A Song About Charleston | American Revolution War Song

About the author

Frank Moore
Frank Moore

Frank Moore was a journalist and Revolutionary historian. He published a number of books on the American Revolution during his career in the mid-19th century, including Songs and Ballads of the American Revolution, Diary of the American Revolution and The Patriot Preachers of the American Revolution.

The reduction of Charleston, South Carolina, by the British, in 1780, was the subject of numerous songs and poems. The subjoined specimen was written by an officer of the royal army, and first published in a ballad-sheet, set to the tune of the “Watery God.”

A Song About Charleston

KING HANCOCK* sat in regal state,
And big with pride and vainly great,
Address’d his rebel crew,
These haughty Britons soon shall yield
The boasted honors of the field,
While our brave sons pursue.

Six thousand fighting men or more,
Protect the Carolina shore,
And Freedom will defend;
And stubborn Britons soon shall feel,
‘Gainst Charleston, and hearts of steel,
How vainly they contend.

But ere he spake in dread array,
To rebel foes, ill-fated day,
The British boys appear;
Their mien with martial ardor fir’d,
And by their country’s wrongs inspir’d,
Shook Lincoln’s heart with fear.

See Clinton brave, serene, and great,
For mighty deeds rever’d by fate,
Direct the thund’ring fight,
While Mars, propitious God of war,
Looks down from his triumphal car,
With wonder and delight.

“Clinton,” he cries, ” the palm is thine,
‘Midst heroes thou wert born to shine,
A great immortal name,
And Cornwallis’ mighty deeds appear,
Conspicuous each revolving year,
The pledge of future fame.”

Our tars, their share of glories won,
For they among the bravest shone,
Undaunted, firm and bold.
Whene’er engag’d, their ardor show’d
Hearts which with native valor glow’d,
Hearts of true British mould.

  • *King Hancock. About the time this ballad was written, the subjoined paragraph appeared in the loyal newspapers: “John Hancock and Samuel Adams. – Fortune, in one of her highest frolics, elevated those malignant stars to the zenith of power. The baneful influence of their conjunction, in the Western political hemisphere, has produced direful effects; but, when the lunacies of the former are separated from the villanies of the latter, the deluge of destruction that is certainly, though slowly, rolling after them, will rapidly come on, and overwhelm them and their infatuated votaries in prodigious ruin.”John Hancock appears in public with all the pageantry and state of an Oriental prince. He rides in an elegant chariot, which was taken in a prize to the ‘Civil Usage,’ a pirate vessel, and by the owners presented to him. He is attended by four servants, dressed in superb livery, mounted on fine horses richly caparisoned, and escorted by fifty horsemen with drawn sabres, the one half of whom precede, and the other follow, his carriage. So, at present, figures this man, who owes his greatness to his country’s ruin.”

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