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Narrative, by five seamen, deserters from the British fleet which attacked and were beaten off by the fort at Sullivan' s Island, June 28th


Narrative, by THOMAS BENNET, of Colonel DANIELSON' S MASSACHUSETTS Regiment; DANIEL HAWKINS, of BOSTON; ROBERT SCOTT and EDMUND ALLSTON, of NEW-HAMPSHIRE; and JAMES SCOTT, of VIRGINIA, deserters from the Fleet which attacked and were beaten off by the Fort at SULLIVAN' S ISLAND, Friday, 28th June, 1776.

They are all Americans, and had been taken by the enemy at sea — Bennet, Hawkins, and Scott, in the sloop Sally; Scottand Allston in the brigantine Friendship.

The Bristol, of fifty guns, commanded by Sir Peter Parker, greatly damaged in her hull, large knees and timbers shot through and smashed. If the water had not been very smooth, it would have been impossible to have kept her from sinking. All the carpenters in the fleet had been called to her assistance; mizzenmast shot away, mainmast badly wounded by three several shot, foremast by two, rigging, sails and yards much injured.

The Captain of the Commodore lost his left arm above the elbow. He was sent yesterday (30th of June) to England in a brigantine. The Commodore' s breeches torn off, his backside laid bare his thigh and knee wounded, and he walks only when supported by two men. Forty-four men killed and thirty wounded; among whom were many Midshipmen and petty officers. Twenty of the wounded dead since the action. Talked in the fleet that the two large ships would go over the bar again, and proceed to English harbour in Antigua, to be repaired.

The Bristol, when lightened as much as possible, draws


eighteen feet water. Experiment, of fifty guns on two decks, all twelve-pounders, a slighter built vessel than the Bristol, exceedingly damaged in her hull; several ports beat into one, her mizzenmast hurt, but uncertain of particulars. Killed fifty-seven, of whom the Captain was one; wounded thirty, several since dead. Draws, when lightest, seventeen feet water. The general opinion is, that neither of these large ships will go safely over the bar again.

Solebay, twenty-eight guns, two men killed, four wounded; Active, twenty-eight guns, Lieutenant killed, four wounded; Acteon twenty-eight, Sphinx twenty, Syren twenty-eight; all got aground, the first in coming up, the two latter in running away. The Sphinx cut away her bowsprit; the Syren got off. Acteon, by the assistance of a friendly English seaman, remained fast, burnt and blown up by her own people. While she was on fire, Mr˙ Millegen, one of our marine officers, and a party of men, boarded her, brought off her colours, the ship' s bell, and as many sails and stores as their boats could carry. The Thunder, bomb, lay at a considerable distance, throwing shells at the fort, and by overcharging had shattered the beds and damaged the ship so much as to render it necessary for her to go into dock before she can act again.

The Friendship, a hired armed vessel of twenty-six guns, of various sizes, covered the bomb, as did the Syren, who also fired very briskly at the fort recochet shots. The whole fleet badly manned and sickly, particularly the Syren' s crew, at two-thirds short allowance of provisions and water. They have had no fresh meat since their arrival (the 1st of June.)

Lord William Campbell had been very anxious for the attack, and proposed to take all the forts with only the Syren and Solebay. Lord Cornwallis has the chief command of the forces by land. He and General Clinton are both ashore with the troops at Long-Island. His Lordship some time ago had urged Sir Peter Parker to attack on the sea-side, otherwise he would march up, attack and take the fort, and complain of Sir Peter' s tardiness. The Commodore replied, Lord Cornwallis might march his troops when he pleased, but the fleet required fair wind; the first that happened, he would proceed against the fort. The General at that time believed we had no troops out of garrison; but he was soon better informed, being since repulsed and driven back, with loss. He remained quiet, and left the Commodore to enjoy the glory of being defeated alone. This must have been a mistake, from Lord Cornwallis' s having the command when the fleet left Cork, in Ireland. The negro pilot, (Sampson,) who is exceedingly caressed, was on board the Commodore, and put down with the Doctor, out of harm' s way. When the fleet left Cork, the number of troops was about four thousand; but eleven transports had been separated from the rest, and not since heard of. The former deserters from on board the Ranger sloop, who had seen all the land forces, said the amount was from thirteen hundred to two thousand, at most. Between nine and ten o' clock the night of the action the Commodore and other ships began to steal away — they made no piping, nor waited to heave up their anchors, but slipped their cables. The Commodore has only one anchor and cable left.

About two o' clock on Friday, when the fort was waiting for supply of powder, some of the men-of-war' s men mistaking the unavoidable silence for surrender, cried out, The Yankees had done fighting. Others replied, By God we are glad of it; for we never had such a drubbing in our lives; we had been told the Yankees would not stand two fires, but we never saw better fellows. All the common men spoke loudly in praise of the garrison — Brave, fine fellows. The seamen, in general, are desirous of getting on shore to join the Americans.

One McNeil, a deserter from Colonel Gadsden' s Regiment, had informed the Commodore that before, he left Fort Johnston, he had spiked up all the cannon, and that the fort might easily be taken. A report in the fleet that no quarters would be given to the Americans, and that five thousand pounds sterling had been offered for General Lee.