Letter from John Rutledge to Richard Caswell
Rutledge, John, 1739-1800
Volume 14, Pages 120-121
PRESIDENT J. RUTLEDGE, OF S. C., TO GOV. CASWELL.
[From Executive Letter Book.]
General Lincoln having received such intelligence of the intention, strength and position of the Enemy as rendered it advisable to attack them at Stono Ferry, did so on the 20th Inst., about 7 in the morning, with great vigour. They were advantageously posted, & covered by three strong Redoubts and a well-constructed Abbatis, supported by several pieces of Artillery. The Picquets,
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having been driven in, the attack began on the right, which was instantly continued thro' the line. A large body of Highlanders sallied out on our Left, but were soon driven, with considerable slaughter, into their Redoubts. The action continued, without intermission, 56 minutes, when, as the General could not draw the Enemy out of their lines, (which were so strongly constructed that our light field pieces could make no impression upon them,) as the force of the Enemy was much greater than had been represented, and as they had during the Engagement obtained a large reinforcement from John's Island, our Troops were withdrawn from the lines and all our Artillery and wounded brought off. Our loss is not considerable; many of the wounded are already on Duty, and most of the rest, (their wounds being slight,) it is judged, will soon recover. The Enemy's is supposed to be much greater, as a number of their dead were reckoned on the ground, and it was observed that their field-pieces were several times left without a man to work them. Upon the whole, tho' we had not the wished-for success, our people are convinced that they would have beaten the Enemy if they had quitted their lines. It is probable, from the Enemy's sticking close to them, they were of the same opinion. Our men are in high spirits and wish for a fair trial, by equal numbers, in the open field.
Lieut. Charleton, of the No. Carolina Continental Brigade died of his wounds. That State has lost no other officer.
Yours, &c., &c.,