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such filence, that the Americans left the island without alarming their enemies, and without loss.
In September, the city of New York w«s abandoned by the American army, and taken by the British.
In November, Fort Washington on York Inand was taken, and more than two thousand men made prisoners. Fort Lee, opposite to Fort Washington, on the Jersey fore, was soon after taken, but the garrison escaped.
About the same time, General Clinton was sent with a body of troops to take possession of Rhode Island, and succeeded. In addition to all these losses and defeats, the American army suffered by deserțion, and more by sickness, which was epidemic, and very
mortal. The northern army at Ticonderoga was in a disagreeable situation, particularly after the battle on Lake Champlain, in which the American force, conlisting of a few light vessels under the command of generals Arnold and Waterbury, was totally disperfed. But general Carleton, instead of pursuing his victory, landed at Crown Point, reconnoitred our posts at Ticonderoga and Mount Independence, and returned to winter quarters in Canada. The American army might now be said to be no more.
All that now remained of an army, which at the opening of the campaign amounted to at least twenty-five thousand men,' did not now exceed three thousand. The term of their engagements being expired, they returned, in large bodies, to their families and friends; the few, who from personal attachment, local circunstances, or superior perseverance and bravery, continued with the Generals Washington and Lee, were too inconfiderable to appear formidable in the view of a powerful and victorious enemy.
In this alarming and critical situation of affairs, General Lee, through an imprudent carelessness, which ill became a man in his important ftation, was captured by a party of the British light horse commanded by Col. Harcourt; this unfortunate circumstance gave a severe shock to the remaining hopes of the little army, and rendered their situation truly diftreffing.
While these things were transacting in New Jersey, General Washington, far from being discouraged by the loss of General Lee, and always ready to improve every advantage to raise the drooping spirits of his handful of men, had made a stand on the Pennsylvania fide of the Delaware. Here he collected his scattered forces, called in the assistance of the Pennsylvania militia, and on the night of the 25th of December (1776), when the enemy were lulled into security by the idea of his weakness, and by the inclemency of the night, which was remarkably boisterous, as well as by the fumes of a Christmas-eve, he crossed the river, and at the breaking of day, marched down to Trenton, and so completely surprized them, that the greater part of the detachment which were stationed at this place, furrendered after a short resistance. The horsemen and a few others made their escape at the opposite end of the town. Upwards of nine hundred Hessians were taken prisoners at this time.
This successful expedition first gave a favourable turn to our affairs, which, after this, feemed to brighten through the whole course of the war. Soon after, General Washington attacked the British troops at Princeton,
and obtained a complete victory; not, however, without being bravely opposed by Colonel Mawhood.
The address in planning and cxecuting these enterprizes reflected the highest honour on the commander, and the success revived the desponding hopes of America. The loss of General Mercer, a gallant officer, at Princeton, was the principal circumstance that allayed the joys of victory.
The following year, 1777, was distinguished by very remarkable events in favour of America. On the opening of the campaign, Governor Tryon was sent with a body of troops to destroy the fores at Danbury, in Connecticut. This plan was executed, and the town mostly burnt. The enemy fuffered in their retreat, and the Americans loft General Woofter, 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 Burgoyne, who commanded the northern British army, took poffeflion of Ticonderoga, which had been abandoned by the Americans, He pushed his successes, crofled 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 affembled from all parts of New England to stop the progress of General Burgoyne.
These, with the regular troops, formed a respectable army, commanded by General Gates, Afier two levere actions, in which the Generals Lincoln 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 fome, to ten thousand, and according to others to five thousand feven hundred and fifty-two men, into the hands of the Americans. This memorable event happened on the 17th of O&ober, 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 British forces had embarked at New-York, failed up the Chesapeek, and landed at the head of Elk river. The army foon 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 Brandwine Creek. Here the armies engaged, and the Americans were overpowered, and suffered great loss. The enemy foon pursued their march, and took possession of Philadelphia, towards the close 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 loffes ; on the side of the Americans was general Nash.
In an attack upon the forts at Mud-Isand and Red-Bank, the Hessians were unsuccessful, and their commander, colonel Donqp, killed. The
British also lost the Augusta, a ship 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 compofed 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 powerful and generous ally. When the English ministry were informed that this treaty was on foot, they dispatched commissioners to America, to attempt a reconciliation. But America would not now accept their offers. Early in the spring, Count de Eftaign, with a fleet of fifteen sail of the line, was sent by the court of France to aflift 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 NewYork. 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 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 Hessians. General Lee was apprized of this, and might have surprized 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 fufpected that he had designs to lupplant the General, and his friends attempted to place bim at the head of the army. General Washington's prudent delays and cautious movements afforded General Lee's friends many 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 suppofed he wished to frustrate General Washington's plans, in order to increase the fufpicions 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 Island, but did not succeed. Soon after, the itores and shipping at Bedford in Massachusetts, were burat by a party
of the British troops. The same year, Savannah, then the capital of Georgia, was taken by the British, under the command of Colonel Campbell.
In the following year (1779) general Lincoln was appointed to the command of the southern army.
Governor Tryon and Sir George Collyer made an incursion into Connecticut, and burnt, with wanton barbarity, the towns of Fairfield and Norwalk. But the American arms were crowned with success, in a bold attack upon Stoney Point, which was surprized and taken by general Wayne in the night of the 15th of July. Five hundred men were made prisoners, with little loss on either side.
A party of British forces attempted this summer, to build a fort on Penobscot river, for the purpose of cutting timber in the neighbouring forelts. A plan was laid by Massachusetts to dislod je them, and-a considerable fleet collected for the purpose. But the plan failed of success, and the whole 'marine force fell into the hands of the British, except some vessels which were burnt by the Americans themselves.
In Octuber, General Lincoln and Count de Ettaing made an affault up: on Savannah ; but they were repulsed with confiderable loss.
In this action, the celebrated Polish Count Pulaski, who had acquired the reputation of a brave soldier, was mortally wounded.
In this summer, General Sullivan marched with a body of troops, into the Indians country, and burnt and destroyed all their provisions and settlements that fell in their way.
On the opening of the Campaign the next year (1780) the British troops left Rhode-Inand. An expedition under General Clinton and Lord Corwallis, was undertaken against Charleston, South-Carolina, where General Lincoln commanded. This town, after a cloft fiege of about fix weeks, was surrendered to the British commander; and General Lincoln, and the whole American garrison, were made prisoners.
General Gates was appointed to the Command in the southern department, and another army collected. In August, Lord Cornwallis attacked the American troops at Camden, in South-Carolina, and routed them with considerable lofs. He afterwards marched through the southern states, and fuppofed them entirely subdued.
The same summer, the British troops made frequent incursions from New York into the Jerfics, ravaging and plundering the country.
In June, a large body of the enemy, commanded by General Knip. hausen, landed at Elizabeth-Town point, and proceeded into the country. They were much harrassed in their progress by colonel Dayton and the troops under his command. When they arrived at Connecticut Farms, according to their usual but facrilegious cuftom, they burnt the Prefbyterian church*, parfonage house, and a considerable part of the village. But the most cruel and wanton act that was perpetrated during this incursion, was the murder of Mrs. Caldwell, the wife of the Reverend Mr. Caldwell, of Elizabeth Town.
* Presbyterian Churches were called nests of rebellion ; and it appears by the number that were burnt in every part of this continent where the Britisla had access, that they were particularly obnoxious.
This amiable woman, seeing the enemy advancing, retired with her house-keeper, a child of three years old, an infant of eight months, and a little maid, to a room fecured on all fides by stone walls, except at a window opposite the enemy. She prudently took this precaution to avoid the danger of transient shot, should the ground be disputed near that place, which happened not t be the case ; neither was there any firing from either party near the house until the fatal moment, when Mrs. Caldwell, unsuspicious of any immediate danger, fitting on the bed with her little child by the hand, and her nurse, with her infant babe by her fide, was instantly shot dead by an unfeeling British soldier, who had come round to the unguarded part of the house with an evident design to perpetrate the horrid deed. Many circumstances attending this inhuman murder, evince, not only that it was committed by the enemy with design, but also, that it was by the permission, if not by the command, of General Kniphausen, in order to intimidate the populace to relinquish their cause. A circumstance which aggravated this piece of cruelty, was, that when the British officers were made acquainted with the murder, they did not interfere to prevent the corpse from being stripped and burnt, but left it half the day, stripped in part, to be tumbled about by the rude soldiery ; and at lait it was removed from the house, before it was burned, by the aid of those who were not of the army.
Mrs. Caldwell was an amiable woman, of a sweet and even temper, difcreet, prudent, benevolent, soft and engaging in her manners, and beloved by all her acquaintance. She left nine promising children.
Mrs. Caldwell's death was soon followed by that of her husband's. In November, 1781, Mr. Caldwell, hearing of the arrival of a young lady at Elizabeth-Town point, whose family in New-York had been peculiarly kind to the American prisoners, rode down to escort her up to town. Having received her into his chair, the sentinel observing a little bundle tied in the lady's handkerchief, faid it must be seized for the state. Mr. Caldwell instantly left the chair, saying that he would deliver it to the commanding officer, who was then present; and as he stepped forward with this view, another soldier impertinently told him to stop, which he immediately did; the foldier notwithstanding, without further provocation, shot him dead on the spot. Such was the untimely fate of Mr. Caldwell. His public discourses were sensible, animated and persuasive; his manner of delivery agreable and pathetic. He was a very warm patriot, and greatly distinguished himself in supporting the cause of his suffering country. As a husband he was kind; as a citizen given to hospitality. The villain who murdered him was seized and executed.
In July, a French fleet, under Monsieur de Ternay, with a body of land forces, commanded by Count de Rochambeau, arrived at RhodeINand, to the great joy of the Americans.
This year was also diftinguished by the infamous treason of General Arnold. General Washington having some business to transact at Wethersfield in Connecticut, left Arnold to command the important poft of Westpoint; which guards a pafs in Hudson's river, about fixty miles from New York. Arnolds conduct in the city of Philadelphia, the preceding winter, had been censured ; and the treatment he received in confequence, had given him offence.