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General Greene more than recovered the advantage gained over him at Camden, by a brilliant and successful action at the Eutaw Springs. The loss of the British was upwards of eleven hundred men, besides 1000 stand of arms: that of the Americans five hundred, in which number were sixty officers. Soon after this engagement, the British retired with their whole force to Charleston Neck. The defence of the country was given up; and the conquerors, who had carried their arms to the extremities of the State, seldom aimed at any thing more than to secure themselves in the vicinity of the capital. The crops which had been planted in the spring of the year under British auspices, and with the expectation of affording them supplies, fell into the hands of the Americans, and administered to them a seasonable relief. The battle of Eutaw may be considered as closing the war in South Carolina. At its commencement the British were in force over all the state, at its close they durst not venture 20 miles from Charleston. History affords but few instances of commanders who have achieved so much with equal means as was done by general Greene in the the short space of a twelvemonth.
Lord Cornwallis finding general Greene successful in Carolina, marched to Virginia, collected his forces, and fortified himself in Yorktown. In the mean time Arnold made an incursion into Comeetent, burnt a part of New London, took fort Griswold by storm, and put the garrison to the sword. The brave colonel Ledyard, who comthanded in the fort, was barbarously slain with his own sword, after he had surrendered.
The marquis de la Fayette had been dispatched with about two thousand light infantry from the TOL. SSIV.
main army, to watch the motions of lord Cornwallis in Virginia. About the end of August, count de Grasse arrived with a large fleet in the Chesapeek, and blocked up the troops in York town, and soon after admiral Greaves, with a Bri'tish fleet, appeared off the Capes; an action succeeded, but it was not decisive.
General Washington had, previously to this, moved the main body of his army, together with the French troops, to the southward; and as soon as he heard of the arrival of the French fleet in the Chesapeek, he made rapid marches to the head of the Elk, where embarking the troops, he soon arrived at York town, and a close siege commenced which was carried on with great vigour.
In a short time the batteries of the besiegers were covered with nearly a hundred pieces of cannon, and the works of the besieged were so damaged that they could scarcely show a single gun. Lord Cornwallis had now no hope left but from offering terms of capitulation, or attempting an escape. He determined on the latter, but the scheme was frustrated by a sudden and violent storm of wind and rain. With this failure the last hope of the British army expired; longer resistance could answer no good purpose, and must occasion the loss of many valuable lives. Lord Cornwallis, therefore, wrote to general Washington, requesting a cessation of arms for 24 hours, and that commissioners might be appointed to digest terms of capitulation. It is remarkable, that while colonel Laurens, the officer employed by Washington on this occasion, was drawing up these articles, his father was closely confined in the Tower of London, of which lord Cornwallis was governor. By this singular combination of circumstances,
cumstances, his lordship became a prisoner to the son of his own prisoner. A capitulation was signed; but the honour of marching out with colours flying, which had been refused to general Lincoln, on his giving up Charleston, was now refused to lord Cornwallis; and general Lincoln was appointed to receive the submission of the royal army at York Town, precisely in the same way as his own had been conducted about eighteen months before.
The regular troops of France and America employed in this siege, consisted of about seven thousand of the former, and of five thousand five hundred of the latter; and these were assisted by four thousand militia. The troops of every kind that surrendered prisoners of war exceeded seven thousand men.
Five days after the surrender, a British fleet and army of seven thousand men, destined for the relief of Cornwallis, arrived off the Chesapeek; but on receiving advice of his lordship's surrender, they returned to New York. Such was the fate of the general, from whose gallantry and previous successes, the speedy conquest of the southern states had been so confidently expected. No event during the war bid fairer for oversetting the independence of at least a part of the confederacy, than his complete victory at Camden; but by the consequences of that action, his lordship became the occasion of rendering that a revolution, which from his previous success was in danger of terminating as a rebellion. The loss of this army may be considered as deciding the contest in favour of America, and laying the foundation of a general peace.
The reduction of an army that had carried ra2 B2 vages
vages and destruction wherever they went; that had involved thousands of all ages in distress; occasioned unusual transports of joy in the breasts of the whole body of the people. Throughout the United States, they displayed a social triumph and exultation, which no private prosperity is ever able to inspire. A day of thanksgiving was appointed by congress, who went in procession to church, to offer up their grateful acknowledgments for the signal success of the campaign.
This year, 1781, terminated in all parts A. D. of the United States in favour of the Ame1781. ricans. It began with weakness in Carolina, mutiny in New Jersey, and devastation in Virginia; nevertheless in its close, the British were confined to their strong holds in or near New York, Charleston and Savannah, and their whole army was captured in Virginia. They, in the course of the year, had acquired much plunder, by which individuals were enriched, but their nation was in no respect benefited.
On the last day of the year, Henry Laurens was released from his long confinement in the Tower of London. To this fact we have hitherto but barely alluded. He was committed a close prisoner on the 6th of October, in the preceding year, on suspicion of high treason. This gentleman had been deputed by congress to solicit a loan for their service in the United Netherlands; and also to negociate a treaty between them and the United States. On his way thither he was taken by the Vestal frigate; and though he threw his papers overboard, yet enough were recovered to ascertain the object of his mission. In the course of his imprisonment, he was offered his liberty, if he would acknowledge his error, which he indignantly refused.
Afterwards, when his son arrived in France as the special minister of congress, he was requested to beg that he would withdraw himself from that post: to which he replied, My son is of age, and has a will of his own; if I should write to him in the terms you demand, it would have no effect. He is a man of honour, he loves me dearly, and would lay down his life to save mine; but I am sure he would not sacrifice his honour to save my life, and I applaud him."
A few months after the surrender of lord Cornwallis, the British evacuated all their posts in South Carolina and Georgia, and retired to the main army in New York. Early in the ensuing A. D. spring, sir Guy Carlton arrived in New 1792. York, and took command of the British army in America. Immediately on his arrival he acquainted general Washington and congress, that negociation for peace had been commenced at Paris. On the 30th of November, the provisional articles were signed, by which Great Britain acknowledged the independence and sovereignty of the United States of America, and these articles were ratified by a definitive treaty. Thus ended a long and arduous conflict, which eventually gave to the American states a rank among the nations of the earth. Toward the close of this year, congress A. D. issued a proclamation, in which the armies 1782. of the United States were applauded and discharged from their duties. On the day preceding their dismission, general Washington issued his farewell orders in the most endearing language. The evacuation of New York took place in about three weeks after the American army was discharged; and in the evening there was a display of fire