Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

1775. great expedition. To obstruct their designs; and

protect the well affected, he took poffeffion of the GreatBridge near Norfolk, a pass of much consequence, being the only way by which the town could be approached. He constructed a fort on the Norfolk side, and rendered it as defensible as time would admit. His force consisted of about 200 regulars, including the grenadiers of the 14th regiment, and a body of Norfolk volunteers : the rest was a motley mixture of blacks and whites. The Virginians, under colonel Woodford, fortified themselves within less than cannon shot of the royalists, having a narrow causeway in front, which was to be passed to come at their works.

In this state they continued quiet on both sides for some days. At length a servant belonging to major Marshall, being properly tutored, deserted to the royalists, and told them, that colonel Woodford had not more than 300 shirtmen (as they call the rifemen, on account of their being dressed in their hunting shirts) badly provided with ammunition. The bait took, and a design was formed for surprising the Virginians in their intrenchments. Capt. Leslie with the regulars, arrived at the bridge about three in the morning; and being joined by about 300 white and black flaves, laid planks upon the bridge, and crossed just after the Virginians had beaten the reyeille, a lucky time for the last, as their men were of course all under arms. Capt. Fordyce, at the head of his grenadiers, amounting to about sixty, led the van, while lieutenant Batut commanded the advanced party. They passed the causeway, which admitted cnly of a few. men's marching abreast, and approached the intrenchments with fixed

bayonets, and a coolness and intrepidity which excited ?775. astonishment. They were not only exposed naked to the fire in front, but enfiladed by another part of the provincial lines. The captain fell with several of his men, within a few yards of the breast work. The lieutenant with others were taken, and all the survivors of the grenadier company, whether prisoners or not, were wounded. The royalists were foon obliged to found a retreat, having fixty-two men killed and wounded. The provincials during the whole action, did not lose a single man, and had only one nightly wounded. The fire of the artillery from the fort covered the retreat of the royalists. None of the blacks, &c. in the rear, with capt. Leslie, advanced further than the bridge. Capt. Fordyce was buried with every military honor by the victors, who showed a due respect to his former merit, as well as to the gallantry which signalized his last moments. The British prisoners were treated with great. kindness : the American royalists, who joined the king's standard, with rigor. The king's forces retired the ensuing night, without other loss than a few pieces of cannon. Capt. Leslie, it is said, has absolutely refused to act any more on shore, till he can be better supported; on the other hand, the Norfolk volunteers, and the black battalions, have declined acting without the regulars; this has induced his lordship to abandon the intrenchments at Norfolk, and to go on board the ships. Most of the wretched negroes, who had joined him, were now left to shift for themselves.

Colonel Woodford with the provincials, entered Nor- Dec. fólk; but almost all the inhabitants had fled on board 14 the ships. At night he resigned the cominand to colonel

1775. Howe, designing to return to his family, and attend

on his private affairs.

Many of the Scotch petitioners having, contrary to their faith, folemnly plighted, become strict adherents to Lord Dunmore, and active promoters of his measures; and having excited their slaves to act against the colony; the convention has totally rescinded the former recommendation in their favor. But persons of ability, declining to act with the Virginians, and who have not taken up arms nor showed themselves against them, may be permitted to leave the country.

A scheme for raising a considerable force, for the service of Lord Dunmore, has been lately discovered in Maryland. .

One John Connelly, a native of Pennsylvania, waited on his lordship with certain proposals, toward the latter end of July, which being approved of, he dispatched intelligence to the officers of the militia on the frontiers.. of Augufta county, with assurances from his lordship, that such of them as would hereafter evince their loyalty to his majesty, by putting themselves under his command, should be amply rewarded. He had before, by . direction, prepared the Indians on the Ohio, to act in concert with him against his majesty's enemies in that quarter. His lordship fent him to general Gage at Boston about the fifteenth of September; and about the middle of October he returned with instructions from the general to his lordship. A commission of lieutenant colonel commandant, of a regiment to be raised in the . back parts and in Canada, was to be granted to this adventurer ; who was to be assisted by the garrisons at Detroit, and Fort Gage at the Illinois, with artillery

and ammunition. He was to use means to urge the In- 1775. dian chiefs to act with vigor in the execution of his orders; and to have the supreme direction of the new forces. When they were in fufficient condition, he was to penetrate through Virginia, fo as to meet Lord Dunmore at a set time in next April at Alexandria on the Patomak; his lordship was to bring such a naval strength and other assistance, as might be deemed necessary for · the purpose. He had so far fucceeded, that he was on his way, with two associates, to Detroit; where he was to meet his commission and instructions : but when they had reached about five miles beyond Hagar's-town, they were taken into custody and brought before the county committee at Frederick-town in Maryland, for exami- Nov. nation, about ten days after parting with Lord Dun- 23, more. Their papers have betrayed every thing. Among them were the general plan of the whole business, and a letter from Lord Dunmore to one of the Indian chiefs, and other authentic vouchers, which leave nothing to be doubted. His lordship's letter was accommodated, as is usual in all such cases, to the Indian taste, and addressed to Brother Captain Whité Eyes, who was to ac-':quaint the Corn-Stalk, as well as the chiefs of the Mingoes, and the other six nations, with the sentiments contained in it: .. .

The capture of Connelly and his associates, is ascribed to the seizure of an express passing between an Indian commissary and the governor; from whose papers such intelligence was gained, as to put the provincial committee upon keeping a good look out for the parties. The Indian commissary was known to be disaffected to

[ocr errors]

-1775. the American cause by a gentleman, whose fufpicions

made him a principal in effecting the discovery..!!
i. The Pennsylvania general assembly, in their Novem-
ber session, instructed their delegates to exert their en-
deavours at the continental congress, for the adoption
of such measures as might afford the best prospect of
obtaining a redress of American grievances, and of re-
storing the union and harmony between Great Britain
and the colonies. They said, “ Though the oppressive
measures of the British parliament and administration
have compelled us to resist their violence by force of
arms, yet we strictly enjoin you, that you, in behalf of
this colony, dissent from, and utterly reject, any propo-
sitions, should such be made, that may cause or lead to
a separation from the mother country, or a change in
the form of this government.” The reason for menti-
oning a change in the form of this government, was con-
gress's recommendation of a measure of that kind to the
provincial convention of New Hampshire, which will

be properly noticed in its place. Nov. Governor Franklin met the general assembly of New

Jersey. In his speech he acquainted them, “ That the commanders of his majesty's squadrons in America, have orders to proceed as in the case of a town in actual rebellion, against such of the sea-port towns and places, being accessible to the king's ships, as shall offer any violence to the king's officers, or in which any troops shall be raised, or military works erected, or other than by his majesty's authority, or any attempts made to seize or plunder any public magazine of arms or amirunition.” He said, “ Sentiments of independency, are by some men of present consequence, openly avow

16.

« ZurückWeiter »