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Siege of Ninety-Six

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II.  Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

June 22.—Information being received that Lord Rawdon had received a reinforcement from England, and that he was advancing to the relief of Ninety-Six, General Greene determined to make an attack upon the British fortifications, before he raised the siege, commenced against that post on the twenty-second of last month. Accordingly, on the morning of the 18th, the necessary dispositions were made, and about twelve o’clock the action commenced. The fire from the American battery on the right, where Lieutenant-Colonel Lee commanded, was so warm that the British were soon driven from their redoubt in that quarter, which the colonel immediately took possession of, and pointed the cannon against the town. At that moment, Lieutenant Selden, of the Virginia, and Lieutenant Duval of the Maryland line, made a lodgment in the fosse of the star redoubt, against which our principal approaches were directed without the loss of a man. The working party were pulling down the sand bags, and there was a great probability of their making a breach in the parapet in a very little time, when the British being reinforced from the right, charged the Americans in their fosse to the right and left, and were driven back three times with very considerable loss; but Lieutenant Selden, having received a wound in his arm, and being obliged to retire, the men were pressed in upon the Marylanders, and the whole thrown into confusion, which induced Lieutenant Duval, who had likewise received a wound, to bring off the party. These two young gentlemen displayed great gallantry upon this occasion, and merit the particular respect of their country.

During the attempt, a very heavy fire was kept up by the American troops in the front parallel, and the riflemen upon the advanced battery, with considerable execution; and though they had the misfortune to fail in their first effort, such was the spirit and eagerness of the men to engage, that if their situation and circumstances would have justified the general in sporting with the lives of two hundred men, they could have carried the place. The Americans continued before it until the morning of the 20th, (when his lordship was within twelve miles of the American camp,) and then retired across the Saluda River.

His lordship is now at Ninety-Six, and the Americans are about fifteen miles off. The military of the country are turning out, and when drawn to a point, we think we shall be able to put him in a retrograde to Monk’s Corner; at any rate he cannot live where he is, and must either retire to the neighborhood of Charleston or take post at the Congaree. Should he take post there without superior cavalry and mounted militia, we can cut off his supplies, and render his situation very critical. We are prepared for all events, and let what will happen, we are determined to do every thing in our power to promote the interest and honor of our country.1


1 New Jersey Journal, August 1.