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[397] at that time very great; he had power from the
Chap. LXVI.} 1776. June.
general congress to order, and he had ordered battalions from North Carolina and Virginia; his presence was a constant pledge of the active sympathy of the continent; and on his arrival he was invested with the military command through an order from Rutledge.

On that same day Clinton began his disembarkation, landing four or five hundred men on Long Island. It was therefore evident that the first attack was to be made not on the city but its out-post; yet Lee proposed to Rutledge to withdraw from Sullivan's Island and abandon it without a blow. Had he acted in concert with the invaders, he could not have more completely promoted their design. But Rutledge, interposing his authority, would not suffer it, and Lee did not venture to proceed alone; yet on the tenth his very first order to Moultrie, except one which was revoked as soon as issued, directed that officer to construct bridges for his retreat, and the order was repeated and enforced several times that day, and on almost every succeeding one. Happily Moultrie's courage was of that placid kind that could not be made anxious or uneasy; he weighed carefully his danger and his resources; with quiet, imperturbable confidence, formed his plan for repelling the impending double attack of the enemy by sea and by land; and never so much as imagined that he could be driven from his post.

On the tenth, while the continental congress was finishing the debate on independence, the Bristol, whose guns had been previously taken out, came over the bar, attended by thirty or forty vessels,

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