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are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are CHAP. VII. to have any property they can call their own; 1776. whether their houses and farms are to be pil. laged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of a brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have therefore to resolve to conquer, or to die. Our own, our country's honour call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion; and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us then rely on the goodness of our cause, and the aid of the Supreme Being, in whose hands victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble actions. The eyes of all our countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the tyranny meditated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world that a freeman contending for liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.”
He recommended to the officers, great coolness in time of action; and to the soldiers, strict attention and obedience, with a becoming firmness and spirit.
CHAP. VII. He assured them, that any officer, soldier, 1776. or corps, which should distinguish him, or
themselves, by any acts of extraordinary bravery, should most certainly meet with notice and rewards; whilst, on the other hand, those who should fail in the performance of their duty,
would as certainly be exposed and punished. July 21. Whilst preparing for the expected engage
ment, intelligence was received of the repulse of the enemy in their attack on fort Moultrie, and he availed himself of the occasion of communicating this success to his army, to add the spirit of emulation to the other motives which should impel them to manly exertions. “This glorious example of our troops under the like circumstances with ourselves, the general hopes will animate every officer and soldier to imitate, and even to out-do them, when the enemy shall make the same attempt on us. With such a bright example before us of what can be done by brave men fighting in defence of their country, we shall be loaded with a double share of shame and infamy, if we do not acquit ourselves with courage, and manifest a determined resolution to conquer or die. With the hope and confidence that this army will have an equal share of honour and success, the general most earnestly exhorts every offi cer and soldier to pay the utmost attention to his arms, and health; to have the former in the best order for action; and by cleanliness
and care, to preserve the latter: to be exact in CHAP. VII. their discipline, obedient to their superiors, 1776. and vigilant on duty. With such preparations, and a suitable spirit, there can be no doubt but by the blessing of Heaven, we shall repel our cruel invaders, preserve our country, and gain the greatest honour.”
As the crisis approached, his anxiety increased. Endeavouring to breathe into his army his own spirit, and to give them his own feeling; he thus addressed them. “The enemy's whole re-enforcement is now arrived, so that an attack must, and will soon be made. The general therefore again repeats his earnest request, that every officer and soldier will have his arms and ammunition in good order; keep within his quarters and encampments, as much as possible; be ready for action at a moment's call; and when called to it, remember, that liberty, property, life, and honour, are all at stake; that upon their courage and conduct, rest the hopes of their bleeding and insulted country; that their wives, children, and parents, expect safety from them only; and that we have every reason to believe that Heaven will crown with success so just a cause.
“The enemy will endeavour to intimidate by show and appearance; but, remember, they have been repulsed on various occasions by a few brave Americans; their cause is bad; their men are conscious of it; and if opposed with VOL. II.
CHAP. VII. firmness and coolness on their first onset, with 1776. our advantage of works, and knowledge of the
ground, the victory is most assuredly ours. Every good soldier will be silent and attentive, wait for orders, and reserve his fire until he is sure of doing execution; of this, the officers are to be particularly careful.”.
He then gave the most explicit orders, that any soldier who should attempt to conceal him. self, or retreat without orders, should instantly be shot down, as an example of the punishment of cowardice, and desired every officer to be particularly attentive to the conduct of his men, and report those who should distinguish them. selves by brave and noble actions, whom he solemnly promised to notice and reward. Thus did he endeavour to compensate, by infusing into every bosom those sentiments which would lead to the greatest individual exertion, for want of arms, discipline and numbers.
As the defence of Long island was intimately connected with that of New York, a brigade had very early been stationed there, and had taken a strong position at Brooklyn, capable of being maintained for a considerable time, This post, communicating immediately with York island, 'might either be re-enforced or abandoned as occasion should require, and there an extensive camp had been marked out and fortified. Brooklyn is a village on a small peninsula made by the East river, the bay, and Gowan's cove, into which a creek empties itself. The encampment fronted the main land CHAP. VII. of the island, and the works 'stretched quite 1776. across the peninsula from Whaaleboght bay in the East river on the left, to a deep marsh on the creek emptying into Gowan's cove on the right. The rear was covered and defended from an attack from the ships, by strong batteries on Red hook, and on Governor's island, . which in a great measure commanded that part of the bay, and by other batteries on East river which kept open the communication with York island. In front of the camp was a range of hills covered with thick woods, which extended from east to west nearly the length of the island, and across which were three different roads leading to Brooklyn ferry. These hills though steep, are every where passable by infantry.
The movements of the enemy soon indi. cated an intention to make their first attack on Long island, in consequence of which, general Sullivan was strongly re-enforced. Early The enemy in the morning of the twenty-second, the force on principal part of the British troops, with colo. nel Donop's corps of Chasseurs and Hessian grenadiers, with forty pieces of cannon, landed without opposition, under cover of the guns of the fleet, near Utrecht and Gravesend, on the south west point of the island, and not far from the Narrows, where it approaches nearest to Staten island. This division of the army was