. With the exception of the 42d regiment, which was held for use as a reinforcement,
the force described by Digges sailed for Charleston on 26 Dec. 1779. The fleet, composed
of approximately eighty-eight transports and nine warships, had a difficult passage.
On the 28th a series of storms began that continued almost unabated until 20 Jan.,
scattering the fleet and resulting in the loss of most of the expedition's horses
and ordinance. It reassembled off Tybee Island at the mouth of the Savannah River
at the end of January, but it was not until 11 Feb. that the troops began landing
on the banks of the North Edisto Inlet, about thirty miles south of Charleston. The
actual beginning of the siege of Charleston was put off to 1 April, after the landing
force had been resupplied from St. Kitts and obtained cannon from the navy. Cornwallis
accompanied the troops and took command when Clinton returned to New York at the end
of May (B. A. Uhlendorf, ed. and transl., Siege of
, Ann Arbor, 1938, p. 104– 111, 23–25, 101, 417; Mackesy, War for America
, p. 340–342).