War in Colonies

During the years when the people of the northern colony were suffering from civil commotions and Indian raids, the South Carolinians were excited by troubles with the Spaniards and the neighboring barbarians. The governor (James Moore) was more belligerent and aggressive than his predecessors. When he heard of Queen Anne's proclamation of war with France in May, 1702, and that Spain was involved in the quarrel, he proposed an expedition against the Spaniards at St. Augustine. The Assembly agreed with the governor and appropriated nearly ten thousand dollars for the enterprise. An army of twelve hundred men (one-half of them Indians) was raised, and in two divisions they proceeded, one by land and the other by sea, to make the attack. The governor commanded the forces on the ships, and Colonel Daniels the division that crossed the Savannah River, traversed Georgia along the coast, penetrated Florida, and made the first attack. The Spaniards retired within their fort, with provisions for four months, where they were quite safe from harm, for their enemies had no artillery.

Governor Moore arrived with his vessels and troops soon afterward, and blockaded the harbor of St. Augustine. When Daniels had plundered the town, he was sent to Jamaica for battering cannon, but before his return two Spanish war-vessels had frightened the blockaders away, and the colonel came very near being made captive. He reached Charleston in safety, and the ill-advised expedition was then at an end. It cost the colony a large sum of money, and to defray the expenses bills of credit were issued to the amount of twenty-six thousand dollars. This was the first issue of paper money in South Carolina.

Late in the following year, Governor Moore tried his skill again in making war. This time it was against hostile Indians who were in league with the Spaniards. These were the Appalachians, a Mobilian tribe, who occupied a region in Georgia between the Savannah and Alatamaha rivers. There their chief villages were situated, and there large gardens were cultivated. Against these the governor proceeded with a force competent to insure success. The villages were desolated; the gardens were laid waste; eight hundred men, women and children were carried into captivity, and the inhabitants of the whole region were made vassals or subjects of the English. By this movement a thorn of irritation was planted in the bosom of the surrounding Indians which rankled for years, and was one of the causes that spurred them into fierce hostility afterward.

Just as the province was becoming tranquil after the war with the Indians, it was disquieted by turbulence in civil affairs in its own bosom. The proprietors resolved to establish the liturgy of the Church of England in South Carolina, as the standard order of public worship. Sir Nathaniel Johnson, who was the official successor of Governor Moore, found a majority of Churchmen in the Assembly, and easily executed the wishes of his masters. Dissenters were disfranchised--deprived of the rights of free citizens--and actually suffered persecutions. After a season of much turbulence, they appealed to the crown, and in the autumn of 1706, the Assembly, by order of Parliament, repealed the law of disfranchisement. But the Anglican Church maintained its supremacy in ecclesiastical affairs in the province until the war for independence.

The attack of the South Carolinians on St.Augustine excited the anger of the Spaniards. An expedition, consisting of five vessels-of-war under the command of the French admiral Le Feboure, and a large body of troops, was sent from Havana to attack Charleston, conquer the province and annex it to the Spanish territory in Florida. When, in May, 1706, the squadron crossed Charleston bar, and about eight hundred troops were landed at different points, the commander sent a flag to the city with a per-emptory order for a surrender, and threatening to take it by storm in case of a refusal to submit. Governor Moore had been apprised of the expedition, and was prepared to meet it. When the flag arrived, he had so disposed the provincial militia and a host of Indian warriors, as to give an exaggerated idea of the strength of the Carolinians. Before the messenger could make any extended observations he was dismissed with the defiant reply that the people were ready to sustain the promised attack.

This was followed by a furious assault, just at dawn, upon the invaders on shore by a strong party of South Carolinians. They killed many, captured more, and drove the remnant back to their ships. At the same time the little provincial navy, lying in the harbor, prepared to attack the invading squadron. The French admiral, amazed and alarmed by the display of valor on shore, weighed anchor and fled to sea. A French warship, uninformed of these events, sailed into the harbor soon afterward, with troops, and was captured. The victory was complete. The dark storm-cloud, from which a destructive tempest was expected, suddenly dissolved, and the sunshine of peace and prosperity gladdened the colonists for a season.

At length a more frightful tempest was seen brooding over the colony. It had gathered with fearful celerity. A league had been formed among the surrounding Indian tribes to exterminate the English. It was the secret work of the Spaniards in Florida and the French in the Mississippi Valley. Within the space of forty days, a confederacy had been formed, including the whole Indian tribes from the Cape Fear on the north to the St. Mary's on the south, and back to the rivers beyond the mountains in the west. The warriors of the league were full six thousand strong. It comprised the Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Catawbas and Congarees on the west, and the Creeks, Yammasees and Appalachians on the south. At the same time a thousand warriors broke forth from the forests of the Neuse region to avenge their misfortunes in the war two or three years before.

So secretly had the Indians organized, that not a whisper of impending danger had reached the inhabitants of Charleston, before the news came that on the morning of Good Friday (April 13, 1715), the Yammasees had begun an indiscriminate massacre of the white people along the seaboard. The news had been carried from the scene of destruction by a swift-footed sea-man who broke through the lines of the furious Indians, ran ten miles and swam one, and told the dreadful tale to the settlers at Port Royal. These fled in canoes and in a ship, and carried the first intelligence of the sad event to Charleston. A stream of terror-stricken planters and their families began pouring into the city at the same time. The capital was in peril. The governor (Craven) acted promptly and efficiently in the emergency. He took measures to prevent men leaving the colony. He declared the province to be under martial-law; took measures to secure all arms and ammunition to be found, and called upon the citizens to prepare to fight valiantly for their lives and property. He put arms into the hands of faithful negro slaves; and with a motley army of white men, Indians and black men, twelve hundred strong, he marched to meet the Indians, who were approaching from the interior with their knives and hatchets in fearful activity. After some severe encounters with them, the governor drove the Yammasees across the Savannah River and through Georgia, giving them no rest until they found it under the protection of the guns of St. Augustine. Meanwhile the warriors from the north had been driven back to the forests, and the Cherokees and their neighbors, who had not yet taken up the hatchet, had retired to their hunting-grounds, deeply impressed by the evidences of the strength and prowess of the white people. So, again, was sunshine brought to South Carolina, in the beautiful month of May, 1715.

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