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the Bour days would dem
amile. The British, after that unsuccessful attack, applied them selves to the strengthening of their batteries on shore, and night: ly sent up their boats with provision to the city, by the passage between Mudand Province Islands, while the commodore absoLutely refused attempting to prevent them, upon the plea that a single bomb from the enemy would destroy any of his gallies. There came three or four days of uncommon high tides, which drowned some of the British, and hindered their working any of their guns except one howitzer. This opportunity of annoying them considerably, was not duly improved by the gallies. On the decrease of the tides, the British renewed their fire with doubig vigor, and soon destroyed the American two gun battery, blew up the north-west block-house and laboratory, and compelled-the garrison to seek cover in the fort. Colonel Smith; after having defended it from the latter end-of September, till the lith of Nov. a few days excepted, was wounded by a spent cannonshots and greatly bruised by the bricks it threw on him, which occasioned his removal to the main. His fatigues and dangers bad been extreme; and he supported them with uncommon pa. fience and fortitude. Upon his removal the command devolved.. oa lieut. col. Russel, of the Connecticut line, but he being exhausted with fatigue, and totally destitute of health, requested to be recalled. Upon the 12th, the commander in chief signified his orders to the commanding general on the Jersey side, who directed all the military operations below Philadelphia, “to de. fend Mud-Island as long as possible, without sacrificing the garrison.” The commanding general, for insuperable reasons, could not detach an officer in rotation. Major Thayer, of the RhodeIsland line, presented himself a volunteer; and was appointed.
The British, having every thing in readiness, the Isis and Somerset men of war pass up the east channel to attack the works on Mud-Island in front; several frigates draw up againstan American fort, newly erected on the Jersey side, situated so as to flank the men of war in their station, and two armed vessels, the Vio gilant, an East-Indiaman cut down iu a battery of 20 twentyfour pounders on one side, and a hulk with 3 twenty-four pounders, successfully make their way through a narrow channel on the western side, a matter of the greatest importance, as these Iwo yessels, .in concert with the batteries on Province-Island, enflade the principal works on Mud-Island. On the morning of ahe 15th of Nove the whole British fire is displayed from their
and batteries and their shipping in the river. The small gärBison of 300 men, sustain and repei the shock with astonishing inLepidity for several hours, assisted by the Anrerican gallies and de batteries on the Jersey shore. By,che middle of the day their
defences are levelled with the common mud, and the officersand! men expect each other's fate in the midst of carnage. During the day more than 1030 discharges of cannon, from thirty-two to twelve-pounders, are made in twenty minutes, from the bat. teries and shipping of both sides. Early in the evening, major Thayer sends all his garrison ashore, excepting forty, with whom ! he remains, braving all danger. At twelve at night, many of the military stores having been previously sent away, the bar racks are fired, when the major and his few brave companions ! quit, and cross to Red-Bank.*
In this affair there were near two hundred and fifty of the garrison killed and wounded. Three councils of war had been called upon the subject of relieving fort Miffin; and in the last, it was concluded to attempt it, though it was believed that a general engagement would be the consequence; this, however, the Ame. ricans did not regard, the ground being such as they wished, if called to fight the enemy. The night before the attempt could be made, the fort was of necessity evacuated. The congress, be. fore this event, had voted lieut. col. Smith an elegant sword for the defence he had made on the 22d of October; but as they had voted at the same time, the like to commodore Hazlewood, com mander of the naval force in the Delaware, he did not think him. self much honored by it, and declined the present. Men of cov. rage and judgment pronounce the commodore a poltron, and say that if all the oíhcers in the marine department had behaved with equal bravery to what the land officers did, the fort would not have been taken. Several of them are reckoned to have acteet a dastardly part. It was observed of Hazlewood, that he was fond of long shot, and was shy of coming to close quarters. The reduction of the fort secured to the British the safe opportunity of sending up their small craft, at the back of the island, to the Schuylkill with provisions and stores, by day as well as by nights
On the 18th, at night, lord Cornwallis marched with a consis" derable force, and the next day crossed the Delaware, in his way to Red-Bank, which the Americans abandoned, leaving behind them their artillery, and a considerable quantity of cannon-ballo Some continental generals were appointed to give their opinion upon the spot to col. Greene. They favored an evacuation, and wished that he would join them. He answered, “I shall follow : your direction, either to evacuate or defend the fort. I know.' what we have done when the works were not half completed; ? Now they are finished, and I am not afraid.” But the direction,
* See James M. Varnum's letter of Aug. 2, 1786, in the Providence Gizetre, who was the commanding general on the Jersey side.. ...-1990ti
was to evacuate, which was complied with, though with manifest | reluctance. The niarquis de la Fayette accompanied gen. Greene
into Jersey, though his wound was not yet healed; and on the 7 25th of Nov. with only a handful of riflemen and militia, attack.
ed a party of Hessians and British grenadiers, which he obliged to retreat. After this congress resolved that he should take the
command of a division in the army. . . . . ." 3 The American shipping having now lost all protection, seve
ral of the gallies and other armed vessels, took the advantage of a favorable night, kept close in with the Jersey shore, passed the batteries of Philadelphia, and escaped to places of security higher up. The remaining seventeen finding an escape in practicable, were abandoned by the crews and fired. The British however confessed, that the long and unexpected opposition which they received from Red-bank and Mud-island, broke in upon their plans for the remainder of the campaign.
A detachment from the northern arıy, of some of the NewEngland brigades, was ordered down to join the American commander in chief. When arrived at Fish-kill, a number of the New Hampshire troops, to the amount of near 200, inutinied at the barracks on the evening of November the 4th, paraded withx their arms, and began to march off in order. The exertions of the officers, suppressed them, but capt. Beal was shot and more tally wounded; he killed however the soldier that shot him. The cry was, “ We have no money, nor breeches, and will not cross the river till we have received these articles.” It was fear.. ed that some officers were at the bottom of the mutiny. As it was soon quelled without infecting the other troops, the whole marched on, till they joined gen.Washington; who being thus reinforced, advanced to White Marsh, within 14 miles of Philadelphia, and encamped in a strong position. Sir W. Howe, hoping that he meant to hazard a battle for the recovery of Philadelphia, or that some part of his camp was vulnerable, and would admit of a successful impression, marched the army from the ci. ty on the night of the 4th of December. The day before, gen. Greene gave this distressing picture of the American army to the commander in chief One half of our troops are without breeches, shoes and stockings; and some thousands without blankets. Last winter's campaign will confirm this truth, that unless men are well clothed, they must fall a sacrifice to the seve. rity of the weather, when exposed to the hardships of a winter's campaign.” Howe's further proceedings take in Washington's words, written on the 10th-"I had reason to expect Howe was preparing to give us a general action. On Friday morning his troops appeared on Chesnut-hill; at night they changed their
wastoward Philo siocerebrity hav
ground. On Sunday from every appearance there was reasog to apprehend an action. About sun-set, after various marches and counter-marches, they halted, and still supposed they would attack us in the night, or early the next morning, but in this was mistaken. On Monday afternoon they filed off, and match ed toward Philadelphia. Their loss in skirmishing was not in considerable. I sincerely wish they had made an attack, the is sue would in all probability have been happy for us. Policy forbad our quitting our posts to attack them.”
(Dec. 11.) The American army marched from White Marsh, to Sweed's-ford. The want of clothing was so extreme that gen Washington was under the absolute necessity of granting warrants to different officers to impress what the holders would not wil lingly part with, agreeable to the powers with which congress had invested him. He removed with the troops, on the 19th, to Valley-forge where they hutted about sixteen miles from Philadelphia. When the niode of hutting was first proposed, some treated the idea as ridiculous, few thought it practicable and all were surprised at the facility with which it was.executed, It was certainly a considerable exertion for the remnant of an army, exhausted and worn down, by the severity of a long and rather unsuccessful campaign, to sit down in a wood, and in the latter end of December to begin to build them huts. Through the want of shoes and stockings, and the hard frozen ground, yog might have tracked the army from White Marsh to Valley-forge by the blood of their feet.* The taking of this position was highly requisite. Had the army retired to the towns. in the in terior parts of the state, a large tract of fertile country would have been exposed to ravage and ruin; and they must have distresscd in a peculiar manner the virtuous citizens from Philadelphia, who had fled thither for refuge.
Sir W. Howe has plainly the advantage of the American general, but nothing to boast of ; for all the fruits derived from his various maneuvrings and engagements, from the beginning to the close of the cainpaign, amount to little beside good winter quarters for his army in Philadelphia, while the troops possess no more of the adjacent country than what their arnas immediately coniniand. Certain persons indeed are permitted to carry pro, visions into the city ; that so upon their return they may supply the Americans with intelligence. These must submit to spare a little for such purposes, though in the utmost want themselves At one time the army remained quiet for four days together with out bread; on the fifth two regiments refused to do duty upan
* General Washington mentioned it to me, when at his table ; June 3, 1784.
kä the account; but the prudence and pursuasion of the commander
in chief restored order. To a similar event there was probably
an allusion, in the following extract from his letter of the 23di * This brought fourth the only commissaryin'the purchasing line
in thiscanp, and with himn this melancholy alarning truti, that he I had not a single hoof of any kind to slaughter, and not more than will twenty-five barrels of flour, and could not tell when to expect a
ay. The present commissaries are by no means equal to the ex,
ecution of the office, or the disaffection of the people is past all bi belicf. The change in that department took place contrary to my to judgment, and the consequences thereof were predicted. No man
ever had his measures more impeded than I have, by every de
partment of the army. Since the month of July we have had no bi assistance from the quarter-master-general, and to want of assisti o ance from this depaztinent the commissary-general charges geat
part of his deficiency. We have by a field return this day, no less .: than 2898- men in camp untit for duty, because they are bare
foot and otherwise naked. Our whole strength in continental
troops- (including the eastern brigades, which have joined is and since the surrender of Burgoyne) exclusive of the Marylarni
troops sent to Wilmington, is no more than 200 in camp dia i for duty. Since the fourth our number fit through hardships,
particularly on account of blankets (numbers have been, and
still are obliged to sit up all night by fires, instead of taking i comfortable rest in a common way) have decreased near two
thousand men. Upon the ground of safety and policy, I am on