in reducing Savannah
; but as there was neither har-
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.
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
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
joined the French
in the siege of the city.
On the eighth of October the reduction
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.