Affiliate Link

Affairs in Charleston, S. C. – Patriotic Women

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

May 20.—A writer in the British army at Charleston, South Carolina, in a letter to his friend in London, says:—

“The retrograde progress of our arms in this country, you have seen in your newspapers, if they dare tell you the truth. This precious commodity is not to be had in the government paper which is printed here, for a fell licenser hangs over the press, and will suffer nothing to pass but what is palatable; that is, in plain terms, what is false. Our victories have been dearly bought, for the rebels seem to grow stronger by every defeat, like Antaeus, of whom it was fabled, that being the son of the goddess Tellus, or the earth, every fall which he received from Hercules gave him more strength, so that the hero was forced to strangle him in his arms at last. I wish our ministry could send us a Hercules to conquer these obstinate Americans, whose aversion to the cause of Britain grows stronger every day.

“If you go into company with any of them occasionally, they are barely civil, and that is, as Jack Falstaff says, by compulsion. They are in general sullen, silent, and thoughtful. The king’s health they dare not refuse, but they drink it in such a manner as if they expected it would choke them.

“The assemblies which the officers have opened, in hopes to give an air of gayety and cheerfulness to themselves and the inhabitants, are but dull and gloomy meetings; the men plays at cards, indeed, to avoid talking, but the women are seldom or never to be persuaded to dance. Even in their dresses the females seem to bid us defiance; the gay toys which are imported here they despise; they wear their own homespun manufactures, and take care to have in their breasts knots, and even on their shoes something that resembles their flag of the thirteen stripes. An officer told Lord Cornwallis not long ago, that he believed if he had destroyed all the men in North America, we should have enough to do to conquer the women. I am heartily tired of this country, and wish myself at home.”1


1 Pennsylvania Packet. December 11.