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;778. commanded the left wing, which played upon the British with great effect, and seconded by parties of infantry, detached to oppose them, effectually put a stop to their advance. Gen. Greene, who had early filed off to the right, on intelligence of the retreat of the advanced corps, marched up, and took a very advantageous position on the right of Stirling. The British finding themselves warmly opposed in front, attempted to turn the American left flank, but were repulsed. " They also made a movement to the American right with as little success, Greene having advanced a body of troops with artillery to a commanding piece of ground, which not only disappointed their design, but severely enfiladed those in the front of the left wing. In addition to this, Wayne advanced with a body of troops, and kept up fo severe and well directed a fire, that the British w(fe soon compelled to give way. They retired and took the position about Carr's house, which Lee had before occupied. Here1 their flanks were secured by thick woods and morasses, while their front could be approached only through a narrow pass. Washington however resolved to attack them 5 and for that purpose ordered gen. Poor with his own and the Carolina brigade, to move round upon their right; and gen. Woodford to their left; and the artillery to gall them in front 1 .but they were prevented getting within reach before dark. They remained upon the ground, which they had been directed to occupy, during the night, with an intention to begin the attack early the next morning; and the main body continued lying upon their arms in the field of action, to be in readiness for supporting them. During the action, Washington animated his forces by his gallant example; and by exposing his person to every l778* danger common to the meanest soldier, taught them to hold nothing too dear for the good of their country. At night he laid down, and reposed himself in his cloak under a tree, in hope, as may be supposed, of a general action the ensuing day; for it appears from several circumstances, that he was all along rather desirous of that event, notwithstanding the prevailing contrary opinion of the general officers whom he consulted. In the mean time Sir Henry Clinton's troops were employed in removing their wounded i and about twelve o'clock * at night they marched away in such silence, that though Poor lay extremely near them, their retreat was effected without his knowledge. They left behind them four officers and about forty privates, whose wounds were too dangerous to permit their removal.
The extreme heat of the weather, the distance Sir Henry had gained by marching in the night, and the fatigue of the Americans, made a pursuit on the part of gen. Washington impracticable and fruitless. It would only have been
* In the London Gazette extraordinary/, Aug. 24, 1778, Sir Henry Clinton is represented as writing in his official letter—" Having reposed the troops till ten at night, to avoid the excessive heat of the day, I took advantage pf the moon-light to rejoin lieut. gen. Knyphaufen," Poor Will's Almanack, printed at Philadelphia for Joseph Crukfhank, tells the public, that the new moon was on June 24th, at ten in the morning, and that on the 28th of June it set 59 minutes after ten at night. Sir Henry could have had little advantage from the light of a moon but four days old, and that was to set in an hour's time, had he marched off his troops precisely at ten 5 but if at about twelve, as gen. Washington writes, and which is most likely to have been the cafe, the moon-light below the horizon could not have been of any advantage.
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'778. satal to numbers of the men, several of whom died on the day of action through the excessive heat; for Farenheit's thermometer was at 96 degrees in the Jerseys, and is said to have been 112 at Philadelphia. It was a deep sandy country through which they marched, almost
--*-- destitute of water; but had there been a plenty, many more would probably have perished by unguarded drinking to allay their thirst; some were lost in that way. Sir Henry, without having been joined by the brigade of British and the 17 th light dragoons from Knyphausen's division, secured by his manoeuvres the arrival of the
T royal army in the neighbourhood of Sandy Hook on the
30. 30th of June, without the loss of either the covering party or the baggage: but not without a considerable diminution of troops; for by a moderate calculation, from the evacuation of Philadelphia down to that day, about eight hundred deserted, a great number of whom were Hessians. By the returns of the officers who had the charge of the burying parties, they left 245 noncommissioned and privates on the field and 4 officers. There were also beside these, several fresh graves and burying holes found near the field, in which they had put their dead before they quitted it *. Fifty-nine of their soldiers perished without receiving a wound, in the same manner as several of the Americans, merely through satigue and heat. The loss of lieut. col. Monckton,whowas slain, was much lamented by the British. Upward of a hundred were made prisoners, including the officers and privates left upon the field. On the part of the Americans, lieut. col. Bonner and major Dickinson, officers of distinguished merit, were slain; beside six • General Washington's letters.
others of Inferior rank, and 61 non-commissioned and1778* privates. The wounded were 24 officers and 136 noncommissioned and privates. The missing amounted to 130, but many of them, having only dropped through fatigue, soon joined the army. Gen. Washington commended the zeal and bravery of the officers in general, *but particularized Wayne as deserving special commendation. The behaviour of the troops in general, after recovering from the first surprise occasioned by the retreat of the advanced corps, was mentioned as what could not be surpassed. The public acknowledgments of congress were very flattering to the army, and particularly so to the general and his officers. The general having declined all further pursuit, detached only some light troops to attend/ the motions of the royal forces, and drew off the main body of his army to the borders of the North river. .,
The general, on his second interview with Lee upon the day of action, intimated by his re-instating and leaving him in the command of the advanced corps, that he meant to pass by what had happened, without further notice: but the latter could not brook the ex- j pressions used by the former at their first meeting, and j therefore wrote him two passionate letters, which occasioned his being put under an arrest, and brought to': trial four days after the action, on the following charges exhibited against him by his excellency—1 ft, For disobedience of orders, in not attacking the enemy on the 28th of June, agreeable to repeated instructions :— idly, For misbehaviour before the enemy on the fame day, by making an unnecessary, disorderly and shameful retreat ;*—3dly, For disrespect to the commander in
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i778- chief, in two letters dated the 1st of July and the 28th of June. The letter dated the 1st of July, was so dated through mistake, being written on the 28th of June. On the 12th of August, the court martial, at which lord Stirling presided, found him guilty upon every charge, and sentenced him to be suspended from any command in the armies of the United States of North America, for the term of twelve months. The terms of the second charge were softened down, as he was only found guilty of misbehaviour before the enemy by making an unnecessary, and in some few instances, a disorderly retreat. Many were displeased with the conduct of the court martial; and thought he ought not to have been found guilty, except upon the last charge. They argued—" It appears from Washington's own letter and other circumstances, that it was submitted to Lee's judgment whether to attack, in what manner and when. There was manifest proof of Lee's intending to attack in hope of cutting off the enemy's covering party: but he altered his opinion as to the promising prospect he had of doing it, on his coming into the plain, reconnoitring the enemy, and concluding that they were more numerous than before supposed: and upon finding Scott had quitted the point of wood where he meant to order him to remain, he judged an immediate retreat necessary. The detachment with which Lee was, amounted to no more than one third of his whole command, Scott's column, Maxwell's brigade and the other troops to his left being full two thirds. When he began to retire, the main body was more than six miles distant, though advancing.. The-enemy's force was rendered- the more formidable by their great'superiority in cavalryi which