Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Parody of an Official Letter from Sir Peter Parker
          In the year 1776, an attack was made on Sullivan’s Island, in the harbour of Charleston, by the land and naval force of Great Britain, under the command of Sir Henry Clinton and Sir Peter Parker. After much time and labour in lightening the heavy ships, they anchored opposite fort Moultrie, and commenced a tremendous cannonade. General Clinton had landed his troops to the eastward of the harbour, with the intention of fording the channel, and attacking the fort in the rear, while the ships attacked it in front; but from some mistake or want of knowledge of the depth of water in the channel, he was unable or unwilling to attempt any thing. In the mean time the fort, by a regular and well-directed fire, nearly demolished the British fleet, and Sir Peter was fain to escape with the loss of half his men killed and wounded; among the latter himself, the seat of his breeches having been shot away.—The following humorous paraphrase of his official letter to the Lords of the Admiralty, was written by one of the wits of those days.

      MY lords, with your leave,
      An account I will give,
Which deserves to be written in metre;
      How the rebels, and I
      Have been pretty nigh,        5
Faith, ’twas almost too nigh for Sir Peter!
      De’il take ’em! their shot
      Came so swift and so hot,
And the cowardly dogs stood so stiff, sirs,
      That I put ship about        10
      And was glad to get out,
Or they would not have left me a skiff, sirs.
      With much labour and toil
      Unto Sullivan’s Isle
I came, swift as Falstaff, or Pistol;        15
      But the Yankees, od rat ’em—
      I could not get at ’em,
They so terribly maul’d my poor Bristol.
      Behold, Clinton, by land,
      Did quietly stand,        20
While I made a thundering clatter;
      But the channel was deep,
      So he only could peep,
And not venture over the water.
      Now, bold as a Turk,        25
      I proceeded to York,
Where, with Clinton and Howe, you may find me:
      I’ve the wind in my tail,
      And am hoisting my sail,
To leave Sullivan’s Island behind me.        30
      But, my lords, do not fear,
      For, before the next year,
Although a small island should fret us,
      The continent, whole,
      We will take, by my soul,        35
If the cowardly Yankees will let us.

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