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[396] with the intended movement of the fleet, than
Chap. LXVI.} 1776. June.
by landing on Long Island, which was represented to communicate with Sullivan's Island at low water by a ford, and with the main by a channel navigable for boats of draft. Clinton had had four days time to sound the ford; but he took the story of its depth on trust.

On the morning of the ninth of June, Charles Lee, attended by his aides-de-camp, and by Robert Howe of North Carolina, arrived at Haddrell's Point. After examining its fortifications, he crossed over to Sullivan's Island, where he found a good stock of powder; a fort of which the front and one side were finished; and twelve hundred men encamped in its rear in booths that were roofed with palmetto leaves. Within the fort numerous mechanics and laborers were lifting and fitting heavy palmetto logs for its walls. He had scarce glanced at the work, when he declared that ‘he did not like that post at all; it could not hold out half an hour, and there was no way to retreat;’ it was but a ‘slaughter pen,’ and the garrison would be sacrificed. On his way up to Charleston, Lee touched at James Island, where Gadsden had the command.

The battalions raised in South Carolina were not as yet placed upon the continental establishment; and although congress bore the proportionate expense, the disposition of the force still remained under the exclusive direction of the president of the colony and its officers. This circumstance became now of the greatest importance. To Armstrong no command whatever had been conceded; but Lee was the second officer in the American army; his military fame was

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