George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Joseph Carleton, 9 May 1780

War Office May 9th 1780


I do myself the Honor to transmit your Excellency, copies of sundry Letters from South Carolina, giving intelligence of the Military operations in that quarter. I have the Honor to be with the highest respect Your Excellency’s Most obedient and very Hble Servt

Joseph Carleton

Secy p.t.

By order

DLC: Papers of George Washington.



Charles Town 9th April 1780

Dear Sir,

On the 29th Ulto the Enemy Crossed the Ashley near the Ferry in Force, and the next Day took post in front of our Lines, about three Thousand Yards therefrom—Since they have thrown up Several Works, none nearer than six Hundred Yards, from that to eleven Hundred.

Seven Ships of War passed Fort Moultrie Yesterday Afternoon, and Anchored near where Fort Johnson Stood, with no Apparent damage, save that one of the Ships lost her foremast, one other Ship, said to be a Transport, fell to leeward and catched the Ground, within reach of some guns on Sullivans Island, which obliged the Crew to abandon & burn the Ship. I am informed that there is a quantity of Salted Pork in Wilmington, which is wanted in this Garrison, but that there is an Embargo on Provisions, and without Your, Excellency’s permission, it cannot be shipped—I have therefore to Your Interposition in this Matter.

Colo. Harrington is arrived with about 120 Men—I expect at Cornhoy tonight about 200 More, where at present they will be left.

I anxiously wish the speedy Arrival of your Son with the Troops under his Command—I have the honor to be Dear Sir, with the highest Esteem Your Excellency’s Most obedt Servt

B. Lincoln



George Town Monday 17. Apl 1780

Dear Sir

You will have received by Major Young Accounts that the Enemy’s Ships had passed Fort Moultrie last Saturday & anchored in a Line across the River opposite Fort Johnson—The fleet consists of one 50—two 44 Gun Ships, some Frigates & armed Transports—They lost one Victualer which they burnt—from Fort Moultrie they have taken from that vessel divers articles of Pork, Shirts, Shoes, Cordage, &ca.

One of the Enemy’s Two Deckers lost a Mast which was replaced the next Day.

Deserters report that they had Seven Men killed & fourteen wounded. no body was hurt at Fort Moultrie altho’ they kept up a continual fire as they passed the Fort—On Thursday last the Enemy opened thier Batteries against the Town, about 12 oClock that Day, the Governor, Colo. Pinckney D. Huger and myself left it, it having been determined some days before that we (the Governor & part of the privy Council) should retire, in order to preserve the Executive Authority of the State (from an Apprehension that the town Might be entirely blockaded) Genl Gadsden is chosen Lieutenant Governor, and remains in Charles Town with five other Members of the privy Council—when we left the Town a Child and its nurse and one man of General Hogan’s Brigade had been killed, and Two Houses were on Fire—it is reported that in the Afternoon another House had been burned either by a Carcase or the bursting of a shell.

We have Accounts as late as the 15th at 2 oClock P.M.: when the Enemy’s Cannonade was continued only Two Men (of Woodford’s Brigade) more were killed to that time—and one Lieutenant Campbell of the Georgia Battalion. We learn that on Fryday morning the Enemy Surprized our Horse, and that they had advanced near Strawberry ferry, (a) our loss was about twenty men & thirty Horses besides twenty Waggons & Horses—Colo. White with a party went to reconnoitre, he is returned, and reports, the Enemy had been about four Miles above Monks Corner beyond Beggin Creek. (b)

Colo. White saw Colo. Washington who was collecting the Horse near Mr Palmores in St Stephens Parish. (c)

General Huger who commanded the Horse had not come in, but is is said he got off or escaped—the consequence of this Affair will probably be more Serious, as by their Success the Enemy have been able to penetrate into St Thomas Parish, and we have advice that they were within four Miles of Addison’s ferry (d)—I am apprehensive they will take post at Scotts (e)—or Lamprees’s ferry (f) and effectually blockade the Town—But if Succours should come in quickly from [the] fourth Carolina I have no doubt we Shall Soon drive them from these last posts and possibly take them all—all depends upon the succours we may receive. The Governor desires his Compliments, and to refer You to me for Intelligence. I am sincerely My Dear sir Your Affectionate Hum. Ser[vant]

John Lewis Gervais

Notes Added to Mr Gervais’s Letter by Mr Laurens

a—on Cooper River 28 Miles from Charles Town.

b—about 35 Miles from Charles Town.

c—35 or 40, or perhaps 50 Miles—the Parish is extensive.

d—on Wando River a branch of Cooper River 9 Miles from Charles Town.

e—on Cooper River 6 Miles.

f—commonly called Hoberaw [3] miles No. East of the Town.

Through St Thomas’s Parrish to Scotts Ferry and Hoberaw, Cattle have been of late driven for supplying the besieged in Charles Town, the Enemy’s present view may be to cut off such supplies from the Garrison and appropriate them to thier own uses.

Should they keep possession of those Grounds, Charles Town will be indeed effectually blocked up, and Famine may in a Short time accomplish for the Enemy a Surrender which could not otherwise have been effected by Bombs & Cannon.



Newburn April 24th 1780


Inclosed Your Excellency will receive some Extracts of Intelligence & copies of Letters from So. Carolina directed to the late worthy Governor of the State, who I have the honor to succeed, Your Excellency will perceive by these Letters the distressed condition of Charles Town and the necessity there is of affording that Country a further Aid—The General Assembly of this State is now Sitting and are determined to make every effort in thier power, at the same time sir they have requested that I should write to your Excellency, and urge in the strangest terms the absolute necessity of a further Aid from the Regular Army—Your Excellency will see by the inclosed Letters how critically situated our Affairs are at the Southward—the Blockade of the Town we have reason to fear is effected by the post the Enemy have taken on the North side of Cooper River nearly opposite to the Town; there is a necessity that this force of thiers should be removed, that supplies may be sent into the Town & that the Garrison may have a retreat open in case the destruction and loss of the place should become inevitable. I have the honor to be with the highest respect Sir, Your Excellency’s Most obedt Servt

A. Nash

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