Sunday, February 28, 2010

Try, Try Again

The British had to rethink this whole "taking Charles Town" plan. They had tried twice over three years and had failed both times - once by sea and once by land. For their third act, they ended up landing troops west of the city and having them hop over to the "neck" of the peninsula (just north of the city). From there, the Brits shelled the American troops as well as the citizens of Charles Town over a 42-day period - making this the longest siege of any city during the war. With the civilians and military deprived of food and needed supplies, the city surrendered. By taking the South's largest city and seaport, the British had won their biggest victory of the war.

Friday, February 19, 2010

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Three years after the British had tried unsuccessfully to enter Charles Town by sea, they returned to try again - but this time by land. They marched to the city's gates in May 1779. At the urging of wealthy citizens who feared economic losses from a lengthy military altercation, the "president" of South Carolina (now a sovereign entity) proposed a surrender of all of South Carolina if the British troops would refrain from attacking Charles Town. But General William Moultrie, the American military commander in Charles Town, opposed the plan and insisted that his men were ready to defend the city. The British officers explained they did not have the authority to make such a pact and withdrew without firing even a shot. Moultrie had called their bluff with his threat of a lengthy engagement, and the city once again had turned back the British.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Swamp Fox and the Gamecock

No, this is not the name of a tale from Aesop's Fables. These are two men who became heroes in the Revolutionary War as it played out in South Carolina. Francis Marion supposedly got his nickname from British officer, Lt. Col. Banastre (Bloody) Tarleton, who became disgusted after pursuing Marion for eight hours on a thirty-five mile chase through the swamps of the Lowcountry. Tarleton called off the hunt for "this damned old fox." Thomas Sumter was nicknamed "the fighting gamecock" by Tarleton because of his fierce fighting tactics.