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“C” is for Charleston, Siege of (April-May 1780)

“C” is for Charleston, Siege of (April-May 1780). The siege of Charleston marked the commencement of major British operations in the South during the Revolutionary War. A British force of some ten thousand landed on Seabrook Island in February 1780 and marched toward Charleston. They began the siege on April 1st. On April 8th the British demanded that the American forces defending the city, under General Benjamin Lincoln, surrender. He refused and the British began a steady bombardment of the town. Local officials demanded that the American army not leave the city. Meanwhile British forces—both army and navy completely encircled Charleston. Siege trenches nearly reached the defense fortifications and the bombardment intensified. On May 12th 1780, General Lincoln surrendered. The successful British siege of Charleston was the worst American defeat of the Revolutionary War.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.