תמונות בעמוד
PDF

and obtained a complete victory; not, however, without being bravely opposed by Colonel Mawhood.

The address in planning and executing these enterprizes reflected the higheft honour on the commander, and the fuccefs revived the desponding hopes of America. The lofs of General Mercer, a gallant cfficer, at Princeton, was the principal circumstance that allayed the joys of vic

tory.

The following year, 1777, was distinguished by very memorable events in favour of America. On the opening of the campaign, Governor Tryon was sent with a body of troops to deftroy the stores ac Danbury, in Connecticut. This plan was executed, and the town mostly burnt. The enemy suffered in their retreat, and the Americans loft General Wooster, a brave and experienced officer.

General Prescot was taken from his quarters, on Rhode Island, by the address and enterprize of colonel Barton, and conveyed prisoner to the continent.

General Burgovne, who commanded the northern Britih army, took poffeffion of Ticonderoga, which had been abandoned by the Americans, He pushed his fuccefies, crolled Lake George, and encamped upon the banks of the Hudson, near Saratoga. His progress, however, was checked by the defeat of colonel Baum, near Bennington, in which the undisciplined militia of Vermont, under general Stark, displayed unexampled bravery, and captured almost the whole detachment.

The militia assembled from all parts of New England to stop the progress of General Burgoyne.

There, with the regular troops, formed a respectable army, commanded by General Gates. After two severe actions, in which the Generals Lin. coln and Arnold behaved with uncommon gallantry, and were wounded, General Burgoyne found himself enclosed with brave troops, and was forced to surrender his whole army, amounting, according to some, to ten thousand, and according to others to five thousand seven hundred and fifty-two men, into the hands of the Americans. This memorable event happened on the 17th of October, 1777; and diffused an universal joy over America, and laid a foundation for the treaty with France.

But before these transactions, the main body of the Britih forces had embarked at New York, failed up the Chesapeck, and landed at the head of Elk river. The army soon began their march for Philadelphia. General Washington had determined to oppose them, and for this purpose made a stand, first at Red Clay Creek, and then upon the heights, near Brandywine Creek. Here the armies engaged, and the Americans were overpowered, and suffered great loss. The enemy foon pursued their march, and took poflession of Philadelphia, towards the clole of September.

Not long after, the two armies were again engaged at German-town, and in the beginning of the action, the Americans had the advantage ; but by some unlucky accident, the fortune of the day was turned in favour of the British. Both sides suffered considerable losses ; on the side of the Americans was general Nash.

In an attack upon the forts at Mud.I sand and Red-Bank, the Hesians were unsuccessful, and their commander, colonel Donop, killed. The

British

British also lost the Augusta, a fhip of the line. But the forts were afterwards taken, and the navigation of the Delaware opened. General Washington was reinforced with part of the troops which had composed the northern army, under General Gates; and both armies retired to winter quarters..

In October, the same month in which General Burgoyne was taken at Saratoga, General Vaughan, 'with a small fleet, failed up Hudson's river, and wantonly burnt Kingston, a beautiful Dutch settlement, on the west side of the river.

The beginning of the next year, 1778, was distinguished by a treaty of alliance between France and America; by which we obtained a power. ful and generous ally. When the English ministry were informed that this treaty was on foot, they dispatched cominiffioners to America, to at. tempt a reconciliation. But America would not now accept their offers. Early in the spring, Count de Efaign, with a fleet of fifteen sail of the line, was sent by the court of France to assist America.

General Howe left the army, and returned to England; the command then devolved upon Sir Henry Clinton.

In June, the British army left Philadelphia, and marched for New-York. On their march they were annoyed by the Americans; and at Monmouth, a very regular action took place between part of the armies ; the enemy were repulsed with great loss, and had General Lee obeyed his orders, a fignal victory must have been obtained. General Lee, for his ill conduct that day, was suspended, and was never afterwards permitted to join the army.

General Lee's conduct, at several times before this, had been very fufpicious. In December, 1776, he lay at Chatham, about eleven miles from Elizabeth-Town, with a brigade of troops, when a great quantity of baggage was stored at Elizabeth-Town, under a guard of only five hundred Hellians. General Lee was apprized of this, and might have furprized the guard and taken the baggage. But he neglected the opportunity, and after several marches and counter-marches between Troy, Chatham, and Morris-Town, he took up his quarters at or near White's tavern, where he was surprized and taken prisoner by a party of the British horse. He was heard to say, repeatedly, that General Washington would ruin a fine army. It was suspected that he had designs to supplant the General, and his friends attempted to place him at the head of the army. General Washington's prudent delays and cautious movements afforded General Lee's friends inany opportunities to spread reports unfavourable to his character. It was infinuated, with some success, that General Washington wanted courage and abilities. Reports of this kind, at one time, rendered General Lee very popular, and it is supposed he wished to frustrate General Washington's plans, in order to increase the suspicions already entertained of his generalship, and turn the public clamour in his own favour. His conduct at Monmouth must have proceeded from such a design; for he commanded the flower of the American army, and was not deftitute of courage.

In August, General Sullivan, with a large body of troops, attempted to take possession of Rhode-Iland, but did not succeed. Soon after, the stores and shipping at Bedford in Massachusetts, were burnt by a party

of

[ocr errors]

* Presbyterian Churches were called nests of rebellion; and it appears by the number that were burnt in every part of this continent where the British had access, that they were particularly obnoxious.

The

[ocr errors]

He determined to take revenge; and for this purpose, he entered into a negociation with Sir Henry Clinton, to deliver Weitpoint, and the army, into the hands of the British. While General Washington was absent, he dismounted the cannon in some of the forts, and took other steps to render the taking of the post easy for the enemy.

But by a providential discovery, the whole plan was defeated. Major Andre, aid to general Clinton, a brave officer, who had been sent up the river as a spy, to concert the plan of operations with Arnold, was taken, condemned by a court martial, and executed. Arnold made his escape, by getting on board the Vulture, a British vessel, which lay in the river. His conduct has stamped him with iníamy ; and, like all traitors, he is despised by all mankind. General Washington arrived in camp just after Arnold had made his escape, and restored order in the garrison.

After the defeat of general Gates in Carolina, General Greene was appointed to the cominand in the southern department*. From this period, things in that quarter wore a more favorable aspect. Colonel Tarleton, the active commander of the British legion, was defeated by General Morgan, the intrepid commander of the rihe men.

After a variety of movements, the two armies met at Guilford, in Carolina. Here was one of the best fought actions during the war. General Greene and Lord Cornwallis exerted themselves at the head of their respective armies; and although the Americans were obliged to retire from the field of battle, yet the British army suffered an immense loss, and could not pursue the victory. This action happened on the 15th March, 1781.

In the spring, Arnold, the traitor, who was made a brigadier-general in the Britith service, with a small number of troops, failed for Virginia, and plundered the country. This called the attention of the French fleet to that quarter; and a naval engagement took place between the English and French, in which some of the English thips were much damaged, and onc entirely disabled.

After the battle of Guilford, General Greene moved towards South Ca. rolina, to drive the British from their posts in that state. Here Lord Rawdon obtained an inconsiderable advantage over the Americans, near Camden. But General Greene more than recovered this disadvantage, by the brilliant and successful action at the Eutaw Springs; where General Marian distinguished himself, and the brave Colonel Washington was wounded and taken prisoner.

Lord Cornwallis, finding General Greene successful in Carolina, marched to Virginia, collected his forces, and fortified himself in York town. In the mean time Arnold made an incursion into Connecticut, burnt a part of New London, took Fort Griswold by storm, and put the garrison to the sword, The garrison confifted chiefly of men suddenly collected from the little town of Groton, which, by the favage cruelty of the British officer who commanded the attack, loft, in one hour, almost all its heads of families. The brave Colonel Ledyard, who commanded the fort, was lain with his own sword, after he had surrendered.

[blocks in formation]
« הקודםהמשך »