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day, lost sight of the brigade to which he belonged, and having separated from it, was taken prisoner, with his whole regiment; and the prisoners which he had previously taken were released. A number of the troops in Greene's division were stopped by the halt of the party before Chew's house. Near one half of the American army remained for some time at that place inactive. In the mean time Gen. Grey led on three battalions of the third brigade, and attacked with vigour. A sharp contest followed. Two British regiments attacked at the same time on the opposite side of the town, General Grant' moved up the 49th regiment to the aid of those who were engaged with Greene's column.
The morning was foggy. This, by concealing the true situation of the parties; occasioned mistakes, and made so much caution necessary as to give the British time to recover from the effects of their first surprise. From these causes the early promising appearances on the part of the assailants were speedily reversed. The Americans left the field hastily, and all efforts to rally them were ineffectual. Washington was obliged to relinquish the victory he had thought within his grasp, and 10 turn his whole aitention to the security of his army. A. retreat about twenty miles to Perkioming was made, with the loss of only one piece of artillery, In the engagement the loss of the Americans, including the wounded and four hundred prisoners, was about eleven hundred. A considerable part of this was occasioned by the 40th regiment, which, from the doors and windows of Mr. Chew's large stone house, kept up a constant fire on their uncovered adversaries.
The plan of the battle of Germantown was judicious, and its commencement well conducted ; but to ensure its successful execution, a steady co-operation of the several divisions of the assailants was necessary. The numerous enclosures to be passed, and the thickness of the fog, rendered this impossible; especially by troops who were. imperfectly disciplined, and without the advantages of experience.
Congress voted their unanimous thanks "10 General Washington for his wise and well concerted attack, and to the officers and soldiers of the army, for their brave exertions on that occasion ;' and added, " they were well sa
tisfied that the best designs and boldest efforts may some. times fail by unforeseen incidents."
In the latter part of the campaign of 1777, in proportion as the loss of Philadelphia became more probable, Washington took every precaution eventually to diminish its value to the enemy. Orders were given for moving the military stores and the vessels at the wharves of that city higher up the Delaware. From the time that the British got possession, every aid consistent with greater objects was given to the forts constructed on the Delaware for op. posing the British in their attempts to open the navigation of that river. Troops were stationed on both sides of the Delaware to prevent the inhabitants from going with their provisions to the market of Philadelphia, and to destroy small foraging parties sent out to obtain supplies for the Boyal army. These arrangements being made Washingion advanced toward Philadelphia. His objects were to enfeeble the royal army in their operations against the foris on the Delaware; to attack them if circumstances favoured, and prevent their receiving supplies from the country. The British shortly after evacuated Germantown ; concentrated their force at Philadelphia, and directed their principal attention to the opening the navigation of the Delaware. This employed them for more than six weeks; and after a great display of gallantry on both sides, was finally accoinplished.
In this discouraging state of public affairs, a long letter was addressed by the reverend Jacob Duche, late chaplain of Congress, and a clergyman of the first rank, for character, piety, and eloquence, to Gen. Washington; the purport of which was, to persuade him that farther resistance to Great Britain was hopeless, and would only increase the calamities of their common country; and under this impression to urge him to make the best terms he .could with the British commander, and to give up the contest. Such a letter, at such a time, in unison with the known sentiments of many desponding citizens, from a per. son whose character and connections placed him above all suspicion of treachery, and whose attachment to his native country, America, was unquestionable, could not have fail. ed to make an impression on minds of a feeble texture; but from Washington, who never despaired of his country,
the laboured epistle of the honcst, but timiù divine, receiyed no farther noțice than a verbal message to the writer thereof, " That if the contents of his letter had been known, it should have been returned unopened."
While Sir William Howe was succeeding in every enterprise in Pennsylvania, inteliigence arrived that Gen. Burgoyne and his whole army had surrendered prisoners of war to the Americans. Washington soon after received a considerable reinforcement from the northern army, which had accomplished this great event. With this increased force he took a position at and near Whitemarsh, The royal army having succeeded in removing the obstructions in the river Delaware, were ready for new enterprises. Sir William Howe marched out of Philadelphia, with almost his whole force, expecting to bring on a general engagement.!. The next morning he appeared on Chesnut hill, in front of, and abont three miles distant from the right wing of the Americans. On the day following the British changed their round, and moved to the right. Two days after they moved still further to the right, and made every appearance of an intention to attack the American encampment... Some skirmishes took place, and a general action was hourly expected; but instead thereof, on the morning of the next day, after various marches and countermarches, the British filed off from their right by two or three different roules, in full march for Philadel. phia..
While tlie two armies were manæuvring, in constant expectation of an immediate engagement, Washington rode through every brigade of his army, and with a firm steady countenance gave orders in person how to receive the enemy, and particularly-yrged on his troops to place their chief dependence on the bayonet. His position, in a mi, litary point of view, was admirable." He was. so sensible of the advantages of it, that the maneuvres of Sir William Howe for some days could not allure him from it. In consequence of the reinforcement lately received, he had not in any preceding period of the campaign been in an equal condition for a general engagement. Though he ardently wished to be attacked, yet he would not relinquish a posi. tion from which he hoped for reparation for the adversities of the campaign. He could not believe that Gen. Howe,
with a victorious army, and that lately reinforced with four thousand men froin New York, should come out of Phila. delphia only to return thither again. He therefore presumed, that to avoid the disgrace of such a movement, the British commander would, from a sense of military honour, be compelled to attack him, though under great disadvantages. When he found him cautious of engaging, and inclining to his left, a daring design was formed, which would have been executed, had the British either continued in their position, or moved a little farther to the left of the American army.
This was to have attempted in the night to surprise Philadelphia.
Three days after the retreat of the British, Washington communicated in general orders his intention of retiring into winter quarters. He expressed to his army high approbation of their past conduct: gave an encouraging state. ment of the prospects of their country: exhorted them to bear the hardships inseparable from their situation, and endeavoured to convince their judgments that these were necessary for the public good, and unavoidable from the distressed situation of the new formed states.
The same care to cut off all communication between the enemy and the country was continued, and the same means employed to secure that object. Gen. Smallwood was de. tached to Wilmington to guard the Delaware. Coli Mor. gan, who had lately returned from the victorious northern army, was placed on the lines on the west side of the Schuylkill; and Gen. Armstrong near the old camp at the Whitemarsh, with a respectable force under the command of each, to prevent the country people from carrying provisions to the market in Philadelphia.
Valley Forge, about twenty five miles distant from Phi. ladelphia, was fixed upon for the winter quarters of the Americans. This position was preferred to distant and more comfortable villages, as being calculated to give the most extensive security to the country. The American army might have been tracked by the blood of their feet in marching without shoes or stockings, over the hard frozen ground between Whitemarsh and the Valley Forge. Un. der these circumstances, they had to sit down in a wood in the latter end of December, and to build huts for their accommodation. To a want of clothing was added a want
of provisions. For some days there was little less than a famine in the camp. Washington was compelled to make seizures for the support of his army. Congress had authorized him so to do; but he wished the civil authority to manage the delicate business of impressment, and regretted the measure as subversive of discipline, and calculated to raise in the soldiers a disposition to licentiousness and plunder. To suffer his army to starve or disband, or to feed them by force, were the only alternatives offered to . is choice. Though he exercised these extraordinary powers with equal reluctance and discretion, his lenity was virtually censured by Congress, “as proceeding from a delicacy in exerting military authority on the citizens, which, in their opinion, might prove prejudicial to the general liberties of America;" at the same time his rigour was condemned by those from whom provisions were forcibly taken. The sound judgment and upright principles of the commander in chief gave a' decided preference to the mode of supplying his army by fair contract, but the necessities thereof proceeding from bad management in the commissary department; the depreciation of the Congress bills of credit; the selfishness of the farmers in preferring British metallic to American paper money, together with the eagerness of Congress to starve the British army in Philadelphia, compelled him to extort supplies for his army at the point of the bayonet. In obedience to Congress, he is. sued a proclamation, “ calling on the farmers within scventy miles of head quarters to thresh out one half of their grain by the first of February, and the residue by the first of March, under the penalty of having the whole seized as straw."
Great were the difficulties Washington had to contend with for feeding and clothing of his army; but they were not the only ones which at this time pressed on him. The States of Pennsylvania and New Jersey were importunate with him to cover them from the incursions of the enemy. In both there were many discontented individuals, who, regretting their past losses and present danger from the vicinity of a conquering army, were so far misled by their feelings as to suppose it to be the fault of Gen. Washington, that the inferior destitute army under his immediate command had not been as successful as the superior well