Diary of Lieutenant Anthony Allaire (Extracts), Part I

Loyal American Regiment, detached to Ferguson's Corps

Memorandum of Occurrences During The Campaign of 1780

Sunday, March 5th. The following corps marched from Savannah, viz.: Light Infantry, commanded by Maj. Graham; American Volun- teers, Lieut. Col. Ferguson; New York Volunteers, Lieut. Col. Turnbull, North Carolinians, Lieut. Col. Hamilton; South Carolinians, Col. Innes; Dismounted Legion, Maj. Cochrane; one company of Georgia Dragoons, Capt. Campbell, and the First Battalion of the Seventy-first regiment, Maj. McArthur -- in number about fifteen hundred.
We marched from Savannah at six o'clock in the morning; arrived at Clierokee Hill, nine miles from Savannah, at twelve o'clock, and encamped to refresh ourselves. At three o'clock in the afternoon got in motion, and marched to Abercorn, eight miles from Cherokee Hill; here we encamped and lay all night. Disagreeable, rainy weather.

Monday, 6th. At eight o'clock we got in motion. and marched to Ebenezer, a village situated on Savannah river, eight miles above Abercorn. It contains about twenty houses and a church. The inhabitants are high Dutch. It is garrisoned by our troops; there are four redoubts, but no cannon in any of them.

Tuesday, 7th. Remained at Ebenezer. Pleasant morning, showery evening and very warm. Spent part of the evening with two Indian Captains, John and James; smoked tobacco and drank grog with those two devils incarnate.

Wednesday, 8th. Still remained at Ebenezer. Orders to draw two days' provisions, and be ready to march at reveille beating. Several men taken suddenly ill with pain and swelling of the extremities, occasioned by a weed that poisons where it touches the naked skin, when the dew is on it.

Thursday, 9th. The army got in motion; passed a causeway three- quarters of a mile in length, overflowed with water from two to three feet. We marched to a plantation ten miles from Ebenezer, called the Two Sisters, situated on Savannah River. It was formerly a public ferry; but at present nobody lives at it. The houses are destroyed.

Friday, 10th. The American Volunteers and British Legion marched three miles up the Augusta road to Tuckasse-King. Here we encamped, and took breakfast in the morning. A Rebel Lieut. Johnson with twenty men surrounded a poor man's house here this morning. They heard we were in motion, but not being certain of it, they came to find out the truth. They did no damage to the family; neither did they tarry long, being informed that we were in possession of the Two Sisters, they thought it proper for the brothers to take themselves off. This is the first Rebel party we have heard of. At three o'clock in the afternoon received orders to take the ground we left in the morning, where I and part of the detachment lay all night. One division crossed the river -- the others to follow as expeditiously as possible.

Saturday, 11th. Crossed the Savannah river; such a fresh that the boats were brought through woods a mile and a half; the water was from four to ten feet deep, where in a dry time we might have marched on dry ground. The horses were swum over the river -- the current sets down very rapid.

South Carolina, Sunday, 12th. Lay encamped a quarter of a mile from the river in the field where Gen. Moultrie was encamped last summer when our troops were retreating from Charleston. A foraging party of the Dragoons fell in with some Rebel Light Horse; and Mr. Campbell of the Georgia Dragoons received a slight wound.

Monday, 13th. The American Volunteers and British Legion were ordered forward twenty-six miles, to secure the passes of Bee creek, Coosawhatchie and Tullyfinny Bridge, which we effected. This day passed Turkey Hill, a pleasant country seat belonging to one Mr. Middleton. We took up our ground at dusk, at Coosawhatchie Bridge, where the Rebels opposed our troops last May and got defeated. A cool, pleasant day for marching.

Tuesday, 14th. Found several horses, a quantity of furniture, Continental stores and ammunition, hid in a swamp by one John Stafford, a sort of Rebel commissary who lives at Coosawhatchie, and is, by the by, a cursed fool, which alone prevents his being a damned rogue. About five o'clock in the afternoon we crossed Tullyfinny Bridge, and proceeded about six miles to Mr. McPherson's. Fifty of the militia on horseback had just left this plantation and gone to John McPherson's. A small party of ours pursued them, but could not come up with them, Maj. Cochrant with the Legion were in pursuit of another party of Revels on another road; but being mis-piloted, he arrived just before break of day in front of our picket. He immediately conjectured we were the party he had been in pursuit of all night. He halted and made a position with an intent to attack as soon as it began to be clearly light; but the alertness of our sentinels obliged them to come on sooner than they intended. He immediately, on their firing, rushed on the picket; they gave the alarm, but were driven to the house, where our men ready for the attack, expecting it was Rebels, a smart skirmish ensued. The sad mistake was soon discovered, but not before two brave soldiers of the American Volunteers, and one of the Legion were killed, and several on both sides badly wounded. Col. Ferguson got wounded in the arm by a bayonet, Lieut. McPherson, of the Legion, in the arm and hand.

Wednesday, 15th. Still remained at McPherson's plantation; foraging parties get everything necessary for the army.

Thursday, 16th. Remained at McPherson's plantation, living on the fat of the land, the soldiers every side of us roasting turkeys, fowls, pigs, etc., every night in great plenty ; this Mr. McPherson being a great Rebel, and a man of vast property, at present in Charlestown. About thirty Rebels showed themselves this morning, a mile and a half in front of us. A party went out in pursuit of them ; but returned without effecting anything-the jockeys being on horseback easily made off.

Friday. Still at McPherson's. Three militia men were brought in prisoners by a scouting party of the American Volunteers, and a number of horses. Received orders to march tomorrow morning.

Saturday, 18th. Marched from McPherson's plantation to Saltketcher, a Rebel party consisting of eighty mititia, commanded by a Maj. Ladson, placed themselves on the north side of the river to oppose our crossing. They were amused by a company of the Legion returning their fire across the river at the place where the bridge formerly was, whilst the Light Infantry and remainder of the Legion crossed the river below, and came in the rear of them before they were aware of it. Here the bayonet was introduced so effectually that a Capt. Mills, and sixteen privates of the Rebels, could not exist any longer, and of course gave up the cause. Four were badly wounded, and one taken prisoner that luckily escaped the bayonet. Maj. Graham, of the Light Infantry, and Maj. Wright, of the Georgia Loyalists, slightly wounded. The former continued to command his battalion, and the latter continued his march. Two privates of the Light Infantry were also slightly wounded. We remained all night at Ogilvies' plantation, on the side of the river called Indian land. This day'smarch was very tedious - a disagreeable, rainy, cold day, and through a swamp where the water was from two to three feet deep.

Sunday, 19th. Passed Saltketcher river - where the bridge formerly stood, but has been destroyed since the rebellion - in boats, and swam the horses. The causeway on both sides of the river is overflowed with water from two to three feet deep, at the ferry house, about a quarter of a mile from the river. Dr. Johnson dressed the wounds of Maj. Wright and the four Rebels that were bayoneted yesterday. Marched one mile and a half to a tavern kept by Mr. Gibson, who is at present prisoner in Charleston, for not taking up arms when his country so loudly calls for assistance.

Monday, 2oth. The army got in motion, marching about two miles. Received orders to halt, the rear guard being fired on ; it proved to be the [New] York Volunteers, getting the boats on the carriages at the river, were fired on by a skulking party of rascals on the other side of the stream. Three poor lads of the York Volunteers were killed. What damage was done to the Rebels we are not certain. Detained by this and repairing of bridges on the road, we only marched seven miles this day. Took up our ground at a place called Godfrey's savannah.

Tuesday, 21st. The army got in motion. Marched to Fish Pond river. Here we were detained to repair the bridge till evening. Before we crossed we moved on about three miles, through a swamp, over an exceeding bad causeway. This day Col. Tarleton, with his dragoons, joined us from Beaufort, where he had been to get horses - his being all lost on the passage from New York. We took up our ground about ten o'clock at night, and remained till ten o'clock next morning.

Wednesday, 22d. The army got in motion at ten in the morning, and marched as far as Horse Shoe, where we again were detained to repair the bridge. After crossing,continued our march to Jacksonsburgh, a village containing about sixty houses, situated on Pon Pon, or Edisto river. The most of the houses are very good; the people tolerable well to live; some large store houses for rice, from which they convey it by water to Charleston market. In short, it is a pleasant little place, and well situated for trade, but the inhabitants are all Rebels - not a man remaining in the town, except two, one of whom was so sick he could not get out of bed, and the other a doctor, who had the name of a friend to Government. The women were treated very tenderly, and with the utmost civility, notwithstanding their husbands were out in arms against us.

Thursday, 23d. All the army, except the Seventy-first regiment, and greatest part of the baggage, crossed the river in boats and flats, the bridge being destroyed. Col. Tarleton came up with a party of Rebel militia dragoons, soon after crossing the river at Gov. Bee's plantation. He killed ten, and took four prisoners. Gov. Bee was formerly Lieut. Gov. under His Majesty, is now one of the members of Congress, and Lieut. Gov. of South Carolina.

Friday, 24th. The remainder of the baggage and Seventy-first regiment passed Pon Pon river. The army got in motion about one o'clock in the afternoon, and marched about seven miles, where we halted all night. A flag of truce, consisting of a Capt. Saunders, Capt. Wilkinson, one private and a servant, came in at the rear of the army. Just as we halted they were severely reprimanded by Gen. Paterson for their unmilitary conduct. He told them that they were ignorant of the profession they followed; and in consequence of their behavior he must detain them all night, and, as to their request, it would not be granted, which was likewise very unmilitary, it being to speak with the prisoners and give them some necessaries. The gentrv of the flag were led blind-fold to their lodging. This day Col. Ferguson got the rear guard in order to do his King and country justice, by protecting friends, and widows, and destroying Rebel property ; also to collect live stock for the use of the army, all of which we effect as we go, by destroying furniture, breaking windows, etc., taking all their horned cattle, horses, mules, sheep, fowls, etc., and their negroes to drive them. We had a disagreeable night - very heavy shower, with a great deal of heavy thunder ana lightning.

Saturday, 25th. The army got in motion at reveille beating, and marched to Stono, where was formerly a bridge, called Wallace's Bridge. We took up our ground about three o'clock in the afternoon, where we remained all night. Light Infantry and part of the Dragoons went over the river.

Sunday,26th. Consumed the whole day in passing the baggage and live stock over the river, the bridge that formerly stood here being destroyed, and the one just made,very bad. We took up our ground as soon as we got over, on a neck of land that runs down between Stono and Rantowle's, only one mile between the two rivers. This day the Commander-in-chief came to us from James Island, .vhich is six miles distant.

Monday, 27th. Two companies of Light Infantry, American Volunteers, and one company of Dragoons, crossed at Rantowle's in scows; the rest of the army crossed yesterday. Col. Hamilton, of the North Carolinians, and Dr. Smith, of the Hospital, proceeding about a mile in front of the army, to Gov. Rutledge's house, were immediately surrounded by three hundred Continental Light Horse, and they consequently made prisoners. The British Dragoons fell in with them soon after, and had a skirmish; the Rebels soon gave way, and showed them the road,as is customary for them to do. Qr. Master Sergeant Mcintosh, of the Georgia Dragoons, badly wounded in the face by a broadsword. Several Dragoons of the Legion were wounded. How many of the Rebels got hurt we can't learn; but they did not keep up the combat long enough for many to receive damage. This morning, Capt. Saunders, that came in with the flag on the 24th, was sent out; his attendant, Capt. Wilkinson, not being mentioned in the body of the flag, is detained as a prisoner of war. We took up our ground on Gov. Rutledge's plantation, about one mile from his house, where we remained all night.

Tuesday, 28th. The army got in motion about nine o'clock in the morning, and marched to Ashley Ferry, where we met the British and Hessians, Grenadiers, Light Infantry and Yagers, under command of Sir. H. Clinton. We continued our march down the river about six miles to Lining's plantation; it is situated on Ashley river, nearly opposite Charlestown, and commands an extensive view towards the sea.

Wednesday, 29th. Sir Henry Clinton, with the British and Hessians, Grenadiers, Light Infantry and Yagers, passed over Ashley river to Charleston Neck, early in the morning. Spend the day in viewing Charleston and found it not a little like New York; for Ashley and Cooper rivers form a bay exactly like East and North river at New York.

Thursday, 30th. Incessant firing of small arms on the neck; cannon at short intervals. This firing was at the Commander-in-chief and his family reconnoitering. He forbid the British returning the fire. Lord Cathness, standing by the side of Gen. Clinton, was shot through the body by a musket ball; one Yager killed.

Friday, 31st. Engineers' tools, etc., carried over from Lining's Landing, and broke ground without molestation, under the direction of Maj. Moncrieff. Rode two miles to see two redoubts, one of which has six, and the other two thirty-two pounders in them, at the mouth of Wapoo-Cut, a river that runs from Stono to Ashley river, and separates from the main land what is called James Island. Those two redoubts are exactly opposite Charleston.

Saturday, April 1st. Some cannon and mortars moved over Ashley river from Lining's Landing.

Sunday, 2d. Rode down to view our fleet that lay at Stono.

Monday, 3d. Marched to Ashley Ferry to cover the Dragoons of the Legion whilst crossing the river. Marched from this up the river to Henry Middleton's plantation; passed several famous country seats, one called Drayton's Hall, belonging to William Henry Drayton, deceased, who was a member of Congress, and died at Philadelphia. Constant firing at our works from the Rebels all day.

Tuesday, 4th. Constant cannonade from the Rebels, both from their batteries and shipping; one of their ships, endeavoring to move up Cooper river, was fired on from our works, and drove back.

Wednesday, 5th. Constant cannonade from the Rebels at our works on the Neck, in the evening. Our batteries at the mouth of Wapoo-Cut opened, and kept up a warm fire for a few minutes, then the firing ceased on both sides.

Thursday, 6th. Cannonade from the Rebels all day by intervals. In the evening our batteries opened on the Neck, and at Wapoo-Cut fired all night by intervals.

Friday, 7th. Cannonade at intervals as usual.

Saturday, 8th. But little firing from the Rebels. Rainy, disagreeable morning. The rebels were reinforced with thirteen hundred men last night, commanded by a Gen. Scott. They fired a feu de joie, and rang all the bells in town on the occasion. About four o'clock this afternoon the fleet hove in sight, coming up under full sail with a fresh breeze at south west, and passed Fort Moultrie -- the Rebel fort that they boasted of on Sullivan's Island, which no fleet could ever pass. They were but a few minutes passing. What damage is sustained we have not yet learned. The Richmond lost her fore top-mast; a cutter lay opposite the fort all the time the fleet was passing, with a flay hoisted to point out the channel. A heavy cannonade from the Rebels' batteries, which the shipping returned as they passed with a spirit becoming Britons.

Sunday, 9th. Admiral Arbuthnot came on shore, and went over to Headquarters on the Neck. By him we were informed that there were only seven men killed, and fifteen wounded, in passing Sullivan's Island. The shipping damage was so trifling that ‘twas not worth mentioning.

Monday, 10th. Nothing extraordinary. Cannonade from our batteries during the night to cover the working parties.

Tuesday, 11th. Col. Ferguson came from Headquarters. Informs us that the town was summoned to surrender to his Britannic Majesty. Answer was returned, that they thought it necessary as well as their duty to defend it to the last extremity, which they meant to do.

Wednesday,12th. Received orders to march. The North Carolinians were ordered to join Col. Ferguson. We left Lining's plantation about seven o'clock in the evening, and marched to Bacon's Bridge, twenty-two miles, where we arrived at five o'clock on Thursday morning; very much fatigued. We halted to refresh till seven. Cool weather.

Thursday, 13th. Got in motion at seven o'clock in the morning. Marched through a small village called Dorchester. It contains about forty houses and a church. Continued our march to Middleton's plantation at Goose creek, about fifteen miles from Bacon's Bridge, and ten from Dorchester. Here we met the Legion about one o'clock in the afternoon, and halted till ten at night. Then, in company with them, got in motion and marched eighteen miles to Monk's Corner, being informed that Col. Washington's, Pulaski's, Bland's, and Harry's Light Horse lay here. We arrived just as day began to appear on Friday morning, and found the above enemy here, in number about four hundred, including some militia that arrived the day before, commanded by Gen. Huger. Luckily for them, they were under marching orders, which made them more alert, when the alarm was given, than usual, which alone prevented their being all taken completely by surprise. They made off with great expedition. We pursued, overtook and killed Pulaski's Major Vernier, wounded a French Lieut. Beaulait, and one other officer; about sixty privates were taken, fifteen or twenty of whom were wounded. We had but one man wounded, and he very slightly. We took thirty wagons, with four horses in each. A number of very fine horses that belonged to their troops were likewise taken, and converted to British Light horses. Col. Washington and all their officers made but a narrow escape; their baggage, letters, and some of their commissions were taken.
(Lieut. Beaulait has been very unfortunate since in America He received seven wounds by a broadsword, in a charge of Campbell's Light Horse, when Charlestown was besieged by Gen. Provost, and two at Monk's Corner, which amounts to nine, four or fve of them in the face.-A. A.)


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