George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Benjamin Lincoln, 24 March 1780

Chas Town March 24 1780

My Dear General,

Since my last the enemy have very unexpectedly brought over the ships mentioned in the enclosed paper—it has been thought there was not water enough for a 64 gun ship—Before they came into the harbour it was determined to form a line of battle across the channel with our ships, to act in conjunction with Fort Moultrie—but afterwards, as the enemy were so vastly superior to our force, it was thought best to remove our ships up to the Town in Cooper-river, land their heavy cannon and men—we are endeavouring to obstruct the channel from the Town to Shute’s-folly—if we should succeed great good will result from the measure as thereby we shall prevent the enemy from running up that river, and cutting off our communication with the country on the east.

The enemy are extending their works on Ashley river from the mouth of Wappoo with a design to cover their stores which they can land near the first work at the mouth of the Creek, and remove them a mile or two across land to the head of another creek, which empties into the Ashley, where they have a work also, which is opposite a good landing on this side—I think they [will] throw their troops across above, take post at this landing, and then transport their stores, which will save them a very long land carriage.

I lament most sincerely that from the want of a sufficient power, we cannot oppose their passing this river, which might easily be effected, and oblige the enemy to take a circuit of forty miles—General Woodford is not yet arrived—By his letter of the 6 instant, he informs me that his troops would leave Petersburg the day after—his numbers by some means or other are greatly reduced—by his return he has 737 only fit for action.

General Scott informs me that he is coming on without the remainder of his troops—want of clothing is the cause—a few of them have been persuaded to take care of Genl Woodford’s baggage.

Many of the No. Carolina Militia whose times have expired leave us to-day, they cannot be persuaded to remain longer tho’ the enemy are in our neighbourhood.

General McIntosh received a few days since a resolve of Congress, founded on a letter from the Governor of Georgia and one from the Speaker of the Assembly of that State, purporting that he had lost the confidence of the people, in which resolve he is persuaded from acting in the southern department—I have not only to lament the loss of so good an Officer—but that Congress have so suddenly come into a resolution which must wound the feelings of an old servant of the United States, and who by the war is reduced from a State of great affluence to that but a little removed from beggary—He has the command of the Country Militia of this State now in Garrison. I have the honor to be My Dear General with the highest esteem your Excellency most obedient servant

B. Lincoln

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


c. 21 March 1780

An exact description of the enemy Vessels as they lie in the Channel within the Bar of Charlestown 21st

March 3 oClock P.M. 1780 having been very attentively

viewed & examined.

1 A large black Pink mounting 10 Guns—6 on the main
deck 2 aft & 2 forward in close Quarters.
2 A Frigate which Mr Poole said was the Raleigh—a
handsome american built ship her whole side painted
yellow when she came but now only her waste—mounting
26 guns on her Battery.
3 A yellow Schooner lying within (& under the shore)
the above Frigate. I can not therefore now see her
hull—but she never appeared to me armed.
4 A low british built Frigate. brown sides & white
Head, mounting on her battery.
5 A Galley shewing four ports & supposing she has a
prow gun, mounts nine. She lies within the above
Frigate near the shore.
6 An American built Frigate arrived yesterday after
the Fleet got over (the same which I observd was
remarkably taunt rigged). She has a brown side, is
the exact picture of the Boston & mount 24 guns in her
7th A large Whitby built ship, mounting 4 Guns on the
main deck over the gunwhale—& 4 in close quarters—2
aft & 2 forward.
8 The Blonde, a low french built Frigate. yellow
waste mounts 26 Guns in the battery.
9th The Camilla a small yellow painted Ship mounting 20
Guns on her Battery.
10 The Ship which has been call by the different names
of Renown Rowbuck, or Romulus, painted yellow between
her two tier of Guns; having not more than 42 or 44
Guns on her two Batteries.
11 A Ship without quarter Galleries or Badges, which
arrived sunday with an armd Brig & two transports
(since gone to Stono) supposed from N. York mounting
only 20 Guns on her Battery not having a good view of
her before, I took her for a Frigate, but now am
almost confident she was the connecticut state Ship,
calld the Oliver Cromwell.
12 A large whitby built ship—without guns.
13 The Persseus—brown sides—mounts 22 Guns in her
14 The Flag Ship, brown sides—she mounts not more
than 48 or 44 guns on her two Decks calld differently
the Romulus, or Roebuck.
15 Another large Whitby built ship, lying between the
Flag Ship and the largest man of war—& a long side
the latter.
16 The supposd 64 gun Ship, which lying outside of the
transport, & the Flag ship on this side) I cannot see
to describe precisely.
17th Another large Whitby built Ship, without guns.
18 A Virginia built pilot boat, this day from stono
cannot discover any guns but may have some Swivels.
19 A very large Pink brig this day from Stono—but
does not appear armed.
20 A handsome yellow painted armed brigg arrived Sunday
mounts [16] Guns.
21st The Germain armd ship mounting 18 Guns which may be
4 pounders. She formerly had only 2 & 3 pounders.
22 A very large pink Ship, without guns—I have only
noted the guns on their Batteries which am confident
is correct—Quarter Decks forecastle & swivel guns are
omitted Reckoned also 43 sail of vessels this day at Mr
Hatson’s—Two above Mr Paul Hamilton’s & others in
different parts of Stono River—mostly square rigged—
& two gallies. besides some schooners below Glen’s

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