April-May, 1780: Siege of Charleston Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

Looking to expand British victories in the south, Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton landed in Charleston on March 12, 1780. Fortunately for the Americans, severe winter storms caused heavy damage to British ships and delayed their advancement on Charleston by two weeks. This gave General Benjamin Lincoln time to reinforce the city’s sadly neglected fortifications.

Looking to expand British victories in the south, Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton landed in Charleston on March 12, 1780. Fortunately for the Americans, severe winter storms caused heavy damage to British ships and delayed their advancement on Charleston by two weeks. This gave General Benjamin Lincoln time to reinforce the city’s sadly neglected fortifications.

Despite several successful early skirmishes, the Americans were no match for the British. By the end of March, the city was nearly surrounded. The citizens of Charleston refused to listen to Lincoln’s recommendation to evacuate the city. Britain’s Royal Navy bombarded the city from the harbor, cutting off all routes in and out. By May 12, Lincoln had little choice but to finally surrender. British losses totaled 150 killed and 189 wounded. American losses totaled 100 killed and 150 wounded. More than 5,000 American soldiers were taken prisoner.

Within a few months of the fall of Charleston, practically all of South Carolina was in British hands, successfully securing the southern part of the continent for England.

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