Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

In the course of these movements, befide articles 1781.. fimilar to thofe already fpecified, the British destroyed above 2000 hogfheads of tobacco, with fome 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 Charlestown to Camden, from Camden to the Dan river, from the Dan through North Carolina to Wilmington, from Wilmington to Richmond, and from Richmond to Williamsburgh, made a route of more than eleven hundred miles, without computing deviations.

The marquis de la Fayette kept with his body about 18 or 20 miles diftant from lord Cornwallis, while his advanced corps was within 10 or 12, with an intention of infulting the British rear guard, when they fhould pass James river. His lordship evacuated Williamf-July burgh on the 4th of July. On the 6th at noon he received intelligence that the Americans were approaching. Perfuaded they would not venture an attack, except under the impreffion, that only a rear guard was left on that fide of the river, he used all proper means to en→ courage that opinion of his weakness. Gen. Wayne relying upon the affurances of a countryman, that the main body had croffed, pushed forward with 800 men, chiefly Pennsylvanians and fome light infantry, and to his surprise discovered the British army drawn up ready to receive him about fun fet. He inftantly conceived that the only mode of extricating himself from his perilous fituation, was by boldly attacking and engaging them for a while, and then retreating with the utmost expedition. He preffed on with the greateft intrepidity. I 3


[ocr errors]


1781. His whole force, with which he began to engage the British, at no greater distance than twenty-five yards, did not exceed five hundred men, all Pennfylvanians *. After behaving with heroic bravery for a time, they faced about, and leaving their cannon behind, hurried off the field in hafte toward some light infantry battalions, that by a moft rapid move had arrived within about half a mile of them. Lord Cornwallis would admit of no purfuit, for he conjectured, from the strangeness of circumstances, that the whole was a scheme of Fayette to draw him into an ambuscade. The British paffed the river at night, and retired to Portsmouth; and the marquis chose that moment for refting the American troops.

[ocr errors]

However we shall not quit Virginia without mentioning that early in the fpring, a British frigate went up the Patomak, and landed a party of men, who set fire to and destroyed fome gentlemen's houfes on the Maryland fide of the river, in fight of Mount Vernon, gen. Washington's feat. The captain fent to Mr. Lund Washington, (who fupplied the place of a steward) and demanded a quantity of provifions, with which he was furnished, to prevent worse confequences. This comApril pliance did not meet with the general's approbation; and in a letter of April the 30th, he expreffed to Mr. Lund Washington his uneafinefs at his having gone on board the frigate, and furnished provisions; and said, "that he would rather it had been left to the enemy to take what they pleafed by force, though at the risk of burning his house and property.”


* General Wayne's letter to general Greene,


We now proceed to the department under gen. Wash- 1781. ington's immediate command.


A publication in the New York paper about the month of April, excited the general to write to a particular friend -"Rivington, or the inspector of his Gazette, published a letter from me to gov. Hancock and his answer, which never had an existence 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 particulars to May which the fame relate. "May the ft. I had ftrained imprefs by military force to that length, I trembled for the confequences of the execution of every warrant which I had granted for the purpose; fo much are the people irritated by the frequent calls which have been made upon them in that way."-"The 8th. Diftreffed beyond expreffion at the present situation and future prospect of the army with regard to provifion, unless an immediatè and regular fupply can be obtained, I have determined to make one great effort more, by representations and requifitions to the New England ftates."-" The 10th.. From the posts of Saratoga to that of Dobbs's ferry inclufive, I believe there is not (by the reports and returns I have received) at this moment on hand, one day's fupply of meat for the army."""The 11th. I am fending gen. Heath purpofely to the eastern states to represent our diftreffes, and fix a plan for our regular supply for the future." Three days before, the general wrote to gov. Livingston-" Intelligence has been fent me by a gentleman, who has an opportunity of knowing what paffes among the enemy, that four parties had been sent out with orders to take er affaffinate your exé I 4 cellency,

[ocr errors]


1781.cellency, gov. Clinton, me, and a fourth person name unknown." The general at the fame time, did not believe that the enemy had any defign of affaffinating, though declared by one who faid he was engaged. The reprefentation made to the Maffachusetts general court of the army diftreffes, put them upon thofe exertions May that were beneficial though infufficient. On the 14th Washington was pained with an account, that col. Greene, who lay near Croton river with a detachment of the army, had been furprised in the morning, about fun rife, by a party of Delancey's corps, confifting of 100 cavalry, and about 200 infantry. They came firft 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 feen and felt in the defence of Red-bank against count Donop.


Monfieur de Barras, appointed to the command of the French fquadron at Newport, arrived at Bofton in the Concorde frigate on the 6th of May. He brought with him difpatches for the count de Rochambeau ; which being notified to Washington, he with generals Knox and du Portail fet off for Weathersfield, three miles from Hartford, where they met the count de Rochambeau and the chevalier Chaftellux on the 21ft. At this interview, after combining all prefent circumstances and future profpects, the plan propofed the last year at Hartford of attacking New York was adopted. The object was confidered of greater magnitude and more within their reach than any other. The weakness of the garrifon of New York, its central pofition for drawing together

« ZurückWeiter »