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Americans Are Not Cowards

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

It is very remarkable, says a correspondent, that the event of this unnatural war should so directly contradict Lord Sandwich’s assertion in calling the Americans “cowards,” and that his particular friends should suffer so essentially. Major Pitcairne re-echoed his lordship’s opinion, and boasted, before he embarked at Portsmouth, that if he drew his sword but half out of the scabbard, the whole banditti (as he termed them) of Massachusetts Bay, would flee from him. Behold, he is slain, on the first time he appears in the field against them. Captain Howe, of the Glasgow, another of his lordship’s friends, falls in with two or three ragamuffin privateers, and he brings his lordship an undeniable proof that the Americans are not cowards; and now we have a Gazette account that these cowards have beat two fifty-gun ships, four frigates, of twenty-eight guns each, and two others of twenty-eight guns each, making together two hundred and fifty-two guns.1 How many had those cowardly Americans? Why, truly, nineteen. And though the King’s ships had so many as two hundred and fifty-two well manned, to so few as nineteen, yet those cowardly Americans made those heroes and friends of Lord Sandwich, with his boon companion Sir Peter Parker, and a Scotch lord, confess that their attempt to take an insignificant fort “was impracticable, and that a further attempt would have been the destruction of many brave men, without the least probability of success.” They certainly confided in Lord Sandwich’s bare ipse dixit, and could not be otherwise convinced, without losing one of the King’s ships, and having five more nearly battered to pieces, besides losing sixty-four killed, and one hundred and forty-one wounded.2

 

1 At Sullivan’s Island.
2 Pennsylvania Journal, November 27.