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p?y by desiring the bearer, Mrs. Ferguson of Graham-park, if
a half-witted fellow, without seeing consequences, of his own head carried over in his Moat 'to'fhe island a Jew, whom he landed, and who was to go to Newport, and the neighbourhood, and procure all the intelligence he could and then to return with his information to gen. Spencer. The Jew went to the enemy and acquainted them with the expedition that was going forward. Upon this the British immediately took proper measures for-their security. Gen. Spencer however, perfected his preparations. The time and manner for carrying the miiitia over was settled. Brigadier Palmer, who headed those fros*} the Massachusetts, had his orders given him, but instead of exectw ting them with life and spirit, he neglected and disobeyed them. His conduct occasioned a failure of the expedition. Spencer's courage "would have led him to have attempted carrying the island, after this disappointment, and with a smaller body of troops than were originally to have been employed ; but others would not consent to it. The employing of the Connecticut militia in this service, contributed greatly to, if not whollycaused that weakness in the American force stationed on the North-River, which occasioned the loss of the forts Montgomery and Clinton.
* A long letter for doct Fothergill goes by the present opportunity. The writer mentions that the Americans are determined not to part with their independence, and proposes that there should be an immediate acknowledgment of it, on the part of Breat-Britain, and an entering upon a commercial alliance with the United States, before any foreign power interferes.—> Numbers have been for some time dissatisfied with the French, because of their not affording more speedy, open, and important assistance.' They natter themselves that the capture of liurgoyne's army will produce a change in the politics of France. An adoption of the above proposal will be the best expedient for over-reaching her in any design of injuring our native, country,
Th; military operations in Pennsylvania, are to be the subjects of our immediate attention. About a fortnight after the German-town battle on the 19th of October the royal army under the command of Sir William Howe, removed to Philadelphia. - Measures being concerted between the general and admiral for clearing the Delaware of its obstructions, the former ordered batteries to be erected on the western or Pennsylvania shore, to assist in dislodging the Americans from Mud-island. He also detached a strong body of Hessians across the river, who were to march down and reduce the fort at Red-bank, while the ships and batteries on the other side were to attack Mud-Island:— Count Dongp commanded the detachment, consisting of three battalions of grenadiers and the regiment of Mirback, beside, light-infantry and chasseurs. The Americans were about four hundred under col. Christopher Greene of Rhode-Island. [Oct. 22.] When near enough, the count sent a flag and demanded a surrender of the fort in the most po terms. The Côlonel concealed the greatest part of his men, so that the officer with the flag thought the garrison very small. Greene answered —“I shall defend the fort to the last extremity.” Donop attacked the intrenchments, after a sharp action carried an extensive outwork, not half completed ; but in the body of the redoubt, which afforded a better covering, the defence was equally vigorous and far more successful. Here indeed the Americans meant to risk the fate of the fort, as they would have the greater advantage of the assailants. The Count was mortally wounded and taken prisoner. Several of the best officers were killed or disabled ; and the Hessians, after a desparate engagement, were repulsed. The scCond in command being also dangerously wounded, the detachment was brought off by lieut. Col. Linsing. It suffered not only in the assault but in the approach to and retreat from the fort by the fire of the American gallies and floating batteries. Thé whole loss was probably not less than 4 of 56.3 men. Congress have since resolved to present col. Greene with an elegent sword. The men of war and frigates destined for the attack of Mud-Island, alias Fort Mifflin, were equally unfortIlate; "
mate. The ships could not bring their fire to bear with any great effect upon the works. The extraordinary defences with which the free course of the river had been intercepted, had affected its bed, and altered its known and natural channel. By this mean the Augusta man of war and Merlin sloop were grounded so fast, that there was no possibility of getting them off. The Augusta while engaged took fire, and the Merlin was hastily evacuated. The greater part of the officers and crew of th; Augusta were saved : but the second lieutenant, chaplain, gunner, and no inconsiderable number of the cammon men perished.— Notwithstanding this ill success, the British commanders prosecuted with vigor the business of opening the navigation. Nor were the Americans idle ; for they left nothing undone to
strenghten their defences. . . [Oct. 29.] General Washington gave the following state of his army, “Our whole force by the last returns is 8313 confinental troops; and 271.7 militia rank and file, fit for duty; beside the garrison of Mud-Island amounting to 300 continentals, of Red-bank 350, and a detachment of militia (on the 26th to reinforce it) 300 ; and the troops on the other side of Schuylkill 500, making together 1450.” Thus it appears that his whole strength was 12480 men. Sir W. Howe's probably amounted to more than 10000 rank and file present fit for duty. It had received no increase worth mentioning from among the inhabitants of Pennsylvania or the neighboring states, though large promises had been made (by some sanguine gentlemen who had joined him) that thousands of loyal subjects would repair to the royal standard as soon as it should make its appearance in Pennsylva, nia. The American commander in chief certainly supposed that gen. Howe's force exceeded his own in number, for, on the 13th of November, he wrote, “The army which I have under my immediate command has not, at any one time since gen. Howe’s landing at the head of Elk, been equal in point of numbers to his. In ascertaining this, I do not confine myself to continental troops but comprehend militia. I was left to fight two battles, in order if possible to save Philadelphia, with less numbers than composed the army of my antagonist, whilst the world has given us at least double. This though mortifying in some points of view I have been obliged to encourage; because next to being strong it is best to be thought so by the enemy, and to this cause principally, I think is to be attributed the slow movement of Howe.” The cause was different in the northern department, There the states of New-York and New-England resolving to crush Burgoyne, continued pouring in their troops till the surrender of his army. Had the same spirit prevaded the people of Pennsylvania WoL. II. M In - and
and the neighboring states. Washington might, before the date of his letter, had Howe nearly in the same situation with Burgoyne. The Pennsylvania militia were said to be 30,000; but about 3000 was the highest number brought into the field. In the estimation of some New-England gentlemen, “the peasants of that country are extremely ignorant and brutish. They are a mixture of high and low Dutch, and so exceeding illiterate, that few of them can read and scarce any can write. They have no other ideas of liberty or slavery, than as it effects their property; and it is immaterial to them, whether Great-Britain or America prevail, so that they may be exempted from paying their proportion of the expences of the war.” Ignorance is the high road to slavery. - ... . . . . -- - - While the British were entirely occupied in possessing the city. ef Philadelphia, gen. Washington sent off lieut. col. Samuel Smith of the Maryland line, with 200 men, who were to proceed and possess themselves of Mud-Island. By quick marches he arrived with his party at the lower, ferry, and with difficulty threw himself into the fort, which he found in a wretched condition without ammunition, provision or stores, garrisoned by about thirty militia. He had with him two exellent officers of artillery, to whom he assigned fifty of his best men, who were: trained to the guns. The colonel, with commodore Hazlewood and captain Robinson, a brave naval officer, visited Province-island, principally under water, the banks having been cut by order The colonel pointed out two dry places, where the enemy might erect works, the nearest about 4 or 500 yards from that side of the American works where the defences were only palisades, one gun and two weak block-houses. With great labor he undertook to erect a two gun battery without the fort, so as to make a gross fire on the spot. He had not finished, before the enemy took possession of the ground he most dreaded ; but by a well directed fire from the block-house batteries and gallies, ere they had a gun ready, the Americans wounded the commander, and the party delivered themselves up prisoners. While these were rémoving another party came down from the heights, and deceiving major Billard with offers of submission, till too near to be prevented, repossessed themselves of the battery, from whence they annoyed the garrison very much. Many of the men and officers. having sickened through the unhealthiness of the place, the colonel was reinforced by the first Virginia regiment of about 120. men. The enemy having got up part of the chevaux-de-Frieze. brough in their shipping, and made an attack as above related. One American squadron of four gallies behaved well, the others. kept aloof, the commodore being at the distance of inere on. ... ." à lllllo