Letter from Charles Lee to Edmund Pendleton
Lee, Charles, 1731-1782
Volume 10, Pages 618-618a
[Reprinted from the American Archives. Vol. 6. P. 1129.]
Letter from General Charles Lee to President Pendleton of Virginia.
Charleston, June 29th, 1776.
Yesterday about eleven o'clock the Enemy's Squadron, consisting of one fifty, one forty, and six frigates came to anchor before Fort Sullivan, and began one of the most furious cannonades I ever heard or saw; their project was apparently at the same time to land their troops on the East end of the island, twice they attempted it, and twice were gallantly repulsed; the ships continued their fire over the fort till eleven at night. The behavior of the Garrison, both men and officers, with Colonel Moultrie at their head, I confess, astonished me; it was brave to the last degree, I had no idea that so much coolness
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and intrepidity could be displayed by a collection of raw recruits, as I was witness of in this garrison. Had we been better supplied with ammunition, it is most probable their Squadron would have been utterly destroyed—however they have no reason to triumph; one of their Frigates is now in flames, another lost its bowsprit, the Commodore and a forty gunship had their mizzens shot away, and are otherwise much damaged—in short they may be said in this their first essay on South Carolina to have been worsted, but presume they will make another attempt. Our loss is ten killed, twenty two wounded, seven of whom have lost their legs or arms. The defences of the fort have received no injury only one gun dismounted. I shall write, when the affair is finished, a more accurate relation to your Convention and to the Congress; in the mean time I think it but justice to publish the merits of Col. Moultree and the brave Garrison. Col. Thompson of the South Carolina Rangers acquited himself most nobly in repulsing the troops who attempted to land at the other end of the Island. I know not which corps I have the greatest reason to be pleased with Muhlenberg's Virginians, or the North Carolina troops—they are both equally alert, zealous, and spirited. I shall not write to the Congress till the operations of the enemy are brought to something more like a decision. If you Sir, think this short relation of importance sufficient, you will, of course, transmit it.
I am sir, Your most obedient, humble servant
To the Honorable Edmund Pendleton
President of the Convention, Virginia.