Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

way of Cornwallis ; and received information of Tarleton's ap proach but just time enough to escape his legion. They now crossed the mountains and convened at Stanton. The Britishi convention prisoners had been early marched from Charlotte ville toward Penosylvania. Psiricini

277993 Lord Cornwallis not having any immediate occasion for gens Arnold, dispensed with his absence; so that he returned to New York about the beginning of June. His lordship finding it im. possible to force the marquis de la Fayettc to an action, endeavored to prevent his junction with Wayne, who had been order ed by gen. Washington to march froni the northward with three Pennsylvania line, amounting to 800, with a view to that events It was effected without loss at Racoon-ford on the 7th of Junes But while this junction was making, his lordship obtained an: 0 pening for placing himself between the marquis and his stores: The stores, which were an object with both armies, had been rem moved from Richmond to Albemarle old court-house above thes Point of Fork. His lordship was so far advanced, as that within. the course of two days he must have gained. possession of them. At the same moment he found that the marquis, by an unexpect* ed and rapid march, was within a few miles of his army. This at first might be matter of joy to him, as he saw no practicables way for the marquis to get between him and the stores, but by a road, in passing which the Americans might be attacked to great advantage. However, contrary to his lordship's expectas: tion the marquis discovered a nearer road to Albemarle. It had been long disused, and therefore was much embarrassed. Fayettel had it opened in the night, and to the astonishment of Corn wabe lis, fixed himself the next day in a strong position between thre: British army and the American stores.. . .....-4.196

His lordship now commenced a retrograde movement, and in two nights marches measured back upward of 50 miles. He was accompanied with his detachment, under Tarleton and Sinicoer. By about the 17th of June he entered Richmond, the marqujsi pressing hard after him. On the 18th the British moved toward the Americans, seeniingly with the design of striking a detached corps. But upon the marching of the light-infantry and Pennsyla vanians they returned into the town. The next day the marquis! was joined by Steuben's troops; and on the night of the 20th Richmond was evacuated. His lordship, under an apprehensikt that the marquis was much stronger than was really the case,chase? tened to Williamsburgh, where he occupied a strong post, waso under the protection of his shipping, and received a reinforcement from Portsmouth. On the 26th of June, the day after the

main body of the British army arrived at Williamsburgh, their rear was attacked within six miles of the place by an American light corps under col. Butler, and had 33 killed and wounded. According to a private letter of Fayette to the president of congress, his own troops at this period consisted only of 1500 regulars, 400 new levies, and about 2000 militia, in all 3900, while Cornwallis's amounted to 4000 regulars, 800 of whom were mounted... ..... i . com

In the course of these movements, beside articles similar to those already specified, the British destroyed above 2000 hogsheads of tobacco, with some brass and a number of iron ordnance. But they were joined by no great number of inhabitants, and scarcely by any of the native Virginians, Lord Cornwallis, in his marches from Charleston to Camden, from Camden to the Dan river, from the Dan through North-Carolina to Wil mington, from Wilmington to Richmond, and from Richmond to Williamsburgh, made a route of more than 1100 miles, witha out computing deviations. in ' n...

The marquis de la Fayette kept with his body about 18 or 20 miles distant from lord Cornwallis, while his advanced corps was within 10 or 12, with an intention of insulting the British rear guard when they should pass James-river. His lordship evacuated Williamsburgh on the 4th of July. On the 6th at noon he received intelligence that the Americans were approaching. Persuaded they would not venture an attack, except under the im: pression, that only a rear guard was left on that side of the river, he used all proper means to encourage that opinion of his weakTeSS: Gen. Wayne relying upon the assurances of a countryman, that the main body had crossed, pushed forward with 800 men, chiefly Pennsylvanians and some light-infantry, and to his surprise discovered the British army drawn up ready to receive him about sun-set.” He instantly conceived that the only mode of extricating himself from his perilous situation, was by boldly attack ing and engaging them for a while, and then retreating with the utmost expedition. He pressed on with the greatest intrepidity. His whole force with which he began to engage the British, at no greater distance than 25 yards, did not exceed 500 men, all Pennsylvanians. * After behaving with heroic bravery for a time, they faced about, and leaving their cannon behind, hur: ried off the field in haste toward some light-infantry battalions, that by a most rapid move had arrived within about half a mile of them, Lord Cornwallis would admit of no pursuit, for 'he

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

tonjectured, from the strangeness of circumstancës, that the whole was a schenie of Fayette to draw him into an ambuscadé. Thé British passed the river at night and retired to Portsmoath: and the marquis chose that moment for resting the American troops, • However we shall not quit Virginia without mentioning, thật early in the spring a British frigate went up to the Patomak and Harded a party of men, who set fire to and destroyed some gentlemen's houses on the Maryland side of the river, in sight of Mount Vernon, gen. Washington's seat. The captain sént to Mr. Lund Washington, (who supplied the place of a stoward) and demanded a quantity of provisions, with which he was fut nished, to prevent worse consequences. This compliance did not meet with the general's approbation ; and in a letter of April the 30th, he expressed to Mr. Lund Washington his uneasiness at his having gone on board the frigate and furnished provisions, and said, “That he would rather it had been left to the ene. my to take what they would by force, though at the risk of burning his house and property." · We now proceed to the department under gen. Washington's immediate command. - A publication in the New-York paper about the month of A. pril, excited the general to write to a particular friend" Rirington, or the inspector of his gazette, published a letter from mne to gov. Hancock, and his answer, which never had an 'exist ence but in the gazette. The enemy fabricated a number of letters for me formerly, as is well known.” The following extracts from his genuine letters will give you the best account of the par ticulars to which the same relate.' “ May the 1st. I had strain. ed impress by military force to that length, I trembled for the consequences of the execution of every warrant which I had granted for the purpose, so much are the people irritated by the frequent calls which have been made upon them in that way.** * The 8th. Distressed beyond expression at the present situation and future prospect of the army with regard to provision, unless an immediate and regular supply can be obtained, I have deter. mined to make one great effort more, by representations and re. quisitions to the New England states."---- The 10th. From the posts of Saratoga to that of Dobb's ferry inclusive, I believe there is not (by the reports and returns I have received) at this nioment on hand one day's supply of creat for the army:"...The 11th.' l am sending geo. Hath purposely to the eastern states to represent our distresses, and fix a plan for our regular supply for the future.” Three days before, the general wrote to gor.

[ocr errors]

"felt in this death isild not mhey atter w.

Livingston" Intelligence has been sent, me by a gentleman who has an opportunity of knowing what passes among the ener my, that four parties had been sent out with orders to take or as.. sassinate your excelleney, governor Clinton, me, and a fourth person, name unknown." The general, at the saine time, did. not believe that the enemy had any design ofassassinating, though declared by one who said he was engaged. The representation made to the Massachusetts general court, of the army distresses, put them upon those exertions that were beneficial, though in-sufficient. On the ) 4.th of May, Washington was pained with an account, that.col. Greene, who lay near Croton-river with a detachment of the army, had been surprised in the morning about sun-rise, by a. party of Delancey's corps, consisting of 100cavalry and about 200 infantry, They came fist to the colonel and major Flagg's quarters. The major was killed in bed, and the colonel badly wounded. They attempted carrying him off, but finding that he could not march fast enough, they murdered him. His death is much regretted. His bravery was seen and felt in the defence of Red-Bank, against count Donop... - Monsieur de Barras, appointed to the command of the French squadron at Newport, arrived at Boston in the Concord. frigate, on the 6th of May. He brought with hin dispatches for the count de Rochambeau, which being notified to Washington, he, with generals Knox and du Portal, set off for Weathersfield, threc 16 miles front Hartford, where they net the count de Rochambeau apd.the. chevalier Chastellux on the 21st. At this interview, after combining all present circumstances and future prospects; the plan proposed the last year at Hartford, of attacking New-York, was adopted. The object was considered of greater magnitude and more within their reach than any other. The weakness of the garrison of New York, its central position for drawing together men and supplies, and the spur which an attenapt against that place would give to every exertion, were among the reasons which prompted to the undertaking, and promised success, unless the eneny should call a considerable part of their force from the southward. The French troops were to march toward the NorthRiver, as soon as circumstances would permit, leaving about 200 men at Providence, with the heavy stores and baggage, and 500 militia upon Rhode Island, to secure the works. On the 24th, letters were addressed to the executive power of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Jersey, requiring, among other things, militia to the amount of 6200. Washington.cnforced the requisition with “Our allies in this country expect zad depend upon being supported by us in the attempt we are

about

about to make; and those in Europe will be astonished should we neglect the favorable opportunity which is now offered.” The general returned to his head-quarters on the 26th. The next day he forwarded this information to the proper persons" ON the calculations I have been able to form, in concert with some of the most experienced French and American officers, the ope. ration in view will require, in addition to the French army, all the continental battalions from New Hampsbire to New Jersey to be completed.” He added afterward “ As we cannot count upon the battalions being full, and as a body of militia will moreover be necessary, I have called upon the several states to hold certain numbers in readiness to inove within a week of the time I may require them.” .

The British adjutant-general employed one lieutenant James Moody, in attempting to intercept Washington's dispatches. He succeeded repeatedly, though his escapes were narrow. He was urged to renew the service after the interview between Washington and Rochambeau had taken place; accordingly, waya laying the mail some days in the Jerseys, the opportunity offered for his taking and conveying to New-York that very bag which contained the letters that were the object of the enterprise. • Preparations were now making for the American army's taking the field; and on the 21st of June, they inarched for the campat Peek's-kill. On the 1st of July Washington mentioned in a letter

"From the 12th of May to this day, we have received only 312 head of cattle--from New-Hampshire 30, Massachusetts 230 and Connecticut 52. Unless more strenuous exertions are made to feed the few troops in the field, we must not only relinquishi our intended operation, but shall disband for want of subsistence; or, which is almost equally to be lamented, the troops will be obe liged to seek it for themselves where it can be found." The next morning about three o'clock, the army marched toward News York, with no baggage but a blanket and clean shirt each man, : and four days provision, cooked. General Lincoln having takeni post with four battalions of infantry and a small detachment of the guards, at no great distance from Fort Independence, was at : tacked on the 3d, by about 1500 royal troops. The body of the American army, which was at hand, marched to suport him. Lincoln designed to draw the enemy to a distance from their strong post at Kingsbridge and its dependencies, and thereby to have given Washington and the duke de Lauzun, with the French legion and Sheldon's dragoons the opportunity of turning their flanks.' But it being apparent that Washington determined to fight at all events, the enemy declined sending out reinforce

ments,

« ZurückWeiter »