Tuesday, May 12, 2015

12 May 1780 A.D. Charleston, SC, falls to British—3 Continental Frigates captured (BOSTON, PROVIDENCE, RANGER) and 1 frigate sunk (QUEEN OF FRANCE

12 May 1780 A.D. Charleston, SC, falls to British—3 Continental Frigates captured (BOSTON, PROVIDENCE, RANGER) and 1 frigate sunk (QUEEN OF FRANCE)

1780 - The city of Charleston, S.C., falls to the British when Continental Gen. Benjamin Lincoln surrenders during the American Revolution. Three Continental Navy frigates (Boston, Providence, and Ranger) are captured; and one American frigate (Queen of France) is sunk to prevent capture.

1938 - USS Enterprise (CV 6) is commissioned. Notable service during WWII include the Doolittle Raid, the Battle of Midway, the Guadalcanal Campaign, Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and the Okinawa Campaign, where she was badly damaged by a kamikaze strike.

1942 - USS Massachusetts (BB 59) is commissioned. She serves in both the Atlantic and Pacific during World War II, notably participating in Operation Torch, Battle of Leyte Gulf, and the bombing of the Japanese homeland.

1975 - SS Mayaguez, a tanker ship, is seized by Khmer Rouge, the Communist party of Kampuchea, and is escorted to Koh Tang Island with her 39 crew. President Gerald Ford sends in Marines who meet heavy resistance, but after crew is found safe, they retreat, although three Marines are inadvertently left behind and killed.

1986 - USS David R. Ray (DD 971) deters an Iranian Navy frigates attempt to board SS President McKinley in the Gulf of Oman.

Editors. “1780Charleston, SC, fell to the British in the US Revolutionary War.This Day in U.S. Military History. N.d. https://thisdayinusmilhist.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/may-12/.  Accessed 7 May 2015.

1780Charleston, SC, fell to the British in the US Revolutionary War. The Battle of Charleston was one of the major battles which took place towards the end of the American Revolutionary War, after the British began to shift their strategic focus towards the American Southern Colonies. After about six weeks of siege, Continental Army Major General Benjamin Lincoln surrendered forces numbering about 5,000 to the British. Three Continental Navy frigates (Boston, Providence, and Ranger) were captured; and one American frigate (Queen of France) was sunk to prevent capture. In late 1779, following strategic failures earlier in the war, the British were stymied by the waiting strategy adopted by General George Washington leading the Continental Army. Under political pressure to deliver victory, British leaders turned to launching their “southern strategy” for winning the war, that built on the idea that there was strong Loyalist sentiment supporting the southern colonies. Their opening move was the Capture of Savannah, Georgia in December 1778. After repulsing a siege and assault on Savannah by a combined Franco-American force in October 1779, the British planned an attack on Charleston, South Carolina which they intended to use as a base for further operations in the north. The British government instructed Sir Henry Clinton to head a combined military and naval expedition southward. He evacuated Newport, Rhode Island, on October 25, 1779, and left New York City in command of Hessian General Wilhelm von Knyphausen. In December, he sailed with 8,500 troops to join Colonel Mark Prevost at Savannah. Charles Cornwallis accompanied him, and later Lord Rawdon joined him with an additional force, raising the size of the expedition to around 14,000 troops and 90 ships. Marching upon Charleston via James Island, Clinton cut off the city from relief, and began a siege on April 1. Skirmishes at Monck’s Corner and Lenud’s Ferry in April and early May scattered troops on the outskirts of the siege area. Benjamin Lincoln held a council of war, and was advised by de Laumoy to surrender given the inadequate fortifications. Clinton compelled Lincoln to surrender on May 12. The loss of the city and its 5,000 troops was a serious blow to the American cause. It was the largest surrender of an American armed force until the 1862 surrender of Union forces at Harper’s Ferry during the Antietam Campaign. The last remaining Continental Army troops were driven from South Carolina consequent to the May 29 Battle of Waxhaws. General Clinton returned to New York City in June, leaving Cornwallis in command with instructions to also reduce North Carolina.

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