The clue to the answer does not appear until the second paragraph of Part II: the news of the Battle of Bunker Hill arrives in Charles Town via express riders "within a few hours of [Latimer's] setting out" that Thursday night. Bunker Hill was fought on Saturday June 17. If Brewton's ball was on Thursday the 22nd, the news took only five days to travel from Massachusetts to South Carolina, which is impossibly fast. (Indeed, even twelve days is pushing it, and news from Boston would more typically have arrived by ship. For example, word of the ``fight at Lexington" on April 19 was first brought to Charles Town by the brigantine Industry on May 8, some nineteen days later.)
Hence the ball was Thursday the 29th, and we can work backward to date precisely each event in Part I. In particular, we note that in Chapter 1.II Latimer wakens Moultrie on a Monday morning (the day before disguising himself as Dick Williams) and states that the letter from Tom Izard reached him "three days ago", establishing Friday the 23rd as the novel's opening day.
The events of the climax are easily dated since they closely track Prevost's siege of Charles Town on May 11–13, 1779.
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Copyright © 2007 Larry Denenberg