Abbildungen der Seite

1780. fence os more than two hours. The chevalier and 24 men were killed; and about 40 wounded.

Mr. John Adams and Mr. Francis Dana his secretary, arrived in Spain about the middle os last December, after a very narrow escape. The frigate on board of which they were, it was thought would have foundered at sea in less than forty-eight hours more. After a short stay they proceeded to France. Mr. Adams is now at Amsterdam, where he will undoubtedly employ his abilities in forwarding a treaty of commerce between the United Provinces of Holland, and the United States of America, which has been in agitation now near upon two years. As Mr. William Lee, whom congress had appointed commissioner to the courts of Vienna and Berlin, was on his way to the last city, with his secretary Mr. Samuel W. Stockton, he accidentally put up at an hotel in Aix-la-Chapelle, where Mr. John de Neufville happened to be, who hearing of them, and learning that they were Americans, joined company with them. Mr. de Neufville discoursed upon the subject: of a commercial treaty. Mr. Lee had no powers to negotiate or sign any thing of- the kind with the province or states of Holland: but he and his secretary agreed between themselves, that the measure should be ventured upon, could it be executed, as they had no doubt of its meeting with the approbation of congress. Mr. de Neufville consulted Mr. Van Berkel, the counsellor and pensionary of Amsterdam, and having received his directions proceeded to sign on the 4th of September 1778, the plan of a treaty of , amity and commerce, as destined to be concluded hereafter between the states of Holland and the United States of America, Mr. de Neufville, being properly

authoauthorized by the regency of Amsterdam, further en- 1lSo* gaged, that as long as America should not act contrary to the interest of the states of Holland, the city of Amsterdam would never adopt any measure that might tend to oppose the interest of America, but would on the contrary use all its influence upon the states of the seven United Provinces of Holland, to effect the desired connection. Though several copies of the plan were early lent to America, and the whole business has been for some time known to many, yet it appears to be still concealed from the British administration; while it is evidently different with respect to some of their councils. Mr. Adams wrote to congress from Amsterdam on the 23d of August—" Orders are sent to prosecute Aug. the war with vigor in North Carolina and Virginia the2-3* ensuing- sall, winter and spring. Britain will yield to France and Spain very great things to carry their point against America -, but all will not do. France and Spain are now responsible for their conduct to the rest of Europe -, besides, the separation of America from England, is an object of more pressing importance than any concesp sions England can make them."


Roxbuty, Jan. u, 1781.

TH E military operations in South Carolina require an immediate detail. Col. Sumpter at the head of his party, made a spirited, though unsuccessful attack


1780.on the British post at Rocky-mount on the 30th of July. He marched in quest of other royal detachments without delay, and on the 7th of August succeeded in an attack on their post at the Hanging-rock, where was a considerable force of regulars and tories. The prince of Wales's regiment, which defended the place, was nearly annihilated; and a large body of tories, that had advanced from North Carolina under col. Brian, was completely dispersed. Col. Sumpter's party was so short of ammunition, that when the action commenced, not a man of it had more than ten bullets. In the latter part of the fight, the arms and ammunition taken from the British and tories who fell in the beginning, were turned against their associates.

It being known that an American army was marching from the northward for the relief of their southern brethren, the whig militia, on the extremities of the state, formed themselves into small parties under leaders of their own choice, and at times attacked detachments of the British army, but most frequently those of their own countrymen, who were turning out as a royal militia. These American parties severally acted from their own impulse, and set themselves to oppose the British, without either the knowledge of each others motions, or any preconcerted general plan. Col. Williams, of the district of Ninety Six, was particularly indesatigable in collecting and animating the friends of congress in that settlement; and with these he frequently harassed the conquerors.

A considerable number of North Carolina militia took the field, and agreed to rendezvous at Anfon court-house on the 20th of July, that they might be in readiness to co-operate with the continental army. On the approach


Qf the Americans, major McArthur, who commanded 17^0. on the Peedee, called in his detachments, abandoned his post on the Cheraw hill, and marched directly to join the main body of the royal army at Camden. On the day the British relinquished this, part of the country, the inhabitants, distressed by their depredations, and disgusted with their conduct, generally took arms. Lord Nairne and 106 British invalids, going down the Peedee, were made prisoners by a party of the Americans commanded by major Thomas, who had been lately received as loyal subjects. A large boat coming up from George-town, well stored with necessaries for major McArthur's party, was seized for the use of the American army. All the new made British militia officers, excepting col. Mills, were made prisoners by their own men. The retreat of the British from their out-posts to Camden, and the advance of the American army, join-: ed to the impolitic conduct of the conquerors toward their new subjects, concurred to produce a general revolt in favor of congress.

On the 28th of July (the day after the Americanjuly army encamped at Spink's farm on the road to Cam- 28* den) col. Otho H. Williams repeated to gen. Gates the advice he had given in substance to baron de Kalb more than a fortnight before; which was to deviate from the | direct road to Camden—to order gen. Caswell to join him at the mouth of Rocky river on Peedee, and from thence to send his heavy baggage, women and invalids to Salisbury (a day's march higher up the country) and there establish an hospital and magazines—to march all his effective troops from the mouth of Rocky river to Charlotte, where a magazine, hospital, and if necessary


1780. an armory might be securely established—and from Charlotte to march by way of Waxhaws toward Camden. By this route the army might have proceeded without impediment through a well cultivated country, whose inhabitants were attached to the common cause. Magazines and hospitals might have been established in the rear, secure from surprise, and directly upon the old trading road from Philadelphia to Charlestown, by which the supplies from the north might have followed the army without danger. Not only so, but the army would have been followed by numerous bands of faith1 fill friends, able and willing both to furnish supplies and to assist with arms, instead of being encompassed with a host of fugitive tones, whose poverty afforded no subsistence, and whose perfidy prevented secrecy. A council was called upon the occasion; but the opinion did not prevail; the first motives preponderated, and the army pursued the direct route for Camden. It was joined by lieut. col. Porterfield, an officer of distinguished merit, with about 100 Virginia soldiers. He had by his singular address and good conduct, found means, not only to avoid the hapless fate of the other corps which had retreated after the surrender of Charlestown; but to subsist his men, and keep up the semblance of a possession of that part of South Carolina.

The army soon felt the scarcity of provisions; and their fatigue, fasting and repeated disappointments as to supplies, so exasperated them, that their murmurs became very audible. The aspect of mutiny was almost in every countenance; but as there was no object to be 1 seized upon or sacrificed, the conciliating arguments of the officers, Who shared the calamity without discrimination,

« ZurückWeiter »