Journal of the Siege of Charleston by the English in 1780. The Army Commanded by Gen. Sir Henry Clinton, and the Fleet by Admiral Arbuthnot. The Garrison by Major-General Lincoln.

[Original MS.]*

February 9, 1780.
The English fleet arrived in Stono Inlet; the alarm was fired in Charlestown.
10th.-The troops landed.
March 9 and 10, 1780.
Seven vessels were sunk near the mouth of Cooper River, and cables fixed from one to the other, to prevent the entrance of this river.
13th.-The enemy took possession of the land on Ashley River opposite the town, constructed a battery near the mouth of Wappoo, on the prolongation of Tradd street.
21st.-The English fleet passed the bar, and anchored in Five Fathom Hole.
25th.-Our armed vessels before Fort Moultrie returned to town; their cannon were transported into the land batteries.
29th.-The English army crossed Ashley River twelve miles above the town.
30th.-The advanced guard of the enemy came within two miles of Charlestown, when a party of two hundred men, under Colonel John Laurens and a little while after two field-pieces), went out against them, who, after a skirmish of some hours, returned towards sun-set. The fortifications of Charlestown were, even at this time, very incomplete. All the negroes in town were impressed, who, together with the parties detailed from the garrison, were henceforth employed upon the works.
31st.-At day-break we observed that the enemy had opened his trenches in three places.

The original is in French, and was kept by DeBrahm, an engineer. The translation was made and furnished me by Col. Jas. Ferguson, of Dookon.

April 1 and 2, 1780. The enemy's works were a little extended, and ours augmented.
3d.-This morning the battery was discovered upon a height, at Hampstead. At battery of four pieces was constructed on our right to oppose that of the enemy, from which, as well as from all the others, a continued firing of shot and bombs was kept up the following night along the lines.
4th.-This morning, daylight discovered to us the enemy's battery very much injured.
5th.-Last night's fire of our batteries was kept up as heretofore. The enemy's galley approached the town, and fired upon it all night. We began to dig wells in our front, and to close up the gorge of the horn work.
6th.-The fire of the batteries and the works continued as before. To-day the reinforcement under General Woodford arrived.
7th.-Very little fire from our batteries last night, and more on the part of the enemy. The enemy has prolonged the right of his first parallel. All our workmen employed digging wells.
8th.-Last night the enemy commenced a battery of six pieces. All our workmen employed making traverses. A quarter of an hour before sun-set, the English fleet passed Fort Moultrie, under a heavy fire on both sides, and anchored in a line near Fort Johnson. Nobody wounded or killed in Fort Moultrie. The fleet consisted of the following vessels:--One of 50 guns, two of 40, four frigates, two vessels armed en flute, and two other smaller ones; one of these armed en flute grounded on a band called "The Green."
9th.-The vessel which grounded was abandoned, and burnt by the crew last night. This morning the commencement of a battery appeared in front of our left. Our workmen employed as heretofore.
10th.-The works of the enemy were advanced. Our negroes employed in making a battery of five pieces of redoubt, and the soldiers on fatigue in making traverses. This evening a parley was received from the enemy, demanding the surrender of the town; it was refused.
11th.-Our batteries kept up a great deal of fire last night. The enemy had repaired his batteries, and mounted some cannon. Finished the battery in the redoubt. Our workmen employed in making traverses, and strengthening the profiles of some works. This evening Major Gilbank was accidentally killed, making some experiments with shells.
12th.-Very little firing last night. The enemy had more cannon mounted. The workmen employed as before. Our sailors employed in elevating the parapet near Exchange Battery, and making embrasures to it. At 12 o'clock, meridian, three chalops passed Fort Moultrie, and joined the fleet, although fired upon all the time by the Fort.
13th.-Very little firing last night. This morning one of the batteries of the enemy was finished, the others not quite; the trenches extended. This morning, at 9 o'clock, the enemy opened his batteries, firing bombs, carcasses and hot balls, which were returned with all our force from the batteries. This lasted about two hours, when the firing was abated on both sides, till about 5 o'clock, when all the fire was on the side of the enemy. We had one 18 pounder dismounted, and two houses burnt in town. Our workmen employed as before.
14th.-A slow fire was kept up on both sides last night. The approaches of the enemy a little advanced. The enemy's galley fired all night. He commenced another battery opposite the town, on the banks of Ashley River.
15th.-Fire from the batteries and works as before. The enemy had a bomb battery. His second parallel commenced, and manned by the Chasseurs, who kept up a continued fire upon our lines.
16th.-In addition to his usual fire, the enemy opened his new battery. Last night we extended from our redoubt a counter-mine with a small parallel whence we could return the fire of the enemy's musketry. This evening one of our Gallies ascended Cooper river to a place whence she enfiladed the English camp for several hours, which was briskly answered by field pieces from the camp.
17th.-The enemy enfiladed the town on all sides last night and threw a great quantity of bombs-sometimes from fifteen to twenty at once. We worked upon our counter mine. We received intelligence from our detachment at Lamprieres, that one thousand or fifteen hundred of the enemy under General Lord Cornwallis had passed Monk's Corner, Strawberry, Bonneau's Ferry, and Wappetaw, and actually arrived within six miles of the said post. This morning the enemy's second parallel was prolonged towards our left, supplied with bags of earth and full of Chasseurs.
18th.-Fire from the batteries as heretofore, and a shower of musketry all day; this day like last night very rainy.
19th.-Fire from the batteries as heretofore. This evening three of the enemies Gallies descended from Wappoo down Ashley river to the Fleet under a heavy fire from our batteries; one lost her mail mast. This night the communication is made from the battery of the French sailors to the town.
20th.-Fire from the batteries as ordinary. This evening the Ravelin commenced in front of the horn work.
21st.-Fire from the batteries as ordinary. This morning the enemy had commenced two batteries, near his second parallel.
22d.-Fire from the batteries as ordinary; and from the musketry more than ever. This morning a parley was sent to the enemy and the answer returned about 9 o'clock in the evening.
23d.-Fire from the batteries as ordinary. The enemy extended the saps of his second parallel.
24th.-Fire from the batteries as ordinary. This morning at daybreak, a party of two hundred men under Col. Henderson made a sortie upon the enemies works which caused a general fire of musketry on both sides. The party returned in a little while with twelve prisoners. Our loss was one Captain and one soldier killed.
25th.-As ordinary. Last night Col. Parker of the Virginia line was killed by a musket shot.
26th.-As ordinary. The enemy commenced his third parallel. Troops from a vessel and four gallies, landed at Mount Pleasant, and took possession of a battery of one piece, losing one galley in this affair.
27th..-As ordinary.
28th.-As ordinary. Last night our Fort at Lamprier's was evacuated, and taken possession of by the enemy to-day. It was not until this moment that Charlestown was completed invested; the enemy having possession of James Island, Wappoo, Charlestown Neck, Hobcaw Point, Lamprieres, and Haddrell's Point; and his fleet anchored in the Road-stead before the town.
29th.-As ordinary. The enemy's third parallel almost finished, and a battery commenced; as likewise a redoubt on our side.
30th.-As ordinary.
May 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.-As ordinary. Our hospital ship taken by the English and carried higher up the river.
4th, 5th, and 6th.-The enemy employed in making three batteries upon his third parallel. And we to make two redoubts.
7th.-This morning at eight o'clock Fort Moultrie capitulated. A sixty-gun ship joined the English Fleet.
8th.-As ordinary. Another redoubt was commenced last night in rear of our left line. This morning the enemy sent a parley again to demand the town-the truce was prolonged throughout the whole day. In a Council of War composed of all officers of the General Staff, it was resolved by a majority of votes, to propose a capitulation.
9th.-The enemy had cannon mounted in the batteries of his third parallel.* The two commanders not agreeing upon the terms of capitulation the siege commenced this evening at nine o'clock with greater warmth than ever.
May 10th.-As ordinary.
11th.-As ordinary. The enemy's trenches are extended under the abbatis of the advanced battery. This afternoon a parley was sent to the enemy to propose fresh terms of capitulation.
12th.-The terms were accepted, and the English army took possession of the town. The English have worked very hard upon the fortifications. All that I can learn is, that they have strengthened the profiles of the lines; that they have constructed a Fort at Hampstead very nearly upon the plan herewith, marked with dotted lines; and some redoubts more advanced; they have also commenced a battery on Shultz's Folly-but the foundation is scarcely raised.

That it was for the purpose of mounting these cannon that the English proposed the truce I do not pretend to say, but this much is certain, that had it not been for the truce, this would have been a very laborious and dangerous job, and almost impracticable.

(From Documentary History of the American Revolution, by Gibbes, Volume 2, p. 124)

Doc ID: Gibbes, v. 2, p. 124
Date: 2/9/1780

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