“A Gallant Defense”

Emerging Revolutionary War Era

236 years ago America suffered its worst defeat of the entire Revolutionary War.  On May 12, 1780, patriot General Benjamin Lincoln surrendered the city of Charleston (then, Charlestown) South Carolina and its garrison of about 6,000 troops to the British army under General Henry Clinton.

Sullivans-island-1050x777 The Siege of Charleston.  This image shows a view of the British works and the city of Charleston in the background.

The British had set their sights on the wealthy southern city after taking Savannah in 1778 and successfully defending it against French and American attacks in 1779.  The British expedition against Charleston was a joint effort by the Royal Army and Navy.  General Clinton advanced by land, while Admiral Mariot Arbuthnot blockaded the harbor.  Their combined force had about 13,000 men.  George Washington in New York dispatched the Virginia Continental Line from his army to reinforce the southern army stationed in the city of…

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