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the enemy, or on the reception of orders from General M‘Dougal. But as the object of the preparations in New York might be the army at Middlebrook, M‘Dougal was directed to hold himself in readiness to detach to the aid of that army as many men as could be spared from the defence of his posts. This detachment was eventually to commence its march as soon as Parsons should be near enough to afford with certainty the aid of his brigade. At the same time, preparations were made for moving the army at Middlebrook; and, on the 29th of May, they commenced their march by divisions towards the Highlands. Those first put in motion were directed to keep in view both the objects which the enemy had been suspected of contemplating. The General determined to remain at Middlebrook, till the rear of his army should be enabled to follow the first detachment.
General Mathew, who had probably been ordered from Virginia with a view to this expedition, reached New York just as the troops at that place were getting on board the vessels designed to convey them up the river. Without debarking, the forces under his command were united to those immediately from New York; and on the 30th the whole proceeded towards their point of destination, convoyed by Sir George Collier. Sir llenry Clinton in person conducted the enterprise. The next morning, the largest division of the
army, under General Vaughan, landed on the east side of the river, about eight miles below Verplank's; while the remainder, under the immediate command of General Patterson, but accompanied by Sir Henry Clinton, advancing further up, landed on the west side, within three miles of Stony Point.
The works on Stony Point, being incomplete, were immediately abandoned ; and an unfinished blockhouse on the extremity of the eminence was set on fire. General Patterson took possession of the ground that afternoon. In the course of the night he dragged some heavy cannon and mortars to the summit of the hill; and by five next morning a battery was ready to open on fort Fayette.
The distance across the river to this fort is about one thousand yards; and the cannonade tlıroughout the day, both from the commanding battery on Stony Point, and from the armed vessels and gun-boats in the river, made a sensible impression
During the following night, two gallies passed the fort, and anchored above it so as to prevent the escape of the garrison by water. At the same time, General Vaughan arrived, after having made a long circuit through the hills,and closely invested it by land, so that no means of saving the garrison remained. Finding it impracticable to hold the place against theimmense superiority of force which attacked it on every side, Captain Armstrong was
under the necessity of surrendering himself and his small garrison prisoners of war.
Immediate directions were given by Sir Henry Clinton for finishing and completing the works at both forts, and for putting Stony Point in particular into a strong state of defence.
It can scarcely be supposed that the views of the British general in moving up the river, were limited to this single acquisition. Although it was of considerable interest, yet the means used were so much greater than were required by the object against which they were directed, as to justify a belief that he contemplated further and more important conquests.
Whatever plans he might have formed, the mea. sures of precaution taken by Washington counter. acted the further execution of them; and before Clinton was in a situation to proceed against West Point, General M‘Dougall was so strengthened by the arrival of the reinforcements directed to join him from the eastward, that the enterprise became too hazardous to be further prosecuted. The first division of the army from Middlebrook was al. ready in the neighbourhood; and General Washington, who soon followed, took a strong position in Smith's Close, west of the river, which enabled him effectually to cover the fort from any attempt to be made against it on that side. But Sir Henry Clinton was in too great force, and the security of
the passes in the Highlands was an object of too much magnitude, to hazard the maiming of the American army by an attempt to dislodge him. General Washington was therefore under the necessity of acting entirely on the defensive.
On the first intelligence that preparations were making in New York for an expedition which would employ the greater part of the army at that place, Colonel Neilson, a vigilant officer, commanding a small corps at Elizabeth Town, was directed to obtain accurate information respecting the situation of the force on Staten Island. At the sante time he was directed to make preparations for attacking that station when it should be weak. ened, as it probably would be, by drawing off a part of the troops usually encamped there, for the purpose of strengthening the garrison of New York. Colonel Neilson found it impracticable to collect a sufficient force to engage in the enterprise with a prospect of success; and the only benefit derived from the preparations which had been made, was the alarm they excited for the safety of the important posts towards the water, and the consequent application of a part of the British force to their protection. A detachment from the troops which had been engaged in the expedition to the North river, suddenly returned to New York; and it is not improbable that this movement was occasioned by fears for Staten Island.
When the fortifications on both sides of King'sferry were so far completed as to be supposed entirely defensible, Sir Henry Clinton left a strong garrison in each fort, and proceeded down the ri. ver to Philips's. The American army continued in the Highlands, guarding the passes through them, and completing the fortifications for the de. fence of the river.
The relative situation of the hostile armies made it difficult for either to attempt any thing decisive against the other. While the strong ground occupied by the Americans rendered them altogether unassailable, their deficiency in numbers, and in means to carry on the complicated and expensive movements of an active campaign, restrained their general from offensive operations. The hope he was authorized to entertain of a powerful co-operation on the part of France furnished additional motives for attempting nothing which might put his army in hazard.
in hazard. A considerable military and naval force was expected to arrive on the American continent; he deemed it unadvisable therefore to waste an army, which could not be replaced, in enterprises promising no essential advantages, but which might so reduce it as to disable him from availing himself of the expected aid.
This state of things presenting insuperable obstacles to any grand operation, the armies could only be offensively employed on detached expedi