-importance which pervades 
this work. Page 7, " Lieutenant Co- 
" lonel Tarleton requefted the ufe of fome 
" of the Quarter Matter General's boats.* 
Page 27, " Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton, 
" on this occafion, was defired to confult 
*' his own judgment."- Page 100, " Lieu-*. 
# tenant Colonel Tarleton, being reco- 
f* vered from a fever, was dejired to collect 
i< all the dragoons he could find in 
V Charleftown." Page 103, " Upon ap^ 
"plication from Lieutenant Colonel Tarle- 
" ton, he (Earl Cornwallis) ordered all 
" the horfes of the army, belonging both 
f* to regiments and departments, to be 
H affembled : the beli were felefted for 

" the 


u the fervice of the cavalry, and, upon the 
"proprietors receiving payment , they were 

* delivered up to the Britiih legion. 
u Thefe a£tive preparations diffufed ani- 

* mation and vigour throughout the 

* army. On the 15th, the principal part 

* of the King's troops had orders to be 
" in readinefs to march : in the afternoon 
"Earl Cornwallis dejired Lieutenant Co- 
" lonel Tarleton, &c." 

Such effufions of vanity as thefe have 
a very difgufting effe6t. To other offi- 
cers, from a General of fuch high birth 
and length of fervice, it was fufficient to 
be commanded, but this gentleman mud 
be dejired and requejled to do what was 
merely his duty. 

It is well known that the publick fer- 
vice required Earl Cornwallis to mount 
dragoons by the expedient juft mention- 
ed ; and, that the Britiih government is 
too juft to deprive its fubjefts of private 
property without an equivalent, I readily 
D 4 admit, 


admit, but that the proprietors have re- 
ceived payment for thefe horfes, is denied. 
A number of officers, now in this king- 
dom, are in poffeffion of receipts paffed 
on this occafion by Lieutenant Colonel 
Tarleton, which remain to this hour un- 
difcharged ; many of thefe gentlemen are 
reduced to the fcanty pittance of half- 
pay, and it would afford them much fa- 
tisfaction to know through what channel 
they are to make application for pay-* 

I am, &c* 





I NEXT call your at- 
tention to fome circumftances previous 
to the fall of Fergufon. Our author in- 
finuates that Earl Gornwallis might have 
forefeen and guarded againft this misfor- 
tune. The charge is more than difin^ 
genuous, and merits a pointed refutation. 
In purfuing the inveftigation, the ftrength 
^nd movements of the army, the fituation 
of thepartilan, the extraordinary exertions 
p.f an enemy, from a quarter totally un- 



expe6ted, and the principles upon which 
our author reafons, mufl all be confix 

The Britiih General commenced his 
firfl invafion of North Carolina about 
the 20th of September, 1780, having 
previoufly determined to march through 
the Waxhaws, and to make Charlotte-* 
town a place of arms. This meafure ha? 
been indecently arraigned, but the argu- 
ments adduced in fupport of the accufa- 
tion, are evidently ill-founded: they 
fhall be examined in their proper place. 
It will appear, by quotations from his 
work, that the author has exaggerated 
the force of Earl Cornwallis. He mif-* 
ftates the movements of troops, and, by 
a natural confequence, has drawn falfe 
inferences from erroneous principles. He 
fays, page 158, " Earl Cornwallis, with 
" the principal column of the army, 
" compofed of the 7th, 23d, 33d, and 
" 71ft regiments of infantry, the volun-> 
* teers of Ireland, Hamilton!* Corps, Bry- 

" an's 


*< an's Refugees, four pieces of cannon, 
* 4 about fifty waggons, and a detachment 
P- of cavalry, marched by Hanging Rock, 
*< towards the Catawba fettlement; whilfl 
" the body of the Britiih dragoons, and the 
u light and legion infantry, with a three 
<c pounder, crofted the Wateree, and 
€C moved up the Eafi fide of the river, 
* 4 under Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton. 
fl The fcarcity of forage in the diftri£t 
** of Waxhaws was the principal reafon 
*' for this temporary feparation." The 
army which his Lordfhip commanded 
upon this occafion did not exceed fifteen 
hundred regulars, and, probably, about 
half that number of attendant militia. 
Colonel John Hamilton, a gentleman of 
independent fortune from North Caro- 
lina, who had in the rife of the late mo- 
mentous controverfy attached himfelf to 
the Britiih intereft, had now more than 
completed his battalion, originally in- 
tended to' confift of five hundred men. 
However defirous Lord Cornwallis might 
\>$ to avail himfelf of the affiftance of 



Colonel Hamilton at this jun&ure, the 
prefent fituation of affairs in South Ca- 
rolina required his prefence at Camden, 
he was therefore left with his regiment 
to garrifon that poll, nor did a fingle fol- 
dier belonging to it appear in his Lord-*- 
fhip's camp, from his departure in Sep- 
tember, until after his return from Char-- 
lottetown, and the taking poft at Wynnef- 
borough in November following; nay, 
the General was fo fully convinced of 
their being required at the ftation they 
were left to defend, that, on the delivery 
of a quantity of ft ores, efcorted by them 
to the army, their immediate return was 
ordered. Thus an increafe of more 
than five hundred regulars is made to 
his Lordfhip's force. 

The fecond part of this quotation, 
which extends to a movement of the 
corps under the command of our author, 
is not lefs erroneous, and the mis-ftate- 
ment is heightened by circumftances pe^ 
culiarly aggravating. He fays, page i68 ? 

" A move- 


u A movement on the JVeJl of the Ca- 

" tawba, towards Tryon county, would 

" have been better calculated either to 

u cover the frontier of South Carolina, 

" or to prote£t detachments from the 

" army." The author muft furely have 

drank deep of Lethe's waters to have fo 

foon forgotten his own route on this 

occafion, nay, a reference to his map 

would have convinced him of his miftake. 

The only body of troops detached at 

this time, was that under the command 

of Colonel Fergufon. To fupport this 

divifion, Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton, 

with about feven hundred men, upwards 

of three hundred of which were cavalry, , 

croffed the Wateree a few miles above , 

Camden, and advanced upon the JVeJl 

fide of that river, immediately between. 

the Royal army and Fergufon's corps. 

The affertion, therefore, that " He moved 

« up the Eqft fide of the river," is a mif- 

ftatement of the faft, and calculated to 

produce conclufions remote from the 




The laft part of this quotation is next 
to be confidered : " The fcarcity of forage 
* in the diftri£t of the Waxhaws, was 
" the principal reafon for this temporary* 
u feparation." As Lieutenant Colonel 
Tarleton feems refolved not to admit 
that the movement of his own corps 
could have the effe6t here pointed out, 
lie fhould have affigned a weightier rea- 
fon for fuch a feparation. In fa6t, he is 
no lefs unfortunate in this, than in the 
two former afTertions in the quotation 
before us. Far from being reduced to a 
fcanty pittance of forage in the diftri<5t 
of Waxhaws, after the army had re« 
mained there fome weeks, a quantity 
might have been collected within five 
miles of their encampment, fufficient to 
fupply their wants for feveral months* 
This reafoning is drawn from obfervations 
formed upon the fpot, and though I 
am unable to produce official p vouchers 
in juftification, the proof may be fafely 
refted with the officers who ferved in 
that army, and who were eye-witnerfes 



of the extenfive refources of the coun- 

Whenever I open this work, I either 
find an unexceptionable chara£ter at- 
tacked, a refpe£table one indire6tly af- 
perfed, or a difplay of atchievements by 
the author, or his corps, of which I had 
no idea previous to its publication. Thus, 
on taking poffeffion of Charlottetown, 
he fays, page 159, " An ambufcade was 
u apprehended by the light troops, who 
" moved forward for fome time with 
u great circumfpeftion : a charge of ca- 
" valry, under Major Hanger, diffipated 
ffi this ill-grounded jealoufy, and totally 
" difperfed the militia." 

That a charge was ordered is readily 
admitted ; that the Major was wounded 
in attempting to lead the dragoons to this 
charge, is well known; but no entreaties 
of his, no exertions of their officers, 
could, upon this occafion, induce the 
legion cavalry to approach the American 
2 militia. 


militia. They retreated without fulfil- 
ling the intention of the General. He 
therefore, much diffatisfied, ordered the 
light and legion infantry to diflodge the 
enemy, which they immediately effected* 

It is worthy of obfervation, that this 
journalift ihould fo Angularly mifrepre- 
fent a variety of plain fadts, and at the 
fame time overlook, or pretend ignorance 
of others, that were obvious to the whole 
army. 4 

He fays, page 167, " The King's troops 
Ci left Gharlottetown on the evening of 
" the 14th, to march to the Catawba 
"Ford: owing to the badnefs of the 
" road, the ignorance of the guides, the 
" darknefs of the night, or fome other 
" unknown caufe, the Britifh rear guard 
u defrroyed, or left behind, near twenty 
" waesons." 


It is totally immaterial to the prefent 
purpofe, whether our author's unao 



quaintance with this lofs was real or pre- 
tended. The caufe, however, was known 
by every individual in that army. The 
guide at this time employed was a Dodtor 

M , a Prefbyterian fanatick from 

Glafgow, the ambiguity of whofe faith did 
not efcape the difcernment of the Ge- 
neral. Under this diftruft he was eiven 
in charge to a corporal and two dragoons 
of Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton's corps. 
The Do6lor was too fhrewd for his 
guards, and finding that they had nofuf- 
picion of his real defign, he led the army, 
in a dark and rainy night, through thick 
woods, briars, deep ravines, marlhes, and 
creeks fcarcely fordable. After fuch a 
progrefs of fix hours, the General grew 
impatient, the alarmed guide eluded the 
vigilance of the dragoons, and efcaped 
unoblerved. Left in fuch a fituation, any 
army, where not one of the individuals 
which compofed it knew where they were, 
might be well contented to come off with 
a lofs fo trifling as that of a few wag- 

E As 


As the author is fo diffufe in his cen- 
fares of the condu6t of Earl Cornwallis, 
the farther confideration of this fhall be 
the fabjeiSt of my next. 

I am, &c. 





XHE objeft of my 
laft letter was to point out fome errone- 
ous ftatements of the meafures adopted 
by Earl Cornwallis for the conqueft of 
North Carolina. The arguments of our 
author on that head require farther con- 
fideration. He fays, page 168, " It was 
" now evident, beyond contradiction, 
" that the Britiih General had not adopt- 
" ed the mod eligible plan for the inva<- 
* fion of North Carolina. The route 
" by Charlottetown, through the moft 

E 2 " hoftile 


" hoftile quarter of the province, or! 
" many accounts, was not advifable. Its 
" diftance likewife from Fergufon allowed 
u _ the enemy to direct their attention and 
" force againft that officer, which ulti- 
" mately proved his deftruction. A 
" movement on the Weft fide of the Ca- 
" tawba, towards Tryon county, would 
4< have been better calculated either to 
" cover the frontier of South Carolina, 
" or to protect detachments from the 
" army. Another operation might alfo 
" have been attempted, which, in all 
u probability, would have had a benefi- 
" cial effect. Confidering the force of 
" the King's troops at this period, a 
" march to Crofs-Creek would have been 
4 f -the molt rational manoeuvre that could 
" have been adopted."" 

This is a novel fpecies of reafoning. 
To ftrike at the principal force of the 
enemy, is undoubtedly the quickeft, and 
moft certain method of enfuring fuccefs. 
While the Britifh General poffeiTed Char- 
i lottetown, 


iottetown, he overawed the furrounding 
diftrifts ; his route thither through the 
Waxhaws was judicioufly chofen; that 
powerful and inveterate fettlement was 
foon crulhed, and his advance through 
the heart of the provinces afforded him. 
an opportunity of attending to the extre-r 
mities, as it was equally calculated to 
prote6t the frontiers of South Carolina, 
and the Loyalifts at Crofs-Creek, 

In Polk's Mill alone, t\yenty-five thou- 
fand pounds weight of flour was captured; 
additional fupplies could alfo have been 
procured from the Waxhaws, from the 
mills in the neighbourhood, and the ad- 
jacent plantations in great abundance. 
The author is condefcending enough to 
admit, pages 159'and 160, that " Ghar- 
" Iottetown afforded fome t conveniences, 
" blended with great difadvantages. The 
" mills in its neighbourhood wtrtjuppofed 
€ i of fufficient confequence to render it, 
" for the prefent, an eligible pofition, 
" and, in future, a neceffary poll when 
E 3 " the 


« the army advanced : but (he farther 
" fays) the aptnefs of its intermediate 
u fituation between Camden and Salif- 
" bury, and the quantity of its mills, 
*< did not counterbalance its defeats. 
Ci The town and environs abound- 
" ed with inveterate enemies ; the plan- 
u tations in the neighbourhood were 
u fmall and uncultivated; the roads nar- 
u row, and croffed in every direction ; 
a and the whole face of the country co- 
" vered with clofe and thick woods." 

Many of the above remarks are inad- 
miffible. No difaftrous event, inferior to 
that which befel Fergufon, could poffibly 
have given effe£t to the exertions of the 
inhabitants inimical to the Britifh go-* 
vernment around Charlottetown; their 
whole force, though directed againft a 
detachment confiding of thirty men, un- 
der the command of Lieutenant Guyon 
of the 23d regiment, was repulfed with 
difgrace. The roads in every direction 
from that place to Camden, to Salifbury, 



to Tryon county, are perfeftly good, and 
furpaffed by none on the continent of 
America. The foil is fertile and produc- 
tive, and few countries, fo far from the 
fea-coaft, are better cultivated and cleared 
of timber. 

My ideas of the geography of the coun- 
try prefent conclufions diametrically op-^ 
pofite to thofe of our author. I am at a 
lofs to comprehend his meaning, when he 
fays, that a march towards Tryon county 
would have been better calculated to 
proteft detachments from the army, and, 
nearly in the fame inftant, points out a 
move to Crofs-Creek to be the moll ra- 
tional manoeuvre that could have been 
adopted. If, on the one hand, he would 
convey this fen fe, that the army ihould 
have been divided, and employed on two 
different expeditions, the anfwer is obvi- 
ous, that their force was by no means 
adequate to fo hazardous an undertaking. 
Should he, on the other, contend, that 
a movement either to Tryon county, or 
E 4 to 

5 6 S T R I C T'U RES ON 

to Crofs-Creek, would have produced the 
fame effe£t, I aver, that thefe directions 
differ nearly as far as Eaft does from 
Weft; confequently if Crofs-Creek be- 
came the object of attention, the Weftern 
frontier would have been expofed, and if 
the army advanced by Tryon county, 
the Loyalifts at Crofs-Creek muft have 
been facrificed. If the reafoning of Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Tarleton can be allowed, 
the greatefl contradictions in military 
operations may be reconciled, and fole- 
cifm may be an exploded term in our lan- 
guage. In fa£t, officers lefs honoured with 
the confidence of Earl Cornwallis than our 
author, well knew that his Lordihip in- 
tended to approach Crofs-Creek after 
being joined by Fergufon, and after eftab- 
lifhing a poft at Charlottetown. Indeed, 
this will appear by a letter, which our 
journalift has taken from the Remem- 
brancer. Earl Cornwallis to Colonel 
Fergufon: " As foon as I have confumed 
ff the provifions in this fettlement, I ihall 

" march 


" march with as much expedition as pof- 
« fible to Crofs-Creek."* 

As feveral very extraordinary circum- 
ftances, and iuch as no human forefight 
could guard againft, contributed to Fer- 
gufon's melancholy cataftrophe, it will be 
requifite to fubmit them to your inflec- 
tion. They could fcarcely be unknown 
to Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton, but as 
they would have militated againft his ar- 
guments, had they been candidly ftated, 
they were artfully fuppreflfed, as their 
developement would have materially af- 
fected the reputation of his peformance. 

Fergufon had^direCtions to advance on 
the left flank of the main army. His 
force confifted of about one hundred and 
fifty men from the provincial corps, in 
whom perfect confidence might on all 
occafions be placed, and from one to two 
thoufand militia, a fluctuating body, 

* Vide page 192. 



whofe numbers could not be depended 
upon, as they increafed, or diminifhed, 
with the report of the day. With thefe 
he proceeded when the army began its 
march. At this juncture, dire£l intelli- 
gence of the defeat of Clarke before Au- 
gufla, and of his retreat to North Caro- 
lina, through the back country, was 
conveyed to the unfortunate Fergufon. 
A fpirit of enterprize with which few 
are gifted, a zeal peculiar to great minds, 
an affe&ion for his prince, and a pure 
fenfe of true patriotifm, probably impelled 
him to exceed the ftrift injunctions im^ 
pofed on him by the General on the pre- 
fent occafion. He determined to ftrike at 
Clarke, and with this intention advanced 
towards Tryon county. A fwarm of 
backwoods-men, who had originally dif- 
ferent objefts in view, were eafily pre-^ 
vailed upon to unite their force. The 
wild and fierce inhabitants of Kentucky, 
and other fettlements weftward of the 
Allegany mountains, under the Colonels 
Campbell and Boone, and thofe of Hol- 

fton 3 


fton, Powel's Valley, Berkley, Bottetourt, 
Augufta and Fincaftle, under the Colo- 
nels Cleveland, Shelby, Sevier, Williams, 
Brandon and Lacey, aflembled fuddenly 
and filently. Each man was well mounted, 
and furnifhed with a rifle and fome pro- 
vifions : no incumbrance of waggons, no 
publick departments, impeded the move- 
ments of thefe hardy mountaineers. The 
divifion from beyond the mountains ad- 
vanced, with intention to feize upon a 
quantity of prefents which they under- 
ftood were but flightly guarded at Au- 
gufta, and which were, about that time, 
to have been diftributed among a body of 
Creek and Cherokee Indians aflembled at 
that place: the other divifion intended, 
at leaft, to obftru£t the advance of the 
Britifh army towards their fettlements. 
The rough reception which Clarke had 
met with from Colonel Brown, induced 
him to magnify the force at Augufta in 
fuch lively colours, as totally to flop any 
proceedings againft that ppft ; and a fup- 
pofed fuperiority caufed them to decline 



direct oppofition to Earl Cornwallis. They, 
therefore fele£ted fifteen hundred picked 
men, and having mounted thefe on fleet 
horfes, they by rapid marches foon came 
up with the gallant Fergufon. Having 
thus accounted for the unexpected combi-? 
nation of force by which he was deftroy- 
ed, I lhall referve his condud in the ac-? 
tion at King's Mountain for another, 

I am ? &c, 




MY DEAR Silt, 

1HE forte of the un- 
fortunate Major Fergufon was not retreat 
but perfeverance . He halted upon King's 
Mountain, an advantageous ground, to 
receive his enemy; but as the laft aft of 
this gallant partifan has been fo (lightly 
pafied over by Lieutenant Colonel Tarle- 
ton, we muft have recourfe to an Ame- 
rican author, who has difcovered no par- 
tiality for Britifh characters, for a ftriking 
portrait of the intrepidity of that diftin- 
guiihed officer. 



Ramfey, in defcribing this aclion, ob-* 
ferves, VoL II. pages 183 and 184, " The 
u picquet foon gave way, and were pur- 
W fued as they retired up the mountain 
H to the main body. Colonel Fergufon, 
g with the greateft bravery, ordered his 
" men to charge. The Americans, com- 
" manded by Colonel Cleveland, followed 
" his advice, and, having fired as long as 
" they could with fafety, they retired 
" from the approaching bayonet. They 
" had fcarcely given way when the other 
" detachment, commanded by Colonel 
" Shelby, having completed the circuit of 
" the mountain, opportunely arrived, and 
w from an unexpected quarter poured in 
" a well directed fire. Colonel Fergufon 
" defifted from the purfuit, and engaged 
u with his new adverfaries. The Britifh 
** bayonet was again fuccefsful, and caufed 
" them alfo to fall back. By this time 
" the party commanded by Colonel 
" Campbell had afcended the mountain, 
" and renewed the attack from that emi- 
* ncnce. Colonel Fergufon, whofe con- 

« dua 


du£t was equal to his courage, prefented 
a new front, and was again fuccefsful ; 
but all his exertions were unavailing. 
At this moment the men who began 
the attack, no lefs obedient to the fe- 
cond requeft of their commander in re- 
turning to their polls, than they were 
to the firft in fecuring themfelves by a 
timely retreat, had rallied and renewed 
their fire. As often as one of the 
American parties was driven back, ano- 
ther returned to their ftation. Refift- 
ance on the part of Colonel Fergufon 
was in vain ; but his unconquerable fpi- 
rit refufed to furrender. After having 
repulfed a fucceffion of adverfaries 
pouring in their fire from new direc- 
tions, this diftinguiihed officer received 
a mortal wound." 

Thus fell Major Patrick Fergufon, a 
gentleman whofe virtues and accomplifh- 
ments were univerfally admired. In the 
commencement of the war, he lamented 
the deftruclion caufed in the Britiih army 



by the American markfmen, and exerted 
his genius in conftructing a rifle, which 
loaded with greater celerity, and fired 
with fuperior exactitude to thofe in ufe 
with the enemy, thus counteracting them 
at their own weapons. While belong- 
ing to a regiment which occupied the 
peaceful garrifon of Halifax in Nova- 
Scotia, he difdained inglorious eafe, em- 
barked for England, folicited and ob- 
tained the command of a corps which 
was entirely equipped upon his own prin- 
ciples. By his vigilance and activity in 
Pennfylvania and New Jerfey, he acquired 
the confidence of the Commander in 
Chief, and improved it by fubfequent 
fervices at Stony Point, and in feveral de- 
lultory defcents upon the enemies coafb 
All thefe had the effect of equally dif-^ 
treffing the Americans, and raifing their 
ideas of Britiih. valour. 

In the year 1780 he was appointed to 
a command formed of detachments fe- 
lected from the Provincial corps, and 



embarked on the expedition which re- 
duced Charleftown. His talent for en^ 
terprife attra£ted the notice of the whole 
army: military ta£ticks had been his early 
and favourite ftudy; and his knowledge 
was drawn from the pureft fources. To 
a diftinguifhed capacity for planning the 
greateft defigns, he added the ardour ne- 
ceffary to carry them into execution, He 
was therefore charged with the meafure 
of fupporting, and at the fame time difci-* 
plining, the numerous bodies of Loyal- 
ifts with which the interior diftricts of 
the Carolinas abounded; and it was in 
the profecution of this truft that he met 
his fate upon King's Mountain, in the 
manner before related. In private life, 
his humanity and benevolence were con- 
fpicuous ; his friendships were ileady and 
fmcere. In his profeflional capacity he 
thirfted after fame, and perifhed in its 
purfuit, Confidered as a fcholar, his, 
genius was folid, his comprehension 
clear, and his erudition extenfive. The 
ferene fortitude which he evinced in his 

F \m& 


lateft moments, ftrongly pourtrayed Ills? 
military virtues. 

In the account which Lieutenant Co- 
lonel Tarleton has given to the world of 
this a£tion, he brings a charge, equally 
unjuft and cruel, againft Captain De- 
peifter of the King's American regiment, 
upon whom the command devolved after 
the death of Colonel Fergufon. The 
charge is unjuft, becaufe it is without 
foundation ; and cruel, becaufe it ftrikes 
at the reputation of an officer now in 
Nova Scotia, and confequently incapable 
of confronting the accufer or the accu- 
fation. He fays, page 165, " No effort 
" was made after this event (the death 
^ of Fergufon) to refift the enemy's bar-: 
r barity, or revenge the fall of their 
" leader." 

A periodical publication had conveyed 
a fimilar reflection upon Captain Depe- 
ifter, while a prifoner to the Americans. 
Captain Taylor of the New Jerfey Vo« 



lunteers, and Lieutenant Allair of the 
Loyal American regiment, the only of- 
ficers of Fersoifotfs detachment then in 
Charleftcwn, made affidavit, that the 
conduct of Captain Depeifter, in the ac- 
tion in aueftion, both before and after 
the death of Fergufon, was, in their 
opinion, in every refpe£t proper, and 
fuch as either of them would have pur- 
fued, had they been fimilarly circum- 
ftanced. This affidavit was publifned 
in the Charleftown Gazette, and Ram- 
fey confirms it, thus : " No chance of 
" efcape being left, and all profpecl of 
* 4 fuccefsful refiftance being at an end, 
" the fecond in command lued for quar- 
« ter." 

I have now given you the opinions of 
two Britiih officers who were in the ac- 
tion, corroborated by the relation of the 
American hiftorian, and leave you to 
judge whether it would not have been, 
more generous and candid in Lieutenant 
Colonel Tarleton to have governed hia 
F 2 account 


account by teftimony fo unequivocal^ 
than to have followed the unfounded 
fcfperfions of an anonymous writer. 

I am, &c. 




My dear sir, 


CH has beett 
faid, by different authors, on the partial- 
ity with which actions, by detachments 
from the Britiih army in the Carolinas, 
have been reported, and by no lefs than 
official authority; the caufes, however, 
which they have affigned for fuch mifre- 
prefentations, are equally, as- themfelves, 
remote from the truth ; the general idea 
by which they were mifled, is, that Earl 
Cornwallis was induced to make favour- 
F 3 able 


able reports, with the direct defign of 
keeping up the fpirits of the militia 
abroad, and giving vigour to the exer- 
tions of adminiftration. While then it 
is granted, that much exultation has been 
dilplayed in celebrating victories which 
had no exiftence, it ftill remains certain* 
that the occafion of it was not defign in 
the General, but the falfe colouring of 
the accounts which he received. Let us 
inquire how well this obfervation Is 

With all due refpeft for the character 
of Earl Cormvallis, as being much above- 
any fuipicion of wilful intention to mif- 
lead, I muft, however, take the liberty to 
fay, that his Lordihip's teftimony, in the 
prefent cafe, is entirely out of the quef- 
tion. The General detaches Lieutenant 
Colonel Tarleton on an expedition a con- 
fiderable diftance from the army, and re- 
ceives a report from him of a viftory. 
Upon this report, he founds his official 
difpatches, and our author is for fome 



time hailed as vi6tor, from Wynnefbo- 
rough to Camden, from Camden to 
Charleftown, from Charleftown to New- 
York, and from thence to London. At 
Liverpool, bonfires are lighted yp in ho- 
nour of their favourite herd. After fe- 
veral years have elapfed, he (till prefents 
the world with his claim to vi6tory. He 
goes farther, and with a truly curious 
addrefs holds forth the difpatches of Earl 
Cornwallis, though entirely founded on 
his own reports, as vouchers for the ve- 
racity of his aflertions* 

With fome men of inventive genius 
the fallies of imagination are fo exu- 
berant, as only to require frequent repe- 
tition to obtrude them on the mind for 
truths. We proceed to an examination 
of our author's account of the aftion at 
Blackftocks, on the 20th of November, 

Pages 178 and 179$ " The great road 

a to the ford acrois the river paffed 

F 4 " through 


u through the center of the Americans^ 
" and clofe to the doors of houfes where 
" the main body were ftationed. The 

# whole pofition was vifible, owing ta' 
" the elevation of the ground, and this 
*' formidable appearance made Tarleton' 
u halt upon the oppofite height, where 
a he intended to remain quiet till his in- 

* fantry and three-pounder arrived : to* 
46 encourage the enemy to do the fame, 
w he diimounfed the 63d to take pofb* 
u and part of the cavalry to eafe their 
*' horfes. Sumpter obferving this opera- 
u tion, ordered a body of four hundred 
cc Americans to advance, and attack the 
u 63d in front, whilft another party ap- 
" proached the dragoons in flank. A 
" heavy fire and fharp conflict enfued;^ 
46 the 63d charged with fixed bayonets,. 

# and drove the enemy back ; and a 
*' troop of cavalry, under Lieutenant 
u Skinner, bravely repulled the detach- 
m ment which threatened the flank. The 
" ardour of the 63d carried them too 

* far, and expofed them to a considerable 


*< fire from the buildings and the moun- 
" tarn. Though the undertaking ap- 
" peared hazardous, Lieutenant Colonel 
" Tarleton determined to charge the 
" enemy's center with a column of dra- 
" goons, in order to cover the 63d, 
" whofe fituation was now become dan- 
€ * 2*erous.- The attack was conduced 
M with great celerity, and was attended 
u with immediate fuccefs. The cavalry 
u foon reached the houfes, and broke 
" the Americans, who from that inftant 
P began to difperfe : the 63d immediately 
" rallied, and darknefs put an end to the 
" engagement. A puriuit acrofs a river, 
u with a few troops of cavalry, and a 
" fmall body of infantry, was not advif- 
u able in the night ; a pofition was there- 
4i fore taken adjoining to the field of bat- 
" tie, to wait the arrival of the light and 
¥ legion-infantry. 

" An exprefs was fent to acquaint Earl 
H Cornwallis with the fuccefs of his 
66 troops." He farther obferves, that 

« Three 


" Three of the enemy's Colonels fell in 
* the action** 

Ramfey defcribes this affair in the fol- 
lowing manner, Volume II. page 189 1 
" On the 20th of the fame month, Ge- 
M neral Sumpter was attacked at Black- 
" flocks, near Tyger river, by Lieutenant 
" Colonel Tarleton, at the head of a 
" confiderable party. The aftion was 
ic fevere and obftinate; The killed and 
" wounded of the Britifh was confidera-> 
u ble. Among the former were three 
" officers, Major Money, Lieutenants 
u Gibfon and Cope. The Americans 
" lofl very few, but General Sumpter re- 
u ceived a wound, which for fevetal 
i; months interrupted his gallant enter- 
" prifes in behalf of the ftate." And 
again, in recording the fenfe which Con- 
grefs had of this a6lion, we find, page 
469, thanks given by them to Sumpter 
and his party in the general orders of their 
Southern American army, for " The re- 
u pulfe of Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton, 


fct. €oL- TARLETON's HISTORY. $ 

u and the Britifh cavalry and infantry 
" under his command, at Blackftocks, on 
u Tyger river." 

To the two diftin6t accounts now laid 
before you, I ihall fubjoin a third, which 
you will' undoubtedly deem preferable to 
either, as it is collected from the concur- 
rent teftimony of feveral officers of vera- 
city, who were actors in that engage- 

Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton, without 
waiting for the reft of his detachment, 
made a precipitate attack with one hun- 
dred and feventy dragoons, and eighty 
men of the 63d regiment, upon the ene- 
my, under the command of General 
Sumpter, ftrongly pofted on Blackftock 
Hill, and amounting to about five hun- 
dred. That part of the hill, to which the 
attack was directed, was nearly perpen- 
dicular, with a fmall rivulet, bruih wood, 
and a railed fence in front. Their rear, 
and part of their right flank were fecured 



by the river Tyger, and their left was co- 
vered by a large log barn, into which a 
confiderable divifion of their force had 
been thrown* and from which, as the 
apertures between the logs ferved them 
for loop holes, they fired with fecurityo 
Britifh valour was cdnfpicuous in this ac- 
tion; but no valour could furmount the 
obftacles and disadvantages that here 
flood in its way. The 63d was roughly 
handled; the commanding officer, two 
others, with one-third of their privates, 
fell. Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton, ob- 
ferving their fituation, charged with his 
cavalry; unable to diflodge the enemy, 
either from the log barn or the height 
upon his left, he was obliged to fall back. 
Lieutenant Skinner, attached to the ca- 
valry, with a prefence of mind ever ufe- 
ful in fuch emergencies, covered the re- 
treat of the 63d. In this manner did the 
whole party continue to retire, till they 
formed a junction with their infantry, 
who were advancing to fuftain them, 
leaving Sumpter in quiet poffeffion of th'6 
5 field. 



field. This officer occupied the hill for 
feveral hours, but having received a bad 
wound, and knowing that the Britifh 
would be reinforced before next morning, 
he thought it hazardous to wait. He 
accordingly retired, and taking his wound- 
ed men with him, eroded the rapid river 
Tyger, while the vidtorious Lieutenant 
Colonel Tarleton retreated fome diftance, 
Parthian like, conquering as he flew. 
The wounded of the Bntiih detachment 
were left to the mercy of the enemy, and 
it is but doing bare juftice to General 
Sumpter, to declare, that the ftridteft hu- 
manity took place upon the prelent occa- 
fion ; they were fupplied with every com- 
fort in his power. 

You have been previoufly apprized, 
that the American hiftorian, laudably, 
takes every opportunity to celebrate the 
adtions, and record the death of thofe of 
his countrymen who fell in battle. Hq 
has, indeed, mentioned the wounds of 
General Sumpter, but is filent on the fell 


of the three Colonels defcribed by our 
author. The real truth is, that the 
Americans being well fheltered, fuftained 
very inconfiderable lofs in the attack ; and 
as for the three Colonels, they muft cer^- 
tainly have been imaginary beings, " men 
« in buckram," created merely to grace 
the triumph of a viftory, which the Bri- 
tifh army in Carolina were led to cele^ 
brate, amidft the contempt and derifion 
of the inhabitants, who had much better 

I am, &c. 





1 NOW proceed to 
examine the account which our author 
has given to the world of his defeat at 
Cowpens, but previous to this inveftiga* 
tion it will be necefTary to inquire, what 
degree of credit is due to his defcription of 
the advance to the field of battle. The 
traits of felf-importance which it con- 
tains are too apparent to efcape the no- 
tice of any reader; in his relation of cir- 
pumftances antecedent to this difafler, 



he fays, pages 211, and 212, that in a 
letter to Earl Cornwallis, " He reprefented 
" the courfe to be taken, which fortu-* 
H nately correfponded with the fcheme of 
" the campaign : he mentioned the mode of 
" proceeding to be employed againfl Ge- 
" neral Morgan : he propofed the fame 
" time, for the army and light troops to 
u commence their march : he explained the 
u point to be attained by the main body : 
Ci and he declared^ that it fhould be his 
" endeavour to pufh the enemy into that 
<c quarter." How rapid was the advance 
of this gentleman to the fummit of mili- 
tary knowledge ! 

Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton landed 
in America in the year 1777, with the 
rank of Cornet of Dragoons, and in the 
beginning of January, 1781, we find him 
the primum mobile, the mafter fpring 
which puts the whole machinery of the 
army in motion. It is a received maxim 
to liften with caution to the hero of his 
own ftory; but we are naturally prepof- 



fefled in favour of thofe who fpeak mo-* 
deftly of themfelves, and honourably of 
others ; my prefent obje£t, however, is 
to confider how far our author has fol- 
lowed the line which he declares himfelf 
to have prefcribed. 

He fays, page 220, " The diftance 
" between Wynnefborough and King's 
" Mountain, or Wynnefborough and 
" Little Broad River, which would 
" have anfwered the fame purpofe, does 
" not exceed fixty-five miles : Earl Corn- 
" wallis commenced his march on the 
" 7th or 8th of January* It would be 
" mortifying to defcribe the advantages 
u that might have refulted from his 
u Lordfhip's arrival at the concerted 
" point, or to expatiate upon the cala- 
u mities which were produced by this 
" event." 

The imputed cenfures in the above paf- 

fage demand a difpaflionate inveftigation. 

Let us admit, that the pofleffion of King's 

G Mountain 


Mountain was a point preconcerted be«* 
tweeii Earl Cornwallis and Lieutenant 
Colonel Tarleton ; it ihall aifo be granted* 
that the attainment of that eminence by 
the main body, was a meafure well cal- 
culated to cut off Morgan's retreat; nei- 
ther is it meant to be denied that Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Tarleton ufed means to 
overtake the American detachment which 
do him no difcredit: but granting all 
that, it is contended, that the rapidity of 
•his movements did not afford Earl Corn- 
wallis time to arrive at the point above* 
'mentioned ; and it fhall be demonftrated, 
that an allowance of additional time for 
that arrival, was entirely in the power of 
•our author; and farther, that it would 
have been" attended with many confpfc 
cuous advantages* 

His mode of reafoning, in the prefent 
inftance, is invidious in the extreme, with 
refpe£l to the General, and equally con-* 
temptuous of the judgment of every offi- 
cer in his army : it is a bold ftroke of im- 



pofition even upon the common fenfe of 
mankind : becaufe it will be readily grant- 
ed, by every perfon, that a march of 
fixty-five miles may eafily be made out in 
the courfe of ten days, he, therefore, 
eagerly takes advantage of that obvious 
fadl, to fupport his uniform drift, of at- 
tempting to render the General reprehen- 
fible. And as his Lordfhip commenced 
his march on the 7th or 8th, if difficult 
ties and obftacles, which our author art> 
fully conceals, had not intervened, he 
might certainly have arrived at the place 
of deftination by the 17th, But let us 
take a candid and impartial review of this 
matter, and it will clearly appear, that 
this cenfurer of his General's conduct 
had no right to expe6t the arrival of the 
army at King's Mountain, by the time 
which he fpecifies. 

We have his own teftimony, p^ges 

219 and 248, of his having received due 

information that the army on the 14th 

had not got farther than Bull Run* 

G 2 This 


This then is the point, both with refpecT 
to time and diitance, from which we are 
to eftimate the movements of the main 
body, as well as of the detachment ; and 
hence are we to fix the criterion from 
which we are to derive our judgment of 
the fubfequent conduct of both com- 

The diftance of Bull Run, where the 
General was on the 14th, from King's 
Mountain, is forty-five miles. Our au- 
thor's pofition at the fame period of time, 
was not more remote from the fpot of his 
precipitate engagement with the enemy 
than thirty miles. This engagement 
took place on the morning of the 17th, 
before one hour of day light had paffed. 
Inftead therefore of an allowance of ten 
davs, for a march of fixty-five miles, we 
now find, in fact, that the General had 
only two days to perform a march of 
forty-five miles ; and it is but bare juftice 
to point out the many obftacles which 
the army, on this occafion, had to fur- 


mount. Both the ground through which 
his Lordfhip had to pafs, and the wea- 
ther, oppofed all poffibility of a quick 
progrefs. Every ftep of his march was 
obftru£led by creeks and rivulets, all of 
which were fwelled to a prodigious 
height., and many rendered quite unford- 
able, in confequence of a heavy fall of 
rain for feveral weeks; to thefe difficul- 
ties were alfo added, the incumbrance of 
a train of artillery, military ftores, bag- 
gage, and all the other neceffary ap- 
pointments of an army. On the other 
hand, our author had only to lead on 
about a thoufand light troops, in the belt 
condition, and as little incumbered as 
poffible; with thefe, as I can affuredly 
atteft, by fwimming horfes and felling 
trees for bridges, means which were im- 
praiSticable to his Lordfhip's army, he 
x:ame up with the enemy much looner 
than was expected. 

I have now laid, before vou a fmiple 

and fair ftatement of the advance, as well 

G 3 of 


of the army as of the detachment, pre- 
vious to the unfortunate action at Cow- 
pens, and furnifned you with a clue by 
which you may unravel the windings and 
doublings of our author, in anxious quell 
of materials for cenfure of a General irre- 
prehenfible in every part of his conduct, 
during the whole of this march. 

Our author's words, page 220, are, 
" Earl Cornwallis might have conceived, 
" that by attending to the fituation of the 
" enemy, and of the country, and by co- 
f* vering his light troops, he would, in 
u all probability, have alternately brought 
" Generals Morgan and Green into his 
" power by co-operative movements : he 
" might alfo have concluded, that all his 
" parties that were beaten in the country, 
^ if they had no corps to give them in- 
" ftant fupport or refuge, muft be com- 
« pletely deftroyed. Many inftances of 
" this nature occurred during the war. 
" The fall of Fergufon was a recent and 
'* melancholy example: that cataftrophe 

" put 


H put a period to the firft expedition into 
" North Carolina, and the affair of the 
" Cowpens overihadowed the commence- 
V ment of the fecond.* 

The real province of an hiftorian is to 
relate fafts; by this principle he ihould 
abide ; whenever he deviates from it, and 
indulges a fanciful vein of conjecture 
concerning probable contingencies, if not 
totally diverted of partiality, he is certair* 
of mifleading his readers. That our au- 
thor was not aware of the force of this re- 
mark, is fufficiently evinced. His Lord^- 
ihip's attention to the fituation of the 
enemy, of the country, and of his own 
detachments, has been, with refpect to 
Fergufon, already pointed out. He nei- 
ther advifed the advance of that unfortu- 
nate partifan into the back fettlements, 
nor was even apprifed of it; having, there- 
fore, no concern in the mealure, he could 
not, in anyjuftice, be refponfible for. its 
confequences, and it is the height of illi- 
G 4 berality 


berality to throw reproach upon him on 
that account. 

Of all men, Lieutenant Colonel Tarle- 
ton Ihould be the laft to cenfure Earl 
Cornwallis for not deftroying Morgan's 
force ; as it will appear that the provifion 
made for that fervice was perfe&ly 
fufficient; and though it can by no 
means be admitted that his Lord- 
fhip could have manoeuvred fo as to get 
General Green into his power after the 
defeat at Cowpens; it may, however, be 
affirmed, that if the troops loft on that 
occafion had efcaped the misfortune 
which befel them, and had been com- 
bined with the Britilh force at the bat- 
tle of Guildford, the victory muft have 
been much more decifive ; and General 
Green would probably have brought 
off as few of his army, as his predecef- 
for in command, General Gates, did at 

I will 


I will hazard an additional reflection : 
Had Earl Cornwallis not been deprived 
of his light troops, the blockade at 
York Town had never taken place ; and 
the enemies of our country, in confe- 
quence of the fignal fucceffes which 
attended a Rodney and a Heathfield, 
would have fued for that peace, the 
terms of which they afterwards pre- 

As the effect of the defeat at Cow- 
pens was of fo ferious a nature, it be- 
comes neceffary to ftate the purpofe for 
which Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton was 
detached ; to inquire how far the force 
placed under his command was ade- 
quate to the fervice it was fent to per- 
form ; to examine whether proper ufe 
was made of the advantages which oc- 
curred on the morning of the 17th 
of January, both before and during 
the a&ion, and to trace to its very 
fource, a fountain that overflowed with 



blood, and fwept along its torrent de-» 
ftruftion to the interefts of Qreat Brk 

I am, &c* 


Lf. Col. TA RLE TON's HISTORY, oj 



THE defeat of the 
Britifh detachment at Cowpens, which I 
informed you would be the fubject of 
this letter, has been varioufly reprefented 
by different authors; it is a point, how- 
ever, in which they all agree, that at a 
particular ftage of the engagement the 
whole of the American infantry gave way, 
and, that the legion-cavalry, though 
three times the number of thole of the 
enemy, contributed nothing to complete 
their confufion. 



Ramfey flates this a£tion as follows, 
Volume II. page 196: "TheBritifh had 
u two field-pieces, and the fuperiority of 
" numbers in the proportion of five to 
« four, and particularly of cavalry, in 
" the proportion of three to one." And 
again, M General Morgan had obtained 
" early intelligence of Tarleton's force 
u and advances, and drew up his men in 
" two lines. The whole of the fouthern 
" militia, with one hundred and ninety 
" from North Carolina, under Major 
" M'Dowal, were put under the command 
" of Colonel Pickens. Thefe formed 
M the firft line, and were advanced a few 
a hundred yards before the fecond, with 
u orders to form on the right of the fe- 
a cond when forced to retire. The fe- 
€C cond line confifted of the light infan- 
u try, under Lieutenant Colonel Howard, 
" and a fmall corps of Virginia militia ri- 
" flemen. Lieutenant Colonel Wafli- 
" ington, with his cavalry, and about 
*' forty-five militia men mounted and 
" equipped with fword sounder Lieutenant 

" Colonel 


« Colonel M'Call, were drawn up at 
u fome diftance, in the rear of the whole." 
He farther fays, " The American militia 
" were obliged to retire, but were foon 
" rallied by their officers. The Britifh ad- 
" vanced rapidly, and engaged the fecond 
" line, which, after a moft obftinate con- 
" flift, was compelled to retreat to the 
if cavalry." 

The Marquis de Chaftellux, in his 
Travels in North America, accounts for 
this defeat thus : " General Morgan drew 
" up his men in order of battle, in an 
" open wood, and divided his riflemen 
"upon the two wings, fo as to form 
" in the line a kind of tennaille^ which 
H colle&ed the whole fire both dire&Iy 
" and obliquely on the center of the 
" Englifh ; but after the firft difcharge, 
" he made fo dangerous a movement, that 
« had he commanded the beft troops in 
" the world, I fhould be at a lofs to ac- 
" count for it. He ordered the whole line 
u to wheel to the right, and after retreating 

" thirty 


* thirty or forty paces, made them halty 
" and re-commence the fire.' And 
&gain, " Whatever was the motive of 
" this lingular manoeuvre, the relult 
€i of it was the defeat of Tarleton, whofe 
u troops gave way on ail fides, without a 
€i poffibiiity of rallying. Fatigued by a 
" very long march, they were foon over- 
*' taken by the American militia." 

The Annual Regifter for 1781 gives 
the following account : On the.American 
militia giving way, " their fecond line 
44 having opened on the right and lefty 
" as well to lead the victors on, as to af- 
4C ford a clear paffage to the fugitives, as 
44 foon as the former were far enough ad- 
44 vanced, poured in a clofe and deadly 
44 fire on both fides, which took the 
44 moft fatal efFeft." Our author is fo 
materially concerned, as the principal 
agent in this fcene of ruin, that an im- 
partial account is not to be expected 
from him; his ftatement of his own con- 
du6t on that day, if authentiek, would 

3 do 


do honour to the immortal Frede- 
rick ! 

The Marquis's expofition of the caufe 
of the defeat, in fpite of his affertion, 
that it has the fan£tion of General Mor- 
gan, is flimfy and erroneous. The editor 
of the Annual Regifter has been de- 
ceived ; confequently, of thefe feveral ac- 
counts, that given by Doftor Ramfey de-^ 
ferves moll attention, 

I was upon the detachment in quef- 
tion, and the narrative which I now ofc 
fer has been fubmitted to the judgment 
of feveral refpedtable officers, who were 
alfo in this a6tion, and it has met with 
their intire approbation. 

Towards the latter end of December, 
I780, Earl Cornwallis received intelli- 
gence, that General Morgan had ad- 
vanced to the weftward of the Broad 
River, with about one thoiifand men. 
'Two-thirds of this force were militia, 



about one hundred of them cavalry, tile 
reft continentals. His .intention was to 
threaten Ninety Six, and to diftrefs the 
weftern frontiers. To fruftrate thefe de- 
figns, Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton was 
detached with the light and legion-in- 
fantry, the fufileers, the firft battalion of 
the 71ft regiment, about three hundred 
and fifty cavalry, two field-pieces, and 
an adequate proportion of men from the 
royal artillery; in all near a thoufand 
ftrong. This corps, after a progrefs of 
folne days, arrived at the vicinity of 
Ninety Six, a poft which was then com- 
manded by Lieutenant Colonel Allen. 
An offer of a reinforcement from that 
garrifon was made to Lieutenant Co- 
lonel Tarleton. The offer was rejected ; 
and the detachment, by fatiguing marches* 
attained the ground which Morgan had 
quitted a few hours before : This pofition 
was taken about ten o'clock on the even- 
ing of the 16th of January. The pur- 
fuit re-commenced by two o'clock the 
next morning, and was rapidly conti- 


nued through marfhes and broken grounds 
till day-light, when the enemy were dif* 
covered in front. Two of their videttes 
were taken foon after ; thefe gave infor- 
mation that General Morgan had halted, 
and prepared for a£lion; he had formed 
his troops as defcribed by Ramfey, in an. 
open wood, fecured neither in front, 
flank, nor rear. Without the delay of a 
(ingle moment, and in defpite of extreme 
fatigue, the light-legion infantry and fu- 
fileers were ordered to form in line. Be- 
fore this order was put in execution, and 
while Major Newmarfh, who command- 
ed the latter corps, was polling his offi- 
cers, the line, far from complete, was 
led to the attack by Lieutenant Colonel 
Tarleton himfelf. The feventy-firfl re- 
giment and cavalry, who had not as yet 
difentangled themfelves from the brulh- 
wood with whichThickelle Creek abounds, 
were directed to form, and wait for orders. 
The military valour of Britiih troops, 
when not entirely diverted of the powers 
neceffary to its exertion, was not to be 
H refitted 


refilled by all American militia. They 
gave way on all quarters, and were pur- 
fued to their continentals: the fecond 
line, now attacked, made a flout refin- 
ance. Captain Ogilvie, with his troop, 
which did not exceed forty men, was 
ordered to charge the right flank of the 
enemy. He cut his way through their 
line, but, expofed to a heavy fire, and 
charged at the fame time by the whole 
of Waihington's dragoons, was compelled 
to retreat in confufion. The referve, 
which as yet had no orders to move from 
its firfl pofition, and confequently re- 
mained near a mile diflant, was now di- 
rected to advance. When the line felt 
" the advance of the feventy-firft, all 
46 the infantry again moved on: the con- 
* tinentals and backwoods-men gave 
u ground : the Britiih rufhed forwards : 
" an order was difpatched to the ca- 
" valry to charge *." This order, how- 
ever, if fuch was then thought of, be- 
ing either not delivered or difobeyedj 
• Vid« Tajleton's Campaigns, page 217. 



they flood aloof, without availing them- 
felves of the faireft opportunity of reap- 
ing the laurels which lay before them* 
The infantry 'were not in condition to 
overtake the fugitives; the latter had not 
marched thirty miles in the courfe of the 
laft fortnight; the former, during that 
time, had been in motion day and night. 
A number, not lefs than two-thirds of 
the Britifh infantry officers, had already 
fallen, and nearly the fame proportion of 
privates ; fatigue, however, enfeebled the 
purfuit, much more than lofs of blood, 
Morgan foon difcovered that the legion- 
cavalry did not advance, and that the in- 
fantry, though well difpofed, were un- 
able to come up with his corps i he or- 
dered Colonel Washington, with his dra- 
goons, to cover his retreat, and to check 
the purfuit. He was obeyed; and the 
protection thus afforded, gave him an 
opportunity of rallying his fcattered 
forces. They formed, renewed the at- 
tack, and charged in their turn. In dis- 
order from the purfuit, unfupporced by 
Hs the 


the cavalry, deprived of the affiftance of 
the cannon, which in defiance of the ut- 
mofl exertions of thofe who had them in 
charge, were now left behind, the ad- 
vance of the Britiih fell back, and com- 
municated a panick to others, which 
foon became general : a total rout enfued. 
Two hundred and fifty horfe w r hich had 
not been engaged, fled through the woods 
with the utmoft precipitation, bearing 
down fuch officers as oppofed their flight : 
the cannon were foon feized by the Ame- 
ricans, the detachment from the train 
being either killed or wounded in their 
defence; and the infantry were eafily 
overtaken, as the caufe which had re- 
tarded the purfuit, had now an equal 
effe£t in impeding the retreat: difpi- 
rited on many accounts, they furrendered 
at difcretion. Even at this late ftage of 
the defeat, Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton, 
with no more than fifty horfe, hefitated 
not to charge the whole of Wafhington's 
cavalry, though fupported by the conti- 
nentals ; it was a fmall body of officers, 



and a detachment of the feventeenth re- 
giment of dragoons, who prefented them- 
felves on this defperate occafion ; the lofs 
fuftained was in proportion to the danger 
of the enterprife, and the whole body was 

Whether in actions of importance, or 
flight fkirmiihes, I every where can trace 
exaggerated accounts of this author's 
prowefs. On his retreat after the above 
defeat, he fays, page 218, " Another 
" party of the Americans, who hadfeized 
" upon the baggage of the Britifh troops 
" on the road from the late encampment, 
*' were difperfed." Earl Gornwallis, in 
his difpatches to the Commander in 
Chief, writes, that " Lieutenant Colonel 
" Tarleton retook the baggage of the 
" corps, and cut to pieces the detach- 
" ment of the enemy who had taken 
" poffeflion of it; and after deftroying 
" what they could not conveniently 
" bring off, retired with the remain- 
" der, unmolefled, to Hamilton's Ford." 
And the Annual Regifter for 1781 fays, 
H 3 that 


that our author " had the fortune of re- 
" taking the baggage, the flender guard 
" in whofe cuftody it was left being cut to 
" pieces." All thefe mifreprefentations 
have originated from one and the fame 
fource ; the fact however (lands thus : 

A detachment from each corps, under 
the command of Lieutenant Frafer of the 
71ft regiment (who was afterwards killed 
at York Town), had been left at fome dif- 
tance to guard the baggage; early intel- 
ligence of the defeat was conveyed to this 
officer by fome friendly Americans; what 
part of the baggage could not be carried 
off he immediately deftroyed, and with his 
men mounted on the waggon, and fpare 
horfes, he retreated to Earl Cornwallis 
unmolefted; nor did he, on this occafion, 
fee any of the American horfe or foot, 
or of the party then under our author's 
directions. This was the only body of in- 
fantry that efcaped, the reft were either 
kiiled or made prifoners. The dragoons 
joined the army in two/eparate divifions ; 



one arrived in the neighbourhood of the 
Britifh encampment upon the evening of 
the fame day, at which time his Lord- 
fhip had the mortification to learn the de- 
feat of his detachment; the other, under 
Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton, appeared 
next morning. 

I am, &c. 





jnLS a circumftantial 
detail of the a£tion at Cowpens was given 
to you in my laft letter, obfervations 
upon the caufes of that difafter (hall be 
the fubje£t of this. 

You have already my opinion, that 
Earl Cornwallis is incapable of wilful 
mifreprefentation ; leaving then to the 
judgment of others, the propriety of pro- 


ducing a confidential letter*, written by 
his LordlTiip in the goodnefs of his heart, 
evidently with delign to confole our au- 
thor under a fevere misfortune, and 
never meant for publication ; I only con- 
tend, that this letter, is altogether inade- 
quate to the purpofe to which this jour- 
nalift has converted it, that of transfer- 
ring the blame from himfelf to the 

It has been before fhewn, that the dif- 
patches of Earl Cornwallis, with refpe6t 
to the aftion of Blackftocks, had be- 
llowed a laurel on Lieutenant Colonel 
Tarleton, which fhould have adorned the 

* Vide page 252. From Earl Cornwallis to Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Tarleton. " You have forfeited no part 
" of my efteem as an officer by the unfortunate event 
•5 of the action of the 17th : The means you ufed to 
cc bring the enemy to action were able and mafterly, 
" and muft ever do you honour. Your difpofition was 
f c unexceptionable ; the total mifbehaviour of the troops 
<c could alone have deprived you of the glory which was 
H fo juftly yqur due. 5 ' 



brows of General Sumpter, but then, as 
now, his Lordihip drew his information 
from a corrupted fountain. That the 
u unqualified decifion" of that nobleman 
in favour of our author, in regard to the 
aftion of Cowpens, was made " without 
u any opportunity of perfonal obferva- 
4i tion," has been happily noticed by 
others *. It is a tranlcript of Lieutenant 
Colonel Tarleton's report, and there- 
fore, like the evidence of a man in his 
own caufe, totally inadmiflible. 

Our author, through the whole of his 
narrative, feems to have had Julius Cae- 
far in view; but Caefar's mind was above 
any occafion for recourfe to vanity, often- 
tation, or detraction. It was his pride to 
beftow due praife on deferving officers, 
while this journalift diftinguifhes himfelf 
by lavifhing reproaches dire&ly on his 
General, and obliquely on others who 
had the misfortune of ferving under his 

* Critical Review, May 1787. 



command. As an individual on this de- 
tachment, credit may be given me for an 
acquaintance with every circumftance 
which is here defcribed. If to be difin- 
terefted is neceffary for the inveftigation 
of truth, I come fo far qualified for this 
tafk. Unconnected with party, devoid of 
fpleen, and too unimportant to be affect- 
ed by general reflections on collective bo- 
dies of military men, candour and impar- 
tiality may be allowed me — But to pro- 

The firft error in judgment to be im- 
puted to Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton, 
on the morning of the 17th of January, 
1781, is, the not halting his troops be- 
fore he engaged the enemy. Had he 
done fo, it was evident that the following 
advantages would have been the refult of 
his conduct. General Morgan's force 
and fituation might have been diftinctly 
viewed, under cover of a very fuperior 
cavalry; the Britifh infantry, fatigued 
with rapid marches, day and night, for 



fome time paft, as has been already ob- 
ferved, might have had reft and refrefh- 
ment; a detachment from the feveral 
corps left with the baggage, together 
with batt-men, and officers fervants, 
would have had time to come up, and 
join in the a6lion. The artillery all this 
time might have been playing on the ene- 
my's front, or either flank, without rifque 
of infult; the commandants of regiments, 
Majors M'Arthur and Newmarfh, officers 
who held commiffions long before our 
author was born, and who had reputa- 
tions to this day unimpeached, might 
have been confulted, and, not to dwell 
on the enumeration of all the advan- 
tages which would have accrued from 
fo judicious a delay, time would have 
been given for the approach of Earl 
Cornwallis to the preconcerted point, 
for the unattainment of which he has 
been fo much and fo unjuftly cenfured. 

The fecond error was, the un-officer- 
like impetuofity of directing the line to 



advance before it was properly formed, 
and before the referve had taken its 
ground; in confequence of which, as 
might have been expected, the attack 
was premature, confufed, and irregular. 

The third error in this ruinous bufiV 
nefs, was the omiffion of giving difcre- 
tional powers to that judicious veteran 
M' Arthur, to advance with the referve, 
at the time that the front line was in 
purfuit of the militia, by which means 
the connexion fo neceffary to troops en- 
gaged in the field was not preferved. 

His fourth error was, ordering Captain 
Ogilvie, with a troop, confifting of no 
more than forty men, to charge, before 
any impreffion was made on the conti- 
nentals, and before Washington's cavalry 
had been engaged. 

The next, and the mod definitive, 
for I will not pretend to follow him 
through all his errors, was in not bring- 


ing up a column of cavalry, and com- 
pleting the rout, which, by his own ac- 
knowledgment, had commenced through 
the whole American infantry. 

After what has been faid, there may 
not, perhaps, be a better criterion to 
judge of the condu£t of thole corps, upon 
whom Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton has 
ftamped the charge of " total mifbeha- 
** viour," than by an examination of the 
flate of difcipline they were then under, 
of their general conduct upon every for- 
mer occafion, and of the lofs which they 
fuftained on this. 

The fufileers had ferved with credit in 
America from the commencement of the 
war, and under an excellent officer, Ge- 
neral Clarke, had attained the fummit of 
military difcipline : they had at this time, 
out of nine officers who were in the ac- 
tion, five * killed and wounded. 

* T/--H i f Captain Helvar 

* knied { Li( r utMarlW 

r Major Newmarfh 
Wounded < Lieutenant Hading 

Lieutenant L'Eftrange 



The firft battalion of the 71ft regi- 
ment, who had landed in Georgia in the 
year 1778, under the command of Sir 
Archibald Campbell, had eftablifhed their 
reputation in the feveral operations in 
that province, at Stono Ferry, at the 
fieges of Savannah and Charleftown, and 
at the battle of Camden. Now, not in- 
ferior to the 7th regiment in difcipline, 
they were led by an officer of great ex- 
perience, who had come into the Britifh 
fervice from the Scotch Dutch brigade : 
Out of fixteen officers * which they had 
in the field, nine t were killed and 

* Light companies of the ift and 2d 71ft included, 
t Lieutenants {gg^} Killed 

Lieutenants 4 

Grant ^ 

Mackintofh I 
Flint 1 

Mackenzie f Wounded. 



The battalion of light infantry had 
fignalifed themfelves feparately on many 
occafions. The company of the 16th 
regiment was well known by its fervices 
in the army commanded by Major Ge- 
neral Prevoft; thofe of the feventy-firft 
regiment were diftinguiihed under Sir 
James Baird at the furprife of General 
Wayne in Pennfylvania, of Baylor's dra- 
goons in New Jerfey, at Briar Creek in 
Georgia, at the capture and fubfequent 
defence of Savannah, at the battle near 
Camden under Earl Cornwallis ; and even 
Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton did them 
juftice at the defeat of Sumpter, juft after 
thelaft mentioned a£tion*\ 

The light infantry company of the 
Prince of Wales's American regiment, 
when but newly raifed and indifferently 
difciplined, acquired reputation under Ge- 
neral Tryon at Danbury ; their only offi- 
cer was here wounded i. 

* Vide pages 113 and 1 14.. f Lieut. Lindfay. 



The infantry of the legion had feen 

much fervice, and had always behaved 

well: this our author will furely not 

The troop of the feventeenth regiment 
of dragoons, when ordered into a6tion, 
difplayed that gallantry with which they 
had ftamped their character on every 
former occafion. They had here but 
two officers, both of whom were wound- 
ed, one mortally *. The detachment 
of artillery was totally annihilated. 

Such were the troops whom this jour- 
nalift has fo feverely ftigmatifed. Few 
corps, in any age or country, will bs 
found to have bled more freely. 

It is an eftablifhed cuftom in armies 
for the commanding officer, whether vic- 
torious or vanquiihed, to account for 
the lofs which he has fuftained. In the 

* Lieutenant Nettles. Cornet Patterfon, mortally. 
I prefent 


prefent inftance it requires no extraordi- 
nary fagacity to difcover, that Lieutenant 
Colonel Tarleton had his own particular 
reafons for withholding fuch an account ; 
and it is evident that had this lofs of of- 
ficers, to which that of the foldiers pro- 
bably bore a near proportion, been faith- 
fully publiihed, the veracity of our au- 
thor's account might have been juftly 
called in queftion, and the caufe of the 
defeat, inftead of being left to a " per- 
« haps" might have been reduced to a 

In defcribing the particular incidents 
of this aftion, our journalift fays, page 
221, " The extreme extenfion of the files 
" always expofed the Britifh regiments 
" and corps, and would, before this un- 
■ fortunate affair, have been attended 
u with detrimental effeft, had not the 
* multiplicity of lines with which they 
" generally fought, refcued them from 
" iuch imminent danger." 



He flill continues to fuirnifh argument 
againft himfelf ; if his files were too exten-* 
five, why did he not contract them ? for 
he fays, in the fame page, that * c the 
" difpofition was planned with coolnefs, 
" and executed without embarraffment ." 
Any other mode of attack, or difpofition, 
therefore, which he might have planned^ 
would doubtlefs have been executed with 
equal promptitude. The latter part of 
this quotation is not lefs inconfiftent. 
I would afk Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton 
in what a6tion, during the campaigns of 
which he treats, did the multiplicity of 
lines refcue the Britifh troops from immi- 
nent danger ? and on what occafion did 
their front line, or any part thereof, give 
way I believe it will be found that it 
fell to Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton alone 
to lead the troops of Britain into a fitua- 
tion, from which they could be driven 
by an equal, or even by double or treble 
their number, 

I a When 


When Earl Cornwallis fought the me- 
morable battle near Camden, his force, 
confiderably under two thoufand men, 
was oppofed by upwards of fix thoufand* 
At Guildford, his Lordfhip, with not one 
third the number of his enemy, obtained 
a glorious vi£tory over General Greene, 
the beft commander in the American 
fervice; and Lord Rawdon upon Hob- 
kirkVHill* routed the fame General, 
who had now added experience to his 
other talents, and this, though his num- 
bers compared with his enemy, did not 
bear the lad mentioned proportion. Many 
other proofs could be brought of the 
fallacy of our author's reaibning, but 
thefe which have been adduced will, I 
truft, fufficiently fhew the impoflibility 
of forming a multiplicity of lines, with 
fo manifeft an inferiority of numbers; 
nay, I venture to affirm, that the difpa- 
rity of force at Gowpens was fmaller 
than it had been in any engagement 
during the fouthern campaigns, confe- 
quently, Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton 



had it in his power to engage with greater 
advantages than occurred either previous 
to his defeat or fmce. 

- Ramfey has well obferved, Volume II. 
page 203, " Whilft Lord Cornwallis was 
" anticipating, in imagination, a rich har- 
" veft of glory, from a rapid fucceflion 
« of victories, he received the intelligence, 
" no lefs unwelcome than unexpected, of 
u the complete overthrow of the detach- 
*< ment led by Lieutenant Colonel Tarle- 
« ton. So contemptible, from their con- 
" duft at Camden, was his LordiTiip's 
" opinion of the American militia — fo 
" unlimited was his confidence in the 
*< courage and abilities of Lieutenant Co- 
" lonel Tarleton, that, of all improbable 
" events, noiie feemed to him more im- 
« probable, than that an inferior force, 
" two-thirds militia, ihould gain fuch a 
" decifive advantage over his favourite 
« hero." 

I have now done with the a6tion at 
I 3 Cowpens, 


Cowpens, and on this occafion confefe 
that I am not without my feelings as an 
individual for fo wanton an attack on cha- 
racters and entire corps, whofe conduct 
had been, till then, unfullied. There is not 
an officer who furvived that difaftrous day, 
who is not far beyond the reach of flander 
and detraction ; and with refpecl to the 
dead, I leave to Lieutenant Colonel Tarle- 
ton all the fatisfaclion which he can en- 
joy, from reflecting that he led a number 
of brave men to deftru£lion, and then ufed 
every effort in his power to damn their 
fame with pofterity. 

I am, &c„ 


l£. Col. TARLETON's HISTORY. 119 



M Y inability to fol- 
low Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton in his 
accounts of the progrefs of the Britiih 
army through North Carolina and Vir- 
ginia, is, unfortunately for me, of a na- 
ture* which precludes the necefllty of 
apology. However, were I warranted to 
judge of minute particulars from his ftate- 
ment of important matters, I would fay, 

* Wounds at Cowpens. 

1 4 that 


that fimilar mifreprefentations appear 
to pervade his whole work. The fol- 
lowing inflances will corroborate this 

On the 26th of April, 1781, the Royal 

army commenced its march northwards 

from Wilmington. Our journalift fays, 

page 284, " At this period, Major Ge- 

" neral Leflie's health being greatly im- 

*< paired by the climate, his phyficians 

" advifed his return to 3. colder latitude 

iC than the Carolinas and Virginia; upon 

" which he prepared to embark for 

& New York.'' And page 292, he fays, 

" About this time (being one month a& 

" terwards) the arrival of a reinforce-r 

" ment from New York for the Chefa-r 

" peak army, was announced to Earl 

" Cornwallis : the Commander in Chief 

" had difpatched General Leflie, whofe 

" health had benefited by the fea air on the 

" late voyage, and who was always zea-? 

" lous for the publick fervice, with the 

^ feventeenth and forty-third regiments^ 

f' and 


ft and two battalions of Anfpach, into 
M Virginia, upon receiving news of the 
ft march from Wilmington." 

From thefe paftages it muft be inferred, 
that General Leflie embarked at Wil- 
mington- — arrived at New York — re- 
ceived orders from the Commander in 
Chief to proceed to the Chefapeak with 
a reinforcement — had been benefited by 
the fea air — landed in Virginia — and the 
whole of this in the courfe of one 
month. An attentive reader will fee, 
page 343, a letter from Earl Cornwallis 
to Sir Henry Clinton, dated Byrd's Plan- 
tation in Virginia, May 26, 1781, in 
which his Lordfhip's words are, "The 
" arrival of the reinforcement has made 
" me eafy about Portfmouth for the pre- 
" fent. / havefent General Leflie thither 
" with the feventeenth regiment, and 
M the two battalions of Anfpach, keep- 
f 6 ing the forty-third with the army." 
As thefe circumftances fo glaringly con- 
tradi6t each other ; it is from the moft 



careful inquiry, and the beft information 
that I am enabled to declare, that Ge- 
neral Leflie's health, however bad, pre- 
vented him not from a zealous perform- 
ance of his duty, as fecond in command, 
during the whole of this very fatiguing 
march ; nor was he all that time nearer 
to the fea than Wilmington, and in ge- 
neral upwards of one hundred miles from 
it, though fo much benefited by the vi- 
fionary voyage which our author repre- 
fents him to have made. 

Before the departure of Earl Corn- 
wallis from Wilmington, it is well known 
that various opinions had been formed 
of the meafures the moft proper to be 
adopted by the army; the opinion of 
many was in favour of the plan of fol- 
lowing General Greene to South Caro- 
lina; the advice of others, which foe- 
ceeded, was to march to Virginia ; among 
the latter Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton 
'does not with to be claffed *. The event 

* Vide page 283 and 284* 

2 Of 


of the march proving unfortunate, he 
either means to extricate himfelf from 
blame in advifing it, or cannot refift his 
ufual practice of cenfure. General re- 
port, however, fays, that he actually re- 
commended the movement of the army 
which then took place, and exprefTed his 
disapprobation of a return to South Ca- 
rolina, by declaring, that his Lordihip 
might as well order the throats of his 
horfes to be cut, as adopt that meafure. 
I would afk this journalift a plain ques- 
tion; did he not fay to an officer on the 
route to Virginia, at a time when circum- 
ftances appeared particularly favourable, 
" that this march was a child of his own^ 
¥ and that he gloried in it?" This con- 
verfation he held with an officer* of 
equal rank with himfelf, who by his zeal, 
courage, and activity, rendered the moil 
effential fervices in the Southern pro- 
vinces, though too modefh to become the 
herald of his own actions. If the above 

* Colonel John Hamilton. 



queftion cannot be anfwered in the ne- 
gative, the refle&ions of this author on 
caufes, after the effe6ts are known, will 
appear as impotent, as his other attacks 
on the charafter of a nobleman, which 
will be venerated whilft a Britifh foldier 

Leaving the farther invefligation of 
Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton's journal of 
the operations of the army under Earl 
Cornwallis to others, I proceed to make 
fome obfervations upon his Appendix. 

You was early in poflefTion of my opi- 
nion, that the performance before us is 
deficient in every effential requifite to an 
hiftory, and totally undeferving of that 
name. The longer I have continued ta 
examine it, the ftronger is my convi£tion 
of the truth of this opinion, and that 
the better founded will his judgment be, 
who may confider it as an incorre£t and 
partial journal of military events, in which 



the author himfelf, direftly or indire£tly, 
had always fome concern. But its claim 
to being efteemed an Hiftory of the Cam- 
paigns of 1780 and 1781, in the Southern 
Provinces of North America, is more 
truly ridiculous, than that to an Hiftory 
of the World, if, according to a certain 
author, he had defined the world to be 
a circle of a given diameter, himfelf 
the center, and if, not intirely taken up 
with the contemplation of his own excel- 
lencies, he had really given an impartial 
and accurate detail of all the aftions of 
all the beings, who moved, for a certain 
time, around his orbit. 

Though it certainly did not require the 
abilities of a Tacitus, or a Livy, to com- 
prehend and defcribe the operations of 
the Britilh and American armies, in four 
adjacent provinces for two years, Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Tarleton, however, has 
fhewn himfelf intirely unequal to the 
tafk. Always confined to the fingle point 



of relating events in his own neighbour- 
hood, he has fometimes intirely omitted 
accounts of ferious actions, gallant de- 
fences, and important operations in other 
places * ; and at the end of his book lie 
gives, in his ufual manner of defcription, 
the a elegant campaign" of 1781 in South 
Carolina, under the accommodating title 
of an Appendix. 

This campaign was conducted by Lord 
Eawdon in every refpect to his honour, 
and defcribed in the official letters of 
that nobleman with admirable precifion. 
When the declining: ftate of his Lord- 
Slip's health obliged him to relinquilh 
the command of the army, its fubfequent 
operations were circumftantially narrated 
by Colonels Steuart and Balfour. 

* The actions fought by Colonel Innes on the Eno- 
ree, and Major Dunlap in Long Cane ; the defence of 
Fort Golphin on the Savannah ; the operations of 
Lieutenant Colonel Craig upon Cape Fear, and thofe 
of Lieutenant Colonel Small on the Santee, &c. 

A very 


A very large proportion of Lieutenant 
Colonel Tarleton's work is mere compila- 
tion- Take from his Appendix three 
letters from Lord Rawdon, one from Co- 
lonel Steuart, and one from Colonel Bal- 
four, which had already been publifhed 
in this country; feparate alfo from it 
three letters from General Greene, and 
one from General Marion, likewife for- 
merly publifhed, and you will find an Ap- 
pendix calculated " to render the work 
" complete*? reduced to a fkeleton. Fur- 
ther, detach extrafts from the Remem- 
brancer and Annual Regifler, and this 
boafted completion of a work fo oflenta- 
tious, and that promifes fo much, will, 
in confequence of fuch difmemberment, 
vanifh into vapour. After all, fo long as 
he confines himfelf to the fimple tran- 
fcription of thefe official letters, it is out 
of his power to miflead ; but whenever he 
ventures to conne£t them, and adoptsthe 
errors of periodical publications, he is al- 
together himfelf. 

* Vide page 459. 




The epithet of an " untried * enemy' * 
is neither applicable to Lord Rawdori, 
nor to the troops which he commanded, 
as both his Lordihip and a great part of 
his army had been in the a£tion near 
Camden with Earl Cornwallis, and on 
many other fervices. 

His information is extremely defective 
as to the redu&ion of Augufta. He has 
done little more than tranfcribe fome of 
the fummonfes and anfwers* He neither 
points out the formidable ftate of the 
American army, nor relates the variety of 
flratagems that the brave Lieutenant Co* 
lonel Brown employed in its defence. As 
ufual with this writer, the friends of the 
officers who fell are furniihed with no re- 
cord of their death t. 

* Vide page 459. 

t Lieutenants Simcoe* and Camp, killed— Lieu- 
tenant Hybert and others, wounded, 



No juftice is done to the gallantry of 
Lieutenant M'Kay, who commanded at 
Fort Watfon ; — the bravery difplayed in 
its defence, and his wounds are alike un- 

Of the defence of Ninety Six by Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Cruger, which I before 
obferved was one of the mod brilliant 
events of the war in that country, this 
author appears extremely ignorant ; and 
the few circumftances of which he takes 
any notice are erroneous throughout. 

A detail of the defence of that place, 
written by an officer* upon whofe vera-? 
city I can rely, accompanies this letter, 
as alfo an account of the reduction of the 
illand of New Providence. It is nnnt% 
ceiTary to allure you, that the gentleman 
who furnifhed me with this detail was 
upon the lpot, as it wears authenticity 

* Lieut. Hatton, late of the New Jerfey Volun- 
teers, now of the twenty- third regiment. 

K upon 


upon the face of it; and yet, from the 
diametrical opposition of his account, 
to many particulars of that of Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Tarleton, if any credit 
could be given to the latter, you would 
be tempted to doubt of the actual prefence 
pf the former in this tranfaction. 

Of the nature of the fortifications, the 
readers of Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton's 
journal are left intirely in the dark, as he 
no where mentions whether they were 
regular or irregular, ftrong or weak, ex- 
tenfive or compact. They might have 
been, for any thing he fays to the con- 
trary, a tremendous citadel, an infignifi- 
cant redoubt, or a fimple .entrenchment. 
The enemy and the befieged might have 
been either provided with heavy cannon, 
or the contrary. m 

His affertion in page 497, that " the 
V American artillery had failed in their 
{' effect," is deftitute of foundation. The. 
account of this fiege already mentioned^ 



fliews that the work upon the left, which 
preferved a communication with the wa- 
ter, was rendered untenable by the artil- 
lery of the befiegers. It was abandoned 
by us, and taken pofleffion of by them on 
the 17th of June. But our journalift 
has fallen into this egregious miftake, by 
not having, to ufe his own language, 
44 penetration enough to difcover *," that 
the letter of Lord Rawdon, of the 5th of 
June, page 479, could not convey any 
information of the execution done by the 
cannon of the enemy for fourteen days 
fubfequent to its date. 

Page 485 he fays, that " the works 
" were completed." This was fo far 
from being the fa£t, that on the morning 
of the 21 ft of May, when the enemy had 
broke ground, the works were unfinifhed,- 
and the platforms of the Star in no condi- 
tion to receive guns. ■ 

* Vicle page 99. 

K % In 


In page 497, he proves to demonftra- 
tion how miferable his information had 
been. According to him the attack was 
made " upon the 19th of June, before 
" day ;" and afterwards he fays, General 
Greene put an end to the affault "by 
" calling off the remainder before day- 
" light." The truth however is, that the 
Americans affaulted the Star upon the 
18th of June at noon. 

As ufual with this journalift, no notice 
whatever is taken of the officers who bled 
upon that occafion. Had he commanded 
at Ninety Six, in all human probability 
volumes would have been written upon 
the prowefs then exhibited, and mono- 
dies on the lofs even of his horfes. But 
the gallantry of Lieutenant Colonel 
Cruger, and of his garrifon, will be re- 
membered with admiration, when thefe 
effufions of vanity " ihall be carried down 
" the flream of oblivion." 



Nothing can be more unfortunate than 
this author in his extracts. If errors 
creep into a periodical print, he is fare to 
adopt them. Page 496, he affigns, as 
one of General Greene's motives for de- 
clining to engage the Royal army, upon 
their march to the relief of Ninety Six, 
his underftanding that the Britiih troops 
were " frefti." Now, that the editor of 
an Annual Regifter might fall into fuch 
a miftake is by no means extraordinary ; 
but an aiTertion of this nature from Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Tarleton, who muft have 
been acquainted with fituations and dif- 
tances in that country, is not to be ex- 

The greateft part of the army which 
Lord Rawdon commanded at that time, 
had on the 10th of May evacuated Cam- 
den, from which time to the 6th of June, 
they had been in continual motion, from 
Camden to Nelfon's Ferry, to the junction 
of the roads from Congaree to M'Cord's 
Ferry, to the Ewtaws and to Monk's 
K 3 Corner. 


Corner. The other part of this army- 
Was the flank companies of three regi- 
ments juft landed from Ireland. The 
whole moved upon the 7th of June, and 
made out a march of one hundred and 
eighty miles in the hotteft weather, 
through a deferted and moft fultry coun- 
try, in thirteen days. Thefe troops were 
then, in every refpeCt, in a fituation the 
reverie of being frefh. Though this had 
not been quite evident, the journalift 
himfelf, page 486, ihews that " Lord 
" Rawdon preffed his march with all the 
" rapidity which the exceflive heat of the 
" weather would permit." And in page 
498, he defcribes the troops which he 
before pronounced frefh, " fpent with 
" fatigue and overcome with heat." Thus 
does a vifionary journalift detail his curi- 
ous conjectures, and then, with a fatality 
which never forfakes him, contradict 

In this Appendix he appears with a 
peculiar ill grace; he cannot even 



pretend to the fmalleft participation in 
the tranfactions which he defcribes; while 
in the foregoing part of his work the 
name of Tarleton is conftantly exhi- 
bited, like the talifman of a necromancer, 
poffeffing a charm which enhances the 
glory of victory, and palliates the dilgrace 
of defeat. 

In reading the work of the American 
hiftorian, we cannot help admiring the 
laudable ambition which he dilcovers iii 
defcribing the achievements of his coun- 
trymen, and the elegant elegiac ftyie in 
which he laments the lofs of thole who 
fell*. But when his zeal betrays him 
into unmerited cenfures on Colonels Bal- 
four, Moncreif, and other Britifh officers; 
when he would perfuade us that one 
hundred and eleven Britilh foldiers were 
captured by three Americans, and that 
the brother of an Enriifh Duke folicited 
a commiflion in the lervice of Gongrefs; 

* Colonels Lawreiis, Williams, Huger and others. 

K 4 we 


we are compelled to deplore fuch a mix-* 
ture of alloy with lhining abilities. 

He has engaged my efteem for having 
done no more than juftice to Fergufon, 
and no lefs than juftice to Lieutenant 
Colonel Taiieton ; his fentiments of the 
former are already in your poffeflion, and 
with refpeft to the latter, read and 
judge *, 

" Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton had hi- 
u therto acquired diftinguiihed reputa- 
u tion, but he was greatly indebted for his 
" military fame to good fortune and acci- 
u dent. In all his previous engagements 
" he either had the advantage of fur- 
" pnfing an incautiotis enemy- — of at- 
u tacking them when panick-ftruck after 
" recent defeats — or of being oppofed to 
" undifciplined militia. He had gathered 
" no laurels by hard fighting againft an 
".equal force; his repulfe on this occafion 

* Vide Ramiey, Vol. II. Page 200. 

u (Cowpens) 


" (Cowpens) did more eflential injury to 
" the Britifh intereft, than was compen- 
" fated by all his vidtories. Tarleton's 
" defeat was the firft link, in a grand 
16 chain of caufes, which finally drew 
u down ruin, both in North and South 
" Carolina, on the Royal intereft." 

I am, &c. 



O F 


NOTWITHSTANDING the brilliant 
victory obtained by a corps of his 
Majefty's troops, led by the Right Ho- 
nourable Lord Rawdon, over the Ame- 
rican army, commanded by General 
Greene, on the 25th of April, 1781, at 
Hobkirk's Hill, the difaffection of the in- 
habitants of South Carolina, a perfiuious 
people, whofe allegiance to the Britiih 


j 4 o SIEGE OF 

government neither promifes could bind 
hor oaths fecure*, became fo general, 

* A particular inftance of this occurred in the cafe of 
Colonel Isaac Hayne. Upon the entrance of Ge- 
neral Greene into South Carolina^ Mr. Hayne accepted 
a commirTion in the American fervice in a fecret manner, 
foon after which he came to Charleflown, renewed his 
oath of allegiance to the King > and at his own requeft 
was appointed to the command of a corps of militia. 
When he had remained long enough in that garrifon to 
obtain every poffible intelligence, partly by perfuafion, 
partly by force, he occafioned the revolt of the whole 
body which he commanded to the Americans. The 
firft advice which our commanders received of this trea- 
chery, was the account of an expedition in which Mr. 
Hayne furprifed a number of fick and wounded Britifh 
foldiers, within two miles of Charleftown, where he was 
charged with committing fome extraordinary acts of bar- 
barity. He was immediately after taken in arms againft 
that government, which he had fo recently fworn to iup- 
port ; a Court of Enquiry identified his perfon, and he 
was executed without farther trial. The Americans 
complained loudly of this proceeding, as an infraction of 
the law of nations, affecting to forget that this line of 
conduct had been adopted by both armies during the war, 
and that they had executed the Adjutant General of the 
Britifh army, upon the report of a Board of Officers 
only. The unhappy Mr. Hayne was faid to be a good 
character in private life, but private virtues could not 
atone for pubkck vices. If amiable manners, and the 
pcffeffion of every accomplishment which adorns the 
officer and the gentleman, could have averted an ig- 
nominious death, the lamented Andre would not have 
expired upon a gibbet! 

A late American writer, in attempting to palliate 
the violation of the fecond oath of allegiance, taken by 
Colonel Hayne, on the jefuitical principle of mental re- 
fervation, could not, ferioufly, mean a compliment either 
to his underltanding or his integrity, 



that it was neceffary for his Lordfhip to 
abandon Camden, and march towards 
the fea coaft, for the purpofe of receiving 
expedted reinforcements, covering the 
lower country, and for the protection of 
even Charleftown itlelf. In purfuance of 
this refolution, the Royal army fell back 
to Nelfon's Ferry, and Lord Rawdon dif- 
patched repeated exprefTes to Lieutenant 
Colonel Cruger, then commanding at 
Ninety Six, a poll upon the Weftern 
frontiers of the province, with directions 
to withdraw his garrifon, join that of 
Augulta, on the confines of Georgia, at 
about fixty miles diftance, and, taking the 
command of the whole, a6t as occafion 
might require; but none of thefe orders 
having reached Ninety Six, in confequence 
of the conftant interception of his Lord- 
Ihip's difpatches, as alfo of thofe of Co- 
lonel Balfour, Lieutenant Colonel Cru- 
ger remained intirely ignorant of the fitu- 
ation of the army commanded by Lord 
Rawdon; nor had he any other advice 
of the a6tion near Camden, and the fub^ 


i 4 2 S I E G E O F 

fequent evacuation of that place, but 
from an American officer who was made 

Lieutenant Colonel Cruger being, 
from unavoidable neceffity, thus left to 
himfelf, very reafonably concluded, that 
a large corps, if not the whole of the 
American army would aflail him, and in 
this conjuncture began to put the works 
of the place in the beft poffible ftate of 

The village of Ninety Six derives its 
name from being that number of miles 
from the town of Keewee, in the country 
of the Cherokees; its houfes, which were 
intirely of wood, were comprifed within 
a ftockade. The commandant immedi- 
ately fet the whole garrifon, both officers 
and men, to work, to throw up a bank, 
parapet high, around this ftockade, and 
to ftrengthen it with an abbatis. Upon the 
left of the village was a ravine, through 
which ran a rivulet, that fupplied the 



place with water. The county prifon 
was fortified, and commanded the- ravine 
upon one fide, and a ftockade to the left 
covered it on the other; but the only part 
of thefe works which deferved the name 
of regular, was upon the right. This 
was planned fome time before, by Lieu- 
tenant Haldane of the engineers, Aid de 
Camp to Earl Cornwallis; it confifted of 
fixteen falient and re-entering angles^ 
with a dry ditch, fraife and abbatis, and 
was called the Star, 

The indefatigable induftry of the gar-? 
rifon, animated by the example of the 
commandant, had, on this occafion, 
erected block houfes in the village, made 
caponiers-, by which one part of the works 
communicated with the other, and had 
thrown up traveries, to prevent the exe-i 

* " Pafiages ten or twelve feet wide, made from one 
" work to another, covered on each fide by a parapet 
ft terminating in a flope or glacis." 

Muller's Elements of Fortification. 

c cutioa 

j 4 4 SIEGE OF 

cution of fhells and ricochet fhot, which 
was to be apprehended. 

The garrifon confifted of about one 
hundred and fifty men of the firft batta- 
lion of Delancey's, with two hundred of 
the fecond battalion of New Jerfey V&i 
lunteers. Thefe corps, having been raifed 
in the year 1776, were well difciplined, 
and, from the active fervices in which 
they had been engaged, ever fince their 
firft landing in Georgia, had become equal 
to any troops. To thefe were added 
about two hundred loyal militia, under 
Colonel King. Motives of policy, as well 
as humanity, induced Lieutenant Colonel 
Cruger to advife the latter to quit the 
garrifon, and, as they were provided 
with good horfes, to effect their retreat, 
either to Charleftown or to Georgia, for 
he apprehended, that in cafe of a loRg 
fiege, their numbers might caufe a want 
of provifions ; and he knew, that no ca- 
pitulation, for fecuring to thofe unfor- 
tunate men the rights of war, obferved 



by civilifed nations, could be depended 
upon; but thefe Loyalifts, though in a 
manner fighting with halters around 
their necks, were not to be difmayed ; 
they turned their horfes into the woods, 
made a point of remaining with the gar- 
rifon and abiding by its fate. 

One hundred and fifty regulars, with 
fifty militia men, were felected to occupy 
the Star, and the commandant mani- 
fefted his ufual judgment in committing 
the defence of this important place to 
Major Green of Delancey's. Having 
placed a Captain's party and fome militia 
in the ftockade upon the left, a fubal- 
tern's guard in the prifon, and having af- 
figned proper divifions to the feveral 
block houfes, Lieutenant Colonel Cruger 
referved the remainder of the troops un- 
der his own immediate command in the 

As there were only three three-pound- 
ers, a very fmall quantity of ammunition 
L for 

146 S I E G E O F 

for thefe guns, and but one matrofs in 
the garrifon, the want of artillery was 
feverely felt. Some of the foldiers of the 
two battalions, who had ferved as ma- 
trolTes at the fiege of Savannah, were 
again attached to the cannon, but the 
deficiency of ammunition was irremedi- 

Still, after the utmoft efforts' of the 
troops, when the advanced corps of the 
enemy appeared, upon the 21ft of May, 
the works were far from being finifhed, 
even the platforms in the Star were not. 
in a condition to receive guns. 

The whole American army, amounting 
to upwards of four thoufand men, with 
a refpeclable park of field artillery, en- 
camped in a wood within cannon fhot of 
the village. • Flullied with fuccefs from 
the reduction of a number of the Britifh 
pofts, they, with a contemptuoufnefs to 
the garrifon of Ninety Six, to this day 
unexplained, in the night between the 
5 aift 


2 1 ft and 2 2d threw up two works, at no 
greater diftance than feventy paces from 
the Star. General Greene did not even 
condefcend to fummon the place. Whe- 
ther he meant to affault and reduce it by 
a coup de main, or defigned thefe works 
for places of arms, is another point as 
yet undetermined. It can hardly be con- 
ceived that his engineer, Kozinfco, a fo- 
reign adventurer, whom they created a 
Count of Poland, would break ground, 
and begin a fap, within fo fmall a diftance 
of a regular fortification, if he had in- 
tended its reduftion by the common mode 
of approaches. 

By eleven o'clock in the morning of 
the 22d of May, the platform in the fa- 
lient angle of the Star, neareft to the 
Americans, was completed, and mounted 
with guns, to fire en barbet. Thefe, 
with inceffant platoons of mufquetry, 
played on the works conftrufted by the 
enemy the preceding night, under cover 
of which, thirty men, marching in In- 
L 2 dian* 

148 S I E G £ O F 

dian-file, entered them, and put every 
man they could reach to the bayonet. 
This party was immediately followed 
by another of the loyal militia, who, in 
an inftant, levelled thofe works, and 
loaded a number of negroes with the en- 
trenching tools of the Americans. Though 
General Greene put his whole army in 
motion to iupport the advanced corps, 
they were intirely routed before he could 
effeci his defign. The handful of brave 
men that performed this fervice, retired 
into the Star, without any lofs, excepting 
that of the officer who led them, Lieu- 
tenant Roney. He was mortally wound- 
ed, and died the following night, much 
efteemed, and juftly lamented. 

From fuch a check, the American 
commander began to entertain a refpe6t- 
able idea of the troops with whom he 
had to contend. On the night of the 
23d the Americans again broke ground, 
but at the diftance of four hundred paces 
from the Star, and behind a ravine. 



They here began two faps ; erefted block 
batteries to cover them, and appointed 
two brigades for their fupport. Sorties 
by fmall parties were made during the 
night, to interrupt the enemy, and retard 
their approaches. Thefe were occafion- 
ally continued for the reft of the fiege, 
notwithftanding which, by inceffant la- 
bour, and the numbers employed, the be- 
fiegers had completed a fecond parallel by 
the 3d of June, when, for the firft time, 
they beat the chamade, and their Adju- 
tant General advanced with a flag of 
truce, defiring to fpeak to the comman- 
dant. Lieutenant Stelle, the officer on 
duty, who met him, obferved, that it was 
unufual for commanding officers to re- 
ceive and anfwer flags of truce in perfon, 
but that if he had any thing to commu- 
nicate to Lieutenant Colonel Cruger, it 
ihould be forwarded. The American 
officer then produced a paper, figned by 
himfelf, fetting forth, with the higheft 
eulogiums, the invincible gallantry of 
their troops ; enumerating their recent 
L 3 conquefts 

150 S I E G E O F 

conquefts " upon the Congaree, the 
"Wateree, and the Santee * ;" declaring 
that the garrifon had every thing to hope 
from their generofity, and to fear from 
their refentment ; making the comman- 
dant perfenally refponfible for a fruitlefs 
refiftance, and demanding an immediate 
and unconditional furrender to the army 
of the United States of America. He 
farther pro te fled, that this fummons 
fhould not be repeated, nor any flag of 
truce hereafter received, without it con- 
veyed the preliminary propofals for a ca- 

The commandant directed an officer 
to inform the perfon who brought this 
extraordinary paper, that, Ninety Six 
was committed to his charge, and that 
both duty and inclination pointed to the 
propriety of defending it to the laft ex- 

* The two firft of thefe are only branches of the 
latter— but a climax fo pompous correfponded with the 
reft of the language of this fummons. 



tremity. He added, that the promifes 
and threats of General Greene were alike 
indifferent to him. 

The truce therefore ceafed ; the enemy 
immediately opened four batteries ; com- 
menced a heavy crofs fire, which enfiladed 
fome of the works, and continued this 
cannonade at intervals for feveral days, 
at the fame time puihing a fap againft 
the Star, and advancing batteries. One 
of thefe conftru£ted of fafcines aitd ga- 
bions, at no greater diftance than thirty- 
five paces from the abbatis, was elevated 
forty feet from the earth ; upon it a num- 
ber of riflemen were ftationed, who, as 
they overlooked the Britiih works, did 
great execution. The garrifon crowned 
their parapet with fand-bags, leaving 
apertures through which the Loyal mi- 
litia fired their rifles with good eflfeft. 
African arrows * were thrown by the 
L 4 befiegers 

* Thefe were arrows fitted to the bore of mufquets 
from which they were difcharged. They were en- 

IS* S I E G E O F 

befiegers on the roofs of the Britifh bar- 
racks to fet them on fire, but this defign 
was immediately counteracted by Lieut, 
Col. Cruger; who directed all the buildings 
to be unroofed, an order which, though 
it expofed both officers and men to the 
bad effe6ts of the night air, fo pernicious 
m this climate, was obeyed with an ala-* 
crity that nothing but their confidence in 
him could infpire. 

With the intention to burn the rifle 
battery of the aflailants, attempts were 
made to heat fhot, but thefe were fruf* 
trated for want of furnaces ; the befieged 
therefore in the Star, being no longer able 
to continue with the cannon on the plat- 
forms in the day time, they were dif^ 
mounted, and ufed only in the night. 

twined with flax, dipped in combuftibles lighted, and 
armed at the end with a barbed fpear. Captain M'Pher- 
fon of Delanceys had defended Fort Motte with 
admirable gallantry, but his barracks being fet on fire 
by thefe arrows, he was compelled to furrender. 



On the 8th of June, the garrifon had 
the mortification to fee that of Augufta 
marched by them prifoners of war. 
Though the gallantly difplayed by Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Brown in its defence, 
would have excited admiration in a ge- 
nerous foe, Colonel Lee, by whom they 
were taken, enjoyed the gratification of a 
little mind in exhibiting them before 
Ninety Six, with a Britilh ftandard re- 
verfed, drums beating and fifes playing, 
to ridicule their fituation. This pitiful 
recourfe had an effeft quite contrary to 
that which it was intended to produce. 
The foldiers were eafily convinced by 
their officers, that death was preferable 
to captivity with fuch an enemy. Hav- 
ing enjoyed this triumph, Colonel Lee, 
with his corps called the legion, next fat 
down to reduce the flockade upon the 
left, which prefer ved a communication 
with the water ; his approaches, however, 
commenced at a refpeclful diftance, and 
his advances by fap were conducted with 
extreme caution, while the operations of 


154 S I E G E O F 

General Greene were directed againft the 


On the evening of the 9th of June, 
in the apprehenfion that fomething ex- 
traordinary was carrying on in the ene- 
my's works, two fallies, with ftrong par- 
ties, were made. One of thefe entering 
their trenches upon the right, and pene- 
trating to a battery of four guns, were 
prevented from deftroying them for want 
of fpikes and hammers. They here dis- 
covered the mouth of a mine, defigned 
to be carried under a curtain of the Star, 
upon fpringing of which the breach was 
to be entered by the American army, 
fword in hand. The other divifion that 
marched upon the left fell in with the 
covering party of the befiegers, a number 
of whom were put to the bayonet, and 
the officer who commanded them brought 
in prifoner. Both divifions returned to 
the garrifon with little lofs, though it 
was impoffible for that of the enemy not 
to have been confiderable. Never did 



lucklefs wight receive a more inglorious 
wound, upon any occafion, than Count 
Kozinfco did on this — it was in that 
part which Hudibras has conftituted the 
feat of honour, and was given juft as 
this engineer was examining the mine 
which he had projected ! 

Colonel Lee continued his approaches 
to the ftockade upon the left, before 
which his corps fuffered greatly. On 
the 1 2th of June, in a paroxyfm of te- 
merity and folly, he dire£ted a ferjeant 
and fix men, at eleven o'clock in the 
forenoon, to advance with lighted com- 
buftibles, and fet fire to the abbatis of 
the work which he had inverted. Not 
one of them returned to upbraid him 
with his ralhnefs, and he was the firft to 
folicit a truce to bury the bodies of the 
men he had fo fcandaloufly facrificed. 
Having now redoubled his efforts, and 
mounted a number of cannon, which 
followed him from Augufta, he com- 
pletely enfiladed this work, by a trian- 


gular fire, and by the 17th of June ren- 
dered it untenable. It was evacuated in 
the night without lofs, and taken poffef- 
fion of by the enemy. 

The fufferings of the garrifon were 
now extreme. With infinite labour a 
well was dug in the Star, but water was 
not to be obtained, and the only means 
of procuring this neceffary element in a 
torrid climate in the month of June, was 
to fend out naked negroes, who brought 
a fcanty fupply from within piftol ihot 
of the American pickets, their bodies not 
being diftinguiihable in the night from 
the fallen trees, with which the place 

Far from defpondence in this extre- 
mity, Lieutenant Colonel Cruger encou- 
raged the troops, in the hope of relief 
from the arrival of an army, before the 
enemy, though already advanced in their 
third parallel, could poffibly reach the 
ditch. From the treatment of their fel- 


low foldiers captured at Augufta, he 
painted to them, in the ftrongeft colours, 
the mortifying confequences of a fur- 
render ; but, if they continued their de- 
fence, he had not the leaft doubt of their 
having the honour of brightening the fu- 
ture profpefts of the Royal army in thofe 

Whilft the commandant was ufing 
thefe endeavours, an American Loyalift, 
in open day, under the fire of the enemy, 
rode through their pickets, and delivered 
a verbal meffage from Lord Rawdon, 
"That he had paffed Orangeburg, and 
" was in full march to raife the ftege.'* 
The name of Rawdon inflamed every 
breaft with additional vigour ; they de- 
clared they would wait patiently for 
the affailants, and meet them even in 
the ditch. How well they kept their 
word the tranfa&ions of the 18th will 


i 5 8 SIEGE OF 

On the morning of this day the third 
parallel of the befiegers was completed; 
they turned the abbatis, drew cut the 
pickets, and brought forward two trenches 
within fix feet of the ditch of the Star. 
General Greene, well informed of the 
advance of Lord Rawdon, and know- 
ing that the garrifon was equally ap- 
prifed of it, determined upon a general 
affault, which he commenced at noon. 

Their forlorn hopes, in two divifions, 
made a lodgement in the ditch, and 
were followed by ftrong parties with 
grappling hooks to draw down the fand- 
bags, and tools to reduce the parapet. 
The riflemen, polled upon their elevated 
battery, picked off every Britilh foldier 
that appeared, while the Virginian and 
Maryland lines fired by platoons from 
their trenches. The right flank of the 
enemy was expofed to the fire of a three- 
pounder, as well as to that of the block 
houfes in the village, and Major Green 
with the troops in the Scai, waited 



with coolnefs to receive them on the 
parapet, with bayonets and fpears*. 
The attack continued, but the main body 
of the Americans could not be brought 
forward to the afTault; they were con- 
tented with fupporting the parties in the 
ditch, by an inceffant fire from the lines* 
At length the garrifon became impa- 
tient. Two parties under Captain Camp- 
bell of the New Jerfey Volunteers, and 
Captain French of Delancey's, iflued 
from the fally port in the rear of the 
Star, they entered the ditch, divided their 
men, and advanced, pufhing their bay- 
onets till they met each other. This 
was an effort of gallantry that the Ame- 
ricans could not have expected. General 
Greene, from one of the advanced bat- 
teries, with aftoniihment beheld two 

* Spears refembling thofe ufed in boarding fhips, 
had been made by the direction of this excellent officer i 
they were piled againft. the parapet, and the men were 
ordered, on difcharging their mufquets, to ufe the 



parties, confifting only of thirty men each^ 
fallying into a ditch, charging and carry- 
ing every thing before them, though ex- 
poied to the lire of a whole army. It 
was an exertion of officers leading troops, 
ardent in the caufe of their iovereign, 
and fteeled with the remembrance of in- 
juries which they and their connections 
had fo often received from the fubverters 
of law and good government. The Ame- 
ricans covered their ihame in the trenches, 
nor was it till the next day that they 
recollefted themfelves fo far as to afk per- 
miflion to bury their dead; the groans 
alfo of their wounded affailed their ears, 
and called aloud for that relief which 
ought to have been much earlier admi- 

General Greene raifed the fiege upon 
the evening of the 19th, and on the 
morning of the 21ft the army under 
Lord Rawdon made its appearance. His 
Lordfhip brought with him the flank 



companies of three- regiments, which 
had landed from Europe fo late as the 
third of the fame month, and thus rein- 
forced, he had made the mofh rapid 
marches over a defert country, in the 
hottefl weather, for the relief of the gar- 
rifon. This, however, did not prevent 
his Lordfhip from an immediate purfuit 
of the enemy. He followed them over 
the Saluda, as far as the banks of the 
Enoree, but they had fo much the flart 
of him, and their flight was fo precipi- 
tate, as to leave no poffibility of being 

The hardfhips under which this little 
garrifon had laboured were fevere in the 
extreme. The defence of a place fo 
weak and ill provided, for upwards of 
thirty days, with no more than three 
hundred and fifty regulars, and two hun- 
dred militia, againfh an army well ap- 
pointed, in high fpirits, and in pofTeffion 


3d, 19th, and 30th. 

M o£ 

162 S I E G E O F 

of every advantage that the fituatiori 
could admit, was not to be effected with- 
out the utmoft patience, vigilance, and 
vigorous exertion. Before the appear- 
ance of the Americans, Lieutenant Co- 
lonel Cruger had ufed every means in his 
power to augment his magazine of provi- 
fions; but the falting of beef and pork, 
which were the only articles, Indian corn 
excepted, that could be procured^ was 
rendered almoft ineffectual both by the 
feafon and climate. The climate was 
that of latitude 32 N — the feafon ap- 
proaching the fummer folfiice. In fpite 
therefore of all precaution, the provifions 
in one degree or other became putrid. Yet 
even this, at leaft, towards the latter end 
of the fiege, was much lefs diftrefling than 
the want of water* 

It would be prefumption in me, nay, it 

would require the abilities of an able wri- 
ter, to appropriate to each officer concerned 
in this defence, the degree of praife due 
to his merit, and yet, after the account 



juft now given, it would be unpardonable 
to pafs them over in filence. 

The forefight, precaution, bravery, 2nd 
in every refpect good condudt of Lieu-* 
tenant Colonel Cruger, have obtained 
that general admiration which they de- 
fended. The fpeech of General Sir George 
Howard* dees no more than juftice to 
the diftinguifhed merit of Major Green, 
and it will afford peculiar pleafure to every 
individual of this garrifon into whofe 
hands that part of parliamentary hiftory 
may fall. The officers in the Star did 
not lofe one of the many opportunities 
which occurred to fignalife themfelves. 
Lieutenant Barrete, of the 23d regiment, 
afted as engineer with great 2eaL In one 
word, every officer received the warmeft 
approbation of his condu6t from Lord 
Rawdon and Lieutenant Colonel Cruger, 

* Vide the Debates in the Houfe of Commons of the 
27th of June 1783 : the Houfe in committee on the 
fubjecT: of Provincial half pay. 

M 2 jaof 

164 SIEGE, &c. 

nor did they afpire to a more honourable 
teftimony of their merit. 

Lieutenant Roney, of Delancey's, with 
three ferjeants, and twenty-three rank and 
file, were killed. Captains French and 
Smith of Delancey's, Captain Barbarie and 
Lieut. Hatton, of the New Jerfey Volun- 
teers, with five ferjeants and forty-nine rank 
and file, were wounded. The enemy ac- 
knowledged the lofs of one Colonel, three 
Captains, five Lieutenants, and one hun- 
dred and fifty-feven privates, killed and 
wounded; but as their returns did not 
include the militia, who on this occa- 
fion bore the proportion of three to 
one to the troops in the pay of Congrefs, 
there can be no doubt but their lofs 
amounted to treble that number in this 
memorable fiege, — ^afiege, which, however 
imperfectly known in Britain hitherto, 
will be remembered in America, whilft a 
veftige of the war in that country fhall re- 



O F 


COLONEL Andrew Devaux, 
who planned and executed the ex- 
pedition which reduced the ifland of 
New-Providence, is a native of the pro- 
vince of South Carolina, and defcended 
from a refpeftable Hugonet family of 
Brittany, which left that country ppon 
the revocation of the edidt of Nantz. 

M 4 When 


When the Britifh army, under Major 
General Prevoft, advanced to Charlef-* 
town, in the year 1779, Andrew Devaux, 
fenior, and his fon, then about eighteen 
years of age, joined it. The latter was 
foon particularly noticed by that diftin- 
guifhed officer, Lieutenant Colonel the 
Honourable John Maitland. After the 
death of his patron, young Devaux ac- 
companied the Royal army on its en- 
trance into South Carolina the following 
year ; and, by fupplying guides and pro- 
vifions, became of effential fervice. Hav- 
ing raifed two independent troops of dra^ 
eoons, he received from Earl Cornwallis 
the rank of Major of Provincials, and, 
foon after, the appointment of Lieutenant 
Colonel to the Grenville county militia. 
With thefe, and a number of volunteers, 
who placed themfelves under his com- 
mand, he made feveral fuccefsful incur- 
fions, and penetrated into the heart of 
the country ; nor did he discontinue thefe 
exertions till after the contraction of the 
Britifh lines to the vicinity of Charlef- 



town, when the neceffity for that kind 
of operation being at an end, his corps 
was difoanded. 

This enterprifing young man (till found 
a mode to render himfelf ufeful. As the 
forces under Major General Leflie re- 
mained upon the defenfive. Colonel De- 
vaux, authorifed by the Court of Vice- 
Admiralty, fitted out two armed veiTels, 
and from his perfect acquaintance with 
the numerous inlets with which that 
coaft is indented, he in feveral defcents 
brought in quantities of frefh provifions 
and forage, which ferved equally to fup- 
ply the garrifon and diftrefs the enemy. 

In one of thefe expeditions he entered the 
inlet of Ofebaugh in Georgia, landed and 
deftroyed two gallies which were building 
for the Congrefs, together with their 
whole naval yard at Beaulie, though a 
large body of Americans was ftationed 
within a few miles of that place. Upon 
another occafion he penetrated up Broad- 
River inlet, and, taking a circuitous route, 


170 RE-C APT U R E OF 

furprifed and made prifoners Brigadier 
General Harding, with eleven officers, 
and brought off a number of dragoon 
horfes. He alfo landed on the ifland of 
Port Royal, which he took pofleffion of, 
and delivered to a detachment of the 
King's troops fent to receive it; when 
thefe were withdrawn, which happened 
fome time after, he, in a fecond defcent, 
made Brigadier General Barnwell, his 
Aid-de-Camp, and a number of others, 

After the Britifh army, in the month 
of December 1782, had abandoned the 
province of South Carolina, Colonel De- 
vaux proceeded to the harbour of Saint 
Auguftine in Eaft Florida, the only port 
upon that part of the coaft which re- 
mained occupied by a Britifh garrifon. 
Here, having gained intelligence of the 
fupine and defencelefs ftate of Don Gal?- 
vez, the Spanifh Governor of Weft Flo- 
rida, and of the affe£tion of the Creole, 
Choctaw, Chickafaw, and Cherokee In^ 



dians to the Britifh ihtereft, he meditated 
the defign of attacking Penfacola ; but 
as no affiftance could be afforded him 
from Eaft Florida, upon account of the 
continual inroads of the Americans acrofs 
the Altamaha, this intention was laid 
afide ; and though the fame reafons ope- 
rated with equal force againft another 
expedition, which he planned for the 
redu6lion of the ifland of New-Provi- 
dence, he however carried it into execu- 

It may be neceflary to premife, that 
this is the principal in a chain of fmall 
ijlands, extending along the gulph of 
Florida, called Bahamas; that it had 
fome time before been fubjugated to the 
crown of Spain ; that the pofTeffion of it 
is valuable in the time of war, from its 
affording an harbour for veffels, which 
may be employed, either to check the 
trade of the continent of America, of 
the iflands of Cuba, and Hifpaniola, 
pr to intercept the Spanifh flota from 



Vera-Cruz ; and that it is alfo an obje6l 
of attention in times of peace, appears, 
from the prefent appointment of a no- 
bleman of diftinftion to its govern- 
ment * 

After the capture of this ifland by the 
Spaniards, the Britilh inhabitants who 
remained there, complained loudly of 
great oppreffion, in confequence of in- 
fractions of the capitulation. Many 
merchants had been deprived of their 
property, and their perfons confined at 
the Havannah : others had fled to Eaft 
Florida. Information communicated by 
the latter, gave Colonel Devaux reafon 
to expe£t fome aid from the inhabitants 
of the Bahamas ; for the neceflary equip- 
ment and fupport of fuch of thofe as 
might be difpofed to join him, he pro- 
vided arms, regimentals, and provifions. 
Seventy men, who had formerly ferved 

* Earl of Dunmore. 



under him in the Carolinas, were again 
affociated, and put on board fix fmall 
veffels. " The little remnants of his 
" fhattered fortune, and all that he could 
" raife on his credit, was embarked on 
« this expedition P." On the 30th of 
March, 1783, he failed under the convoy 
of fome private ihips of war, the Perfe- 
verance of twenty-fix guns, the Witby 
Warrior of fixteen guns; the former 
commanded by a Mr. Dow, the latter by 
a Mr. Wheeler; and two fmall armed 

Four days after their departure they 
difcovered two large fhips to windward, 
{landing towards them. A flout refift- 
ance might have been made, provided 
that the armed veffels of the fleet had 
formed in line of battle, but Colonel 
Devaux had the mortification to fee the 
Perfeverance and Witby Warrior, which 
was the only force that could now be 

* Political Magazine, 1783. 

1 depended 


depended upon, bear away before the 
wind. His apprehenfions, however, upon 
this occafion, were converted into art 
agreeable furprife, when he found that 
the ftrange fhips, though under foreign 
colours, were two Englifh letters of 
marque from Jamaica, homeward bound* 
After fpeaking with them he proceeded, 
and the next day the whole fleet ren- 
dezvoufed at the Hole*in-the-Rock, in 
the bay of Abacco*, with no other lofs 
than that of a large boat, conftrudted for 
debarkation, which had foundered at fea. 

As the whole fuccefs of the enter- 
prife evidently depended upon taking 
every advantage which furprife and lira- 
tagem might prefent, guard-boats were 
immediately ftationed at all the avenues 
leading towards the enemy* Colonel 
Devaux landed on Harbour Ifland, and 
detached to the ifland of Eluthera, 
with directions for recruiting, Captain 

* Another of the Bahama Iflands, about twenty leagues 
diftant from Naflau. 



Mackenzie, who had been particularly 
ferviceable during the whole of this ex- 
pedition. The exertions of this gentle- 
man, with thofe of Captain Higgs of the 
Harbour-Ifland militia, procured the ad- 
dition of one hundred and feventy men ; 
thefe were equipped with the arms and 
regimentals provided in Florida; and 
the cordial reception given by the ifland- 
ers, fhould the primary obje£t of the 
expedition fail, enfured a fafe retreat. 

The total amount of the force thus 
increafed, with the addition of what was 
obtained from the (hipping, was three 
hundred men* Fifty fiihing boats were 
alfo collected, for no other purpofe than 
that of deceiving the enemy into an 
opinion, that the real number of troops 
was in proportion to the feeming pre- 
paration for their landing. To throw 
the recruits into divifions, and to give 
them an idea of regularity, at leaft in 
the eflentials of loading and firing, two 
days were employed; £0 prepared, this 



Iktle armament failed, and on the 
night of the 9th of April, arrived at 
Egg Ifland, three leagues diftant from 
Fort-Montague upon New-Providence, 
and about five from Fort-Naffau. 

The firft mentioned fort, mounted 
with thirteen nine-pounders, garrifoned 
by fifty men, under the command of the 
Spaniih Lieutenant Governor, and fup- 
ported by two heavy gallies, moored in 
the channel, completely covered the 
Eaftern entrance of the harbour. 

Difpofitions for the attack, both of 
Fort-Montague and the gallies, were 
made on the 10th at day break; they 
were conduced in this manner: Major 
Taylor was detached with feventy men 
to board the gallies, while Colonel De- 
vaux landed with one hundred and fifty 
men to attack the fort : he was, how- 
ever, difcovered by the Spanifh centinels 
on the beating of the revellie. Boats 
were continually rowed to and from 



the fhipping, while the advanced party 
of the corps which had landed, marched 
with fafcines and fcaling ladders, leaving 
large intervals between the divifions, 
and prefenting a very extended front. 
All this was done for the purpofe of im- 
prefling the enemy with an idea, that a 
whole army had arrived to reduce them. 
The deception fucceeded ; the Spaniards 
fpiked the cannon, laid a train to the 
magazine, abandoned Fort-Montague, 
and filed off towards Fort>NafTau. The 
Britiih purfued, and charged them with 
vivacity ; the enemy left fome men upon 
the ground, and retreated in great difor- 
der. Colonel Devaux halted, entered 
the fort, and, by means of a prifoner 
whom he had taken, discovering that a 
match had been laid to the magazine, 
found he had come early enough to 
extinguiih it. Three cheers from that 
part of his troops who were now in pof- 
feffion of the fort, were anfwered by 
the divifion under Major Taylor, who, 
N at 


at the fame inftant, had boarded the 

After making fome neceffary arrange** 
ments, Colonel Devaux fent a fummons 
to Don Antonio Claraco Sanz, the 
Spanifh Governor, acquainting him, that 
being inverted both by fea and land, and 
that, as no hopes of a fuccefsful refiftance 
was left, his only refource was an imme- 
diate furrender to the troops of his Bri- 
tannick Majefty. To this Don Antonio 
refufed his affent; he at the fame time 
intimated his wiihes, that the Britifh 
troops, defifting from further operations, 
ihould remain in quiet poffeffion of the 
fort which they had taken, and its vici- 
nity, until the twentieth day of the 
month, at which time he had reafon to 
believe that holtilities would ceafe be- 
tween the fubje£ts of England and 

Upon the thirtieth of March, when 
this -armament failed from Eaft Florida, 



they had received no intelligence of a 
peace ; the two letters of marque already- 
mentioned, which had then juft failed 
from Jamaica, were equally ignorant of 
fuch an event, nor were three vefTels 
from Philadelphia, which had been cap- 
tured, in pofleffion of any fuch informa- 
tion. From thefe facts, therefore, it 
was reafonable to conclude, that this ac- 
count of Don Antonio was a fubterfuse 
to fave his garrifon, for if, at that 
time, he had had authentick advice of 
an accommodation between the belli- 
gerent powers, he had only to produce a 
copy of the treaty, or the preliminary arti- 
cles, and the farther operations of the aflail- 
ants would of courfe have terminated. 
The true ftate of the matter, as it after- 
wards appeared, was, that hoftilities 
were to ceafe in that quarter upon the 
ninth, inftead of the twentieth of April, 
of which, however, both parties, at this 
time, had been equally ignorant. 

N 2 After 


After leaving a detachment in Fort 
Montague, the reft of the Britifh forces 
took poft upon the White-Grounds, 
within cannon fhot of the Spaniih lines, 
having driven in a party which occu- 
pied that place. In reconnoitring, landing 
cannon, training the recruits, and other 
iervices, two days were employed, un- 
der a random cannonade, and dif-* 
charge of Ihells from the enemy's batte^ 

Sufpe&ing an intention in the Britifh 
to poffefs themfelves of Society Hill, 
which commanded his works, Don An- 
tonio formed an ambufcade, with forty 
men, amongft the underwood which co^ 
vered its fummit. This was difcovered, 
and the troops, making a detour of the 
hill, attacked the Spaniards, who, with 
the lofs of two officers and fix men, ef- 
fected a retreat. 

On the 13th of April the Gover- 
nor requefted an interview with the 



Britifh Commander, and under the plau- 
fible pretence of guarding againfl de- 
predation on private property, propofed 
a truce; but his real motive was to eain 

Upon this qccafion, the whole of the 
troops that were landed were drawn up 
under arms, fo as to refemble a picket 
only. Drums, fifes, and bugle horns, 
with warlike Indian mufick, were heard 
in feveral parts of the ifland, as if pro- 
ceeding from different encampments, and 
two Cherokee and Choctaw Chiefs, as 
reprefentatives of their refpective tribes, 
were introduced to Don Antonio, for the 
purpofe of alarming him with apprehen- 
fions, that two nations of favagres were 
employed againfl him. A truce of twen- 
ty-four hours, to deliberate on propofals 
for furrender, was requefled by the Go- 
vernor. To this Colonel Devaux af- 
fented, as it ferved to give his men reft 
after great fatigue, and to procure time 
for the arrival of one of his veffels, which 



had been on a cruize at the time of his 
departure, and which he was in hourly 
expe£lation of, with a reinforcement of 
forty men ; but the Spaniards being dif- 
covered in the courfe of the night im- 
proving their fortifications, a meffage 
was therefore fent them, that they had 
violated the truce, and that it confer 
quently ceafed. They immediately com- 
menced a heavy cannonade on Society 
Hill, and threw a number of ihells in 
that dire£tion, notwithftanding which 
the Britilh troops, affifted by a party of 
negroes under Mr. Romer, with infinite 
labour, drew feven pieces of cannon up 
the hill, and mounted them in embra-» 
fures cut out of the folid rock. 

The Spaniards made a fortie in the 
night, but were repulfed with lofs. Upon 
the 14th, having withdrawn the whole 
of their force from Fort NafTau, and the 
other out-pofts, they retired into the ci- 
tadel, at the fame time cutting the cables 
of four large gallies in the harbour, 



which confequently drifted upon the 
fhore. On the 17th a morning gun was 
fired from the Britifh batteries on the 
Hill, and Don Antonio was fummoned 
for the lafttime to furrender. He imme- 
diately propofed terms, to which it was 
thought prudent to aflent. 

A Governor, Lieutenant Governor, 
thirty-fix Majors, Captains and fubal- 
terns, with fix hundred Spaniih troops, 
were made prifoners. Upwards of one 
hundred pieces of cannon, mortars and 
howitzers, and a quantity of military 
ftores, fell into the hands of the captors. 

By the fecond article of the capitula- 
tion, the garrifon was to be permitted to 
depart for Cuba, and the Governor to 
Spain, but Colonel Devaux detained Don 
Antonio and five of the principal officers 
as hoftages, till an equal number of Bri- 
tifh merchants, inhabitants of New-Pro- 
vidence, who, in violation of the former 



capitulation, were in dungeons in the 
Havannah, were liberated. 

The troops took poffeffion of the town 
and citadel of NafTau aniidft the acclama- 
tions of the inhabitants, who addrefied 
their deliverer in the molt grateful terms> 
extolling that zeal for his Majefty's fer- 
vice, and compaffion for the diftreiTed in- 
habitants, which had prompted him, at 
his own private expence, to undertake 
an expedition for their relief, and paying 
him the higheft encomiums on the bra- 5 
vety, vigilance and fkill in military ftra- 
tagem, by which it was effected. 

Difpatches were immediately fent to 
the Commander in Chief of the King's 
forces in America, as alfo to the Gover- 
nor of Jamaica,' acquainting them with 
the reduction of the ifland of New-Pro- 
vidence, and fubmitting the future dif- 
pofal of it to their direction. Both theie 
officers declined interfering, and recom- 
mended waiting for inftrudlions from 
i England, 


England, the latter adding, "That he who 
" was capable of reducing, was certainly 
cc equal to govern it." Colonel Devaux 
therefore proceeded to form the remain- 
ing Members of his Majefty's Council into 
a Board of Police, for the adminiftration 
of juftice, and continued in the ifland 
until the month of September following, 
when he was complimented by the prin- 
cipal inhabitants, in an addrefs, teftify- 
ing their concern at his departure, and 
the lading efteem his condu6l had im- 
prefled upon them, pointing out his dif- 
intereftednefs in declining all pecuniary 
emolument, and wiihing him that appro- 
bation of a gracious fovereign, to which 
his merit entitled him. 

Thus was the ifland of New-Provi- 
dence conquered by the exertions of a 
young man, then under twenty-three 
years of age, and a Spanifh garrifon of fix 
hundred regular troops, in ftrong works, 
provided with cannon and other means of 
defence, made prifoners by half that 
O number 

x86 RE-CAPTURE, &e, 

number of irregulars, deficient in difdn 
pline, and indifferently fupplied with ar* 
tillery, and the other requisites of a 


The motive of the expedition was ge- 
nerous and noble ; — the releafe of Britilh 
fubje6ls from foreign oppreffion, and the 
credit acquired, cannot be lefTened by the 
circumftance of the conqueft being made 
fome days after hoftilities were to £eafe in 
thofe feas, as all parties were alike igno- 
rant of that regulation. The mode of 
conducting it would have refledted ho- 
nour on any General ; and it has been 
juftly confidered as " an enterprife, per-?- 
" haps, without a parallel in the modem 
" hiftory of war." 


Deacidified using the Bookkeeper process. 
Neutralizing agent: Magnesium Oxide 
Treatment Date: Dec. 2003 
_ . _ . . .