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line may ride with safety. Gloucester Point is a piece of land ori the opposite shore, projecting deeply into the river. Both these posts were occupied by Lord Cornwallis; and a communication between them was commanded by his batteries, and by some ships of war. The main body of his army was encamped on the open grounds about Yorktown, within a range of outer redoubts and field works: and Lieutenant-Colonel Tarleton, with a detachment of six or seven hundred men, held the post at Gloucester Point. The legion of the Duke de Lauzun, and a brigade of militia under General Weedon, the whole commanded by the French General de Choise', were directed to watch and restrain the enemy on the side of Gloucester; and the grand combined army, on the thirtieth of September, moved down to the investiture of Yorktown. In the evening, the troops halted about two miles from York, and lay all night on their arms. Causeways having been constructed in the night over a morass in front of the British works, the continental infantry marched the next morning in columns to the right of the combined forces. A few cannon shot were fired from the British work on the Hampton Road, and some riflemen skirmished with the pickets of the Anspach battalions on the left. The two armies cautiously observed each other; but nothing material occurred until evening, when an express boat arrived at Yorktown with a letter from Sir Henry Clinton to Earl Cornwallis, giving him assurance that joint exertions of the army and navy would be made for his relief. To this letter is attributed an order for the British troops to quit the outward and retire to the inner [..."; in compliance with which, that movement was effected efore day-break. The next morning, Colonel Scammel, with a reconnoitering party, falling in with a detachment of picked dragoons, was driven back, and in attempting a retreat was mortally wounded, and taken prisoner. He was an officer of great merit, and his death was deeply lamented. In the course of the forenoon, the allies took possession of the ground that had been abandoned by the British.”* “On the 6th, Washington's heavy ordnance and other implements for the seige arrived, and the first parallel was immediately com: menced, under a constant, but ineffectual fire from Cornwallis' batteries. By the 10th, our batteries and redoubts were ready to open along the whole fosse, and their effect upon the defences of the town was so immediately destructive, that Cornwallis would no doubt have sought the means of safety, either by offering instant battle, or capitulation, but for the arrival of another messenger from Sir Henry Clinton on this day, who brought assurances that an armament of 7000 men was on its way for his releif. This reanimated his confidence, and determined him to hold out to the last moment, repairing with great assiduity during the night the breaches and dilapidations of the day. But so powerful was even our first parallel.
* Holmes’ American Annals, vol. ii. p. 439-55.
ihat our shells and red hot balls reached the enemy’s ships in the
the French who occupied these redoubts, and in spiking eleven pieces of cannon, besides killing a number of men; but this success was of little benefit to the besieged, for being unable to hold possession of the redoubts, the party was compelled to retire on the a proach of the assailants; and the redoubts were soon made ready and the cannon unspiked. This completed the second parallel of the besiegers, who now displayed a front of nearly one hundred pieces of heavy ordnance, while the defences of the town were so much demolished that scarcely a gun could be shown. In this situation Cornwallis was reduced to the alternative of attempting his escape, or of 3. terms of capitulation; the latter was too humiliating to his pro military spirit, and a plan was instantly conceived for carrying the former into effect. He determined to pass his whole army over in the night to Gloucester Point, and by falling upon General Choise to possess himself of all his horses, by which the greater part of his army would be mounted, and his further movements were to depend on contingent occurrences. The attempt was equally bold and des: perate; but whatever might have been its ultimate issue, fortune had prepared another fate for Cornwallis. After the first division of his army had actually crossed, and while he was waiting for the return of the boats to embark the remainder, a violent storm arose, which dispersed the boats and drove them down the river considerably below the town; so that day light approached before they could be brought up to the place of embarkation. It was now too late ; and his lordship was compelled to employ the forenoon in reuniting his divided force, by recalling the division which had crossed the river. The last hope of his lordship being thus disconcerted by a destiny beyond his control, he considered any further resistance as an useless expenditure of the lives of his men, and having beat a parley, sent a messenger to Washington, with a proposition for a cessation of hostilities for the space of twenty-four hours, with a view of settling by commissioners, terms for the surrender of his two posts. After requiring from his lordship a previous avowal of the basis upon which he meant to propose the surrender, the request for a cessation of hostilities was granted, and commissioners were mutually appointed. On the part of the allied armies, the Wiscount de Noailles, and Lieutenant Colonel Laurens, aid de camp to Washington; and on the part of the British, Lieutenant Colonel Dundas, and Major Ross, aid de camp to his lordship, met on the 18th, but not being able to agree upon definitive terms, rough drafts of their proceedings were submitted to the respective commanders. Washington, perceiving that Cornwallis insisted upon terms unwarranted by the situation of the two armies, and unwilling to lose a moment’s time in fruitless negociation, transmitted to his lordship on the morning of the 19th, his ultimatum, declaring that hostilities should recommence at 11 o'clock, unless the terms were previously ratified. Cornwallis strenuous as had been his efforts to procure certain advantageous
sonditions for his army and the citizens in York and Gloucester, who had joined the British standard, now perceived that further delay would be hazardous, and the surrender was made on the following terms:—
1st. That the British land and naval forces at York and Gloucester, surrender themselves respectively to the combined forces of America and France. 2d. That the artillery, arms and stores of every description, be delivered, unimpaired to officers appointed to receieve them. 3d. That the two redoubts on the left flank of York, be delivered up at twelve o’clock, the one to a detachment of the American army, the other to a detachment of the French grenadiers. The garrison of York to march out at 2 o'clock. to a place appointed in front of the posts, with shouldered arms, colours cased, and drums beating a British or German march, there to ground their arms, and return to their encampment, until despatched to the places of their destination. The same to be done at 3 o'clock, with the garrison of Gloucester. 4th. Officers to retain their side arms and private property of every kind, with the exception of such as obviously belongs to the inhabitants of the United States. 5th. The soldiers to be kept in Virginia, Maryland or Pennsylvania, and supplied with the same rations as are allowed to the soldiers of the United States. To be kept as much as possible in regiments, and a suitable number of field officers to reside near them on parole, with permission to visit them frequently, and examine into their treatment. 6th. *. British general and his staff, and other officers, civil and military, who desire it, to be permitted to go on parole te Europe, New-York, or any other place in possession of the British, at their option; proper vessels to be furnished by the Count de Grasse for this purpose, and passports to go by land to be given to those for whom vessels cannot be furnished. 7th. #. officers to be allowed to keep soldiers as servants, and the servants not soldiers not to be considered as prisoners. , 8th. The Bonetta sloop of war, with her present equipment and crew, to be left at the disposal of the British general, to carry such soldiers as he may think proper to send, and despatches to Sir He linton ; to be permitted to sail without examination, and to be afterwards delivered to the order of the Count de Grasse ; the soldiers and crew to be aecounted for. 9th. Traders to be considered as prisoners of war on parole, and allowed to dispose of their property, giving to the allied armies the right of preemption. 10th. In this article Cornwallis required that the inhabitants of different parts of the country then in York and Gloucester, should not be punished for having joined the British army; but it was objected to by Washington, as belonging altogether to the civil department, . for whom he would make no stipulation. The 11th and 12th articles related to the sick, who were to be supplied with hospital stores at the expense of the British, and attended by their own surgeons. 13th. The shipping and boats. in the two harbours, with all their stores, guns, tackling, and apparel, to be delivered up to an officer of the navy appointed to take possession of them. . lastly, no article of the capitulation to be infringed on pretence of reprisals.
These articles being mutually signed and ratified, General Lineoln was appointed by the commander in chief to receive the submission of the royal army. Cornwallis, unable to bear up against the humiliation of marching at the head of his garrison, constituted. General O’Hara his representative, and the conquered army moved in silence through the columns of French and American soldiers, drawn up on each side of the road. On the other side of the river, Lieutenant-Colonel Dundas had been transferred to York during the last movements of the troops, and the command had devolved on
Lieutenant-Colonel Tarleton. This officer, conscious of the many causes he had given to the inhabitanis of the United States to detest his character, and to inspire correspondent feelings of revenge, waitad upon the French General de Choise, previous to his surrender, and expressing apprehensions for his personal safety, requested that he might not be placed at the disposal of the American militia. This request, though founded upon idle fears, or what is worse, a desire to throw a stigma upon the American character, was readily granted; and the Duke de Lauzun and Lieutenant-Colonel Mercer were selected, with their respective corps, to receive the submission of Tarleton's garrison. Thus was this siege happily brought to a conclusion, and a second British army, whose march through a wide extent of country, had been every where traced by ruin and devastation, brought to submit to American prowess. The number of men which surrendered to Washington, amounted in the whole to 7107, but more than 3000 of these are said to have been unfit for duty; the combined army appears to have been 16,000 strong, 7000 of whom were French. Thus Cornwallis was far from losing any part of the great reputation which his repeated successes had gained him,...by surrendering to a force so greatly superior; he had done all that could be done under circumstances of so much embarrassment, and it is not hazarding too much to say, that if he had been left to his own discretion, his army would have been saved, or his own life offered a sacrifice to the enterprise of his genius. A second elegant park of field artillery, entirely of brass, came into our possession at this surrender. This, together with every thing appertaining to the army, fell to the Americans in the distribution, while the shipping and its concerns, became the property of our brave allies. During the siege about 300 of the combined army were killed and wounded, and on the part of the British upwards of 500. The officers particularly distinguished by the commander in chief. for their zeal, activity and valour, on this occasion, were the Count de Rochambeau, Generals Chatelleux and Viomenil, of the French, and Generals Lincoln, La Fayette and Steuben of the American army. General Knox who commanded the artillery, and General Du Portail, chief engineer, were also mentioned in terms of signal respect. Ilieutenant Colonels Hamilton and Laurens, gained imperishable honours for the intrepidity displayed in storming the redoubt on the 14th. Nothing could exceed the universal joy at this great and important event.”* “For some months previous to the capture of Cornwallis, and while his army was traversing the states of the Carolinas and Virginia, he was opposed by the Marquis de la Fayette with an inferior force. His Lordship having received a reinforcement, was so confident of
* Allen's Revolution, vol. ii. p. 461-9.