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[296] in reducing Savannah; but as there was neither har-
Chap. XIII.} 1779. Sept.
bor, nor road, nor offing to receive his twenty ships of the line, he made it a condition that his fleet, which consisted of thirty-three sail, should not be detained long off so dangerous a coast. South Carolina glowed with joy in the fixed belief, that the garrison of Savannah would lay down their arms. In ten days the
French troops, though unassisted, effected their landing. Meantime, the British commander worked day and night with relays of hundreds of negroes to strengthen his defences; and Maitland, regardless of malaria, hastened with troops from Beaufort through the swamps of the low country.

On the sixteenth, d'estaing summoned General

Prevost to surrender to the arms of the king of France. While Prevost gained time by a triple interchange of notes, Maitland, flushed with a mortal fever caught on the march, brought to his aid through the inland channels the first division of about four hundred men from Beaufort. The second division followed a few hours later; and when both had arrived, the British gave their answer of defiance.

Swiftly as the summons had been borne through South Carolina, and gladly as its people ran to arms,

it was the twenty-third of September when the Americans under Lincoln joined the French in the siege of the city. On the eighth of October the reduction
Oct. 8.
of Savannah seemed still so far distant, that the naval officers insisted on the rashness of leaving the fleet longer exposed to autumnal gales, or to an attack, with so much of its strength on land. An assault was, therefore, resolved on for the next day, an hour before sunrise, by two feigned and two real attacks.

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