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and obtained a complete victory; not, however, without being bravely oppofed by Colonel Mawhood.
The addrefs in planning and executing thefe enterprizes reflected the highest honour on the commander, and the fuccefs revived the defponding hopes of America. The lofs of General Mercer, a gallant officer, at Princeton, was the principal circumftance that allayed the joys of vic
The following year, 1777, was diftinguished by very memorable events in favour of America. On the opening of the campaign, Governor Tryon was fent with a body of troops to deftroy the ftores at Danbury, in Connecticut. This plan was executed, and the town moftly burnt. The enemy fuffered in their retreat, and the Americans loft General Wooster, a brave and experienced officer.
General Prefcot was taken from his quarters, on Rhode Island, by the addrefs and enterprize of colonel Barton, and conveyed prifoner to the continent.
General Burgoyne, who commanded the northern British army, took poffeffion of Ticonderoga, which had been abandoned by the Americans, He pushed his fucceffes, croffed Lake George, and encamped upon the banks of the Hudfon, near Saratoga. His progrefs, however, was checked by the defeat of colonel Baum, near Bennington, in which the undifciplined militia of Vermont, under general Stark, difplayed unexampled bravery, and captured almoft the whole detachment.
The militia affembled from all parts of New England to ftop the progrefs of General Burgoyne.
Thefe, with the regular troops, formed a refpectable army, commanded by General Gates. After two fevere 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 furrender his whole army, amounting, according to fome, to ten thoufand, and according to others to five thoufand feven hundred and fifty-two men, into the hands of the Americans. This memorable event happened on the 17th of October, 1777; and diffufed an univerfal joy over America, and laid a foundation for the treaty with France.
But before thefe tranfactions, the main body of the British forces had embarked at New-York, failed up the Chefapeck, 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 ftand, firft at Red Clay Creek, and then upon the heights, near Brandywine Creek. Here the armies engaged, and the Americans were overpowered, and fuffered great lofs. The enemy foon purfued their march, and took poffeffion of Philadelphia, towards the clofe of Septem
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 fome unlucky accident, the fortune of the day was turned in favour of the British. Both fides fuffered confiderable loffes; on the fide of the Americans was general Nash.
In an attack upon the forts at Mud-Ifland and Red-Bank, the Heffians were unfuccefsful, and their commander, colonel Donop, killed. The
British alfo loft the Augufta, 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 compofed the northern army, under General Gates; and both armies retired to winter quarters.
In October, the fame month in which General Burgoyne was taken at Saratoga, General Vaughan, with a small fleet, failed up Hudfon's river, and wantonly burnt Kingston, a beautiful Dutch fettlement, on the west fide of the river.
The beginning of the next year, 1778, was diftinguished by a treaty of alliance between France and America; by which we obtained a powerful and generous ally. When the English miniftry were informed that this treaty was on foot, they dispatched commiffioners to America, to attempt a reconciliation. But America would not now accept their offers. Early in the fpring, Count de Eftaign, with a fleet of fifteen fail of the line, was fent 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 repulfed with great lofs, and had General Lee obeyed his orders, a fignal victory muft have been obtained. General Lee, for his ill conduct that day, was fufpended, and was never afterwards permitted to join the
General Lee's conduct, at feveral 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 ftored at Elizabeth-Town, under a guard of only five hundred Heffians. General Lee was apprized of this, and might have furprized the guard and taken the baggage. But he neglected the opportunity, and after feveral marches and counter-marches between Troy, Chatham, and Morris-Town, he took up his quarters at or near White's tavern, where he was furprized and taken prifoner by a party of the British horfe. He was heard to fay, repeatedly, that General Washington would ruin a fine army. It was fufpected that he had defigns to fupplant 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 many opportunities to fpread reports unfavourable to his character. It was infinuated, with fome fuccefs, that General Washington wanted courage and abilities. Reports of this kind, at one time, rendered General Lee very popular, and it is fuppofed he wifhed to fruftrate General Washington's plans, in order to increase the fufpicions already entertained of his generalfhip, and turn the public clamour in his own favour. His conduct at Monmouth muft have proceeded from fuch a defign; for he commanded the flower of the American army, and was not deftitute of courage.
In Auguft, General Sullivan, with a large body of troops, attempted to take poffeffion of Rhode-Ifland, but did not fucceed. Soon after, the ftores and fhipping at Bedford in Maffachusetts, were burnt by a party
of the British troops. The fame 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 fouthern army.
Governor Tryon and Sir George Collyer made an incurfion into Connecticut, and burnt, with wanton barbarity, the towns of Fairfield and Norwalk. But the American arms were crowned with fuccefs, in a bold attack upon Stoney Point, which was furprized and taken by general Wayne, in the night of the 15th of July. Five hundred men were made prifoners, with little lofs on either fide.
A party of British forces attempted this fummer, to build a fort on Penobscot river, for the purpofe of cutting timber in the neighbouring forefts. A plan was laid by Maffachusetts to diflodge them, and a confiderable fleet collected for the purpofe. But the plan failed of fuccefs, and the whole marine force fell into the hands of the British, except fome veffels which were burnt by the Americans themfelves.
In October, General Lincoln and Count de Eftaing made an affault upon Savannah; but they were repulfed with confiderable lofs. In this action, the celebrated Polish Count Pulaski, who had acquired the reputation of a brave foldier, was mortally wounded.
In this fummer, General Sullivan marched with a body of troops, into the Indians country, and burnt and destroyed all their provifions and fettlements that fell in their way.
On the opening of the Campaign the next year (1780) the British troops left Rhode-Ifland. An expedition under General Clinton and Lord Cornwallis, was undertaken againft Charlefton, South-Carolina, where General Lincoln commanded. This town, after a close fiege of about fix weeks, was furrendered to the British commander; and General Lincoln, and the whole American garrifon, were made prifoners.
General Gates was appointed to the command in the fouthern department, and another army collected. In Auguft, Lord Cornwallis attacked the American troops at Camden, in South-Carolina, and routed them with confiderable lofs. He afterwards marched through the fouthern ftates, and fuppofed them entirely fubdued.
The fame fummer, the British troops made frequent incurfions from New-York into the Jerfies, ravaging and plundering the country.
In June, a large body of the enemy, commanded by General Kniphaufen, landed at Elizabeth-Town point, and proceeded into the country. They were much harraffed in their progrefs by colonel Dayton and the troops under his command. When they arrived at Connecticut Farms, according to their ufual but facrilegious cuftom, they burnt the Prefbyterian church*, parfonage houfe, and a confiderable part of the village. But the most cruel and wanton act that was perpetrated during this incurfion, was the murder of Mrs. Caldwell, the wife of the Reverend Mr. Caldwell, of Elizabeth-Town.
Prefbyterian Churches were called nefts of rebellion; and it appears by the number that were burnt in every part of this continent where the British had accefs, that they were particularly obnoxious.
This amiable woman, feeing the enemy advancing, retired with her houfe-keeper, a child of three years old, an infant of eight months, and a little maid, to a room fecured on all fides by ftone walls, except at a window oppofite the enemy. She prudently took this precaution to avoid the danger of tranfient shot, fhould the ground be difputed near that place, which happened not to be the cafe; neither was there any firing from either party near the houfe until the fatal moment, when Mrs. Caldwell, unfufpicious of any immediate danger, fitting on the bed with her little child by the hand, and her nurfe, with her infant babe by her fide, was inftantly fhot dead by an unfeeling British foldier, who had come round to the unguarded part of the houfe, with an evident defign to perpetrate the horrid deed. Many circumftances attending this inhuman murder, evince, not only that it was committed by the enemy with defign, but also, that it was by the permiffion, if not by the command, of General Kniphaufen, in order to intimidate the populace to relinquish their caufe. 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 corpfe from being ftripped and burnt, but left it half the day, ftripped in part, to be tumbled about by the rude foldiery; and at laft 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 fweet and even temper, difcreet, prudent, benevolent, soft and engaging in her manners, and beloved by all her acquaintance. She left nine promifing children.
Mrs. Caldwell's death was foon followed by that of her husband's. In November, 1781, Mr. Caldwell, hearing of the arrival of a young lady at Elizabeth-Town point, whofe family in New-York had been peculiarly kind to the American prifoners, rode down to efcort her up to town, Having received her into his chair, the fentinel obferving a little bundle tied in the lady's handkerchief, faid it must be feized for the ftate. Mr. Caldwell inftantly left the chair, faying he would deliver it to the commanding officer, who was then prefent; and as he stepped forward with this view, another foldier impertinently told him to itop, which he immediately did; the foldier notwithstanding, without further provocation, fhot him dead on the fpot. Such was the untimely fate of Mr. Caldwell. His public difcourfes were fenfible, animated and perfuafive; his manner of delivery agreeable and pathetic. He was a very warm patriot, and greatly diftinguifhed himfelf in fupporting the caufe of his fuffering country. As a husband he was kind; as a citizen given to hofpitality. The villain who murdered him was feized and executed.
In July, a French fleet, under Monfieur de Ternay, with a body of land forces, commanded by Count de Rochambeau, arrived at RhodeIfland, to the great joy of the Americans.
This year was alfo diftinguifhed by the infamous treafon of General Arnold. General Washington having fome bufinefs to tranfact at Wethersfield in Connecticut, left Arnold to command the important poft of Weftpoint; which guards a pafs in Hudfon's river, about fixty miles. from New-York. Arnold's conduct in the city of Philadelphia, the preceding winter, had been cenfured; and the treatment he received in confequence, had given him offence.
He determined to take revenge; and for this purpose, he entered into a negociation with Sir Henry Clinton, to deliver Weilpoint, and the army, into the hands of the British. While General Washington was abfent, he difmounted the cannon in fome of the forts, and took other steps to render the taking of the poft cafy for the enemy.
But by a providential difcovery, the whole plan was defeated. Major Andre, aid to general Clinton, a brave officer, who had been fent up the river as a fpy, to concert the plan of operations with Arnold, was taken, condemned by a court martial, and executed. Arnold made his efcape, by getting on board the Vulture, a British veffel, which lay in the river. His conduct has ftamped him with infamy: and, like all traitors, he is despised by all mankind. General Washington arrived in camp juft after Arnold had made his escape, and reftored order in the garrifon.
After the defeat of general Gates in Carolina, General Greene was appointed to the command in the fouthern department. From this period, things in that quarter wore a more favorable afpect. Colonel Tarleton, the active commander of the British legion, was defeated by General Morgan, the intrepid commander of the rifle 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 refpective armies; and although the Americans were obliged to retire from the field of battle, yet the British army fuffered an immenfe lofs, and could not purfue the victory. This action happened on the 15th March, 1781.
In the fpring, Arnold, the traitor, who was made a brigadier-general in the British fervice, with a fmall 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 fome of the Englifh fhips were much damaged, and onc entirely difabled.
After the battle of Guilford, General Greene moved towards South-Carolina, to drive the British from their pofts in that ftate. Here Lord Rawdon obtained an inconfiderable advantage over the Americans, near Camden. But General Greene more than recovered this difadvantage, by the brilliant and fuccefsful action at the Eutaw Springs; where General Marian diftinguifhed himself, and the brave Colonel Washington was wounded and taken prifoner.
Lord Cornwallis, finding General Greene fuccefsful in Carolina, marched to Virginia, collected his forces, and fortified himself in York town. In the mean time Arnold made an incurfion into Connecticut, burnt a part of New London, took Fort Grifwold by ftorm, and put the garrifon to the fword. The garrifon confifted chiefly of men fuddenly 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 flain with his own fword, after he had furrendered.
* Note (C)